“A Guildsman does not train for events. He wanders the Earth being mighty. He performs feats as fleeting extensions of his power. Like flexing.”
So sayeth the Guildsman’s handbook, the code by which I live. Today, however, I am feeling a tad apprehensive about my blasé approach to physical challenges…
Tomorrow, we leave for Lake Tahoe. The following day, we will undertake the most horrific Spartan Beast course ever designed:
14 miles. 30 obstacles. 2,850 feet of vertical gain. 9000+ feet of elevation.
The course has been designed for the Spartan Race World Championships. Obviously I won’t be racing with the elite (they will set off 15 mins earlier and finish HOURS ahead of me), but it will be the same course – specifically designed to be a brutal as possible on people racing for prize money of up to $15,000.
And I can honestly say I’m in the worst shape that I have been in since I first ran a race of any kind. I’ve had some on-and-off moments of power but, on the whole, I’ve been working way too much and training way too little for the last couple of years. Especially in the last few months: the build-up to this most epic of races.
When it comes to obstacles, I’m normally confident. Guildsmen eat obstacles like…well, like we eat anything: noisily and without hesitation, or – in fact – breathing. There are 30 obstacles in the Spartan Beast, which is about one every 800 metres – if they are evenly spread out.
However, let’s not forget that, in Spartan Race, an obstacle is often just more horrific variation of running: run with this sand bag, or this bucket, or up this mountain. People like me rely on obstacles as a break from the damn running!
Even some of the cooler obstacles don’t exactly provide relief: Jump through this fire? Awesome! Now what? Run? Again?! Already? Shit.
In the 3 mile Spartan Sprint, there are up to 23 obstacles. That means there are just 7 more obstacles in the Beast, but spread over 9 more miles. That is a shit ton more time spent running, which is bad, bad, BAD news for me.
How often have I run 14 miles? Never.
How often have I run 12 miles? Once.
How often have I run more than 6 miles? Perhaps 5 times. I my entire life.
I hate running.
Back in June, I did the Superhuman Games. I had two recently-broken feet at the time, but it didn’t go well for me even taking the injuries into account. It was an absolute killer – and I wasn’t proud of my performance.
Since then, I have done no endurance training. None at all.
And the Beast will be far, far harder.
Usually, the fastest person around a Beast will take 3 hours. This time, we are running up a mountain – so the very fastest people will probably get around in 4 hours. I’ll be lucky to get around in 6 hours. If at all.
At this point, you may be wondering what the point of the blog post is. Honestly, so I am.
I wasn’t in shape for the last events I did; I haven’t done any training at all since then; now I’m writing a post saying what? I’m surprised to be feeling inconfident?
I think this is just me finally admitting to myself, and everybody else, that this time I may have pushed it a step too far. Or, like, 12,320 steps too far – which is about how many I’ll need to get around on Saturday.
Depending on the length of my stride. Which is notoriously dwarflike.
Heigh ho. Heigh ho. It’s off to Tahoe we go…