Friday, August 16, 2013

Monterey Spartan Beast 2013

hi guys- hope you're all having a wonderful week! i got some photos from my Spartan Race today so i finally get to share my experience with you guys. i did the Spartan Beast in Monterey last Saturday with my good buddy Ryan. the Beast is the longest of the 3 Spartan Race distances, aside from the Death Race. it's 10-12 miles (ours ended up being 12.49), over 25 obstacles, and some of the steepest hills i've climbed up/down in my life.

the net obstacle/the entrance to the race!
on race day, my start time wasn't until 2:00pm, which was perfect because i still got enough sleep and had time to put together my stuff in the morning.

here's what i packed:
  • towel
  • sweatpants
  • sweatshirt
  • spare shorts
  • spare shirt
  • spare bra/underwear/socks
  • face wipes
  • advil
  • blister bandaids
  • sunscreen
  • water and vitamin water
  • 2 clif mojo bars, blueberries, cashews
and here's what i wore and what i had with me:
  • older pair of Nike Lunarglides
  • sweat wicking socks (from my cross country days, actually)
  • nike capris
  • nike sports bra
  • an old nike pro combat shirt 
  • a plastic bag with my driver's license, $25, and my headlamp
  • 2 hammer gels
i probably brought other stuff, too, but i think that's most of it! i'm actually really happy with what i brought along to this race. i also was concerned about my outfit and debated back and forth between wearing capris and shorts, but in the end i'm glad i went with the capris. more coverage on the rocky/muddy terrain! i ended up ditching my shirt about 1/3 of the way into the race after the first barbed wire mud obstacle, and i felt a lot better after i did. running in a muddy, rock filled, wet shirt is never fun!

tip: BRING money if you do a spartan race. you will be absolutely starving at the end and half a banana is not going to cut it, so i was really grateful to have the money to buy some food. they also were having major sales on reebok apparel so i got a couple of cool shirts for super cheap.

anyway, onto the race! we got to the parking lot about an hour and a half before the start time (running a little behind, the spartan race website suggested being there two hours beforehand), and had no problems getting onto the shuttle that took us the 40 minutes to the race course. when we got there, there wasn't any line for getting our bibs which was really nice - i think it was because we had such a late start time! with our bibs came a timing chip wristband, and a headband with our bib number on it. i think the headband is a genius idea, since a lot of people ended up losing their bibs along the course.

after using the restroom and walking around a bit, it was almost time to go! i was getting really pumped up at this point - i love obstacle course races! and then right around 2:00pm we set off. the first mile or so was nice and flat and the obstacles weren't too bad - a few smaller walls to climb over and under, some mud hills and mud pits, and then we hit the trails.

the entire race was one big HILL! if we weren't going up, we were going down. my friend Ryan and i tried to run as much as we could, but on some of the uphills it just wasn't possible. for the most part we ran all of the downhills though! it was kind of cool because we had a lot of people - mostly these huge buff 20-30 year old men - tell us that they were just trying to keep up with us. it was also pretty funny because we were all swearing and asking why we paid $200 to have someone torture us (but really, you knew that we were all secretly loving it, haha).

as for the obstacles, i absolutely loved them. here's a list of some of the ones that i can remember!
  • 6 foot wall 
  • bench jumps 
  • dragging a rock attached to a chain down and up a hill 
  • carrying a sandbag for a little loop
  • dragging a tire back and forth
  • monkey bars 
  • a VERY long mud section with barbed wire. we found the easiest way to handle this was to roll, since you had less chance of getting hit by the wire. however, this section was also uphill, so sometimes it was really difficult! the people spraying water on the mud had a lot of fun soaking us, too. 
  • filling a bucket (that didn't have a handle) up with sand and carrying it up a super steep hill and back down <-- HARDEST obstacle of the race. everyone died. 
check out that face.. LOL!
  • an inverted wall 
  • mud hills/pits with a rope climb at the end - i was pissed about this one because i know i can do rope climbs, but my shoes were super muddy and i just couldn't get a grip, and only made it halfway up the rope. since i couldn't complete the obstacle, i did my first set of 30 burpees. 
  • traverse wall - basically a wall with sparse footholds and handholds that you had to make your way across, and it was after the mud pits so of course i slipped right off. second set of 30 burpees! 
  • a huge net that you climbed up, rolled across, and climbed down. this one was cool because under the net bridge was the entry/exit for the race so everyone below could see you and was cheering you on! i ended up getting a huge leg cramp in the middle of this obstacle so i'm sure i looked ridiculous to those below because i was practically hitting my leg trying to get it to stop cramping. should have taken that salt that they had at the aid stations!
  • a second mud and barbed wire obstacle
  • tire flips
  • a spear throw - which, of course i missed! third set of 30 burpees.
  • carrying a heavy block of cement about 25m, doing 5 burpees, and carrying it back
  • a bucket/pulley obstacle where you pulled up a bucket filled with concrete using a rope. my friend wasn't able to do this one, so i did about half of his burpees with him!
  • the spartans at the end of the race with this huge toothpick looking like things that were hitting as many people as they could! 
i know i'm definitely forgetting some obstacles but you guys get the idea! i also have to say that the hills in and of themselves were a huge obstacle. i didn't do much trail running and didn't run very many hills before the race, but was surprised at how well i handled them. it was also really fun because we had to go down all the hills we went up, and some of them were super steep - so steep that you couldn't walk down them. everyone was sliding down and it was so much fun! it actually didn't hurt at all - we just put our feet first, hands out to the sides, and kept our butts off the ground a little bit. most of the time these downhills were pretty sandy, which was nice because my hands didn't get too cut up. 

overall, i have to say this is my all time favorite race to date! it was like a combination of a cross country race, a super steep hike, and a bunch of CrossFit style obstacles - some of my favorite things all in one. also, the aid stations were well placed (and they never ran out of water - hallelujah!), and i'm so grateful for the volunteers out there helping the racers out!

we ended up finishing with a time of 3:50:06, which i am really proud of. i was expecting to take around 5 hours to finish this race, and we completely crushed that goal! i also got 3rd place out of 17 girls in my age group, got 77th out of 973 women, and overall finished 721 out of 3697 racers. 

even almost a week later i'm still on a high from this race! i would do one again in a heartbeat. being surrounded by that many people just as insane as i am about doing crazy stuff like this was awesome. it was so incredibly inspiring!

and a huge thanks to my buddy Ryan, who took most of the photos in this post. he was the only person insane enough to do a half marathon and a Spartan Beast less than a week apart with me!

have you ever done a Spartan Race before? 


  1. Top 1% all the way across!! YOU GO GIRL! This race looks so super intense, but so incredible awesome! Congrats on finishing AND surpassing your goal! I would totally want to try a race like this one day! I haven't even tried a mud race yet. I should probably start with that first ;)

  2. WOW you are so awesome! That race looks so killer! Love all the pics you got...they look so badass!

  3. Girl, you are a beast! Your also lucky to have friends to do this beast stuff with you :P!

  4. Congrats! That race sounds absolutely bananas, but totally makes sense why an endorphin-loving gal like yourself would have such an awesome time!