Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Am a Spartan BEAST Warrior!!!

Yes...

Sly, Nookie and I are officially Spartan BEAST Warriors!

AROO AROO!
(The Spartan calling)

Before I get into the recap of this insane race to survival (literally!)...

I want to first begin by saying...

No words, in whatever format one person is able to utilize to describe something, could ever truly capture what we experienced at this event!

The mental and physical challenge the Spartan BEAST Race put us through, is one that will forever be engraved in my memory.

I have never once, in my life, been challenged to this degree and...

Never could I have been prepared for what was to come.

It's not at all what I had envisioned this race to be.

Not.at.all.

When I reflect back on what we accomplished...

I get tears in my eyes.

I am still unable to digest everything I experienced in both my mind and body to get to the finish.

I'm not sure I ever will, but what I do know is...

I did it...We did it!

This old statue was handed to me years ago...
Now it  has so much meaning!
We took it out of storage :)

***

The morning of the race...

We all met at SuperFit and I's house!

Nookie brought over cupcakes she made (just for me!!!) as we had promised each other to have one after our first 16K together, which we never got to eating!

I was excited beyond belief!

This day...

Would be the day we'd have our cupcake and eat it too! (We laughed at what we were about to get ourselves into without realizing, truly, what we were about to experience!)

Once we were packed up and ready to go...

We took off and made our way to Mont Ste-Marie!

Upon arrival...

We FUeled up and got Spartan'd up!

Baby Mavi getting Mommy ready!
Sly...
The Master Body Painter!
It's a very serious job.
Almost ready!
I am so happy I went with my Saucony Shorts to run this race!

We also made sure to bring with us knee pads and gloves (which Sly bought for us as gifts!) since we knew...

We'd be needing them!

My Mizunos.
They were in for one #Brillianrun!
My knee pads rolled down only to be used when necessary!

Next thing we did was...

Register!

As we made our way through the line...

They gave us our race bracelets and time chips to hook on to our shoe! 

As we had some time to spare...

We took this opportunity to take pictures! (As 99% of the time, we'd be in the bush!)

WoO HOo!
AROO!
Poor SuperFit couldn't race with us due to an injury :(
He was registered!
SuperFit was there to cheer us on, babysit Baby Mavi as well as...
Hang out with my sister Kiki :)
She made sure I was ready to rock it!

In the last 10 minutes we had left to spare before making our way to the start line with the first wave of racers...

I started getting insane butterflies in my stomach! (I couldn't believe I was actually doing this!)

What the hell did I get myself into!

I continued hydrating until we got in line as I knew there would be a very limited number of water stations throughout the course! (4 to be exact...I think!)

I also made sure to take care of business.

I should mention...

The organizers changed the distance of the race the morning of (or at least that's when we were made aware of it) from...

21K to 25K!

I can't say many people were super happy about it! (I actually think most people thought it was a joke until we actually started doing the race and realized it wasn't a joke after all! lol)

Once we got in line...

That was it, there was no turning back!

Ready as we will ever be!

I can't even remember if there was a gunshot, whistle or horn that went off to tell us it was time to go but...

We started the race at 12pm on the dot and this my friends would be the beginning of...

The most challenging experience of a lifetime!

Groups of about 400 per wave.!
We were in the first of two.

The course itself was all trails, something I've never really done in my training! (I took no issue with it though!)


We started running for a little while and before long...

We started walking.

Actually...

We started hiking.

We all thought...

"Are you serious?! This can't be what it's going to be like the whole way through!"

Little did we know...

This hiking type of activity would account for 98% of the race, which would end up being...

The most difficult challenge both mentally and physically we were going to experience on this day! (I don't know which one takes the cake in terms of hardships we had to overcome in getting through to the race! The mental or physical challenge?!)

Just take a look at what we had to climb over and over and over again! (5-6 times up!)

Source
Source

In the first 7K of the race...

We all thought we were at the halfway point! (That's how difficult it was!)

It honestly took 2 hours before we even got to 7K! (This is when we knew we were in for a big awakening!)

In the first couple of hours we...

