Saturday, August 30, 2014

The King's Own

Brian invented this name, and wanted a crest/logo, and a friend of his who is good at digital art designed this for him:
He did this a few years ago, and for something else entirely, but it's a good name, and cool crest. Enter, Spartans. The group of men (from church) who are training to run the Spartan races. They call themselves The King's Own.

The King's Own spartan racers did the Virginia Super last Saturday. It is 10miles and 20 (I think) obstacles. It takes place at Wintergreen Ski Resort in the mountains of Virginia. It is the most difficult Super of all of them held in the USA. People travel across country to conquer it, because it is the most difficult. It just happens to be the closest Super to us, at only 3.5 hrs away.

Let me just say, there is very good reason people ski down hills and take lifts up them. The King's Own struggled in the race conditions, and finished in 6hrs and 5mins. For 10miles and 20 obstacles that is pretty slow, but taking into account the conditions of the race, and the size of their group (11 people - all sticking together), and the overall standings, they...made it. Not in any record time, but they DID IT!! Thousands of people dropped out due to difficulty, and all 11 of them did it. They finished 286 out of about 400 teams (individuals count differently). Their team was also much much larger (about twice the size) than most other teams.
Here are a few pictures of the event, taken on Nate's waterproof camera. Obviously you don't get some cooler shots of them doing the obstacles, since you can't really be taking pictures as you are climbing through barbed wire (this year was reportedly the hardest barbed wire obstacle they've ever had)
The King's Own - buddies, and suckers for punishment. This is before the race, because they are very clean:-)

Due to mud, elevation and other factors, this was more of a "hike" than a "run"

They workout together Wed nights after church, and early Sat mornings to get in shape, with the end goal of being in good enough shape to conquer these races. The half marathon (Spartan Beast) is in October.

In January, Brian could barely run a mile, and now he can run 10 no problem. On flat ground, that is. Mountain running at Wintergreen was a little more than they had trained for. Hey, we're at the ocean - there are no hills here at all!

Brian was bib #585

Awww, it's Brian and one of his best buddies - and they're holding hands. Now THAT is brotherly love:-) Really, Brian just needed a hand up as his shoes were not "grippy" enough for this type of terrain.

I think this was the "all done" after pic.
Log "toss" -  was probably more like Log flip-drag-carry?

They had to fill the buckets with little rocks, and the carry them

It was a very very foggy day, and the fog rarely lifted all day long. The blessing in that is that it wasn't too hot

Brian and Nate. They literally conquered a mountain together!

That is the finish line! All you have to do is run through fire and over hot coals and you're done. While maybe very Spartanly, this sounds pretty cray cray to me!

A brief rest on the mountain

Log carry
Because the race took so long, they were ravenously hungry when they finally got done (at 7:20ish pm - water stations during race, but no food), and they about ate Five Guys right out of business I'm sure, on their way home.

The guys, though they will tell you that it was one of the hardest things they've ever done, are encouraged for the Spartan Beast, (half marathon), because it will be easier than what they just did (by all accounts and reports from others) - though the race is longer, it is not more difficult, so they feel glad to have the worst behind them. No one was injured (perhaps by some miracle), and they all actually reported minimal soreness etc, which was a huuuuge improvement over the Spartan Sprint last March. So this means that their training has been effective.

I don't know about all the wives (though I am pretty sure we are all on the same page), but I think it is so nice to have such a good group of guys - not all of whom were friends when they started this adventure. It's been nice to see friendships form, amidst plenty of crazy male bonding I'll never understand. Lots of crazy weird stuff that girls can't understand but is important for men:-) Gooooo Spartans!

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