I am not sure why this was called the Boston Super as it was pretty far away from the city itself, hosted on Carter and Stevens Farm in barre, MA – but we will let the name slide. Anyway, this event was held on two different days (Saturday and Sunday). The two days could not have been more opposite, they turned out to be two completely different races.
On Saturday the sun was out, the land was dry with beautiful blue skies and overall great weather, while on Sunday, not so much … pouring rain in the morning leaving the ground soaked and that beautiful farm land rivers of mud, with a continued ligter rain for the greater part of the afternoon. The sun did decide to surprise everyone at the end of the race and make an appearance.
And what day did I race you ask?
Why yes, yes, Sunday it was.
After obsessively googling and reading blogs on what to wear and what to bring in the days leading up to the race, I had laid my clothes out the night before.
The day started off waking up to the sound of rain. The nerves starting building right off the bat. I put my race bag together adding a change of clothes, a trash bag, towel, rain jacket, gels, first aid kit, wallet, and my stick roller. [Side Note: If you are going to do a Spartan Race I seriously highly, HIGHLY suggest adding soap to your essential items, and you’ll see why soon]
After a few pit stops and making sure we had everything Shannon, Emily, and I started our drive down to Barre, MA. Some point along the trek all hope that the rain may stop flew out the window.
The parking was held off site and you had to pay an additional $10 to park. Pulling in I could tell that this was going to be quite the day. We pulled into this field of what was now mud and a little bit of grass. THIS WAS A DISASTER – cars and tractors were all over the place.Being in a small car we got stuck as soon as we tried to make it up the hill. This actually helped calm my nerves as we had to get pulled by a tracer to our parking spot, definitely much needed comic relief.
There were plenty of porto-potties in the parking lot on your way to the shuttle (which were much appreciated by those with a longer ride). There was absolutely no wait to catch a bus over to the course.
I felt slightly intimidated as we arrived with Spartans who had recently completed the course trudging by with their medals proudly displayed around their necks. I was surrounded by some of the most amazing athletes around.
Packet pick-up and race check in went much smother than I anticipated. The sections were separated by bib number (which we were given in advance) – they collected your waiver where you sign your life away and accept that there is a very real possibility that you may die during this race (gulp, okay what the heck did I sign up for).
As I stood waiting for Shannon and Emily to get their packet, I stood and took it all in. The wood bridge towering over me, Spartans covered in mud climbing up the walls, cargo nets drenched from the rain. My heart was racing – self doubt started to creep up on me and the nerves were in full force.
Someone in the distance called my name and began walking towards me – an old teammate of my brothers was also Super-ing. As a Spartan Race veteran he gave us a few pointers and while it may not have been ground-breaking advice, I was comforted.
Naturally we had to snap a pic before we made our way in to the festival.
We made our way over to the Mobile Locker Co truck – if you haven’t heard of them you should definitely check them out at your next race. It is a great concept – a truck full of lockers of all sizes to safely store your stuff as you race! Shannon actually knows the girl who started this company so we chatted with her for a bit before wandering off to the starting line.
Rain dripping off our bodies we got our race numbers written on our arms. We approached the starting line with a little bit of caution.
Now let me just remind you here that none of us had ever done a Spartan Race before — never, none, no 3 mile Spartan Sprint, no obstacle course period…
To simply get to the starting line you have to jump a wall – haha – I just remember looking at the two of them and laughing what if we can’t even do this part!?
The starting corral is where I began to fall in love with the Spartan Race culture. Despite the rain the announcer was super motivational and pumped up. I loved his pre-race chatter – among other things, he stressed: “YOU ARE A SPARTAN”. Yep, I’m gonna own this, I am a Spartan, I am athletic, I am strong, I AM A SPARTAN aroo
The smoke ‘bomb’ rose and we were off
To be honest the entire thing was a blur. Wall jump, jog, mud river rapids, attempt to jog, wall jump, monkey bars, mud trek up to our knees, more walls.
And then we come to the barbed wire crawl. I am just going to throw this picture in here as a little comparison. On the left is my bad*ss cousin who crushed the course on Saturday, on the left … me in mud city on Sunday.
In this moment I realized that this was going to be one of the most disgusting days of my life. Also, right here I will remind you that this is a farm we are running on, a working cow farm – just let that sink in what I may be crawling through – got that image? Moving on.
We trugged on to the lattice bridge that we saw in the beginning, more walls, a cargo net climb, plate drags, rock bucked brigade, and the stairway to Sparta – up until this point the three of us were able to work together to complete the obstacles, but we struggled with this one (mostly technique-wise). A wicked nice man and the woman he was running with stopped their own race to make ours a more positive experience – he posted us up and gave us a few tips and got us on our way. AMAZING I loved being a part of this.
As we continued on through obstacles such as the spear throw, rolling mud, dunk walls , the rope climb, cargo climbs, etc. We witnessed some truly inspirational athletes. A man was completed things dreadful 8.2 miles of mud with one leg, there were various veterans representing the wounded warrior project, and then there were the random strangers helping them when they needed it. Yes, there were those with the ‘if you can’t complete an obstacle, you shouldn’t be here attitude”, but in no way is that the majority.
I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of the 26 obstacles here, but I am super proud of myself for only missing about 5 of them and taking the burpee punishment instead (no one really held you accountable for this, an honor system ordeal)
As we made our way through waist to knee deep mud, sludge, and whatever else we could hear the finish line approaching. Good lawwd, thank you!
At the end we rounded the corner and waited for each other to do the customary fire jump and clearly could not muster up an athletic looking photo for the three of us.
This medal placed around my neck was not only a physical win for me, it was a mental win. I am so grateful to have completed this with Shannon and Emily they were beyond supportive and made sure they helped me over obstacles (I weigh probably both of them combined) as much as I helped them. I LOVE YOU TWO!
We collected our free delicious banana and builder bar and made our way over to the locker, collected our change of clothes and headed over to the ‘hose down’ area. As soon as you stepped out of the area you were right back in the mud.
After puttering around a little and collecting the free beers we headed back to the car where it was a much smoother exit than entry. They dropped me off at the restaurant my family was at for fathers day dinner where the most delicious meal I have had was waiting for me and some glorious glasses of water.
Remember I suggested you bring soap?
I woke up the next morning nice and early and headed on in to work. About mid-day the soreness started to settle in and I felt this glorious sunburn growing more intense.
When I got home and changed out of my work clothes I found this covering my torso
Neither Shannon or Emily developed this rash, nor do the majority of people, however it is a very real possibility when you are rolling, sliding, climbing through a cow farm. While my doctor says there may or may not be a possibility it could have been prevented with soap – I would air on the side of caution and bring it.
Overall this was an amazing experience. I will definitely be doing the Fenway Spartan Sprint in November, however I may never do one on a farm again – but hey, you lever know!