Race Review: Spartan Colorado Military Sprint 2014

Difficulty: Medium due to the elevation
Cost: $
Experience:  Good
The Spartan Colorado side of Colorado Springs on May 3rd and 4th 2014, Military Sprint was an event held on Fort Carson Mountain Post, Colorado on the south side of Colorado Springs. I had originally registered for this race to get a double Trifecta in 2014. Two Sprints in Colorado, two Supers in Texas, one Beast in Texas and then was looking for one out of Texas Beast. Spartan changed the second Super in Texas to a Sprint. So now my goal is to receive three Sprints, one Super, and one Beast. I am happy I’ll still be getting one Trifecta in 2014. The price for this course varies depending on when you register for it, but you can find many discount codes, coupons, or groupons online.

This course was a 4.5 mile course with 25 obstacles, some of the obstacles were military based… hints the name Military Sprint other than the fact that it was on a military base. This was the first OCR I have done out of the State of Texas. I ran both Saturday and Sunday, Saturday was for myself and the team, Sunday I ran for my Father-in-law who served in the 141st Army Medics HOOAH!, and also because I was not going to let any of my team members run alone being the Team Captain in Colorado I did not feel right not running.

This was the first Spartan that I had done were the first obstacle from the start line was only around one hundred yards away. There were only 25 obstacles you had to overcome on the course, but if you’re not from Colorado or any place with high elevation the altitude is an obstacle in and of its self. I’ve been training with a training mask to get my body use to the decrease in oxygen, helped very little.  I was running with the team Lone Star Spartans, some of us ran together and others of us ran in the Elite Heat and the Volunteer Heat. There was a group of about five of us that ran together on Saturday (12:30 pm heat), and only three of us that ran together on Sunday (11:30 am heat). Lone Star Spartans were represented in Elite and Open Heats both days.

By the time we got thru the first and second obstacles the group of us were already winded. The hills were bad with the lower oxygen. There were obstacles labeled as “Classified” and I was hoping they would be military obstacles but they were regular Spartan Race obstacles, 8 ft wall, tractor pull, barb wire crawl, sand bag carry where what they put as “Classified”. This was the first race where I saw a choice “Gamble who did not have a choice on the “Gamble” obstacle that the tire pull was up hill pull. We took the tire” to either pull the tire or flip the tire. I had heard from the LSS members that ran Elite (flip, after the “Gamble” obstacle we climbed up a steep hill to face the Atlas Lift, a round ball where you pick it up carry it about 5-10 yards put it down, do five burpees pick it back up and carry it back. I tried Lifting the male Atlas ball while volunteering in the Festival area… I could not do it; I was concerned about it for the race. However I think once I got the Adrenaline pumping and the race started I was able to do this one. With a little help from my teammates when bring the ball back across them helping me lift it the first time.After the five burpees I could lift it myself. Then down the steep hill and round the corner was the second “Classified” obstacle, the Tractor Pull, this was the toughest tractor pull for me out of the now 3 (if you count both times I ran this race over the weekend then 4) Spartans I have done. Why that is? That’s because we had to pull it up the side of the hill. Once I got up the hill with mine I turned around and saw one of my team mates struggling to get it up the hill so I went down and helped them out. Once finished that up it was down the hill to the first of two water stations (which one Sunday we saw two of LSS volunteering at), down the hill a little further was the Log hop. The first day I did not make it and had to do burpees, great thing about doing this with a team is sharing in burpees… as the saying goes “sharing is caring” this was my first set of burpees for missing an obstacle. On Sunday I made it across!

So now we get to crawling thru mud under the barb wire… honestly I have to say on both days this was the muddiest run I have done so far. I talked to one of the people that live in Colorado Springs who told me that when the dirt gets wet it becomes like clay and just sticks to whatever it touches. It was muddy and slippery; they dug rectangle ditches in the barb wire crawl that made it more difficult. The third “Classified” obstacle was that we had to crawl up and over a dirt hill and down into a second Barb wire crawl. Theses crawls were not the longest crawls I have been threw but with the cold mud it felt like it took forever to get threw them.

