continued from Part 1
She neglected to mention that there were actually two “next” hills. The first wasn’t so bad, but then it was back down and back way, way up. Near the bottom, it was close to flat and two guys caught up with me. It was here that the ground held a fascinating array of old bones. I tried for a Monty Python reference, Look at the bones, man! But they didn’t get it so I said they were the bones of mine enemies .
Then it got really steep, and one of them fell behind. He kept stopping to catch his breath or something. I didn’t stop. I turned my feet out and duck walked, short little steps. I beat one guy up that hill anyway.
Next was the Herc hoist. I wasn’t too worried about this one, but I wasn’t counting on being able to complete it. I eyed the bags and chose a rope to pull. I gave it an experimental tug to get a feel for the weight. It wasn’t all that heavy for me. I didn’t even need to lay down to pull it up. I just grabbed it, squatted real low, and then walked my hands up the rope. Repeat. I did step on the rope once I’d pulled enough of it down so I could have a failsafe for grip failure. But it was a really undramatic obstacle for me.
The spearmen were next. I had no high hopes for this one. I picked a strawbale to throw at and then the wind picked up. I wanted to wait until it died down a bit, but it refused. So I took a few steps back and heaved the spear.
30 more burpees. Then more running downhill past a photographer.
After getting down off the hill was the next obstacle. I kind of thought I might be able to do Olympus, which is a tilted wall that needs to be traversed by a variety of handholds without touching the ground. I had watched a video that advised using the chains so as to keep the feet at a right angle to the wall. I tried that, but my legs were no longer in any shape to do things. I managed to hop myself over about four handholds in and then dropped. 30 more burpees for me.
I wasn’t worried about the Atlas Carry, because I can pick things up and carry them. Sure, it might be a bit heavy, but I could do it. And I did. For this one, you have to pick the heavy stone up, walk it a set distance, put it down, do 5 burpees, then bring it back. Bringing it back was a lot harder after those burpees, but I did it without incident.
Next was the barbed wire crawl. Apparently, last year they sprayed this section with water. Not this year. A bone dry, dusty barbed wire crawl for me. And I did crawl. A lot of people rolled, but I’m short enough that I could stay below the wire and just crawl along at a good pace – faster than the rollers. It wasn’t entirely pleasant on my knees, but I did it. And I was super glad to have the gloves for my hands.
Next was the 7 foot wall. I gave it a try without using the kicker, and although I did manage to grasp at the top of the wall, I couldn’t hold onto it. So onto the kicker I went. From there I was able to get my forearms up, then my ankle. And I was working on scooting my hips closer to my ankle to finish when someone gave me a push. Fine by me. I finished getting up and over and thanked her.
Then came the monkey bars. I can do monkey bars now, though I never could as a child. But these are not monkey bars. These are freakin gorilla bars. The bars are wider around than my wrists. It just isn’t built for me – at least not at the level of strength I’m at now. Still. I gave them a try. I got from the first bar to the second. Second to third went up, and I managed to grab the third with one hand only to lose my grasp and swing back to the second and thence to the ground.
30 more burpees. Ugh.
But the rope climb was next. I can climb a rope! I’ve done it at Crossfit. Often! And I only had to do it once here. No problem, right? Right???
These ropes were made of special super-slick cotton or something. I could hardly grab onto them. I grabbed on, wrapped my foot and stepped up twice. On the third attempt to re-wrap my foot, my hand slipped and I slid down that rope, burning my fingers and tearing skin away from my left index finger. It hurt a lot, but I was going to give it another try while wearing the gloves – until I tried wrapping my foot again and got a cramp. So I went and did 30 more burpees instead. Very disappointing.
There were some people ahead of my on the A Frame Cargo climb hung up at the top. I couldn’t figure out why. I just went right on up and right on down. That one was fun. I could do it all day.
Then more mud, where Ambrose finally had the camera phone out. He kept telling me how to do it and I wanted to do it my way but I was too tired not to give into his nagging (which may have been correct but who’s counting?).
The dunk wall was a welcome respite from the heat and dirt. And then I jumped over the fire. I was surprised they had real fire this year, because I saw in videos from last year that they had hay bales, presumably because of fire restrictions.
And that was it. I crossed the finish line. I accepted my medal, a FitAid, a banana and a Clif bar. I walked through the corrals to collect my t-shirt. I found Ambrose in the festival area and he led me to a place to sit down and eat and drink.
Then I took a few minutes to bawl because of the pure emotional overload of having set out to do and then having done something so very difficult. I was never supposed to be the kind of person who did these things. I was supposed to be the one who watched and wished. And now I’m doing. I’m doing so many things that I could never have imagined I was capable of. So I cried. And then I ate my banana and drank my FitAid and Ambrose bought me a snow cone.
I got my victory picture taken. I did several poses, ending with some truly Spartan yelling that the photographer loved – he even told the pair that had posed before me that I was doing it right.
I changed clothes and finished the snow cone and we walked back to the car. I kept my hands above my head the entire drive home because that and clutching the Gatorade bottle were the only ways to keep them from burning unbearably.
Absolutely worth it. I will be back.