Wow! What a race! I wanted to try and post this while it was still fresh in my head… so if some info is missing I will be adding it next week!
So if you are looking for overall Spartan Beast results then just CLICK THIS BIG LINK RIGHT HERE!!
I finished 4:21:53 which I was pretty happy with considering I thought I was going to be somewhere around 5 1/2-6 hours.
Lots of cramping “which I will get into more” & “I failed 3 obstacles which I will go into more detail most likely next week“. I just want to put out some quick info on the obstacles that were there and how I did and even add some tips I have been coming up with along the way.
Here is how I will break down this post; “click on link below to go that section”
- The Obstacles & Tips
- My Gear & Nutrition “Lots of new goodies!”
- What I would have done differently
- Tips for beginners of obstacle racing
- Pictures from the course! Spartan Beast Pictures!
- Again I will add more info next week when I can function lol…”I am remember some of the CLASSIFIEDS, but still cloudy! They will come to me.
- Over Walls .3 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Hurdles .5 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Rolling Snow 1.0 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Classified – Click For Details & Tips
- Log Hop 1.9 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- O-U-T 2.2 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Multi Bars 2.8 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- CLASSIFIED – Click For Details & Tips
- Spearthrow 3.4 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Clif Monkey Bars 3.7 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Z-Walls 4.0 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Hay Wall 4.7 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Bucket Brigade 4.8 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Plate Drag 5.1 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- CLASSIFIED – Click For Details & Tips
- 7Ft Wall 6.2 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Barb Wire Crawl #1 6.5 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Rolling Mud 6.6 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- CLASSIFIED – Click For Details & Tips
- Sandbag Carry 7.8 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Memory Test 8.7 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Inverted Wall 9.0 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Tyrolean Travers 9.1 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- A-Frame Cargo 9.6 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- CLASSIFIED – Click For Details & Tips
- 8 Ft Wall 10.7 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Rope Climb 10.8 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Dunk/Slip Wall 10.9 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Barb Wire Crawl #2 11.1 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- CLASSIFIED – Click For Details & Tips
- Rope Swing 12.3 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Fire Jump Pit 12.4 Miles – Click For Details & Tips
- Typical basic walls, but it is the first obstacle and you might be still tight so play it safe!
- This was basically a “hurdle” – Looked like a few 2×4’s glue together! Remember I said play it safe since it was still early? Well as I flopped over it I am not sure what I did, but I tweaked my lower back and the next 10 minutes were not so fun!… the race just started! “Make sure you do a REAL Warm Up! More on that in the “what I would do differently section!“
- Just what you think… rolling hills of snow! sounds easy enough, but slippery and your feet sink here and there. You have to use a lot more energy to stay stable and not slip. I was real cautious on the snow and made sure I had control whenever I ran through it. TIPS: Go slow and stay in control… use foot holds from other racers… look for dirt instead if you can.
- Last year I failed this one and was on a mission to not fail!! This time they had the logs and what I think was a 2×4 turned sideways.
TIPS:Usually your best bet is to hop on one and just move quick and let momentum take you through. With the 2×4 part I was slow the first few and really wanted to get my balance. As soon as I got off the 2×4 and back onto the logs and went real quick to finish. If you can just take a few tries stepping up on the first log just to get your bearings and balance then attack!
- Over Under Through. Over a wall, under a wall through a wall. Pretty basic, but again you can pull a muscle any time.
TIPS:This might sound silly but when you climb over the first wall they are not very high. I have seen this many times and done it ONCE. People will hop over and put the instep of their foot on the wall. You need to be careful. It is very slipper and like I said I have seen it and done it once where you foot slides out and your groin is not very happy! Be cautious and go slow!
- Grrr… I was really mad about this one! Basically there is a long bar hanging with a chain at each end… you go across the bar, then there are about hmmm maybe 4 lengths of ropes with knots you swing across to get to another long hanging bar!
