It has been
6 7 whole days since I, along with 90 or so other Spartans embarked on the first ever night Hurricane Heat. As soon as I heard this was going to take place I knew I had to be a part of it. So, why has it taken me 6 7 days to get to this? First of all, Saturday was a dawn to dark day filled with races and post-race mingling. Sunday was spent on interstate highways, arriving home with just enough time to eat dinner, spray down the mud-caked racing clothes, and go to bed. Monday morning, I was back on the road again to Louisville to speak all day on the topic of social media. Tuesday, well, I just wanted to come home and relax. On Wednesday I started to write the post, but just didn’t have an adequate level of creative juices in my systems. Finally, I have been trying to figure out exactly how to write about this event. The more I thought about, the more I realized I didn’t have the right approach or words to aptly describe the experience. I still don’t, but in my many years of writing I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to put pen to paper or in this case, fingertips to keyboard. This will not be the most eloquent post on my blog, nor will it “flow” well. It won’t be nearly as good as the descriptive post by Michael Vidas. It might even be boring as all get out, but I just need to finish this so I can get on to other posts. As they say “the only good blog post, is a finished blog post”. Wait, actually I think that only refers to dissertations. Anyway, here goes. Follow along if you can.
I showed up at the site of the HH and was greeted with chilly, gusty winds. It wasn’t long after that when Carrie Adams commandeered a megaphone and donned a “you better listen to me or else” attitude. At that point, I thought to myself “It’s going to be a long night”! We were split into 4 teams of around 20 each with a Spartan Race employee guiding us. Instructions were given. We had to come together as a team and not screw up or there would be penalties for the whole team. Not long after that I saw some guy from another team sprint to his car to get his mandatory headlamp as his teammates were forced to do burpees. If you are “that guy”, I commend you on your speed. I haven’t seen anyone run that fast in awhile. All of the teams got a leader (ours was awesome!) and Tommy Mac from Spartan Race got the privilege of accompanying Team Polar Bear through the course. I actually liked Tommy until he instructed us to sit down chest deep in the icy cold water!
If you haven’t noticed already, “cold” is the theme for this post. The temp was about 50 degrees at the start with gusting winds. 8% body fat is outstanding for just about everything EXCEPT trying to weather these conditions – especially when muddy and wet. I was freezing most of the night and probably burned 100 calories just from chattering teeth! For me, the cold was by far the most difficult part of the experience. However, it added an extra element to the event and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I really can’t recall the series of events or lots of details because when I start races, competitions, or any task that might be mentally/physically challenging, I tend to go inside my own head. I shut everyone else out and simply concentrate on my own individual thoughts and actions. That’s why I race alone. This however, was a little different and I took on a different outlook as my teammates needed me at various times to shoulder an extra burden or help them along.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Hurricane Heat was very similar to the last night of fraternity hell week. A group of individuals from various backgrounds who had to find a way to bond and come together as a team to persevere through a series of mental and physical challenges, overcome obstacles, and endure whatever the environment had to throw at them. The only difference was this time there were females in the fraternity (and they added a nice touch to it, I must say). With that I’ll leave you with my significant memories from this great event.
Top 6 personal memories from the inaugural night Midwest Spartan Hurricane Heat.
1. Sitting chest deep in the icy water and doing flutter kicks. Thanks alot, Tommy Mac!
2. Struggling mightily to get to the top of the rope climb and hearing my new Spartan friend, Jonathon, yelling at me to look up to my left. The bell was right there! I think I was trying to climb over the rope!
3. Slipping on the way up a muddy hill and letting myself fall head first onto my side in order to protect my egg. I didn’t mention the eggs, did I? Well, in addition to taking on the course, each team had 8 eggs to carry throughout and there was a burpee penalty if one got broken. I’m proud to say my Spartan egg made it home with his shield.
4. Running alongside my HH partner #7, Brent, who told me his incredible story of weight loss.
5. My memory assignment from the Warrior’s Ethos. “they turned to one of their leaders”
6. Last but not least, standing by the fire at the end of the race and realizing that the Polar Bears had conquered the evening!
So, was the Hurricane Heat difficult…yes, but having a cheerful team leader and other teammates around to give a helping hand, nudge, lift, or just words of encouragement made the physical challenges much easier than if done alone. That is what makes the Hurricane Heat special.
Would I do it again?? Yes and soon! Do I encourage other Spartans to enter a HH? Absolutely! Sign up. Show up. Don’t ever give up!