Boise Sprint 2017

Hello!

This past weekend I participated in the Spartan Race in Boise, Idaho. The race was a sprint and was around 4.5 miles with 22 obstacles. I ended up finishing 10th overall, 9th in mens and 1st in my age group. The race was similar to the 2016 Boise Sprint, with the steep hills and a similar route. All in all it was a fun and challenging race.

Endurance

I would say that the endurance was the most difficult part for me. The hills really caught me off guard. Living in Davis, I don’t have much exposure to hill training, which was my major downfall for this race. Last year I felt most of the pain in my legs when going up the hills. Yet, this time the pain was in my chest. My sprained ankle recently flared up again and I had to decrease my training a bit. The reduced training definitely hurt my endurance. It was mainly the hills that really separated the front of the pack from the rest.

Strategy

In this race I attempted to stay with the front of the pack at the start. However, I felt like my cardio would be compromised if I went too hard. Eventually, I fell back a few places, which cost me from racing at the higher pace of the front of the pack. I just need to recreate this more often in my training.

One obstacle I am very happy I completed was the Spearman throw. However, most of the people in front of me also completed it. But, it was still nice to not have to do those 30 burpees.

Obstacles

Spearman Throw

A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I completed this one. I made sure to aim a little higher than last time. Also, I put more power in my throw.

Barbed Wire Crawl

I felt great through this obstacle. The terrain went up and down which allowed me to crawl sometimes. Whenever I reached the top of a mound I would throw myself over and use my momentum to roll to the next one. Also, whenever I got dizzy I would switch the ways I would roll. It makes such a major difference!

Herc Hoist

I believe I have learned this obstacle to the best of my ability. One foot on the fence and using my body weight to pull the sandbag up was very efficient. The only thing left is to get stronger and gain some muscle weight to assist in pulling it up.

Bucket Brigade

Unlike the previous race in Seattle, this bucket obstacle was all flat. There was no problem with carrying it, but my lack of endurance hurt my speed.

Sandbag Carry

This time the sandbag carry was just the larger sandbag. At first I tried to carry it on one shoulder and switching off. I felt this hurt my speed. When I put it on both shoulders it reduces the stress on my core and keeps me balanced. Therefore, I am able to run with my torso straight up instead of tilted to the side.

Wrap up!

Overall I really enjoyed this race. It is quite a challenge for myself and really points out my weaknesses. In the future I need to work on the endurance. But, I am for sure going to take some time to allow my ankle to heal. I believe my ankle recovery routine did help but I just didn’t follow through with it completely. The Boise race is a race I fully recommend, even if it is a bit of a drive for you. The drive goes by fast with the beautiful terrain.

Mitch

*photo from www.spartan.com, I didn’t compete in the kids race but looks like that was the logo they went with ha!

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Seattle Super 2017

Hello!

On the 22nd of April I raced in the Seattle Super Spartan Race. The race is part of Spartan’s US Championship series. A lot of the big names in Spartan Racing were there to race. So, it was a great opportunity to see where I stacked up against the best. The super was 9.8 miles long with some of the more common obstacles made to be more challenging. In the end I finished 28th in mens, 3rd in my age group and 33rd overall. It was a tough race that resembled the Championship Race last year, which I discuss here. I believe I made some major improvements since the championship, but have a lot of room to grow.

Endurance

I struggled a bit in the endurance department. Mainly due to the fact that the course consisted of many areas that was hard to run in. These included muddy areas where my feet would sink in the mud and it was hard to keep balance. In addition, there was heavy vegetation that made it difficult to get through smoothly. To improve in running on this type of terrain I need to train on this type of terrain more often. I utilize the treadmill because there are not many hills in Davis, but it is a disadvantage to running on a smooth terrain constantly. So, I will need to branch out and find some more trail runs around Davis. Even if they don’t have hills, the rough terrain will help me strengthen this weak area.

Another issue with endurance was my inability to stay with the front pack at the beginning of the race. I find myself struggling at the beginning and then getting in a groove during the middle and end of the race. In the future I need to train more intensely at the beginning of my workouts, especially my runs. Hopefully this will allow me to stay with the front pack and still maintain a solid pace for the rest of the race.

Strategy

Somewhat discussed above is the importance of staying with the front pack at the beginning of the race. I was unable to do this during the Seattle Super, mainly because of my lack of endurance on the muddy terrain. I strongly believe being with the front pack will push me to increase my pace. Like I say above I need to increase my intensity of my workouts to accomplish this goal.

A major disappointment was that I did not complete the spear throw. The 30 burpees hurt me a bit on this one. If I am unsure I will complete the spear throw I need to run at a faster pace during the race to account for the increased time it will take to perform the penalty burpees.

Another strategy that came to light in this race is the importance of keeping your hands dry for certain obstacles. At the end of the race we had to traverse through a body of water and then attempt the multi rig. I was unable to complete the rig because of the lack of grip from my wet hands. In future races, I need to try to keep my hands dry if an obstacle that utilizes grip is coming up.

Obstacles

 Bucket Brigade

The bucket carry was different from previous races because the marked route was much longer than usual, like the Championship race last year. I was very happy with my performance on this obstacle. I did not have to drop the bucket once, but did kneel a couple of times with the bucket resting on my thigh. Overall, I need to improve my endurance with carrying a bucket, especially going up and down hills.

Barbed Wire

I have had a major issue with the dizziness caused from this obstacle. I tend to roll because it is the faster form of movement if the barbed wire is very low. However, I was right behind one of the top racers and noticed a technique he did. He would roll in one direction and then switch to the other side to roll the other way. I tried doing it and it helped a ton with reducing the dizziness I felt. I will definitely use this technique for the barbed wire in future races.

Spear Throw

Like I said, I missed this one again. It was a strong and level throw, but it was just thrown too low. I saw one of the top racers have their throwing arm raised. I may try this technique to prevent a low throw. Also, I may go to home depot and make my own spear to practice. Practice is the only way I will get better at this one.

Hercules Hoist

Again I completed this obstacle with ease. The technique of a staggered stance with one foot on the fence allows me to efficiently pull the sandbag up. If there is any improvement, I need to increase my speed of raising and lowering the sandbag.

Sandbag Carry

Resembling last year’s Championship race, there were two sandbag carries during the Seattle Super. The first involved carrying two sandbags, while the second involved the new sandbag that is longer. The two sandbag carry were the normal woven sandbags, probably weighing around 40-50 lbs each. It is just difficult to find a good position for both the sandbags. I am going to try to make another 50 lb sandbag to practice this one, the instructions are in a previous post here. For the later sandbag carry I need to just improve my speed by incorporating more runs with sandbags.

Final Thoughts!

Overall I am very happy with my performance in the Seattle Super. I have a lot of improvements I need to make, but have made many improvements since the Championship Race last year. The next Race is the Super in Monterey on June 3rd. It is another race that’s part of the US Championship Series. So, many of the big Spartan names will be there. I am going to be training hard for the next month to make a a development in my performance!

Mitch

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