Seems as if it has become somewhat customary to jot down a few pre-race thoughts with an upcoming OCR (obstacle course race). This is not a rah-rah, beat-my-chest, let’s-kick-some-ass type post. Just some random thoughts going into Sunday’s Spartan Sprint.
To date I have completed, I believe, nine Spartan Races. It is a bit weird thinking back to how anxious I was for the first Sprint in 2015. Though scared is probably more like it.
The last one – a Stadium race at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona a few months ago – almost seemed indifferent (if that’s the right word). It was challenging, but at the same time almost routine.
A long the way, all of these races have provided a huge range of emotions and feelings and accomplishments. I cried during both the 2017 Super and Sprint – for different reasons. I actually looked for ways to quit at the inaugural Big Bear Beast (though fortunately a friend of mine would have none of it).
Oh. There was also the time I even breathlessly attempted to sing Celine Dion at the top of Stairway to Sparta a in 2018.
Every race creates memories and I encourage (or dare I say challenge) everyone to sign up and simply give it your best shot.
Number 10: Laughlin Sprint
Sunday’s Sprint is in Laughlin, Nevada. Not only is this a new venue (for me) but is also a half-mile from my hotel. Which is also a casino. Which is also part of a strip of casinos. Which means a sports book and blackjack. And free beer.
I envision thousands of still-muddy, medal-wearing, Spartans walking around in flip-flops bragging about their accomplishments, bitching about the sandy course and lying about how many burpees they had to do.
This is only the second time, really, where the course map seems important (the other time was at Big Bear). It shows a 3.85 mile course with 21 obstacles.
The bad news: though elevation gain does not look to be a big factor, they do send us up a hill right from the starting line. Hills (and gravity) are not kind to me in my advancing age.
The good news: there will be no Bender, Olympus, Beater or Twister. All obstacles which I have never completed successfully and have cost me a lot of penalty burpees.
Awhile ago I realized the idiocy of setting goals in races like these. In the past, I want(ed) to beat my previous Sprint times. I want(ed) to complete obstacles never completed before. I defined success and failure by predetermined statistics.
And – in typical male fashion – I became too competitive; resulting in various levels of pissed-offness (if that is a real word) for not meeting those goals.
I will not be on the finisher’s podium when the race is over. Hell, history tells me that I will probably finish in the bottom 25% of all participants. While that is not entirely ok, it does not deter me in any way.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of things, ideas, scenarios (not goals) that I would like to see occur on Sunday:
- In the past I averaged between 29 and 32-minutes per mile for a Spartan Race. The lack of elevation gain (and a friend pushing me), I would like to drop that a bit. Let’s say a 27-minute average pace.
- Not be the last one across the finish line. Listen: I respect the last person to finish a race more than I do the first person to cross the finish line. However, I just don’t want it to be me.
- Have fun and help others.
- Finally, do not embarrass myself in front of my friend. I do not know if Jason will ever read this or not, but I hate that I always seem to hold him back from doing his best. Someday I might close the gap between his fitness level and mine (he’s eight years younger than me and in the Air Force) but until then, it is up to me to push myself a little harder each time.
There you have it. Aroo!