Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spartan Recap and Tips for A First Time Mud/Obstacle Course Race

Spartan Race 2013...CHECK.

Me and the hubs pre-race. Don't we look happy to receive some torture?

We survived. With minimal injury! YAY!

One thing I will say about this year's race in Marseilles, IL--it was really. really. really. hard. Harder than last year in my opinion!

Mud pit. Trying to figure out how the hell to get up this slippery hill.

I will forever fondly refer to this year's course as "Hill Hell." It was 8 miles of up, down, up, down, up, down hills. Luckily, there was a nice breeze, so it wasn't as hot as it could have been!

At the home stretch!

We didn't finish in the time goal that we set, but we finished. And didn't die!

Mud/Obstacle course races are not meant to be easy, and frankly, they kind of suck. Definitely not for germaphobes or people who haven't worked out in a while. We all got some weird bacterial "nature rash" from the water following the yeah...germaphobes beware. Also, you do have to train for one of these races. However, the sense of accomplishment when you cross that finish line defies logic. It's like, "Hecks yeah! My body just did WHAT!? I am indestructible!"

And then you collapse from fatigue. But it's so worth it :)

Me, Wes, and my friend Anna post-race

I think the reason people continue to do these types of races is to set goals and push their body's "comfort zone."

It took me a long time to come to accept my body and it's surprising to see the awesome things it continues to accomplish.

Do you want to try out a mud/obstacle course race? Of course you do! And I have some tips to help make your first race less painful...

Laura's Advice:

-Week before, drink lots of water! TANK UP!

-Day before, eat a carb-rich dinner (pasta, rice, bread).

-Day of, eat some protein with breakfast (eggs works well). I imagine that somewhere around mile 5, you are going to wish you had some energy reserves.

-During the race, just focus on completing the race. Some people are intense about finishing in a certain time, but if you just focus on getting through the obstacles you will enjoy yourself much more.

-Try every obstacle--even if you don't think you can do it. You might surprise yourself with what you can do! My husband ran this last race with me and he was pleasantly surprised to find that he was better at climbing the ropes than he thought he was going to be. If in doubt, or if you think you will be injured--don't do the obstacle.

-Day of the race: bring two towels, an extra change of clothes and a large trash bag for your muddy clothes/shoes. Some people even bring some body wash/shampoo to rinse any mud off.

-Be on the lookout for the cameras and pose! Makes for some really fun/funny pics! There is always a camera by the fire jump.

Here's the side view of this same picture...looks more derp than BA :)

It wasn't that crazy/intense/scary. Swear.

-Shoes: running shoes are best and grip really well. Make sure that you use shoes that you wouldn't mind getting dirty forever. Sometimes the mud just doesn't come out! Flat-bottom or walking shoes are terrible for courses. Tie shoes on TIGHT. I've seen some "lost shoes" stuck in the mud!

-Training: lots of upper body and cross training leading up to the race. These type of races demand a variety of skills and strengths. I didn't do anything different before this race--just taught Zumba, Strong (strength class), RIPPED (interval class), and Kickboxing. It helps to train your body in a lot of different ways--and not just through running or weight lifting alone.

Here's some links to more advice. #1 tip I have is to just jump in and have fun! You never know what to expect from an obstacle/mud race!

Find a mud race in your area:
Mud Run Guide

Q: Have you run an obstacle race before? What was your experience like? Any advice to add?

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