So, I don’t usually post photos other than my own…. but my boyfriend and I completed the Ottawa Sprint Spartan Race on August 5, and I’m super proud of us for finishing it. We didn’t even train for it! So I’m going to post some of the photos my father took.
Here we are before the race. Oh, how foolishly optimistic we were! We thought that the race couldn’t be THAT hard….
Unlike other races I’ve done like Mud Hero and Zombie Run, we had to jump over a short wall just to get to the start line. If anyone jumped over it before being told they could, they had to do burpees. Okay, that’s a bit more harsh than I expected.
And off we go! Here’s the route all us Spartans had to take: up and down the big-ass ski hill over and over again.
The first few obstacles weren’t too bad. We climbed a few walls, walked up a portion of the hill, and came back down. Some of the obstacles were farther up the hill beyond the view of the spectators, so not all of them are pictured here.
Next is the most horrible part of the entire race (in my opinion): the “bucket brigade.” We had to fill a bucket full of sand and carry it around a loop on the hill. The buckets weighed about 40 pounds, and parts of the ground were muddy. I had to stop and rest several times. Horrible!
After that ordeal, we had to lift sandbags for an obstacle called “Hercules hoist.” I think the bags were about 60 pounds for the men and 40 pounds for the women. Hemeak lifted his in two seconds flat and asked the guy, “is that it?” I, on the other hand, had more trouble with it. I had to sit on the ground and brace my legs against the post for leverage.
Believe it or not, this next obstacle “barbed wire” wasn’t that difficult. Most of the other Spartans were rolling under it, but we both found it easier to just crawl on our hands and knees. Unlike the wires in Tough Mudder, the wires in Spartan Race do NOT give electrical shocks.
Next up is another wall and then some pits full of mud. Sadly, we were overjoyed to jump in puddles of cold mud. The heat was killing us!
The sandbag carry came next. After my experience with the bucket brigade, I said “screw that” and opted to do 30 burpees instead. The rule in Spartan Race is if you don’t complete an obstacle, you need to do 30 burpees as a penalty. Hemeak went ahead and completed the obstacle.
After the other obstacles had properly exhausted us, we had to climb a rope. We both failed miserably and had to do another 30 burpees each.
Next up is the never-ending hill. We were so tired by that point that we both (well, mostly me) had to keep stopping to rest on the way up. An official photographer snapped some shots as we climbed up, and my father took a photo of us coming back down. It’s too bad that I couldn’t take a photo at the top; the view was spectacular. Oh, and it started raining, which cooled us off. The only downside was that we couldn’t cross the monkey bars and had to do more burpees.
At the bottom we had to do a spear throw. Basically, what you have to do is hit the straw bale with the tip hard enough that the spear stays in place. Each person only gets one try. So yeah…. more burpees for both of us.
I forget the order we completed each obstacle, but somewhere around this point in the race we had to cross a monkey-bar type structure that used metal rings instead of bars, climb an inverted wall, wade through a chest-deep pool of water (that was actually refreshing!), and haul a rock up and down a loop on the hill. The spectators didn’t see us again until we reached yet another wooden wall to climb.
This next photo is one of my favourites. The black walls had handholds on them but no footholds. Each person had to cross it without their feet touching the ground and without gripping the top of the wall. Thankfully, we were allowed to help each other. Hem supported most of my weight while I crossed. He crossed half of it by himself and then needed help to finish it. My arms had no strength left, so I used my shoulders and back to support part of his weight.
Go teamwork!! Now all that’s left is another wooden wall (they seemed pretty easy by this point) and the fire jump.
That fire jump was the best part of the race because I knew it was FINISHED! We definitely earned those medals!
After that, we hobbled over to the change area and washed off the worst of the mud. We were one of the last groups to finish: We were out there for 3 hours and 20 minutes! Keep in mind though that we didn’t cheat. I completed 150 burpees and Hem did 120. We saw many people skip obstacles AND skip their penalty burpees. They may have finished before us, but at least we finished fair and square!
When we got home, I had trouble climbing the front steps to the house, and we were both so sore that it hurt to shower and get changed. We could hardly move for the next two days. It took me about 3 days to fully recover.
Was it worth it? Yes! Instead of feeling put off, we actually want to do it again next year. Of course, now we know how important it is to train so we don’t suffer horribly again. We might even — MIGHT — go for the Spartan Trifecta next year.
Have you ever done a Spartan race, or would you ever try it?