Continued from Part 1.

After that came the Atlas Carry. Big ol’ stone to carry, put down, do 5 burpees and then bring back. Not too bad. I was able to lift the stone much more easily than last year and the only bad thing about the burpees was that my shirt was still wet, so I made a muddy mess down my front on the first rep and every time I jumped up I’d splatter mud everywhere. It was fun.

Then we came upon the Spear Throw. No hay bales this year; instead we had foam type targets with Spartan logos on them. I watched some others from my team go first. One of them even got away with two tries, but still didn’t make it. When I finally had my turn, I totally made the distance, but I was off to the right. So, I went to the penalty area and did my 30 burpees. And my adopted team waited patiently for me to finish – it probably helped that there was a water station right there, so they had something to do while waiting.

The course then made its way down the hill a bit to the Bucket Carry. The Bucket Carry was basically the same as last year, but in a very different spot. We got to climb up, then down, then back up again while carrying the bucket. And the terrain wasn’t exactly even, so I ended up trying to put more weight on my right arm so I could look around the bucket on the left to see my footing. Also, the guy in front of me gave some warnings when there were dips or roots sticking out.

I wasn’t going to let that bucket go.

No way, no how. 

Next came the Slip Wall. The course was still on a downhill, and the wall itself was kind of tilted. Like, the right side was uphill from the left side. So it was a bit awkward feeling to climb up it, but not a problem for me. I did use the rope a fair amount, but that’s what it’s there for.

And then, another nemesis. The Inverted Wall. Last year, I couldn’t do this one, and it was right near the beginning of the course. I remember trying to do what I’d seen in videos, to get myself crouched on the underside and then spring up and grab the top. But last year, I couldn’t do it. I tried a couple times and my fingers just wouldn’t grasp the top. That time, I got help from a stranger. This time, I had a team standing by to help me.

But I didn’t need the help. I got myself onto that wall and gave a mighty jump. My hands reached all the way to the top edge of the wall and I held on. I got my legs up and over almost before I realized what I was doing. More than any other obstacle, I think this one proves to me how much I’ve improved since last year. Because it’s the exact same test, and this time, I passed.

We decided to do some running – so it would be like we’d been running the whole time – as we came down to the area where the spectators could approach the course. I thought I’d see Ambrose there, but I didn’t. So I walked up to the Multi-Rig with my team. First, I went to the far right, but there was a bit of a line and I wanted to get going, so I went to the far left. It was at the sides where there were extra steps to make the rings easier for short folk to reach.

I’m walking over to the other side of the rig here.

Getting a handle on the first ring in the background.

Starting my journey through the rings. 

Once I got started, it was almost easy. I swung from one to the next, paused with hands on both rings to get my momentum going before the next reach. I made sure of my grip before I let go. And I made it all the way to the end pretty quickly.

But that’s where I ran into a little trouble. See, technically, you have to hit the bell to complete the obstacle. But that bell was a good two feet higher than the ring I was holding onto. I tried swinging and kipping, but I ended up spinning in circles. Still, I clung to it, even as one of my teammates came over to stop my spinning so I could give it another go. In the end, I just couldn’t get enough momentum to reach the bell. But I decided that I had completed it well enough for me and went on without penalty burpees.

Sure, technically, I didn’t complete. But I got through those rings, and I’m doing this for fun. So I moved on to the Hercules Hoist. Last year, this was the one penalty obstacle that I was able to complete. This year, since I’d just spent a good 30 seconds holding onto a ring, my forearms were a little pumped and it was hard to pull that thin rope and lift the weight. I got through it, but slowly, and with several pauses while I stood on the rope to keep it in place.

After that came the new obstacle, the Helix. This one I’d seen watching races on YouTube, and it didn’t look terribly difficult, but I’d seen some of the elite athletes fail on it. It can get slick, and you aren’t allowed to touch the top or touch the ground. I watched one of my teammates go through first to get an idea of what to do. I also chose a side that wasn’t facing the sun so I wouldn’t have to worry about grabbing sun-heated metal. I totally cribbed a technique from one of my fellow women when I saw how she crouched near the top of the part of the obstacle that had no lower footholds. And I made it through.

Nothing hard remained. Just getting through the A-Frame Cargo, which doesn’t bother me because I don’t have an issue with heights. At least, not those kinds of heights. I get a bit bothered when I’m on top of a narrow ridge… And then the Dunk Wall, where I actually helped my team again by talking someone through going under. It was nice that the wall was actually an inflatable rather than a wooden board – if someone came up early there would be no head banging or gashing. I showed her how you could actually reach under and feel where the air was with your hand, and that helped. I also counted us down to go under.

We got some pictures together before taking the Fire Jump, which seemed bigger than last year – possibly because I was jumping it about 2 hours earlier this year. And some pictures after the finish line. And then I found my husband and we dispersed.

This fire made me nervous.

But I made it over without getting burned.
My adopted team! 

I drank down the can of FitAid that I was given at the finish and handed everything else off to Ambrose, who grudgingly took off his pack to store it all and then had to take it off again when I wanted my Spartan Finisher shirt to wear once I rinsed myself off. Since I wasn’t among the very last to finish this year, I actually got to use a hose with water pressure this time. Ambrose even walked over to help hose me down – not that some of the dirt was coming off at all. I got changed and then headed over to get my free beer.

Once I got the beer, we found a spot in the shade to sit and I started to realize just how much I’d used my legs. They were aching. And I was shaking. So I ate the banana and then we went to stand in line for the snow cones. After that, I dragged Ambrose over to the picture area where he took some pictures of me posing with my medal.

Then we drove home. I cried a bit, not from being upset, but from being so very happy. There was a small part of me that thought that I would be some sort of exception. That other people can train hard and succeed, but if I trained hard, I wouldn’t. Turns out, I’m not an exception. I worked for months on getting my upper body stronger, and it worked. Hard work does pay off, even for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *