Yesterday (A little delay on the finishing of this post) I cried at the end of my race. If you were to ask me why I would say it was a combination of disappointment and frustration. Yesterdays race sucked. I would love to give a great race report but I cannot. So I have decided to address the reasons for my frustration and disappointment. Hopefully you will learn from my mistakes and have realistic expectations for your own Spartan Race Experience.
#1 – The course.
Why it sucked:
My strength lies in the obstacles. I am generally not strong in the running portion of the race but make it up in speed of obstacles and/or burpees. Yesterdays course was made up of large muddy hills followed by easy obstacles. The majority of the “good” obstacles were ALL at the end. The monkey bars, rope climb AND rings were one after the other. In previous races the obstacles were more dispersed between running, which broke up the course nicely. Having the obstacles at the end of the race was GREAT for the spectators but not for the athletes (if you can call them that).
If I would have known the course was going to be a muddy 5k followed by a shitload of obstacles, I would not have signed up. But if I had already (and you can’t get refunds once registered), I would have trained mostly hiking up and down a mountain in the rain, snow in my slippest shoes wearing a heavy pack on my back. You gain an advantage if you are comfortable with running both up and down a slippery muddy mountain.
#2 – The People
Why it sucked:
When you do a Spartan race there obstacles that you must go through throughout the race. If you cannot complete the obstacle there is a 30 burpee penalty before you can continue. Although there are volunteers at the stations, you must count on your own and be honest. This is sometimes hard when you are wet, muddy and frustrated but it is part of the race. For some reason, this race I noticed A LOT of people cheating, not doing burpees, and even skipping obstacles. As an athlete and an honest person this was quite offensive. It makes all the race results completely useless. You cannot compare the people with integrity with the cheaters. My results mean nothing.
For the next Spartan race (which I am still debating on actually running at this point) I will not try to compete. I will not worry about my placement, my time… In fact, why would I even pay for a “race” where my time is completely irrelevant?
The truth is, I was disappointed, about the race, my performance, my result. I do not blame anyone but myself, or any circumstance related to the race. I was disappointed because I expected too much. I have learned in life that I have high expectations for myself and the people around me… and most of the time I have been disappointed due to the high standards that I set.
Most of the best moments in my life have occurred when I expected nothing. Went in with an open mind and no expectations. I guess that is the biggest lesson learned. Go in with an open mind but without lowering the standards I have for myself.
I will always complete my burpees, even when no one else is.
Good luck to all the people competing in the Ottawa Spartan Race this weekend. Expect nothing (except for long registration lines) and have fun!!!!