- Well I made it to the final hanging rope and it was about 6 inches lower and I could just not reach the long bar!! FAIL
- Next Time Tips: This goes for most obstacles you have never seen or done. Take 30 -60 seconds and watch how other people are succeeding or failing and copy the people succeeding lol. I should have grabbed the rope with two hands and pulled up, but by that time I was gassed so I fell… and then I did BURPEES!!!
- Hercules Hoist – This one is always a bit deceiving. Since I was in the elite heat the ropes were actually dry. In the past they have always been wet and muddy which means you have to grip even harder! Basically there is a rope thrown up over one of the ski lift lines on a pully. It is attached to a sand bag… I believe 105lb for men and 75lb for women. You have to hoist it to the top and let it back down slowly.
TIPS: You want to use your body weight for sure! Grab as high as you can with both hands and use your body weight and upper body to pull it down to the ground. Once you are on the ground be sure to reach up with one hand then get the other in line and pull with both arms, not just one. If you use both arms it is much easier. I see a lot of people trying to alternate with one arm and it just doesn’t work.
- YES!! If you saw my awesome makeshift spear on Facebook then you know I have issues 😉 But… those issues save me from BURPEES!!! So I am now 3 for 4 in the spearthrow
- TIPS: In the past I would always try to balance the spear with just a bit more weight in the back which is still true. I would try to toss it like a big dart which somewhat worked, but after messing around yesterday I figured a few things out. First: Yes balance the spear with a bit more weight in the back. Second:Don’t close your hand completely over the spear you want to hold it where your almost your thumb, pointer, and middle finger are wrapping it “don’t hold it like a dart!” Third: If you try to throw it like a baseball or football it will go sideways real fast “I am sure you have experienced this”. What I found since turning your wrist like a typical ball throw is natural you almost have to turn your wrist the opposite way as you are letting go. So really you want to hold your straight, but you can think up almost turning your thumb under your hand if that makes sense. I will try to make a video.
Clif Monkey Bars
- Rocked em! I have to say my upper body strength was on point! My pull up game is way up. “Tips to increase pull ups?” –
- TIPS: The key really is to keep your arms bent at 90 degrees. I am lucky in this because I am tall and have long arms. In the past I had just stretched my arms and made my way across. If I did not have long arms I would have failed. This year because I have really improved my pull up game, I was able to go arms bent 90 degrees the whole way and it was cake! Start doing those pull ups!
- Grrr…. FAILED. This was a new one! Last year when the wall was straight I made it across for the first time. This time as soon as I got to the first bend I fell off.
TIPS: With this your really need to watch and see what others are doing successfully. You can also practice before hand on the walls they usually have set up. Really just have to try it a few times
- This was really just a big bail of hay to roll over. It smelled like barn! I liked it.
- Oh man this is always a tough one! You are going to burn up that grip strength and your quads!! You get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with gravel… just about to the top. You then have to carry it up the mountain and down the mountain. This year it seemed longer and was def tough. I have some good tips though that have helped me get through this.
TIPS: I saw a lot of people putting the bucket down or stopping and just holding it. It takes a lot of energy to get the bucket back up or just stand there holding it. What I like to do is almost get in a lunge position and hold the bucket on my one leg. Give a 10 second rest then start up again. I just do that until I make it. BONUS TIP! On the downhill part you can do the same thing just make sure you turn around and face up hill doing it.
- This was a new one! Looked like the top of a wheel barrel with a sandbag in it. You pulled it to you with the rope then you had to drag it bag. Oh and it was in snow! Got pretty slippery trying to pull that thing back!!
TIPS: Use 2 hands to pull rope and body weight as best you can!!
Barb Wire Crawl #1
- Length of mud… some barb wire, now crawl under it! This is where it sucks to be bigger lol…. Also I was wearing my camelbak and decided to just keep it on. Not the best idea. Got caught a lot and force me to stay lower the whole time! And… yes it is real barbwire and it cuts and makes you bleed.
TIPS: You can army crawl, you can do dive bombers, you can even roll. It all depends what feels best to you. I see a lot of people roll, but I just get dizzy lol. I like to just army crawl with some dive bomber combos. It can be pretty tough on your knees! Next time I am where something that goes below the knees I think.
