Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gold Coast 2014: Spartan Beast Brisbane QLD

About a year ago, I took part in the Viper Challenge and Tough Mudder in Perth and have since then grown addicted to obstacle challenges and after much persuasion from one of my friends (I hate you, Sunil Bangah), signed up for the Reebok Spartan Race. So on 4 September 2014, I jetted off to Gold Coast with my team over 20 people to take part in Spartan Beast, the second longest and most grueling version out of the all categories of Spartan (Sprint, Super, Beast, Ultra-Beast).

Beast was....21km of rugged terrain, trail running and 35 obstacles to overcome along the way. Failure to successfully complete each obstacle on the first try led to a penalty of 30 burpees for each obstacle. 

So if I failed all 35 obstacles, that would be... (does mental calculations, gives up and uses calculator) 1050 burpees.

Oh. My. God. In the months, weeks, days leading up to the event, that was all that ran through my mind. Then came race day. And I peace as though I had accepted my fate (and my end). We got to the Spartan race village well ahead of our time and collected our race kit which consisted of a super durable headband that held our individual race numbers.

After the obligatory team photo, we were set loose into the course that led up into the surrounding hills and terrain before looping back to the village area and again.

Unlike Tough Mudder, the route and obstacles remained a well-kept secret even on race day and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We were running in circles around the village area which was mentally torturous because we could hear the music and DJ the whole time, reminding us of sweet relief and that we were so close yet so far away.

Obstacles were designed to us mentally and physically and required a combination of strength, grip endurance, balance, swimming skills, coordination and just overall endurance to get through them. A combination I was severely lacking in everything except well, swimming. That I aced in spades but sadly there was only one swimming across the lake obstacle and the rest became attempt-fail-and-do-burpees obstacles like the monkey bars and  or just simple-no-way-can-fail obstacles like the muddy ant hills and the creek walk.

At the midway point and obstacle which was the rope traverse, my legs started to feel the effects of almost minimal training, constant running and (stupidly) sprinting downhill. A friend called that area cramp central and I could see why when I tried to traverse the rope as my left calf cramped up then.

The remaining distance was agony as my trusty New Balance finally gave in to the beating it had taken and the tip ripped a nice hole for stones to get in. My replacement insoles were torture on my soles as they kept shifting around and pointing into my arches. Needless to say, I wasn't moving as fast I would like to be for the remaining half.

Fortunately, I had four of my mates that stuck with me the whole way. For the remaining three hours, we walked, jogged, limped, climbed and crawled our way to the finish line.

And when the finish line came in sight, it was sweet relief but first there was the rope climb which I just went straight to burpees. Then we had to climb and cross a cargo net on a container and jump down.

To end was iconic fire jump. When our turn came, the fire leapt up and jumping over the blaze was impossible so I opted to just jump over the side...

Better than ending up with burnt feet I suppose. Crossing the finish line was sweet sweet sweet relief and receiving my well-deserved metal and t-shirt was just the icing on the cake.

The icing I licked up before reality bit me in the ass and reminded me and my finishing teammates that it was still bloody cold and we ended up huddling close for warmth.

Weren't we a sorry sight.

But at the end of it, we did it, in our respective clusters of mini teams and we did it right. Well, majority of us did it right. But Spartan is an individual race more than anything else and if our honour, pride and dignity as athletes couldn't make us do it right, then we didn't deserve to call ourselves athletes in any form. But hey, to each their own.

And now on my bucket list..
1. The Spartan Trifecta medal

2. The Mudder Legion headbands.

Hm, looks like moving temporarily to Australia would seem like the best way to make these nutty dreams happen.

Note: A big thank you to Reebok Malaysia for sponsoring the team t-shirts. We loved them so much that we wore them for the local Reebok One Challenge and almost got mistaken for volunteers and crew members!

Also read about:
Accommodation: Grande Florida Resort Apartment, Gold Coast 
Gold Coast 2014: Spartan Beast Brisbane, QLD 
Gold Coast 2014: Day 3 - Alpaca Farm and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 
Gold Coast 2014: Day 4 -  Wet & Wild and Warner Bros Movie World Theme Parks
Gold Coast 2014: Day 5 - Sea World and Surfer Paradise

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