Back to the Beginning: Indiana Spartan Sprint 2014

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This race each year will always be my benchmark. I have been an athlete for two years now.

I grabbed breakfast at the hotel with some of my fellow Hurricane Heaters from the night before, picked up my team T shirt for the race, found a new carrier for the traveling jersey, and found the man I had agreed to battle-buddy through the course.

We assembled in the starting corral, were given a rousing sendoff by the MC and the heads of Corn Fed Spartans, and we were off.

The first little bit was fun but not particularly notable, hilly trails, the typical over-under-through and medium-height wall obstacles, all cleared without a problem. The first item of note was the bog that we had done the Braveheart charge across the night before.

A foot of water over 3 feet of slop, nearly impossible to walk through. I found it easier to drop to all fours and half crawl half swim my way through it. We slowed to a walk for a bit after that, but as the mud dried we were able to increase to a shuffle along the trails.

The barbed wire crawl on this course was a mess. Slick clay mud, uphill, sloppy beyond anything I can describe. On one particularly difficult slope, we ended up with a system of 5 people to get the job done: the person moving up the slope has one person pushing from below and one person pulling from above. Each of these people has another to anchor them from sliding back down the hill. 

My battle buddy and I got through the worst of it and each stayed a few minutes helping those behind us before moving on.

Next big obstacle was the inverse wall, my favorite. I did not do quite as epic a job on helping others on this as I did in Vegas, but we helped a few over before clearing it ourselves.

We then had to climb the ladders to the structure above the rope climb, walk across open slats to the other side, and climb down. This is my zone, I am very comfortable with things like this, so I stopped to help steady a young lady who was stopped in fear of the height. “Easy. Walk normally. These slats aren’t really wide enough to fall through.”

Got her to the far side, then down and waded across a pond. The bank where we had to get out was too sheer to climb, but the racers ahead of us offered a hand and got us out. We then turned around to help those behind us, and a friend passing (a big guy referred to as the Bling King) made a joke of trying to pull me back in. It was all in fun, he kept me from falling, I helped him out, and we moved on to the cargo net, which we cleared without issue.

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Memories of order get a little fuzzy in mid-course. Typical obstacles, tractor pull, sandbag carry.

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At the monkey bars, we both wanted to have a go at seeing how far we could get before needing assistance, but doubted whether we would have time to get a spotter in place before losing grip, so we just said screw it and assisted each other across.

More steep trails, mud pits, helping one racer retrieve her shoe from the mud, and came to the final volley of obstacles.

The Hercules hoist was much heavier this time, 115 pounds. I had to revert to dropping my body weight to get it up, but I got it done.

We went on to the rope climb. I had spent all my grip strength on the hoist, so I made it about 5 feet up the rope. 3×10 burpees and on to the traverse wall. I explained to my battle how to spot me across, made it, then went back and spotted him.

People in front of us were having a rough time of the slick wall. I made it up and over, and spent probably 10 minutes helping those behind me. And I was lucky enough to have it caught on camera, in the upper left corner.

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I told the last man I helped over to help the man behind him so I could go and climbed down. I made eye contact with my battle, yelled, “Talley ho!” and we charged across the fire and the finish line.

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As always, a great time and a good challenge. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for me next year.

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