- Hills of rolling mud….
- This year it seemed a lot longer, but not as hard as in the past. The sandbags did not feel as heavy either. Maybe I just so much stronger now 😉 I was walking next to a guy who had one eye! So hey if you are reading this great work man!!! Usually you are carrying the sandbag up and down the mountain, but this year it was all over trails and what not.
TIPS:I see people carrying it on their heads… homie don’t play that lol. Just not comfortable to me. I like to alternate shoulders and try to keep some of the weight more towards my back. You can always carry it will both arms if you need a break from the shoulders. Just switch it up and make your way!
- XRAY 100 – 8361… phew! No burpees for me! I have never done this one before. There is a big chart and you have to match the last digits of your bib number to a phrase and then memorize the phrase for a later obstacle. If you cannot repeat it correctly 30 burpees coming up! I actually starting to move on and went back to check and had the numbers switched up. Glad I checked.
TIPS:However you best memorize do it! Associate it with something somehow. I just kept thinking about how bad it would suck to do burpees because I forget a few numbers. The hard part is you don’t know when it is coming.. a few people would mention whats your number and then you would go oh crud…. lol.
- I remembered doing this at Tough Mudder and I really jumped into it hard and tweaked my shoulders. That was like 30 minutes into the race!! Basically this is a wall that is inverted, but at least there are 2x4s you can step on for leverage.
TIPS:Watch video to the right, but take advantage of the 2×4’s and get a good hold with your hands and feet.
- I had a date with this one! I was determined to pass it! My first Super Spartan I tore up my ankles so bad on this one and then fell into the murky stinky creek! God only knows how many other peoples flesh and blood were all up in that rope lol!! This year I made it, thanks to compression socks lol! The idea is there is a rope going across and you have to shimmy across it and ring the bell in the middle. I saw people doing it on top which looked cool, but I was not trying that.
TIPS:I had watched some videos on how to do this. Basically you are supposed to move with alternating leg/arm. So you reach with your right arm and move your left leg, then your left arm and right leg and so on and so on. Of course this is a tough one to practice. I got about 3 feet before I kept locking up my legs! Not as easy as it seems. I even had my legs let go and had to leg raise my feet back up! CORE WORK!!! Since I had the compression socks on I noticed I could slide and not destroy my ankles so that is how I made it.
- Log Flip… I think??
8 Ft Wall
- Same as 7ft wall just bigger 😉 Follow tips from that and try harder.
- Thank God for knots in the rope! hahaha… I am 2 for 2 with the rope climb. First time I had no clue and was so tired, the other time I had ran the Super Spartan jacked up on Day Quil and by the end I was done!! The last 2 times I was just more prepared and had more upper body strength, but in reality if you learn how to climb rope properly it is all form and using your legs. I still have yet to kick the bell with my foot! Some day. The rope climb is always at the end of the race right next to all the spectators, so it feels good to get some cheers and pumped up, but also intermediating to mess up, then have to do burpees in front of them!
TIPS:If you have access to climb a rope then take advantage of it. The ropes at Spartan have the knots I would say every 3 or 4 feet so you can use your feet to push off, but it does take a bit of practice. For me at 6’3″ I really have to pull my legs up and grip the knots. By then your arms are pretty tired, so just hang on and use those legs. Hit the bell, then come down SLOWLY!! Trust me you do not want to just let go or slide fast down the rope. Stay slow and controlled and you will do great. One thing I did was grab a training rope and hung it over my pull up bar. I practice just sitting on the ground and climbing it with my hands. It gives you great grip strength and gets you stronger since you are only pulling up half your weight.
