At the beginning of this month I participated in the Spartan World Championship in Tahoe. This race is a beast, so it was a greater distance than what I have done in the past. It was a 15 mile race with around 34 obstacles, many of which were new. I got 96th overall and 83rd in mens. I was hoping for a much better finish, but I was not prepared for certain elements of the race. My training for this race went down the wrong path, but I know I can get back to where I was after the Portland race.
For this race I needed to do a little bit of catching up since I have not raced this distance yet. The 15 mile mark was definitely intimidating. Overall, I need to improve a ton in endurance. The weather was something I was no where near prepared for. The cold water at the beginning of the race put my body in somewhat of a shock. So, I could not push it the way I usually do. In the end, just finishing the race was an accomplishment for myself. In the future, I need to take the weather conditions into account, especially since we are entering winter conditions. The cold totally took me off guard.
I need to improve my running as well. My intensity is still something that is not quite up to par. During my training I really need to push myself to the limit. Since the Portland race I increased my running a ton. However, I need to incorporate some cold elements. Such as jumping in cold water and then going on a run or running in the snow in the sierras. I believe getting my body prepared for these weather elements will put me back on track.
For this race I tried to sprint at the beginning to get to the front of the pack. But, the cold water at the beginning prevented me from doing this. Incorporating the cold weather training I mentioned above will help me with the fast pace at the start. Also, I did not put enough time into the warm-up. That is something I need to do before the next race because it will get my body to better counteract the cold. When watching a Spartan race on T.V. I noticed a strategy by Robert Killian where he builds a lead just for the spear throw. The spear throw is such a critical obstacle because the amount of time it can add on if you miss. I definitely want to try this strategy in the future race.
In the championship I had a hard time with a couple of obstacles. But lets go through a couple of the new ones. First was the ape hanger. You have to climb a rope to reach ladder rungs where you can only use your hands to get across. I thought this was going to kill, especially when I found out it was at the top of the mountain. However, it turned out to not be that bad. The other one that stood out to me was Olympus. Using rock climbing holds or a chain you have to traverse across laterally. I thought this one was a little awkward. Also, there were no rules against using your feet on the holds to walk across. Overall it was fun to see some news ones.
The obstacles I had the most trouble with were the barbed wire, log carry, sandbag carry, bucket brigade, and hercules hoist:
Barbed Wire Crawl
Usually for the barbed wire I roll all the way through it. But, since already being in a funk I got dizzy a lot easier this time. Also, I felt like a went a lot slower. For the future I need to find a better technique to get through this time consuming one.
The log carry was a dumb mistake on my part. I did not take the shape of the log into account. So, I got a short log with a long diameter, which was hard to carry. Next time I need to look for the longer shorter diameter one, because it will fit better across my shoulders.
The Spartan staff did us dirty on this one. Instead of one sandbag we had to carry two and they were not the traditional pancakes. They were in actual sandbags and pretty full, so it was difficult to carry them at the same time. I don’t if both were the same weight as the usual sandbag, but regardless they were pretty heavy. I tried one on each shoulder, then just using the top as a handle on each and then one on the back of my neck as I carried the other with both hands. For my training I need to invest in some sandbags.
Once again the bucket brigade gave a me a tough time. It was close to the end of the race and I was pretty tired out. In my training I need to incorporate this obstacle during my strength and endurance workouts.
I was disappointed to not get this one. Trying to utilize my entire body I tried to get as high as I could on the rope before pulling down, but my grip strength did not last. Having this one after the bucket brigade did not help either. In my past workouts I neglected my grip strength training and will make sure to make that a priority for the future.
The Spartan Championship race in Tahoe did not go the way I expected. I was not expecting to win or anything, but I did have higher expectations for myself. My next race will be in Sacramento. It is a super, the 8-10 miler, so hopefully my increased running will benefit me. In the future, I need to increase the intensity of my endurance workout as well as include weather training. In addition, I must train for specific obstacles and find a better strategy for certain ones. I am hoping to bounce right back from this race and put it behind me. I am looking forward to the next one.