Minnesota Spartan Sprint: June 27, 2015

If you’ve known me for at least awhile, you’ve probably realized that I gravitate towards sports and activities that are considered “intense”. Long story short, this is a remnant of my original decision to get in shape a few years back. It was the late-night realization that in the case of some apocalyptic event, I wouldn’t last more than five minutes. I joined a gym the very next day. Even though the gym didn’t offer free weights and even though I couldn’t do much more than slowly, painfully chug along the “dreadmill”, it was the beginning for me.

I never really left that mindset behind, either. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find joy in athletic endeavors that aren’t “badass” or “hardcore” or might possibly have some application in end-of-the-world situations. Un-coincidentally, this tends to raise my risk of injury, but I digress. It’s worth it. 

Spin and Barre and Zumba and jogging and booty-sculpting-cardio-core-weightloss-danceparty-fitness videos make me hate my life, and I made a pledge to never again be lured in by that culture. (Disclaimer:  If these things make you feel good and not depressed/bored/disordered, that’s great. Your best workout is the one that’s best for you, not best for me. I encourage everyone to do whatever activity makes them happy.)

Heavy lifting and sprinting and fighting and climbing and nature and swimming and all-terrain distance hiking shit, though… that’s the spark that kindles the flame. After participating in a handful of vanilla 5K runs, I was overjoyed to discover the world of obstacle course racing. Relevant to my interests!

My first OCR was a particularly thrilling (live actor) zombie-infested course in 2013, and last summer I ran my first Tough Mudder. But this summer, I started my season with my first Spartan race, the Minnesota Sprint. I went into this feeling incredibly confident because it was “so much shorter” than a Tough Mudder (more on this later). 

The saga begins…

On Spartan’s Eve, I was still recovering from my weight cut and wondering whether I should have ended that shit a day sooner. However, a large dinner of pasta and carrot cake got me feeling re-carbed and much more human.

On race day morning, I leave the house bright and early and start driving south. An hour of weird farmland boonies later, I arrive in the mostly nonexistent valley town of Welch, MN. This outpost consists of a tube rental on the Cannon River, a combination post office/general store, and a pleasant backwoods grubbery named the Trout Scream Cafe. I stop here for breakfast and am delighted to receive a plate of perfect French toast topped with fresh woods blueberries and homemade candied pecans. The place is mostly full of old people who stare at my unladylike haircut and bruised arms as I happily sip my coffee. I always forget how quickly the state of Minnesota drops into deep rural once you leave the immediate city.

Another mile drive down narrow, winding roads to Welch Ski Village, a small “mountain” (river bluff) that we’ll be running up and down in an hour or so. I pick up my bib packet, wristbands, and tracker chip (these races are actually timed with RFIDs). I am runner #1700. The Spartan area is a lot less crowded than I thought it would be, until I realize it’s because the events are deliberately not oversold to reduce overcrowding on the course. I guess this shit gets competitive. I dump my backpack in bag check and head for the starting line.

The pre-race area begins with a 5-foot wall that I hoist myself over with ease, noticing with excitement that I’m in much better shape than I was for the Tough Mudder last year. But inside the pre-race area, I look around and think that this group seems way more serious than the Tough Mudder crowd. There are no costumes, no tutus or facepaint, just compression gear and trail shoes and Camelbaks and GoPro’s. This is the Crossfit, Paleo, U.S. Marines, no-pain-no-gain crew. Which is fine and all, but I start reminding myself to not get sucked in or end up doing anything hardcore stupid. The starting line deejay guy is pumping us up and starts talking about how “3+ miles” was a bit of false advertising and that the actual race distance is – and suddenly he starts yelling at two teenage girls that had walked around the wall instead of going over. Surely he did that on purpose…

We are reminded that skipping or failing to complete an obstacle will require us to complete 30 burpees before continuing. Ah yes, the burpee… that ubiquitous, notorious essential of Spartan culture. I make an optimistic goal to finish with less than 300 burpees.

