Race Recap: Spartan Race Super in Vernon, NJ
Race: Spartan Race Super
Location: Mountain Creek, NJ
Date: October 22, 2016
Michael Miraglia (1:53:36) won the men’s elite Spartan Race Super on Saturday, October 22 in Vernon, NJ while Janet Barry (2:11:40) won the women’s elite heat. On Sunday, Chrisa Dustman (2:21:02) won the women’s elite heat and Kyle Darling (1:49:01) took home the top men’s honor. On a day that was forecasted to be rainy and cold, it actually turned out to be not too rainy at all and around 50 degrees. I ran the competitive heat of the Saturday race in 3:33:15, only two minutes faster than the scorching hot Palmerton, PA Super. Check out my thoughts and analysis from what is my last obstacle course race of 2016.
STILL INJURED, DON’T CARE
I’ve been dealing with a severe injury to my middle finger ever since Terrain Race in August. Turns out, the finger isn’t broken but I will be seeing an Occupational Therapist to hear what they think is wrong. Going into this race, I couldn’t make a fist with one of my hands due to the fact that one of my fingers doesn’t bend. And it hurts, especially when I try to grab things. This was perfect for a wet, muddy, obstacle race, right?
At Palmerton, I failed zero obstacles. In New Jersey, I failed four: the Z Wall, Rope Climb, Monkey Bars and Spear Throw. On the Z-Wall, a volunteer asked me if I had all fours on the wall after I fell off, I said yes, so I did 30 burpees. On the monkey bars, I may have completed this obstacle but I wasn’t sure. I got to end, rang the ball, but at the same that I rang the bell, one foot hit the ground. I asked the referee if I failed it and he said, “It’s your call.’ I chose to do 30 burpees. I outright failed the spear throw, no questions asked obviously, and for the rope climb, I tried to climb it without using legs, as always, and I slipped off and did 30 burpees. Here’s the only issue I have with the competitive wave: I saw people skip burpees at these and other obstacles. I even heard other Spartans commenting on how someone skipped burpees. Overall, I really think I failed three of four obstacles due to injury more than weather.
DRESSED FOR THE WORST
On top, I wore a Skins long sleeve base layer, a Nike Thermasphere Max long sleeve shirt, and a Reebok Spartan Polyster Shirt over that. On bottom, it was G-Form Shorts, Nike Thermasphere Max pants, and Hylete Vertex Shorts over those. I also wore a Merrell Tubular on my wrist which turned out to be a great piece of fabric to substitute as a glove for one hand. My shoes were the Inov-8 190 (precision fit) and they did an excellent job of preventing me from slipping. My hydration pack was the Camelbak Circuit, where I stored Honey Stinger energy gels, GLUKOS gummies and GU energy gels. My attire and fuel choices turned out to be correct, as I wasn’t overly cold, aside from on my hands, for the entire course.
A NORM CLASSIC
Norm designed the Spartan Race Super course and it was done very well. The climbs weren’t that aggressive, like in the Beast, and stringing the monkey bars and rope climb together at the end was a smart way to torch grip strength. The sandbag march was a single sandbag, for the competitive heat at least, and the log carry was manageable. The trails at Mountain Carry are very nice, and although there aren’t spectacular views of New York City, the mountain is like a village in itself, with lakes and various ways to get lost if it weren’t a Spartan Race. There was no Apehanger obstacle, as many people were speculating, but there two barbed wire crawls, one of which had deep mud pits. The total mileage turned out to be 9-10 miles. At the end, there was the dunk wall into the fire jump, as seen above.
This was my seventh and final Spartan Race of the year and my 11th ever. I decided to meet up with members of the Crew OCR and listened to some stories from this crowd. I also met up with fellow Spartan SGX Coach "Panda" Joe Crupi. These are phenomenal athletes, so much, that it makes question if OCR is for me. I’m going to write a year-in-review of my experience in OCR and I will address why I feel like the money spent on these may be better spent on other things, like paying off my student debt, or even another gym membership. In short, I feel like there is a trade-off in OCR: trade money for tickets and an awesome, loving, friendly, athletic community. In the gym, you trade money for workouts, and maybe a passing word to some other members.
An interesting part of the festival area for this race was that Optimum Nutrition had a booth there. Coincidentally, a men's physique competitor named Eugene Moore that I have actually seen compete at the NPC Team Universe competition, was manning the booth and we talked. Spartan Race has Clif Bar and Ascent Protein as sponsors, but an Optimum Nutrition partnership is different because ON has a huge reach within the bodybuilding/fitness industry. Optimum Nutrition will also be at the Fenway Park Sprint in Boston, MA on November 12-13. I'm interested to see how this partnership progresses (or doesn't) in 2017. I walked away with a goodie bag complete with a shaker cup and ON Amino Energy, score!
It’s hard to resist attending obstacle courses that are within two hours from me, but I need to heal this damn finger injury. Until I’m 100%, all I can do is cardio and light weightlifting. What makes me want to come back to Spartan Race and OCR is that at this Super, if I didn’t do those 120 burpees, I most likely would’ve finished in under three hours, and that’s without even training.