It’s been around 5 months since I’ve last posted but today I decided to overcome procrastination and do a post (since this was definitely a big deal for me) . Last week, on June 16, I have finally earned my first Spartan Race medal by finishing the recently concluded Spartan Race Foressa Sprint held at Foressa, Balamban, Cebu.
I have always wanted to run a Spartan Race and I thought I’d have to fly all the way to either Malaysia, Singapore or other South East Asian countries where they regularly hold races. Last year, they announced the first ever Spartan Race to be held here in the Philippines. Ticket prices, not being familiar with Manila ( how to get to the venue! ) and lack of training ultimately led me to take a pass on the race.
Luckily, this year the Spartan Sprint was held in Balamban, Cebu. I knew that I had to take this one. No more indecision and hesitations.
So around April or so, I registered to my very first Spartan Race.
Balamban is located about an hour away from Toledo, Cebu. No need to go all the way to the city proper. Commuting via Ceres was easy, then as soon as you dock at the port, there are jeepneys with routes going to Balamban. The race was on Saturday, so I left around Friday 1:30 AM to make sure I have more than enough to rest and prep up for the race. Arrived at Balamban around 9 AM in the morning and stayed at Villa Adela, a small pension house located in the small town.
My friends also stayed in the same place and we spent the entire day resting and recovering ( If you’re reading this because you’re planning to join your very own Spartan Race, I cannot stress this enough but definitely rest up for at least half a day to make sure you’re well rested for the event! ). No issues with the internet in the area and signal was pretty strong so I could still check up on work and answer any important emails ( technically though, I was on leave lol )
For going to the venue itself ( Foressa Trails is located some 15-25 minutes away from Balamban proper ) , we didn’t really plan on how exactly we would be going there but luckily, the owner of the pension house agreed to allow us to rent their van for the drop-off and the pickup. Gunshot or start was around 8 AM ( for Age Group category, or formerly known as “Competitive”) but it was suggested we should be there around at least 2 hours before the race to make sure we could register and pickup our kits without a hassle. Good thing we did exactly just that as the registration was pretty long. Over 2,000 participants in the Elite, Age Group, and Open categories. Me and my friends joined the Age Group category ( specifically 18-24 )
There were some celebrities there ( Tony Labrusca, Alex Diaz, Will Devaughn, and other fitness icons ) but people didn’t really hassle them for attention and they even stretched and warmed up alongside us with no fans bothering them for pictures!
Looking at the people about to participate, mostly everyone was in great shape. Some have trained for months, others are participating to complete their Trifectas, and others are first timers ( just like me, yay! )
Before the race starts, everyone gathers at the starting point where the Spartan Krypteia (or Race Director lol) discusses some highlights regarding the route, the terrain, rules, and goes through the basics of what a burpee is. A sort of ceremonial speech starts off to pump everybody up and then the race begins.
Now, having more than a few 5 km’s, 10km’s and a couple 21km’s under my belt, I honestly believed this race was no different. I thought to myself “6.5km? This is gonna be quick and probably an easy sprint” . Being a certified gym-rat and runner, I didn’t really think much of the obstacles and the distance.
Never have I been so wrong in my entire life.
First of all, I imagined the entire race (or most of it anyway) in my head as a “sprint with obstacles in between”. I didn’t take into account that Foressa Trails was exactly just like its name, TRAILS. I prepared for some uphill and downhill routes but I definitely DID NOT EXPECT most of the route to be us constantly going uphill and downhill. Any flat terrain at all, you may ask? Nope! Pure murder if you haven’t trained for trail runs.
My experience running half marathons went straight out the window as I did my best to conquer the trails. I was basically just rushing to get to the obstacles just so I could rest my feet. The first 2-3 kilometers were probably just pure running on the trails Endurance training is definitely a must!
Most of the obstacles definitely required a participant to develop his/her upper body strength ( 6/7 ft wall, hurdles, Olympus, etc ) so being able to just “run trails” won’t be enough. You really need to train your entire body and put at least some weight training routines in there. If you can’t finish or complete an obstacle, you are awarded 30 burpees. Definitely something you do not want if you’re aiming for good time or a place on the podium
The obstacles were challenging in their own way but the ones I had a hard time with were the Bucket carry, Sandbag carry, Javelin throw, and the Hercules hoist. I endured through most of them for the Spartan Sprint but I’m pretty sure I can make better time in the next one with proper training!
The final obstacle everyone goes through is the iconic Spartan Race Fire Jump. A pile of logs and coals burns bright, signalling the end of the race. At the end is your hard-earned medal and a photographer waiting to take your photo as you jump across the final obstacle. This makes it a great photo opportunity so you need to make sure to jump and pose for your photo! ( I’d really love to see what mine looks like, but official race photos still haven’t been released yet! )
The Spartan Sprint was a very humbling experience for me. I knew I could have made better time and do the race 2-3x better if only I prepared enough and took training more seriously than I did. The Spartan Foressa Sprint was a very memorable race for me and so far is the best race I have ever finished ( Until Super or Beast probably lol ). The medal fit right at home with the others, but I’m sure this is definitely not my last Spartan Race medal!
The next Spartan Race will be held at Ilanin Forest, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Luzon, Philippines and I will definitely be there to claim my Spartan Super medal! Still in the process of starting out my routines and planning out my flights/hotel bookings, but I will be there.
Because this is the race where I redeem myself.
Where I do better than I did at Spartan Sprint.
The battle cry before we started the race still echoes in my head.
Who am I? I am a Spartan.