Trip report on my first Spartan Race ever and first one I failed to complete…
It’s been around 2.5 month since the race and I wanted to do this write-up several times but typical me, pushing it to “next week” again and again.
Anyway, in April 2015, we (myself and Mario) took part in the Spartan Race in München (Germany). Not only was it race time but also time to visit Mario, first time I got around to go to their place, so we had lots to talk about and all was very enjoyable.
Unfortunately I had an accident with my knee early February, which for some weeks stopped my training and stopped all running. I did continue strength training and did some nice long walks but no running. I did get an appointment for MRI and my talk with the doctor was scheduled to be after the race.
The knee was my biggest worry at the race, if my knee could handle it or not, turned out to go fine and I had no knee pain after the race to my big surprise.
The trip to München
I haven’t been to München for many years and in the past I never got around to see much of the city, as it was all about work. I went by train and got picked up by Mario at the station, I stayed at their place outside of the city, so yeah, and again I didn’t see much of the city this time either.
I don’t know who hates us that much but for some reason we had thunder and heavy rain the day before the race and the day after the race we had super nice sunny weather. This resulted in a cold day (8-10 degrees) on race day. But also gave us time for BBQ on the day after the race, so it was not all bad.
We arrived at the Olympia Park, weather long pants and even jackets. Was pretty awesome there, lots of crazy people, good mood, just what I hoped for. Registration went very smooth and we had enough time to see the first heat go off before we changed to our race gear.
Damn, that was cold but mood was high so all fine. At around 10:15 we went to the start line, sure there is a 1.80m wall to get over first but I ‘cheated’ and walked around. Decided that if my knee was going to fail then not before the start line, I wanted to get that far at least. The MC at the start area was doing a hell of a job, getting people moving and motivating “Who are you today?” SPARTANS.. “What’s your war cry” AROO AROO AROO and so forth ;-)
Generally almost all the helpers were in good mood and made nice jokes and were very friendly. We also met several friendly participants along the track, asking if all is well and gave us thumbs up.
Off we went, first a bit running, easy part (but Mario almost managed to fall anyway.. good fun). Then came the HILL.
Typical, I got up as last of our group and what do I see, a photograph :-)
Then some running and some walls, was very easy but I took it very easy when getting down on the other side, no jumping. Was nervous about my knee. Then more hill walking and we reach the top and there came one obstacle that I hoped would not be there.. The memory test. It works like this:
- Based on your last two digits of your race number you have to remember a sequence of a word and some numbers.
- When you reach the finish line you will be asked to repeat what you had to remember.
- If you fail, then burpees.
Anyway, I feared this one, had a quick look at the word+numbers, played with “story” to remember and well, I had to remember: Tango 121-3096. Shocking, I can still remember it.
Thanks to the helper who shared some of her apple juice with us.
Then we went down the hill, over to wood-log carrying, I did take one of the smaller ones but who cares, was fun but here we already got overtaken by the next heat.
Then some more walls, this time 2 meters tall. I remember I told Mario “I will need help with this one”, so he ran up to help me and I just jumped up and went over on my own, leaving him standing like: WTF Sam
Off into the water (for the first time), just a small walk in some water under a bridge but it was cold (and refreshing).
Then tire jump, where you get a rubber band around your knee and then have to jump through a lot of tires, I walked.. Didn’t feel safe with my knee. Mario went quickly though and had to wait for me (again).
After that a walk and off into the lake we went. Damn, that was cold but no stopping as we just walked in. People where gasping for air. Deeper it went and soon we could not walk but had to swim. Tip for next time, swim early, way quicker than walking.
Monkey bar time. I had trained for this at the gym to beÂ prepared but I sure was not prepared for this. Bars was very high up, I was able to almost get a grip on them when I stood on another bar closer to the ground but no good, the bars was very thick, could not get a hold on them, sure the wet hands did not help. I tried to see if I could get old on them but I failed. So burpee time it was. Mario almost made it but failed just before the end.. also burpees.
Next obstacle was crawling under a net on grass, down some hills and up again. I found going down was harder than up!!
