2012 Fort Carson Spartan Military Sprint
First I would like to thank the Fort Carson Military base for making this race possible. And thanks to the entire Spartan Race Team and volunteers for all of their hard work in putting together such a wonderful race.
Well, I must say that the Military Sprint lived up to the hype. Aside from what you might regularly see at a Spartan race, this race was particularly difficult because of the long rucksack carry (60+- lbs), probably the longest barbed wire crawl ever with a rubber ducky (M16 dummy gun), and a sandbag carry all within the first 1 ½ miles. Personally, I decided to add my own challenge to the race. I utilize a weight vest in every workout I do, and thought it would be fun to wear one in a race (I admit that I was also doing it as a promo for weightvest.com. It’s not every day I come by a company that I really like, so it serves them right for making such high quality weight vests). I wanted to stay competitive, so I decided to wear the vest with 10 lbs of weights in it. All told with the weight of the vest itself and all the mud on it, it weighed about 13 lbs.
Anyway, for those who have never worn a weight vest before, the weight is only one factor that slows you down. To keep the vest stable, you have to wear it rather tightly which also restricts your breathing. Also, a vest will make it feel like it’s about 10 degrees warmer than it actually is with the way that it insulates your core, which is no big deal when the weather is mild, but when it’s warm like it was for this race, I knew I would be fighting the heat also.
So, with these 3 extra challenges, the race started and off we went. Once I found my pace, I immediately began to scope out my challengers. It was apparent that a few of them were obviously inexperienced and didn’t know how to pace themselves and would drop quickly. A few others looked to be experienced runners that thought they were going on a 4 mile trail run. Little did they know, this is not a 4 mile trail run. Before I had time to become content with the way things were going, I noticed that I wasn’t nearly as relaxed as I would like to be. This race was not going to be easy.
First major obstacle, rucksack carry. As we started up the hill, a handful of people were pushing themselves as if we were racing to the top of the hill. I turned to one guy and said, “remember, you still have 4 miles to go. If you push too hard, you’ll just pay for it later”. He said “oh ya, good point”, and slowed down. A few obstacles later, we come to the grenade toss. I miss. I knew I didn’t like that obstacle. So, here I am doing burpees with the full effects of the weight vest bearing down on me. I want to skip the pushups, but something inside of me won’t let me. So, as I suffer through my burpees 10 people pass by. I finish, and am thinking to myself, “Wow, I am way too tired considering how far we have to go.” But I press forward.
Usually, the barbed wire crawl is where I excel, but I’m tired, I’ve got a weight vest on, and I have to carry a rubber ducky with me. This could be interesting. I jump in and start rolling. Instantly, the cool mud refreshes me, and I feel much better. I find a rhythm and go with it. Roll, roll, roll, crawl past this person. Roll, roll, roll, crawl past this bale of hay. I only have my eyes open 1/3rd of the time, just long enough on each roll to see what’s ahead. I ignore snags on the barbed wire and scratches from rocks and mud. Next thing I know my sons cheering that I’m in the lead. I come out of the barbed wire dizzy, weighed down in mud, and needing to reevaluate my pace. I’m tired, and there’s a long way to go. I take off more conservatively, and hope no one behind me is still feeling good. As I reach the steep section of the hill in the sandbag carry, I feel embarrassed knowing that everyone is watching me as I slow to a walk. But today, I’m just too tired to run.
As time passes, it’s apparent that everyone else is also feeling the effect of the heat and obstacles, and I slowly build my lead. With only a few hundred yards to the finish line and a handful of obstacles left, victory is mine. I grab my spear, feeling confident with the amount of practice I had put in. I miss. For a split second, I stand there stunned. Then In defeat, I turn and start to do my burpees. The volunteer said, “you don’t have to do the pushup”. I respond, “yes I do, dang it!!”. If I were the cussing type, I would have probably thrown in a few choice 4 letter words. I start receiving updates on how far back second place is. It’s not looking good. With 4 burpees left, he shows up and nails the spear throw. It was bittersweet. He was so excited, even I could feel it. He was going to beat Hobie Call. The race was over, you don’t get up from 30 burpees when you’re tired and take off sprinting. With little time left, I’m pushing, but not gaining. I get to the top of the last hill and as I start down, I see him fall off of the traverse wall. I smile inside, it’s my lucky day. In the last mud pit, I swish my hands in the water to get the mud off, and then carefully crawl out the other side making sure to not get any more mud on them. I reach the wall and rub my hands on the boards to dry them off a little, and slowly and methodically go across the wall. I was in no hurry, I just needed to make sure I didn’t fall off. I rang the bell, and with just the cargo net, fire jump, gladiators, a little bit of luck and perseverance, I managed to survive one more race.
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