Spartan Race shared their OCR mania with Boston this weekend, AND, for a second year in a row, it was at Fenway Park! Not sure if you folks remember a couple of weeks ago The Boston Red Sox won the World Series Championship there, for the first time in 95 years. Yeah, so this race was special for those of us that are lifelong Sox fans.
I was supposed to run the first Fenway race last year but was unable to as my family had moved to Nashville for a little while. We moved to Worcester and there was no way in hell I was letting this pass by. My wife was psyched, my two boys were over the moon and I was friggin’ spastic to get this opportunity.
Running through the park was surreal. How often does this opportunity come around? Ok, yes, once a year now, but seriously… This was a moment in time that I will never forget. Running over the Green Monster, running on the warning track along the Green Monster and smacking my hand against it to hear that distinct sound…. Chills people, there were chills!!
Minus our ride in on the T, we got into Fenway and met up with our team, the New England Spahtens! You will hear me talk over and over about them here on this blog, they are my OCR family and more. When you think of team you think of a group of people who get together, run races or play a game together. The Spahtens are much more than that. We get together to train at a variety of locations, weekly. We hang out together in our free time. We range from elite athletes, to weekend warriors, to people just doing their first race. Which, there were plenty of first timers this weekend.
We also are there to support each other in sickness and in health, literally! Team member Sean Gifford and his fiance Brittany Wymer held a wedding ceremony inside the park, which was officiated by team member Dawn Farley Cobak. This was a first for us, and I believe this completely, may not be the last for this group. We are tight-knit, We are brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. This team defines what it means to be a team!!
Shortly after arriving it was nearing the time to run the kids heat. My boys, Alex and Colin, were running their second Spartan Race and were so excited to do it inside the walls of Fenway. My team heat was shortly after so my wife took them to run. Besides the slight debacle at the kids registration (which is mentioned below), the kids race was a “shit show” to put it in my wife’s words. The twists and turns were somewhat tight and it felt very “sardine” like she said. At the end of the race it was hard for parents to access their kids. Some were reaching over banisters and railings to pull them up. It was liking fishing for your children in a sea of orange shirted spartkins. I know, it’s Fenway, but maybe some more attention could have been paid to some of the course set up. My 10-year-old also said it was super easy and was not challenging at all. My 5-year-old did the big kids race. They need more of a challenge!!
My son Colin did get a shot to be a gladiator and he whacked some folks coming through to the finish line. It made his day and he hasn’t stopped talking about it!!
From here on out, I will try to break things down the best I can, I may not remember each and every obstacle, and what order they came in. But you will get the gist of it.
REGISTRATION: For the adults, as usual, things were smooth and we were able to get our stuff quick and then we moved on to the kids registration. The line was long and was taking quite a while. I had stepped away for something, had to change a heat for one of us, and when I came back Leah was talking with the Kids Race rep, Mies. She handled us quick and efficiently from there.
COURSE: The course designer did a great job of laying everything out. The obstacles were laid out in a way that they were not on top of each other and surprisingly, there was a ton of running. Everything was marked clearly, I knew where I was going to whole time, well maybe not the whole time. At the pancake carry I did have to ask which way to go when I got the pancake and which way to go when I dropped the pancake. Whether it was though the stands, on the warning track, into the dugout or even into one of the locker rooms. We were running everywhere and anywhere on that field. I absorbed every single step, every foot drop I was breathing in the Fenway experience.
OBSTACLES: Right at the starting line you hit a 6 foot wall, easy enough. Over it! A short sprint to the real starting line and you had to do 20 burpees before they let your heat go. Then it was up the stairs and we were off. Again, the order of obstacles is lost here so this is what I remember based on achievements and failures.
One of the first obstacles was a water carry. Men carried a jug in each hand, not sure the weight but carrying them down a flight of stairs and then back up those stairs your legs were burnt out, or at least starting to burn out, almost immediately.
There was a weighted rock carry where you had to pick it up, walk it a short distance, place it down, bang out some more burpees, and then place it back where you got it. There was a jump rope area where you were jumping some seriously gauged rope. It was as thick as the stuff we climb, so it was a bit cumbersome. Also, your ankles were held together by an elastic band, a big one of course. It made it a bit more difficult, but it’s jumping rope so…
There were rowing machines, tons of rowing machines. I got in line to wait for one, which took 4-5 minutes as each person was supposed to row for 2 solid minutes with the goal of rowing 500 meters. I have done this a ton of times before and have hit the mark. I don’t know what the setting of the machine was, but I missed it but a measly 6 meters. 30 burpees for me!!
There was the staple over and under walls, monkey bars (which I fell off of and had to do burpees). There was the wall traverse which I did burpees on in Georgia but nailed this time! On the spear toss, which I nailed in Georgia, my spear hit off the top of the hay bale and it was more friggin burpees for me. The rope climb was in the mix here somewhere and again, I failed this in Georgia but rang that friggin bell this time. The herculean hoist was something I killed before, and this time I swear that rock was heavier than my soaking wet 140lb self. I failed, had to do burpees. There was the Hobie hop where you had to put an industrial size elastic around your ankles, hop up two flights of stairs, hop over some cord that was strung across a small bit of course. It was dodgy but I got it done and cleared the cord on each hop.
One stop I really appreciated was the push-ups in the locker room. I believe it was the visitors locker room, but it was still an inside peak that not many people get to check out.
There was the pancake carry, previously mentioned before, and the men had a 40lb pancake to lump around some stairs and such. It was brutal as my legs were junk at this point.
As we started getting close to the end there were four 6ft walls to climb over and then the biggie, the 8ft. wall. I had to use the step spots in Georgia to get over it then. Due to some training at Unleashed in Warwick, RI and some inspiration from Thor himself, I was able to get up and over that damned wall with no assistance. I was beside myself to say the least.
As I ran along the warning track, from right field to left, I took it all in an ran my hand along the Green Monster, banging it a bit to like I said before. As I rounded the corner from left field, there were rows of boxes for box jumps. We had to do twenty of those, from one side to the other. So TECHNICALLY that was 40 box jumps. OUCH!!
From here it was a sprint to the finish where I got slammed by the gladiators, not knock down, but hit anyway. As I crossed the finish line I saw my wife and two boys cheering me on. Even though I was exhausted, it felt so good to see them cheering me on.
All in all, this was an experience like no other. Let me stress that, this was an experience like NO OTHER!! The memories I have for the rest of my life will forever be with me. I was humbled by the Park, brutalized by the race, supported and loved by my team mates and family. I f&#king love this sport.
Now if I were only in better shape… I finished in 1 hour and 11 minutes… ugh!!