by Maurya Scanlon My family lives in Virginia. (How convenient) Going to this race was like a homecoming of epic proportions. I kid you not, folks. Add my excitement over running another Spartan Race with getting good daughter points for visiting my parents on Father’s Day Weekend, and that equals the happiest MScan ever in the world. And a very happy DadScan. We talk about the VA race and new champion Quentin Leadbeter on our most recent Spartan Radio Broadcast! Check it out! (It’s available on iTunes too… search Spartan Radio) We also talk Toronto, Death Race, and random humor courtesy of Shawty, Jim and me.
My day started as most of my Spartan Days start, at 5am with me seriously considering going all Office Space on my cellphone/alarm clock and hitting snooze until noon. Once the internal struggle ebbed and I hauled my ass out of bed, I dressed in my Spartan garb that included PANTS this time. After the fiasco in Tuxedo and knees that looked more like they’d been through a meat grinder my mother took it upon herself to purchase me a pair. They felt like heaven—and I’m not one for running in pants. I donned my Spartan tank top, did the most uneven (I discovered this later that evening) sunscreen job EVER, miraculously found my mother’s car keys and went on my merry way to the race. (Admittedly, I did hit up Dunkin Donuts first, which THANK GOD is open at 5:15 am in Maryland.)
After getting my coffee, I returned to my mother’s vroom-vroom stick-shift and bolted, dangerously out of the parking lot a la Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. [Insert metaphor about how I run Spartan Races like I drive the Audi here… according to my boyfriend, Shoulders, (yes that’s what I call him because of his enormous shoulders) both experiences conclude with severe cases of whiplash… I digress…]
I arrived at the race site in Aldie, VA, after an hour of watching the epic tension play out between Maryland State Drivers and Virginia cops. And to be quite honest with you, there’s nothing more terrifying to a 20-something Maryland Girl driver than a 30-something Virginia WOMAN Police Officer. Ghosts, the Blair Witch Project (the woods are in MD, no joke) and men in tights, don’t hold a candle to the fear those women can instill in me. Moving on, I got to the race site, and helped set up the merchandise tent in the parking lot and then took to taking pics of men in shorty shorts—not nearly enough if you ask me—and posting them on Twitter for the world (and their employers) to see. You’re welcome, gentleman.
This time was to be holy to a former tomboy from Maryland, because Chris Cooley, Tight End for my beloved Washington Redskins (P.S. I LOVE the team, but Dan Snyder and I need to have a conversation, and by that I mean that he needs a STERN talking to by a VA woman cop) was going to show up and run in the 11:30 heat. He got there dressed as if he were attending Senior Week at Ocean City, MD. Chris, I’m very disappointed in your choice of sunglasses for the day. Very disappointed. Having gotten past the poor choice in eyewear, I introduced myself in order to take a pic of him that eventually got lost in the ether—did I mention I hate my phone? He informed me that he was not running, to which I responded to saying, “DOES THAT MEAN THERE’S GOING TO BE A SEASON?!” He responded simply, “No. It means I’m lazy.” I take some serious issue with this response, but I won’t get into it now. Tweet me @MScan_SR or e-mail me Maurya@Spartanrace.com if you’d like to talk about it.
The teams in Virginia were AWESOME! I continued tweeting and taking pics of all the cool people and such, until I quite rudely forced my way into a group of 4 men (whom I later discovered were active-duty army) 50% of whom were sporting some SERIOUS shorties. I’m talking like underwear—women’s underwear. I took pics and encouraged the other two to make their non-shorties into shorties. One did and I considered that a victory. P.S. CALLING JUSTIN GOFF (one of the soliders) FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK (Maurya Scanlon) SO I CAN SEND YOU A PIC OF YOUR GUY FRIENDS IN SHORTIES! I ended up running the 1:30 heat with them for about 5 minutes before I lost them.
Now onto the race portion of this recap which really is the only part that matters. Running through Virginia humidity is the equivalent of cross-country running with a forty-pound weighted vest on with a paper bag over your head. We started by screaming AROO—I’m sure I scared the lovely ladies standing next to me at the starting line. We then ran to and through mesh crawl-tunnels, those were fine. Over-under-through walls, also fine. My fancy-pants were holding up B-E-A-utifully. We ran through mud; did a river-walk (knees up Spartans!), and then got to the mud-crawl. For those of you who read my recap of the New York Guinness Book of World Records death-crawl, this was NOTHING like that. There were no rocks, but there sure as Hell were sticks. These things were barracuda splinters on the prowl. I got under the barbed-wire and almost instantly had a gash on my shin. I’m ok with that—battle wounds, whatever. But what really got me was all the tiny splinters that you CAN’T see. My arms and legs were covered but I didn’t even have the blood to show for it. And those kinds of tiny, sneaky, undercover injuries start to itch like the dickens an hour after they attack. More on that later.
