IT. WAS.  HARD!  The PA Spartan Sprint was NOT easy but a complete blast full of challenges that made it an experience to remember…

The course was 5 miles, well 4.99 miles.  (I had originally thought it was only 4- wrong!) Oh and it was on a Double Black Diamond Ski Slope. Yeah. Fo’ real.

The first 20 minutes were probably the hardest.  My legs were burning so bad.  All I could think was, “WHY HAD I DONE THE BIGGEST LOSER HEAT YESTERDAY?!”   Then I remembered, “BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME!” and then once the lactic acid had moved on and my legs stopped burning, I was like, “let’s kill this!”  The first half of the race was pretty much straight up the mountain.  There were two obstacles, the “Over, Under, Through” (over a wall, under a wall and through a whole in a wall) which served as a nice little warm up for the beast of the race…the SANDBAG CARRY!   It was straight up a VERY steep incline, while carrying a sandbag, then down a not-so-steep decline with the same sandbag, only to drop it off and then continue on back up the mountain.

At this point I should say that my goal for this race was to complete it in 3 hours so when I got to the sandbag carry and there was a line for the women’s bags (20lbs) I opted to grab a men’s bag (40lbs) to “save time” and carried that SOB about 500m up and down the side of a mountain. Yep, I’m that hardcore…or that stupid, not sure which one.  Looking back, I’m fairly certain that it was counterproductive.  It’s hard to say.  I just kept telling myself that carrying those 40lbs was a good reminder of what my life used to be and to remember how it is for those who are struggling with their weight.  I thought about the girl who was struggling during the Biggest Loser heat the day before and Chris Davis who is still carrying around about 60lbs of loose skin.  I considered it an honor to be ABLE to carry that much weight up the mountain- it was truly a beautiful reflection of my hard work.  30 steps at a time.  30 steps up.  Rest 30 seconds.  30 steps up.  Rest 30 seconds– it took me about 20 minutes to complete that one obstacle but when it was over the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming.



After this fun little challenge it was up, up, up!  I was amazed at how strong I felt climbing up rocks and over logs.  My body still surprises me every time I do something out of the norm.  Every time I stepped up on top of a big rock I thought, “man those 20 inch box steps are actually doing some good!”  (Goooo Crossfit!)

At the top of the mountain was what many were calling “Burpee Ally”.  It was the cinderblock pull thingy, tire flip, spear throw, monkey bars and Hercules hoist.  In Spartan Races there is a 30 burpee penalty for every obstacle you fail.  I did 60 burpees here.  30 for the spear throw, once again it hit the damned hay bail but didn’t stick– grrr! And 30 for the fricken monkey bars.

Hercules Hoist PA SpartanTire Flip PA SpartanFriggen Monkey Bars PA Spartan


I nailed the Hercules Hoist and did the tire flip while eating a couple bites of a Quest bar and my cinder block pull technique is unmatched even though no one (except Anna) will listen to me when I tell them “do it like this!”  Anna said she used my method for this race and confirmed that it’s the best and makes pulling that sh!t virtually effortless.   Spartans, listen UP!  Fo’ real!

From there it was all downhill.  Some terrain more rugged than others which meant running when I felt safe enough to do so.  I love doing these races and more than that, I love pushing myself but I’m not about risking injury.  So when it was too steep or rocky or slick I moved slowly and deliberately which meant I only fell on my ass about four times. Score!

I ended up doing 180 burpees total- 6 failed obstacles.  Four of them I had already expected- the spear throw, the monkey bars, the rope climb and the traverse wall.  The other two were not-surprises- the log walk and the inverted wall.  Maybe someday I’ll master these…


Like when my legs get longer and I learn how to do a full-on pull-up!

Anyway, my goal was to finish in 3 hours, Chris told me he thought it would take at least 4.  I was like, heck no!  It ended up taking me 3 hours and 35min.  I’m totally okay with that especially since there were things that took longer than they should have that were completely out of my control like this…


I’ve said it before.  Spartans are the best.  Here is an example of what makes them amazing.  This cargo net climb was super loose so after each person went over they took a turn holding the net down for other racers.  There was a pretty long line to get over this and then the wait to let others pass took at least 15 minutes, but I was glad to do it, to be a part of helping other racers be successful and was grateful to those who helped MY race be successful.  That’s what it’s all about.

There were lots of obstacles,  20+ to be almost exact, and each one of them presented a different challenge and fear to face with the ultimate goal of FINISHING.

At about 1/4 mile from the finish line I hit a bit of a “wall”.  I was STARVING!  I was wearing a hydration pack so I’d been drinking water the whole time…oh yeah, it was 90 degrees outside during all of this!  But I needed to eat…BAD!  All I had packed was a Quest Bar- a fine snack when you need protein and few net carbs but not when your glycogen levels are completely depleted and you’ve got 1/4 of a mile left to go!

By the time I got to the finish line I was completely drained.  I’m sure it was a combination of things- lack of fuel, lack of electrolytes, LACK OF SLEEP!

But my goal was to finish and finish I did!  This time with a big leap over the fire and good whack from a gladiator…

 No really, I’m there! Click on it to make it big.


To sweet, sweet victory!  Followed by two beers and two slices of pizza!  Oh and a few Powerades too!

When I got home from this trip I laid my dirty, nasty clothes out to dry…

muddy clothes

 And the next day my beloved I’mperfect Life shirt looked like this…

I'mperfect Life Technical Tee Muddy

But after a good rinse in the hose and a wash in the machine, it looks brand new again!  Ready for my next race!

Oh and of course there’s this!

Make that THREE PARTS!

Part 1 of this Blog Post and Part 3!

To read about my first Spartan Experience check this out!