Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seattle Super Spartan Race results 2016

This is the first event towards my Spartan Trifecta, and the second completed event in my "savoring my 62nd year of life" bucket/goal list is complete. 
 I couldn't complete 4 obstacles: 30 burpee penalty for each obstacle missed. I did 110 before my legs wanted to cramp up, my son in law and another friend did 10 each for me. I can't thank them enough for the help. They strategically place the really difficult obstacles one after another near the festival area, so we really didn't have time to recover before we had to do our next set of burpees - brutal. Many of the obstacles did allow help from our fellow team mates of which I was glad or I'd still be there now pumping out my burpees. My daughter ran in the Elite division before our race. Elites have to do all of the obstacles with no assistance. She completed all but two obstacles (60 penalty burpees) in her first year competing in the Elite category. She is strong and tough, so proud of her. After she completed her course she started with me and her husband for round two. Incredible!
I waited to post the results until the official pictures had been posted. I was fortunate that I did the event with my daughter and her husband, he is always so good at taking photos & helping me along the way. It will be strange finishing other Spartan events without so many photos (and help) to document the day, if he isn't along. My dad came to watch and took pictures and videos & bonus a girl I met at the Seattle Spartan workout tour last July saw us and took more pictures!
I spent the night before the race at my daughters house. It is a little closer to the race venue. We woke to rain and it continued as we drove towards Monroe, but by the time we got to the race site it had stopped. I was hoping for a fairly dry weather day. I didn't want weather to be an obstacle as well. 
The Super is advertised to be 8 plus miles and 20 plus obstacles. 

They like to have a bit of mystery as to the exact details, even the course board at the entry shows some obstacles as classified.

I was very nervous as we went through the registration line. Since this was my first "Super" level Spartan race, I didn't know if I was capable of finishing. I knew I had trained hard and hoped it would be enough.

Ready I guess
My daughter, my day and me before the start 
When I started last May in Spartan's Montana Sprint event I couldn't get over the pre-start obstacle wall by myself. I was soo excited that this year I was strong enough to get over that by myself. It's crazy that they put a 5' wall in the start area. It has to be cleared before you can go across the start line.
The crew - at the start
After doing our "I am a Spartan" and "Aroo" chants (which I love) we jogged out of the start area towards the first obstacles. We had walls and a high hurdle to get over in a nice big green field. I got over the wall myself, but couldn't quit get over the high hurdle without a boost up. 
Just after the 1 mile mark we had the memory obstacle. If we fail the memory test, it is a 30 burpee penalty too. I really didn't want my memory to cause me to do penalty burpees. We looked at a board that had a series of words with a number sequence behind it. Our code to remember was decided by the last two numbers in our headband. We were supposed to remember this for most of the day and then report it to a volunteer, by the time we got to our memory obstacle halfway between mile 7 and 8, there was no one there. I was really disappointed since I'd worked so hard at remembering. 
So here it is: Golf 667 2205!

memory board
Next up for us was the Over, Under and Through obstacle, then just after the second mile was the 7 foot wall and inverted wall. I had help with both.
Here's a photo of the 7 foot wall. My son in law graciously offers his knee and shoulder to get me and others over the walls.

Near mile 3 was the bucket brigade. We came to a gravel quarry area where we were to fill our buckets with golf ball sized rocks. A volunteer checked to make sure we had filled our buckets above the holes in the sides of the bucket, about 2/3 full. This wasn't a very long bucket carry, but it was extremely heavy and the footing along the route was tricky. I was so glad I'd been practicing walking around and around our yard with a bucket full of bricks. Note to self: add more bricks ;-)

On to the Stairway to Sparta, this was a tricky one because there was a high wall to climb before you could climb the woods steps up and down, help again getting up the wall portion.

We were walking most of the time between obstacles, I didn't think running was a good idea. I needed to conserve energy. We came to a section of the trail where it seems hundreds of people were backed up, we soon were told that there was an injury in the area ahead of us and we would have to wait for the person to be evacuated out. We waited nearly an hour before we could continue. So our finish times aren't a true representation of our moving time. Finish time - 6:28:10, moving time from my Garmin watch - 4:17:52. When we got to moving again we could see how someone could get injured. It was pretty much straight up and deep mud. They had fixed ropes in the hill of mud but they were so covered in muck that they were not very helpful. My son in law captured this great picture of us on the hill. If click on the picture to enlarge it and look behind us you can see the people waaay down below and you can see just how far up this hill we had come and we still had a ways to go. 

