Usually my Spartan blog posts are very upbeat but unfortunately today’s is not. Last weekend we went up to Canada for the Ottawa Spartan Beast race which was held at Mont Ste Marie. My Spartan buddy and I signed up for the race at the beginning of the year and have been training for 7 months for this race. I have done Spartan races before but the Beast is the hardest distance and often includes lots of vertical gain. This race was 14.9 miles, had 33 obstacles, and had a total of 4617 ft of elevation gain.
Although I am currently in the best shape of my life, a combination of the high temp and humidity and not drinking enough water just before and during the first hour of the race meant that I could not finish the race due to heat exhaustion. It was completely heartbreaking having the leave the course at the 8.9 mile mark knowing that if the heat had not been a factor I could have finished the race. But after pushing so hard but my body just could not go on. I ended up in the medics tent while my Spartan buddy continued on without me.
This race was a very important piece of my Spartan Trifecta and with only a few Beast races left this year across the US and Canada I am still trying to figure out if I will be able to do this in 2015 or if I will have to wait until next year. One of the hardest things about being passionate about Spartan racing is that it directly conflicts with my financial independence goals. I have done a decent job of keeping my costs in check and only signed up for the three races I needed for the Trifecta but by missing this race means I may have to spend more money. Mr. SFF is so incredibly supportive and wants to see my succeed so he is fine with my spending money to travel to another race but I am torn as to if I should just wait. I still have time to decide so I will carefully budget out potential costs before making any decisions.
Following the Race
After the race we spent one more night at our AirBNB rental before heading home the next day. We decided to have a little fun on our drive home so after checking out we had breakfast at a cute little restaurant in Ottawa, Wilf and Ada’s. We then headed to try out and escape room at Escape Manor (Mr. SFF is big into escape rooms). An escape room is basically a puzzle room where you have 45 minutes to figure out all of the clues in order to solve the puzzle and get the key to get out of the room. We were paired with two other couples in the Darkness Room where we were trying to find the contract we had signed with Lou Cifer (Satan) and the key to get out. We made it through about 80% of the room but were not successful in the task.
After getting back on the road, we decided it would be fun to hit another escape room, but this time in Montreal (why not hit two major Canadian cities in one day). Mr. SFF had been to Amaze Montreal before with his two friends and they have a 100% success rate with the other rooms they have done. The Mad Scientist Lab though was known as their hardest room. We were paired with three Canadian women who were at first not psyched about being paired with non-French speaking Americans but we ended up working better with them than the other couples on Ottawa. This room had many more subtle clues and we had some trouble so we did not end up escaping this one either but it was still a lot of fun.
As Mr. SFF and I were walking around Montreal we both commented on how wonderful it was to be not working on a Monday and to really have no plans (other than to get home). Obviously going to more races and trips out of town does not get us closer to our financial independence goal but we did our best to keep our costs to a minimum while still having fun. So I am dreaming now of not only our financial independence but conquering my next Spartan Race.
Let’s Talk Dollars and Cents
Now to the financial summary of the weekend. Earlier this year I applied for a new credit card, specifically looking for one that would not have any international charges but also gave me cash back. I went with the Capital One Signature card and have so far been happy with it, especially as I get 1.5% back on all purchases. Unfortunately I forgot to call Capital One ahead of time so a couple of charges went on Mr. SFF’s card until I had a chance to call and let them know I was out of the country.
Costs Accrued Over the Weekend
Race Fee: $97.35 (paid for in January)
AirBNB: $138 ($461 paid for in June – $200 from my Spartan buddy – $123 credit from the AirBNB host for messing up my booking)
International cell service for the weekend: $20 (should have been only $10 but we went over for another $10)
Breakfast Monday: $30.80
Parking in Ottawa: $7.70
Escape Manor: $32.66
Afternoon Snack Montreal: $15.51
Amaze Montreal: $36.21
Our AirBNB Experience
This was my second time booking lodging through AirBNB but we had some hiccups this time. After the condo owner confirmed everything on Monday for our Saturday arrival, I received a call on Wednesday stating she had double booked and she couldn’t host us. Needless to say, I was not thrilled. She did find another condo with a slightly different arrangement and offered $150 (CN) back for the mistake. Initially she tried to send the refund through a Canadian money transfer service but as I am in the US this did not work. She then wanted to send a check. And then Paypal. It took almost a full week before she finally figured out how to transfer it through the AirBNB system. Frustrating, but at least the money is on the way.
So overall there were some frustrating moments to my weekend but then again, that is life. I am now just going to look forward to see what is next for my racing season and how I can continue to keep my costs to a minimum.