At this point in time, I had finished running my first ever Spartan Sprint in Atlanta and had run a Tough Mudder the previous year, so I felt like I could do an honest comparison. My friend had only ever done Tough Mudder, but had done several of them.
I told him "You have to do a Spartan. The two aren't even remotely similar."
And so it was that I convinced him to meet me halfway between Tennessee and Michigan to run the Indiana Spartan Sprint.
We met just outside of town Friday night and pretty much crashed immediately, since I didn't get into town until 11:30pm. Luckily, we had a 1:30 PM start time so we weren't worried about having to wake up early.
After a leisurely start and breakfast at the hotel, we headed over towards the event. Shawn usually arrives right before the event and leaves right after, but I wanted to give him the whole experience. Sometimes, because of my experiences working with races behind the scenes and how much I love this shit, I can get a little carried away... And I warned Shawn, I said...
"If I start to annoy you, just punch me."
I think he came close a couple times... But I made it through the race un-punched. :)
The terrain was GREAT! While I loved Atlanta, this course was a different type of hard, utilizing the hills, the ravines, and rocky terrain of the area.
In addition, Spartan brought out a different set of obstacles than what they had in Atlanta. You had the traditional events (Pancake Carry, Hercules Hoist, Rope Climb, T-Walls, and my arch nemesis, the Spear Throw) but they also utilized the tire flip, a cinder block drag, and what essentially was the equivalent of trying to wade through half-dried cement.
One of the first first obstacles was a mud pit to wade through. And by wade, I mean it came up to my chest. And it wasn't a nice, soupy mud. It was thick. The kind you could have set plates on and they would have just stayed on the surface. We hit that mud pit and came to a screeching halt.
I know now exactly how those mastadons felt at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Where the mud was so slick, you couldn't get enough traction to go up the hills.
There were people at the top of the hill pulling people up, while others pushed people to the top. It truly required a team effort to get anyone up those slick hills. It was like trying to catch a greased pig.
And here's where I'm going to say something that bothers me... Kind of. Not a ton, but enough I feel I should say something.
I have nothing wrong with helping people at obstacles. In fact, I ENJOY doing it. I am more than happy to stop and spend 20 minutes at the inverse wall, helping people over. Or offering a hand to get up a steep hill. I LOVE IT. So when I do it, it's not entirely self-sacrificing, because I get a tremendous intrinsic reward from doing it.
But when I watch people get helped at an obstacle and then walk away as if nothing happened? It grinds my gears. (Anyone get that reference? Yes? No?!?)
This barb wire crawl REQUIRED assistance. And it would be so easy for there to be an easy system that you help me up, I say thanks, then stay and help the next person. That person says "thanks," stays to help the next guy, and I move merrily on my way, with minimal additional time. Everyone helps everyone and no one is left behind. So when I help you, and you simply walk away without accepting your responsibility to pass that assistance on to the next guy (or gal)? GAH! Seriously?
PAY IT FORWARD, PEOPLE!
I'll move on now.
But speaking of helping people, my friend, who had completed several Tough Mudders said to me halfway through the race "Ok, this is way harder than I thought it would be."
And at one point in time, and I love this, when he had struggled with the Hercules Hoist but managed to get it done, he said to me "I wasn't sure I was gonna get it done, but then you stepped up behind me and I knew I HAD to finish."
Awww... I'm motivational guys. Isn't that the bestest?!?!?
We finished that race. Maybe not as fast as I had hoped, but I pretty much gave up on a PR when we hit the tar pit. And after that, we took our time helping others at obstacles and I was so excited to share this experience with another friend.
The Indiana Spartan Sprint was HARD. Harder than I had expected. But I made it through again, only failing the Spear Throw. (AGAIN!) And I was a little disappointed that I was on site for Elite awards and yet managed to miss them entirely, because I'm pretty sure I've developed a slight #ladycrush on Amelia Boone. I wanna be like her when I grow up.
Overall, this was a BOSS race and I'm definitely going to keep this one on the books for next year. Hopefully I can convince a few more of my GORMR peaches to come up and run with me.
And yet again, I spent the day after the race doing tear down. At this point in time, I'm fairly certain I could disassemble the Slip Wall in my sleep. And the guys working the Load Out crew were a blast, per usual. I mean, they let me use power tools and gave me nicknames. What more could a girl ask for?
I don't have any Spartans lined up until August now and I'm pretty sure I'm going to miss them... But for now, the Indiana Sprint was enough to tide me over until the Virginia Super... And when that happens, that Spear Throw is gonna be MINE!
#runlove, y'all! Even if that run has a little bit of mud and fire tossed in for good measure. ;)