Barb Wire Crawl #2
- Up hill…. snow covered? What could possibly go wrong?! As I made my way to the second barb wired crawl I took off my camelbak and made my way for the side where I saw that about half way up the snow cleared and turned to mud! Hindsight:should have stuck with the snow!! The barb wire was def hire so I could have left the camelbak on, but all good! The snow was cold of course, but a few minutes in you numb up and don’t feel much. That was the bad part when I hit the mud! Just grinding my knees into the mud and not feeling a thing. I knew I would not feel it the
- GRRR…. I was really looking forward to swinging like Tarzan across this, but that didn’t happen! I remember looking at the rope and where the one knot was and thinking if I grab and pull my legs up I will be fine. I should have reached hire! As soon as I got to the middle I caught the water and that was it! 30 burpees a few 100 yards from the finish! I was so mad and one woman there was like be happy you made it etc… She was right, but I still wanted to pass that one! The good thing was that I found another piece to my camel back I had lost LOL!
TIPS:Reach as high as you can, pull up your legs and go for it! Don’t have the rope between your legs either!
Fire Jump Pit
- Jump over the logs and jump into the pit, then hit the finish line! Doesn’t get better than that!! Only thing better would be having someone waiting at the finish line I actually know 🙁
TIPS:Don’t fall on the fire logs lol. Also… call me whatever you want, but I never jump into any water pits or anything I can’t see the bottom of. So be careful jumping into the pit.
My Gear & Nutrition “Lots of new goodies!”
- Wow! So I am sure you all know if you have searched for…. what to eat the day of Spartan Race… what to eat during a Spartan Beast… after the race… do I need hydration… what gu gels do I need…. should I bring a bacon cheeseburger for protein… do I wear gloves, knee pads, shorts, pants… I think you get the point!! You will get a lot of different ideas from everyone you talk to. Sometimes you just have to go with it and learn from experience. I am learning a bit more each time.
- GEAR: This year gear wise I was rocking some new stuff!
- Sneakers:I grabbed a pair of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31. The last 3 years I wore the same pair lol of Nike Pegasus 28’s! I didn’t really train in them just ran races… I retired them this year. They had been through… 3 Super Spartans, 2 5k Rugged Maniacs, and 2 Tough Mudders, and one Sprint Triathlon!! Not bad! I decided to go with a newer pair and they really held up great. They have some good grip on the bottom, but after seeing what most people are wearing these days I may get a new pair of shoes made for obstacle racing… like these… click here I saw a lot of the inov8 brand and reebok! I can’t really say I had issues with my sneakers though. The big thing is I do a lot of my running on the pavement so the obstacle racing sneakers are not the best for that so its a give and take. All what you like etc…
- Hydration Pack:I was going back and forth about getting one of these. Some people were saying yes, others were saying no, it will weigh you down, get stuck on barb wire etc…. then I said to myself. Who cares!! I am not going to win this race! I just want to survive LOL! Why on earth would I not carry a pack that gives me what I need. I mean if an extra 4lbs is going to slow me down and hold me up I am screwed anyway!! So I ended up getting the Camelbak Rogue Hydration Pack. I was looking for a slimmer one, but it was all that had at the sporting goods store. It ended up working out great! It had room for gu gels and then some. Even had granola bar tucked in there! Oh I even had a pair of thin work gloves smushed in there which of course I never used. It was nice to know I had stuff just in case. It holds 70 ounces of water, but I only filled it up a little more than half way with a mix… which I will get to soon. Of course towards the end I ran out of water lol and lost the yellow valve piece that hooks the mouth piece the strap and shuts the opening, BUT of course I found somebody elses towards the end of the race laying in the mud so problem solved! All in all a good experience. I also did one practice run the week before with it on to make sure it wasn’t going to chafe me or drive me nuts!
- Compression Socks: Do they really work? What do they do? Well I was pretty skeptical about them too. If you do you research there is not that much evidence out there to the fact of what the companies all claim, but I think you should definitely give them a shot and see how they work for you. Now of course being last minute I grabbed a pair at the store. The only ones they had were 2XU Recovery Socks so I figured what is the difference and grabbed them… truth be told it is all the same material, but these had more material in the toe and heel. They are really hard to put on and TIGHT! I was nervous as to how my legs would get blood to them, but the idea is to actually keep the blood from pooling. Anyways long story short I did a 6 mile run in them and they were GREAT! The only thing I did not like was my feet were slipping in my sneakers way to much on the trails/hills. Big NONO! So I was not sure if it was just that they were new or they really were “recovery” socks and the extra toe/heal material was causing it. I did not want to chance it come race day so what did I do? I cut off the sock area wore my normal Nike Dri-Fit socks and used the calf part ;-). It worked great!
