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The 2012 Spartan Sprint in Toronto was my first ever Spartan Race, so I was excited to get back there. Not sure that my body was as excited, knowing what was ahead after I had just put it it through a couple of races the day before.

While this year's race was at the same location, the organizers made some noticeable, and beneficial changes. Yet another course with a ton of hills proved that elevation changes continue to be my nemesis. However, while most racers tend to move slower through the obstacles and make up time during the run, I've found the obstacles are my strong suit and where I pick up time.

Not sure exactly why, but the Spartan Races in Canada do not seem to be as difficult when it comes to obstacles as those held in the USA. The distances required to pull the concrete blocks and carry the sandbag, are all shorter, and held on relatively flat ground. Even the "Hercules Hoist" - an obstacle where you hoist a boulder by a pulley system about 20-30 feet in the air - seems to use a lighter boulder (unless I've just gotten stronger).

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New this year, and utterly draining, which proved to be the downfall for most racers and where you could see a plethora of burpees taking place (which for those of you who don't know, Spartan Race imposes a penalty of 30 burpees should you fail an obstacle before you can move on) was called the "Premium Rig". This obstacle was 3 parts and was stationed right near the finish line. The first part required a monkey bar cross - simple enough, except for the fact that it included not just circular rungs, but square as well which forced you to change your grip, and an incline and decline. Once you finished that, it was on to the rope climb. Climb the rope to the top and come back down - again, relatively simple, except this rope had no knots in it making it a little more challenging. Finally, the third part was a ring crossing (think "Hang Tough" from American Gladiators - such a great show). Fail any portion and you did burpees before you could move on to the next one. Fail all 3 and that meant you did 90 burpees on just one obstacle.

Thankfully, and slightly to my surprise after seeing the 2nd place elite racer even fail during the final obstacle, I made it through without issue. Actually, now that I think about it, I actually made it through the entire course without failing an obstacle. Pretty certain my body was happy about not having to do any burpees.

So here we are, 5 races down, 95 to go. My body is slightly worse for wear (hopefully the saying is true that women like scars, because I'm going to have a lot following this year), but overall is staying strong. Time to shift focus to the next weekend - back-to-back Tough Mudders in Brooklyn, MI.

 


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