Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PA Spartan Sprint - Race Review

Alright.  Race review time.  What did I think of the PA Spartan Sprint?  Good question.  In no particular order:

1. The race is billed as a 3+ mile race.  Ok.  I anticipated a 3 to 3.5 mile race.  Then the week before we were told it was going to be 5 miles.  Oooookayyyyyy.  And then rumors swirled that it was designed to be a mini-Beast - the second hardest obstacle course they run.  Ummm...what happened to being accessible to the uninitiated?  I wasn't thrilled about all the changes at the last minute.

2. Runners say that good runners, people who love running are open to all levels of runners and encourage them to go out there and try.  I have never felt a more encouraging group of people than I did at this race.  I'm dead serious.  As you saw in my race report, the volunteers on the course were really helpful in giving you hints on the obstacles or helping you do them.  For me, it was the walls. 

And fellow participants were just as open to helping and encouraging you!  I had help at the second set of walls by a gentleman who just came up out of nowhere to help the volunteer get me over the wall.  As soon as I was over, so was he and off he went.  I never got to thank him.  And then, when we got to the rope wall, everyone helped everyone else by holding the rope wall taught so it was easier to climb.  The lady and gentleman that held it for me didn't complain when I freaked out at the top and stopped for a full 2ish minutes.  Thank you to you as well!

3. As much as I hated several obstacles, there were many I thought were fun.  I loved a lot of the rope ones - rope up the mountain, rope wall, cement pulley, cement block pull, rock carry, barbed wire crawl, slip and slide (sorry hubby!), tire flip.  These were great!  I even liked the walls, though I needed help.  I didn't even think I could get over them with help!  It really did give me a sense of accomplishment when I crossed the line knowing I conquered quite a few of the obstacles along the way.

4. This is going to sound odd and maybe it's from my years of regular ole road races, but there was only 1 bathroom on this 5 mile course.  There was one port-a-pottie that I saw and I believe it was somewhere around mile 3.5.  Ummm...really?  I'll admit right here I started this race out totally dehydrated.  I did that on purpose.  I had no idea the bathroom situation.  And in one sense, I'm glad I did that.  As a woman it's not as easy to just quickly go to the bathroom.  Sure the race tips strongly in favor of the boys, but come on!  There are women in the race!

5. The finish area.  This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  I am a slow runner in general and I'm ok with that.  I'm used to finishing off a race and not having many spectators around, but the end of the Spartan Sprint was horrendous.  We crossed the finish line and while I didn't care that there weren't many people around, I was upset that all the food areas had closed, the merchandise tent had closed, it was dark (very little lighting in the festival area), and no beer for purchase (I didn't want more than my free one, but it's the principle).  I paid my registration fee.  I completed the race.  It took me 5+ hours to do it, meaning A MILE AN HOUR.  I think I deserve to have the same finish line experience as those who finished earlier in the day. 

6. And speaking of finishing...turns out I have no official race time.  I checked the results page and I'm not listed...and neither is hubby.  So, it's like we went through hell and it's not even recorded.  Sure, I have my medal and t-shirt (which you do not receive until you finish the race), but I would have liked to know how long it took me to go through the course.  I'm pretty ticked about that.

Overall, I'm a little more dissatisfied with the experience than I thought I would be.  They say the last thing you experience will color your opinion of something and that is definitely true in this case.  Having no chip time recorded and the festival village basically closed when we finally finished really puts a bad taste in your mouth.  I'm not sure I would do another one.  I'm proud of what I accomplished, but it might be a bucket list type thing.  Don't hold me to that...I'm a girl and prone to changing my mind.  But, right now, I'll admit I'm glad that the only races I have on the radar are road races...a possible 5k at the end of the month, one in August, the anticipated Sasquatch race in September, and then the Atlantic City Half Marathon in October.

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