Climbed to the top of the hill, only to come back down, do an obstacle of sorts, climb all the way back up through a net (for a portion of the way), do an obstacle, come back down through barbwire, do an obstacle...

There's always time for a...
#FUFACE.
Being careful not to get cut by the barbwire.
This was very serious business.

 And...

Climb ALL THE WAY BACK UP AGAIN!

I wanted to die.

Sly held my hand a couple of times while we worked our way up the hill! (For the second time!)

Some may call it Team Work, I call him my Saviour! (lol)

I took a GU Energy Gel once we reached the top of the hill! (About 2 1/2 hours in)

I could feel my body pushing in ways it hadn't ever pushed before, and at that specific time...

I needed the energy boost!

These saved me.
I'm not kidding!
I brought two with me.

I'll point at this time that...

I listened to SuperFit's instructions prior to the race in terms of when I needed to GU!

I won't deny...

I thought of him endlessly while doing the race! 

Everything he taught me, his words of encouragement, his lessons...

He was there with me every step of the way! (I'm tearing up just writing this because I can't explain how much it helped me get through the race!)

Onwards and upwards...

The next 8 or 10K of the race...

I thought it couldn't get any worse from here.

Having said that...

Each and every kilometre surprised me with an even more difficult challenge, and I don't mean by way of an obstacle.

To be honest...

The obstacles weren't the toughest part of the race, it was...

The climbing of the 1,250FT hills over and over again.

I have to say...

You had to stop listening to the people telling you how many K's you had left because it seemed like it was never really the truth! (As much as it motivated you in the beginning, by the end, you just didn't want to hear it anymore, you wanted to finish the race and see your family, a familiar face!)

As we approached was they say was the last 2K of the race...

We got to a water station and did a number of obstacles like:

Jump through fire,
Climb up a rope; and
Climb a Rope type ladder.

It was almost like my training day at the campground  ;)

I remember Nookie saying to me:

"Common FU, climb that rope! Use your upper body strength! Kenny (SuperFit) is going to be so proud! You can do it!"

**These would actually be the last words Nookie and I would exchange until the end of the race!**

Once we were both finished our set of obstacles...

We cheered on Sly who had to do 30 burpees! (Burpees take a lot of energy out of you, especially after hours of racing!)

As soon as we were all done...

We looked up at the hill ahead of us and shouted...

You can't be serious! (Those weren't the exact words shouted but I'm sure you can imagine what they were!)

The last 2K we were so excited about would soon prove to be the last 2K up the most difficult hill of all! (Not the last 2K of the race!)

I could feel my body shut down.

Every step forward, not up, felt like it took everything out of me.

As I looked up at Nookie...

I could see, feel and read her expression on her face...

It read:

"This is it! This is now all about our mental state! Our mental strength is what it'll take to get us through this!" (I understood this immediately when she made a hand gesture pointing to her head as she looked back at me without saying a word!)

We separated at that point in time.

This is when it really, really became...

A race to survival.

Once I climbed up the first quarter of the hill...

I looked at Sly and said: "I have nothing left, nothing!"

I felt empty.

In that moment in time,  I remembered what SuperFit told me during many of our bike rides together...

"When you think you have nothing left, you actually have 25% left in you to give!"

I took the last of my two GU's I had stored in my shorts.

That GU saved me, it really did.

I got on all fours and continued climbing my way up the hill.

As soon as I reached a break (a flat surface) in between my climb up...

I saw Sly.

I looked up at him and what laid in front of us only to see things were only about to get steeper.

I felt anxiety build up inside of me.

I bent over trying to regroup, control my breathing as well as the few tears that came rolling down my face.

I kept repeating to myself...

"You're almost there, continue, you've got this!" (I also told Sly he owed me a Blizzard from DQ lol)

Sly wiped the tears from eyes and said...

"No one else can do this for you but you! Let's go FU!"

We started up again and continued on.

I would barely see him again until I reached the finish line!

I knew, even though we had all separated that...

We were all in it together, in spirit!

In the last 750 meters of the race (after having completed the climb and making our way down the trails for another 2K maybe)...

I trekked my way through the icy cool water from the creek (my feet were frozen) and soon enough...

