Monday November 21, 2011
21 KB Swings (53/35)
25 Wall Balls
25 Box Jumps
The four of us were in Kenny's small little mercedes, climbing up the malibu canyon a mixture of excitement and nerves hit us all. We had arrived at the Spartan Race in Malibu. We geared up which consisted of, writing our race numbers with sharpees on limbs, tying bandanas on foreheads and taking some of Kenny's weird caffeine gels (not Green Roast sanctioned).
At the start line we could see the finish of the race, where groups hours ahead of us were coming down a hill, some literally looking like they just fought a million Persians at Themoplaye. With zero knowledge of what lied ahead (the race officials want it that way) all we knew was that at the end, you had to do burpees if you failed an obstacle. The burpees we saw being performed at the finish line were atrocious, two girls were even touching there toes while standing and then jumping an inch off the ground.
So there we stood, Kenny, Dion, Steph and myself staring at a narrow path leading to 3.5 miles of difficult obstacles, hillly, uneven terrain and certain unknowns ahead. When the gun went off there was quite a bit of hooping and hollering from our heat (roughly 200 people) but that all quieted down when our first obstacle was an uphill run. Around the bend we saw our first obstacle: a waist-deep mixture of mud and water. Dion and I looked at each other with the same expression, "Really? We are getting wet already?" The next 3.4 miles of obstacle racing would be done with soaked feet and shorts.
As the race went on, the first thing that stuck out to me was the elevation changes of the trail. Many of the steep hills were more suited to power walking then jogging and the downhill portions were both technical and slippery. Two of the more challenging obstacles in the beginning of the race was the cargo net and the monkey bars. If you failed to get across either of these "unbroken" a 30 burpess penalty was enforced. Needless to say, our foursome did very few burpees out there.
At one point, the trail merged into a very narrow brush for about 300 yds, so narrow that single file was the only way through. Hunched over to avoid overhanging limbs, this part of the race was tough on the lower back as well as the legs. We all agreed it was probably the most fun part of the course, leaping over large rocks, avoiding tree limbs and navigating a more natural terrain.
The tail end of the course offered the steeper climbs, where the comfort of other racers became less and less as more separation occurred between small groups. The four of us each noted that we passed many people from previous heats. The mother of all obstacles came with about half a mile to go. The barbed wire crawl consisted of an uphill crawl/roll in mud, covered by baseball size rocks, with low barbed wire, and a dude with a fire hose spraying water on you. This was perhaps the toughest mental part of the race, because many people were stuck on this part of the course from earlier heats. Imagine the 405 freeway at rush hour, in the rain with two accidents on the outside lanes. The going was slow, sometimes just waiting for the person in front of you to move while a sharp rock gouged your left kidney.
Coming down the final hill to the "spear throw" was a great feeling. Crossing the finish line was humbling in that the race was a lot harder than I had imagined. I watched Dion and Kenny come through shortly after. Then Steph came through, one of the few women in sight. While Dion successfully nailed the spear throw, the rest of us were required to do 30 burpees for not sticking the medieval weapon in the hay bale. As mentioned before, 90% of the burpees we saw were not to CrossFit Redondo standard (many people would just do 10 and move on anyway). However, a proud coach watched Kenny and Steph do perfect, full range burpees before running across the fire-pit finish line.
Re-united we all excitedly rehashed our individual experiences, proud of what he had all accomplished. True to the CrossFit way, we were equally excited with each other's successes more than our own. Dion did every obstacle successfully, saying "eff you" to burpees and race officials. After the first wading pond, Kenny's shirt was so wet and muddy, it took him 5 minutes to try and take it off while maneuvering the course. He also fought his asthma due to some smoke being blown throughout the trails. Steph encountered a guy "who looked like he was going to puke" and asked if he was okay...he promptly puked within inches of her feet. I used the deepest wading pond towards of the end of the race to get some fluids out, a wise choice making me lighter than ever heading to the finish.
CrossFit Redondo represented very well in this race.
Over 3,500 individuals participated in the Malibu Spartan Race. Here is how the box members fared.
Dion finished 284th in the men's category, placing 12th in his age group
Kenny finished 359th in the men's category, 58th in his age division.
Steph finished 179th in the women's category, coming in 52nd in her age group
Ryan finished 59th in the men's category, good for 18th in his age group.