|WTF am I doing?!?|
I was nervous; the usual butterflies were replaced by a knot in my stomach that was making me queezy. You see, this was a first for me. I was stepping into the unknown lands of a new kind of competition. Sure, I had done all these moves before, but at my gym, under no pressure, and not all in sequence, going as hard as you can.
Deka-Fit is just one of many competitions under the "umbrella" of Spartan races. This one had 10 zones, each preceded by a 500 meter run.
Zone 1: 30 alternating reverse lunges with a 33 pound RAM
Zone 2: 500 meter row
Zone 3: 20 box jump step over
Zone 4: 25 med ball sit-up throws
Zone 5: 500 meter ski
Zone 6: 100 meter farmer's carry with 2 40 pound dumbbells
Zone 7: 25 calorie air bike
Zone 8: 20 dead ball wall overs with 40 pound ball
Zone 9: 100 meter tank push/pull
Zone 10: 20 burpees with a 22 pound RAM
I had done a "dress rehearsal" at a steady but not hard pace two weeks prior, which had taken me 54 minutes. My goal for today was sub-47 minutes. This was gonna be a fast and furious sprint!
I had signed up in the age group category. However, during registration, you picked a wave time, so you were not necessarily going head-to-head with others in your age group. (Something I wish Spartan would change, so I would know who I was racing against.) We were sent off in groups of 5 every 3-4 minutes. I was in the back, nervously fretting, when there was room for one more with a group of men. No other women wanted to move up, so I jumped on in with the dudes.
|Let's get the party started already!|
Each 500 meter run was 2 trips around the arena. I had done a proper warm up, so I felt good at the start. Although I felt I could run faster, I wisely settled in behind the guys. I entered Zone 1 and began lunging out the reps. There were referees that made sure you did the movements properly, as well as counting out the reps for you. I made a rookie mistake here, of not touching my knee to the ground ... twice. The ref did not catch it and gave me credit for the rep, but I corrected myself and ended up doing 2 extra reps.
The second 500 meter run I don't even remember, probably because I was still feeling good. I do remember, though, having to weave around slower runners. Starting at 10:30 (first wave went at 9 am) meant there was a lot of traffic on course.
Coming into Zone 2, I made a quick transition onto the rower and began stroking out the meters. All systems were still going strong.
Coming off the row, my legs were still feeling great. I made quick work of the 2 laps and settled into Zone 3. The box here at the competition was padded and not as heavy as the wooden boxes at my gym, but my body adjusted quickly to the slight movement underneath as the stepped over.
As I headed out for my 4th run, I felt the "sting" of the box overs and it took about a half a lap before the legs livened up. I entered Zone 4 and got into sit up position. Having practiced this at my gym where I was throwing the ball above a 4 1/2 foot line, I was pleasantly surprised that the strike plate here was significantly lower, which made knocking out those 25 reps much easier.
Two more laps around and I entered Zone 5. By far, the ski felt the easiest. I focused on using my upper body to pull down, allowing my legs a little bit of a breather.
With happy running legs, I knocked out another 2 laps and entered Zone 6. Carrying 70% of my bodyweight, I meandered through the 100 meter maze. Once again, I was happy that I had misjudged the distance while practicing at my gym (carried the weights 125 meters) because it made this zone easier to manage.
Five hundred more meters of running and next up was Zone 7, my nemesis, the 25 calorie bike. As much as I love cycling, the hate this machine. I get nowhere ... slow. That big resistance fan only makes it harder the faster I try to go. And this is where the sh!t hit the fan. My first mental struggle as my body was feeling the effects of the last 7 runs and 6 zones.
The run following the bike was hard! I focused on just keeping a fast cadence and belly breathing. I entered Zone 8 and began picking up the 40 pound ball and hoisting it over the 4 1/2 foot wall. I felt like I was in slow motion. Would 20 reps ever get here? After what seemed like an eternity, they did.
Just 2 more runs and 2 more zones I told myself, as I struggled to maintain a "fast for me" pace. Fortunately there were many "carrots" out on the course for me to try and chase down. They may have not been in my age group nor my start wave, but I was treating each one as if I was in direct competition with them.
Zone 9 was the tank push/pull. This was also a resistance machine, meaning that the faster you tried to move it, the harder it got. I found my sweet spot and just kept the feet moving. I was so thankful for the volunteer who kept up with my laps; I was no longer mental math capable.
The last run, I was on autopilot. Running on fumes, I managed to stumble into Zone1, the reverse lunge station, and picked up the RAM to start doing burpees, when the volunteer told me I was in the wrong zone. HaHa! I was so fried! I managed to find my way over to Zone 10 and picking up the 22 pound RAM, which felt like 44 pounds, started to execute 20 burpees. The fatigue monster was upon me ... so hard to push off the RAM and then get my hips under me so that I could lift this cylindrical weight above my head.
Fortunately the finish line was 5 meters away and I crossed it in 45:45, good enough for second AG and 15th O/A. I was only 30 seconds off of 1st place. My 5k running time (10 x 500 meters) was 26:08, fastest in my age group. I lost all my time in the zones. But with more practice and more strength, I can better my zone times and hopefully maintain that 5k pace.
Sign me up for the next one, I am hooked!
Zone 1: 1:08 (those 2 extra cost me)
Zone 2: 2:36 (gotta get stronger)
Zone 3: 0:57 (gotta improve technique)
Zone 4: 1:14 (good enough)
Zone 5: 2:38 (good time and a good place to rest some)
Zone 6: 0:59 (good enough)
Zone 7: 3:28 (pitiful!)
Zone 8: 1:32 (gotta get stronger)
Zone 9: 3:05 (I'll take it)
Zone 10: 1:56 (work on that muscular endurance, you maggot!)