The Spectacular Spider-Squirrel

Tri-State Super Spartan (New Jersey)

About two weeks ago I was looking at my race schedule and realized, for the first time, that I had an opportunity to complete not just my first-ever Spartan Trifecta in fewer than six months, but that I could actually go for a DOUBLE Trifecta. Cool!

Now, before I go any further, allow me to explain what the heck a Spartan Trifecta is. Spartan Races have three lengths or distances for their events, depending on venue, terrain, etc., and they disperse these events throughout the calendar year. These distances are: Sprint (5k), Super (8+ miles), and Beast (12+ miles). There’s also an Ultra Beast and Death Race, but those are topics for another discussion.

That said, there are more Spartan Sprints scheduled than Supers, and more Supers than Beasts. The reasoning, I believe, is that the Sprints attract far more racers, since this distance is much more approachable to the novice athlete. Don’t let it fool you: this isn’t a “couch potato” race, either!

ANYway… the Trifecta is simply this: complete one of each distance (Sprint, Super, Beast) in a calendar year. For those not following along, I started my road to Spartan glory back in June of this year (2013). So, I was starting out as one already behind.

Which brings us back to the original point I was making: I’m now working toward a DOUBLE Trifecta Tribe designation. That would be 2x Sprints, 2x Supers, and 2x Beasts in less than a year — actually, in fewer than six months. BOO. YAH.

But, I needed another Super on my schedule. I had already scheduled (and ran — see my previous posts about Pennsylvania and Massachusetts) two Spartan Sprints, and two Spartan Beasts, but only one Super Spartan. Once I realized this, I decided to look at the Spartan Race calendar of events for the next and nearest Super!

That’s when I found out that only one more Super was scheduled for this year. What‽‽ I better figure something out — oh, it’s in New Jersey. That’s not too bad. Oh, but it’s fewer than two weeks away! I better jump in!

I learned that my buddy and trainer John Sales of Hate Mentality Training (and a VPX-sponsored racer in his own right) was planning on participating in this Super, as was our mutual buddy Jeremy Board (a member of the Spartan Race Street Team), so all of the stars were aligned. John + Jeremy + Me = The Trifecta of Awesomeness 😉

John & I worked it out that we’d carpool together — Jeremy had other travel plans laid already — and we headed up to New Jersey the Saturday afternoon before our Sunday run. John drove his Chrysler 300 (appropriate, I know), and I picked up the hotel suite on my Marriott Rewards points, thanks to all of my work travels. So, it was just the cost of meals & gas to get there — not bad! Unfortunately, we hit a snag. Or, rather, we hit debris. It was bad.

John’s tire sensor alert system went off, notifying us that the passenger rear tire was low. We chalked it up to another system fluke, as when this happened to us on the return trip from Old Rag Mountain a few weeks prior on one of our training runs. However, the pressure sensor indicated that we dropped 10 PSI in fewer than 2 miles — not cool! So, we pull over to check it out.

FRACK!

Yup, you guessed it — we were having a flat tire leak out on us. It was so bad that when the engine stopped we could actually hear the air hissing out of the tire! CRAZY! The gash was nasty. So, we put on the “donut”, picked up some drinks, hit the head, and cruised on toward NJ. I feel bad for John — that pretty much sucked. Or, it pretty much blew. Something like that.

We make it to NJ just fine, jump into our suite (two beds, in case you wondered), and it was actually pretty much awesome from here on out. The bad storm preceded an awesome day! John runs his best-ever race, finishing somewhere in the Top 50 (I forget his placement, exactly) and just crushed this course. It was his first pain-free race in months. AWESOME! As for me, I really felt like I was starting to master my pacing, and most of the obstacles. I missed the Spear Throw for the first time ever, but I think Norm started pushing the targets back — it just seemed “narrower” than usual, and further. Ah, well. No excuses. I missed. That was my only slow-down for burpees. I busted through everything else, in spite of my hip issues.*

In fact, after the first ascent (which was right out of the gate) I didn’t even notice my hip hurting. I instinctively picked up the pace and ran a very respectable 2:20:17 for this Super (my previous Super was in Virginia and I ran it in 3:45:35). Even though NJ didn’t compare to VA in overall difficulty, I can tell I’m improving. I feel it. I know it. It’s just… different. You’ll know, too, when you get there. It helps me to understand the Spartan motto, “You’ll Know At The Finish Line”. You really, truly will know.

Now, as I was finishing the VPX racers, including John, were admiring the latest Fire Jump wall of flames when they noticed I was coming through. I was stoked (no pun intended) to jump through these flames, whose peak was over six feet high. Invigorating!

After the race, I met some other of the VPX crew, like Dave Homa and Elliot (something — forgot his last name), and enjoyed a little race-brother chatting, took some photos together, and then John & I headed home. It was a truly awesome time.

Thank God the return trip home was less eventful than the trip going up…

~Charlie~

* I have been experiencing some hip pain on eccentric movements for a few weeks now; likely do to a minor injury and some scar tissue. I had my piriformis & TFL checked out, and nothing was out of the norm. Deep tissue therapy forthcoming!

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