Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 Spartan Beast Recap: The Heatwave from Hell

On Saturday Dave, myself and our trainer friend Eric set out on a little road trip to Temecula for the Spartan Beast, a 12+ mile obstacle course through some major hills in Southern California.
Our race time was 11:45, which originally we thought nothing of, until we saw the forecast for the weekend. Over 100° on Saturday. So... essentially we were racing during the peak heat hours of the day.


We all decided a few days earlier to buy 50 oz camelbaks, hats and cooling towels to soak in water and wear around our necks to keep us cool. Lifesaving ideas... literally.
^^ This was where I was emotionally as we waited in traffic to park before the race. I looked at the temperature outside and it was already 101° at 10:30 am. I was a little nervous about racing in that heat!!

As we started the course we all kind of decided that running it was a bad idea... so when we hit the first steep hill (I'd like to call it a cliff, that's how steep it felt), we decided to walk up nice and easy. When we got to the top of that monstrous hill, we knew the heat was already really bad. Racers were dropping left and right from heat exhaustion. A little after mile 1 there was a poor girl struggling to stay conscious as emergency staff tried to tap her face to keep her awake.

The heat was getting serious.

We made it through a few obstacles and took good long breaks at all of the water stations to make sure we were staying hydrated, and also eating gel packs to get carbohydrates and electrolytes back in our bodies. By mile 6 my calfs and legs were beginning to cramp pretty badly, but I knew I could work through it. The water and gel packs were definitely helping.

As we passed mile 7, we walked down a small hill to what looked like a river crossing, where we would cross and hike through another set of hills and obstacles to finish the final 5 miles of the race.... except, there was a man on an ATV blocking the road.

He was turning all the racers around telling us to head to the finish line. They had cancelled the remainder of the race due to the heat. So that is exactly what we did. We headed to the finish line, completing about 7.5 miles of the 12 mile race.

I understand their decision completely and in all honesty it probably should have happened sooner. There were so many athletes looking pale, cramping, puking and collapsing on the course - I felt like we were in a war zone.

The good news: Spartan decided to give all racers another chance to race for free at the same location in January!! So it looks like we have 4 months to train until our second chance race. ALSO - they are offering a special 2-hour workout in Temecula called the Hurricane Heatwave, where we get a custom t-shirt and dog tags.... now that is a company that will do just about ANYTHING to make right of a situation!! Dave and I are actually considering going back down this weekend for the Hurricane Heatwave workout. It sounds too fun to pass up!

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