For years Fenway Park was my second home. Growing up my dad took me to a ton of games, including over 13-consecutive Opening Days. During my senior year in college, I started working for the Red Sox. I was honored to be part of the Red Sox Front Office 2004-2006 and the 2007 postseason. I spent a lot of time at Fenway during baseball season and for a few concerts. When I heard about the Spartan Sprint at Fenway I wanted to take part ... despite being completely scared of the Spartan races!
So when Spartan offered me a complimentary race entry, I took it as a sign.
(Note: While I was given free entry to the race, all opinions are my own - ain't nobody got time for lyin'!)
I was set to run with my friend Beth, but unfortunately the week before the race she suffered a concussion and was unable to race. The fee to transfer a bib is $25 and I couldn't scrounge anyone up to take it off her hands so I opted to head to the race solo.
Spartan recommends you get to the race 1.5 hours before you start time (mine was 10am), but I figured that wasn't really necessary ;) so I had the wife drop me off at Fenway at 8:50am. I am a rebel like that. Plus I knew I wasn't doing bag check (it was a $5 charge for bag check).
I kissed the wife goodbye, she gave me some final words of encouragement since I was FREAKIN' out and I headed to collect my bib.
The check-in was set up on Yawkey Way. Step 1: pick up the 3 waivers if you forgot them at home. Thankfully I remembered mine after we left and went back to get them. :P
Step 2: Look up your bib #. Mine was 4199.
Step 3: Pick up bib.
I made my way to Gate A to enter Fenway. I was able to skip the bag inspection line and headed to the turnstile to enter the park.
I set up shop just past the entrance to figure out what I needed to do to be set up. It was 9am and I still had an hour til go time.
You actually didn't wear the bib for the Fenway Sprint so I stuck it in the back of my pants for safe keeping. :P You used the Spartan headband as your bib. I kinda liked that. The little blue thing was the timing chip. You secured it to your wrist by a yellow band (not pictured).
With an hour to go, I decided to take a lap around the park to see what the field/obstacles looked like. I was sort of jealous of the folks with earlier wave times as they were already done and showing off their bling. ;)
Ahhh I started freaking out more! There was a rope climb in front of the Green Monster and video of the race being broadcast on the Jumbo Screen. I was hoping that wasn't the case when I was racing. I didn't need to have everyone watch me struggle.
With new nerves building on top of the old, I opted to head down to the concourse and just pace. Haha. When alone, I didn't have people to chat with as a distraction so the minutes ticked by slowly.
Around 9:50, my 10am heat was called to the Start Area.
I befriended a couple in front of me at the Start Area. They had done a ton of Spartans so they helped calm my nerves. Also the boyfriend was kind enough to help me over the first obstacle. Yes there was a wall you had to climb over just to get to the Start. Thanks buddy!
10am wave was called and we lined up at the Start Line.
The butterflies were climbing from my stomach to my throat. I was wicked nervous, but told myself to take it slow and to HAVE FUN! I was there to prove something to myself and no one else.
The announcer counted us down: 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... GO!
And we were off. Climbing the stairs of the Gate B concourse to the Grandstand level. I was chatting with an older gentleman from our group as we made our way along the back of the Grandstand to the concourse where we hit our first official obstacle.
Big thanks to the volunteers who were there to help folks - especially solo folks like me - with the obstacles. Okay one obstacle down and a bunch more to go. :P
Once over the wall, we headed down the concourse stairs to Gate B, where we promptly took a right and headed back up the ramps to the press level. But we didn't just run up the ramps, we had to crawl up the ramps under the "barb-wire" aka bungee cords. Thank goodness I had my gloves with me as the little pricks on the concourse ground (paint job) were digging into my hands and knees. I do have some cuts on my knees where it went through my pants. Ouch! I am happy it was bungee and not real barbed wire!
On the fifth level, we ran out towards right feel and started doing stairs up and down the sections of the left field roof seats.
