My adventurous friend Michelle and I decided to give the Spartan race a try since it was coming to town. I used to joke triathlon was just a "whose the best exerciser?" competition. This is even more true of obstacle racing... And since I spend most of my time exercising in some form or another, I liked my odds of finishing. The race started with a ceremonial flame jump and then burst up a short hill. Next you climbed under barb wire and crawled under a tarp. Michelle and I seeded ourselves nearer to the back - a mistake - seems most of the people at the front of the pack were optimistic than realistic about their fitness and the gas pretty much ran out when they hit the crawl obstacles. I ended up twiddling my thumbs under a tarp with about 50 sweaty heavy breathing strangers... not the best way to start a weekend in my opinion. There was a long trail bit that came next with some over unders so I charged hard to get ahead of the pack. The next major task was to carry some rock filled buckets up and down a hill. I was not prepared for this and neither was my back. My back loves to move. It does not like to brace against a constant load. And it certainly made sure I knew that and wouldn't be forgetting it any time soon. More steep hills, and between two of these hill climbs I went off course, missing a small sign that indicated a right turn up the sharp little bank. Luckily some guys behind me managed enough air to yell me back toward the next obstacle... Pulling a little cinder block. A zigzag balance beam, a rope latter climb and some loss of skin due to cheese grater style rocks at the bottom of a mud pit below razor wire and I was nearing the end. My husband thought it would be funny to tell me I was going the wrong way in the finishing shoot. It wasn't, in fact... funny. I missed the next obstacle (a javelin that was very nearly lobbed into the crowd at my dear comedian hubby) and they needed to drag me back to complete it. I was still confused when the spear left my hand and needless to say, missed. It was not my first set of failure burpees that day but thanks to staying on the rock wall that came next, was my last. Here's a tip... Forget perfect burpees - form does not matter - speed does - so do them fast. On the climbing wall, step on the far side of the block with just a toe so you don't have to hop or shuffle down to take your next step. The last obstacle involved being hit with a giant foam bat by some shirtless guys. I think they had trouble hitting a girl and they barely gave me a detectible tap... yet as I waited for Michelle to cross the line, I was surprised (and entertained) to see and hear some very audible wallops that were sure to leave some very visible marks. I myself had a good collection of gashes and bruises on my lower legs and had to spend two hours rolling my back out that night from the bucket carry but it was worth it! I can see why these races are catching on like wild fire... Who doesn't love a good adventure? I managed to place and qualified for the next round, the Spartan Beast in Squamish at the end of the summer. Since I am not able to run long distances this year due to injury, obstacle racing has certainly filled a nice void. A void created when I am no longer hurting myself.