Virginia Spartan Super
Oh man and I thought the DC Spartan Sprint was bad! Boy was I in for a treat. “The Ultimate Goal is to really peel their muscles back like an onion,” said Jim Snyder, Director of the Reebok Spartan Race. He also calls it the Wintergreen Death March. I could not have said it any better myself. This was my toughest race yet and never have I been happier to see the finish line.
The Virginia Spartan Super was located at the Wintergreen Resort located atop the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. This race is one of the most challenging courses in the Spartan line-up and I can definitely see why. With 10 miles and 25+ obstacles up and down a mountain with over 4,000 feet in elevation change.
The drive up was absolutely beautiful. I had a 9:30am start time and my friend started at 10am. I was so glad I brought my camelbak along with GU to help fuel me throughout the race. It was my first time ever using GU. I probably had about 5 different GU’s and they surprisingly were not bad. I lost count on the amount of ski-slopes we had to trek up and down it was so many. I mainly took the GU when I was walking up a ski slope. The slopes were so excruciatingly tough that people were literally crawling on their hands and knees just to get up some of these agonizing hills. I refused to let that be me. I passed many people laying on the ground trying to massage their legs out from cramping. I would sometimes put my hands on my quads and hunch over just trying to hike up these hills. They felt like they never ended. Never have my legs been in so much pain. While hiking up one of the black diamond slopes I overheard a person say, “I don’t know why they made this so easy for us”, everyone chuckled and laughed, it definitely put a smile on my face. Another guy was singing, friends and couples were supporting each other, it is always nice to see that positivity being passed around. Everyone along the course was so friendly and encouraging it helped make the race that much easier despite the amount of pain everyone was in. While I was running one guy complimented me and said I was a smart runner, which was very encouraging to hear. I would walk up all the steep hills and then jog and run as much of the downhill portions as I could. There was a moment during the race that I was coming down the mountain too fast and I slipped on some of the rocks. I bruised my leg up and told myself I had to slow down before I seriously injured myself. I am thankful it was nothing worse. Many parts of this race were so treacherous we were forced to walk. There were a lot of loose rocks and dirt along the trails. As seen below here is one of the many tormenting ski slopes (You can tell the struggle is real). Every time I made it to the top of the slope I would turn around for a quick second to admire the amazing mountainous view. It was quite breathtaking and helped make up for the amount of torture I succumb myself to.
Having just done the DC Spartan Sprint two weeks before, I was much more prepared for some of the obstacles in this race and I had a better idea of what to expect. I was quite proud of myself for finishing some obstacles this race that I was not able to do during the DC Spartan Sprint. Some of the obstacles were the same, but there were some new ones as well. I would be here all night trying to describe them all, but I did talk about some of the obstacles in my DC Spartan Sprint post.
The barbed wire crawl was much harder compared to the DC Spartan Sprint. Not only was the crawl much longer, but the barbed wire came down pretty low and kept getting caught on my camelbak (thank god it wasn’t my actual back!). Thankfully the people next to me would help hold the barbed wire up for me to crawl under it and I would do the same to them.
The barbed wire started to get much higher where the photographer was. Some peoples back’s were bleeding from getting caught in the barbed wire which looked quite painful. Talk about the crawl of death, felt like it never ended! My elbows were getting pretty scraped up so I tried rolling sideways, but then I just got muddier, so I tried to suck up the pain. As soon as I finished I had the worst pain in my right quad muscle. I felt a charlie horse coming, but I could not give up just yet. People around me probably thought I was crazy. I kept talking to myself saying, “Come on leg”, “You can’t fail me now”, “Noooo”, “Come on, Come on”, “You got this”. I was so scared my leg was going to cramp up and I would fall down in the most excruciating pain screaming. I was already starting to get really shaky. My body was probably not use to exerting so much energy or it might have been the energy from the GU packs I was taking (who knows?). Climbing up and down in the mud trenches almost killed my quad, but I was nearing the end. The last obstacle we climbed into a mud pool and had to climb up a rope and ring the bell. The cold water felt nice, but then all of a sudden a girl started screaming on the rope because she was cramping up so bad. I basically looked at her, shook my head and said “Nope, this isn’t happening”. I limped over to the side to do my 30 burpees. I was in so much pain I did my burpees with one leg and I probably looked pretty stupid doing it, but the finish line was in sight. I just needed to finish the last set of the burpees and do the fire jump.
My fire jump pictures came out much better this race then my last Spartan. The finish line pictures came out pretty cool as well. When I sprinted into the finish line I literally slid and fell on my ass, right in front of the person holding the medals and she just placed it around my neck as I sat there with my hands up feeling the utmost relief of having just finished the toughest race of my life. Wish I could have gotten a picture of that! I must say it was quite the finish.
This race took me a grueling 3 hours and 50 minutes to complete! (and they said last years average finishing time was around 6 hours) My longest race yet! The DC Spartan Sprint took me 1 hour and 52 minutes complete. I was quite happy with my results. Not bad for my first Spartan Super. I surprisingly ran into a few people I knew. I did run into my old Seal Team Instructor along the course and stopped to talk to him for a bit. I also saw an old college friend of mine who I use to play rugby with. Overall an excellent race, it was a much needed challenge and I plan to do it again next year! Although I did walk around with a stick up my ass the next few days (God I got made fun of so bad, but it was all worth it!). Never have my legs been this sore in my entire life!! I was feeling the burn and it felt glorious. After all they say pain is weakness leaving the body!