I went to Indiana and laid an egg. That sentence almost became the entire post because I simply can’t describe my race performance any better than that. I know how it happened, but I still don’t know why. It happened primarily because I failed 3 straight obstacles; two of which I usually never fail and the third that is 50/50. The traverse wall got me because of the mud on the blocks (should have selected a different wall). I failed the rope climb because….I don’t really know why. I just kept getting to the top and slipping down. I failed the spear throw because…..I don’t really know why. I just missed it. That meant 90 consecutive burpees that took lots of time and zapped my energy. It’s hard to do well at an obstacle race when you fail obstacles that you typically master. Before that stretch I had moved up to probably 20-25th place in the elite heat, but those failures and the extensive attempts at the final slippery wall dropped me out of the top 50. I was left with a humbling finish time, 2 bruised, bloodied, skin-bared knees, a severely sore left hamstring, cuts, scratches, and scrapes. More importantly, though, I was left with a stronger resolve to ramp up my training once the injuries heal. On the bright side, my Mud and Adventure teammates (Alexander Nicholas, Jillian Kenney, Tonya Graham Stodsgill, and Juliana Sproles) put on outstanding performances, so I’m going to ride their coat tails on this one!
Besides the aforementioned egg-laying at Haspin Acres, the rest of the day and the race itself was spectacular. The 5.2 mile obstacle-dense race designed by my OCR buddy, Todd Sedlak was stellar. More obstacles than most sprints slowed the pace , but didn’t impede the flow. The running portion consisted primarily of fast-paced treks up and down rocky ravines, through narrow briar-infested creek paths, and over and through various hollows and mud holes. The slick and muddy barbed-wire crawl uphill was especially difficult, as was the slipperiest, slippery wall to date. There were the standard sets of 6, 7, & 8 foot walls, sandbag carry, Hercules hoist, atlas carry, balance walk over stumps, cargo net climb, and fire jump. The course was extremely well-marked and there was no guessing of which way to go. Check-in was smooth. Volunteers were helpful and well-versed in their duties. Parking was close and plentiful. Weather was not freezing. Hallelujah! Although this was the 2nd Spartan Race at this venue, it was completely different than last year, making it feel like a completely new race. I look forward to more Sedlak ‘signature’ courses.
My wife ran the 10:00 heat with my fellow Cornfed Spartans (who are awesome by the way and notably the largest team at the race) and did really well. She tackled obstacles with relative ease and finished high in her age group. My daughter also ran the Spartan Kids’ Race, but I’m going to save that for a second post because it was literally the highlight of my day. As always, the reunion with old OCR friends and meeting new ones is a special part of these races. More pics and photos can be found on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/onmywaytosparta.