As part of my race calendar I set myself the challenge of running the Spartan Trifecta this year.
This means that I am required to run:
- The Spartan Sprint (Approx 6km)
- The Spartan Super (Approx 12km)
- The Spartan Beast (Approx 20km)
The Sprint and Super Races
The first of my two races (Sprint and Super) were scheduled for Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July in Manchester.
For reasons unknown – Sunday was cancelled and merged with Saturday. Now a Sprint would take place in the morning and a Super in the afternoon!
This was a daunting challenge – I had planned to book a hotel in Manchester and use the time to rest, refuel and recuperate. With the changes – depending how quickly I ran the Sprint, meant that I had about three hours rest.
This was not good for me. The most I have ever run is 14km and because of recent foot problems I had not done much running. I was hoping to get through these on my gym fitness and determination.
I could have changed the sprint to a race in Scotland or Wales, but this was just inconvenient.
In order to ensure that I had the best success on the day, I made sure that I was well prepared – ensuring that I was well hyrdated, well fed, had clean kit for two races and ensured that I had all the other annoying essentials (such as race waivers to money for parking).
Nutrition – Water, Energy Drinks, Energy Gels, Soluable Energy Tablets, Snacks, Apples, Pasta meal (not shown)
Preparation – x2 kit, post race clothes, blanket, towels, jumper, packed bag (with race waver, wallet, phone, house keys, sun cream, medication, book)
On the opposite side of being organised, my friend Will forgot his running shoes and had to make do wearing size 10 trail shoes for size 12 feet!
The Sprint (Race 1)
This went well, I wasn’t breaking any personal bests because I wanted to pace myself and I still lacked confidence that if I went too hard my foot would cause problems. My friend Tom who had been training ridiculously hard to reduce his time – shot off. I wouldn’t see him until the finish line.
I stuck with Will at the start, he had probably trained about as much as myself. But his height gave him an advantage of a longer stride and I soon had to let him run off on his own.
Later on I caught Will up, who was walking at the sandbag carry. I ran with him until he fell off the balance beams into a 30 burpee penalty. So I decided to continue on ahead.
I got to the end and reached the spear throw – it hit the target but it didn’t stick in so I was stuck with a 30 burpee penalty. I crossed the finish line tired, but injury free. I knew I could do the other race.
The Super (Race 2)
This was not so easy. Having the three hour rest made things a lot harder – I think as the adrenaline had stopped pumping I started feeling aches and pains.
Tom joined me for the double. He wasn’t quite as interested in getting a good time, so he went slower. But I was still too slow, so he shot off and I didn’t see him until the end.
A lot of the course was a repetition of the Sprint, but seemed much more difficult and took more time.
I messed up the monkey bars on the way round, which made it 3 times I have failed this obstacle at Spartan and I was stuck with the 30 burpee penalty which nearly finished me off.
I continued to plod along all woozy. The race was in a public park and now there were lots of visitors walking in front of my path, oblivious the difficult I was having to run in a straight line.
I got to the rope climb, which I had stormed at the Sprint race, but it was much harder this time and I screamed as I made the final ascent to the top. I had put so much energy into climbing up that I did not have the strength to climb down – so I slid down the rope cause nasty rope burns all over my hands and thighs.
I struggled over a few walls and ran the final part of the course where I reached the spear throw for the second time. I could not hold the spear straight this time and it took me a minute to get a steady aim. I threw it and missed it again.
Was never going to be a great picture
I really did not need the 30 burpee penalty, but I made sure to do every single last one. If I was going to earn the Trifecta medal this year I was going to earn it fairly.
I saw the flames in the distance – Tom was shouting at me to sprint, which I did. Normally I would do this in a convincing fashion. This time my legs cramped up and I had to amble across the finish line.
But I did it! I did two races in a day!
It wasn’t easy and it was far from my best performance. But I now am two thirds of the way to the Spartan Trifecta medal.
The next race is the Beast, which is the longest distance.
As these races has restored confidence in the capability of my foot, the next step is to get back out running along with my gym work. I don’t intend to go for a fast time at the Beast, but being able to run the race without stumbling across the finish line would be nice.
Until next time… aroo!