I ran to a paintball station. I had never shot a gun, probably not even a water gun. They frighten me and I’m such a spazz that if I ever needed to use one for my own safety, I’d probably freak out and just throw it in the offenders face and run. I’m that bad with guns. I saw this station and thought “Should I just do the burpees?” I shot the paintball gun. I was only centimeters off, which I think is awesome seeing as how I didn’t even know how to hold it. I located the trigger, and that’s about all I could do. Still had to do the burpees though. Then there was some log-hurdle course. I owned this. I chicked at least 4 big, muscly guys during this part. This had to have been the best part. It was hill-y. I LOVE hills.
Then there was another mesh tunnel, but this one was not the same as the ones on the beginning of the course. This was the mesh tunnel of pain and suffering and doom. Why, you ask? Because there are people firing paintballs at you. I don’t know if any of you have ever been hit by a paintball, but those suckers leave some serious welts. The mesh was black so I could barely see where they were coming from. As I was considering how best to get through this tunnel, one hit the inside of my thigh, causing me to curse like a sailor. Per my usual, I made unlikely friends on the course by sacrificing my body for the good of the obstacle. I lifted up the netting for some fellow Spartans with my forehead as we crawled (fearing that I’d get something reminiscent of rugburn on my forehead—trying explaining that to MomScan and DadScan, and Shoulders for that matter). Then more logs, AWESOME! The lovely man whom I got fore-head-burn for, said “Hey man (?), I owe you,” to which I replied, “There are going to be some walls, my nemeses, that I’ll need a hoist over. Pay me back then.” This worked out well.
We ran along, and I discovered not only that I’m as nimble as a spider on the net-ladder thing, but also that I STILL can’t throw a spear. Thirty more burpees. At last I saw the end of the race, and the walls that I’d need help over. I got the help. As I’m going over the last and tallest of the walls, I hear a familiar Hybrid Maryland-New Jersey accent scream “Go Shorty!” It was MomScan, to whom I’ve explained on numerous occasions that I’m MScan, and Carrie is Shawty. Addressing this issue again after the race, I said “Mom, we’ve discussed this,” and she replied “I didn’t know if you wanted people to know who you were.” I raised my eyebrows in confusion and directed her attention to my arms, both of which had MScan written on them. She’s a brilliant woman; she really is, no joke. I digress…
I got over my nemesis and encountered my NEW nemesis: the soap wall. I tried to get up it for what seemed like years, face planted, and ended up getting dish soap in my eye, which made is swell. I decided to take a break here and help two girls from the heat before me get over the wall. I was
successful with the first girl; the second one, not so much. She fell backwards (by that I mean sat) onto my head with such force that I was positive I’d stand back up with a head like a flounder (Carrie insert a pic of a Flounder here).
MomScan cackled with delight—Thanks Mom. I then said “FORGET IT” and did the burpees, still with one eye closed. When I finished those burpees I had done 90. Me and my one-functioning eye geared up to charge the Spartans, and boy did we! I ran right into one and pushed him almost across the finish line, during which time I heard “O wow! You go girl.” My immediate reaction was to make sure I was still wearing pants. Fancy-pants were still comfortably on my body, so I crossed the line with a bit of a limp and only one eye half way open. It was then that I realized I am related to Quasimodo.
I got my finishers metal, and went to torture my mother with a mud-hug. I had NO IDEA she could run as fast as she did at that moment. Then, I met up with the soldiers (JUSTIN GOFF FRIEND ME!), introduced my mom like I was back in high school and demanded a beer.
I took a Spartan Shower, while my mother just stood there, admiring all the six-packs I’m sure, and then I returned to her. As soon as she saw me come out of the shower, she pointed right back at it and said “You’re still filthy.” This meant that I had to stay in the shower until I was so clean I could hug my mother again, so basically for the rest of my life. I was finally clean-ish. I had discovered two noticeable scratches and burns, (the forehead rug-burn disappeared). I was also itchy all over from the barracuda-sticks. So clean and proud about my second Spartan Finish (I cut 30 minutes off my time from New York), I congratulated my Spartan colleagues on a race well-done, and departed with MomScan to go hang with DadScan for Father’s Day weekend. Even though the course was different than New York, the spirit, camaraderie and challenge were the same, and crossing the finish line felt just as good. Also, (and this made me giggle with girlish glee (I’m AMAZING with alliteration), there was some SERIOUS chicking going on.
Women—you inspire me, good work at the race, and keep chicking those muscley dudes. Chris Cooley, loose the sunglasses and I promise to match Shawty Spartan’s challenge of a race to the finish at the next Spartan Sprint. You already have the shorts…