Spartan Challenge 2009 | 300 Benchmark Workout: A Story In Photos

If I was going to pick one image to represent my Spartan 300 workout yesterday, it would be this one taken by the always fabulous Nicole:

But since I’ve got all the real estate the Web can offer, I’m going to share lots of photos from yesterday. Click on ’em to see the big versions. And be sure to check out the photos of all the Spartans at these links: here and here. Nicole took a lot of badass photos, and every Spartan was a superstar on Saturday. Get yourself some free inspiration!

Once upon a time (yesterday!), Dave gave Erin and I Sharpie tattoos, and we pretended to be tough.

But the news that we were not using bands for the pullups made us a little nervous.

And as go-time approached, Erin’s face — usually split with a smile — took on a very serious composure.
I really shouldn’t watch other people doing the workout. I should jog around the block or listen to music or quietly visualize. But like a scab that must be picked or a horror movie that must be watched, I couldn’t take my eyes off the pullup-ing and floor wiper-ing…

Erin was in the 8:20 a.m. workout, so she had to go first. Nice pullup!

Box jump!
And check the beautiful form on the kettlebell clean and press. Erin *hearts* kettlebells. I think she’s going to marry one.

Then it was my turn. I tried to remember to be silly and have fun… hence the crazy eyes below.

Then Big Mike started the countdown. 3-2-1…
GO! 25 jumping pullups

I like my crazy, flying pigtails in this one!
Then straight into 50 deadlifts with 95 lbs.

Big Mike watched my attempt earlier in the week to deadlift 180 lbs. and even though I got the 180 off the floor, it wasn’t pretty. He wandered over during my Spartan workout to check out my form:
And gave me the OK sign!

If Big Mike says you’re OK, you know it’s true.

I got through the 50 by breaking them into sets of 10. So far, so good.

Then it was time for the dreaded 50 pushups. I wish I could say I did them all perfectly. Ha! I’m just happy I was able to do them all on my toes. My chest touched on a bunch, got low on many, and my awesome counter/spotter Melissa Whittle only had to remind me once to “get low.” When will they ever get easier?! I started with sets of 10, but around the 20 mark, dropped to 5 at a time with a 3-second rest period in between.

Next up: 50 box jumps. My former arch nemesis. I was super excited to tackle these suckers, but for a second, I almost slipped into my old “I can’t do it” thinking. But only for as second…

… then I was jumping! I think I did about 15 before I took my first rest. About halfway through, I really thought I was going to barf. And then around 40 or so, I caught the tip of my toe on the edge of the box. It was the thing I’d been dreading since I started CrossFit! I CAUGHT MY TOE ON THE BOX AND… nothing. Nothing happened. I landed on top of the box and kept going. I didn’t crash. I didn’t bust my teeth. I didn’t die. The thing I’d been fearing for, like, 18 months was a big, fat nothing.

There’s no photographic evidence, but I know I smiled reps 49 and 50.

Finally, it was time for 50 floor wipers with the 95-lb. bar. This was the exercise I wasn’t sure I could do. Prior to yesterday at approximately 8:50 a.m., I’d never even attempted to hold a 95-lb. bar above my chest, let alone touch my feet to the damn thing 100 times.

But when the countdown clock is dogging me, I try not to waste time with that pesky thinking and just move it. So I plopped down and wiggled into position, then Melissa put the bar in my hands and I was off.

Melissa really coached me through this section, and I’m so very grateful for her help. I knocked ’em out, 5 at a time. Whew! The bar was heavy, but you know what? It wasn’t that heavy. I mean it wasn’t, like, “I’m gonna die” heavy. It was just heavy.

Next time, I’m doing them 7 at a time so I can move through them a little faster.

Then I was done with the floor wipers. And relief flooded through me. The thing I’d been fearing all week was over — and I smashed it by being relentless.

On to the 50 clean+press with the 12 kg. kettlebell. At the beginning of the workout, I thought this: “Oh, good! Only 12kg. That won’t be so bad.”


That little thing felt like it weighed a billion pounds the first time I picked it up…
… but then I got my rhythm going: 5 on the right, 5 on the left, 5 on the right, 5 on the left…

I ran out of time when I was on #46 or so. Melissa reminded me I could stop, but you know me: I finished my 50 and called it “done.” (Between you and me, I was not disappointed to miss the final 25 pullups; I’ll get ’em next time.)

Spartan 300 benchmark workout… done!

And I was in one piece, standing…

Erin and I were sweaty and our Spartan tattoos were smudged, but we were feeling G-O-O-D.

Then we went to the Frisco Diner for breakfast to gloat and brag and laugh and stuff our faces.

I had buttered raisin toast (big Zone no-no… yeeha!), eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee.

Erin and Dave had chicken-fried steak and biscuits… mmmm.

Then we made our way back to the gym to watch the coaches do the Spartan 300. It was beautiful! And there’s something very motivating about knowing that we mere mortals get to do the same workout as the superheroes. Neat!

When the sweating was over, we all posed for a Spartan Spirit photo:

The end.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Big hugs of thanks to Melissa Whittle for being a completely kickass counter and spotter… to Dave for letting me freak out and then taking tons of photos… to Erin for being an excellent partner-in-crime… and, of course, to my CrossFit crew for making me feel like one of the family.

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  • Katherine says:

    I love your photo stories!!! I’m impressed that you did 50 pushups on your toes- that is really huge 🙂

  • Carla Marie says:

    How exciting!!! 95lb floor wipers and THE BOX JUMP!!! Ahhh….i wish I could hug you! I love this post 🙂