This past Saturday (11/9/13), I completed the Carolinas Spartan Beast. Some of the races I’ve done in the past include: the Warrior Dash (x2), the USMC Mud Run (x6), a Tough Mudder, and a half-marathon. I did pretty well in those. However, this was by far the hardest race I’ve ever done. I ended up finishing with a time 3:53:13. I’m a little disappointed with this, but apparently it was good enough to be in the top 1/3. I’m pretty content with that placing and am proud I was able to finish such a grueling race.
I thought the hardest part was the course itself. It seemed like at least 1/3 of the course was steep hills; I felt like I was trekking up mountains. I noticed how many people were just absolutely spent and were force to walk up all the hills in the last few miles of the race. Also, it seemed like a couple of miles were in narrow hiking trails where you can’t really run or pass anybody :(
As far as the obstacles go, I failed the transverse wall, spear throw (I mean how many people can actually practice throwing spears!?), and rope climb. My mini-goal was to do less than 100 burpees, so I accomplished that one, haha.
Random thoughts about some of the obstacles:
The gravel bucket one (I don’t remember what it was called): This is the one that made me want to quit. You had to fill up a 5-gallon (I think?) bucket with gravel, and then go up and down this hill. I’m not very strong upper body-wise, so this one took me like 15 or 20 minutes and like 5 or 6 breaks. I was ecstatic when I finally got to the end of this one.
The rope climb: I got to the second to last knot…where I got stuck for like a minute. I needed to rest my arms, but my Vibrams kept slipping on the knot below me. I realized how high and how exhausted I was. I felt like if I made it to the top, I wouldn’t have anything left to ease my way back down. I kind of gave up on this one, not wanting to risk a big fall/injury.
The rope across the river: Of course people have different strengths and weaknesses, but I don’t really understand why so many people (the same people that I noticed were doing well on the other, “harder” obstacles) had difficulty with this one. You hook your leg on the rope, then pull and shimmy your away horizontally across until you reach the bell. I feel like it doesn’t require that much strength or agility compared to the other obstacles on the course?
The cargo net cross: I loved how this was over the entrance to the race; brilliant, small touch with the course design! I really wanted to roll across, but there were too many people when I got there.
Tranverse Wall: I got about halfway through this one. I didn’t really understand where to put my hands and how to grip the wood. Or maybe it’s just that my grip strength sucks?
Fire Jump & Gladiator Arena: Fun and awesome way to end the race! Although I felt so exhausted I was afraid the gladiators might’ve actually knocked me over, haha.
I was reading someone else’s post, and they talked about how it felt like the Spartan Beast seemed more about the course itself, and the obstacles felt tacked on as if they were an afterthought. I have to say I agree with this statement. I felt like I’d go 30 or 40 minutes between obstacles. Cardio-wise I never really felt like I was too out of breath, my body, specifically my legs(!), were just too depleted from all the hills and elevation changes.
I also think there wasn’t much balance with the type of obstacles. There’s too many that rely on straight up brute strength/muscular endurance (ie, gravel bucket, pancake/sandbag carry, cement block drag, log flip, Herculean Hoist, etc.).
Overall I’m extremely happy with what I accomplished and I think the Spartan Beast was really well done, but I don’t really feel like I had much fun during the race. I thought the Tough Mudder had a better balance of difficulty, fun, distance, type of obstacles, etc.