It’s not all fruit tarts and hummus, bookclub and wine sipping here in the land of the shinycopperpig. No sir.
This weekend my training buddy, CJ, and I put our hard core running and calisthenics training to the test. We competed in the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan Race.
Spartan Races come in four sizes: Sprint (3 miles), Super (8+ miles), Beast (12+miles) and Death (unknown miles, unknown obstacles). We opted for the Super, a race consisting of running and conquering military obstacles. If you fail an obstacle, you complete 30 burpees — thigh burning, shoulder heaving, breath stealing burpees.
In this case, we ran between 8-9 miles and hurled our bodies through a number of physical challenges including but not limited to: log-rolling in rocky mud under 50 yards of barbed wire; mantling 10 foot tall walls, flipping tires; hiking with (smelly) sandbags; lugging concrete blocks via chains uphill; flying across the monkey bars; climbing a muddy, wet rope; and bunny hopping over logs — all along running between.
It. was. HARD. I underestimated my love of water and all things hydration, which resulted in me humbly asking the smart racers if I could share a sip from their Camelbacks. Upon reaching the 3/4 mark and thinking the muddy water looked appealing, it went something like this:
– Penney to Volunteer: “Hey, is that a trash pile?”
– Volunteer: “Yep, you have something to add?”
– Penney: “Nope, but I’ll take that half-finished bottle of Gatorade.” (CJ watched, horrified as I chugged…then he shrugged and took a swig. If we get TB, it’s all my fault!)
My best moments happened on the monkey bars and cargo nets, and the tire flip wasn’t too shabby. The single track running through the forest was more pleasurable than expected, especially the downhills. CJ kept my spirits up with whoops and hollers and fist pumps. Camaraderie abounded on the course too. The best helps were big, burly, ex-military guys who showed us how to keep butts down on the angled wall climb and put weight on the nets for the next person.
My lowest moments included the incredible endless uphill mountain, and the [insert every explicative] concrete block drag — during which I lost part of my pinky skin and cursed the gods. My mother came to cheer and said the concrete block was like watching Dante’s Inferno.
The rope climb was tough, though not as impossible as feared. I made it within 4 feet of the top, then sat on a knot clenching my thighs, mustering the strength for another harrumph — and just didn’t get it. But CJ did, rocking it out to ring the bell at the top. In total I completed 90 burpees, and CJ a mere 30 (damn that unbalanced lance throw).
Despite the cuts, bruises, and mud in all possible orifices, we’re already thinking about 2013. As CJ said, “How much harder could the Beast really be?”
Note:SPQR was emblazoned on the standards and shields of the Roman Legions. While the flexibility of their formations and the discipline of their troops was formidable, many believe that the indomitable spirit of the Roman Army was their true strength. Hence, we paid tribute with SPQR pride on our arms.