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On the morning of Friday the 19th, I got into work a little early, logged into Facebook, and saw a flurry of messages from the "Chicago Spartans" Facebook group talking about who was doing the Spartan Hurricane Heat that evening, prior to running the Super Spartan either on Saturday or Sunday in the same location. I was already set to run the Super on Saturday morning, was going to be leaving work early to head to Illinois for the race, and had always wanted to participate in a Hurricane Heat. After a few contacts with Spartan Race to see if there would be on-site registration available for the Hurricane Heat and confirmation that it in fact was, and some encouragement from others to do so, I decided to pack throw together the extra items I needed for the Hurricane Heat and proceeded to make my way to Illinois, with absolutely no idea what to expect.

The Hurricane Heat first and foremost is not a race, but rather a team event. The best way I can describe it is for anyone who has done a bootcamp workout, imagine that, and then make it 4 hours. We did so many burpees over the entire heat, I lost count, but it was several hundred. Once the initial tasks are finished, like moving 5-gallon water jugs from one location to another, we were then separated into teams. The team concept and leaving no individual behind is stressed over-and-over throughout the entire Hurricane Heat. Having done several Tough Mudders, which touts itself as a team event, the Hurricane Heat is truly a team event. You and your team succeed and fail (which usually leads to burpees if you do) together.

During the heat, we had the opportunity to run much of the course that we would see we ran the race ourselves the next couple of days, but with several unique twists. As a team of nine (shout out to TEAM VOIT!!), we had to navigate each obstacle together. For example, we came to an obstacle that had three sets of 2x4's with netting at most 2 feet off the ground followed by a 4 foot wall. The object of the obstacle was to go under the lower boards and then over the walls - pretty simple. But this was the Hurricane Heat, so as a team we had to figure out how to get 3 people through the obstacle in the correct manner without them ever touching the ground, at any time. My team developed the correct strategy, and as one of the lightest members of the team, one of the other guys kept me on his back throughout the entire obstacle (total beast mode especially when having to crawl under the boards 2 feet off the ground).

Following several laps of pulling chained cement blocks behind us, each team was given 3 wooden logs about 3-4 feet in length that we would have to keep with us throughout the rest of the course (which ended up being about the next 2-3 hours (I really had no concept of time or mileage during the course, except for the fact that it continued to get dark). This required that as a team we continued to strategize how to navigate the obstacles with the logs. This would become particularly challenging when we approached barbed-wire crawls and the logs had to pass underneath as well, without ever touching the barbed wire or the ground. At no point could the logs get wet and even when we had to do additional burpees, a couple team members would have to hold the logs while the rest of the team completed their burpees, had them off and then complete their own set. At one point, while the staff figured out our next path, we all had to get into the plank position, again without the logs touching the ground which meant they stretched along our backs...which you would think would be quite easy, but it also required additional core stability to make sure the logs did not roll off.

There is so much more that can be said about the Hurricane Heat and the events that took place, but it is truly something that you must experience for yourself. While a couple of people on our team new each other previously (I actually was happy to get the chance to be on a team with my buddy, Preston, who I ran the same Illinois Super Spartan with last year as a part of Team Dial for Men), yet none of the nine of us knew each other prior. However, it was amazing to see the bond formed, how we looked out for one another, how well we worked as a team, and the fun we had together in just a short period of time. The experience was something incredibly unique and I'm happy I made the last minute decision to head out to do the Hurricane Heat. I definitely won't forget the experience and Team Voit...can't wait to see any of the photos that might have turned out.

So that concluded race 14. Next blog entry will be Race 15 - the Illinois Super Spartan the morning after the Hurricane Heat in the same location.

 


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