After a sleepless red eye and several attempts at nighttime sleeping with a baby who is cutting molars (and who is not very good at sleeping in the best of occasions)… we knew this weekend was going to be one of those “pull-up-your-boots” and STFU kinda scenarios.
The Toronto Spartan courses are on a relatively small mountain. It is truly impressive how they deliver such a beat down – the climbing feels relentless at times.
On Saturday I ran the Sprint event burpee free – after working out a new spear throw technique that has yet to fail me and getting a handle on the slack line (I call it running like hell for the bell).
I was feeling kinda flat until I saw first place just around the lake… and a flat trail to get there. I opened up my stride and as soon as our shoulders aligned, it was on.
There was a super mucky barb wire pit, where I failed to keep my hands dry (despite knowing the rig was around the corner).
As soon as we stood up, we started pulling clumps of thick muck of our hands. The next major obstacle was drying our hands off: grass, shirt, head, bra, anything.
We ran up the final grass hill with our hands on the ground like dogs scooting their bums on the carpet.
April, first onto the final real obstacle – the rig, is a killer fit, talented and a local favourite. Guys from her team were gathering and yelling at her to drop me. Sadly, she rushed the rig and came off.
Hitting the bell at the end of the series of ropes, rings and square bars was awesome. A slippery wall and a fire jump and I had this thing in the bag.
Sometimes it’s just your day.
And other times, it’s not.
The next day was the Super, which is more than double the distance of a Sprint… so far more my thing.
I began the race at the back and started working my way through the pack, as I always hope to do.
A few kilometers in there was a bottleneck at the super long monkey bar set.
There was only one lane for ladies, with one racer hanging off the first rung and her feet still on the platform and another almost across but struggling.
“You’re up” – I pointed out.
She didn’t want to move until the woman in front had cleared them. Which was fair since it sucks hanging there waiting for the person in front to keep moving. But I figured since was most of the way across it would have taken a long enough time to get to her and by that time she would have come off or hit the bell.
So I asked if I could go and promised that I’d be off long before I could be in her way. But that didn’t work since then I’d be on the bars.
I tried to do the males side but I couldn’t reach the bars.
It was agony. I’ve never waited in line at a Spartan Race before.
It was probably only a couple of minutes but it felt like hours. Days. An eternity.
Maybe I could have just touched the bars and taken burpees, maybe I could have jumped in front and side traversed on the pole to get past her. Both seemed like the wrong thing to do.
So I waited.
And finally I went.
I spent a while trying to close the gap until I got lazy and focused on holding third.
Looking back, I’m not sure what I could have done to make the outcome of that situation better. You just do what you can with what you can control. It’s just how this sport goes.
I let myself have a few minutes of disappointment until I hosed off. And then I decided to let it wash away with the mud.