Spartan Race Super, St. Pölten

It’s been a while since I’ve written a race report, and since I know people find them useful to get to know a course or how my brain works during a race, I’m upping my game and aim to deliver after every race  😀 It’s also a great way for me to be able to look back at experiences that often can get forgotten as life passes by.

Me after the race

Spartan Race Super in Sankt Pölten was the 2nd race in the DACH Series (Sprint Munich, Super St. Pölten, Beast Oberndorf). Since this race was the middle distance I knew I had a better chance at doing well, and I was looking forward to seeing if I’d be able to hit the spear for the first time after all the practice I’d been doing.

I’m used to races posting course maps before the event, but Spartan don’t do that, so you never really know what to expect, especially since it was the first time they used this specific venue.

 I’d been a bit nervous leading up to the event since I haven’t raced much this season yet, so I didn’t quite know how I’d stack up. Having failed two balance obstacles and the Spear at the Munich Sprint added to the nerves too. In times like these, and in racing in general, it’s important to remember who you are doing it for, and why you are doing it at all. I had an amazing year last season before the injury hit, and I was concerned, and still am to a certain extent, that I couldn’t live up to that again and if people would view me differently. A slight feeling of having to prove myself to be “worth”. I had a great talk with one of my coaches who really understands and knows how to make me reset when I start getting into these unhealthy ways of thinking. My main goal and my gameplan for the Spartan Super became running my own race and staying positive even if I made mistakes. I would do my best and if I did that I’d be happy whatever the outcome. You can’t control other people or things outside of yourself.

The race started out fast and downhill, which meant we set off in a blazing 2:12 pace! It lasted 30 seconds before everyone settled with their own rhythm and the first 2 mud pits and 3 walls had to be conquered. Coming over the walls and running straight into the woods with technical single trail I was in 3rd position. Overtaking on this trail was hard, but I managed to find my way around it and ended up in the lead before the next obstacle; Balance Beam. I failed this one in Munich so I was extra careful and a bit hesitant. I took my time, which meant I cleared it but also lost the lead.

A quick turn out of the forest to do Z-wall and Slip Wall and then headed to single track again. I liked this part of the course with logs and stumps you had to jump over or maneuver around and trees you had to duck under. Coming out of the forest on the opposite site the course took us through some open fields. At this point I was slowly reeling the first lady in all while running my own continuous pace. I caught up with her at another balance obstacle; Slackline. This one I was laughably bad at in Munich and I haven’t been able to train it a lot in between the two races so I was taking a lot of time before daring to get on it. She cleared it fast and easy and she was long gone before I even attempted. The wait was unnecessary, because once I got on it I got off it again, and I’d failed. 30 burpees coming right up! This time I didn’t let it get to me, I got the job done and continued on as good as possible following the burpee-exhaustion.

The course now sent us down a long asphalt road with some simple walls. It was an out and back, and on the way back we had a Chain Carry followed by Olympus and Twister. I love the more technical obstacles, so I was looking forward to these! After having cleared those it was a run back towards the event site where a gauntlet of different obstacles was waiting. First we had two more carries to do though; a wooden box that could be placed on the shoulder or the back, with several high steps on the route. Whenever I finished a carry I could see the next lady behind me starting it, so we weren’t all that far apart. The log carry that followed was pretty lightweight, which was lucky, as we had to run up and down very steep slopes with them.

I still held my 2nd position headed into the event site, with the next obstacle being atlas carry. Straight after Atlas Carry they’d placed a new obstacle (in Austria at least) Ape Hanger. A monkeybar with the bars hanging in wires. This was the obstacle I was looking most forward to as I thought there could be a chance some of the women would struggle with it and again I love grip obstacles. Unfortunately, they ended up not using the obstacle as they couldn’t fill water underneath it. Next up was instead Hercules Hoist, Tyrolian Traverse and Rope Climb. I got a bit stressed on the Tyrolian which resulted in some rope burn, but we were so close to the finish that I felt it was worth the sacrifice. Straight after the Rope Climb we did a sandbag carry in the shape of a shield followed by a Multi Rig consisting of rings and monkeybars. This was the 3rd last obstacle with less than 400m to the finish. “This is my game” I thought to myself as I approached the last grip obstacle on course. Usually all the obstacles have a bell you have to hit with your hand at the end, so I was confused when I got to the end of the rig and there was no bell. Instead there was a wall on the other side of the rig, so I assumed I had to swing to the wall to climb it.

Dead but happy after the race

So I did, but on the way over the wall an official yelled “Burpees!” and at first I thought it wasn’t at me, but when she repeated herself several times I looked confused at her and asked what she meant. Apparently, the last bar on the rig had a small white tape in front of it and I wasn’t allowed to touch it before swinging to the wall. WTF!? was written all over my face and I even asked, “How was I supposed to know that?” but there was no way around it. In retrospect I know it’s my responsibility knowing the obstacles, but in race mode it doesn’t always make sense.

Cranking out those unexpected 30 burpees while the speaker was talking about the 3rd girl not far behind got me stressed. I don’t know how I managed to still be ahead after finishing those burpees, but I made sure not to waste another second running towards the barbed wire crawl and the spear throw.

Before the race I’d planned on running as fast as possible in the end towards the spear to have some kind of buffer if I’d miss it, but now I felt that buffer was all gone with the 30 unexpected burpees at the rig. I took my time. Breathed, balanced the spear in my hand, breathed again. Targeted, threw… Missed. 30 more burpees after just having done 30 two seconds ago. I tried to go as fast as possible with the fatigue and just praying that the 3rd lady wouldn’t hit the target.

The sprint to the finish

I saw her approaching the spear as she picked the one closest to me. I didn’t see her throw, but I heard her loud scream of victory and her boyfriend screaming “Run!” the same second I finished my last burpee. I jumped up while grapping my headband on the ground and took off as fast as possible, neck and neck over the A-frame and a wall right before the finish line. I happened to be a bit faster over the wall, I didn’t know where she was, all I thought about was racing my heart out those last 100 meters!

We all hugged and congratulated one another after we caught our breaths, and everyone was so happy and cheerful for each other which was such an awesome atmosphere to be in. I love racing when it’s as much about community and celebrating each other as it is about pushing our own limits and getting better. This race weekend was truly a good one from that perspective.

I made it across the finish line in 2nd place, once again being the one on the podium with most burpees done. I’m looking forward to the day where I’ll run a clean Spartan Race, but I guess that’s yet to come 😉   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *