At the beginning of April was the San Jose super Spartan Race. This was a similar distance to the SoCal Super last January. I am super happy with my performance in this one. I finished 5th overall and 2nd in my age group. Since I finished 5th I now qualify for the World Championship race!! It is a major improvement from the previous race. 2 weeks before the race I sprained my ankle. Even though it was mild I was unable to run for a week. So, I am ecstatic about the results I obtained since I was not at a complete 100%.
I felt strong throughout the majority of the race. However, there was one section in the middle, at around mile 4, where I was hurting. I believe this was where the racers in front of me gained a lead and the racers behind me caught up. During my long runs in training I may need to run more at a race pace to strengthen my endurance and beat that fatigue.
Also, in the past, I have had trouble with the hills. During the race I had a lot less difficulty. Some added hill training assisted me with these hill climbs. The main component I need to improve on is the technique to climb the hills. Either trying to run up or walk up with long strides. I noticed that walking up very steep inclines may have been faster but a little more taxing. It is something I must look into for future races.
The major problem with endurance was with the down hills. My legs were unable to maintain the quick downhill pace later in the race. This was mainly due to my sprained ankle. I was nervous I was going to twist it again going downhill. So, I ran a little slower downhill, which put more strain on my quads and especially my toes. My feet would slide forward in my shoe and my big toes would get crushed, leading to pain. The pain made it difficult to run down hills later in the race. In the future I need to find a way to protect my toes. In addition, I need to incorporate lower quad exercises, such as squat jumps, to strengthen my legs for the downhill runs. Furthermore, once my ankle is fully healed I will be able to run downhill at 100% and hopefully this will help with increasing my downhill speed.
My strategies worked to my benefit in this race. I didn’t sprint at the beginning but started with a fast pace. This allowed me to get close to the front of the pack and keep an eye on the first place racer. I believe it is vital to have a visual on the individual in first place. With a visual you are much better able to determine the pace you need to run at in order to keep up with them.
And FINALLY I got the spear throw!!! This was such a huge task. The 6th place finisher was right behind me at this obstacle and the majority of the second half of the race. If I was unable to complete it, I would of had to resort to burpees and I would have been a few places behind 5th. I can’t explain enough how important that spear throw is.
By far this was my best performance in the obstacles yet! There are a couple improvements I need to make, but they are minor.
Like the SoCal super I felt very solid with the bucket brigade. My strength has improved with carrying the bucket and I have improved with my pace when running with it.
This was one where I had very slight trouble. It was a steep incline and I felt a little weak going up. one of the top finishers past me here. I need to incorporate more incline sandbag sprints in training.
Like the SoCal super I felt great in this obstacle. I used my technique of a staggered stance with one foot on the fence. I felt like I caught up a little bit to the racers in front of me on this one.
Barbed Wire Crawl
This was the other one I had trouble with. Instead of rolling the whole time, I rolled until I was a little dizzy and then went into a army crawl. It helped with the dizziness a lot. However, I just need to really increase my pace in this one. I could definitely catch up to racers or gaining a lead if I were to go faster.
I think this was my best race yet. And with a sprained ankle two weeks before I could not be happier with the outcome. I can’t wait to work on the weaknesses I have determined. My next race is on April 22nd in Seattle. It should be tougher because more of the top racers will be there since it is part of the US Championship series. I will need to step up my game big time!