Victory, Two Falls, Calf Cramps and the shoulder(s) survived! AAR Boston Super Aug. 10, 2019

I have to say I have never been more proud (and relieved) than I was when I finished the second loop.  Tearful and proud I did it.  I was pretty afraid the week/day before – I am always afraid – I have been on an emotional roller coaster all weekend.  I struggled Sunday (day after race) being depressed (scared of upcoming race?) and dealing with an HR issue at work…not sure if it is just post race blues or what.  I’ve been thinking back of how long I’ve been training – since before snow on the ground – and it just takes a long time to build up endurance and strength.  I still have a long way to go.  I still don’t feel like I’m ready for 14000′ of elevation climb.  I still am just recovering upper body back.  I have overcome major shoulder issues and improved great my very painful lower back pain (it used to really hurt every second and I was crippled after Sunday runs) and learned a lot about training, met new friends,  working everyday nutrition (listening to Scott Jureks’ books now), and learned race nutrition.  I have to say although I missed about a workout a week and had a low point 2-3 weeks ago missing them on T/W/R, I have been very consistent.  I made calls I stand by for work vs. training or gardening one day vs. doing the full 3 hr bike on my birthday and drank a few Baileys along the way but am proud of my effort.  I’m going into the last race to see what I can do – will I hit the wall the ultra guys hit when they just try to walk one foot in front of the other?  I think I want to hit that and see how I perform under real duress. I’m just going to go out and do what I do – slow and steady from beginning to end.


Per spartan website for Open results (does not include women/men who ran age group I think):

  • In “open” category: 1029/4531 overall, 133/1639 females overall, 4/95 age group (50-54)
  • Had I done true “age group” category, I think I would have come in around 6th but gotta get the bar muscle ups/wall/rig obstacles down first
  • First and second loop results per my Garmin – I used Garmin for HR:
    • Loop 1:  18:28/mile vs. planned pace of 18:45, HR 146/178 (dirt on Garmin??? – strangely high).  I typically start high though but it never really got down to normal
    • Loop 2:  19:06/mile vs. planned pace of 20:00, HR 138/152 (this is more normal, mostly Z3 training)
  • Two falls (both at beginning of second loop) which ripped open my hand, 240+ burpees

IMG_5625  IMG_5624  IMG_5626

I was a little surprised my second loop was so slow.  I fell twice near the beginning of the second loop – fatigue is horrible for that but then felt way better near the end and seemed like I was going faster.


Shoes:  Salomon Sense Ride 2 for first loop.  Overall felt great as trail shoes but got blister on right foot – see below.  Switched to Inov8 Flite 235 for 2nd loop.  Not good trail shoes – not much cushion but didn’t hurt me more!  Shoes are an issue!



Ate oatmeal around 5:30am and had a fuel for fire around 8:30.  Ran at 9:15 and did scoop tailwind with ~22oz water plus a cliff gel shot every hour.  I ate 4 salt stix per hour to try and ward off cramps but this did not work.  Also ate the banana on the course and at the end between loops.  Brought hydration pack which I only took off at the dunk wall – heavy load added to burpees!  After had 2 scoops of recoverite and an Rx bar and water.  Sensible dinner!


  • Burpeed out of the three rigs to save my shoulders.
  • Had a little help on obstacles requiring going up a vertical wall or getting onto a box.
  • Made it halfway across the wooden board with circular cutouts/chain/knobby grips we had at OCR training/couldn’t get feet to stick so was using knees and fell halfway.
  • Missed spear twice
  • Rope climbs more challenging at the end when you have cramping but made it up without much issue
  • All strength exercises super easy both times – atlas ball, bucket carry, sandbag, hoist, tire flip
  • Second loop I burpeed out of all rig/shoulder type ones I did on the first.  Walked around a few I did the first time that had a line and would have risked my shoulder (was happy it survived the first loop!) without doing burpees.

If I can just build upper body to get bar muscle up, practice wall climbs and the sideways wall obstacle, I could do all of them.

What went well

  • Finished without making my right shoulder worse.  It is sore/aches when I lie down but not hurt worse.
  • Met all goals for the race.  Wish I could have made it over more walls.  Shoulder issues really hindered my upper body strength training this whole year – left shoulder is absolutely pain free (surgery side)….
  • Used lacrosse ball on 1.5 hr trip to race on quads and back of shoulders – had some soreness/cramp from Xfit workout in right quad
  • Felt super great at the end finishing it!  Was very scared before/working mental toughness.  Didn’t have to really use any tricks to keep going as I felt pretty good the whole time/even on second loop.  I was tired/beat up later and the next day with bruises on knees and elbows – got a back spasm day after just doing a roller exercise.  Back feels pretty good but harder just to get up and down with knee soreness.  Also triceps sore –
  • Did 47 mile bike in record time the next day and felt great
  • Burpees were tougher than I thought they would be….although I had just done a crossfit workout Thurs (race was Sat) with 80 cal row, 100 jumping lunges, 100 burpees and mile run and had a little soreness from that…
  • Used sunscreen but forgot part of my back 🙂

What to do better next time

  • Figure out how to deal with calf cramps – more stretching?  I had started hydrating the day before and was well hydrated during race with 4 salt stix/hour
  • Need better shoes – Getting Altra Lone Peak 4 to use next week at Ragnar
  • I want to improve diet/move vegetarian and figure out the right maintenance calories for this training/am revamping my intake…. new blog on that coming out soon.  I am also cutting out all crap before the big race
  • Improved stretching daily
  • Must work upper body and get bar muscle up to do obstacles – will be goal for next year
  • Continuing to try to do crossfit symmetry daily with mobility
  • BRING LIQUID BAND AIDS for future falls/cuts

Last week:  Hit ~108 training miles although I need some penalty as some were on trainer 🙂

Next weekend:  VT Ragnar with 26 total miles!

Here’s a little glimpse of pre race training with bucket blowout carrying dumbbells up hills at Nashoba and my little bike hill training the next day…. doing two days of hills (one bike/one run), a bike tempo ride and running interval training with long weekend bike/runs to prep.


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