Andrea Engel, RN, LMT, CPT

Aesthetic RN, Ashiatus massage therapist, health coach near Rhinelander, Wisconsin.


Spartan Sprint Welch MN


My start wave

On June 24, 2017 I participated in my first Spartan race. I became interested in obstacle course racing last summer and signed up for this particular race in August of 2016. I like the focus it gives me to have an event on my calendar, and I absolutely love the free Spartan workouts available on their site.


I’ll be honest; the idea of getting myself over walls up to 10′ tall and climbing a rope intimidate me. I was the chubby girl in gym class in school. The one who would do just about anything to get out of gym class unless it was archery or something. I like the idea of getting out of my comfort zone, though. I find personal growth and learn more about my capabilities when I participate in sports events.

Feeling pretty strong walking up the start hill 🙂

In 2016 I tried my first obstacle course race – Northwoods Bad Dash in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin. Not too far from home. I was hooked! In May 2017 I did Warrior Dash Wisconsin which was super fun. Muddy, but fun. They’ve all been around 5k in length with obstacles from 12-21 in varying degrees of difficulty.

The difference with Spartan is that if you fail/bail on an obstacle, there’s a 30-burpee penalty. And the obstacles are tough!

Before the race even started, I tried a rope climb in a practice area and failed miserably. Then I tried to go over a wall a little under 6′. I ended up bruising my right wrist pretty bad and threw some gloves on to compress it a bit. I did not get over the wall.

The race was held on a ski hill, which we went up and down a lot. There was some muddy, greasy trail through the woods with trees down for bonus obstacles. There were 21 obstacles for this Spartan Sprint.

Barbed Wire Crawl

Finally found an obstacle I was alright at! After climbing inverted walls and nearly falling off a couple of obstacles, I was happy to be close to the ground for the barbed wire crawl. It was long. Really long. A combo of rolling and crawling did the trick.








That’s me in the Burpee Zone. Again!! I ended up doing 210 of those suckers.








Hercules Hoist

I thought for sure I’d have any of the brute strength obstacles burpee-free. This is just before the Hercules Hoist got the better of me and I went to the Burpee Zone. It was a matter of hoisting a heavy bag up a long ways and then gently lowering it to the ground. I tried like heck.









Sandbag carry was down a sketchy hill and then back up to the top. Not too bad, but definitely a heavier bag than I train with at home. I like this obstacle. No burpees!


Other obstacles were monkey bar-type things, cargo nets, mud slogs, submersion under a wall in cold water, carrying a bucket full of rocks (with no handle) up the hill and back down, and several walls to go over.

Here I sit the day after, sore from head to toe. Never been so sore from working out! I managed to bruise arms, legs and ribs. And yes, I’d do it again. I definitely need to work on some upper body strength, straighten out my IT band issues (no fun on a ski hill!) and order shoes that have some grip. Lessons learned. I survived!

All in all, I’m happy to have finished. It was just about a year ago now that I was hit with Lyme Disease and couldn’t stand up without help. I struggled to walk a mile last summer! This is good progress. I’ll take it.

I’d say if you’re looking for a “fun” obstacle course race, something more like Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash is in order. If you’re looking for a test of your grit and fortitude, sign up for a Spartan.

Fire Jump

the end 🙂

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