After some assorted shouting of “I am a Spartan!” and about 20 “AROO!”s, the race begins and we all start shucking ass up a deceptively exhausting gravel hill. (Pro tip for event planners: If you want your runners to cry by the end, start your race with a long uphill run.) Most of the runners outpace me, but as I chug slowly along at a steady 5mph, I catch up with the pack that’s gassed out halfway up the hill. I quickly realize that this is not going to be an easy or remotely lighthearted event. This is serious military survivalist OCR stuff. I start to wonder if I am nearly as prepared as I thought I was. We quickly reach the first obstacle…

  • Moats: This is a series of alternating dirt walls and mud trenches. Not a difficult obstacle, and a traditional staple that anyone familiar with OCR’s will recognize. However, I manage to land in the trench wrong, roll my stupid swollen BJJ ankle, and make a fool of myself by assplanting in the first obstacle. Oh well. It doesn’t hurt when I walk on it, so up and over and onwards.
  • 6′/7′/8′ Walls: As named, these are a series of up-and-over walls that become progressively higher. I take a running jump at the first one and am absolutely amazed when I’m able to swing a leg up and over without help (my unusually low bodyweight at the time may be an asset here). The second wall has a narrow board attached near the bottom for a little step-up, although it’s barely even a toehold. I cheat a little bit by using a jutting screw in the support frame as the tiniest extra toehold, and get over this wall, again without help. The third wall has a board attached about two feet up, but that still leaves six feet of wall above me, so I’m happy to accept a knee-up from a large burly fellow who probably could have just thrown me over the wall. After landing ungracefully on the other side, I ask a race official if using the wall struts to climb is considered cheating (because if so, burpees). He goes, “When you face a physical obstacle in real life, there’s no cheating when it’s up and over that can mean the difference between life and death.” O… kay…. Climbing the struts is definitively not cheating, then. Roger roger 10-4 copy that, Sergeant Courage Wolf.
  • Plate Drag: After a short loop through some very rough woods terrain (curiously, with not a single fellow runner in sight), I reach the Plate Drag. This is basically a sled pull. Weighted plates are attached to long ropes, which are looped around pegs stuck into the ground. You pick a rope, pull the plate to where you’re standing (about 30 feet), re-loop the rope around the peg, and then grab the chain handle attached to the plate to drag it back to where it started. Men and large people must drag 150lbs; women and small people must drag 100lbs (if I remember correctly). Feeling gung-ho, I attempt the 150lb plate. It moves about six inches and I remember that the plate weighs more than I do. I complete the 100lb drag with ease and move on. No burpees so far!
  • Slip Wall: A 12-foot, 60-degree angled wall, with ropes, and an overhead spray of water to keep it super slick. Thanks to the excellent traction of my Salomon trail shoes, I’m up and over this one like a mountain goat. The spraying water feels wonderful.
  • I pass the Mile 1 marker.
  • Memory Sign: Climbing? Fine. Sled pull? Great. Burpees? I suppose. But this obstacle wants to psychologically fuck you up while you’re putting your body through the wringer. In front of me is a sign covered with phonetic and numerical sequences. I’m instructed to memorize whatever sequence corresponds with the last two digits of my bib number. I’m runner #1700. Oh, and the sign is upside down. I stare at the thing for a few minutes with my head cranked to the side, memorizing ALPHA-039-3437. If I don’t remember it when I’m asked, it’s burpees of course. I start jogging down the trail again, and my number becomes a weird cadence. 0-3-9-3-4-3-7. 0-3-9-3-4-3-7.
  • Hay Wall: A haybale climb. The tall round bales though, not the stacked square ones - that would have been too easy. Still no problem though, except I know the hay prickles are going to stick in my Spandex for the next three miles.
  • Clif Climb: Did I mention this event is taking place on a ski mountain? We’ve been running up and down these difficult, winding ski slopes, which makes one mile feel like ten. Suddenly, we’re directed to veer off the already-steep “path” and claw our way up a nearly vertical slope. Towards the top, we’re given a few ropes to make the ascent a little easier, but the going is very slow here and I feel like my heart is about to explode.