The mud that accumulated from the barb wire crawls did not help with the rope climb, we tried to use grass and hay that was around to take the mud off and dry our hands but it did not work well. With me on the rope climb is normally easy, my wife always gets mad at me when watching at races or at home because I only use my upper body to get up the rope and just use my feet to hold me in place to ring the bell. No such luck on this one…I even tried to use the “S” wrap with my legs and feet to get up the rope. That did no help, the ropes were slick with mud and they were not the same ropes as in previous races I’ve been in. They were made of another material entirely (I don’t know if this is a change for Spartan or if it was just because we were on a military base). The whole team both days had to do burpees on this one.

Obstacles consisted of in this order:
Under Over Under
Over Under Threw (O-U-T)
6 Ft wall
Classified – 8 ft wall
Gamble – you got to choose between the tire flip and the tire pull/drag
Atlas Lift- Female around 60 pounds, Male 90 pounds
Classified- Tractor Pull
Log Hop
Barb Wire Crawl
Classified- up and over a dirt hill to another Barb Wire Crawl
Rope Climb
Monkey Net
Rolling Mud
Inverted Wall
Rucksack carry- Female around 75 pounds, Male 120 pounds
Classified- Sand Bag Carry (Pancake)
Classified- 8 ft wall
Traverse Wall
Spear Throw
Hercules Hoist- Female 65 pounds, Male 100
Dunk Wall/Slippery Wall
Fire Jump

Next we came to the new Monkey Net… since I ran the race on Saturday and Sunday there are two different stories here, I’ll start with Saturday:

Saturday Monkey Net: the goal was a combination of the regular monkey bars and the ropes climb, traverse wall, or Tyrolean Traverse (what I mean is at the end you have to ring a bell). So you use the cargo net as the handle of the monkey bars it has an incline up and then declines on the other side to get to the bell. Once at the bell you drop into the water and go on your marry way. On Saturday two out of the five people that were on the team running with me made this obstacle. You guys rocked this one! Right after we all finished our burpees this obstacle was shut down. When we walked up EMT’s were bandaging up someone to go to the Hospital (Keep in mind that before your allowed on the course you sign a waiver that states this course could cause injury or death, it’s like the signs at pools with no lifeguards “swim at your own risk”). Turns out that by the time we got there, there had been 15 people sent to the hospital from injuries just from this obstacle alone. Apparently from what one of our elite team members said about it was that the water was 4-5 feet deep in the middle of the water under this but it slowly sloped down gradually. So if people fell off in the beginning and landed wrong they could cause broken legs or ankles.
Sunday Monkey Net: it was still closed; they modified it to where it was just a swim with ten burpees after the swim, or you could go for a full thirty burpees and skip the swim. We swam and did the ten burpees.

The Rolling Mud was not to bad other then the water being cold… Sunday the water was warmer. It was up and over a dirt hill into pool of water; we did this about six times each. After this we took a little run/jog to the next obstacle. I think that my favorite obstacle is the Inverted Wall. It’s a difficult obstacle because it takes upper body strength as well as lower. This wall is slanted back towards you and has 2x4s going across it for hand holes and foot rests. On Saturday the team helped one another on this one. After the mud it was very slippery. Took all four guys on the team to help my wife up and over but only one had to do burpees here, as a team we split his burpees.  Sunday no one on the team needed help over the Inverted Wall. And off to the Rucksack Carry…

The Rucksack Carry was the hardiest obstacle for me I believe. The female Ruck was about 75 pounds and the male was about 120 pounds (weight may have varied some but that’s what they were around). This was hard for me because 120 is almost exactly my body weight. We had to put it on our backs and carry them up the side of a hill down a little back up a small hill, turn around down a small hill back up and then down to where we picked up the Rucks. I almost fell backwards a few times going up the hills. I also had to stop and rest. For all the military people that have to carry them day in and day out in the field or in training, you have my utmost respect. That was not an easy task, but I did it two days in a row. I’ll say after the ruck my body felt like it weighed nothing, I was so much lighter. A few yards down the road was the second and last water station. After the ruck water felt so good.

