Monday, November 26, 2012

My Fenway Spartan Race Recap!

Well, I can happily cross another fitness event off my bucket list - obstacle course races!  Last weekend, I participated in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park... and absolutely LOVED it!  It was no doubt one of the coolest things I've ever done.  This post is a bit late to make it to the blog but I wanted to write a little recap about my experience.



One of my 20(in)12 goals was to compete in an obstacle course race.  There are plenty that take place in New England besides the Spartan Race... Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and Rugged Maniac just to name a few... but, being a lifelong Bostonian, how could I pass up doing a race in Fenway Park??

Showing off my artistic side :) 

This was every bit as awesome as I imagined it would be!  It helped that we had a gorgeous day (if a bit chilly to start!).  I was on a team of 10 (aka "The Resinators", named after one of Sixpoint Brewery's finest), which included two of my good friends and my brother & sister-in-law, as well as a few of their friends.  We decided at the start that we would stay together throughout the race.  Best decision we could have made... it was that much more fun to motivate each other, help one another out throughout the course and finish as a team.  

Me and my sister-in-law
You can sort of make out the "water jug" obstacle on the stairs behind us!
Since no one on our team had done anything like this before, we had no idea what to expect prior to the race... all we knew was that the total running would amount to about 3 miles, there would be a LOT of stairs and a LOT of burpees.  

If you aren't sure what a burpee is, check out this link.  30 burpees was the penalty for either not doing an obstacle or not being able to complete an obstacle.  And sometimes they just made us do burpees for the hell of it.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I did at least 120 burpees and even that might be underestimating it.



The course had about 25 obstacles and literally had us running throughout the entire stadium (although infield and outfield were off-limits).  

Some of my favorite obstacles included: 
  • Hoisting a 55-lb concrete weight 25 feet in the air using a rope pulley - I loved this one!
  • Scaling numerous walls ranging from 5-10 feet in height - needed a boost from the boys for those tall walls!
  • Running in and out (and in and out) of rows as well up and down the Green Monster sections - I found the running to be oddly refreshing
  • Rope climb to the top - this was a toughie for many participants so I was pretty proud of myself for completing it :)
  • Carrying a 40-lb water jug up and down stairs - I live in a 3rd floor walk-up and farmer's carry my grocery bags home from the store on a regular basis... I can do this in my sleep!
  • Climbing cargo nets and ladders
  • Running up and over about 6-7 picnic tables in a row... fun!
  • The Push-up Station - using slightly different technique though... we had to do go all the way down to the ground, lift hands off the ground, then push all the way back up... which I actually do in my own training so I loved this.
  • Stairs, stairs and more stairs - luckily I've put in some time climbing at Harvard Stadium so I was ok with these.

...And some of my least favorite obstacles were: 
  • Carrying a 60-lb sandbag up and down the bleachers - this was NOT fun!  That is over 1/2 my bodyweight... not to mention, I read that the distance totaled almost a half mile... still in shock that I completed it!
  • Wheelbarrow races - up a ramp, on prickly concrete, while person holding ankles crawled underneath waist-high bands.  (Very first thing we did!)
  • Laterally traversing a wall without falling - I took my time with this one and made it to the end (yay) but that wall was definitely not made for a 5'1" person!
  • Jumping rope using heavy battle ropes - ugh, I kept practically be-heading myself with the rope.  We had to do 50 jumps.  I made it to 30... which meant burpees for me...)
  • Row 500m in 2 minutes on an ergometer - although I thought we just had to row for 2 minutes.  Didn't know there was a certain distance involved... sigh, more burpees.
  • The "30 Burpees for Fun" station.... really??  And on the warning track??  This was at the very end of the race so my burpee form was seriously slacking at this point.

I'm smiling because I see the finish line!
At one point, after finishing the rope climb, I actually proceeded to do burpees even though I had completed the obstacle.  Guess I just had burpees ingrained in my brain!

After the race, I was ridiculously high on endorphins... It almost felt like I could have gone through the course a 2nd time.  Thankfully, I didn't because my abs were SO sore the next day!  I literally had to log roll out of bed onto my knees because I wasn't able to curl myself up to a sitting position.  I also had to suppress all sneezes because it caused sounds, that can only be described as a dying whale, to escape from my throat... that's how much my abs hurt.  And have you ever noticed the extent to which ab muscles are involved with parallel parking?  Me neither... but trust me on that one.

My finisher's medal & t-shirt

The one thing that set this Spartan Race apart from others was that there was no mud.  In all honesty though, I wasn't mad at that.  I kind of liked having my first obstacle course race be mud-free, although it won't deter me from participating in a future race.  I can only imagine how much more difficult obstacles are when they are covered in slippery mud!

My takeaways:
  1. Competing on a team is FUN!  I'm used to fitness events that are more solo in nature (road races, bikini competitions, etc) but I loved this aspect.
  2. Dropping my competitive mindset and simply enjoying the race can ALSO be fun!  Although this was a time trial race, our team was more focused on completing it rather than trying to finish under a specific time.  We still ran the whole thing but didn't rush through... it was all in good fun :)
  3. So glad I wore pants.  Saw a girl in shorts with very bloody knees from all the burpees.  Yikes.
  4. Hydration is key!  This race was really well-organized, however there was not enough water on the course... I was parched when we finished!
  5. For every post-race beer that is consumed, chase it with at least two big glasses of water :)
Overall, I had an amazing time and I cannot wait to do another one.  In the meantime, I think I'm going to take a little break from burpees... 

The Resinators' post-race victory photo!

Have ever competed in an obstacle course race... which one did you do??

If not... would you ever do one?


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