I’ve been planning on taking my [├╝ber-hawt] wife to Maine for a vacation for as long as I can remember. She’s been wanting to go since before we got together nearly 20 years ago. Last year, I finally got around to actually *planning* it — started setting aside a little bonus money here & there, budgeting for travel costs (rental van, gas, snackage, lodging, dining while there, visiting special places, souvenirs, et al.), and picking the *right* time to go.

I picked mid-August.

August is nearing the end of Summer, is perfect for blueberries, is not-perfect for ticks (high concentration of Lyme disease-infected ticks in the New England area), should be near-perfect weather… I thought it would be flawless.

I had no idea how right I’d be…

Now, as some of you have already noticed, I’m a budding OCR junky (by now, it’s actually official — I’m hooked!), and I found a Spartan Race that perfectly coincided with my original plans. ENTER: the New England Spartan Sprint in Amesbury, Massachussetts! I had already purchased a Spartan Race Season Pass for 2013 (yes, really) so I was already set on fees — no damage to the budget here — and I started mapping out the actual plans. I registered for the race, booked a pair of hotel rooms (we have seven children, so we need at least two rooms to accommodate us all) for FREE (thank you, Marriott Rewards!) and told the Missus my plans.

I instantly became titled “Best Hubby Ever”. She’s going to Maine! She gets to tour New England! The kids are coming!* It’s gonna be GREAT!

Again, we had no idea how right we would be…

The plan: drive the rental van all day Friday before my race; stay in Amesbury (2.1 miles away from the race venue); I’d run the Hurricane Heat (more on this in a sec), then run the actual Spartan Sprint later that morning, then three of our kiddos would run in their first Junior Spartan Race; then we’d all clean up, and chill the rest of the day in Amesbury. The following morning we’d take off for Maine; check into our [awesome] hotel, and check out Bar Harbor a little with the remaining day. Monday would be an all-day journey in Acadia National Park. Tuesday would be Shopping Day. Wednesday would be wrap up and head out for home. Thursday & Friday would be “vacation recovery” (seriously, people, if you don’t plan recovery from vacation, you’ll regret it…), and Saturday would start a return to normalcy.

Now, back to that Hurricane Heat. If you’re not familiar with this, the Hurricane Heat started back in 2008 with hurricane Irene smashing through New England during the weekend of the NE Spartan Sprint. Sunday would have to be cancelled, which bummed out Joe Desena and the rest of the Spartan Race founders, crew & staff. So, they hatched a plan: email the Sunday racers the issue, invite them to come out to the venue Saturday morning at 0530 to run a very special, unique, and challenging run. The response was great, and 150 racers came out to this event, which would become known as the Hurricane Heat. It lasted 3+ hours, was crazy-grueling, and they ran on-course, off-course, did hundreds of burpees… I know that sounds like torture, but it was well-received, and thus birthed the Hurricane Heat. No time. No individuals. Just teams of Spartans running with and for each other.

I figured that, with Amesbury being the birthplace of the HH, where better to run my first one? I could simply run the Sprint for time later that morning.

I had no idea what I was in for; more on this in the next post.

*For us, having out kids along is a great thing — we adore our monkeys! We have seven of the best kids on this planet. Bar none. It’s why we have so many: they’re all AWESOME!