| 2013 | 09 | 04 | spartan race sprint |

You may have noticed that for the past few months I've been making vague references to an endurance race,  training and having man arms. This was all in preparation for a Spartan Sprint Race - a 5km+ course with 20 obstacles and a lot of mud. I managed to drag 4 of my closest friends to join me in this silliness, and they were less than impressed.

My fitness
So, I didn't go into the race completely untrained. Once I knew I was entered into the race the boy and I decided to undertake the Insanity workout to get all over strength and resilience. We then started jogging regularly (I was 5 times a week) with press ups and squats in between.  When I went to Nice on holiday we took training to a new level (interval training up and down hills, with mountain walking to wind down). I hit some tremendous PB's after coming home from that!

Running has never been my forte, I'm just not built for it, but the boys dragged me on some ridiculously long runs to prove I was fit enough. Thanks chaps. But remember, I'm not a fitness buff, just an ordinary 21 year old!

The day itself.
I was up at 6. Nerves had gotten the better of me so I went downstairs to watch Cupcake Wars. As you do. Mike and Alec (my tallest friends) arrived after I had spent two hours faffing and forced our little convoy to get underway. My breakfast bacon sandwich was one of the hardest things to eat - bleurgh.

An hour and a half later we arrived at race location (near Saffron Walden) and parked up. From the registration tent we could see the final few obstacles. Don't they just look fun?

the fire was helping offset the chill
With 15 minutes to go before kick off, competitors started to assemble in front of the start line. We decided to attempt a halfway start, not to be stuck completely at the back of the group but far enough from the front to avoid the crush.

top stretching technique

lead spartan and Head Coach. The speech fired up the masses. Truly. 
Following kicking my fellow racer in the face (we had to do some practice burpees) the race was underway. First few obstacles were hay bales, followed by a steep climb, a brief run and then a mud pit. Mud already. The thick muck took out a couple of our number, one man lost his shoe and another woman killed her knee. The next bit of the course was through woodland, a thin trail over very rough terrain. I went over on my ankle twice but kept going courtesy of taking copious amounts of painkillers prior to the start (trooper). This section was quite long and brought us out onto a grassy field. I can't really remember the order but there was some jumping and crawling, more ditches to jump over and other various carrying activities before we headed back to the starting area. A small group of us had started running together. That kind of camaraderie only comes about when you're doing something utterly ridiculous. The next few obstacles were to be completed in front of friends and family so we all got our game faces on...

see what I was saying about making friends?
we women got to lift pink blocks. apparently they were lighter...
 I managed to kick a lot of people in the face over the course of the race. They didn't seem to mind (too much). Two fell foul to my out of control feet when climbing over the frame. Sorry!

After this point there was a long way to go, but thankfully there had been a water stop to replenish our dehydrated bodies.

The 'stone area' was interesting. Tyre dragging was just exhausting, carrying sandbags and rocks took away what energy I had left, and that was before the ice pit. We had to climb under barbed wire and dive into a mud pit filled with freezing water. Oh, and then climb out of it, before sliding into another one. And then another. It just didn't stop. We were ruined.

Just in front of the finish line we had to cross some monkey bars (which by that point I couldn't hold on to - 30 forfeit burpees for me!) and jump fire. I think I took the fire a bit too seriously.

Once you had cleared the fire, it was one more rope climb and some spartan gladiators to push past. Unfortunately the whole climbing thing wasn't my strongest point.

I made it to the top in one go. But the whole getting down was the issue.

The lovely volunteers didn't leave me 'hanging' for long.

But I made the mistake of sliding down the rope.

That's the face you get from rope burn. 
 I took the smart tactic of engaging the 'gladiators' with sticks in conversation to distract them long enough so I could sneak past without them knocking me down.

he was having none of it
I had finished the course in a time of 1hr 25. That's a long time.

 I am so proud of myself. I know that my time is probably not going to ever win anyone any awards, but I made it around the entire course without walking and only 'failed' three of the obstacles (the ones I was expecting to!). If you want a race which is a challenge but not impossible, this is the one for you!

Our little team has already committed to it next year - and some others in between!!

i apologise for the wandering eyes. This is all you're gonna get.
Will I see you there?