- Side Note: I sit a lot during the day and I actually wore the socks a few days at the office and I have to site that is where they really shined for me. What a difference at the end of the day! At about $50 not the best for just sitting there. I was reading the ones you can get at the local pharmacy are just as good for that.
- Clothing:I typically always wear more or less the same. Under Armor Shorts, Under Armor Tshirt or Long sleeve. This time around I wore the shorts and the long sleeve wit the Tshirt over it. With a 7:30 AM start it was in the 40’s, but it ended up being in the 80’s. Can’t really say that I was hot though and having the long sleeves really cut down on all the scrapes, can’t say that for my knees 😉 Almost wore tight running pants, but did not want to,but going forward I need to figure something out for knee protection. These scabby, oozing, stingy knees are old news LOL!!
What I would have done differently
- I will try to cover all those things you say to yourself while you are trying to finish the race! Also in the section below I will go over some more beginner type stuff if you have never done a race or starting to prepare.
- Training:So this being my 4th time doing a Spartan at Mt Creek I say to myself…”Why did I not do more hiking up mountains!” Truth is unless you are a BEAST you are not going to be running up the mountains! You will be hiking up them, hopefully fast! So find a mountain or stairs, or a stairmaster at the gym and get some time on it! I wish I had put a good solid hour or two a few times just hiking up and down a few mountains or stairs. I did do a good amount of hilly running, but these mountains are a lot steeper.
- LEG Work: I also would have done a few extreme type workouts a few weeks out.. something like lunge a mile… yes a mile! or death by burpees “burpee a mile”! Yea for real! If you can get one or two of those under your belt your legs will be pretty solid! Again I did feel pretty good except for cramping, but I know if I would have gotten some steep hill hiking and done some lunge/burpee miles I would have been in a better place!
- WarmUp: This is another one that I say to myself 5 minutes into the race. WHY DIDN’T YOU PROPERLY WARMUP!! I have read what people do to warm up, heck Hobie Call does a 40 minute warmup. Usually I do a few things… jumping jacks, running in place, some stretching. I guess it is just the excitement and wanting to get going, but DUH you gotta warm up. You gotta break a sweat. Trust me a 10-15 min warmup is not going to kill your race. If it was you are screwed anyway! This race since it was so cold I didn’t feel warmed up till about 35-40 minutes into the race!
- Tapering: You have probably read about tapering all over the internet. Everyone has something else to say and for good reason! This is one of those things I will mention a lot on my site. You gotta know YOURSELF! What works for one maybe not work for you… anyways! For me I always feel like I haven’t done enough then I do something stupid and don’t feel 100% come race day! I think I finally have a good handle on it for “myself”! I over did it before last years sprint triathlon and was not where I needed to be. For the Beast I think I may have peaked the Sunday before race day lol. Ugh…. On the Wednesday before the race I did a slow mile on the treadmill where I stopped every 1/4 then did some pull ups, push ups etc.. small variation of this here… I should have really just rested… did an insanity warmup and some light stretching. I did not feel 100% going into the race. Hindsight I am going to try and really my extreme workouts the 3rd week out then a good taper week 2nd week out then the week of some very light warmups/stretching and prob few yoga workouts the mon/tues then rest up for race day! Again you gotta know your body and test things out.