  • Sandbags: (This is typo’d as a second Hay Wall on the map, but I vividly recall this shit.) The path winds around and around and up and down and up again, until we reach a race official standing next to two bins of “Spartan Pancakes” (sand-filled neoprene sacks). He informs us that if we walked at all between the rope cliff and here, we had to carry two sandbags instead of one. The bags aren’t super heavy, but we have to carry them down a very steep hill and then back up the same steep hill. I nestle one into each shoulder, grit my teeth, and trodge all the way down and all the way up. I got this one, although my neck is cramping something fierce.
  • Down, down, down, down a very steep hill, something that during the winter months would be a black diamond slope. Even the hardest-core runners aren’t going very fast, instead opting for a half-assed downhill carioca.
  • Inverted Wall: A 7′ wall set towards you at an angle. There are a couple footholds, but this is definitely an upper-body strength thing. I grab the top, but I’m not quite able to pull myself up all the way. A guy appears on the other side and gives me a hand, pulling me just enough for me to swing my leg over and drag the rest of the way up. Again, way better at this than at the Tough Mudder last year, but I’m already too tired to take time to feel proud.
  • A very long zigzagging downhill. At this point, I almost prefer the uphill. If I pitch forward and fall down this hill, I am going to break my fucking neck. I see people slipping and sliding, left and right.
  • Bucket Brigade: Oh man, FUCK the Bucket Brigade. Take a 5-gallon bucket. Fill the literal bucket with actual traprock until it’s full past a line of holes near the top. It now weighs approximately a metric fuckton. Pick up the bucket and carry it up the fucking ski hill. Then carry it back down. Front-carry only, no shoulder or head carry. Don’t drop your bucket, or burpees. Nothing will entirely prepare you for this, but heavy deadlifts and weighted lunges/step-ups/stair climbs will help.
  • Did I say I prefer the uphill? Whoops. Up the longest, steepest hill of the race so far. It’s so hard I feel one of those adrenaline/panic/limbic system freakouts coming on, like I have sometimes in BJJ. Even the most athletic runners are moving at the speed of molasses here. Some runners are crying. It’s not so much the hill itself that’s so hard, but right after the Bucket Brigade it’s an extreme morale killer.
  • Hercules Hoist: Sandbags on ropes on pulleys. Your job is to hoist the sandbag 25 feet up until it hits the pulley, then carefully lower it back down. Again, the “men” version weighs almost as much as I do, so I acquiesce to the laws of physics and hoist the smaller sandbag (75-100lbs). It’s hard, but strength obstacles are totally my bag. No problem, other than the rope is tearing up my hands like crazy as I try to lower it without letting it drop.
  • Vertical Cargo: Down another stretch of hill and the Mile 3 marker to a cargo net climb. Very straightforward. It’s about 12 feet high, a simple up-and-over. Easy unless you’re afraid of heights.
  • Atlas Lift: *thumps chest* Crossfit!! Okay but really, there are a row of Atlas stones. You grab one, carry it, duck under a rope, carry it a little more, drop it at a post marker, do five burpees, pick up the Atlas stone, carry it back, duck under the rope again, and drop the stone where you found it. It’s harder than it sounds, but easier than it looks when you walk up to it. Also: First burpees of the race so far!
  • Spear Throw: Immediately afterwards, I come to a row of hay bales and am instructed to throw a literal spear at them. Fucking cool. Of course, I have no prior training in spear-throwing and my spear doesn’t actually stick in the hay bale, so I obediently hit the designated Burpee Zone to complete my payment. 15 reps later, I make a mental note to figure out some way to practice throwing spears, so I can avoid these most-loathed burpees at future events.
  • Another incredibly steep, unbelievably long hill. I think the hills are the hardest obstacles. There are so many, and after the burpees I just want to vomit.
  • A-Frame Cargo: Another net climb, but angled, so it’s really quite easy. Like a vacation after hills and burpees and carrying rocks.
