Friday, November 22, 2013

Spartan Sprint: Fenway Park {Race Recap}

Settle in, this is a long one...

Last Friday the girls and I headed down to Boston to participate in the Spartan Race held at Fenway Park. We first stopped in Freeport for a yummy dinner before heading south, oh and a Starbucks at the Kennebunk rest stop, and finally got to our hotel well after the sun set. 

Though the beds were much more comfortable than our last road trip, we all had a fairly restless night. After getting ready with plenty of time to spare, we headed to the T station with the final destination of Fenway Park, home of the 2013 World Series Champs!

The pick-up of our bibs and timing chips was very organized and easy and we had about an hour to check out the venue, as heats of the race had been going on for almost two hours. It was nice to be able to see a few of the obstacles that we would soon be facing.

I was actually pretty calm, but very excited inside!

Maybe I look a little concerned...

It was getting close to our start time (9:30 AM) and we got word that they were running a little behind, so we headed to the start and got in line. After a few minutes we had to scale a 6' wall and then stood in another line for a good 20 minutes or so until it was finally our turn. We started out with a warm up of ten burpees and then we were off. 

A lot of this is going to be pretty fuzzy, there were a lot of obstacles/challenges and I can't quite remember the order of them all. What was nice was how they seemed to be evenly spaced along the course and we used the running sections to recover after each one. We all commented on how the running was actually the easiest part of the entire thing.

After running up a series of steps we scaled another 6' foot wall and carried a 5? gallon jug down two flights of stairs and back up. We then did a series of ramps with ropes zig-zagging across that we had to either duck under or step over.

There was a heavy jump rope that we had to complete 40 rotations before continuing on. At this point, my arms were already feeling like jello! Next was a rock/concrete that we had to pick up and carry to another spot, do five burpees, then return the rock to the starting point. There was a weighted ball slam that we had to do 30 repetitions and a row machine for 500 meters. 

Next we headed into the locker room! For 20 pushups...ugh. But it was super cool to be laying on the floor were the Red Sox were celebrating a huge win just a couple weeks before. The closest I've come to kissing the shoes of greatness. Maybe I should hope that they cleaned the carpet? Then the next bit of running had us going through the dug cool!

There was a challenge that had us lifting a very heavy stone attached to a rope and pulley that you had to lift to the top (at least a good 20 feet). Luckily, cross-fitter Karen was in our group and went first and showed us how to get it done. Use your body weight!

There was a series of six or so walls that you had to go over, under, or through. Shortly after that was a 7' wall followed by monkey bars. They weren't your run-of-the-mill playground monkey bars, but a series of 4-5" pegs over a span of approximately 16' that had some higher than others. 

We had to place rubber bands around our ankles and bunny hop up stairs and over ropes. Not my most favorite thing...I really had to pee! 

Next was the "rock wall" or blocks of two-by-four attached to plywood that you had to get across. Not quite as picturesque as when I rock climbed in Cornwall, England in college, but I remembered how to do it!

Then came the javelin throw. If you didn't get the javelin to stick into the hay bale, the penalty was 30 burpees! Luckily, I hit the target and passed this obstacle burpee free!

Now we had to carry a large weighted beanbag (pancake) throughout the stadium, up and down the bleachers.

Which brings us to the one obstacle that had us all a little worried - the rope climb. I haven't climbed a rope since 8th grade...sooooo 24 years. Guess what? I freaking did it! I climbed that rope and rang the bell at the top like a boss! 

We then headed into the stadium along the warning track, so I knew that the finish line was near...of course not before a few more obstacles! 

We had to climb up a large net and back down the other side,

then scale four 5' walls, followed by an 8' wall!

The last challenge was 20 box jumps, through the gauntlet...

... and across the finish line!

We are Spartans!

I was (and still am) so proud that I did this. I successfully completed every. single. obstacle. without assistance.   The only burpees I did were the ones that were a part of the challenges. No penalties for me! Woo-freaking-hoo!!!!! (Can you tell I'm a bit excited just reminiscing about this?) But even more so, I was so proud of our little group, how we stuck together and helped each other out. It would not have been nearly that fun without them!

Here's my final results:
Time - 1:09:21
4996 out of 8040 overall
1703 out of 3352 females
287 out of 555 in age group

What I was not prepared for was how incredibly sore I was for the days following. My legs felt pretty good, just the usual soreness after a hard run, but it was my upper body that took a huge beating. I literally could not lift my arms above my head. My shoulders, lats, and abs were so, so sore even to the lightest of touches. After all that I just did, I don't know how I could be surprised! But finally, more than 5 days later, I feel close to 100%. And knowing that I did it, with zero weight training, makes me excited to do it again.

I felt that the course and entire event was extremely organized and with the exception of the delay at the start, I don't know how they could do it any better. And check out the back of the medal...

Okay, now that you've made it through all that, aren't you excited to do one too?!? Click on this link for 15% off any Spartan Race!

And don't forget to check out The Spartan Beast World Championships aired on NBC Sports on December 7th!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Spartan Race entry code to giveaway in exchange for promotion of the Spartan Beast World Championships.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I am a Spartan!

