Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spartan Race

It all started with my brother John sending me a message....."Hey KK - wanna try this?" and a link to the "Hero Rush Challenge".   My first thought was, "ummm...NO!"   But then I became intrigued and decided it might be a cool challenge to try.

Unfortunately, after paying for the Hero Rush, we were informed they'd gone bankrupt!  We were both pretty pissed and disappointed, until we got another message saying we were going to be given a free entry into another race.   When we checked the list, there was the Spartan Race at FENWAY PARK!  We were in!!!

Unfortunately (again)  a week or so before the race, John sent me a message saying he was very, very, very sorry, but he had to back out of the race because his daughter was testing for her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do on the very same day!   At first I was pretty upset, but then of course I understood that there was no way he could miss seeing his daughter reach this accomplishment in her life.

There was only one person I could turn to to take his daughter Jamie.  She was happy to oblige.  I was happy to have someone to do it with, but intimidated as well because she's young, in shape and an athlete!  But she came through for me with flying colors!

We parked at Sullivan Station and took the T into Fenway.   It was a gorgeous fall day......55 degrees and sunny.  

We had to go through the registration gate to get our Bibs.   At Fenway, they don't want you to wear the bibs because they don't want pins on the racecourse. So the Bib is just a souvenir and they give you a headband with your number on it as well.

I figured since we were going to be at iconic Fenway Park, especially in the year that the Red Sox won the World Series, I'd wear my Red Sox shirt.  Funny that Jamie had the same idea!

After getting all geared up and ready, the hardest part was waiting for our heat to start.

Finally, it was time to get in line.  They had 200 people per heat, and as we neared the start, they had us separate into groups of 15 to start the race.  We wore wristbands with timers on them - they started when we crossed the start line.

Hubby was allowed in as a spectator, and given a Spectator Map to be able to go to certain areas to get close enough for pictures.  He tried to be in the right place at the right time, but really only got pictures of the parts where we were outside.

I know I can't remember everything we did in order, but here's most of the things we did that Hubby didn't see:

1.  Run up several flights of stairs and then carry a ten gallon jug full of water down one flight of stairs and up the other. 
2.  Go up about 6 ramps that were crisscrossed with ropes - bear crawl under one set of ropes and highstep over the next set.
3.  Climb over a 4 foot wall.  (did this with the help of a knee from a kind volunteer)
4.  Army crawl under crisscrossed ropes a foot above the floor.
5.  Climb over a 6 foot wall.  (did this with the help of a knee on one side and Jamie helping me down on the other)
6.  Go across a set of monkey bars
7.  Carry a 50 pound weight across to the other side - about 20 feet - do five Burpees  (squat thrusts) and carry it back.
8.  Pick up a 15 pound ball above your head, drop it to the ground and repeat 30 times
9.  Jump rope (a heavy, fat rope) 20 times with an elastic band around your ankles
10.  Put the elastic band around your ankles, hop up two flights of stairs, then do an over-under through ropes tied to the railings.
11.  Pull on a rope with a 50 pound weight on it until it reaches the top.
12.  Climb a rope to the top and ring the bell.  (epic fail on this one...not enough upper body strength.)
13.  Go over a wall, under a wall, through a wall, over another wall, under another wall, and through another wall.
14.  Use a rowing machine and row 500 yards in less than two minutes.
15.  Throw a spear into a bale of hay.
16.  Go across a wall about 20 feet long and 6 feet high using 1 inch hand and foot holds.

Interspersed among all these obstacles were MILLIONS of stairs - we went up and down, along sets of seats, then up and down and along sets of get the picture!  Luckily, Jamie and I had the same attitude - we wanted to finish the race and we didn't care about our time.    

We were excited to slow down long enough to check out all the pictures on the walls of present and past Red Sox legends.   And we were completely awestruck to be able to stop and sit in the dugout!!!  We got to sit on top of the Green Monstah!!!!   We made sure we stayed totally in the moment and sucked in all the atmosphere that we could.

Finally, we got to a spot outside where Hubby could see us.

The next part of the race is where I figuratively "hit the wall".  We had to carry sandbags up and down the outfield bleachers.   I don't know how much they weighed, but they were FREAKIN' HEAVY!

By this time I was pretty exhausted and I was stopping every few stairs to catch my breath.  Jamie stood at the top of the stairs and danced to encourage me to keep moving!

I took a cue from her and carried it down on my head.....a little easier than my shoulder, but just as hard going down as it was going up!

Finally we got onto the warning track at Fenway Park!  Jamie grabbed up a handful of warning track sand, but then had no place to put it!

The cargo net was the obstacle I was most looking forward to:

Even though my rule is usually "no ass shots" I allow this one because I am climbing up a net! AND there is Pesky's Pole!!!!

Then it was time to go over the walls.  After some of the other walls, the first three 4 foot walls seemed like a piece of cake.  Step on Jamie's knee, step on the wall support, over I go, and drop down on the other side.

Hubby did not get a picture of me going over the last, 8 foot wall!   I truly did not think I'd make it over this one.  There were two pieces of wood attached to the wall we could step on, and a kindly volunteer allowing us to step on her shoulder!  Even with that, the first time I tried I fell on my ass.   I was ready to walk around the wall, but Jamie yelled at me, and the volunteer let me use her shoulder AND gave my foot a shove so I could reach the top.   I made it to the top, then hung there in fear as I looked at the drop on the other side.  But Jamie had hustled around and grabbed my feet (and butt) to help me down the other side.

I am so glad I let them force me to complete that obstacle.  Despite the fact that I had done all the other obstacles in the race, I would have felt disappointed if I hadn't done that one.

The rest of the race was easy!   As we made our way around the warning track, we stopped where some folks were relaxing with cold beverages, and begged them for a straw and a sip of their beers.  They declined.

Walking under the scoreboard and being able to touch it was surreal!

 I didn't notice right away that the scoreboard says Spartan Race!

Only one final obstacle at the end.  We had to box jump (two feet together and hop up - I stepped up and over instead) 25 times over a 1 foot wall.

And finally we went through the Gladiator Pit:

We crossed the Finish Line and received our Spartan Games Medals and Tshirts.  Jamie and I hugged, and as she told me how proud she was of me, I was too overcome by emotion to even respond.

Hubby was there to record the final moments:

We were so tired, but exhilarated that we'd completed the race!

Even though we didn't really care about the time, in my mind I really wanted to finish it in under two hours.   Our time was 1:32:08!

It was an amazing experience.   Physically exhausting, but fun and wonderful to feel such a great accomplishment!  Especially when I might have been the oldest female participant!  It's certainly not something I would have been able to do a year ago.  Losing weight and working out is what made it possible.

And so much thanks to Jamie - what a wonderful daughter! and thanks to Hubby, who puts up with my crazy nonsense!!!


Elizabeth said...

From now on, there are no "ass shots"- just BADASS shots, Karen!! You're amazing! What a fantastic challenge, and what an awesome accomplishment- so cool that you were able to share the experience with your daughter, too! Congratulations! -EL

tag vennard said...

you are crazy baby! But I love you and Im so proud of you! I know you had fun. you forgot to say we ate at Cheeseckae Factory!! love you baby

elizasmom said...

OMG this sounds like it was so much fun! I've never done anything like this race — I've always wanted to try the zombie races - where you're basically doing an obstacle course while "zombies" try to tag you. Your report was inspiring. Gotta find one near where I live!