  • Clif Multi-Bar: This is a run of trapeze rings, leading to a horizontal bar that runs along your trajectory instead of parallel like normal monkey bars. The whole thing angles upwards, until you reach the summit and head back down, ending with more trapeze rings. It looks like something from American Ninja Warrior. I actually make it past the rings and to the bar, which is way better than I did at the Tough Mudder (BJJ is improving my grip strength!) but the bar defeats me. Into the Burpee Zone. (65 burpees and counting…)
  • Uphill, uphill, uphill. My knees and ankles are screaming and my quads feel like tenderized steaks. I pass the Mile 4 marker with no end in sight. These sneaky bastards might not have actually lied to me, but when I see “3+ miles” I assume that means more than 3 but less than 4. Serves me right, though.
  • Z-Walls: These are 7′ walls set in a zig-zag shape. There are chunks of wood nailed at approximately head level and foot level, and they provide about half an inch of grip/toe-hold. We are instructed to Spiderman along these walls, without gripping the top. This seems literally impossible to me, and I don’t see anyone getting even remotely close to completing this. I jump on the wall and grab the top anyways, using the toeholds to inch along. Even this is difficult. My payment burpees put me at 95 and counting.
  • Clif Bars: I could really use an actual Clif Bar about now. After a long, relatively easy downhill run, I reach a second set of monkey bars. They’re set about four feet apart, though, and I see no way that my arms are ever going to be long enough for this. So I start shimmying down the middle of the framework where the bars are closer together - not technically part of the official obstacle, but I’m hoping for creativity points. I make it about halfway when a race official spots me and shouts, laughing: “Yo, man that’s actually pretty good, props to you, but get your ass over to the real bars.” I laugh and do my best, but as I try to make the big swing between bars, I feel a weird ripping sensation inside my knuckles and drop to the ground hard. Burpee Zone. 125 and counting…
  • Rope Climb: I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never successfully climbed a rope in my life. The last time I tried was in 6th grade P.E. when I was an aggressively nerdy fat kid with no fucks to give, and I doubt I’ve improved much since then. This 25-foot rope climb actually starts with the rope in a deep pool of water, so thanks to the science of buoyancy I’m able to climb up one knot. I’m useless for the remaining 15 feet of rope, though. Hello to my dear old friend, the Burpee Zone.
  • Rolling Mud and Dunk Wall: After what I’m told is the last long uphill of the race, I reach another set of alternating dirt walls and mud trenches. The walls are higher and the trenches are deeper (and the water is colder). Standing atop the final dirt wall, I can see the finish line at the bottom of the hill. I splash down into the final trench to the Dunk Wall, a framework set up in/over the pool of water so you’re forced to duck entirely underwater to pass it. The water is gritty and smells like a bog, but it’s cold and feels so good on my scrapes and bruises.
  • Barbed Wire Crawl: A long, rocky downhill slide/crawl complete with strands of barbed wire stretched over the path, about 18-24 inches of clearance. This muddy slope is not a happy little Slip n’ Slide. It is riddled with sticks, stones, bumps, lumps, trash, grit, sand, hay bales, and your fellow runners. I start to slide down on my stomach and immediately regret running this event so soon after cutting weight. I realize I have no cushion to protect me from this rough terrain. Sharp stones drag along my ribs, my hip bones grind over every rock and root, my elbows and knees knock on every obstacle and each other and every movement is a grimace of pain (see photo for reference). The sensation is so unsettling and gruesome that I barely notice the gallon of mud and grit that is shoveling itself down the front of my pants.
  • Fire Jump: I roll out of the barbed wire crawl gasping and shaking and not feeling remotely like a badass after the weird and gross pain I just experienced, but the finish line is RIGHT THERE so no time to stop and cry about it. Fire Jump is basically just a sturdy line of campfire set up across the path that you take a running jump over. It’s not that big and the flames are not that high, but you’ll want to try for some decent distance and height if you don’t want your feet to take a quick lick.

