The Eastern Canada Spartan Race circuit continues. Three consecutive weekends of running races and here we were, 650km away from home preparing for a Spartan Super Obstacle Race. The Spartan Race website indicates the following:
Spartan Super – 13+ kilometers & 21 obstacles.
What did we get? 15 kilometers, approx. 28 obstacles, 1,200 feet in elevation gain/loss and extremely muddy/steep terrain. I found this to be the most frustrating, challenging, beautiful and rewarding course to date. Every step taken there was a slip. The mud was never ending and tiring and it challenged both of us. Eastern Canada Spartan Races continue to improve their obstacles and increase difficulty in both terrain and distance. This makes the giant and I both nervous.
Washed up and back in Toronto tending to bruises and cuts. The race circuit continues with the Toronto Spartan Beast coming up in two weeks time. Aroo!
Eastern Canada Spartan Season Pass purchased in fall of last year and here we are. We had a good run of Spartan Races last year spanning from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
This year we are staying local (mostly) and hitting up the Eastern Canada circuit. Giant is going for his second trifecta this year (conquering the sprint, super and beast) and if all goes well to plan this will be my first. I managed several sprints and one super in 2012 and DNF (first ever) on the Beast course in Ottawa. 2012 brought us lessons in expectations (or how you shouldn’t expect anything), hydration, fuel and how finishing the course is never a given.
Time to crank up the Motley Crue and get the music pumping! Let’s bring in the 2013 race season with a fu*k yeh and AROO! Now gimme some mud!
After some serious butt kissing via e-mail to Western Canada Spartan organizers we managed to get two spots in the sold out race for the Calgary Sprint. What is a Spartan Race? Quick summary, its a race with obstacles. Distances vary and obstacles as well. I encourage a check out http://www.spartanrace.com/
We were slotted to run and then Matt noticed the night before they were offering the ever first Hurricane Heat in Canada. Hurricane Heat is a run in the evening or early morning. They take you in groups and you run the course together as a team. You leave no one behind. Bonus – they were offering it for $25.00. Count me in.. Matt said I was slightly mad but encouraging. Registration done, time to suit up.
We ran the Hurricane Heat with Eric from the States. As soon as he said they were brought in from the U.S. I knew we were in trouble. The courses in the States are much harder from what I heard and sure enough it was. It provided some proper ass kicking. Plenty of steep hills, dirt, 4 mud pits, high walls, traverse wall (which is a U.S specialty), cinder blocks to drag, 45lb sandbag to carry down and up a very steep hill .. you get the idea. Eric would stop us at each station, discuss the obstacle.. and then we would throw down into burpees and then proceed. It took 2 hours. I loved it.
Quick shower, pizza and crashing in a Walmart parking lot… up and at em’ at 7:00am! Matt ran the elite heat at 9am which meant we needed to get there early as possible due to parking. I have to utterly praise Western Canada Spartan organizers.. They got their shit together. Registration, parking (thank you for helping us), setting us up with time slots to run etc… I cannot thank these guys enough.
Matt hit the race at 9am and hit it hard. Nothing is official yet but we believe he crossed the line in 32 minutes. NOT bad! I ran at 10:30.. gave us time to switch up the camera! I enjoyed my second time around but it was slow. Some people were not so happy on the steep hills which caused a backlog.
Muddy and happy with a free beer I have to say it was a great way to spend our morning. Best part is having your own shower in an RV to clean up afterwards.
One thing we learnt.. burpees suck. Which means much practice is needed with our spear throwing.
To all of you who ask me on a regular basis how the kittens are doing, I’ve created a video. Just for you so you can see for yourself.
We said goodbye to what I considered nearly a second home in Jackson, Wyoming and the beautiful Tetons and headed towards yogi bear and Yellowstone Park MT/WY.
I guess growing up as a kid I expected a lush, green park with cartoon characters. I was seriously wrong. First thing was about hiking.. apparently its suggested you hike with 3 or more people due to the extensive wild life. Guess we can’t count the cats?
Next… was the volcanic atmosphere. Yep. call me clueless. I knew old faithful was there but had no idea a lot of the place was full of thermal grounds that if you didn’t stay on the right track you would fall through and scold yourself. Lots of sulphur smells, bubbly mud pots, geysers everywhere! I felt like I was on another planet. Old faithful is not to be missed. It didn’t disappoint and was pretty flipping cool, although I will state there are many other amazing geysers to check out. The Yellowstone grand canyon – right up there. It didn’t look real it was that stunning. It is a must see when/if ya go there.
For me personally, the highlight of the area would be the wildlife. Buffalo a plenty and just as many dumb ass tourists who think they are tame. You tube buffalo gore in Yellowstone and watch people get flipped around like rag dolls. The park rangers are fairly serious when they state how far to stay away and yet appreciate the wildlife. Unfortunately naive/dumb ass tourists outnumber the smart park rangers.. sigh.
Historical tid bit – we drove through the north entrance which was erected by in the late 1800’s with the help of a famous Mr. Teddy Roosevelt. He summed the National Park system up perfectly that is etched into the stone wall and is still visible present day: ” For the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. I couldnt agree more.
Having a few days to myself whilst Matt was out and about in mountain school, I decided to hit up a CrossFit gym in Jackson Wyoming. I emailed them asking to drop in and they welcomed me with open arms. My first day was pure olympic lifting. I gotta admit, I got hooked. It was a small class of 4 (only chick present!) and we spent an hour slowly working our way up on weights and technique on the power snatch. I can’t help but be a bit smug as i was lifting heavier than one dude.