Can't beat that view! Yes that view made the stairs just a tad easier... well at least at the beginning.
Once through the left field roof seats, we had to carry a weight (wish I had a pic) from one side of the concourse to the other - do 5 burpees - then bring the weight back to where we picked it up. Think large terracotta rolo (yes the candy) looking item. There were two different sizes - one for guys (heavier) and one for girls (lighter). I am sure you could choose whichever you wanted but I happily went with the lighter one.
Yes another obstacle down!
We ran from the left field roof over to the right field roof seats. We again ran up and down the right field seats.
This is where I started crying.
There was Team Believe. They were working with a guy in a wheelchair. He was going to attempt to do the whole Sprint as a wheelbarrow. So his teammates would hold his legs/lower body while he crawled on his hands. WOW! I am gathering the gentleman ended up in a wheelchair after an accident as the team had a shirt with check boxes on it. They included "wiggling fingers again" and it was checked. The final box said "Walk Again" and it was unchecked... for now. Wow! Talk about an inspiration.
Along the right field roof I caught some pretty sweet pics of Boston.
Once at the Right Field Roof Deck, we had to do 20 overhead slams - again two different weight options available.
It was time to head back down towards the homeplate grandstands, where we carried a jug of water down a set of stairs, across the ramp above the concourse then back up the stairs to where we originally picked the jug up. The jug wasn't that heavy it was just the awkwardness of the container that made it sort of annoying to carry.
We then headed across the grandstand and down to the Vistor's Clubhouse. Boy it had been a few years since I had been in there. :P This time instead of chatting with my Cubs players, I was doing 25 pushups. Between each pushup you had to make sure to release your hands from the ground when your chest hit the ground. I went with the "girlie" pushups and knocked out all 25.
It was weird to run down the hallway to the Visitor's Dugout - again I remembered walking down there with Alfonso Soriano the last time I was there. Boy things change. :P
After making our way back up the seats, it was time to take on the Green Monster.
We ran up and down each section of the Monster.
Spectacular views again.
It was a single lane running path along the seats, but folks were happy to move out of the way if others needed to get by.
Once on the other end of the Monster, we took to the stairs to head down to the bleacher concourse. We were met with a weighted rope and a resistance band to put around our ankles. We had to do 25 jump rope swings with the resistance band on.
I couldn't get into a rhythm to do more than one jump at a time, but I made sure to count out loud so I proved to myself and others that I did all 25. Note: no one was listening to me counting. ;)
With 25 jump ropes done, it was off to another wall obstacle. This time you had to climb along three walls, which were zig zag (does that make sense), without letting your hand touch the top of the wall or your feet hit the floor.
Now this would DEFINITELY be easier with a partner, which I didn't have. BUT I had volunteer Kathleen who basically helped keep me attached to the wall and suggested ways to make it from one side of the other (even getting around the corners) without falling off.
Thanks to Kathleen I made it to the other side, hit the bell and was on my way! But first... Wally selfie!
Now came the monkey bars. Most folks were putting one partner under the monkey bars and the other partner on their shoulders to "walk" across.
Again no partner, I opted to skip this obstacle and take my punishment - 30 burpees. Ouch - those were painful. I admit I didn't do
as much any burpee practice ahead of time. My bad.
We headed through the Aramark service tunnel to the loading dock/visiting player entrance to the javelin throw.
If you didn't hit the target on your first try, you had to do 30 burpees.
Not ME!!! I did it. I actually threw my hands up in the air to celebrate when I hit the target. The kid behind me was a little upset I took extra time to stop and take a pic, but I needed the proof.
Just across the parking lot was the next obstacle.
You had to pull the bag (50 lbs for ladies) up to the top of of the structure and bring it back down nice and gently so no slamming the bag to the ground.
It was time to leave the parking lot, head back through the service tunnel and up the stairs to the right field grandstand area.
Yes the stairs featured more "barb wire" aka bungee cord.