Finally, I drag myself through the finishing area, accept my medal, and stumble into the tent where they take your finisher photo. I make the most badass face I can manage, which is probably pathetic. A race official hands me a Clif Builder’s Bar and a banana. I am famished, but also covered in smelly woods mud, so I beeline for the “shower” area. 

The showers are just little hoses screwed into one big hose, but to me it looks like unbelievable luxury. Seeing no particular inclination towards bashfulness, I strip down to my sports bra and compression shorties and join the cluster of my fellow Spartans. We are gross and doing gross things, like that guy shoving the hose nozzle down his pants, or the woman filling up her sports bra with water and then pulling open the bottom elastic to dump out a muddy flood of sand. Oh wait, that’s me. ;)

I collect my bag, head into the changing tent, and start toweling off. Suddenly I am too tired to stand, so I flop down into the grass with a deep sigh of relief. A woman on the other side of the tent turns and looks at me, says “You know what? Yeah.” and sprawls out, bare-tittied and not a care in the world. We look at each other and start laughing hysterically, prompting a race official to poke her head inside the tent with a bemused expression. After the brief insanity has passed, the woman tells me this was her first obstacle course race, ever. I congratulate her on her grit and assure her that most of the other ones are much easier.

Cramming simultaneous chunks of Clif Bar and banana into my mouth, I leave the tent and head for the Results area to see how I did. My total run time was 2 hours, 31 minutes, and 1 second. I finished 92nd out of 225 women, 7th out of 38 in my age bracket, and 448th out of 751 total runners (apparently, participants are predominantly ultra-athletic dudes). Also, less than 200 burpees. Not bad. I am amazed, though, at how long it takes to travel 4-5 miles when the terrain is entirely steep hills and crazy obstacles. The Tough Mudder took me 3 hours on the dot, and that distance was twice as long…

My bib packet contains a $5 coupon for the merch tent, so I pick up a (free) $5 Spartan Sprint patch. On the wall I notice a curious item for sale…. a “Trifecta Holder”. Oh yeah. The Spartan Trifecta. Forgot about that. This is why one piece of my finisher medal is a funny-shaped wedge. I immediately start to feel that itchy urge to complete Achievements. Level up. Gotta catch ‘em all. Aaaaahhh.

I’ve got to get on the road to Des Moines so I can’t stay and party, but before I go, I redeem that one free beer. It’s a strong IPA by Fulton that I feel immediately. (Have you just stumbled off an arduous obstacle course in a state of dehydration, hunger, and total exhaustion? Here, put some beer in your blood.) By the time I get to my car, I’m feelin’ pretty good…. still well under the legal limit, surely, but alcohol’s a funny thing when you’re tired, physically worn down, and a little underweight to boot.

I drive out along the winding roads, back through Welch, and on to the county roads. I never thought a two-lane highway through cornfields and grain silos would look so much like civilization, but a day of winding one-lane switchbacks and tromping around in the woods can really do some things to one’s perspective. I make it almost all the way out to the interstate when I realize I’m literally falling asleep at the wheel. Terrified, I slap myself hard across the face and roll the windows down, which keeps me alert enough to pull haphazardly into a Taco Bell parking lot. I immediately crash into the deepest power nap I’ve ever known.

20 minutes later I jerk awake in a panic. I feel like I died and came back to life. I also realize that no one ever asked me for that number I memorized. ALPHA-039-3437. I should get it tattooed somewhere. I climb out of my car, stretch gratuitously, and head into that glorious Taco Bell oasis to eat a pile of burritos and a few gallons of ice water.

The end… or is it?

Veteran Spartans are right. Once you start, it’s in your blood. I fucking hated this race and I’m craving the next one. Now I know I need the Trifecta - probably not this year, but eventually in my life and preferably sooner rather than later. My first Sprint wasn’t fun, but it was. It was impossibly hard and pushed my limits further than I imagined, and it was satisfying. This satiated my thirst for things that are hardcore. This was next-level. This was something I’m thoroughly proud of, just for finishing. Not even a shred of “but I really could have done better…” because honestly, I probably couldn’t have. Sure, I could put in a little more time doing stuff like monkey bars and upper body strength training, but all things considered, I held my own and I’m not going to short myself of that. 

Final thoughts and suggestions:

