[better late than never: 1st edit November 14th, 2014]
Shortly after my, somewhat disappointing, performance in Vermont I received an email from a fellow East Coast elite racer, Helen Dumais, regarding putting together a team a Canadian team for the Spartan team championships in Dallas TX. I was eager to redeem myself from the World Championships and before realizing what all this entailed (you know... like flying to Texas etc.) I jumped at the chance.
In the last month since Vermont I have changed a few things around; I started to take a B-12 vitamin with my iron supplement I had recently been prescribed and I also introduced beet crystals into my daily diet hoping these would help with getting my VO2 back to normal. I also have been running less distance and spending more time focusing on speed work keeping my runs no longer than 16k. Whether any of this had anything to do why things went so we'll this weekend, or if I just had a good weekend, I’ll take it either way, cause this weekend was just the best!
On to the actually races itself:
Saturday's race consisted of 10 team obstacles (10' foot wall, relay sandbag carry, swimming across a large lake, extra large tire flip and extra large tire pull and one very large log flip) as well as 14 individual obstacles (traverse wall, stump crossing, tyrolean traverse, rope climb, he spear toss etc.) The only other rule we had to watch for was that our first runner and our third runner had to cross the finish line with in 30 seconds of one another. Going into Saturday's Spartan Beast (23k course) team championships I was really concerned with not being strong enough to keep up with the rest of the girls, that I would be the one to hold everyone back. I don't know if I had redemption biting at my heels or what, but I felt like a race horse right out of the gates. vroom! No stopping me! With in the first 100 yards we had to run about 100m through waist deep muddy creek bed and before I knew it I somehow was leading the pack. Yep, everyone! Including the American Spartan Elite. Now I know what your thinking "Michelle, isn't this suppose to be a team event?" Yah yah, it was and when I looked back for my team, Helene told me to just keep going, so yah, I'm gunna baste in this small moment of packing-leading glory because it didn't last much longer than that.
For the most part we ran great as a team. We had fallen to third place right off the start but with every obstacle it seemed like we were getting closer to the 2nd place team ( at leas that's what the volunteers kept telling us.) It took about 5k to really find our groove as a team. We were all very much the same pace; where two of us fell on an obstacle the other two would fall on another obstacle together. I managed to breeze through all the obstacles until we hit the rope climb. Boy did I really struggle with this guy. I couldn't get my feet right and I was slipping, at one point I made it just a foot below the bell and slipped down the rope another 3 feet only to climb back up to the same point to slip down the rope like a fire fighter on a pole. Not cool Michelle, not cool, I got some serious war wounds from that, not to mention wasted all the effort only to have to do 30 burpees regardless! Yikes! It's ok though...we got through as a team and continued on our adventure along the diverse ranch lands to the spear toss... Aka the game changer. I was up first...missed...than Allison went...miss again...than Helen-miss- and Caroline missed too. Down we go 30 more burpees. (Although I can tell ya that 60 burpees is much better than 300) Off we went to finish up the last 1/2 a mile. In hindsight we should have all waited for each other and finished as team across the fire rather than individually crossing but that's only an after thought.
We finished third. My first podium finish at an American race. The awards were very glamorous in comparison to the 'very poorly organized-almost didn't happen'awards in Vancouver. Cameras everywhere, a million photos, we got our checks on the spot. Everyone was fantastic.
The course played to every part of my running strengths: flat and technical with lots of time to run. My favourite! At one point in the early morning myself and my three teammates were running in waist high grass as the sun rose over the Texas farmlands and it was just the best site for sore eyes
I really like Texas.