So, some time around Thanksgiving of last year, the good people at Spartan Race sent me an email. It was a Black Friday sale and the discount was enough to get my attention. I reached out to my buddies John & Jason and after some back & forth we had a team. We were all systems go for the Spartan Beast on 4/29/17. At the time, a 13.8 mile race seemed like a good idea and a fantastic test of our fitness levels. In reality, we were in store for a brutal day.
- Spartan Sprint – 3 Miles
- Spartan Super – 8 Miles
- Spartan Beast – 13.8 Miles
- Spartan Ultra Beast – 27.6 Miles
With the exception of one of our team members, no one had ever done a Spartan Race (the one member with experience had done a Spartan Sprint). So essentially going right for the Beast was probably slightly ill-advised. Regardless, we’re a confident bunch of individuals and we were convinced we would get this done in sub 5 hours.
From the time we signed up all the way up to our race, the amount of Spartan specific training we did was minimal. We’re all pretty fit so we kept our normal routines of lifting, crossfit and occasional cardio. But when it comes to doing a 13.8 mile race, chock full of obstacles & hills, training for endurance, improving conditioning & improving your recovery rate is a must. Not much of that was done.
Day started around 8:30am where we gathered to take down some bagels and simple sugars (Sour Patch Kids, you know, for quick energy). 1.5 hour drive to the venue, check ins, taking some of the vibe in and we were lined up at the starting line at 12:30pm. Some motivational talk from the DJ coupled with the simple sugars kicking in and we were as jacked up as Ricky Bobby’s kids on Mountain Dew.
Initial vibe is strong. Alternating some fast walking with some light jogging and we’re cooking… Until we face our first hill of the day (over under for the day was 37 steep hills climbed). Not even 400 yards in, this hill had to be a 45 degree incline and at least 200 yards long. Fck!
We smoke that hill and we’re back on course. Maintaining a solid pace, we encounter our first obstacles and make easy work of them. Seems like we’re flying through the course, a little tired, but we figure we’re at the very least at mile marker 4 …. Then a “Mile 2” sign smacks us in the face, takes the wind out of our sails and really sets the tone for the day.
We encountered 32 total obstacles. Some easier than others but there were certainly some absolute wrecking balls that knocked people on their asses
- Hercules Hoist – pulling a 135lb sandbag up roughly 40 feet and then slowly bringing it down
- Log Carry – Carrying a 30-40lb log up and down a hill (long hill)
- Bucket Carry – This has to be by far the most treacherous. Fill a bucket up with roughly 60lbs of rocks and carry it up a massive hill and then all the way down
Muscle cramps during the Beast are not a matter of if they happen but rather when they happen. What cures muscles cramps? Yellow mustard. Yup, blew our minds as well but we can attest that it works. At around mile marker 7, we got separated from Jason who was carrying our goodies … So miles 8 – 10 were pretty much dealing with muscle cramps. But we ain’t no betches so you know we powered through.
6 hours and 45 minutes later, at roughly 7:15pm, we finished the grueling race. We were handed a shiny & pretty sweet medal and two bananas. Which we devoured, because cramps. The emotions were high and we felt immense satisfaction, accomplishment and most importantly … hunger.
Overall, the race was brutal and it tested all of us mentally and physically. I personally experienced a whole new level of exhaustion. It’s definitely up there on the list of hardest things I’ve ever done. And probably the last time I will ever do a Beast. But there is no denying that we’re all proud of the accomplishment and tested ourselves in new ways.
For those crazy enough to embark on the journey, I highly recommend it as a bucket list type item. It will most likely take you out of your comfort zone and test you in brand new ways. But the satisfaction you’ll feel afterwards is worth it … Plus the sweet “free” tshirt and medal.