Wednesday, July 22, 2015

stadium spartans. AROO!

so the whole reason we headed up to san francisco in the first place was because i'd somehow magically talked the hub into signing up for a spartan race with me.  i know, i know, crazy talk, right?  but with this one being a "sprint" - meaning, the shortest distance of all the races they do, plus the knowledge that there wouldn't be any mud or water obstacles, i really wanted to give it a shot.  it was being held at AT&T park, otherwise known as giants stadium, which i thought sounded like fun.

here's your usual opt-out warning - there are a shitton of photos coming up.  you knew that was coming, though.

because our wave didn't begin till 11:30, i decided to break one of my usual pre-race rules and had something to eat.  i joined MIL and the bean up in da club and made myself a nice little plate of breakfast goodness.


since she lives up in the bay area now, i'd also talked cousin seven into joining us for the fun.  add in mr. lilcee to round out the team, and we had a fun little group of crazies.  lilcee drove us the short distance to the stadium, and while mr. lilcee gathered up his stuff, the three of us took a pre-race photo.  don't we look excited?


there were lots and lots of excited folks at the entrance.


spartan recently did away with paper bibs and switched over to these fun headbands with our numbers printed on them.  this was way better than the black sharpie across the forehead, like the last time i did a spartan race.  and it was nice not to worry about uncertain death or potential catastrophic injury this time.


with headbands in place, we headed inside and up the stairs to find the bag check and start line.


i asked him if he was ready and i got...this.


upstairs was even more chaotic, with folks who were already done, tons of spectators, volunteers milling about, plus littles who were doing the spartan kids race.


we stopped at the panasonic photo booth for an official photo.


and then we got our first look at what was to come.  holy crap.


time to head to the start line!


check out my armful of spartan wristbands:


we were a little startled to find that we had to tackle our first obstacle even before we started the race - climb up and over a 6-foot wall.  it took me two tries, but i did it.


and then i got it - that adrenaline rush that happens when you've conquered something that looked daunting at first.  totally made sense as to why they'd done it this way, and it worked - we were ready. when the horn blew, we took off jogging up the ramps at a good, steady pace.  we climbed a few levels before encountering the first real obstacle - ropes that were strung across the walkways waist-high, and we dropped to our hands and toes to do a bear crawl...uphill.  this went on for two flights before we found our next challenge:


then a bit more running through the stadium.


we followed the arrows that marked the course and found ourselves tackling the first set of stairs.  and believe me when i say there were a LOT of stairs.


the arrows took us up the stairs, across the rows of seats, up more stairs, across more rows, down some stairs, rinse and repeat all the way across an entire section of the stadium.


when we found ourselves back in the concessions area, it was time to pick up a sandbag and head off for another set of stair work.



i was already fairly winded from the workout i'd just gotten, and the addition of the heavy sandbag (25 pounds?  30?  i don't even know) had me trudging at a slower pace than before.  i managed to get through it though, and then seven and i found the next obstacle:


we grabbed a stretchy band to put around our ankles while doing 20 rope jumps using a piece of rope that must've weighed another 25 pounds.  the hub told me later that this was the easiest obstacle for him.  me, not so much.


more running, more stairs.  at least there was a lovely breeze going, we weren't fully in the sun, and we had a great view:



yay for a water break!


we found ourselves down on street level, just outside the stadium.  there were some folks who were out and about for a walk or sightseeing or whatever, and they all looked a bit bewildered at the sight of all these sweaty runners jogging alongside them.


more stairs, another lovely view.


aaaaaaand another wall to climb.



any guesses as to what came next?


we ended up back down on field level, but the relief was short-lived as we found a whole new form of torture by stairs - up, over, and back down these things all the way over to the other end of the stadium.




medicine balls were next - squat down to pick it up, stand back up, swing it up overhead and slam it back down on the ground.  20 times.  sounds horrible, but it wasn't that bad...plus, it was a nice break for our quads.


wall.


here, we had to pick up these super heavy chunks of concrete and take them across to the line, put it back down, do five burpees, and then carry it back to where we started.


spear throw was next.  while seven got it on her second try, i couldn't get my spear to hit the damn target.


but i was happy to find myself out on the field when we got going again.  it was a fun way to get a tour of the ballpark, i must say.


and down on this level, the stairs were a lot longer and not as hard to get up and down.

but then things took a turn for the worse - for me, at least.  we had to grab a sandbag again and do another circuit of stair work.


when i picked mine up and went to follow seven down the stairs, i landed on some loose sand that had fallen out of a broken bag and rolled my ankle.  holy crap, it hurt like a bitch.  and i was convinced for a moment that that was it and i'd have to drop out of the race altogether.  seven had me stop and catch my breath, rest the ankle for a minute and test it out to see if i could rotate my foot (i could, both ways).  and then i tried walking on it again and found that i was okay...mostly.  so i soldiered on.

next up...box jumps.  20, since that seemed to be the magic number of the day.  damn.


confession:  i only did 15.  sue me.

here we had to pull the rope until the weighted duffle bag reached the top and then lower it back down to the ground without dropping it or slamming it down.  i remembered this from the last time, but it seemed way heavier this time around.  a guy who was hanging out waiting for his teammates came over to help me get it up to the top, and then i was able to handle bringing it back down all by myself.  seven, on the other hand, who weighs about 55 pounds soaking wet, found that the bag was heavier than she was and happily accepted his assistance as well.


then we scampered through these doors:


and found ourselves in a locker room doing 20 pushups.



then we got to head back out to the field going the same way that the ballplayers do when they're playing, which was cool, and resumed the race.


the cargo net climb was my favorite - up, over, down.  easy.




the next obstacle was also fairly easy - drop down into full plank position, place your feet on this little skateboard-wheely thingy, and wheelbarrow it across to the line.  other than the fact that the concrete was burning hot underneath my palms, this was a piece o'cake.


the stairs were no big deal by this time.


but the rope climb was.  it was one of the two obstacles i dreaded most, the monkey bars being the other.  my upper body strength is nowhere near what i needed to conquer those two, and i failed at both.  seven and her toned arms (and weight about half as much as mine, ha) completed them both with ease.  bitch.  haha.


two more walls!



and then we found our last bit of energy and managed to run together towards the end.  we had to push our way through the wall of punching bags, make a u-turn, and then we were done.


we received our medals (much, much nicer than the ones in malibu!) and then had the option of walking straight up and out towards the concession stands and the exit, or doing another set of stairs/rows of seats/stairs with a finish line photo as the reward.  well, duh:


as we trudged back up the last set of stairs, volunteers were waiting to hand us some finish line prizes - our official finishers' tees and this stuff:


we were all pretty excited to be done.  and yes, that's a beer in my hand - which i didn't drink, of course.  it just made for a fun prop.



a jumpy picture with our medals?  sure!  what sprained ankle?


as we waited for uber to pick us up, i took a look at my stats on the health app on my phone:


i don't know if there'll be a next time, spartan.  i'm just not sure at all.  unless, of course, you bring the stadium series to soCA.  all bets are off then.


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