Friday, March 29, 2013

Miami Super Spartan - 2013

Until the Miami Super Spartan, the only Spartan races I had ever run, in fact the only obstacle races I had ever run, were the Spartan Sprints at Tuxedo NY.  I had read from one of the top Spartan racers that the Tuxedo course (3.5-4 miles) was just as hard as a Tough Mudder (appx 10 miles) and harder than the Miami Super (appx 8 miles).  Nevertheless, I had never run that kind of distance and I found the thought of doing it very intimidating.  But if you're going to avoid challenges because you might fail, you can never expect to experience the thrill of achieving something you thought was impossible!  My first time was Tuxedo and I just want to keep finding ways to have that feeling again.
So, once more, I prepared to face down the doubts and fears you have when going up against an unknown challenge.  In general I knew the biggest hurdle (no pun intended) was going to be the distance and heat.  I'd lived in Miami for 14 years so I knew very well that the heat, even in February, would be grueling for us northeners.  Even on the shorter Tuxedo course, muscle cramps were a factor.  So I took some steps to try to limit the damage.  Besides a training program that included a lot more running, I also took along a Camelbak and some "packs of GU"...(which I'll leave as a homework assignment for you to find out what that is).  I also knew that I needed to work on my upper body strength.  The rope climb, the Hercules lift and a few other dainties are unforgiving if you don't have the strength.
Of course the one consistent factor about the Spartan races is that you never really know what to expect.  The spear throw was AWOL...and I think I had that one down!  The rope climb was off dry land for once...I liked that!  Someone somewhere decided that lifting and carrying a concrete cylinder the size of a 5 gallon bucket 20 feet, then doing some burpees was fun...oh, and bring it back over here when you're done...please.  And how many walls were there on that course??!!  I can remember 12 but I'd swear there were more than that.  Who knows...maybe I climbed a few was a long, hot day out there.  Maybe the biggest surprise...hills!  Well, they wouldn't be called hills in most parts of the country.  But knowing that the highest point in the everglades is 3 feet above sea level, I was absolutely shocked to find climbs throughout the course of 15-20 feet.
Another experiment no doubt, was the placement of 4 of the obstacles in a row at the end of the run.  I'm sure this was to give the spectators a chance to see more of the actual race.  Not a bad intention, but for the racers, having to do the rope climb, wall traverse, mud crawl and "slippery incline" one after another was a bit much.

The funny thing is though, when I finished, I wasn't dead!  I had fully expected to be.  Before I left NY, I had carefully bequeathed all my office paraphernalia to my teammates...knowing full well what awaited in Miami (and I think they were surprised and disappointed too, when I returned to reclaim my stuff!).  I told my daughter, who lives in Miami, that whatever we were going to do, needed to be done before the race, because I planned to be horizontal from the finish until my plane trip back.  I honestly don't know how much to credit my training (and GU...thanks Janice!) or the fact that the elevation changes were minimal compared to NY, but I actually felt a bit disappointed.  I know, it sounds strange...but somehow, not being brutalized and beaten to a pulp by the course left me feeling like I missed out on something!  So I guess maybe I reached another level.  I've got Citifield coming up in around 2 weeks, so we'll see how that goes.  Overall though, I have to say I'm still enjoying this sport and feel like there's greater potential yet untapped.  Time will tell.  One last thing...I finished Tuxedo in around 2:39.  I finished Miami in around 2:52.  That means I finished the extra four miles at an average pace of 3 minutes, 15 seconds!  Hey, do the math!!...I'm just saying....
I would be remiss if I didn't thank my daughter Dawn and her husband Brian for the airport rides, the rides to the race and for putting me up (or is it putting up with me...maybe both) for the days I was there...and to the grandkids for...well...just for being themselves.  Until next time....

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