A bit after it was the big bridge, crawling up on a net and over and then down, still a big net. Was easy but required some concentration, felt safe the whole way :-)
Then the one and only water station, was good :-)
Then a little walk and we arrived at the rope climb, I guess we talk about 6 meters, starting in water. I had trained the J and S hook at the gym but I just started climbing up with my arms only and then rested at the nuts using my legs (did that sound wrong?), I guess I made it 2/3 of the way and then I just said to Mario: I’ll do some burpees
Then more walking and off into the ice cold water again
Here we had to go below some wood logs in the water. Getting below the water was freezing cold. At the first two I took a break after each but decided at the last two just to do them quickly, worked better. Then walking 50 meters or so in water and we then had to climb a big net, trick was that people where going up on one side and down on the other, so all had to be done carefully. At the top of this one I didn’t feel safe but after getting over it went smooth.
I’m not sure what temperature the water was, my guess is 5-6 degrees, I did see someone on Youtube saying 3 degrees but I doubt that it was so cold.
Then it was mud time. Crawling through 2 sets of mud, covered with barbed wire. I had expected this to be easier but it was thick mud and it was cold. They had some sprinklers to make it all more went, I got close to them and thought I would just turn into ice…
Got through this and then a walk, I did try to run but failed. Then we entered the stadium; first obstacle was the Hercules heist. No idea how heavy but felt damn heavy. Didn’t help that rope and hands was covered in mud, I almost got mine up to the top, but then the rope slipped and the whole thing fell uncontrolled to the ground :(
Then we went up to the top of the stadium, damn, how many steps can there be in one place! Here I felt the fatigue setting in. Then down again and spear throw. I was SO close, good speed on the spear, right height but it just slipped off the side. So burpees again.
Then again up to the top of the stadium, now I was not feeling well at all, thought I would puke or maybe just faint. We had a good walk to the next obstacle but it just got worse and worse. Was freezing like never before. Got to the next obstacle, which was down/up/down/up from stop to bottom of stadium, carrying a 25 kg sandbag. We didn’t even start on it, was shaking a lot and not doing well. We had seen people sitting with folio covers to get heat but they had none left :( two other racers joined and we all left the course at this point.
We came far but failed and even worse, after this one there was only a few more obstacles:
- Mud walk (big container with some mud, looked easy)
- 8″ wall (2.5 meter)
- / wall with water sprinkler at the top
- Fire pit / jump
We later talked about it and if we had been able to get some warmth, if we had been a bit quicker then I’m sure we could have made it. Anyway, we went over to the swim pool and got a nice hot shower, but what a mess we left behind us, dry mud in the cloth exchange area and all muddy in the shower but we where not the only ones.
Later when I found out the state of my knee I was happy that I didn’t try the obstacle where we stopped, all those steps with the extra 25kg could have turned out really bad. But it was hard after the race to see everybody with medals.
I did get my t-shirt and they also gave me the first part of the Trifecta medal but the t-shirt and medal is put away. I’ll first wear the t-shirt when I one day complete a Sprint… Well, I did wear it once:
Around 200 didn’t complete the race (from what I can read out of the final results, they did claim that the even was sold out with 5500 racers but only 4500 is listed on the result page.
Some might say, “So, he tried that and that was it” but nope, we already started talking about the next race on the same day as the race. Later I did some more research and was planning to do a Nordic Race in Denmark and then a Spartan Race in Austria, all in 2015 but all this got dropped the day after…
I had a MRI of the knee and result was that the ACL needs full reconstruction, as the doctor explained; I was lucky that nothing happened at the race and I should avoid races until ACL was fixed. It was up to me if I want the ACL reconstruction; if I want to race again then I need it. So it was pretty easy to decide. Operation is set for early July, and then it is time for recovery and rehab. I was told that I should expect around 6-7 month before I can consider races again.
2016 Spartan Race München
The next race in München will take place in April 2016, so would be a great chance to conquer the track (the 2015 track was close to the same as 2014). So I have already signed up for this one. Well, actually we signed up for the race, this time trying to get a bigger team together. This gives me around 8.5 month for getting ready, should do the trick :-)
I’ll report back when there are news.
AROO, AROO, AROO