Am I Nervous?

Average_Jbob overlooks Santa Clarita, CA.

Am I nervous about running the Spartan World Championship course?

Interesting question, let’s see. . .

my start time is a little less than 48 hours from now and the current weather report shows I should expect to be enjoying a BALMY high of 45°F with a tepid low of 22ºF

. . .ok, got that. . .

60% chance of rain mixing with snow during the day and 40% chance of snow at night

. . .hmmmmm. . .

10-20 mph winds

. . .yup, um, check. . .

course looks to be around 13.5 miles with approx. elevation gain of 4,315 total feet

. . .er. . .

possible hypothermia inducing swim

. . .YES I'M NERVOUS!!!!!

I’m nervous for a variety of reasons:

  1. Weather conditions look to be the coldest / wettest I've ever faced. . .
  2. I love my car, but finding snow chains in SoCal for its low profile / wide tires at the last minute is proving to be impossible. . .
  3. My wrist is just now starting to feel strong after being injured for the past 4+ weeks. . .
  4. My lower back is still just a tad bit sore from possible overtraining earlier this month. . .
  5. IT'S THE SPARTAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE!

Yes, I'm nervous!

It’s a dumb question and quite frankly you should be ashamed for having asked!  HOWEVER, this nervous feeling I have is a good thing.  I haven’t felt nervous like this about a Spartan Race for quite some time.  Yes, I was anxious to get going for the Beast at Big Bear this year, but not nervous.  It was my 3rd year at Big Bear and I knew what to expect.  Being anxious to get going isn’t quite the same as being legit nervous about what you are going to be facing.  I AM anxious to get going, but I think my nerves are coming from the fact that this will be my very first time at the iconic North Lake Tahoe venue AND my first ever experience on a Spartan World Championship course.  I know from experience that National Championship Series venues seem to be harder than normal venues so I can only imagine that the World Championship venue is even harder still!  Climbs are steeper and weights are heavier.  At least I’ll be making the trek with my 17-Year-Old-Son and meeting up with my Brother-In-Law, so there will be an element of encouragement and brotherhood that will help all 3 of us get to the finish line, as long as we stick together!  The current plan IS TO STICK TOGETHER, but I’ve already communicated that if I’m holding either of them back too much they should feel free to go on ahead.  The temperatures are looking to be cold enough that I don’t want anyone feeling like they are standing around too much, and if it IS raining/snowing it would be detrimental to wait around for someone when you SHOULD be moving to keep warm.  No one should DNF for hypothermia because they were waiting on someone else when they could have finished if they just kept moving.  I’ll leave it up to both of them to make the call for themselves.

Now, the current forecast is probably measured from closer to our starting elevation of approx. 6,230ft, not our highest point of approx. 8,140ft!  I wanted to know how much elevation would affect temperature, so I looked it up!  Turns out, you actually lose LESS temperature per 1,000ft elevation gain if it’s horrible weather than you do if it’s good weather.  It has to do with the atmospheric pressure surrounding you. . .I don’t fully understand the science so please don’t think I’m saying I do, but the gist of it is that the more humidity in the air the less the temperature drops with elevation gain.

Here’s a fun graphic I found!  A very generic calculation would be that if the sun is out, there’s an approx. 5.4ºF loss per 1,000ft gained. . .but if it’s cloudy and raining/snowing there is only a 3.3ºF loss.

So, I guess that’s ONE benefit of bad weather?  Regardless, it’s definitely going to be cold!

There will be a few obstacles on this course that I’ve never faced before:

  1. The Ape Hanger:  climb a rope to reach a hanging rope ladder with metal rungs that stretches away from you like Monkey Bars.  Traverse these successfully to get to the CowBell at the end, before dropping into the muddy water below and exiting the obstacle.
  2. Monkey In The Middle: I've seen videos of a few variations. . .basic idea seems to be if you took the Twister obstacle and inserted the Monkey Bars in-between sections 2 and 3.  Past years have had multiple CowBells, each with a 30 burpee penalty if you didn't ring them.  This year it looks like only 1 CowBell is being used, so it's all or nothing with only a 30 burpee penalty possible.
  3. Swim:  This could be closed, but I need to be ready for it to be open.  It's about a 200 meter swim in one of the reservoir lakes used for the snow machines at the top of the mountain.  If hypothermic conditions are a concern this will be closed.  I'll know soon enough!

As for my training this month. . .dealing with a wrist injury has put weight training and grip strength training on the back burner for the last 4+ weeks.  Hopefully I won’t have lost TOO much, but I’m bracing myself for burpees!  Speaking of burpees, I started the month doing a 100 burpee a day challenge.  I made it 30 burpees into day 17 before having to bow out due to a culminating pain in my lower back and right calve.  1,630 burpees is well short of my 2,700 goal before race day, but I’m hopeful that they at least kept me in good cardio-shape!

I’ve been able to do a couple of long runs in the 14 mile range and was glad to see I could still cover that distance, even if my feet were sore afterwards.  Might mean I have to strike my plans of running a 3rd Marathon this year in early November, but I’ll worry about that one AFTER this weekend!

tail end of an awesome sunset during a late run

This post has gone longer than what I was planning on, but to sum it all up, I’m both NERVOUS about Spartan Worlds this Saturday AND ANXIOUS to get started!  Wish me luck, and if you happen to see me out there, please feel free to say ‘HI!‘, or ‘AROO!‘, or ‘Why are you just laying there turning blue?

Average Jbob

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