I'll have a full recap of Spartan: Fenway up in a couple of days, but I wanted to let you all know that I survived! All of us did! We are in full recovery mode. My whole body aches and my arms…let's just say they don't work all that well right now. No serious injuries, but a lot a muscle soreness and a few bruises. Despite all the aches, we had a blast! 

If you'd like a chance to run a Spartan Race, don't forget to enter my giveaway below that will get you a free entry into any 2013-14 event in the continental United States! 

You can also follow this link -- for 15% off code for any Spartan Race.

Also, make sure to tune in to NBC Sports on December 7th for the Spartan Beast World Championship!

Friday, November 15, 2013

On my way to become a Spartan!

The girls and I are headed to Boston in a few hours to participate in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park. I'm really looking forward to it, even though it might be harder than a marathon!

I'm sure everyone has heard of the Spartan Race Series or knows someone who has done an obstacle-type race. There are Spartan Races throughout North America and Great Britain with something for everyone - from beginner participants in a Spartan Sprint to the extreme Spartan Death Race. On December 7th, the World Championship Spartan Beast Race will be aired on NBC Sports. 

And guess what? The folks at Spartan Headquarters have offered another race entry to one lucky Maine Mom on the Run reader. So if you'd like the chance to become a Spartan too, enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The contest will run from now to Wednesday, November 20th. AROO!

Disclaimer: I was offered to a Spartan Race code to giveaway in exchange for the promotion of the Reebok Spartan Beast Championship on NBC Sports. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm gonna make it...

So this weekend the girls and I are heading to Boston to participate in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park. I am in no way prepared to do this. No bleachers have been run, no burpees have been done, not strength training whatsoever. My lower back is still bothering me (you'd think I'd go have it check out), but it leaves me wondering how I'm going to deal with the obstacles and crazy amount of stairs to run.  Honestly, I'm not really worried about it. There is no time limit and who cares if it takes us over two hours to complete a 5K? 

I'm taking today off from running to rest and will probably do any easy run on Thursday as a test. I am looking forward to really working on strengthening my core after this "race" as I'm pretty sure that being weak in this area is what caused my back to freak out in the first place. I won't be racing again until the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February, so that will be plenty of time for rehab and to work toward my goal of PR-ing the crap out of that race. 

I am really excited for this weekend though. I mean, a night out with my favorite ladies in Boston?!? Yes, please! And the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series last month and we get to run around in the stadium where it all happened is so cool! 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday: A Gamut of Emotions

1. I'm happy that my run this morning went well. I went at what I perceived as an easy pace which is still probably faster than I should be running, but I've also got some things on my mind that needed sorting and I just went on feel. Splits of 8:46, 8:55, 8:47.

2. I'm excited that I received my MDI Marathon shirt in the mail yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Finn (3 yrs old)

I had planned on wearing it today, but it decided to warm up and mid-50s is just too warm for long sleeves. It's a great fit that is longer in the torso and sleeves which is going to be great this winter! It might already be my new favorite shirt.

3. I'm sad that my brother and his family lost their black lab this morning. She was a part of our family for eleven years and was a loving and very special dog. She will be greatly missed. 

RIP Maya (Photo courtesy Tim Hart)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Still Recovering.

I have been able to tell in the last couple of days that I am still recovering from MDI. Moving forward for just shy of five hours takes a toll on your body and it's apparent that I still need to take it easy. 

I met the girls at the Rail Trail on Sunday for eight miles. It's been months since I've run there (before summer, I think) and it was nice to be on a trail with few hills and no traffic. And while we all were together at MDI, it's been even longer since we all ran together at the same time. I felt fine during that run, though every once and a while I'll feel a twinge in my left piriformis or right iliac crest, two issues that I managed during marathon training.

My lower back was one area that bothered me during the marathon (and at the Maine Marathon in 2012). Ever since I was pregnant with Finn I would once in awhile tweak it, usually by bending over at the waist or not using my legs to lift something. It's just felt a little off in the last couple of days - not hurting, but just tired and I feel like I've been slouching a lot.

I ran my four mile route this morning and it was beautiful out. Cold, but the sun was shining. I had to take my gloves off and push up my sleeves about a mile and a half in even though it was only in the lower 30s. I got hit with a painful stitch in my upper abdomen at mile 2.5 that would not go away. You know the kind when it just hurts to breathe? Yup, that's the one. My usual rhythmic 3-2 breathing was more like 3-2-2-2 and I just could not get in a good groove. Oh well, there's bound to be some rough runs out there. My splits were 8:39, 8:19, 8:31, 8:19 - so not bad, but I felt like I was working harder than I wanted. 

I am pretty impressed that my C9 tights I bought when I first got back into running in February 2011 are still in great condition! Though I'm still hoping that Santa will bring me a pair of Mizuno tights or these CW-X ones...

…they are so pretty!

Anyway, I'll be working my core like mad to gain some strength and hopefully by spring I'll be ready to race for a bunch of shiny new PRs. And Spartan Fenway is in 11 days…I hope I survive!