lessons learned at the Spartan Ultra Beast

By SOLO

It is Monday after the race weekend, and I am fighting my standard post-race blues. After packing and repacking, pacing and obsessing, shopping and prepping, and then packing some more, it almost feels weird not to have all my thoughts occupied with the Ultra Beast.

I completed the race in 11 hours and 32 minutes, covering over 26 miles, and finishing 10th for women. My goal for this race was to make top ten… So, check!

Total registered: 386
Male: 322
Female: 64

Started: 345
Finished: 152 (44%)

Male finishers: 133
Female finishers: 19

Here are few lessons learned…

1) The hardest part of the race is not what you’d think.
No, it was not the brutal climb. No, it was not the “swim-out-climb-the-ladder-fail-miserably-swim-to-shore-do-burpees” obstacle. The hardest part was taking off my sweater at the start line. And after that, the hardest part was actually taking off again for the second lap… Being AT the finish line, starting to run in the opposite direction towards another six hours of misery.

2) You can be miserable and happy at the same time.
I look ridiculously happy in my racing pictures. Like totally deliriously crazy “what is she taking?” happy… And dare I say, this was… fun? Even though, I totally hated it. 🙂

3) It can always be worse.
We ran across the racers doing the Team Death race. Teams of four had to complete the Spartan Beast course with two 75lb sand bags per team. That was ONE of the nine challenges, they had to complete. So yeah, the Ultra Beast sounds like a walk in the park. “Death Racers?”, I ask, passing yet another group. “Morons”, he replies, with a smile.

4) You are never the craziest one.
About an hour into the race, I caught up and chatted with Jeff Foster, the Tire Guy. It was about 9am, and he was on his third lap. Yep. He started at 10pm the night before, and did two laps before we even started racing. Last year, Jeff and his brother completed the Spartan Beast with a huge tire. Enough said. And you guys thought I was crazy…

5) Spartan men are real gentlemen.
While some obstacle events are touted as challenges, not races, all the Spartan events are races. We are there to do our best. And yet when my hydration pack snagged on the barb wire multiple times, there was a racer behind me who stopped and took the time to unhook me. And yet when the walls got taller throughout the race (both literally and metaphorically), until I couldn’t tackle them by myself, there was a racer behind me to offer a hand, or a knee, or push me up. If you do not believe in Mr. Prince Charming, you should try the Spartan course.

6) Size matters.
Last, but not least… Did you see the SIZE of that freaking medal? Totally over the top medal for a totally over the top race. And it glows in the dark. And I have one.

Signing off,
SOLO, the FEMALE Ultra Beast

🙂

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Posted September 24, 2012

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