Bright Trifecta Weekend: A Weekend of Insanity

Monday, 11 December 2017
I had set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2017: I would get my Spartan trifecta this year. With a plan set in place to do each of the three races throughout the year, I knew I had this goal in the bag. Unfortunately, life got in the way and my carefully planned out year compacted all three races into one single weekend. (Let massive panic ensue) I was terrified, but I was also so excited. I knew my Bright weekend getaway would not only be a challenging one but a beautiful escape from bustling Melbourne. 

Preparing for a trifecta weekend is no easy task, but that is a story for another post. Somehow,even with my insanely jammed packed schedule, I managed to get everything together. Driving to Bright reminded me of my long drives from San Diego to my hometown. There was a butt load of nothing to see but farmland and the occasional servo. When I finally made it to Bright, I picked up the keys to the cottage and then went to pick up my race packet. 

At first, I was disappointed all of my friends bailed, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The alone time allowed me to mentally prepare for the weekend ahead. I woke up well rested and excited to take on the first of my three challenges, the Super. 

As I arrived at the arena, I became overrun with fear and anxiety. Why on gods green Earth were they saving the Beast for day 2? Wouldn't it make more sense to go from the longest race to the shortest? I was recently listening to a podcast, where John De Sena was interviewed, and I believe I got my answer. Mental toughness. You'll rarely find a Spartan race that is the length stated on your sign up. This is because Spartan is supposed to challenge you mentally and physically. Why put the Beast on day 2? Because you're challenged yet again to get up and force yourself to run the longest of the three races exhausted. 

Leaping over the first obstacle to get into the starting area, I was excited. I knew I could rock this race. I would worry about the Sprint and Beast later. Right now, my goal was to finish the Super in under 4 hours. I ended up making a friend along the trail. This is something I love about Spartan races. If you're not racing in the elite or competitive waves, everyone helps each other out. We were rocking the course until we reached the mountain. Oh. Sweet. Lanta. I was so underprepared for what the Bright mountain held in store for me. 30 was the number that stuck in my head. 30 steps; then you can take a break. Somehow, this worked. I made it to the top! I silently panicked about how I was to repeat this climb twice the following day but pushed that fear aside to keep going. With a little more running, climbing, jumping, and swimming I finished my first Spartan Super! 

I quickly grabbed my bag, ate my lunch, and stretched on my foam roller before entering the starting area once more for my Sprint. My body was aching, screaming at me to just go home and rest. But my mind was yelling louder, "You can do this! You've already run this trail; it will be easy". My mind won. During my Super, being the clutzy person I am, I fell down the mountain landing on my wrist. I did not realise how severely I had injured myself until I was halfway through a burpee penalty about 5kms into the course. My wrist was throbbing; I couldn't put any body weight on it. I convinced myself to finish the Sprint and do the burpees. I was worried I would get disqualified if I didn't. After about 2 hours on the course, my slowest Sprint to date, I was 2/3 of the way to my first trifecta!

Returning to my cottage, my muscles screamed with fatigue, I found driving difficult with my busted wrist, and all I wanted was a nice Epsom salt bath. Imagine the horror when I realised that the cottage was not equipt with a bathtub. I instead opted for a steaming hot shower and a solid hour upon the foam roller. I was praising all the gods that I had made my dinner the night prior. All I needed to do was warm it up and force myself to eat. That night, I slept better than I ever had. 

In the morning, I awoke, sore, drained, and every muscle in my body and brain were screaming at me to go back to bed. 
"You should rest. It isn't smart to run a race injured." 
"You're too sore, too tired, just go back to bed. No one will blame you if you do not run today." 

I messaged my friend I made the day prior asking if she was still going. When I received the message that she was almost to the arena, I jumped out of bed and rushed over. The entire drive was a war raging in my mind. 
"You won't be able to finish." 
"Just try and make it to the mountain. If you're in too much pain, just stop."
 "woman are you insane? You injured yourself, your autoimmune disorder hates you, and you're limping!"

I made up my mind. I would run until I reached the base of the mountain. There I would assess my injuries, and if I needed to, I would tap out. When I made it to the bottom of the mountain, my mindset changed. Just make it up the mountain and assess from there. I kept setting small goals where I could check in and evaluate how my body was responding. My wrist injury was worse than I thought so I did have to sub my burpees for squats halfway through the race. Somehow, I made it up that crazy mountain twice. I became elated once I reached the sandbag carry. I knew I was less than 5kms from the finish line. I could do this! With the help of other Spartan's shouting words of motivation, I powered through the last bit of the course. Upon crossing the finish line, I turned to the volunteer handing out the medals, confessed that I had to switch to squats due to an injury and shouldn't be given my medal. He laughed, put the medal over my head and said, "You earned this damn medal. Most men could not accomplish what you just did. Fantastic job!"  

Words cannot adequately describe the overwhelming feelings of joy and pride I felt after completing my first trifecta weekend. Best of all, I finished my Beast in under 8 hours! I met the time goal I set for myself. After collecting my bag, I returned to my car and cried tears of joy. Yup, I am not ashamed to admit I cried after the hell Spartan put me through that weekend. It was then I told myself, never again would I run a trifecta weekend. 

I fully understand how Spartan races are so addictive. They push you mentally and physically in ways you could never imagine. Yes, not all Spartan races are created equally, but each race will challenge you differently. No less than 24 hours after my trifecta weekend, I sat down and planned out my Spartan races for 2018. Guess what? I signed up for another trifecta weekend, and I cannot wait! Have you ever ran a Spartan race before? What drives you while you're on the course? 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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  1. That's really awesome! Congrats on your accomplishment! I wanted to work towards a Mud Run last year but ended up with 2 herniated discs in my back and it has set me back a bit. Once I get this under control, will get back on the training!

  2. You are incredible! I was already stressed in the first paragraph when you said all three of your races were going to happen in the same weekend. I haven't ever ran a Spartan race before, and honestly, I don't think I ever will. Running is definitely not my thing, but I'm all for cheering people on who do it! You go girl!!

  3. What an amazing accomplishment! Congrats on reaching your goal!

  4. I've never run one - I'm not a runner at all as my knees would never forgive me. But this is so impressive! You're a rockstar!