I know I have written about the challenges of Spartan Races before, but this weekend was a bit more special. A Spartan Trifecta is
running completing a Spartan Sprint, Super, and Beast in one race season. Once you complete the three races and you are a member of the Trifecta Tribe. Nice little marketing bit on the part of Spartan. Makes you stand out a bit in the community, and sometimes at race venues, there are some perks to being a member of the Tribe. Usually, it’s a tent with seating designated for tribe members, or something like that. It is still an accomplishment to be a member of the Tribe. It’s a lot of work.
My first two Spartan Races were the Sprint level, a roughly 5k obstacle course. I didn’t know if I had it in me to complete the Super, let alone a Beast. I was a bit in awe of folks I saw walking around with the green Spartan logo T Shirt that said, “Finisher”. I kind of dreamed of doing it, but questioned if I could finish it. Until one day my wife said, “Either do it, or quit talking about it.” I guess I’d carried on about it too long! With a friend, we completed our first Super and Sprint in one weekend. A couple of weeks later, it was on to the Beast. I did it. I was pretty stoked and excited. I could do it. It really gave me a bit more confidence than I had before as a person.
The Beast itself is challenging. There are 30+ obstacles over a half marathon or longer. But then you add terrain as an ever present constant obstacle. Every one I have done has also been on ski slopes. Some worse than others, but still, ski slopes. It reduces the running for me, it makes obstacles more challenging and completing it is not just a physical challenge, but also a mental challenge too. There are times when you are slogging up the side of a mountain (perhaps over 11,000 feet, like this weekend) where you question if you do have it in you to finish the course. You’ve got to dig deep to find the stamina to finish the course. That’s especially true when you’ve gone up and up and up, then you get to the sandbag carry, where you have to carry the sandbag downhill, then turn around and go right back up. It’s taxing…mentally and physically.
I said this weekend was a special weekend. It was another Spartan Beast, in Telluride Colorado. The start line was at about 9800 feet above sea level. It went to about 11,200 feet and then finished at 9500 feet. Over the course of 14.5 miles. So, most of it was above 10,000 feet. That’s rough. Really rough. This weekend my youngest finished his first Trifecta. His first Beast was largely over 10,000’ feet in elevation. There were times when I questioned if I could complete and obstacle and then I’d watch him just knock it out of the park. He demonstrated a level of grit and perseverance that was impressive. It was a rough course and I watched him cruise on through it. He probably could’ve knocked an hour off his time if he didn’t stick with me, but he stuck with me and finished.
He was pretty nervous on the way down and up to the start of the race. There was excitement, but nervousness too. He didn’t know what to expect other than a long, long day. It was a long day. It pushed us to our limits and even beyond those limits.
It’s pretty amazing to see your kids do things that you know are challenging. He rose to the occasion, both figuratively, and in the case of the rope climb, literally. I guess calling him a kid is a bit of misnomer know, he’s more of young man and he really showed me that all of us are capable of doing more than we think we can.