So…you’re all geared up, pumped up and ready to attack the course this weekend at the Malibu Spartan Sprint (or any other OCR). If you are a veteran of multiple Spartan Races you know the routine, what to pack and how to prep your game face. If you are a nervous first-timer you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, nervous or apprehensive about what to expect. Below are some helpful hints for both the experienced racer and the newbie that will make your day in Malibu just a bit more comfortable.
1. Bring a towel and a change of clothes (including socks, dry shoes, jacket and a beanie – you lose the most heat from your feet and head) to wear AFTER the race. I use quick-drying camp towels like the PackTowl UltraLite sold at REI. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and even the XL (50″x27″) fits in the palm of your hand. But if you want to bring your Superman towel then go nuts. The water from the hoses in the shower area will be COLD but so what!!! You just ran a cold, wet race…what’s a few more minutes of cold water? Boo hoo! SUCK IT UP! AROO! You will be thankful not being in cold, wet clothing while trying to enjoy the post-race festivities or waiting for the shuttles to the parking lot! Last year I saw a lot of shivering, miserable looking people in the shuttle line. Be dry, be warm, be happy!
2. Flip-Flops/Sandals (in addition to dry shoes): Keep your feet mud free in the shower area by putting on some flip-flops. You can also avoid the cold, muddy ground as you make your way to a changing area/tent by wearing flip-flops.
3. I bring a xerox copy of my ID to show at registration so I don’t have to worry about losing my ID. I also bring enough cash to pay for bag check, food, merchandise and leave my debit and credit cards locked in the car so I don’t lose them at the venue. You can also snap a photo of your ID on your smart phone and use that for identification.
4. Contractor-grade trash bag: You can place your wet, muddy clothes and shoes in the bag after you are done beasting the course. And, seriously, use contractor bags not Hefty or Glad kitchen bags. Those will allow the moisture to eventually seep through and nothing sucks worse than getting home and finding a puddle of water in your trunk or back seat. You can find them at any Home Depot or similar store. Contractor bags: Those suckers will hold back the Red Sea.
5. In addition to my small back pack with change of clothes, towel, etc I also bring a Home Depot 5-Gallon bucket to deposit my wet clothes and shoes into before I drive home. Sometimes I check my bucket along with my backpack at bag check (place backpack in bucket or clip it to bag with carabiners). Convenient AND easier to carry than a trash bag. By the way, the “Let’s Do This” on the Home Depot buckets is new to me. I wonder if Home Depot has been turned on to alternative workout uses for their bucket? Fireman bucket carries with 50lb sandbag, anyone?
6. If you use gloves cut the fingers off the work gloves. Otherwise, you trap mud and water inside the fingers AND your hands get colder.
7. My recommendation is not to bother with multiple layers or rain jacket if it is cold and/or rainy. You will get wet almost immediately from the rain coming down or the first water obstacle you hit. No need to run the course with extra wet clothing hanging off your body. Instead wear a long-sleeve tech shirt or compression shirt. And, for the love of Pete, do NOT wear cotton! It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Suffer for a few minutes while waiting for the start of your heat or hand off your jacket to a friend as the gun goes off…You are running a Spartan Race! Suck it up! Aroo! Aroo!
8. On the serious side: You might have concern about getting across water obstacles. In Malibu, the water is not particularly deep and you can always stay to the edge. If you still feel apprehensive ask someone to be your buddy as you wade across so you can keep an eye on each other. Be safe. Period. If you are running with a group like the Weeple Army or Team SISU you will have a bunch of friends looking out for you. If you are going at it solo…you will have a bunch of friends looking out for you. Just remember to ask. Someone will hold your hand, carry you, push you over and do whatever you need if you ask. And, again, be safe. If you don’t swim stay to the edge and ask someone to stay with you and be your safety buddy.
Above all else…have fun! You paid to do this so you might as well enjoy it. Laugh and smile through the cold, the mud, the barbed wire crawl and everything else that gets thrown at you in a Spartan Race.
Ruck On. Stay Muddy.