This is the story of a man. A man who awoke October 17th feeling intimidated and anxious yet ended the day a Super Spartan. The morning air was cool with fog blanketing the landscape. The sun began to rise and glowed through the fog and surrounding forest. It was ethereal. Breathtaking. Dark silhouettes stood in contrast to the light. Silhouettes of warriors preparing for battle. Spartans preparing to take what is theirs. The glory of completing the Spartan Race Seattle Super.
At the starting line, I could hear the familiar sounds of the race: the words of encouragement giving us a reminder of why we are all there, the breathing of fellow Spartans waiting with anticipation, and the deafening Spartan cry of “Aroo, Aroo. Aroo”! Then, we were off into the smoke of battle. The terrain was relatively flat for the Pacific Northwest, however it was as majestic as you would expect. We ran through lush green fields lined with deciduous trees of yellow, red, and green. The mountains, dark green, dense with forest overlooked us as we rushed into them.
The terrain left plenty of energy for obstacles. Hill climbs, while challenging, did not leave me empty. I was able to complete obstacles in ways I never could before. The walls came and went. Monkey bars, sled pull, rope climb, z-wall, and herculean hoist – slayed and left for dead. Moving through the forest, the sun rising, the sweat beginning to roll down my face and arms. I am Spartan…I am…Ugh! What the F*#K is that smell! I am smacked in the face with the smell of death. I begin to lose consciousness. I am not sure that I can go on. I fall to my knees and look around me, my sight getting hazy. I have found the river. Round, gray river stones surround me. The water moves peacefully, moving through the land with grace. I am so confused by the juxtaposition between what I see and the disastrous odor that feels as though it is reaching into me and pulling all of my life force out of me.
Slowly I begin to stand. I power through the odiferous cloud. My vision gradually returns. I can do this. I feel my adrenaline powering my body and my senses return. All around me on the rocks I see the source of what has become the most difficult obstacle on the course. Last week rain fell in record volume. The river swelled and flooded the lowlands of the course. As the water receded, spawning salmon were left on the river bank. Now their carcasses lay rotting everywhere. Their eyes missing, entrails dragged out by birds and other wildlife. Carnage as far as the eyes could see. As I struggled to breath, I jumped the logs laid before me. I approached the atlas ball nearly fainting again. Gingerly maneuvering to find a safe place to complete the burpees where I will not land face first into a rotting corpse.
Finally, I make it through. The air begins to clea,r and I feel the energy return to my body. I fret for the Spartans that have yet to arrive at such a challenging obstacle, but this Spartan must go on. I continue through the hills and forest. The bucket brigade feels heavy. I still have the smell of rotten fish in my nose. The log carry is easy; so is the sand bag carry. I keep moving through the course, my energy beginning to fall, my legs beginning to feel heavy. I climb the cargo net and my calf completely seizes at the top. The knot twists up my body locking me up. I focus and work it out. The course is wearing on me. Suddenly, the forest opens to a field – not just any field. A battlefield! Spartans lay on the ground before me! Are they still alive?!
My eyes grow wide, but suddenly they focus. The bodies are rolling. Moving across the earth cautiously. Trying to avoid the field of barbed wire. This is a barbed wire crawl like nothing I have seen before. It zigzags through the battlefield for hundreds of feet; then, in the distance, I see a slip wall. After the wall, the barbed wire continues to zigzag for hundreds of feet more. As I roll through the debris field, the world around me spins. I sit up where I can but must continue. I hear the lieutenants on the field giving words of encouragement and sharing that this is the longest barbed wire crawl in Spartan history. It is 1,000 feet of barbed death. An endless carnival ride, spinning round and round. I finally complete the endless barbed trail. Thanking the gods it is over, I sit until the world around me stops spinning. Finally, my world returns to normal and I stand to continue through the forest and hillside. Hiking now more than running my legs dragging my pace.
Down the hill I move, more slowly now, but begin to hear the thump of victory. The festival is not far away. The battle is nearly complete. The excitement of fire fuels me. I run down the hill and see it flickering, the smoke rising up into the air. As I approach, I feel the heat on my face and take a flying leap into the air. The perfect “hang loose ninja” pose in midair. My leg flies out, thumbs and pinkies outstretched signifying the completion of the course. I land and run to the finish line and grab for the medal with royal blue. The course is complete. The war is won. I have joined my Trifecta Tribe and I am Super Spartan.