Past the water we went down into a drainage ditch and under a road that we will have to go under again but I’ll just say this once… the mud in the drainage ditch was black not brown like the mud we had encountered earlier and would encounter again later on. It stunk as well. Once out of the drainage tunnel under the road we had to go across the drainage ditch and up a steep hill… not this was not the fourth “Classified” obstacle this was just the trail. The fourth “Classified” obstacle was the Sand Bag Carry (Pancake) hahaha, this was easiest sand bag I have ever carried in the world! I use to think they were hard but after that ruck this was soo easy. Yeah we had to go up a hill but it was very easy… can’t wait to see the picks from this obstacle… one of the LSS’s members was dancing with his sand bag in front of the camera here.

So after the sand bag we went off to go up and over the Weaver, this is a military obstacle that Spartan incorporated into the course. It’s An A-frame of wooden 2×4’s with about 2 to 3 foot gaps between the 2×4’s, and the bass is cut off telephone posts at varying heights that  have longer telephone poles on top to make the A-frame with the 2×4’s going horizontal across them. You always had to have three points of contact. You could not stand up and walk across them or you had burpees here. That is now how I hear the military does it they actually have to weave up and under the 2×4’s (with still three points of contact I believe?) another one of our LSS team on Sunday was volunteering at this station. Great to see the team volunteering as well… it’s encouraging to run across your team at your on the course. NO BURPEES HERE! Lol our team member told us they’d give us extra if we had did not have three points of contact. Love the Encouragement!

Back to the drainage tunnel…yuck! And off to the last “Classified” obstacle… another 8 ft wall. I have had no problem with them so far.
Now a mile and half from the finish line, and seven obstacles left. On Sunday we ran into a small obstacle that Spartan did not have control over… The Dirt Devil… we ran into coming out of the hills but for us it was not bad mostly just wind for us. The Festival area got it the worst, from what I hear fences were falling down and a bunch of dust was kicked up. One of our team members recorded it. The Traverse Wall was next… On Saturday I fell off this and had to do burpees… the team helped me out here and we helped each other with the burpees here that the others had to do… I don’t remember who all failed and who all passed. On Sunday the three members of the team all made it across. Go Team Work!
From there was the Spear Throw… at my two previous Spartan races I have thrown the spear and with the handle hit me in the back of the head.  This time I did not … but still missed and had to do burpees.

The Hercules hoist I’m never able to do. The bag/cement weighs more than half my body weight. It pulls me up every time. This was a team effort both days. We even helped a young man on Sunday do his. LONE STAR!
Ready for more of a barb wire crawl up a hill where you get muddier and slide down into a pool of water and a wall in the middle of it six inches under the water… yep that’s right you guessed it, a dunk wall! You had to go under it. The water was cold and up to my chest. But once you dunked and came back up your face never really felt the cold. But the water did give people like me some trouble when you open your eyes that had contact lens on. After that you crawled your way out of the water and went to the slippery wall. This was virtually impossible to climb by the time we go there… the mud was a soup and it stuck to your shoes. This one was hard.

The Bridge was not bad you climbed up a big ladder like thing to a cargo net that was strapped down on top of four storage containers to make a bridge and just crawled across it and back down.  Once down was the fire jump, I really like this one when they have cameras here because you can see some really epic pics of yourself.

The last one was the Gauntlet; this is where the Gladiators would be if Spartan had not removed them. I personally like the Gladiators but jumping thru punching bags into a pool of water was nice too… We met on Sunday a few more LSS members working the Gauntlet we ran into the “Dictator of the Gauntlet” a member of LSS who had a bull horn telling competitors to jump thru the punching bags and not to hang on them… They were there to make sure no one jumped and hung on to the punching bags. Saturday a few participants did this and they and the bags fell. Once past this you cross the finish line balloon and receive your medals!
I had a great time with the team Lone Star Spartans and can’t wait till the Texas Super/Sprint weekend with them in two weeks. The races were great! Two thumbs up!

Posted in Race Review.