My Seventh Spartan Race of the Year. My Second Beast. My Second Trifecta. My First Beast outside of Vermont. I was really excited to be at a Spartan without any mountains and was interested to see how difficult this race would be compared to my previous ones this year. I was not disappointed.
Turns out there was a common theme to this race among those who had also competed in either the Beast or Ultra Beast just three weeks prior in Killington, Vermont. Conversations went like this: “So how are you feeling?” “Oh, my knee/ankle/hip/body is still hurting/recovering/in pain.” I personally took all three weeks off from running and limited any leg exercises since my left knee still had a significant amount of pain and swelling. Even though this race wasn’t on a mountain or ski resort, we were all still feeling the effects from one; and the rolling hills and technical terrain would prove to be a challenge.
Although usually a slow starter, as we were released to the chants of AROO, I took off much faster than I had anticipated. Guess the excitement took over me. I eventually settled into a good pace with Jeff Rondina as we set out to conquer the course. We had the pleasure of running a few miles along side Margaret Schlachter (from www.dirtinyourskirt.com) and Shannon Hulme.
At about the six mile mark, we returned to the festival area. Here we tackled the rope climb with ease but then something occurred for the first time since the Texas Super last December…I failed the Traverse Wall. I have always had trouble with this obstacle, moving slowly and carefully across…but I had still been successful all year long. I found my grip wasn’t very secure and my footing felt weak and before I knew it, I was on the ground. I was stunned and upset I hadn’t taken a better approach. After doing thirty pretty angry Burpees, we were on our way.
After the Barbed Wire Crawl, Jeff and I were really starting to feel the familiar pain from the Ultra Beast. Jeff had it worse than I did with three points of pain in his legs to my one. After the Hobie Hop, we slowed our pace down and walked a bit to allow ourselves some recovery while in the creek bed. Little did we know we would be back in this creek bed almost 9 hours later with our headlamps on while sweeping the course.
Once we completed the Sandbag Carry, we agreed to push ourselves harder for the final mile and a half in order to have a strong finish. This was when we reached the uphill Barbed Wire Crawl. This is one of my favorite obstacles and I was able to move through it with some decent speed. Feeling energized from the crawl, I sprinted down the hill and ran until I reached the festival area again. Clearing the Eight-Foot Walls, I stepped up to the Spear Throw. I wanted to keep this success streak alive. The last time I missed the Spear Throw was during the Hurricane Heat at the Staten Island Super last year. I hit the Spear dead center.
Barbed Wire – Dove Under. Slippery Wall – Climbed Over. Fire Jump – Flew Through. Gladiators – Got Pummeled. I crossed the finish line in 3:02:35 and claimed my second Beast medal and second Trifecta of the year.
This wasn’t the end of our day, not by a long shot. Contemplating whether or not to do the Relay Race, Jeff and I were asked to Sweep the course by Race Director Mike Morris. Seeing as though we most likely were not going to be able to be competitive, we decided to help out and be Sweepers. Joined by Jason Henline, we set out after the last racers and proceeded to take down all the course markings and any garbage left by racers. Please, if you bring some kind of nutrition with you such as Gu Gels, Shot Bloks or anything else, put the wrapper back in your hydration pack, belt, socks or wherever you stored it in the first place. For guys who just completed 13.2 miles, we made our way through the course quickly and we caught up to the final racer and the volunteer with him at mile ten in the creek bed. With our headlamps on, we helped him to finish the course despite wanting to quit from exhaustion, pain and cold. Seeing him cross the finish line was a great feeling, knowing he truly earned that finisher’s medal.
Jeff and I crossed the finish line as Sweepers as well as officially the last place relay team. Total miles done for the day: 26.2 miles. Jason had to leave early so he wouldn’t keep his riding waiting but was a major help in catching up to the final racer. We were exhausted but it was all well worth it.
With South Carolina in the books, only three more Spartan Races are left on my agenda. The Road to the Triple Trifecta is at its final leg with the Midwest Super up next. Keep a look out for a write up on the Road Trip to the Midwest and reflections on past races, including the Spartan Ultra Beast and logging 26.4 miles or more at 3 different Spartan Events.
Freddy Rodriguez – Spartan Wolf