Tuesday, November 4, 2014

2014 Spartan Chicago Super

2014 Spartan Chicago Super

Justin Stewart
2nd Place Overall Elite Male 

Course: 8 Miles, 25+ Obstacles

Haven't blogged in about a year it seems like. Finally got some free time to sit down and recap the 2014 season. Thought I'd recap the 2014 season specifically because it was a great year for racing. I found myself doing a wide range of races from indoor 800m to trail races to towerrunning to obstacle races. I had no plans for it to end up this way but it did. Especially with obstacle racing.

Pre Race
I had just been putting in my regular miles during the summer. I had done a Warrior Dash 3 years ago but never really pursued anything after that. I got 7th overall in my first obstacle race. It wasn't until I did my first Spartan race when I realized that the Warrior Dash wasn't even really, what I consider, a true obstacle race.
Had a spark light up in me after I stumbled upon the 2013 Spartan World Championships youtube video. Looked around for local Spartan races and found a race in Marseilles "Chicago" IL on September 27th. I signed up for the race a couple weeks out. I then started adding in little obstacle type workouts into my running regimen. Like with any race I did my research and found out the who's who in the Spartan racing world. Heading into the race I had a goal of winning. Coming out of nowhere and turning some heads. When I looked at last years results I was hoping the same big names where going to be there this year as well.

Headed north on Friday night in the good ole Xterra. Had plans of sleeping out of the back of the SUV. Got there just as the sun was going down. Daylight was running out much quicker than I would have liked. Got on the course some and messed around on some of the obstacles. I had never seen such obstacles in my life. Had no clue what I was getting into. Talked to the race director and asked if I could park in the lot and camp out. Got shut down and was told there was a lot back down the round. Found the spot and camped out for the night in the back of the Xterra . This is how I like it the night before a race.

Race Day
Woke up at 5am and ate some breakfast I had prepared the day before in a cooler. As I was eating and daylight started to peak out from the trees I noticed the spear throw obstacle right in front of my car. Didn't see anybody around so I pointed the headlight of my car at the hay bails and took my attempts ever....and what do you know I hit 7 for 7, first time ever throwing a spear. Jogged around the parking lot to shake out the legs. Drove back down the road and parked in the lot. Talked to a couple guys and wasted some time throwing a spear that a guy made from scratch. Went for a jog got my packet and did some drills and before you know it I was on the line of my first Spartan race.

The Race
First thing I noticed as I was toeing the line was that the starting line was not very big at all. Shoulders were rubbing and nobody wanted to move from their position. I was in the second row of people. Race started and I found a clear space on the side of an instantly narrowing trail. Bumped around a little bit and fought some branches. A couple hundred meters into the race and I was in 2nd place. Over, under, through obstacles were fine followed by a long section of trails. I was feeling good and ended up in 1st place. Spear throw came up next, took a deap breath and nailed it. Straight into the tire drag and pull. Got done with this first and headed back into the woods. A group of 3 or 4 packed up heading into some low barbed wire mud rolls, creek running and a cargo net. Then headed back into some pretty hilly technical trails. Found myself alone and what felt like gapping the field. I wasn't expecting this and I was nervous that maybe I was making a mistake of taking it out too fast. I was alone and in the lead till mile 5 or so.

Came up on the uneven monkey bars. Was doing fine until I noticed Brakken coming up on me. Tried to move too quickly on the last rung and slipped. He took the lead while I dropped down and did 30 burpes. There goes the win I thought. Headed back into the woods and did a few more obstacles, "Hobie Hop", Atlas carry, etc. Then came up on the zig zag balance bean. Failed miserably and couldn't believe it. 30 more burpes. Saw the 7 mile mark and finished up with some water obstacles and a rope wall jumped the fire and finished 2nd place overall in just my second obstacle race ever behind what I found out to be a Spartan Pro in Brakken.
Learned a lot from this race. Caught the obstacle racing bug and met a lot of new people. Found out what these races entail and found out some technical stuff I could improve on. This type of racing I was always skeptical about but I am finding that training for these races is putting me in a place fitness wise that I like to be in. The constant pounding of the pavement gets old after a while and this type of racing is so new and foreign to me but its something I want to improve at and I feel I can be competitive with the best of the sport very soon with some more focused training for obstacle races.

1st Brakken Kraker 1:01:16
2nd Justin Stewart 1:05:48
3rd Robert Muzikowski 1:09:29

Results: Spartan.com

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I can see that you put a lot of emphasis on your running and endurance and it seems to have paid off. Do you do any strength training as well? If so, how often?