See Part I here.
Given the incredible hardness of the Indy Sprint, one might suspect that my personal performance was less than good, but that’s about a quarter-truth.
It’s kind of tough to truly gauge the course. Going to Indianapolis was my third trip of the week, including another race, and several nights with interrupted sleep, so I was coming in pretty tired already. The night before Indy I slept terribly (the hotel bed was legendarily uncomfortable), and I woke up with a fairly upset stomach. As a result, I also didn’t eat much for breakfast—it would have been fine in a normal race, but after 4 hours I was feeling really unwell.
The first half or so of the race gave me a lot to feel good about. As I mentioned in part 1, the inverted wall was kind of a great obstacle. Hard, but I was able to get over it unaided on my second try, which is a great feeling. The Hercules hoist weirdly felt a bit easier than at other venues—at least, it was the first time I completed it standing up rather than sitting down. The height-based obstacles—the A-Frame cargo net and the vertical cargo net climb—were no problem for me, and they have induced a bit of panic in the past. (Vision may be the reason. I wear glasses, but glasses don’t work terribly well with mud pits, so I didn’t wear them on the course, which may have minimized the impact of being way high up.) The A-Frame cargo climb went over the course’s initial running section, which may not be a radical course design technique, but it’s a neat one. (It also let me get a nice laugh by shouting “Sorry ’bout the kilt’ as a wave was running underneath.”)
Other obstacles—particularly the ones late in the course—were more disastrous. I couldn’t even get on the Z-wall, although I don’t think I saw anyone who could unaided. I was looking forward to the Spartan Rig, but I was hopeless on it; I’m pretty sure that was the result of exhaustion. The atlas stones were huge, and I only managed it by sharing it with a neighbor. I’m intrigued about whether I could do them under better conditions—hauling heavy shit is as close to a wheelhouse as I’ve got, so it would be pretty demoralizing if I can’t manage them at all. The other heavy hauls—the sandbag carry and the bucket brigade—were both miserable: both really long loops and both extremely slick. I missed the spear throw badly, not because I went off-target but because I was well short.
And then the real problems started. By the end—3 and a half hours of climb-trudging in—I was done with the obstacles altogether. I think I skipped three, the Spartan Steps (I think that’s the name—consisting of an 8-or-so-foot wall up to a set of wooden rungs extending maybe 12 feet beyond, all of which had to be climbed), the really really long barbed wire crawl with dirt mounds throughout, and the rope swing. I should feel bad about that, but I absolutely don’t. Falling from the steps was almost an inevitability in my condition, as was puking through the barbed wire crawl and missing the mud pit under the rope swing entirely. (That last one, by the way, happened to the guy who was immediately in front of me, which sealed the deal.)
This may become a huge scandal—maybe as big as a shirt or a Huffington Post story—but I’m okay with that.
I really don’t have any complaints about the production of the race itself. Parking was off-site, which was a bit of a pain, but unavoidable, and I didn’t have to wait for a shuttle bus either going to or from the race. (Plus I met a spectacularly racist spectator on the way back, which I’ll describe in Part 3.) The festival area seemed a bit more festive than other races I’ve been at, maybe since the field allows things to be more centralized than a stadium does. There seemed to be a few more activities than usual, including a rope climb, slosh pipe, and tire flip station. There was a lengthy line at the shower station after the race, which was annoying, but again I’m not sure if it was avoidable given how much mud there was and how extended the race times got.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I’m not thrilled about the race venue itself, or at least not the combination of muddy hill running and torrential downpours the night before making running impossible. But happily, the operation of the race seemed to be pretty good. Stay tuned for Part 3, which will have miscellaneous mirth from both Indy and Citi Field.
(Also, have you liked Fat Boy Big Wall on Facebook yet? You should do that!)