Tag Archives: Monroe

Jim’s Spartan Experience

I didn’t get to the Spartan Race in time for Jim’s start so he was out on the course when I got there.  I wandered around seeing others making their way around and decided he must have already passed the earlier spots I might see him.  I waited for him to come back in to the main area before heading out again on the second big loop.  I was wondering if I had missed him when he came into view down a hillside.  Rather than distract him, I let him do the next obstacle before I said Hi!

I then saw him do a few more tests before he was off again.  At least now I had a rough idea of where he was and who was on a similar pace.  That made picking him up again a lot easier.  I could then follow him around the final series of tests.  These shots are a bunch of those I got of home as he was in the second half of the race.  He pushed on to the end and finished well.  I was tired watching it all so I bet he was shattered.  However, once he finished, he looked really stoked so I guess the success was rejuvenating.

Excellent effort mate.  Well done and a well deserved addition to the medal collection.  Now to finish off your personal challenge!

Does Cold Water Help Tired Muscles?

Two of the later obstacles in the Spartan Race involved water.  The first was crossing a small river.  It wasn’t too deep but the cold water on tired leg muscles was not nice.  The banks were also getting very muddy and slippery given the number of contestants that had been before.  Then there was a second water crossing.  This was across and back the river with bank climbs on both sides.  The water was also a lot deeper and the bottom of the river was uneven.  Here people really struggled and the tiredness was really showing.

The Ability to Swing

A couple of the obstacles in the Spartan Race that I saw involved getting yourself across a series of ropes and hoops or using grab handles that moved while you hung on.  These obstacles would be tough if you were fresh but they were in the latter portion of the race when tiredness was already very apparent.  It was fascinating to see the different techniques people used and the success or otherwise.  Dropping off was very common given how tired people were and the resultant 30 burpees will not have helped.

The physiques of people didn’t seem to have any indication of the probability of success.  Some people looked like they would struggle as they set up to start and would then surge across.  Others would look good and then drop off quickly.  Knowing how I would have fared, I was very sympathetic.  A few were in fantastic shape and just flew through.  Others got so close to the cowbell at the end that signified success and would drop when almost in reach.  You were willing people on.

One of the toughest to watch was one of the elite female competitors.  She was in third place coming to the last obstacle and nearly made it across before slipping.  She headed off to do her burpees and, while she was doing them, the person in fourth approached.  She got onto the test and made it across cleanly jumping into third place.  The other competitor had to finish her burpees which must have been so hard having just seen your podium position slip away.

Spartan Race Setting

My buddy, Jim, was taking part in a Spartan Race.  The event was being held in Snohomish so, while I wasn’t willing to get up quite as early as him, I did go up to see the race and what people were prepared to put themselves through.  The whole thing was being held on land that is usually an equestrian center.  The Beast race was a 13.2 mile trek punctuated with a variety of tests and obstacles that the contestants had to negotiate.  Fail to succeed on any of them and there was an area for you to head to where you would have to do 30 burpees before you could move on!

There was a central area for spectators and those who were waiting to start or who had already finished.  (A sprint course was also available so the whole Beast course was not the only option.)  A number of the obstacles were close to this area while many others were scattered out in the woods and fields.  There wasn’t anything to stop you heading out to the other areas if you wanted to and, as I was there longer, I did go a bit further afield.  Not all the way out though.  I wasn’t testing myself!

This shows the main area and the people that were there to be involved.  Some of the obstacles were worthy of their own post so there will be more to come.

Fort Monroe

As our day exploring was running down, we made one diversion from the center of Hampton to Fort Monroe.  Up until last year, this was apparently still an active military facility.  Now it has been vacated by the military and is open to access.  The feeling of the place is still very clearly that of a military base, even if the large number of troops are no longer there.  It is also plainly very old.

At the center of the Fort is an old Victorian style structure with massive stone walls and a moat.  There are a few entrances you can drive through and inside is the heart of the fort.  It appears that the housing has been turned over to people now so, while it is quiet, it isn’t deserted.  I have no idea who the housing now belongs to but it is certainly interesting to drive around.

Outside the main fortifications are plenty of other buildings.  These include gun emplacements as well as some very nice high end housing.  As you drive around you come to some nice houses that you assume must be for the senior officers.  Only as you come around the next corner and see even bigger houses do you realize that the really senior officers must have been there.  Indeed, as we walked along looking at the buildings, one of the residents came out and said hello.  She told us that this was Generals’ Row while the other houses were Colonels’ Row.  I am guessing the enlisted guys did not see much of this area.

The access to the shore means that plenty of people come to the piers to fish or to walk along the beach.  I have no idea what the future holds for this place but it certainly is worth a diversion if you are in the area to see something that is a bit frozen in time – at least for now.