The next day I hit up a proper CrossFit class. I won’t really get into what I dealt with.. Ill just post the workout.. it speaks for itself as does my aching muscles:
- 400m run
- 1 min at each station of:
- Double unders
- Wall squats
- Kip Swings
- Box Jumps
- Sit ups
- Skin the cat
Mobility warm up:
- Runners lunges
- pass throughs
Tabata – 8 rounds of:
- Knees to elbows
- Toes to bar (alternate between the two)
Snatch Balance – I got up to 35kg. Dumped it a few times but with working on my technique and encouragement and high fives I did it 🙂
Workout of the day: AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
- 200m run
- 7 snatch blanaces
- 7 hang snatch
Oh.. we’re not done 🙂 Cool down consisted of yet another 200m run and some stretching. Total time was 1hr 15min workout. I enjoyed the setup , the people were awesome, made some friends and left with a tshirt and aching muscles. Thank god for hot tubs.
If you are ever in the Jackson Wyoming area.. I strongly recommend this gym. Thomas (oly coach), Meg and Ryan (crossfit trainers) were awesome! I Didn’t manage to get photos of the gym itself, but you can hit it up www.crossfitjh.com As such I will post a pic of myself working on my jerk split.. in a trailer park. BAD ASS!!!!
Newton IA, Sioux Falls SD
Real quick.. long drive but went well. Spent the day enjoying the scenery and listening to mountaineering audio-books (iPod). We are currently shacked up in the red barn RV park where our next door neighbours put together have a full set of teeth. We took the last RV spot in the park so we are all snugged up for the night. Our friendly neigbours next door have mentioned how Tony lounges in the window and how their dog is excited about it.. emmm….. I’ve made sure the door is locked.
Food, a bit of wine and a movie which talked about d*cks wayy to much (verdict is out on this flick) was on the menu. Tomorrow – early rise and long day ahead as we head to Rapid City just outside of Mount Rushmore.
Hoping to see some rolling hills and less corn. This will be day 5 of driving.
Leave me posting at 11pm at night.. and you’re gunna get some creativity. I figured posting a pic of Mount Rushmore would be obvious. So I will sign off with the best picture I know. My brother and I creating pine cone christmas decorations with motha f*cking glue guns.
Totally random but this is my post people! 🙂
Started the day with our first CrossFit workout of the trip. In a field. In full view of half a dozen overweight Americans. Despite limited equipment we managed to do some Snatch practice then hammer out something close to “Fight Gone Bad”. Then walked across the street to Tim Horton’s for coffee. #winning
Got on the road a little later as a result, but still ticked off 450ish leisurely kilometres on the way towards the magical hills of Wyoming. Road days can be dull if you just stare out the window all day, so you have to make the most of them whichever way you can. Highlights of today’s journey were passing the most awesome Star Wars-themed custom van ever (see pic), Tony using Krista’s head as a stepladder to get up to his favourite napping spot, and *almost* completing our Interstate Highway Bingo (the only thing we didn’t see was an airport).
Lowlights were getting excited about the prospect of dinner before realizing we’re now in Central Time and it’s only 5pm. :-/
Stats for the Day
- Timbits consumed – 9 (apparently the local staff can’t count to ten).
- Distance covered whilst arguing about Van Halen (specifically David Lee Roth versus Sammy Hagar) – 170km
- States passed through – 3 (Michigan, Indiana, Illinois)
- Fat motorcyclists doing 120kmh on I94 in Tshirt and no helmet – 8
- Number of Lion’s Den Adult Superstores along I94 – approx 10
Fernando, our trusty RV purring like a beast and we headed towards the US. not sure what to expect on this trip. Things wont be as hectic as we have more time to do whatever we want basically. drive so far has been easy. Crossing into the states was by far one of the quickest experiences to date. Destination today is Ann Arbor.
The scenery so far has been fairly bland. nothing amazing to report. Tony has taken residence under the couch and seems to be adapting well. Cleo is beyond fucked off. I say a little more time in the RV and she will adjust.
Michigan state is one to tick off the list as we (including Fernando) have not been here before. If all goes to plan we will hit up planet rock for for pebble wrestling and indoor rock climbing tomorrow. We’ll be creating a very creative checklist every so often for our blog followers. Today’s checklist:
- How many Tim Horton’s can we spot on the way (in the U.S) – Total 3.
- How many near misses on the Interstates from DB drivers – Total 1.
- How many times Krista has dropped her sunglasses – Total 2.
- How many times Matt has pulled a 180 in the RV due to passing a mini golf facility. – Total 0. * Note , we did go by one and Matt got very excited but we didn’t stop.
- How many times Americans ask if Matt can speak english due to his accent (my personal favourite) – Total 0.
After 6 hours of driving we’ve landed in Wayne County Fairgrounds, just outside of Ann Arbor. 23 bucks for a site tonight. Impressive. More exciting is the walmart that is just around the corner.
I sent Matt out for groceries and he came back with: a melon, a huge pineapple, banana, grapes and of course a whole chicken. His project this evening.. creating his very own fruit salad. (minus the chicken)
3 dollar bottle of wine, bacon in belly… time to settle in.
On this beautiful and hot Saturday we hit up Rattlesnake Point for some outdoor climbing. We met up with our friends James and Janet for a day of fun, learning and pushing our limits and potentially soiling our pants. Anchors were set and off we went. Three climbs were set up, thanks to bumping into TCA members we knew. We spent the afternoon having fun, learning how to climb outdoors, sizzling in the sun and just enjoying the experience. No guide book was brought so we basically climbed whatever we thought looked cool.
I think its safe to say we all learnt something today and generally had a blast. Sweet spot was topping it off with a dip at Kelso Lake. MUCH needed! Looking forward to the next outdoor climb.