Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Lazy Saturday...

So here's what I did for "fun" this past Saturday (September 22, 2012) with some friends in Killington, VT at the Spartan Beast race.

Over the course of somewhere between 13 & 14 miles and over a 6000' of vertical ascent (and descent), these are the obstacles we encountered.

I've taken my best guess at weights & distances for the events. Few are likely to be exact, but all are in the ballpark.

Here's a link to my Garmin output of the course.
Here's a link to sign up for a Spartan Race (get a 15% discount with the coupon code EXTOL15)
  1. Ditch jumps -- several of 'em filled with water/mud, about 4-5' wide.
  2. <unnamed obstacle> -- crawling under some heavy screening. This is where I bent my right thumb backwards and sprained the bejeezus out of it. Yes, less than 15 minutes into the race, I hurt myself.
  3. Over unders -- climb over a few 6' walls, through a gap in the walls, and under the walls.
  4. Dirt mounds w/ water pits -- more dirt/mud/water. 
  5. Vertical cargo -- climb over a 10' tall cargo net that was pretty freely rigged/swinging at the top.
  6. Barbed wire high crawl -- strung about 4.5' off the ground for 100' or so in the middle of a single-track trail in the woods.
  7. Double 7 foot walls -- Simple as it sounds; two walls to get over.
  8. Barbed wire crawl #1 -- This should count as two obstacles since you crawled through probably 10 yards of gravel/rock/mud under barbed wire strung about 18" off the ground to a berm which you crested only to see a muddier & rockier 10 yards of the same in front of you. Did I mention they were spraying water over this obstacle.
  9. 2 short walls -- these came within the first 3 miles and were about 6' tall and pretty easily navigated.
  10. Monkey bars -- Just like it sounds, maybe 15' of monkey bars to get through. Saw quite a few burpees done here as the penalty for those who couldn't do it.
  11. Trench crawl - waist-deep water in a 5' deep trench with barbed wire strung overhead. More of a squat-walk than a crawl.
  12. Traverse wall -- 15' of lateral movement on a wall with awkwardly placed blocks for hands and feet. Participants were required to get from one end to the other like a rock climber using only the blocks.
  13. Rope climb #1 -- Wade into a 2' deep pool of water and climb a rope about 15' up to ring a bell, then descend. Lots of burpees seen here, too, and a few impressive back-flops from dudes who got about 10' up before losing it.
  14. 40° water swim -- this & the next one go together and represent the only obstacle I did not attempt. I am a very poor swimmer on a good day. The Racer's Guide said they would have PFDs on the shore for those who were poor swimmers. They didn't have on shore when I got there, so I burpeed out.
  15. Tarzan swing -- After swimming maybe 200' in 41° F water, you climbed a rope ladder about 10', and then were expected to swing from rope-to-rope for about 10' (5-6 ropes), ring a bell, drop into the water, and swim 200' to shore. If you failed, you swam about 300' to the opposite shore to do burpees. I didn't hear a lot of bell-ringing here!
  16. Water station -- AKA Lemonade Stand. No obstacle, just a re-hydration point. This was about the 4 mile point.
  17. Memorization poster -- Based on the last 2 digits of your bib, you were given a number/phrase to memorize with the expectation you'd have to recite it later. My phrase was India-950-7200. Yes, I remembered it. :)
  18. Herculean hoist - Rope attached to a pulley with a heavy concrete weight on the end (60#?). Pull the rope until the knot hit the pulley about 10' up and return it to the ground under control.
  19. Water station #2 (6 miles) -- covered about 2 miles with only one obstacle.  All trail running/hiking with not a lot of elevation change.
  20. Atlas carry (concrete bucket thing) -- basically they mixed up an 80# bag of concrete in a bucket, let it set, then removed it from the bucket to create an awkward 90# weight. Pick one up, carry it 50', put it down, pick up another one and carry it back to the start.
  21. Barbed wire crawl #2 -- similar to the first crawl except this one wasn't as rocky, but was uphill. I think they just wanted you muddy again.
  22. Double 7 foot wall #2 -- more walls to get over.
  23. Wall climbs w/rope -- These walls were made of big logs with ropes hanging down. You had to grab the rope and use both arms & legs to get up & over these walls.
  24. Tractor pull -- This was about a 30# concrete block attached to a chain. Drag it uphill for about 20 yards, then back the starting point.
  25. Sandbag carry -- There was a pretty long mostly-downhill hike to get from the Tractor Pull to the Sandbag carry.  The sandbags were 50-60# sand filled disks that you had to carry up (and, of course, down) an increasingly steep slope.
  26. Memorization test -- About 5 miles and 2 hours after viewing the Memorization Poster, you had to give your bib # and phrase/number. India-950-7200. PASS!
  27. Sled pull -- The bolted a wooden basket on a pair of skis and put a bucket full of rocks in the basket. They had a nice little 50 yard oval marked off that you dragged the sled around. The first half was remarkably easier than the second!
  28. Water station #3 (10 miles) -- final hydration point.
  29. Tyrolean traverse (and swim) -- At least they had the life jackets at this one!  Rope strung over a pond.  Traverse 50' (either on top of or hanging beneath) on the rope, ring a bell, drop into the water, swim (or get a ride from the nice lady in they kayak who sees you with a life vest and takes pity on you) to shore.  Other than the "Swim/Tarzan Swing" obstacle which looks like the hardest one on the course, this was the most challenging one for me.
  30. Giant dirt mounds with water -- Somehow I had the energy to make the jump across the mudpits for most of these. They'd basically dug 2' deep trenches and piled that + more dirt up to make the mounds & filled the trenches with water (which became mud).
  31. The original list did not have this as an obstacle, but there was about a mile of single-track, over boulders, through the woods bushwhacking up this ridiculously steep mountain slope. This took a LONG TIME because there was little opportunity to get around people who were slower and there were a number of bottlenecks on the trail where progress just ground to a halt and large queues formed.
  32. Rope climb #2 -- similar to the first rope climb, but not as high and climbing out of hay bales, not water (yay!)
  33. Vertical cargo net #2 -- You turn the corner on what you think it the high-point of the mountain only to see that they've managed to string a cargo net over a 10' rock face that you need to ascend.
  34. Double 8 foot wall #3 -- As if you haven't climbed enough (2 miles of straight-up since the Mile 10 water station), they throw a few more walls at you (and taller ones).
  35. Hobie hop -- after about a mile straight down the mountain (about half of which is on more muddy single-track "trail" in the forest) they make you put an elastic band around your ankles and hop over logs and crawl under ropes.
  36. Spear throw -- after about another 10-15 minutes of light hiking on a much smoother grade, you come to the last few obstacles.  The throw-a-spear-in-a-haybale is the only obstacle of all of these that I attempted and failed. The spear had to stick in the haybale and, while my aim and velocity was good, my form put enough of a twist on the spear that it wasn't going straight enough to stick. No food for Grok tonight. 30 burpees were my penalty.
  37. Barbed wire crawl #3 -- short crawl under barbed wire on gravel. No rocks. No water. No mud.
  38. Slippery wall -- ...and now a mud pit in front of a 45° wall (coated in slippery mud) with a rope. Git yourself over the wall.
  39. Fire jump -- once over the wall, you run through a path of pyres and jump over a small bonfire at the end...
  40. Gladiators -- and the run through the finish line and try not to get mauled by the buff dudes with pugil sticks.
FINISH! Get Medal, get banana, get shirt, get beer, get shower (in that order).

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