DATE: September 6th, 2014
LOCATION: Mountain Creek Waterpark – Tri-State, NJ
DISTANCE: 8.5 Mile Obstacle CHALLENGE
So, after my husband and I finished the Spartan Sprint last month, I blasted it on social media that it would probably be my one and only Spartan race. That !@#$% was HARD!!! I’m not kidding. If you don’t remember, check out my review HERE. But, like always, the runner’s high starts pumping through your veins, you start thinking about everything you did, didn’t and could have done in a race and your mind takes over. You forget about the pain, you forget about the exhaustion, and you forget about the bumps and bruises and then you find yourself searching the internet for the next one to register for. Well, that’s how I operate anyway! So, here I am, writing my Mountain Creek Waterpark, Tri-state, NJ – Spartan Super Race Review! Hahahah!
Coming out of the PA Spartan Sprint, I started strategizing with my husband about how we would tackle the Super. We purchased an additional hydration pack, we added more fuel (Honey Stingers to be exact), and we said we would go slower to ensure we finish. This one added 5+ more obstacles and 3.5 more miles so pacing ourselves would be key.
At the start of the race, you jump a wall and climb straight up a hill to the start line. Just before they blew the horn, Tommie realized he had his phone and keys still on him. Those would NOT survive this course so he had to sprint down this hill and back up to get going. So, he was out of breath from the beginning. LOL! Once he caught he caught his breath, we were good to go EXCEPT “going” meant climbing so it was still a bit slow in the beginning.
SPARTAN SUPER RACE REVIEW: COURSE & OBSTACLES
The obstacles were all the same from the Sprint so we had some idea on how to tackle each one. The one I was most proud of were the irregular pipe monkey bars. These pipes were staggered and a few very far apart. Most women were dropping left and right. Tommie and I jumped on and while it took a lot of momentum to swing on the far ones, I made it across! I always love the feeling of conquering really a tough challenge… and those were a challenge for me.
The new challenges included:
1. Weighted Ball Carry: You had to pick up a HUGE 50lb cement ball, carry it over to a post about 50 ft, drop it, do 5 burpees, pick it back up, and take it back. It was difficult but not bad.
2. Muddy Barbed-Wire Crawl: That bad boy was triple the distance than the one in the Sprint. It felt like it took FOREVER to get through. You are barely making it through without being scrapped up by these wires and add the rock and mud puddles and you can only imagine how thrilled we all were when we finally made it through to the end.
3. Water Crossing: This one wasn’t tough but since it was about 1/2 way through the race it did feel like it took a while to swim across. It was a good stretch of straight swimming (in lake type water… thank God!). They provided life vests which was good because many were just physically exhausted at that point.
4. Log Carry: We had very rough and awkward logs that we had to carry around a loop. Nothing too hard but this wasn’t part of the Sprint so I’m including it. My suggestion, just carry it on one shoulder. I tried to carry it across my back and it scraped me up. Much easier on one shoulder!
The interesting part on this race was that I caught myself telling Tommie SEVERAL times that this course felt so much easier than the sprint. He would remind me that we weren’t even half-way through yet but for some reason, I just felt much better. The Sprint climbs felt NEVER-ENDING where here it was up and down but not exhausting.
There were nice stretches of running that really helped and I think that was the biggest difference. With the Sprint, you are doing so many obstacles back to back that it is physically exhausting and your muscles never really have time to recover. With this particular Super, there were 1/2 – 3/4 mile stretches where you could actually run and recover your upper body. THAT was a huge difference between the two races.
SPARTAN SUPER RACE REVIEW: LESSONS LEARNED
In the end, I felt that this race was easier than the Sprint. We finished and we felt better and recovered much better than we did before. That said, there were a couple lessons learned.
1. ROCKS: these obstacles have you going in and out of who knows what kind of water, swamp, and mud piles and our shoes filled with tiny pebbles the entire time. We stopped 3-5 times to empty our shoes, take off our socks and clear out the rocks.
UPS just dropped off my Compression Socks! I will be using these for the Beast in October. Hopefully they will keep the rocks out of the socks!
2. I tried the New Reebok Spartan Trail shoes and they were a bust. They were cute. They did feel great running and climbing BUT they have an incredibly high ankle support that dug into my achilles the entire time. I even had special socks to keep it from doing it which didn’t work out either. So, they were a BUST. On a side note, I loved running in the soft cleats so I will be trying out a different shoe next time.
**UPDATE** I absolutely LOVE my Spartan shoes now. I spoke to someone at the Beast who said to wear the compression socks and then a pair of socks over them to keep the rocks/pebbles from coming in and scraping my heal. Turns out they were right and these were perfect for the Beast and then my 50k Trail run I completed a year later. KEEPERS for sure!
3. ELECTROLYTES… Tommie cramped up so bad at the end of the race around Mile 6 and all we had was water and our fuel chews. We needed something that had electrolytes and/or high salt content. Many suggested salt cubes and mustard packs. I’ll do my research and let you know what we come up with 🙂
That’s about it! All in all it was a GREAT race and we are really looking forward to conquering the BEAST and achieving the Trifecta this year!!