Day two of the Red Deer Spartan Race weekend was the Super. Having done the Sprint the previous day, I found comfort in knowing the rough layout of the course (click here for sprint recap). Knowing what to expect, allowed me to put together a rough strategy and gauge my effort throughout the course.
The course was essentially the same as Saturdays Sprint course, with the addition of a few new obstacles and longer sections of running.
Again the race started at a ferocious pace. However with this being a longer distance I was okay with not keeping up with the faster guy’s right out the gate. I settled into a comfortable pace and headed into the trails.
It didn’t take take long for me to catch up to, and pass some of the racers who went out a little too hard. The coursed branched off from the Sprint course early on and took us down by the river. Running alongside the river through flat, flowing single track was quit calming. Down by the river Tom Petryshen passed me yet again, but today I was able to match his pace and use him to pull me along. With Tom as a pseudo pacer I quickly found myself in about 8th or 9th and was feeling strong.
Everything was going well. My stride felt more fluid, and I actually felt like a runner as I ran through the course (during the sprint I felt like an elephant). The first handful of obstacles were the same as the Sprint and caused me no issues. That is until I reached the Platinum Rig and the Spear Throw.
The Platnium Rig was actually made easier, as one of the Tarzan ropes was replaced with a ring. Having the ring in place of a Tarzan rope enabled this obstacle to be completed with just the rings, thereby skipping all other attachments. Although it should have been easier I had a harder time with it. I got a bad jump off the start and ended up swinging laterally rather than forward and back. I ended up swaying in big circles, as I tried to correct my sway. I spent forever in one spot simply trying to get my swing under control. This was unfortunate as a number of racers passed me, as I hung there like a dumby. Eventually, I was able to control my swaying body and complete the obstacle.
I’m not sure if I was rattled, from spending too much time on the rig or what. But at the spear throw immediately after the Platinum Rig, I tossed one of the most abysmal spear throws I’ve ever done (and have had some bad ones). My throw was horrendous. For starter my spear wasn’t even close to hitting the target, and furthermore it nearly completed a 180o turn (not really but it turned a lot)!
Miffed, I calmly did my 30 burpees. Like always when doing burpees, tons of people passed me. I tried to stay calm, get through my burpees and get back into the race. Although maybe I was a little too calm as Brayden Jessen came up beside me to do his burpees for a missed spear and was nearly doing 2 burpees for every 1 of mine. Luckily I already had ~15 burpees done by the time he started.
I finished my burpees and headed down the gnarly downhill immediately after the spear throw. I caught my foot on an exposed root and almost took a head first dive down the slope. Luckily I caught myself and managed to stay on my feet. My shoe however, ended up with a nice hole on its top.
With my heart rate still jacked up from the burpees I struggled to maintain a solid pace. I got passed by a few more racers, and then I made a conscious decision to slow down a bit, let my heart rate settle. After taking a few slow controlled strides, I felt my heart rate lower. I regained my calm, resumed a quicker pace. I managed to pass the few people who passed my shortly after the spear throw, and was now on the hunt to catch racers further ahead.
At the Tyrolean Traverse I struggled to get on the rope, and felt like a complete idiot as everyone around me made it look so easy. Eventually, I did figure it out and began to monkey crawl my way across. Monkey crawling was awkward, and I wasn’t moving very far or fast, so I opted to lock my ankles together and pull myself across with just my hands (really wish I had worn long socks for this). I head-butted the bell and took off on my way.
After the Tyrolean traverse is when I felt my stride really come back. I felt great and as I tackled a relatively long section of running. I began to slowly creep up on the guys ahead of me. I ended up right behind this one guy, who was holding a solid pace but I couldn’t decide if I should pass him or not. The pace felt strong, but I thought I could run faster, however I didn’t want to pass him and blow up.
After a few minutes of running behind this guy I finally said “fuck it. Just pass him!” So I took a few hard strides and passed him with relative ease. I felt awesome as soon as I passed this guy, not only for passing him, but my legs felt like they really wanted to move again! I pushed on at a faster pace leaving him in my dust and headed on to the next group of guys.
The next guy ahead of me was one skinnier looking dude who was quickly darting through the forested single track. I kept up my faster pace, and managed to get within a few seconds of him. He was fast but I knew I could pass him on the sandbag carry that was fast approaching. Right before the sandbag carry I got right on his tail. I picked up my bag moments behind him, and followed him through the trees with our bags. In the water I took a hard line to the inside track managed to squeeze by him.
By the end of the sandbag carry I was right on the tale of another guy. Again I wanted pass him and thought I had a little more juice to really giver. I followed this guy up the final climb (the set of stairs), then has soon as it flattened out I took off on him.
I charged ahead, and felt him try to keep pace. So I pushed harder. He was right behind me as I came over Stairway to Sparta and headed to the monkey bars. After the monkey bars I continued to push knowing the finish was close. I quickly made my way up the rope climb and over to the atlas carry. By this time I was confident enough that the guy behind me wasn’t going to catch me, but I was still running scared.
When I picked up my atlas stone, Glenn Hole (the OCR Guy) had just dropped his off. It would be hard to do, but now I wanted to catch him. I lifted my stone, carried it down the lane, hammered out my burpees, and returned my stone to the starting position. Now was the time to really press on the gas and leave it all out on the course, and catch Glenn…
But holy shit! My legs after the atlas carry simply did not want to move. The exhaustion my body felt was all encompassing. My head bobbed loosely and my arms dangled by my side as I ran through the final stretch of single track. Truly a unique feeling to feel so taxed all at once, but man it sucked!
I headed up the A-Frame cargo net, and Glenn was still in the barbed wire…so there is still a chance. Once again I’m rolling like crazy to try and close the gap, through the barbed wire crawl. But it wasn’t enough, I crossed the line in 1:08:29, 13th male, 15th overall and 19 seconds behind Glenn.
Although my placement was worse today, and I did more burpees, I think I had a better race. I felt much more comfortable and in the zone at this relatively slower paced, longer event, than the Sprint from the day before. And given that 3 top contenders ran off the course yesterday and I got 10th, you could argue I really got 13th, which is what I got today. So at least I was consistent.