I would find myself at another obstacle at the bottom of the hill desperately looking for a familiar face!

We had to do 30 rows.
My mind was blank.

I was so happy when I saw SuperFit, my sister Kiki, Nookie and Sly cheering me on in the last few steps and obstacles I had left before crossing the finish line!

"Common FU you're almost there!"

As soon as I walked, ran and climbed through the last of the obstacles...

About to enter a tunnel.
Putting my trustee gloves on to get through it.
Almost there!

I finished!

Running through the Gladiators!
I thought I was a Quarterback!

I FU'in finished!

The last climb up the wall!

My sister ran up to me and gave me one of the biggest hugs she had ever given me!

My little (biggest) Cheerleader!
I was so happy she was there :)

SuperFit was second to welcome me back home...

I cried in his shoulder. (I could finally let go, stop being strong and cry just a little bit! I couldn't believe what I had just accomplished!)

Gosh I love him.
(I earned that Medal and T-shirt!)

Nookie and Sly welcomed me back next!

We cheered, yelled and screamed with excitement!

We FUreakin' survived!

Nookie.
SuperSly
And me...
FU.

***

In closing....

The Spartan Beast Race...

Really made you become one with yourself in both body and mind.

It is truly the biggest physical and mental test I have ever put myself through in my life.

It sure was!

I have to say...

Everyone in the race was so supportive of one another!

Everyone took the time to ask each other if they were okay! (If they missed their footing in getting up or down the hill, slipped, tripped, what have you!)

People also offered each other words of encouragement! (Whether you knew them or not, we all knew the level of difficulty we were faced with!)

I remember a girl behind me motivating her boyfriend, which was at a time I had nothing but my mind to keep me sane, and she kept telling him...

"One foot in front of the other, you got this, focus, one step at a time"

I pretended like she was actually speaking to me.

It helped tremendously.

Also, at different points throughout the race...

People stopped to rest, catch their breath, people also got injured, puked in the middle of trail, passed out, etc...

It was scary to say the least!

You really had to keep your mind focused every step of the way and be mindFUl of your body.

You had to.

In the end...

I can't reiterate how much this experience has affected me as a whole.

It put me beyond what I ever thought possible for myself.

It took me way out of my comfort zone and...

It took me to a place my body and mind have never once come across!

I never expected this race to be what it was.

I thought it was going to be completely different than what was presented to us.

I still can't believe what we did.

I'm still digesting (and recovering) from the race! (My legs feel like cement blocks, my toes are blue and my whole body is sore. I can barely walk or sleep without struggle!)

All in all...

We overcame the challenges we faced.

We fought to the very end.

We pushed beyond our limits, and most importantly...

We completed the first ever Canadian Spartan BEAST Race together as a...

Team!

There's no denying...

We all ended up finding our inner-BEAST, and as a result...

We officially became...

Spartan Warriors!

AROO!
Sly made us these medal holders out of wooden logs!
As you can see...
There are two empty spaces beside my BEAST Medal....
Perhaps more Spartan Races are to come my way? ;)

And yes, don't you worry...

I did have my cupcake and eat it too!


Stay Tuned FU More On *CaNdY FiT* 

**I would like to thank the Race Organizers for putting me through hell (and bringing me back lol) as well as the volunteers who were there assisting and motivating us throughout the race! I would also like to say congratulations to all Spartan Racers who participated in this event! You all FUreakin' ROCK! Until we meet again! Yes?! ;)**

***

If you're wondering about finish times (it has no importance to me whatsoever because it's the fact we completed the race that matters to me most!) but if you really want to know:

Under the Spartan Beast Elites Category (Competitive Wave <---- Sly put us under that category lol):

It took me 5 hours 46 minutes 40 seconds to complete the race;
I came 316 out of 462 in the first wave of racers;
55 out of 90 within the Women Elites; and
9 out of 17 in my age category.

45 comments:

  1. they changed the distance? wow, kinda cool, kinda scary! love the pictures.. CONGRATS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They sure did! We adapted ;)

      Thanks Lindsay! xoxo

      Delete
  2. That is CRAZY!!!! Good for you! I totally would never be brave enough to do anything like this! Amazing!

