Let's not sugar coat it - nothing I have ever experienced or could even have conceptualized in my mind can compare. This was easily the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Having never done anything like this before, we thought a 4-1/2 to 5 hour estimate to complete the 21+ km course with 34 obstacles was feasible. 7-1/2 hours later, the four of us (myself, Coach Julia, and brothers Scott and Dillon) were about as broken as we've ever been.
The obstacles were no big deal, really - but the terrain! Oh, the terrain! Did I mention the terrain?
The sun broke through for the start of our heat, and off we went. Straight up the mountain at Sun Peaks for EVER, to be "rewarded" with a jump into freezing cold, knee-deep muddy water. My leg muscles freaked out from the sudden cold and started to seize/cramp really badly...and we were only 5 km and maybe an hour-and-a-half in. From there, we just kept going higher and higher, to "The Top Of The World", the very summit of the resort.
The forecasted sunny and clear skies also failed to materialize for much of the day, and we spent maybe a quarter of our time in falling light snow. The views, however, were unbelievable - absolutely breathtaking.
I won't go into too much detail, but to summarize - straight up to the summit, then almost all the way back down to the village, then back up to 1,700m elevation on the other peak, and back down again. For nearly six hours, I was battling debilitating seizures in my legs, willing my body to keep moving. Whether ascending or descending, the terrain was my nemesis.
At the beginning, I was determined that I would not do burpees instead of performing an obstacle, but on our way back up the mountain, we encountered the mud crawl, which was actually in several inches of freezing cold water, and I knew if I went in there, my legs would cease to function and they would be carrying my ass off the mountain, so 30 burpees it was.
Aside from that, I attempted every obstacle, and only failed at the rope climb, third from the end. My legs were just incapable of performing at that point, and seized up hard on me as I tried for a few minutes to get up that damn rope. Eventually, I had to concede defeat, and do my 30 burpees for that as well.
It was madness! It was blasphemy! It...was...SPARTA!!! (I couldn't do this post without at least a passing reference to the movie 300 - LOL)
I can't say thank you enough to Julia, Scott and Dillon for suffering through it with me, and sticking it out to the end. I couldn't imagine a better crew to have with me up there. Truth be told, I think Scotty and probably Julia could have probably pushed on and finished an hour or more ahead of me and Dillon (who was suffering with some back issues for most of the course), but in true Spartan (and BTG!) fashion, we started together and finished together.
Without proper training or preparation for the event, and having no idea what to expect, I think we did as well as we could have. Today, I am physically broken. Barely able to walk, I am sore from my neck to my toes (with the exception of my glutes, which are absolutely unaffected). Going from standing to sitting or lying down and vice versa is excruciating. I still feel a bit shell-shocked and foggy, though that could be the muscle relaxants and high dosage of Tylenol.
As horrible as the physical experience was, I can honestly say I had a great time, with good friends.
I will return next year, and redeem myself. This year's experience will not be how my story with the Spartan Beast Sun Peaks ends. Aroo - aroo - AROO!