They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Well, I guess it’s lucky for you then that the Las Vegas Spartan Race was actually just a stone’s throw across the Arizona border in Littlefield!
Our adventure starts on Sunday, March the 19th at 3am when I woke up to my alarm telling me to get out of bed & to get ready to head to Bellingham Airport for our flight.
To backtrack a bit.. My Wife Charity & I were planning on heading into Las Vegas where we were married 10 years prior & a few of our friends were planning on coming with us. After we booked our flight tickets we found out there was a Spartan Sprint Race in Littlefield Arizona on the day that we were landing & that it was only about an hour drive out from Las Vegas. I created a Facebook event to let all of our crazy running & non-running friends know of our Anniversary weekend & our intent to start the path to our very first Trifecta but running the Sprint in Las Vegas. Well, we ended up getting a few more friends come along to run the Sprint with us & join in on the festivities. Back to Sunday.. We got picked up by our friend Shelley & then we picked up our friend Troy & headed from our hometown of Vancouver, B.C. Shelley was just coming to enjoy Las Vegas but Troy was also coming to run the Spartan Sprint with us. We crossed the border & got onto our flight with no issues & we landed in Las Vegas at 10:30am where our friends David & Taylor picked us up & drive us to Littlefield Az. Our gate time for the Sprint was 1:15pm which gave us about an hour & a half to get there. Luckily David had run the Super the day before & knew the route & where to park. The drive was luckily rather dull & after showing our parking pass, finding a place to park & getting changed seems to have about 20mins until our start time. Charity, Troy & I all wore most everything we were going to race in on the place as we knew we had a limited time if we wanted to get out on the course as the last heat was at 1:30. It was hot! The Thermometer in the car said it was approx. 36c/97f (Apparently it was a few degree’s hotter the day before for the super) but I could still hear everyone having fun & I could feel the energy in the air. People driving by were honking & hooting & I could hear the call of the Spartan off in the distance “Aroo!”
We had already filled in all of our waivers & printed out our scan/barcodes to make check-in go the fastest it could & fast it was! One quick scan, review of our ID & another scan of the kit bag & we were told we could join the 1pm heat. It was 12:50pm, so we had to get moving! I quickly brought the bag that we all placed our change of clothes into with the Drop Bag crew & joined my friends in the corral. We were at the back of our group as we were pretty much the last one’s in. After they closed up the gates, I realized that I hadn’t had the chance to run to the restroom or get any water, this “decision” would be one I regretted for most of the course. After a quick pep talk with a shortened version of the Spartan Credo we were released into the fray of the course. The course was well laid out I thought & used the lay of the land & the MX Course quite well. Up & over a few humps, then some short walls, then O.U.T. (Over, Under, Through) meanwhile we had to trudge through sand that was dry and loose as heck.
I swear you lost more than half of your forward momentum due to the sand just moving out of the way when you placed pressure on it & tried to move forward. We then got to the first classified obstacle, it was just a trudge through a stream that went through the property. The stream was moving at a good pace & only about passed knee height for me & was rather warm. I am a wimp when it comes to cold. I rarely ever participate in the cold water obstacles. I’m getting over that slowly now with the addition of proper OCR gear & time. Just doing them more often & slowly working them in seems to be helping me get through more and more of these obstacles. The cooler water was nice, as trudging through that sand & not having water before the water really dried me out. Next was Atlas Carry, this was the first time I had ever come across this obstacle & I wasn’t sure how I would do as I have no grip strength, but I got passed it with little to no issues at all. After a few other various obstacles we came across our 1st water station, it was a welcome sight! A few more obstacles came & went & we were then greeted with another water station at the bottom of a rather large hill that we were going to have to hike up. The water station honestly should have been at the top of the hill, or better yet after the next obstacle which was the sandbag carry. After hiking up that darn hill & then carrying the sand bag all over hell’s half acre I was incredibly thirsty already, unfortunately water wouldn’t be had for at least nearly another mile & 8 or 9 more obstacles. This is where the course changed a lot, for the first 3 miles/5 kilometres we had conquered about 10 obstacles that were quite spread apart, now we had about 12 or so obstacles left but only 1.5 miles/2.5 kilometres to do it in & doing it in the hot mid day sun was taking it’s toll in on me.
We got to go back down the hill a bit & crawl under some barbed wire, I was able to use some new side walking techniques I had seen someone try in a Facebook video, with that, and crawling & cinching through it, I got through it unscathed for once! Technique on a lot of these obstacles are key, especially when you’re a guy like me & you’re not very fit or athletic. The Rolling Mud Obstacle was a nice relief & I wallowed in it like a little piggy would & covered myself & had a good ol’ time. If you can’t have a good ol’ time at these races & unleash your inner kid, why do it!?! Well, that’s my opinion. I’m not here to finish in the top half, I’m here to have fun, help others & enjoy my time with those around me. Next, onto a first for me, the Dunk Wall!
Again, I was kinda worried about this one, every time I have tried to go into water past my stomach as soon as it hits my check my body just locks up. Well, hello warm water! Other than pausing because I thought the water was just too muddy to submerge myself into I realized just how ludicrous that sounded & under I went! I was rather surprised, for the first time ever I tackled the Inverted Wall on my own & got over it, although cramping up my calf by bashing it into the top of the wall when I heel kicked myself up & over. Oops, forgot the Mustard, oh well! A few stretches and some lunge type steps while walking I was good enough to go again. Climbing the hill after that took quite a lot out of me, they were rather mean & tossed a bunch of larger tractor tires on the hill & they were “fun” to climb over. They were also rather hot so that kind of helped add to the pace.
We could see the finish was coming upon us rather quickly. We got through the Herc Hoist, an A-Frame Cargo net, a Plate Drag & then onto Twistah. It’s a rotating bar with hand holds on it.
Well, due to my lack of grip I only got about 2 rungs in & dropped. The Monkey Bars were about the same distance, by this time I was just wiped, but, the last obstacle was upon us, the Fire Jump!
We all gathered together in our group and took our last few strides together & jumped that fire! Victory! We finished off with our very well deserved beer, talked to a few fellow Spartans & then we headed out. It had been a very long day for some of us & we just wanted to get back to our room & rest. After all, the next day was our 10 year wedding anniversary & we still had 3 more days in Vegas that we were going to have to use our legs for. In the end, we traversed about 4.5 miles/7.5 kilometres & had about 24 obstacles to pass & we did it in about 2:20. We may not have been the fastest out there, but we didn’t want to be. It was hot & we took it at our own pace & had a great time! I hope to bump into ya sometime in the mud, if you see me, be sure to say hi!
Ryan has a beautiful Mudd Queen as a wife & 3 gorgeous daughters 19, 17 & 4 that keep him busy.
Drop him a line if you have any questions or just want to say Hi. =)
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