WIN: Spartan Trifecta
Sorry I haven't posted videos in a while. I was living in Seoul, Korea Gangnam Style for the summer and I didn't have a mac with me. This video is from June, when I completed my Spartan Trifecta, and what a journey it was.
The whole experience was... interesting. In early June, Alan, Vaughn and I drove to Montreal to participate in the Super Spartan (avec Alan) and the Sprint (avec Vaughn). We got to crash at Bahzad's (from the Denim Samurai Interview) spot and spent the night watching Kenny vs. Spenny on Netflix and eating Pizza, which in retrospect was probably not the best idea. It felt good though.
The next day we had a great breakfast and drove to the Super Spartan. The whole race in one word: cramps. I wasn't ready. It was hilarious watching me walk around for the rest of the day. I was actually seriously worried about the 5k Spartan Sprint the next day because my knees wouldn't even bend. I felt like a penguin.
Fortunately for me, we couldn't run the next day. Unfortunately, it was because of a medical emergency involving a car crash and potential helicopter lift. Not us, one of our loved ones. It was an emotional time driving back to Toronto and we didn't talk much, as manly men often do.
Luckily, everything was okay. And I do believe in luck. I used to think we made our own fates, but a little Cambodian Girl taught me differently. A story for another day.
About a week or so after the drama died down I searched online and found that there was another Spartan Sprint in Toronto. Excited, I looked it up only to find that it was completely sold out. So I turned to the ever reliable Kijiji and Craigslist. I had a feeling people would be injured, sick or scared and I was right! We got two spots for the Toronto Sprint for around $30-$35 each. Which is the price for registering early and in a group. FYI, the registration fee for the Spartan Sprint we missed was not refunded, but we are allowed to save it for next year... so hopefully I can get it transferred to London (and hopefully there's a race when I'm there).
After the Sprint was done, I had to start thinking about the Beast. I had never visited Ottawa before (I don't travel Canada much) and I didn't make many plans so I decided to do things on the fly. Also, it was Canada day in our nations capital so I was S.O.L. for hotels. Couchsurfing.org it is! For those who think that couch surfing is a dating service or meat market... Yes, sometimes it can be, but I've never had that experience! The first time I did it was building houses with Jimmy Carter in New Orleans, after Katrina. I was picked up from the airport and taken around town to local spots by my host. Amazing. This time the hosts were equally hospitable. I heart couch surfing for short stay, on the go, light and spontaneous travel. Just don't pick the obvious sleazy ones.
Next up I bought a bus ticket on Greyhound and prayed there was internet. There wasn't. It seems that buses in Canada suck, but buses to the states are good. Then I messaged some friends to hang out with (Lama!!!) and started to tackle the biggest problem. I had no ride to the race (1-2 hr drive away from Ottawa). Oh, and by the time I had a confirmed place to stay I was well... walking off the bus. In Ottawa.... O.o
So getting a ride in 24 hours was a little scary. I messaged people on a facebook group previously, but got no responses. Eventually I said I'd pay people to take me. Still, no responses. I said, "You don't have to wait for me. Feel free to ditch me there!" and still no responses. Finally, someone did take me, obviously. And she was fit. She placed 11th among women and in the top 50 overall. Amazing.
Trifecta! What a learning experience. Next I'd like to do all the races and finish in the top 25% each time. I'm sure I can do it in the Sprint and Super... The Beast is altogether different. I still have nightmares about those hills. AROOOO! "This IS SPARTAAAAA"
The most important things I learnt:
1) Hydrate! And electrolytes are your friend! I never cramped before on a run and it was a horrible experience when it did happen to me on the Super Spartan (12 km mud run)
2) Bring Energy! A lot of people recommend running without gels and other energy sources, but after what I just experienced on the Spartan Beast (20-25km mud/hill run) I'm not one of them! Near the end of the race, which was over 4 hours, I started to practically fall asleep. I kept pushing but I was moving like a zombie. Not like one of those fast Dawn of the Dead zombies either. I was an old school zombie.
3) Run fast in the beginning. Mud runs are all about getting past the pack so you avoid being stuck behind dozens of people.
4) Train running on hills more than anything else. Particularly for the Spartan Beast. The Beast (and I heard the Tough Mudder) are all about the hills. The first thing they made us do is go up and down ski hills a few times. The good thing is, this thins out the crowd. The bad thing is, I was one of the ones who got thinned out.
5) The Top 25% of the runners get a "special" medal. So sign up for an early heat and run your face off.
6) Avoid line ups. Don't coat check, take showers, anything if possible! The line ups take too long. Jump in the lake, use baby wipes, leave things in the car or with a friend.