Thursday, October 9, 2014

Spartan Vermont Beast World Champs recap

The Spartan World Championships event was quite the experience. It all started back in May, when I registered, and decided to do well at this event. The length, and climbing involved suits my strength, although it is a little short for me. I happened to be in town, for the Toronto Spartan events, which I raced, and had a lot of fun doing. The Eastern Canadian scene is lots of fun, and all the competitors were very welcoming, and cool. As the summer progressed, and I worked 10-14 physical days of work, I kept running, and visiting the mountains whenever possible. September descended upon us quickly, and before I know it, all the "hay was in the barn" and I was en route to Vermont.

I drove down with some local Toronto OCR athletes, and had a blast on the way down. I wasn't a part of the athlete panels, or even on the VIP list. Its as if no one knew, or cared that I was coming. I wasn't on the "vote for me" page either. I loved this, and it only fired my ambition to run hard.

I attended the athlete panel on Friday night, and got to meet briefly with a few of the athletes. I got a ride down the hill with Matt Novakovich, whom I had never met. After dinner, it was off to bed, with an early departure.

The race started at 7:30 am, which seemed a little early to me, but it was fine. Downhill start suited me well, and I pushed that first descent hard, and ended up sitting in second position up the first hill, before I passed the leader and took the lead on the way back down the mountain. The pace felt quick, but comfortable, and I just started getting into a groove. After the Tarzan swing, I had a decent lead of maybe 1-2 minutes, and after a confused official stopped me for about 30 seconds to try to get me to do the memory test (he was clearly confused), I still had the lead and settled in. I think I settled a little too hard, because my pace dropped and I felt like I was just out for a trail run by myself.

We hit a few obstacles, like a log carry, and a bucket carry, which I enjoyed, as well as a balance beam.

It was after this that I started noticing a guy in a red shirt was catching up to me. We ran together for a little while, and he seemed really nice. After this, he passed me, but I passed him back at the tractor pull.
It seemed that Jon was running the hills faster, but that I was stronger through the obstacles. After I missed the first spear throw, he passed me again, and put about 1 minute lead on me. It was at this point, that I realized all my remaining food had fallen out of my pockets, and I was left with the last 8 miles to do, without any food, only water. This was an issue.
At about mile 10 I started to slow, and bonk, and cramp. I wasn't getting any electrolytes, or nutrition of any sort. Cody Moat passed me, and him and Jon started to  distance themselves from me. Fortunately, we hit the Sandbag carry, where I closed about a 1.5 minute gap, and passed them both.
After the carry, I knew I would have to conserve my legs a bit, so I pushed as hard as I could, without cramping, or going too deep in the red. I was leading, and feeling pretty good. This is when the second spear throw came. I missed it, and Jon ran past me. AGAIN. grr, I was pretty upset at spears at this point. Why do they have spears? It seems so gimmicky to me. I though maybe the next world champs they would make athletes fold an origami crane, or maybe build and Inuksuk. I pushed those thoughts aside, did my burpees, and went as fast as possible. I was able to close the gap on Jon by the last monkey bars but the effort that I put out was too much, and I was unable to keep up with him on the final hill.
I crossed the finish line about 1 minute behind Jon, and it was sweet to come in second, but I knew that I could have won the race. Oh well! That's what racing is all about. I congratulated Jon on an excellent race, and I was thrilled when I learned that my Girlfriend Lindsay has placed 4th in the elite women's field. A good day for both of us!

Overall I had lots of fun racing the Vermont Beast, and I'm excited to race these athletes more often, hopefully on even tougher courses!

Like my Athlete Page if you haven't already. See you at the races!