That guy in the lower left hand corner of the frame pretty much sums up how many of us felt this past Saturday.
To kick off my vacation/staycation week, I did another obstacle course race (OCR), this time a Spartan Super at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton, PA.
I’ve written about Spartan Races before. Since I was out there racing the 8 mile course, I wasn’t shooting any photos. No GoPro’s for me.
Basically, I was running…or walking…and sweating…and carrying heavy things..and sipping pickle juice to keep from having muscle cramps. It was a long, hot day.
But, I did it. Placed about 31st in my 45-49 age group (not sure how many overall there were, but quite a bit) with a time of 3 hours and 31 minutes.
The one thing that struck me, again, about this race is how pleasant everyone is during it. We’re all in it, suffering, together. But we signed up for this, we brought it on ourselves.
Still, though, everyone is pleasant, polite, helpful. If I took a knee to catch my breath, many racers tapped me on the shoulder and said “You OK, bro?” with actual concern. I offered water, pickle juice (from one of my hydration bottles) or salt packs to racers myself. Like I said, we’re all in this together.
We’re all focused when we’re training, but there’s not animosity, no rage on the course. Just people doing what they came there to do.
So much negativity and crap going on in the world…maybe more people should just try to push themselves doing something like this.
It’s not for everyone. And everyone there IS NOT an elite athlete or OCR racer. Some just have a goal: Do it, get through it. Some, yes, do want to be competitive. Heck, I am when I’m on the course. But it’s against myself. On the drive to Palmerton (in which a PA State Trooper did NOT give me a speeding ticket because in part, I think, he saw my Spartan stickers on the back window of my truck), I gave myself a goal of 5 hours and 30 minutes to do this rugged, hilly, insane course.
At the start line (above), I shortened it to 4 hours 30 minutes, to push myself more.
So, to finish in 3:30…I was happy.
But there was plenty of pain, plenty of “taking a knee” like the guy above. But you get through it.
You’re not worried about work, deadlines, other stuff going on. Just getting through it. I know that doesn’t sound like fun to many people, but it works. It clears your head. I only do these once, maybe twice a year. In the middle of it, I think, That’s it. No more after this. But at the end, or a couple of days later (like today), I think, Man, that was cool. When is the next one?
The sufferfests. We’re all so stationary now, that we need these sufferfests to tell us we are still alive.
In fact, Scott Keneally has done a whole documentary about why we do this. I met Scott at this race, gave him my card, and hope to connect with him down in Asbury Park in a couple of weeks, when he shows the doc there.
It’s an interesting aspect. Why we do this. Why we put ourselves through this. After the race, I met my family up in Northeast PA, at my parent’s house. My dad, of course, said the same thing “Why do you do this to yourself?”
I don’t know. Maybe when there is so much crap going on in the world, it’s best to just hit the mountain and sweat.
Feel some pain.
Nothing wrong with a sufferfest every now and then.
Spartan Race just released their images from the race. Here’s me…during the Sandbag Carry. Decent for 46, eh?
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016