  • I thought the Tough Mudder was hard. It definitely is, but the Spartan is a different level of hard. The Tough Mudder is fun. It’s heavy on the camaraderie and running with friends and not caring about times or athleticism or competition. The Spartan has a lot of the same obstacles, but the mindset is very different. It’s serious. Yes, people still have fun, but I definitely get the sense that everyone is on that course with something to prove. And mostly, it’s something they’re trying to prove to themselves. The Spartan is a self-test of pure physical, mental, and emotional grit. The psychological element is intense.
  • Along similar lines, the Spartan is an excellent OCR if you prefer to do things independently. All of these obstacles can be completed alone if you’re fit enough. Some are easier with help from a teammate, but there were no obstacles that literally required teamwork to complete (such as the 12-foot straight walls at the Tough Mudder). Teams are still a great thing, and they are encouraged, but there was much less emphasis on teamwork. If you plan to run non-competitively and don’t care about times, hell yeah, join as a team because it’s fun to run with friends. If you are out to set new speed records and place in the Elite, obviously you’ll want to go lone wolf, since teams tend to have slower overall times.
  • The Spartan is a heavily male-coded culture. Statistically, at least 65% of participants at any given Spartan event are guys. Women are welcome, of course, but the “vibe” is primarily that serious, aggressive, driven, super-type-A Crossfit mentality that’s (generally) associated with masculinity and masculine culture. Non-male folks: Please don’t let this discourage you from running a Spartan. You can do it and you are welcome.
  • On paper, the Sprint is considered “accessible to people of all fitness levels”. I would agree, with a few caveats. First: Please consider carefully and be extra cautious about participating if you have any serious musculoskeletal injuries (knees, hips, back) as even the runtime between obstacles is incredibly demanding, and the downhill stretches are particularly dangerous if a knee/back/etc. would happen to fail. Second: I do not see this event as accessible to someone with NO prior training or regular exercise. If you do not exercise and want to run a Spartan, that’s seriously great. But condition yourself a little bit first, even if it’s just jogging around the block and doing some sit-ups. I’m serious. This run is no joke. I believe you are entirely capable of doing it, but it’s no joke.
  • Recommended training for a Spartan includes: Endurance running, hill sprints, trail running, weighted hikes, climbing of all varieties, upper/bodyweight strength training, grip strength training, heavy lower body strength training (deadlifts, squats, weighted lunges), core conditioning, farmer carries, sled pulls, plyometrics, swimming… burpees… 
  • Being fit and lean is generally a positive thing, but you also want to be strong and fortified. I went into this event significantly under my natural bodyweight, and oh boy did I regret that for the next few days as my torso and legs lit up in a rainbow of ridiculous self-induced bruises. If I could do this race over again, I’d go into it fat and happy and full of muscly goodness, instead of lean and full of bony ouch-ness.
  • The most important part of your “gear” will be your shoes. I wore a pair of Salomon trail shoes with a cord fastener instead of laces, and it seems like the majority of runners had the same idea. Reebok trail shoes, of course, were abundant. Trail shoes are the way to go, unless you prefer all-terrain running in minimalist running shoes (and many people do). Regular running shoes are NOT recommended. They become waterlogged, fill with sand, and the tread pattern on your average running shoe offers nothing in terms of traction on hills, mud, and various obstacles. Avoid shoes with conventional laces; they WILL become untied and you might even lose a shoe in mud or quicksand.
  • Wear tight, breathable compression gear. Loose clothing like t-shirts and board shorts tend to get caught on stuff and are a nuisance. Long pants are up to you. I was happy to have that layer between my shins and the sharp rocks, pointy sticks, and poisonous plants. However, I definitely do not suggest wearing long sleeves for warm-weather races.
  • There are a lot of conflicting opinions on gloves. Some brands of gloves are great for gripping, but become useless once they get wet. Some are good even after getting wet, but have other disadvantages. I did this without gloves and am still regretting it. The rope hoist in particular really tore up my hands, and gloves would have been useful for the monkey bars and the burpees. I’d recommend doing your own research on gloves, and even try a couple different types during training if that’s an option for you.
  • This Sprint had five water stations, so there wasn’t any need to bring my own water. Some runners had Camelbak hydration systems and carried energy gels. I assumed I wouldn’t need to bring any food because it was “only 3+ miles”, but in hindsight I really could have used a Clif Bar or something. Your choice whether you want to bring food and water; you’re probably going to be fine either way.
  • For the love of all things on the face of this earth - WEAR SUNSCREEN. I didn’t wear sunscreen at the Tough Mudder and I spent the next three weeks looking like a lobster/radiation victim hybrid. This time, I went heavy on the sunscreen and still came out with a deep pinkish bronze.
  • Bring as many towels as you can manage, and a couple plastic bags for your muddy gross race gear after you change.
  • “Professional” photos of the event are provided within a few days. If you can’t find yourself by bib number, you can choose to scroll through thousands of other photos by obstacle area in hopes of seeing yourself. If you can figure out where the photo stations are, you can make an effort to look cooler or pose for a second in your shots if that’s your thing. However, some photos seem to get lost. I didn’t get my finisher photo. :(
  • Be prepared, mentally and physically. Don’t freak yourself out, of course, but don’t go into this acting like it’s about to be a neighborhood fun run. Pay attention to your physical limits. Do your best, but don’t be stupid. People can get seriously hurt doing these things especially if they go in half-assed. 
  • Also, you’re probably gonna want that Trifecta. You’ve been warned…

Mark VI Marksman

This is one of my favorite recent screenshots from Halo 4 in the Master Chief Collection. I love the realism of this shot. The lighting in my opinion makes this shot look EPIC! chiefvlogs unsc-earth-battlenet spartan-ll allthingshalo cortanakun cortana556 corttana xbox huntthetruth wakeup-chief-ineedyou haruspis halounsc haloswag


Good morning!!!

