I woke up the morning of race day and I wasn’t nervous at all. I decided not to rock the boat on my food, so stuck with stuff I normally eat – I ended up getting a turkey sausage, egg white English muffin from the Starbucks in the lobby of my hotel, and grabbed a banana too. The only thing I was nervous about was my blood sugar. Not knowing how long the race was going to take me, I just decided I would skip my insulin with breakfast, and just test it before my heat and just play it by ear. I had another banana and granola with me.
They suggested getting to the Park two hours before your race time – mine was 10:45 so I got to the stadium at 8:45 (literally a 5 minute drive from my hotel) and by 9:00 I had my chip, my Spartan head band and just waited. It was nice having Hannah and Jacob there to cheer me on – they pretty much had free reign of the whole stadium to watch me.
So about an hour before my race starts I check my blood sugar – 350 – nice! I know that sounds scary high, but I thought it was enough to get me to the end of the race without it dropping too much – my guess was that it could drop a good 200 points. Then 30 minutes later I checked it and it was 469! Holy bat shit! I guess with the added adrenaline, it spiked it even more, so I ended up giving myself 7 units of fast acting insulin and just prayed that I didn’t die on the course.
Just as our heat was lining up, I tapped the woman in front of me and I said “I am going to try to keep up with you!” She asked if I was doing it alone, and when I said yes, she went to her co-workers who were doing it as a group and said “Biz is joining our group!” They were amazing – they truly were a team – some were obviously faster than others, but they would wait for the rest of us to catch up before moving on. So sweet. Shawnta was really funny too and talked the whole time.
So basically since it was a stadium race, we ran a lot of stairs. A LOT OF STAIRS. Like all the stairs on the top part of the stadium. You would run down, across, then over and then after two sections have to pick up a 20 pound sand bag and carry that for two sections. We weaved all through the concourses and stadium seats on the upper level, even crawled up stairwells under webs of netting!
Here’s the deal with the obstacles. If there were obstacles that you could/or would not do, you had to give them 30 burpees before moving forward. It was funny because at one of the first obstacles a woman said “I can’t do this” and the Spartan volunteer said “it’s your race – make it as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.”
Some of the obstacles: I stole most of these images off of the internet!
JUMP ROPE: 25 jumps with a weighted jump rope, while wearing ankle bands to keep your feet together.
WATER CARRY: 45 pound container of water that we had to run outside the stadium with. (Obviously, I walked that!)
WALLS: Okay, after watching many many videos in advance of this race, the walls made me the most nervous. They ranged in height from 4 – 9 feet. For the taller ones you could get a boost, which I did, but once I got to the 9 foot wall, no fucking way I could have gotten over that, even with a boost. It even had a notch on the side to help, but since I am so short, I would have had to drop about 4 feet to the ground, and I didn’t want to risk breaking an ankle. FIRST 30 BURPEES FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE. The wall at my race was about 2 feet taller than this one below.
PUSHUPS: This was really cool because we got to do those inside the visitors locker room! You had to do a pushup and “hand release” at the bottom, before moving onto the next pushup. These were no problem for me.
SPEAR THROW: No way I was ever going to train for this obstacle – I asked one of the volunteers for advice, and he said “it’s all about balance, not how strong you are.” I got very close – I hit the target, but it didn’t stick, so my SECOND 30 BURPEES FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE.
CEMENT CARRY: Yep, that is not a typo – We had to pick up a 50 pound block of cement, carry it 40 feet, drop and do 5 burpees, turn around and carry it back. That was difficult, but once I got the cement block up, I was okay.
HERCULEAN HOIST: You had to pull a heavy sand bag up to the top and drop it down to the ground in control. If you couldn’t do it on your own, you could do it with a partner, but then you had to do it twice. That was no problem at all for me – Shawnta asked “do you need a partner Biz?” just when she saw me finish on my own. 😀
CAGE CRAWL: The only thing difficult about this obstacle was keeping your balance while other people were on this obstacle at the same time – while it was very tall, this was the easiest obstacle for me of the day.
BARBED WIRE CRAWL: After carrying around the water, we had about 100 feet of barbed wire that you had to crawl on. It was on this “grassy” area – I use the word “grassy” ironically because it was mostly dirt and very hard ground. This took me quite a while to get through – I was so nervous I would catch my shirt or hair on the barbed wire!
SEAL CRAWL: Not exactly sure how to explain this, but they had wooden boards with four wheels on them – you had to put your feet on the board, then hold like a push up position – but your object was to pull yourself across the parking lot with your feet on the wheely thing and you had to go there and back. That was really hard and I had to take several breaks before completing it.
ROPES: This was another obstacle that I couldn’t really train for, other than to train and get more upper body strength. I thought I would have had a chance if the knots on the rope weren’t so far apart, so that was my LAST 30 BURPRESS FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE.
BOX JUMPS: Shelly, as soon as I saw the box jumps I totally thought of you! We had to do 25 of them, but they had two sizes, so I chose the shorter of the two. 😀
MEDICINE BALL SQUATS: For the women, we had to do 25 squats with a 20 pound medicine ball – this was the very last obstacle right before the finish, and when I started to run to the finish line, my quads at this point felt like tree trunks! (link to video)
Sadly, Hannah and Jacob tried to find me at different obstacles over the course of the 1:54 minutes it took me to complete it, but they would have had no idea when I would get to an obstacle, obviously because everyones pace is different. Right around the hour and thirty minute mark, they decided to park themselves by the finish line, and were able to see me cross the finish line. They said some people would get to the finish line and start puking, so I am glad I had enough strength and stamina to not finish like that!
I got some water, grabbed a banana and checked my blood sugar – all was well – down to 227 so I still had some reserves left in me had I needed it – nice!
We ended up eating at The Milwaukee Ale House. When researching places I thought it could have been fun to eat at a restaurant on Lake Michigan, but turns out there aren’t that many to begin with, half weren’t open at lunch and the two that were, were very pricey.
So we sat by the river at The Ale House and I anxiously waited for my large ice tea and pulled pork sandwich. Surprisingly, I only ended up eating half of it, because I knew that I’d soon be having my meet up with blog reader Kris in just a few short hours. You’ll have to stop by tomorrow for that recap!
We then walked around and of course ended up at The Public House – I wanted to buy all the sausages!!
So the number 1 question I’ve been asked? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? And my answer? Absolutely!
Thanks Shawnta for pushing me through the race!
But I have to tell you, as I was running up and down those stairs, it crossed my mind more than once that this would be a lot easier if I were 40-50 pounds lighter! So while there are no other Spartan races near to me, I may just make this Milwaukee one an annual trip and hope that I can beat my time.
BIB # 3287
IN GENDER: 1048
IN AGE GROUP: 75 out of 89
The fastest female did it in 48:17 – the fastest male did it in 40:12. The fastest in my age group (45-49) was 45 years old and did it in 57:05. Wow. And I noticed that it took a 47 year old woman 6:02 – that’s six hours and 2 minutes – what determination to keep going – I wish I could have met her to congratulate her!
And the last competitor to cross the finish line? A 52 year old woman – who did it in 7 hours and 22 minutes – amazeballs to not give up until she got across the finish line!