By David Skinner
The migration of the obstacle course from boot camp to weekend warrior was bound to happen, but I’m sure no one could have predicted the sheer volume of options out there. From quick and dirty 3k runs, to beastly double digit mileage there is a race for that. The Spartan Race offers three distances, the Sprint (3 miles), the Super (8 miles), and the Beast (13 miles). Complete the three in one year and claim bragging rights as a Trifecta finisher. Our runners of course jumped directly into the Beast, and it didn’t fail to deliver. The race organizers were very clear with preparations and instructions - this is a hard race, designed to test physical and mental stamina through unpredictable terrain and surprising obstacles. The racers who show up prepared with water and energy packs ease the pain, but it’s a sufferfest for everyone out there.
The Monterey Beast was staged in Toro Park, a few miles South of Laguna Seca Raceway. The course pounded it’s way through 13 miles of insane ridge climbs, dusty narrow singletrack, peppered with brutal obstacles designed to favor the strong and agile. The obstacles included over/unders, high walls, mud pits followed by cargo net monkey bars, and water soaked 30ft rope climbs. Tires, sandbags, spear throws and brutally long barbed-wire mud crawls rounded out the suffering with a 30 burpee penalty for each obstacle left unfinished on the first try. With almost 3500ft of elevation gain, intense cramping and exhaustion was common among the battered participants along the way.
One of the runners for the event was Carmen Eagleman from the Monterey area, and this was her first mud run. Here’s what she had to say about the days leading up to the event and her thoughts on jumping into one of the toughest mud runs out there:
“When the opportunity came up to do the Spartan Beast, my first thought was: Yes! Then it sunk in and I started to freak out a bit. What if it was too hard, what if I couldn’t finish it? My stubbornness won out and I decided to buckle down and prove to myself and everyone else I was tough enough to take it on. I prepped for the race with P90X3, and worked on endurance by doing runs after workouts to really push through. After the initial freak out, I tried not to think about the actual race. Three days before the race, I was floored with the flu, but it all worked out in the end and I felt pretty great going into the race.
On race day, I was an anxious, nervous, excited, determined bundle of energy looking forward to something I’d never experienced. The buzz and excitement of this race was awesome and really pumped us up throughout the event. Something important to learn was maintaining pace by walking up those hills. There’s almost no extra speed but it take so much more energy. During the latter part of the race my left leg started cramping which was a strong reminder to fuel up and hydrate constantly. We pushed through and crossed that finish line limping but strong! Completing and conquering this race made me feel like I could do anything! It’s invigorating to set a goal, push past the comfort zone and crush that goal! We’re already looking forward to the next challenge!”