To get it out of the way, I didn’t finish the Ultra Beast. I know what you are thinking, what everyone has told me, is that I should be proud of what I did accomplish. It’s hard to explain I suppose. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the attempt to make me feel better nor is it that I am not proud of myself. It’s the fact that I did not do what I set out and trained to do. It’s like going all day thinking about eating a chocolate chip cookie. At the end of your work day you go to the store and buy the biggest one you can find. You drive all the way home, sit down with a big glass of milk and chop into it. Then you realize it’s an Oatmeal raisin cookie. Sure it’s tasty and you’ll eat it but it’s not what you have been longing for. I guess to conclude this analogy I will have to say that I just need to get back to the store and buy the right cookie. I think pregnant women or women that have been pregnant will appreciate that analogy most.
But here is the story anyways. I don’t much feel like telling I but I owe it to those that have supported and sponsored me. I drove out to Vermont Friday. After singing my heart out to 80s music I made it to Killington around 16:00. I went straight to packet pick up. I met up with my running partner Andy to be and his lovely wife Trish. We grubbed on the overpriced meal offered there. I had not eaten all day due to nerves so I forced as much chicken down my gullet as I could. After a little while of not hearing each other over the band we parted ways for the evening. I went to the camping grounds to set up camp and met up with a friend from AIT (Army job training) and his crew. We laughed over a campfire and I learned more than I needed to know about male medical exams. I went to bed around 22:00 and slept like a baby on a wood floor in the middle of a forest.
Race day started at 5:30. I would have slept longer but dreams of being late kept me up. I got ready and went on the first important journey. The quest for coffee. Once the nectar was secured I made my way to the mountain. I got all my gear ready and made my way to the grounds balancing my bin and coffee. I met up with Andy and Trish to wait for the race to start. A little nervous but mostly excited to hit the mountain. Of course the race started about 10 minutes late just to let anxieties build. Then cue the smoke and release the hounds. Maybe a bit too much smoke, I got lost before I even left the pillars. Thankfully Andy yelled out to me and I could follow his voice to victory. By victory I mean the start line. Baby steps I guess.
The race is really a blur to me. I wish I could retell it like I did the New Jersey Super. There are a lot of guesses as to what the course actually was. I’m going with the Ultra beast being 27.62miles, a change of 24,187 feet and 70 obstacles. I’m going to note the obstacles I remember because I either failed or conquered when I previously couldn’t.
Monkey bars : 30 burpees here. There was one bar a bi higher than the others and well I failed.
Traverse wall: I owned this one. I had never seen this till the Super but I figured it out this time.
Rope climb #1: I failed the rope here, my arch nemesis as you know. I got less than half way and I just couldn’t muster the upper body to get higher. 30 burpees.
Tarzan swing after a nice 40 degree swim: 30 burpees. I didn’t see many people actually complete this.
Tyrolean traverse: got on top of the rope, pulled my happy butt to over the water, someone got off the rope ahead of me and I fell in the water. 30 burpees. This one is a nemesis I found in basic training.
Rope climb #2: Made this rope mine!! There was no way I was going away without succeeding at the rope.
Spear throw: 30 more burpees for good measure.
45 degree wall:The excess amount of soap was a nice touch. Although the wall wasn’t a challenge The soap stayed with me for the next few hours. It was bubbling up in every water obstacle.
This marks the end of loop one and our twenty or so minute break at the bins. It took us 6:45. This is where the realization that we wouldn’t complete it set in. To make the mental battle tougher, as we sat at our bins, Andy and I saw people cleaned up and removing their bins. Many had decided one time was enough. When we were letting our piggies air out it was clear than no matter what we were going to push on as far as we could. So we redundantly changed our socks and headed back out. We were going to have to be taken off this mountain kicking and screaming. We pushed hard but I really had very little steam left in the tank. Andy was such a gentleman and stuck with me. This made me realize that I had weighed him down this whole time. I can’t help but feel he might have made it had he not needed to help and wait on me. One of my favorite moments happened here. I was hiking uphill and it was very slippery. I hear someone slip behind me and then a slew of traditional French Canadian swear words. I felt right at home. After a couple miles of climbing we got to the top and looked at the amazing view. I asked him to take a picture cause he was brave enough to bring his phone in a double ziplock. This point we were enjoying what was around us more than just the sneakers in front.
|Yep that's my pink head.|
We did more obstacles and the volunteers were being pulled off the course right behind us. We did the barbed wire crawl and it took me a ridiculous amount of time. My elbows and knees didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. We continued until we got back downhill where the traverse wall was. My arms and legs were shaking and my it band was about to divorce me. The staff had started pulling off people so we just decided to head to the fire jump and get pummeled by the gladiators. I guess we had done about 18 miles. I looked at the ginormous glow in the dark Ultra Beast medal and faced it. I had failed. I did get a medal for the Beast and I did take it. I did more than those that had got a medal so I felt I deserved it. I think Brokk would have been mad if I didn’t bring a medal back for him to parade around in.
I did spend a pleasant evening with my now friends Andy and Trish. I even crashed on their floor. I wasn’t going to refuse the offer since it was raining. I left the next morning at 06:00. I couldn’t sleep and was looking forward to being home. I spent 5 hours driving and going through various emotions. This is what I settled on and is quoted on a Spartan Race Blog.
“I’ve been racing for a year now, both in road races and in five Spartan Races. I have succeeded and suppressed my goals in every race I’ve tackled. My goal for the UB was to simply complete it. I did not meet that goal. What was going to be a crowning achievement in maiden year of racing was a failure. I’m settled on redemption. I feel this is a great lesson, not only for me but for my children. I want to show them that when life challenges you, you don’t just curl up in a ball and give up. You take your past experience and use it to train tougher than you ever did, fight harder and go get what you want. I’ll be training everyday with my green wristband to remind me of this.”
I did have a great time racing, as I always do. I don’t care where I am next year I will be taking on the Ultra Beast again if they let me. I have so much fire in my belly to do this and I’m starting training tomorrow. Killington took a little bit of me that day and I will get it back.