It was time to carry a sandbag up and down the right field grandstand area. The ladies' sandbag was 30 lbs.
While I carried the bag, I thought about my weight loss journey and how I used to carry 80 extra lbs on this body. I didn't even like carrying the 30 - keeps weight loss and weight maintenance in perspective.
Now it was time to head down to the warning track.
I owe a special thank you to a random high school guy who
happily helped me over the three walls on the warning track. ;)
I was envious of the folks who effortlessly hiked themselves up and over the walls, but I knew I didn't have the upper body strength to do that ... yet. Maybe someday but for now I will take any help I can.
Oh hey Fenway - you sexy beast you!
We needed to get up to the bleachers to get some more stairs in so only one way to do that ... cargo net!
One of the easiest obstacles of the day even for this girl with a fear of heights.
Thankfully years of sitting in the bleachers came in handy. I was able to get into a rhythm to run both up and down the odd sized steps. Once through the first round of bleachers, we were back down in the bleacher concourse to take the largest wall of the day. Ahhhh! I was freakin' out.
Again I relied on the kindness of strangers. There was a group of 3 guys at the wall and I convinced them to help the two ladies in front of me as well as myself get up and over the wall.
Well I made it to the top of the wall then promptly freaked out!!! I was up high and didn't feel comfortable falling down the maybe 12 feet to the concrete ground. I was going to have to live on the top of the wall, which wouldn't have pleased the people behind me.
I yelled to one of the 3 guys and asked if he could help me down. He obliged and with his help I made it safely to the ground. Thank you random guy! We headed back up the bleacher stairs and back down to the entrance to the field.
We were just three obstacles away from the Finish.
The rope climb in front of the Green Monster was the next obstacle and I zipped right past that one and took my 30 burpee punishment.
It was an out-of-body experience taking my picture in front of the scoreboard then doing my burpees. I actually was doing those burpees on the same spot where in June 2005 I received my 2004 World Series ring. Again, talk about a different experience in the same spot.
Once I pathetically finished the 30 burpees, I rounded the third base side of the warning track and headed to the box jumps. 20 box jumps on the smaller of the two boxes and I was off to the final obstacle.
Just a bunch of punching bags between me and the end.
DONE!! I freakin' did it! I only dodged two obstacle and tackled the rest.
WOOO!!!! Look at that bling!
The 3+ mile course took me 58:54 good for 2,860th overall out of 8,990, 795th among 4,154 females and 131st in my division out of 705. Woo! Not too shabby for this girl whose main objective was to survive and not get hurt! Both accomplished! :) I even had some fun too... ;)
After picking up my medal, I received my Finisher's shirt. I definitely liked getting this surprise at the end.
The Finish shoot brought you back down to the concourse level where I grabbed a water, a banana and a CLIF bar sample. I made my way through the folks who had already finished and people waiting for their heats to begin to the exit. I was going to walk myself to the Dunkin' Donuts in Kenmore so the wife could pick me up.
I opted out of getting my free post-race beer as it was at a surrounding bar and I figured it was probably something I wouldn't want anyway. I wanted to get a good beer with the wife.
I am definitely happy I went waayyy out of my comfort zone to attempt the Spartan Sprint even when my partner had to bow out. I loved competing the race Garmin free. I actually had no idea of time or pace or anything while out on the course. I focused on each obstacle when I came to it and truly took in the whole experience.
If I was going to do this again, I would make sure I had a big team of friends to do it with me. I was jealous of the teams of friends out on the course.
I definitely proved to myself that I am stronger than I think ... again!
I was beyond nervous before the race, but those nerves turned to fuel when the official horn went off.
So if you are thinking about trying an obstacle race, I do highly recommend the Sprint distance as a starting off point. Shorter mileage, no mud, plenty of water stops and a great test to see if you like obstacle races or not. Plus, the views of Fenway as the backdrop can't be beat.
Have you ever tried a Spartan Sprint at a ballpark or stadium?