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  3. Wow, congrats on finishing! I would have died doing that! You're awesome :)

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  4. I am so proud of you! You are such a beast! My hubby wants to do one of those races so badly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I found my inner-Beast that's for sure ;)

      He should definitely give a go!

      Delete
  5. wow! so proud of you!!! totally amazing and inspiring!

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  6. WOW you are a WARRIOR ! Your moment-by-moment recap rteally take us through the MENTAL challenge that this race puts you through! Unbelievable. Congrats on finding your inner beast

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Meredith! :) :) :)

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  7. Beautiful pics! I got chills reading the recap. Way to go Warrior!

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  8. Wow! You are an inspiration. Way to go Warrior!

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  9. Girl, you kick ass. WOOOHOOOOO!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to bring out the inner-ninja too ;)
      Thanks Heidi!

      Delete
  10. Definitely deserve the cupcakes!

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  11. OMG! Your are fan FU-ricken fantastic. That sounds like an AMAZING time... hard as FU, but amazing.

    I eat GU all the time. LOVE the chocolate, seriously tastes like frosting when it's cold. I eat one every 45 mins, to keep my energy up and replace everything that I've lost through running.

    GREAT JOB WARRIOR — and those medal holders rock!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was deFUnitely hard as FU but it was such an amazing experience!

      I had never tried that type of energy gel before...It was FUreakin'good and it deFUnitely did the job! Man oh Man did it ever!

      Thanks PR :)

      Delete
  12. Great job!!! Congratulations on your finish.

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  13. wow!! Seriously AMAZING job!! Spartan races look like NO joke. I was all about doing one until I read this post. HAHAHA. ;)

    So darn proud of you. Though I knew you had it in you to do it and rock it out!!! :D Such a beast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Char!!!

      Nah you could definitely do one! Hands down!

      Delete
  14. Wow. Just wow. Congratulations!

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  15. unreal! you are such a BEAST... a beaUtiful beast.

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  16. This is insane!!! I can't believe they changed the distance of the race on all of you! So proud of you!!! You totally rocked it. Congrats on finishing. I love the pictures!

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  17. AWESOME POST!!!
    You are amazing and so articulate (pic'ticulate too :-)) I felt as though I did the race with you.
    kind of :)
    youre more badass than I---so there's that...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much MIZ!!!! Those words mean a lot :)

      You are definitely #badass!

      Delete
  18. What an awesome recap! I'm doing tough mudder in August and I'll have to keep some of what you said here in mind as we're pushing on.

    You rock!

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  19. You rock! Awesome job and I loved the recap. I could see the emotion in your face in those last pics. I just can't imagine the elation you must have felt (along with exhaustion of course).

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Heather! It was a very emotional ending! (In a good way!) :)

      Delete
  20. That looks like so much fun!!! the pictures came out great too :)

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  21. This is an amazing recap Kierston and so inspiring. I had NO idea this was the format of the race. CRAZY. I can't believe it started at noon too - I'd imagine it'd be really hot?! Good for you for pushing through and finding that last 25%. Sounds like SuperFit is truly your rock and is always there for you even when he's not physically there. You are inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cait!!!!

      He is truly my rock :)

      It was +35 degrees out but not once did we feel like it was too hot simply based on the fact we were shaded out in the bushes/trails :) Phew!

      Delete
  22. I will come back & read later as this is a long one BUT YOU ARE A BEAST!!! That is meant in all the best ways!!! I guess I should subscribe by email again. I don't know why I am not getting your posts to my inbox - it is not going to spam.. I will keep trying! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank Jody!

      I wonder why it's not working?! :(

      Delete
  23. Wow, what an incredible experience. Tough Mudder doesn't have anything on this!
    I think most people would shudder at the thought of hiking up and back down a mountain of that size, and you did it several times.
    Congratulations on finishing and doing so well!

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  24. Thank you all so much for the congratulatory comments!!!! It was such an incredible experience...one I will never forget (no doubt! lol)! AROO AROO! :)

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  25. YOU ARE SUCH an inspiration! Holy crap, this is AMAZING!

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