Breckenridge, Colorado, base elevation starting at 9,600 feet and going up to almost 13,000 feet, it makes for a perfect Spartan Race location. Right? With people coming in from all over the states, elevation will definitely play a huge part in the struggles of fellow racers. Coming from Lancaster, CA where elevation varies from 2,500 feet to 3,000 feet, I was definitely preparing for the change in oxygen supply.
Race day was Saturday June 13th and we were heading out Wednesday to get a few days to acclimate to the elevation. Heading out early wasn't the only thing I was doing to prepare for the race. As usual I was increasing water intake the week before and adding in more electrolytes along with two Oral IVs a day. My routine is usually the same the week before a race and especially a Beast, but with the added elements I was definitely on top of it.
We arrive 3 am Thursday morning to our hotel in Dillon, CO, a small town twenty minutes away from Breck. We slept and then headed out to check out the small town of Breckenridge, CO. With pit stops to check out local stores, views and restaurants ( The Crown is definitely a spot to check out with great vibes, food and coffee.) we get more and more excited for the upcoming weekend. We decided to take it easy and relax and read at a local coffee shop embracing the view that you have at nearly every location. There were expected thunderstorms later in the evening and we got to see first hand how quick mother nature can change her mind. Within the hour of sitting out side, the temperature dropped and winds increased. Minutes after temperatures dropping it began to down pour and even hail! Running to and from our car was an invigorating experience and embraced what mother nature was giving.
By Friday morning skies were clear and forecast was looking good. We decided to head up to Peak 9, where Spartan Race was located, and do some easy hiking. In the previous weeks I had the opportunity to work for Spartan Race in Ohio and got to meet some amazing people and just so happen to see some of those same people again. They were more than helpful, but also motivating, giving us tips for conquering the mountain. Staying hydrated, eating carbs and proper rest are always a go to for pre race, but especially here. It was reassuring to hear what I was doing was recommended.
Heading up to the course we got to see some of the obstacles and terrain we would be dealing with the following day. Taking a short hike with the weather warm and scenery almost mystical it was easy to get caught up and want to continue exploring the mountain. But with race day within 24 hours it was smart to keep it short but still reaching at least 10,500 feet. The rest of the day was for rest and consumption of food. Whenever traveling I always look for Whole Foods if preparing my own food is not possible and keep majority of meals clean and easy to digest with proper nutrients. But ice cream was still consumed during this trip! (And maybe a doughnut or two from VOODOO post race)
It's 5:30 am and alarms are going off. Instantly excitement fills my body and I am reminded it is RACE DAY!!! We start with our routine, getting coffee, getting ready, making sure everything is packed and ready to take off back to California post race. We arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare. The Elite heats for the Sprint were taking off first and being recorded by NBC Sports and were estimated to be done by 8:45, that was when the Elite heat for the Beast, men and women, would be taking off. We get to the starting line with other racers and energy is high! SPARTANS!! ARE YOU READY?! AROO! AROO! AROO! GOOOOOOOOO!
In the next 2 hours and 49 minutes I would be running, trekking through snow, carrying logs and buckets, not once but twice, doing burpees and pushing myself to a new height. LITERALLY! This race was a great opportunity to see what I could do. Within the first 3 miles I kept my pace comfortable to get through some of the bigger climbs, power walking up some of the climbs, running the flats and using arrows to keep my focused. "Ashley, run to that arrow, then power walk and repeat." I was in top 8 for first half of the race and as we started getting to the strength obstacles (bucket brigade, sand bag carry and log carry) I was able to pass some of the other competitors and getting into top 5. By this time I was reminded of my last race when I was too close to podium because I didn't push as hard as I could. Around mile 9 my energy spiked and I was ready to push. I reach one of the newer obstacles, The Multi Rig, and get more than half way through and FAIL! 30 Burpees. After that it starts to get obstacle heavy towards the finish and I knew I could make up some time if I hit the spear throw. I approach the spear throw with caution and slow down to focus. I release the spear with perfect aim, it hits dead center but doesn't stick! 30 Burpees! That hay was packed tight and you definitely needed more power to stick the spear. By this time I knew I had to keep my pace quick with the next obstacles which were mostly up and over walls, rope climb and barbwire crawl. I am ahead to secure my place, but I still continued to push hard. I learned from my previous race that you never know what could happen at the end. I cross the finish line with 3rd Place in the Elite Beast. I definitely had expectations of the course being tougher and the elevation killer but I guess I was in better shape than I thought!
Now time to look for my teammates and root them on! Both finish and are debating on doing the Sprint like we planned from the get go. I know with an Ultra Beast coming up it will be good training to push through another lap. Our start time was coming up and as I start filling up my pack and heading out I was able to convince them to come out with me, take it easy and finish together! As we go through the sprint at a slow pace it was more of an experience to see the course, embrace it and have fun! We completed the Sprint together and as we cross the finish line and it begins to rain, a perfect end to our race day! We all were able to push through when we thought we couldn't anymore and for that I am proud. Another race in the books and definitely one to write home about. Breck, I WILL BE BACK!