This was my first Spartan race/OCR event. All I have to say is that this was the most awesome and rewarding experience I have had in a very long time. I started training for this event back in November. After doing two cycles of a weight loss program, I finally dropped enough weight where I felt comfortable to start running. After reading so many stories about success and perseverance, I knew that joining the Corn Fed Spartans was a step in the right direction for my health and for my spirit.
Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel on Friday. I remember getting up, rummaging around, and trying to get my family (wife and four kids) organized and out the door. It seemed to take absolutely forever for us to leave. As those of you with kids will know, it is not easy to travel any distance without covering the basics of food, potty breaks, and children fighting amongst each other. I thought the continental drift would move faster than this family. Nonetheless, we got to the hotel.
After unpacking, organizing, putting my gear together, I met some of the members of the team running the Hurricane Heat (HH-029) at the Long Branch Tavern in Laurel, Indiana. The funny thing was, I had never met many of these members before in person. However, it just seemed like it was a family get together. We laughed, shared stories, ate some food and drank a few brews before heading off to one of the toughest things I have ever done…. the Hurricane Heat.
The Hurricane Heat was interesting. We started off by hauling a bunch of stuff around. John Shue and I carried fences what seemed like a half mile distance and we set them up. We then hauled rocks in buckets, and stacked wood for fires. Then I went with a small team to get a gator out of the mud. When we arrived, it had already been pulled out, so we had the luxury of pushing the ATV back up a steep hill. Then the course creator had us go along a creek to help clear thorny bushes and branches for Saturday’s races. Afterwards we joined the other team members to run the course.
The course was filled with small walls, over unders, 8 foot walls, monkey bars, barbwire crawls, lots of hills, atlas carry, spear throw, water obstacles, rope climbs, and lots more. Needless to say, there was enough there to challenge everyone. It was just over 5 miles in length. While I can run that distance, running alone is not enough. Key thing for me was improve upper and core body strength. Early on I felt I pulled something in my calf or I was cramping. It worked itself out somewhat and I was able to continue.
After the Hurricane Heat, we cleaned off as best as we could and headed back to the tavern. Two bacon cheeseburgers, a pile of fries, and a brew, and I was back to normal. I congratulated the crew, said my goodbyes, and headed back home. Jennifer was there to greet me with ice bags, a protein shake, and a vitamin water (big props to super wife).
The next morning was funny. Breakfast was a-buzz with CFS eating chow and getting psyched up for the race. After breakfast, I packed the family up and headed to the course. It was an awesome experience. Arriving, signing in, and registering my minions (Jayelle (Dozer), Evelyn (Evil Lynn), and Jeff Jr. (Lil’ Grizz), we headed to the Corn Fed Spartans Tent. It was filled with tons of people. We hugged, fist bumped and greeted everyone. We got our official red headbands, a few wristbands, and got ourselves ready to race.
When they called our team name for the 10:00 Heat, it was an awesome site to see that many people lined up on one team. We filled the entire corral! They got us pumped, we started our race. I ran with the sweeper team to make sure that all or our team members would complete the course. Tim carried the Corn Fed Spartans Flag and we started our race. Unfortunately after going over the low walls, Tim fractured his tibia at the knee joint. We called in a Medic and got him off to receive care. Once he was taken care of, we proceded down the course. Not once did we allow our flag to fall! Corn Fed!
There are tons of other tales to tell and not enough time to write them. My most memorable moments are those helping the Biggest Loser team with their obstacles. These women were absolutely awesome. To see their grit, and commitment to finish the races was inspiring. It was a true blessing to run beside them and help them accomplish what would seem impossible. From supporting them across traverse walls, to coaching and encouraging them up, across, and over a rope climb, to getting them across monkey bars, you saw in them the fighting spirit. The will to not give up!
Other moments made me proud of my team. Watching them support not just their fellow team members, but continue to reach out hands and encourage everyone on the course. Hearing people say, ‘Don’t worry, there is a Corn Fed up ahead. They will help you.’ summarizes what makes the Corn Fed Spartans the best obstacle course racing team.
After jumping over fire, and behing slammed by gladiators, I received my medal. My family was there to greet me. The minions got their own medals and completed their own race. I rinsed off in the showers, got changed, and headed to the festival area. After visiting with folks, congratulating team members, I was exhausted, super hungry, and in much need of a hot tub.
Ater a course of mexican food, a pitcher of beer, a hot tub, I went to bed. Slept for a couple of hours and was up to help Jennifer put the minions to bed. We then went down to the lobby which was the hub of the after party. It was fun to see everyone again. Share war stories, compare wounds, and share in copious amounts of drunken gummies (yum). I even convinced my wonderful wife to do the Super Spartan in Chicago in July. Time to start training!
All this said, I had a wonderful time. I am still sore. I was pushed to my limits. I did what I thought at times I couldn’t do. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my Corn Fed family. Thanks again to everyone who encouraged and supported me. For helping me and pushing me to exceed!
I placed the mission first.
I never accepted defeat.
I did not quit.
I never left a fallen comrade behind.