 After this mud hill climb we had a dry rope climb up a cliff. I really enjoyed that. We were finally at the top of the hill and there was the Z wall waiting for us. The Z wall was next, I was able to complete this one with my son in law spotting me. It is like rock climbing except it is a series of flat walls with wood foot and hand hold that traverse it. In Montana I was unable to even start it because my legs were cramping so badly that I couldn't lift my legs high enough to get on the first holds. PROGRESS! 
The 8 foot wall was next, I don't know why these walls scare me but they do. With help I got over it.
Between mile 4 and 5 was an obstacle that was new to me, the plate or sled drag. It is a heavy pull and drag back obstacle. Our first official Spartan photos were taken on a spot they called "Flower Hill" 

Then my first Burpee maker the Multi rig, it's a series of rings, bars and ropes like doing monkey bars. I knew I couldn't do it so headed right over to the 30 penalty burpee area. Right away we went to the Spear throw, I missed 30 penalty burpees again. On to the Hercules hoist. I love this obstacle. We have to pull a heavy weight that is attached to a rope and pulley system from the ground up till it reaches the top and then lower it in a controlled manner. We then headed towards the festival area, strange to see it and to hear the loud music after such along time on the trail. They race directors planned this well to try to get people to cramp up as quickly as possible. As I explained in the beginning of this post they strategically put the Tyrolean traverse (a horizontal rope climb) and the vertical Rope climb right after the Spear throw and the Hercules hoist. All of these typically are penalty burpee makers. We had limited opportunity to rest before these obstacles. I failed the Tyrolean traverse and didn't even try the Rope climb. So 60 burpees needed to be done in a row. I began getting cramps in my legs after I'd completed 90 of them, as I said earlier my son in law and a friend of ours did 10 each while I toughed out 10 more for my total of 120 burpees. Up and over the A - frame cargo climb.

As we were getting ready to head up the hill on the trail people were really cramping up, one man in particular was screaming in pain and laying flat on the ground while his legs seized up, It was horrible. I was a bit scarred I would be like him so I took a moment to eat some more of my energy items and drink some more water as I walked around trying to shake the twitches in my legs. Then we were off again through a beautiful northwest forest. It was nice to be in the trees, moss and bleeding hearts. We were now just past 6 miles and at our next obstacle the Sandbag carry. 

The next obstacle was the Log crawl barbwire obstacle. It was interesting and fun. We had a short muddy/rutted horseshoe shaped course that we had to push a log in front of us all under barbwire.
Then the next two obstacles we could have help on were the monkey bars and the log hop. I had help with both of these, so no penalty burpees. Thank you everyone.
After this was where the memory test was supposed to be - lame that the area wasn't there, here goes Golf 667 2205, Yay me - no burpees!
Then back to the festival area for the rolling mud with dunk wall obstacle. The water was slightly cold, not too bad. It felt really good on my tired legs.
The photo below shows how excited we were when we saw our Seattle Spartan workout friend.

The most daunting obstacle in my mind was next - the Slip or Slick wall. In Montana this was the most epic struggle to get over. My son in law and daughter knew this and they had a plan to get me over it and successfully with their help. So many emotions on this obstacle. I can't begin to thank them for their efforts to help me with this. The wall is greased at the upper area to make it more difficult just as you are supposed to let go of the rope and climb over the top. WHEW!

The nicest barbwire crawl ever was next, high enough to easily crawl and dry!

Next was a wet/muddy and low barb wire crawl. It was fun and not difficult except my legs were wanting to cramp abit. So it was a little slow going for me.

Two more obstacles to go the Atlas carry and the Fire jump finish.
The Atlas ball carry was epic because the water and mud from everyone before us had made it very heavy. I was able to lift it and carry it across to the drop area. Did my 5 burpees required in this obstacle, then turned to pick it up again and yikes I couldn't get a grip. I was told that I could get help in lifting but not carrying So again my helper son in law helped me to get it picked up and I successfully carried it back. Notice how he is watching over me as I return. 

After that, I was exhausted and definitely muddy,

but I was overjoyed because I was going to finish my first Super Spartan race!

