Boy was this a fun one. It wasn’t your ordinary Spartan Race which had you dodging and weaving roots and rocks in the trails or even climbing up and down a mountain; this Spartan Sprint was a stadium race! That’s right, this event took place in Raymond James (The Tampa Bay Buccaneers) Stadium in Tampa, FL. And this event also just happened to take place a week after I had returned from Nicaragua running the Fuego Y Agua Ultra. Needless to say, my legs were still a bit heavy. That didn’t take away from any of the fun I had that day though. It just happened to be the first Spartan Sprint in FL, which was also awesome because it was my first stadium event as well. When I first pulled up, there was just a massive amount of people that were had already arrived to the event. You saw people unpacking their cars, getting their gear packed up and just ready for an all around great time.
After saying my hello’s to all my friends, I lined up for the elite heat. After a rousing speech and the pledge of allegiance, we were off! God was I still feeling my legs. The first thing we did this race was run up the walk ramp. Round and round it went. And we got to run up and down stairs… the whole day! That’s what I mostly remember about the race, stairs and ramps. My legs hated me.
One cool thing they introduced this year though was “The Gamble.” Here, the runners came up to a fork and had to decide to either go left or right on the course,you don’t know what the outcome of your choice will result in, but you can’t kill too much time either. You have to make a quick choice and go with it. The fun part is that it will either help you or hurt you. The gamble that we encountered was if you took the left path, you got to continue up the ramp you were already on till you reached the top (this was the choice I made). If you took the right path, you would have to do 15 burpees and run up the stairs till you reached the top where the two paths would intersect. I thought this was a really cool concept that Spartan threw in this year that was different from last year.
And another fun aspect that they threw in was jumping up and down a flight of stairs of with a restrictive band around your ankles; that was actually pretty fun. I’m not too sure if they have this for other Stadium Races as well, but that was a fun little obstacle they had thrown in.
And you think the spear throw is the burpee maker obstacle of Spartan Race? HA! I say to you, the real burpee-maker king had been revealed that day at the stadium race. Once we finished another fun set of stairs, we were actually led onto the field. Yes, you read right, the field where all the Buccaneers home games take place. We had to throw a little black nerf football, that weighed about as much as piece of paper, into a trash can that was about 10 yards away. Not hard at all right? Wrong! What made this obstacle terrible was the fact that it was super windy that day. I definitely did burpees on this obstacle. Then the fun part came, a 100 yard barb wire crawl across the field. And there was no mud, just dirt. It. Was. Never. Ending. I swear every time I poked my head up to see how far I had advanced, I felt like I hadn’t gained an inch from my previous spot.
After the eternal barbwire crawl, we were led outside the stadium for the fun stuff. There was a Hercules hoist, the atlas carry (with brand new stone balls!), an ammo carry, where the BEST volunteers were jamming out to awesome music as we ran by, the inverted wall, the rolling hills (I hated the volunteer who kept spraying me with the water hose) and of course the fun ol rope climb, and then the other burpee maker, the spear throw. And after was the slippery wall climb, the fire jump, the gladiators and the finish!(Atlas Carry)(Ammo Can Carry)(Spear throw)
I ran this race twice, and had a blast each time!
I wanted to try something new this year where I had one memorable thing accomplished at the end of each race. At this event, when I was almost done with my second lap, I reached the slippery wall climb and where I met up with Bearded Brethren Steve-o Opie Bones. He called me over for some help. One of his friends was there for his first time doing a sprint and he was having trouble getting up over the slippery wall. He would get so close to the end then just give up and slide back to the bottom. He was beating himself up because he felt like he couldn’t do it. So we got together, got him up and off his butt and back up on that wall and eventually over it! It was a joint effort between myself, Mike Napoles, Diana Zagales, Steve-o and some of their friends (sorry I forgot your names).
It was one great weekend with another great race!
-Know the terrain you’re running on and gear up accordingly. I really had no problems at this race because I used my Nike Structures and the whole event was practically concrete till we reached the outside portion which was flat compacted grass. So I had no trouble whatsoever.
-Train on stairs for stadium events! Your legs will thank you.