- Diet: I felt like nutrition for the race day was good! I had mentioned cramping up a lot at about mile 6. Never fun. I really thought I was going to have to be carried off the mountain. I have never felt my legs like that before. My quads would tighten… I would take a break stretch, get going then the hamstrings where I almost had to walk with my legs straight! LOL! I heard a lot of people say they were cramping so I really don’t know if it was the early cold morning or lack of salt etc… I had tried a new product called GQ6 FLOOID which seemed to have all the stuff I needed, so who really knows. Not sure if a salt packet or a mustard pack “which I saw a ton of on the mountain” would have helped more or not. One thing I was reading is sometimes drinking more water can deplete you of the sodium and I did drink a lot of water at the stations and via the pack so who really knows. If anyone out there knows more about it I would love to hear your take.
- That is really it for what I would have done differently. I am sure I missed a few things, but I can’t remember it all!
Tips for beginners of obstacle racing
- First I want to say… congrats! You either just signed up for an upcoming race and are scared to death or you just finished one and now you are looking to sign up to every race you can find. I know the feeling 😉
- So after you read the rest of this and God bless you if you made it this far on this post I want you to check out my 5k Obstacle Training guide which goes over a lot of good info and lays out a nice 5k WOD I like to do.
Remember what works for someone may not be the right thing for you! You are going to read a ton of stuff online! Just because it is online does not mean it is Gospel truth! People will say anything lol. Heck I am just a Dad who likes to put my experiences out here because I know when I am searching the whackiest things about obstacle racing and I find a site where the person has the answer I needed, it was all worth it! So I hope I can help you. Feel free to ask questions/comment below.
- Take a step back and really look at your current fitness level. When is the last time you sweat? Do you only sweat in the summer when it is hot walking from air conditioned buildings lol? Not being mean, just being realistic. If you sign up for a 8 mile race that is in 3-4 weeks and you haven’t worked out in 10 years, that is probably not the best idea!
- Since I cannot know your true fitness level or history I would say you would want a good solid 6 weeks to get ready. I think for a 5k obstacle race that is totally doable even if you have not done much. It might be stretching it for a bigger race, but might be enough if you have been somewhat hitting the gym and staying in shape.
- Running:When I signed up for my first Super Spartan I thought it was like a 5k warrior dash thing. My buddy didn’t tell me it was an 8+ mile race…”oh which was the first at Mt Creek and was just short of 12 miles” ha! I had not ran a mile in probably 5 years and had done 1 5k years before that which almost killed me! I ran 1 mile that weekend and felt like I was gonna die!! Now being an athlete most of my younger years and always staying pretty active I knew I could get ready. So basically if you go out and run a mile for the first time and feel horrible don’t worry. It will pass! You get a few more under your belt and you will actually enjoy it! I never would have thought I would go run a 5k for fun or push 5-6 mile runs. Pretty cool!
- With that said… I was so focused on the running part for my first Spartan I didn’t really work on HIIT workouts. You know High Intensity Interval Training, like Crossfit type stuff. I still remember hitting the first obstacle and feeling completely drained and that was the FIRST one!! This was because I was doing more running and other steady state cardio, but nothing that had me pushing to my limits!
- When you are training get uncomfortable, push yourself to where you think you have to stop, but don’t. That is the stuff that will get you through it. I am not saying running is not important. You have to run and get that time on your legs and that cardio, but you need to find the happy balance.
- Workouts/Lifting: Depending on what race you are going after can really alter the training. If you can find a crossfit gym or any other type of gym that offers training like that you will be on your way. Even if you follow the 5k Wod I linked to before that will get you there. The other thing is Pull Ups! Go and buy a PULL UP BAR! Then read my post on how to increase your pullups and make it happen. I know you hate pull ups or you say you cannot do them. Listen my whole life I was able to do 1 pull up maybe 2! At 6’3″ 215-220lbs pullups are not that easy, but I can bang out 8-10 now and that has made obstacle racing a lot easier! You will be doing a lot of pulling yourself up and over things, hanging from things etc… so get your PULL-UPS on now!
- Gear:Listen you can go online and buy everything under the sun or you can use what you have. People used to play basketball in Chuck Taylors lol so you can finish the race in pretty much everything, but having the right stuff will definitely help!