A few months back, a co-worker of mine convinced me to join my company's Spartan Race team. He didn't talk it up much: he mentioned it's a long-ish run with a few fun obstacles. You know, no big deal. Something someone who runs as much as me should complete more than easily (read, you don't really need to train for it). Ha ha ha.
Enter, the Super Spartan race: 10 miles of grueling up-and-down trail running interjected by 29 insane upper-body obstacles, which, if failed, send you to the burpee zone (where your punishment is 30 burpees). Did I mention I did not train for this? :)
For someone who had never done a single burpee in her life, the bumper sticker that you get at the end that says: "Buck furpees" feels like the epitome of this experience. Some of the "fun" obstacles included: jumping over 6ft, 7ft and 8ft walls, crawling in a creek under barb wire, crawling up a muddy hill under barb wire, carrying 30 lbs of rocks up and down a hill, lifting 60-ish lbs of weights up a good 30-40 feet, swinging on a rope over a mud pool (which I sadly/hilariously did not clear), crawling over cargo net with nothing but 30 feet of air under you, rope-climbing, wall-climbing, weight-pulling, and even testing of your memory (LIMA 809-2934 - I still remember it but the tricksters never even asked for it!).
My thought process progressed following a perhaps recognizable pattern for those who have done similar races before:
Mile 3 - this is fun! I can keep doing this for a while... look at all the other people having fun too! Mile 4 (right after my first 30 burpees) - uh oh, my arms aren't very happy with me - let's hope there aren't any other upper-body obstacles (so naive...). Mile 4.2 (right after my next upper-body obstacle) - I am not going to make it...Mile 5 - But wait, I am more than half-way done!!! I can do this! Mile 5.1 - I am only half way done. This is insane! ...You get the point... :)
But in the end, I have to say this was all well worth the pain, both physical and psychological! The camaraderie of sharing the experience, combined with the adrenaline and gorgeous hill country landscapes will certainly make my first Super Spartan one to remember.
PS: If you ever want to do a Spartan Race AND you value your ability to get out of bed the next morning (and a few mornings after that), start practicing burpees ( now :).