Last Saturday I competed in my 2nd Spartan event, the Melbourne Spartan 7km Sprint. What a day.
I felt more calm in the lead up than I had to any event so far, I knew I didn’t have the upper body strength to get through every obstacle but I knew that if I brought my absolute everything, that is enough. Besides, I have run about 880km since the last Spartan event, so I was confident my legs would see me through.
We left at 9am for the 2 hour journey to Bamganie, about an hour from Geelong towards Ballarat. Arriving at a bit after 11am, I had everything organised in my head, it was crystal clear. Arrive 45 minutes before the noon start time. Smash down some banana and chia seed bites I made up the week before on the ride up. Drink 200ml of Havoc, pre workout protocol which provides a super energy boost. Knowing other team mates had backed out led me into a zone, I was ready to compete and push through whatever was in my way, and I wasn’t afraid of anything.
After getting a final pump up and high fives from my gorgeous wonderful family who were all there to support me, I stood at the starting line, ready, happy, beaming, excited to be apart of something special. Commando Steve was also in my wave, and this guy is a UNIT, I’m telling you. So we took off and and after jumping a few walls, we starting approaching a few obstacles, all difficult but achievable. There was a very long a winding barb wire crawl, I burned through that to be one of the leaders of my wave, jumped up and took off, I was feeling great. Over a few more walls and before I knew it the mud slides were upon me (above). Wow, these were definitely a highlight, just crazy stuff, so much fun and more disgusting and freezing and dirty than you could ever imagine. The reward for getting through this was to swim through a dam which would have been close to 0 degrees, a nice rinse off really, although the mud in the shoes wasn’t ideal for the running which came next.
There were about 15-20 obstacles all up, I lost count, so I just wanted to be honest and mention my failures and triumphs. I failed and had to complete 30 burpees at the rope climb (no technique – just couldn’t get any grip from shoes/legs/feet/arms!), rope traverse (was really tough, but my calves cramped up on me with a about 1-2 metres to go and I dropped off dammit), the balance beams (terrible balance fell off almost immediately!), and the spear throw (threw it harder but didn’t aim high enough…).
Now for my biggest triumphs. The 55kg dead ball lift. Last October I could not lift this ball up above my knees, I was eventually handed a 35kg womens ball which I sheepishly carried around before I even dropped that. This time around I turned a corner and saw all the balls lined up, first thought, “oh no”, this was out in the open, people were lined up with “I can’t do that” faces on. Something snapped in me and I remember watching a You Tube video on how to lift them, I bent down, and dragged the 55kg ball over my knees, up to my stomach, then stood up and threw it with the encouragement of the volunteers up onto my shoulder. I had it up there! Then I walked around the course with it on my shoulder, I was so proud, and even more stoked that unknown to me Nicole and the kids were all watching from the sidelines and took this photo!
My other huge fist pumping moment was the 9 foot wall. Last Spartan I had no idea how to get up it, and I was boosted up from below, and then dragged up by a team mate to the top before hopping over. I was wrapped I achieved it last time with help. This time around I got there and I knew I needed help, so I looked for a team mate to assist. First I saw a few guys struggling to get up, so I gave them a boost to help them up. Then I was offered help to get pulled up, but again, suddenly I decided I was good. I jumped up and grabbed the top of the wall – I had this. Then I pulled myself up, somehow got a leg up and hauled myself over. Man I was pumped to do that unassisted.
Right near the end, when I thought we were done for the day, we rounded another corner and suddenly there was the 20kg sand bags, ready to be carried up and down some serious hills. This was all legs, and my legs have done some serious hills in the last 9 months, so I powered through this feeling strong. I was nearly finished, and I was feeling strong.
I finished the event 471 (of 3600) overall, 408th male (of 2020), 112th in my age group (of 600). I was pretty happy with that 🙂
After my event, the kids participated in the Spartan Kids race. I strongly encourage anyone with children to get them involved, it was fantastic and the kids LOVED it!
What a day, what an event, and what amazing memories I took away from the day. I also take away confidence knowing that now I am a 2 x Spartan Race Finisher.
As the late great Tom Hafey used to say when anyone asked how he was feeling, “I’m good, thanks for asking… but I’m getting better!”