So Sunday came along and it was time for my age group heat. I knew the course had been torn to bits the day before because the nasty mud.
This past weekend Spartan held one of their honor series races at West Point, NY. With roughly 3,500 participants for Saturday alone this race always has a good turn out. Considering West Virginia Age group champs and Hawaii were this past weekend West Point still had great numbers.
The course was similar to last year but had bypassed some of the rocky routs that were killing peoples ankles the year before. In my opinion this was a great choice by Spartan because many people were injured here last year. I witnessed many people go down hard. The course was full of mud due to the heavy rains in NY the week prior to the race. I was running with a group of newbies Saturday and had plans to run age group the next day. With how muddy the course was Saturday and seeing tons of people lose their shoes in the deep mud I knew Sunday was going to be interesting.
Believe it or not we actually saw a new obstacle from spartan on Saturday! It was the run and gun obstacle. It's definitely not the most difficult obstacle but it was something different and were not use to seeing that from Spartan. The obstacle was a replica rifle that you had keep above your head and run a loop through some serious deep mud with. Again not the most challenging but it posed an interesting twist. Also rolling mud was a bit different, instead of “rolling” hills into the water they cut holes straight down to a flat transition areas. This made getting out of the water way more difficult. The sandbags were wet and heavy and the spear throw was on a slightly sloping hill..this always makes things a bit more difficult!
So Sunday came along and it was time for my age group heat. I knew the course had been torn to bits the day before because the nasty mud. My main focus was to find paths around the serious mud spots and to stay within the marked trail. Right out the gate I knew I needed to set the pace so I hammerd it. Making my way up the first hill in first I could hear the heavy breathing and feet pounding behind me. I knew I just needed to keep pushing to possibly make the guys behind me blow up early. I held the lead through the entire race fighting the mud the entire way. I had made some pretty good time and hadn't seen anyone behind in awhile. Then it was time for the spear throw..of course someone was using the spear I had used the day prior on the only flat piece of ground (haha) so I had to find another. I got to another spear and threw it just missing my target..I got nervous...I led all this way and was about lose it, I thought. I ran to the burpee pen and starting busting em out..I knew I had a good lead - but was it enough? I did 31 burpees just be safe and took off..still no one in sight from my group! WOOO! Herc hoist and rope climb were next which don't really pose a problem so I knew I was in the clear! I jumped the fire with a sigh of relief. I finally had gotten the #1 spot I've been working so hard for. It was a great feeling to stand on that podium knowing how hard I've been working to get there. The goal is to keep it rolling and to claim some more top spots, soon taking that jump to the Elite wave.
All and all Spartan held another great event that is definitely worth checking out. While it's not a ton of elevation gain (roughly 800ft) the mud made things super difficult and the unique medals you earn make this race a must in my book!