I finished my first Spartan Hurricane Heat 12Hour in Atlanta Sunday, March 19, 2017.
I hit some dark moments during this event that I’ve never experienced before and it wasn’t pretty. It took everything I had in me to overcome what was holding me back and pushed through the pain to accomplish each goal. This was not easy, but it was an amazing experience.  — Congrats to the HH12HR-029 group.

What The Heck Did I Sign Up For?

I asked this many times after paying for the entry fee, so did my wife and closest friends.  I didn’t know what I was doing, I’ve never done anything like this before so why…why would I put myself in this position?  That’s the whole point, I guess.  This year is a year of the unknown.

PT From Hell:

I consider myself a fairly fit individual and have been for many years.  I’ve taking huge strides at staying fit by doing many styles of workouts to keep it unique.  Physical training is something that I’ve come to enjoy, but I have to say that I’ve never had a PT like what I experienced during the HH12hr.  I normally do a 45 minute to an hour and a half workout at most, which is more than enough to put your body in a state of muscle break down and gain.  Wake up call! That’s nothing compared to what I just experienced with the HH12hr.  I don’t think PT ever stopped during the 12 hours LOL.

Let’s start off with taping your hands behind your back and finding a way to do 100 burpees.  Let me tell you it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but if you pay attention to what Cookie said to do, it works.  You want to know what he said?  “Figure it out” with a smile.  Honestly that was actually kind of fun.  Afterwards we did 55 count of every kind of workout you can think of just to make it spicy followed by a 100m run back and forth between each workout.   Each workout afterwards just got progressively harder.  I even learned a new one called the monkey humper or monkey f**cker depending on who you are talking to.  That one is very funny to watch, hard to do, but a good painful laugh during the process. I had a proud moment where I actually lead the entire group in one of the first workouts.

Trust The Gear List:

This is something that seems simple yet for some make it very complicated.  What you receive is an email plus a video from Cookie saying to only bring what is on the gear list.  You do just that and you’ll be fine.  I didn’t really bring anything extra that I felt could help me and mainly because I’ve never done one of these so what would I honestly bring for the unknown.  While we were out there I saw very creative ways to carry a sand bag and ways to attach a sandbag to a 2×4.  Some brought cordage but honestly I didn’t see much success with it so the extra weight didn’t seem to help.  Smart idea but everything in the gear list did have a purpose.  I also liked the idea of not having everything to make it easier for myself.  I will say trust the gear list and you’ll be fine.

Time Hack: “Run The Course,” Cookie Say

First off, for those of you who don’t know what a time hack is…this is what I understand from it…you need to complete the task/mission within an unknown allotted time frame. If you don’t, you will DNF (Did Not Finish).  This HH12hr happen to take place during a Spartan Sprint event so the distance was only 4 to 5 miles depending on the GPS tracker.  The Sprint is normally an easy race but try attaching a 30 pound ruck plate to your back and going through the course knowing you have a time hack to make but unaware of how long that is so you are moving with purpose, that adds a little extra pressure to the task.  Luckily we didn’t have to do the obstacles except for a few which helped save time.  I felt this was somewhat easy and even finished with about 30 minutes to spare.  This was not the same outcome for every time hack we were tasked to achieve and pass.  The task became harder, adding extra weight with 40 pound sandbag, a bucket of water, carrying the 2×4 wood and yes even a Spartan 50/60 pound Pancake. Did I mention that every new task became progressively harder?  With the grace of God I was able to make each time hack but with little time to spare. I remember one where I only had 2 minutes to spare before DNF’ing — but I made it.

Finding My Dark Place:

If you know me, I mean really know me, you would say that I’m a very easy going kind of person.  I’m very analytical, artistic but as well as a very driven individual.  When I set my mind towards something, it doesn’t take me long to find a creative solution to get what I want.  That being said, it has not always been easy for me but to say I’ve reach a point in my life where I entered in any type of Dark Place in my mind would be hard to believe.  That might be one of the reason why I decided to even participate in the Spartan HH12hr.  I guess you can say I wanted to find my breaking point and know what I would do.  Would I fail and if so, how would I handle it?  A good buddy of mine, Andy Smith, told me something that can be applied here which was we either succeed or we learn — we don’t fail!

I can honestly tell you that I entered in my Dark Place three times during this experience over the 12 hours and it shook me at the core.  I was fighting with myself on why I was doing this.  I’m not cut out for this crap, just give up, you’re a failure.  The words and thoughts drove me down and I was at my breaking point each time.  I was not in a very good state of mind but at those moments is where I battled with myself, fought through the pain, the frustration and down-right-suck-fest and found a way to control my thoughts and my body long enough to finish the task.  I hated every moment of it but in some ways I embraced the Dark Place each time with another chance to test myself.  I passed.  It’s hard to express what that did for me but it was something I think I needed.  Thank you Cookie for that.

Random TIP – Mustard Packs:

I’ve run a few races over the years. I completed my first Spartan Trifecta last year but believe it or not I never used mustard packets during any of the races to help with muscle cramping. I’ve never needed and actually questioned the use but not anymore. My calves locked up three times during the 12 hours. In fact each time was during the times I was fighting through my darkest moments so that just added extra fun to the mix. There was a person who happened to have some mustard packets with him and gave me some and WOW talk about an instant fix. I was able to function again otherwise I would had to stop because my calves were not going to move, I kid you not. I am a believer and will always have mustard packets with me. Trust me, it works.

Will I do it again?

Yes I would and in fact I’m already planning on trying to attend the first ever Spartan HH24hr in Seattle this year.  This would be my next step towards my goal which is to participate in the AGOGE.

What I Learned:

Looking back now that I’ve had time to digest the whole experience, I know that I made a good decision in participating in the Spartan HH12hr. Some might say a stupid or crazy decision, including my wife but I’ll stick with my opinion.  I tested my core belief and almost gave up but I didn’t. Many of us started with the goal to finish but the remaining few found a way to make it actually happen until the end.  For some it was easy but for myself and I know for many others it was a challenge like never before.  I get that this was not any kind of life-or-death situation and maybe I’m talking nonsense but for anyone who has taken part of the Spartan Endurance “experiences” knows what we went through and can appreciate the success.  I made bonds with people that I just met, trusted advice from strangers who are now my brothers.  I feel I could lock arms among these few during any task giving and know we can achieve it.  We might be the few dumb enough to do events like this but I would like to leave you with this — what did you do on Sunday?

Thank you for reading.