This has become a thing I do about every ten weeks or so… I love to lay out my bibs, medals, sweatbands/swag and just STARE at it! I have added quite a few since last time❤️ Really hoping I can squeeze in my Spartan trifecta before the end of my challenge. (Hello, Beast Hawaii) Hope! Hope!! Looking forward to adding #RuggedManiac to my collection next Sunday in New Jersey!! Come say hello if you are there💃💃💃#running #mudcrusher #ocr #mudrun #spartan #toughmudder #battlefrog #colorrun

Because apparently I am “THICK AS FUCK”.

YES. I could afford to lose a couple of pounds. YES. My legs jiggle to the point where they could probably set off a Richter scale when I walk. YES I have a belly and some back fat and love handles and a fluffy appearance. 

But I have struggled for so long to get to where I am today physically to not appreciate myself emotionally. I still have my bad days, or weeks, or months.. but I have good days in between them and those are the ones that matter.

So, I;m gonna go eat chocolate and sugary cereal and too much bacon and eggs and do my cardio and lift my weights and be a fucking bad ass.

Good day <3


I love the Halo Universe so much! I have a deep passion for creating screenshots of this incredible universe. I hope you all are enjoying this blog. Have a great day/night my friends! :) chiefvlogs wakeup-chief-ineedyou rbmreclaimer i-am-not-leaving-you-here unsc-earth-battlenet xbox corttana cortana556 haloswag huntthetruth commanderauri zetmillion18 reclaimerr 


A strong showing at this year’s E3, especially from Bethesda. Even though I don’t own an Xbox One, I still enjoy reading up on and looking at concept art of the Halo universe. I really like how the armour sets have grown and expanded in their designs.
When I was but a wee lad I enjoyed shows such as Patlabor and early Gundam and it is nice to see the echoes of those design elements appearing and evolving in newer IP.
My new life goal is an image a day!

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Mimic Systems’ Spartan, released late 1985, is a uniquely bizzare peripheral for the Commodore 64 that does the unthinkable: it allows you to use hardware and software from the Apple ][ and Apple ][+ on your Commodore 64. How does it do this seemingly impossible wizardry? Well, you might be thinking that it provides the needed support hardware to use the existing 6502 CPU inside the C64 to run in an Apple ][ mode. But… it doesn’t. The Spartan is actually an Apple ][ clone that merely uses the C64 for its keyboard. In fact, you can connect an external keyboard after fiddling with some jumpers and use it as a standalone Apple ][ compatible machine!

The intended use is with the Commodore 64. There are plugs for every connection on the back of the C64, which get passed through to the back of the unit. Apple ][ addon cards can be installed within the box, and you could even use up to 4 different cartridge port devices at the same time, as this unit added more ports. The C64 and Apple ][ modes ran simultaneously, but did not communicate with each other. In Apple ][ mode, you have a reassembled version of Applesoft BASIC; it was disassembled, reorganized, and reassembled so that it would behave in a 100% identical manner without being the same copyrighted binary blob.

For floppy disk support, the Spartan came with a hardware modification for the Commodore 1541 disk drive. Inside the drive, you installed a “DOS Card” between the 1541′s logic board and the drive mechanism itself. In theory, you would be able to press a key on the keyboard to switch from 1541 mode (where the DOS Card passed signals through to the existing logic board) to Apple ][ mode (where the DOS Card turned on its Apple ][ Disk Controller clone circuitry) and vice-versa. In actuality, it usually ate disks instead, regardless of their format.

Despite the low price tag of $999, the Spartan didn’t last long because of the management of Mimic Systems. The company president kept mucking with designs (then reverting them), randomly firing engineers because they weren’t “working”, forcing people to punch out just to go to the bathroom… In 1986, legend has it that the company president emptied all the company’s coffers into his pockets and fled to South America, where he was never heard from again.

Special thanks to Brent Marykuca for his words about working at Mimic Systems!