Endomondo stats:
30 obstacles (including the wall prior to the start)
120 penalty burpees, 5 required burpees - 125 total burpees (105 done by me)
Total miles - 10.18
Total ascent - 3133 feet
Total descent - 3068 feet
I was 3rd in my 60 - 64 women age group.
(there were only 3 women over 60 in the whole race)

Proud of me - I am Spartan, AROO

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Resting for Seattle Super Spartan Race

The hiking group that I'm usually with on Thursday's will be going to Hoypus Point/Ala Spit. I did this hike with them in March of 2015, click HERE if you'd like to read that post and see the photos of the area. The beach "lunch area" was wonderful!
I won't be joining them today as I need to rest up for Saturday, I'll be participating in the Seattle Super Spartan Race. This is the first event that will lead me to getting my first Spartan TRIFECTA.
My daughter will be racing as an Elite (Elites cannot have any help going over the obstacles) earlier in the morning and then will join me for my first Super level race at 10am. It will be nice to have her company. When I did the Montana Sprint last year, she with her husband and 14 year old daughter accompanied me around the course.
It was a nice Mother's day gift to have her & their support that day. 

I hear Saturday's event is estimated to be about 81/2 miles long with 28 obstacles. 
Time to "Spartan up"!

This will be the second event in my "Savoring my 62nd year of life bucket/goal list".
The first event on my list was accomplished when we finished the Whidbey Island Half Marathon, last Saturday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Whidbey Island Half Marathon 2016

The first event of my bucket/goal list for the year was the Whidbey Island half marathon. Click HERE if you'd like to read about my bucket/goal list.
We went to Oak Harbor Friday for the packet picket up. On the way there we drove the half marathon  course. I already knew it would be a hilly, but I got some serious butterflies in my stomach as we drove it. After we got our race bibs and info. we drove the course again in the reverse direction just for fun. For some reason it didn't look as daunting to me on the return trip.
We got up early and left our house at 4:15 am Saturday for our drive to Oak Harbor, since we wanted to be on the shuttle bus by 6 am. The race instructions stated that no one could park at the start or be dropped off there, all participants would have to take the shuttle buses that would be at a large parking lot by Windjammer park (City beach). The buses would take us to the start line at Cornet bay.
It was a fun bus ride, the driver had the radio up loud. 
It definitely woke me up. 

When we got to the start line it was a little chilly (low 40's), but not too bad. We were treated to free Starbucks coffee while we waited for about an hour for the race start. It helped to keep our hands warm :-)

The race was started in waves of runners determined by the pace group you wanted to stay with.
We waited with the end pack - no determined pace.

We started the course right away with a nice hill up to hwy 20. 

We only ran on hwy 20 a short period of time and quickly took a left on Ducken rd. and stayed on the side country roads for the remainder of the course.

It was a good challenging course for me. The aid station folks were great, very encouraging and full of energy. With about 1 mile to go my left hamstring began to feel spasms, so we walked off and on to the finish line. We didn't stick with our 15 minute run/5 minute walk interval plan since the course was so hilly. We decided to run when we could and power walk up the hills that became to steep for us to run. I think this may have led to my spazzy hamstring. We definitely ran for more consecutive minutes than I was used to. Lesson learned we will try to keep to our intervals for the marathon in June. My legs need the walking breaks.
My garmin heart rate chart shows that I worked hard.

At any rate we finished!!!

I delayed writing about the race hoping that the official event pictures would be available to add in this posting, but they still aren't up yet. I will add some as they become available.

Official Whidbey Island race photos - the many faces & emotions of the day.
*photo collage added 4/20/16

First of the "savoring my 62nd year of life bucket/goal list" - done!

Endomondo & (official chip) stats:
13.1 miles
chip time - 3:07:08
total ascent - 738 feet
total descent - 706 feet

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Resting for Whidbey half marathon

The hiking group that I'm usually with on Thursday's will be going to Burnout Point today. I went there just a couple of weeks ago with my husband. If you'd like to see the pictures and read about the area you can read that post HERE.
I will not be joining them today as I'll be Run/Walking (Run 15 minutes/Walk 5minutes) the Whidbey Island half marathon with my husband on Saturday, so I'm "resting" ;-)
The first time I entered the Whidbey half marathon was in 2009, I walked it with my dad. I also "ran" it in 2011 with my husband, you can read that post HERE. This was the second event I entered after beginning my weight loss/better mental health goal in the spring of 2008,  The first event I entered was the 2008 Fairhaven Frosty 5k in December. HERE'S the results list from that day's event, as you will see I wasn't last place, but it was a real struggle for me to finish. 

Now after losing 69 pounds as of this morning :-), I'm off to Oak Harbor again.
This Saturday's half marathon course map -

The course will be different from the previous years I was there, so it will be fun getting to know it.

This is the first event of my "savoring my 62nd year of life bucket/goal list" events.