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San Francisco Spartan Stadion - Tuesday, December 7, 2021
This past Saturday I did the Spartan Stadion at Oracle Park in San Francisco with a few church people and their friends (10 people total including me). We got our entry for a mere $50 through Foster the City, a nonprofit that works to provide homes for foster children in the Bay Area. Each of us had to raise money for FTC, with the goal to raise $1000 per person.

I don't like asking people for money, but one of the church people graciously posted a message to our Facebook group with each participant's donation link for those who wanted to support the cause. A lot of people donated, though those using the donation link provided by FTC instead of setting up a Facebook fundraiser page (myself included) were unable to see how much money they had raised or even who had donated.

The race was easier than a typical Spartan Sprint, e.g. the penalty for a failed obstacle in a Stadion is only 15 burpees instead of the usual 30. There were other modifications that made the obstacles easier, like the Multi-Rig having just rings (no horizontal bar or dangling ropes), and the Atlas Carry having a 100lb pellet-filled ball instead of a 100lb stone (you get a better grip on the ball). This course was similar to the SF Stadion in 2019, with one of the main differences being that there was no Olympus (I was sad about that) and there was an obstacle I'd never seen before, Rolling Epic (it was probably the easiest obstacle on the course).

I was able to complete all the obstacles except the Spear Throw. I did not throw the spear hard enough and it crash-landed way short of the target. Sigh.

The most difficult obstacles were the Weighted Burpees and the Hercules Hoist. The Weighted Burpees involved a 55lb (less for women) weight that we had to lift over our heads 15 times. I had to start taking breaks after the first few reps. Clearly I need to spend time doing the clean and press at the gym. The Hercules Hoist was doable; I just had to use all my bodyweight and push off the barrier with my leg. And the Monkey Bars were pretty easy; this time I did it in the traditional way with palms facing forwards instead of using the opposing grip method. The opposing grip method made this obstacle a piece of cake during my Spartan Super, but I wanted to see if I could do it in a slightly harder way. The bars on this obstacle are spaced somewhat far apart, so I naturally got my hands to the same rung before reaching for the next rung. But I saw some videos of people reaching for the next rung, one after another, so next time I want to see if I can do that.

I didn't have trouble getting the sandbag on both of my shoulders during the Sandbag Carry this time; either the bag was lighter than what we had at my Super, or the training I've been doing with a 20lb rucksack is paying off. And the Rope Climb wasn't difficult; I stuck to using the S-hook and though my form was terrible, my legs more or less stayed supported the whole way up. I wonder if the rope here was also thicker than the one at the Super.

Some people in our group failed/skipped a few obstacles, and our group split the requisite burpees between each of us. I think that's not officially allowed, but meh. The open wave is whatever you make it, and the goal should be to challenge oneself. It was fun to do some camaraderie burpees, though having to do burpees after the Rope Climb and then do Weighted Burpees right after was not great, haha.

Nobody got major injuries. I didn't have any shoulder issues this time, but my right hip started aching during the latter half of the race, probably because of all the stairs. I've had minor hip issues, particularly on the left side where I think I've had a low level of chronic inflammation, so it was surprising that it was the right side that started acting up. It didn't hurt much and wasn't something to be too concerned about, but something to pay attention to. Getting old is such fun.

Priscilla likes traveling, even if it's for short trips, so we actually went up to SF Friday afternoon. We drove to Millbrae and took BART to SF. While I was doing the race, Priscilla met up with the wife of one of the other group members to hang out. They got to see us do a couple obstacles up close at two different areas located outside of Oracle Park. Beats paying $20 for a festival pass to be a spectator with a mediocre view!

Outside of the event, Priscilla and I saw the Macy's Christmas tree at Union Square, enjoyed downtime at our hotel, and walked along The Embarcadero from Oracle Park up to the Ferry Building, where we got a bite to eat at the farmers market at Ferry Plaza. SF has a lot of nice-looking parts, especially if you zoom out and see the surroundings as a whole. It's not all just the negatives that the news likes to focus on, like the smash-and-grab robberies that happened recently. We felt safe in all the places we went to.

Overall, I'm glad I did the Stadion, though I prefer the higher difficulty mountain type Spartan races. And I wish I had talked to everyone on the team; it felt a bit awkward since I didn't know a few people and we all seemed shy. But I had fun and it seemed like everyone else did too, and I'm glad that we supported a good cause. I'm looking forward to the Trifecta events that I'll be running with Daniel next year!
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