After each mud run or obstacle race I compete in, you'll get my review and grades for each event to help you decide which ones you might want to sign up for. The following categories will be discussed:

1. COURSE- the design, venue, and setup of the race itself- how creative/ adventurous/ difficult the obstacles were, and obviously... how was the MUD?!?

2. FESTIVAL- all the fun beyond the actual race- the social atmosphere which usually includes food, beer garden, dj/ music/ concert, contests, vendors, and more during the after-party

3. SWAG- the included goodie bag and prizes up for grabs- all the "free" stuff that comes with price of entry and the quality of awards, shirts, and other giveaways

Feel free to use the search box to read up on any past topics you might be looking for.

SPARTAN BEAST, Glen Rose TX, 12/15/13

I honestly didn’t think I would ever come down to TX just for a race, much less a week and a half before Christmas, and certainly not for a longer distance Spartan Beast race, which many know are not my favorite length events.  But, since a last minute work conflict had canceled my plans for the SC Beast a month ago, it had to be TX as the final race of 2013 to earn my season long goal of a Double Trifecta medal.  At least it would be warm weather down south, right?

1.  COURSE-  In the several weeks prior to this event, I checked the weather report almost daily to get an idea of what I was in for, and what to pack and wear for the race.  I don’t think I could have been more confused though, as temps ranged from mid 80’s to low 20’s, and those changes were happening within just days.  The roller coaster thermometer settled a bit for this weekend, just above freezing, but the barely thawed ground and melting snow (yes, snow in Texas!) did take me far out of my warm and cozy comfort zone of seasonal racing.  So… mastermind course director Norm Koch likely enjoyed drawing his blueprint of torture at Rough Creek Ranch, even though several water sections of the race were cut out last minute due to safety reasons. But even in the (approved) knee- or waist-deep water parts, it was enough to shut down some of the fastest legs and deliver quite a lot of cramping calf muscles (even with my Al1ve Magnetics sleeves on). Overall, the course was a bit lengthy with many flat sections that stretched for what seemed like each over a mile of Texas ranch dirt roads.  Between them were all the favorite (sarcasm) obstacles, many of them appearing twice, such as the gravel bucket carry, barbed wire crawl, and rope climb.  And I don’t know if it was just me, but the Hercules Hoist (cinder block raised by pulley) was by far the heaviest I have ever done.  Thank goodness I also completed the Tyrolean Traverse, as a fall there in the course’s deepest water (plus resulting burpees) would have nearly done me in.  Overall, this was the longest and coldest OCR I have ever done, and probably ever will.  GRADE = A

2.  FESTIVAL-  My calculated planning only left a half hour between finishing the race and having to speed out of there in my rental car for the 2 hour drive back to DFW to make my return flight.  So while most were enjoying the contests and usual debauchery post-race, I had to use those precious minutes to unglue the race sneakers from my numb feet and get a quick hose-off.  The weather did warm up a bit by mid day, so I expected there to be a decent afterparty crowd for this final Spartan Race of 2013.  It was a little on the quiet side as far as music and celebrations went, but this was Sunday’s race and I’m sure the real honky tonk action was a day earlier in Glen Rose.  GRADE = B

3.  SWAG-  Back to the real reason for being at this race… I was thrilled to collect my Double Trifecta medal afterwards, which felt well-earned after the many icy miles I had just put it.  This might have been SR’s best idea in all of 2013, albeit a late addition towards the end of this season, to create the “multiple trifecta” series of medals.  With each additional set of the three race levels completed, the reward medal gets bigger by about a half inch diameter.  I was proud of my Double, which is tough enough to attain, but there are folks out there with as many as 7, 8, or 9 Trifectas- what equates to a medal the size of a dinner plate!  The standard Beast medal at the finish line was just for par, but it also came with the most delicious cup of hot chicken broth soup I have ever consumed- really hit the spot!  I forgot to grab both my race finisher shirt and trifecta shirt, but I had both from previous races anyway.  I was a little lost without my usual friends at Zico or Supercandy to replenish my drive back to the airport, but I got by with the awesome supplement snacks I brought from VPX Sports, who have been an absolutely amazing sponsor of my racing and training this year.  GRADE = A