Sunday, 1 July 2012

For Sparta!!!!!!....Derp

Halloo, Internet!  I am back!  Happy Canada Day to you!  Guess what I did last weekend?  Well, here's a the sign in the picture.  Yep...the "Spartan Race"!

But what's the Spartan Race, you ask?  Well, it's this race where you don't just run, you also have to go through all kind of obstacles!  Just like an army-person type thing!  Pretty cool, right!?  Just like a navy seal, right!?  Hardcore!

This doesn't really have any great relevance, I just thought it was funny.

Well, full disclosure, I told my bro about maybe running in this thing.  Told him he should come do it.  Now, my bro has been in the reserves for a long time.  He had two comments about my desire to do this super-cool race:

"1. Why would I pay to do a type of obstacle course I have done tons of times?


2. It might not be quite as cool as you think it's going to be."


It's a popular race.  By the time I was signed up, the only heat was one leaving at 3:30 pm.  Kinda late for a race, but that's ok!  Just shows how popular it is!

Race day!  Head out to Barrie!  Boys are coming with!  Get to see daddy go hardcore!  Awesome! Except its raining.  And gonna keep raining. 

Registration an absolute shit show.  Nobody knows where to go, massive lineups for your race kit.  But there's a Domino's Pizza booth!  E-man and Gabe are set!

And who is doing this race?  From the looks of it, just about every in-shape dude in Toronto.  All walking around with their shirts off.  Ahh! Body image issues!  I feel like a fatso.  Man, I gotta stop reading Cosmo.  And eating nachos. 

But it's almost 3:30!  Boys, are you going to do exactly what Heidi says while daddy is on the course?  "Yes, dad."

"Psst...hey Gabe...check out the sitter...I think I like her!"

Let's line up!  Who knows how its going to go?  They don't tell you what obstacles are ahead of you.  All you see is the last one.  A ramp about 10 feet high that you climb up with the help of a rope hanging down from the top.  Some people seemed to be having some trouble!  Gulp! 

4...3...2...1...Go!  We run about 50 metres...then the path gets skinnier and we are walking...and walking...and walking...then room to run!  Until the first obstacle.  A big tarp you have to run underneath.  I hear a woman running under the tarp say, and I am not making this up..."Ugh, its all dirty..."  We are running through the woods.   In the rain.  In a military type obstacle course that urges you to wear clothes you don't really want to wear ever again...and she is complaining about the first obstacle being dirty. Oh well, whatevs, right?  Not my prob. Not my race!

Then some more running.  Then a rope fence you have to climb over.  Well..that you have to get in line to await your turn to climb over.  My turn...easy enough, manage to get over without looking too dumb.  Then some more running and then crawling through a plastic tube about 15 feet long.  A bit close, but not too bad. 

Then a rope ladder or just a rope that you are supposed to climb.  There's a lineup for the ladder, so I try and climb up the rope.  I have no idea how to climb a rope.  I see the other people doing it pulling themselves up with their arms, then bringing up their legs and squeezing the rope between their ankles and pushing up from there.  Easy enough!  I jump up and give it a try.  Actually get it to work a couple of times! Only about 3 feet to the top!  But now I can't get my legs to squeeze the rope for some reason.  And my arms are tired.  And I don't make it.  Gotta go down in shame.  Which shouldn't bother me!  Why SHOULD I know how to climb a rope!  But it does bother me.  Seeing other people do a physical activity and me not being able to do it?  Gah, it fucking burns.  Why did I sign up for this stupid fucking race anyway?  And is it over yet?

Now, the race description says that if you can't do one of the obstacles, you are supposed to do a bunch of burpees (remember those?!) instead.  Well, there was nobody from the race organizers that appeared to be at this obstacle (or most of the obstacles, really).  And let me tell you, there were a bunch of people that were either not making it up the rope or not making it up the rope ladder, and not a one of them did I see doing even one burpee, let alone a bunch.  So fuck it.  Besides, isn't my humiliation enough?  Next!

A wade through a hip deep mud puddle with more running in between, then you have to pick up a sandbag weighing maybe 20 pounds and walk on this mud path with it on your shoulder.  It has still been raining the entire race and the path is pretty mooshy and slick.  But no prob for me!  I used to work a job selling vinyl siding where I would carry the 80 pound boxes on my shoulder! So I am rocking along the path.  Thinking to myself, "this is so easy it's kind of bo"-BAM!

Flat on my back.   One of those falls where the impact is so hard, I see black for a couple of seconds.  Was following too close and didn't see a decline.  Or was just taking it too lightly. "Are you ok, man?"  God, is there anything you want to hear less?  Or maybe it's just me?  For me, if I had seen it happen to somebody else, I would be like "could happen to anybody, the trail is slick."  But it happened to me.  And I am embarrassed.  And I don't want to be thought of as lesser for falling.  So just as fast as I am down, I am back up, discounting any words of concern with "no, no, I am fine, no biggie." And whether I am hurt or not, I am going to finish this stupid race as if I never fell at all.  (Geez, that does not sound particularly mentally healthy when I write it out like that.)

And of course I did jam my neck.  I guess I must have tensed up to brace myself as I fell.  By the end of the stupid race, I could barely turn my head (not that anyone would have known, though!)

So keep going!  A javelin toss where you have to hit some straw.  With my toss, I manage to somehow perfectly broadside the straw bale with my javelin.  Good enough!  We're not cro-magnon hunters here!

Then some more running.  Then some rowing on a rowing machine (wtf?). Then some hay bales to climb over:

He'll be coming o'er the hay bale when he comes...

Then you have to run through this gauntlet thingy where a shirtless guy tries to hit you with a padded baton.  To be honest, I had been kinda worried about this when I read about it on the web site.  But I am not sure I can put my finger exactly on why.  Like it seems kinda homo-erotic?  But so what?  Was I afraid I would like it?  Too much?  Get a boner?  I dunno! Anyhoo, it turned out to be no big deal.  The guy just kinda half-heartedly bops you as you go past.  No sprouting wood.  Then up the ramp and that's it!  Get my medal!  And my tshirt!  Well, an IOU for a t-shirt, as they ran out.  Then over to the showers to wash off the mud!  Except that they have run out of water, so that's out.  But there is a dude with a hose spraying people down.  So I get hosed down with freezing water. 

Go get my boys, who had a great time with Heidi ("we had pizza, and then french fries, daddy!").  Then onto the highway back to Toronto.  But its Sunday afternoon and I am sharing the road with not just other racers, but also every Torontonian who has a cottage around or past Barrie.  Which constitutes about 1 million of them.  So that bit, kinda.

In conclusion, it was an interesting event.  But it's not really a "race". Not really a test of one's self. It's kinda more like a team building exercise?  Sorta?  Or I might just be bitter about the stupid rope climb?  Not sure would do again, but interesting to do once. 

BTW, I washed that shirt I was wearing twice, then just had to throw it out.  That mud was stain-y!

JJ out!


  1. Not a race. More of an endurance contest! Did you get dropped on your head when you were a kid? That might explain your masochistic tendencies ...

    1. Roy! That's the thing! It sounds hard, but it really isn't that bad! Unless you hate mud. Then it might not be for you.