When I signed up for Reebok’s Spartan Race at Citi Field three weeks ago, I was a little nervous. People who are a little nervous clutch a scrap of blanket to their face while muttering, “It’ll all be ooooookay” over and over, right? Yeah, I was a little nervous. I’m not what you’d call an “olympian.” I don’t qualify as “the competitive type.” I ingest my fair share of “cheeseburgers” and “beer.” Sometimes I go overboard with “quotation marks.” In short, I was not ready to hit 20+ obstacles, 3+ miles of winding stadium ramps, and enough stairs to make Led Zeppelin blush.
But when the good folks at Reebok sent me a pair of their All Terrain Sprint sneakers, designed with these courses in mind, I was relieved. Who cares how many gym days I skipped? With these kicks I would blaze through the course. They might even give me two medals. Well, as I found out while wheezing and bleeding at the finish line, apparently these shoes alone do not a Spartan make.
I showed up at Citi Field for my 10 AM start time with the (well-deserved) jitters. About 15 runners went across the starting line every minute for most of two days, so there were lots of folks braving the course. There was little bottleneck at the obstacles though, which is good for the competitive runners, but horrible for someone like me, who desperately wanted a break wherever I could find one. The race started and progressed the same way: Hard. The second event called for us to descend all the way down from the top of the stadium, and then wrap a heavy black band around our ankles and bunny-hop all the way back up, causing me to constantly fall forward onto the hand that I had already cut open while panic-training the week of the race.
Most events were pretty conquerable on their own (although I was pretty used to having a beer and a nap after 20 or so push-ups), but since the course is so compact, the obstacles came mercilessly one after the other. After more than an hour of leaping over walls (or just barely squirming over walls), lifting large objects, running up a stupid amount of stairs, and doing an upsetting amount of burpees, vomiting topped the list of “things I am likely to do.” But I was successful at holding down my lunch, and entered the last stage of the race on the warning track of Citi Field. I might have been a little more excited to be on a Major League ball field, except that I was so delirious and had so many things dropped on me, I thought I was Wile E. Coyote in an Acme factory.
I dragged ass across the finish line in the shoes, which, while light and airy with amazing traction that assists in completing obstacles, did not give me super powers. Apparently “improving upper body strength and general conditioning” is something that Reebok (and really every other shoe company) has yet to perfect. And until they do, I’ll be on the couch, recovering from this one.
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