Dallas Spartan Race 2018 - Another Mudfest
You can never expect what the weather will bring to the Spartan Beast/UltraBeast Race Weekend in Glen Rose l, Texas. Every year it’s different, it could be warm, cold, windy, or rainy. This year, race weekend brought some very good weather, sunny and 70. You couldn’t ask for better race conditions...except for the fact that it had been raining non-stop in the Dallas Area for 2 weeks prior to race weekend.
Running this year’s course reminded me chocolate pudding. Having ran in pudding like course conditions a few times now, any thoughts of setting personal records went out the window. Outdoor races like the Dallas Spartan Race become much slower in overall times, because you can literally get stuck in the mud. At several spots during the course, the mud could build up on your shoes like cinder blocks. Add to the fact that everything is wet and sloppy and nearly impossible to grip and the course takes on a new level of difficulty that most competitors are not expecting.
My buddy Nathan and I planned to run this year’s race together. Although this was my 5th Dallas Beast, this was Nathan’s first ever Spartan Race. Of all the races, Nathan definitely chose one of the most challenging distances. He isn’t a runner, he wasn’t expecting the mud, and he definitely wasn’t expecting the cramping or torn calluses.
For anyone running a Spartan Race Beast for the very first time, training should be about two things: Running and Grip. Based on my experience, the running is the most difficult part for people who aren’t runners already. I suggest building your base by running at least 3 times a week, getting a long run in on the weekends. Ideally, I think you should be able to complete an 8-9 mile run at least 2 weeks prior to your race. While building that cardio base, you’ve gotta work on your grip strength. The most challenging obstacles involve various forms of monkey bars or traverse walls. Incorporating some pull ups, deadlifts, dead hangs, and farmer carries will go a long way in dominating your next race.
Over 9 miles in to the Beast, and it seemed that Nathan took my advice to heart. We were cruising on our run and the obstacles to this point seemed to be completed with ease. But then, we took a turn for the worse at the twisted tornado. One thing I forgot to mention about Grip Training is the importance of callouses if you aren’t wearing gloves on your race. Having deep callouses is crucial, because as Nathan found out on the twisted tornado, it only takes one obstacle to change the tone of your race completely. He completed the obstacle, but tore up his hand in the process.
The next few miles proved frustrating. This year, all the grip intensive obstacles were placed in the last few miles of the race. I’ve been in Nathan’s position before; it’s easy for your mind to go to a dark place. It’s funny how something so simple like a torn callous could render you unable to complete obstacles that would otherwise be easy. Despite the pain, Nathan pressed on. We finished the race in about 4.5 hours..a pretty good time considering!
Im so proud of Nathan for sticking with it despite the pain and crappy course conditions on his first ever Spartan Race Finish. I enjoy running with first timers because it reminds me of how I felt in my first race. The sense of accomplishment I got after finishing my first Beast was such a joy that I’ve continued racing for over 6 years now to keep that feeling going. Ive learned so much about myself by overcome circumstances provided by Spartan Race that are challenging, uncomfortable, or difficult. I think Nathan and I are planning to do another race soon. Maybe I can convince some other first timers to join us on the next one!