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Miami Spartan Super 2/23/2013

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The second Spartan Super of 2013 arrived in North Miami this weekend. 80+ degree temps, high humidity, ample sunshine, and a powerful  UV index were in abundance.  This event holds unique importance to me because it marks the one year anniversary of my introduction to obstacle course running.  I didn’t participate in Miami Spartan 2012, but some friends did.  Their pictures ignited an obstacle race Google search and I quickly went from beginner to enthusiast.  Now, a year later, I was eager to meet a handful of robust fellow enthusiasts representing the NE Spahtens who made the journey seeking tropical spartan glory.

Oleta River State Park requires a 5-10 minute shuttle from a separate parking location just like Amesbury. The shuttle bus actually drove under a cargo net bridge created by the stacks of two by two cargo containers. Athletes were rolling over the top of the net as shuttles passed through underneath.  The festival area seemed tight and chaotic at times, but any tent/service I needed was utilized in a timely manner. Free samples of coconut water, protein bars/drinks, etc. we’re notably absent or were hidden.

The 8.3 mile course highlighted the South Florida inshore ecosystem of bays, estuaries, mangroves, seagrapes, pine, bamboo, and limestone. Several miles of mountain bike trails meandered through the forest. Here’s the list of obstacles in order thanks to a spectator map:

  • Under over under over walls
  • Water crossing via bay
  • Over under through walls
  • Monkey Bars
  • Water crossing with buoy line
  • 7 foot walls
  • 6 foot walls
  • Rolling mud (trenches)
  • Tractor Pull
  • Sandbag carry
  • Cargo net bridge
  • Atlas lift (lift large chuck of concrete, walk, 5 burpees, lift and return)
  • 8 foot walls
  • Tire flip (three over and three back)
  • Hercules hoist
  • Bucket hoist (repel down embankment, fill three homer buckets, spill H2O, climb back up)
  • Rope climb
  • Traverse wall
  • Mud crawl under barbed-wire
  • Slippery wall
  • Gladiator pit

Spectators had excellent access to the final five obstacles as well as a walking trail to view others.  I was pleased to complete all of the obstacles with zero penalty burpees.  I did complete 30 “team” burpees for the two locals I ran with.  I also learned a valuable lesson:  Don’t make Spartan races any harder than necessary.  For example, I chose the one XL tire because I was impatient.  The body strain nearly left me with a soprano voice and sent me to the OR to repair soft tissue tears.

I found it difficult to  partition my time among several local factions, the traveling Spahtens, and my family.  I look forward to seeing new and familiar Spahtens as we travel around the globe seeking new challenges.  Thank you to Keith (solid man), Nele (Naila-friendly beast), Corrine (sweet soul), Tom (proud dad), Ellen (cat who swallowed canary smile), Betty (saw her for a second), and Yvette (self-proclaimed bag crasher).  I’ll see you at the Ruckus!

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Featured Review: Warrior Dash, South Florida

The Warrior Dash recently roared into South Florida with tremendous success.  Thousands of Warriors lined up to conquer bad-ass obstacles during an “insane” day.  The atmosphere was festive as evidenced by the costumes, team shirts, thumpin’ music and ample eye candy.   Loads of friendly staff were available to get warriors checked in and off to the starting gate.

The Warrior Dash is an extremely well run and fairly priced event, but the obstacles are reasonably easy and rather tame.  This company has ample experience in the obstacle course race business and executed over 40 events during the 2012 calendar year.  From an organizational and event planning point of view, they are far superior to most local mud runs.  The Warrior Dash is a terrific opportunity to introduce new people to the sport who can participate in an entry-level obstacle course race.  One of their strengths is they know exactly who they are, which is a 5K event with approximately a dozen diversified obstacles.  To date, the Warrior Dash has not attempted to clone other OCR companies.  They have stuck to their formula and they do it rather well.

I arrived at Amelia Earhart Park outside of Miami an hour prior to the first wave.  Parking was a stiff $20, but check in was easy and bag check was complimentary.  I ran the 10:00AM wave as well as the 11:00AM wave.  During my second wave, I was approached by many fellow warriors commenting on my insanity.  I explained to them that I joined a team on Facebook called the New England Spahtens, who welcomed me in and accepted me as one of their own despite my home zip code.  I further explained that New England Spahtens are a pack of challenge junkies who share a passion for obstacle course racing.  The obstacles I encountered were:

  • Junk Car Traverse
  • Two Water Crossings (one with logs, one with a capsized catamaran)
  • Incline Wall
  • Wall Traverse (giant hand holds and a ledge for feet)
  • Three Crawls  (two with mud and barbed wire, one with sand)
  • Mud Mound
  • Giant Trench
  • Cargo Net
  • Two Rows of Fire Jumps

Although it was not the “craziest freakin’ day of my life”, I had a fantastic time simply having fun, while burning calories and getting filthy fit.  The Warrior Dash has a partial 2013 schedule that can be found here:  http://www.warriordash.com/locations.php  Expect a full 2013 schedule to released soon.  When the Warrior Dash comes to your town, be sure to sign up, take a few friends and indulge with reckless abandon.