This weekend was a race I had been looking forward to all season. The Military Sprint in West Point New York. This is the first Military Sprint I have ever done, so I wasn’t sure what the differences were from a regular Sprint. With Killington only a few weeks away, I was also looking to get in as much racing training as I could. So I had decided ahead of time that I would be running multiple laps of this race.
My race time was 8am but I knew that I couldn’t park at the race location. The shuttle to the race was rumored to be about a 20 minute drive. So I headed up to NY around 4 oclock. Got to the parking lot by 6, and was at the race site around 630. Check in was a little bit of an issue. One volunteer told me I didn’t need a waiver form, then when I went to check in, the volunteer there told me I did need a waiver. Was a little annoying having to wait in the same line twice, but it happens. After I signed in, I went over to the registration booth to purchase my chip for my 2nd lap. I ended up actually purchasing 3 laps for this race in total.
While I was in line I noticed a guy waiting to purchase a Spartan Spectator pass. Since I didn’t have anyone with me today, I told him to use my name at check in so he didn’t have to spend $25 on a pass. He was a little confused at first, but when he realized he wasn’t going to have to buy a pass, he was very grateful. I unfortunately didn’t run into him again, I would’ve liked to have talked to him and see how he enjoyed watching the race.
After buying my 2nd lap, I went to the merch booth. I knew the venue shirt was going to be very popular so I wanted to get mine right away. I normally don’t like to purchase the venue shirt until after I finish the race, cause I’m superstitious like that, but I didn’t want to end up empty handed. So as I was waiting in line to get my shirt, the couple in front of me gave me their 2 free beer tickets! So my race day is already off to a great start!
Headed to the starting corral and got ready. The MC got us pumped up and we’re off! Pretty much uphill right away. Fairly rocky terrain, although nothing too crazy. The elevation was decent on the course. and the downhill’s didn’t disappoint either. It was technical terrain, although nothing crazy like some earlier races this year.
Because I ran 3 laps, I’m just going to talk about some of the good and the bad with this race.
Olympus was very early in the race. It was out in a flat open area with lots of sun. So it was very dry and easy to traverse. Did it 3 times with no problems.
Sandbag carry was a real adventure. Up a fairly steep part of the mountain, and it was also a decent amount of distance. Did not enjoy doing this 3 times. First 2 times I used the pancake, but the 3rd time I used a grey bag instead. Actually found this to be easy because of the length. I could balance it on my shoulders and neck better than I could with the pancakes.
Monkey bars were much more difficult then previous races. Lots of ups and downs with the bars, as well as space between each bar. Several times I actually had both hands on one bar and I had to build up enough swinging momentum to get to the next one. Normally I can do the one arm “tarzan swings” but with the distance between bars, I didn’t trust my arm length to be able to securely get me across. Luckily the bars were very dry, and my FitFour gloves held up well. Was able to get across the bars all 3 laps. One of the laps I actually got bumped by another racer accidentally. Fortunately I wasn’t mid swing so I was still able to hold on and complete the obstacle.
My arch-nemesis the bucket brigade had the best view of the race. One side of the path was overlooking the lake and the mountains. Was a nice view to distract yourself from the torture of carrying the bucket. Since my first lap was in the competitive heat, the volunteers were diligent about advising people to make sure our buckets were full, and they were checking every bucket on the way back. Was glad they did this because I have had races before in the competitive heat where racers had half empty buckets. It did make me smile when I ran the other 2 Open laps and I saw guys with much bigger arms and bodies then mine struggling to carry their bucket, then when they would set it down I could see that it was half empty. Makes me think about how far I’ve come, how there was a time when a half empty bucket would have been a huge struggle for me.
Twister followed the bucket brigade. Was bad enough carrying the bucket that far, but then having to do an obstacle that required all grip and arm strength was tough. My tip for racers like me who are on the shorter side: start on the sides so I can use the poles on the side as step to reach up to the handlebars. I always pull it down first before I start. Plus I face forward and take my turn with my swing. I don’t skip handlebars, I use each one. When I reach the transitions I only grip the skinny bars, not the thick pipes. This helps with your grip. Made it through twister all 3 times with no issues. The volunteer was even smiling at me saying I made it look easy. Felt good running past the crowd of people in the burpee zone.
Rolling mud followed. Only like 3 hills. The cool water actually felt good because my ankle was hurting from twisting it so many times on the rocks earlier. Atlas stone was afterwards. Not a big deal, I’ve been practicing my form with lifting from a squat position so that I don’t hurt my back. That stone was still real heavy but I didn’t have the issue with it that I used to earlier in the year.
Multi Rig with only rings. This obstacle is usually one of my favorite and fairly easy. But the rings were slippery and covered with mud from the previous obstacles. So they were quite slick. The first time through I could feel myself losing grip so I tried to make a big swing for the bell, and missed. Brutal. The 2nd time through, I used two hands on each ring and had more success, although it felt very uncomfortable doing it that way. 3rd time I again tried to do the 2 hands but I slipped and fell off. So 1/3 on an obstacle I usually dominate. Sucked.
Spear throw. I just couldn’t get comfortable with it for some reason. Have had a lot of success with it lately but not today. 1/3 on that as well. Bummer.
So I had a perfect race till the end of my competitive lap. Then back to back fails so 60 burpees total. Kinda ruined what shoulda been a good competitive lap for me. Ended up finishing at 1:31.
The good news was my legs held up well all 3 laps. Put in about 15 miles. My 2nd and 3rd laps were only 10 and 20 mins slower respectively so I felt pretty good about my endurance. Was worried about cramping because my calves had been tight all week, but that was a non-issue.
Gonna get back to training. Washington Sprint in 2 weeks. Then Killington!!!!