Monday, May 17, 2010

Sparta comes to Fern Forest

We had a Spartan at the treehouse Saturday night. Patrick and Amanda came from Portland, Maine, so Patrick could compete in the Spartan Race at the Catamount Center on Sunday. The race is an offshoot of “The Death Race” and takes its inspiration from Spartan and Navy Seal training, American Gladiator and adventure races. The day starts with a 5K run, followed by obstacles like a wall climb, tunnel crawl, mud pit, wading through water, and spear throw. Only one percent of those who participate in the Spartan Race, which is meant to be lots of fun, will make the cut for the Death Race and face serious challenges. For the Spartans, the race is followed by feats of strength, archery shoots, mud wrestling, a tug of war, and photo ops with beautiful Spartan models.

Sunday was sunny and beautiful, and Patrick said the officials would probably hose down the course to insure some muddy adventures. He brought a couple changes of clothes, hoping to get nice and dirty.

Once the top Spartan warrior is crowned, the real festivities begin with a post race party with a live band, a spit roast barbecue, plenty of Long Trail ale and lots of revelry.

When he’s not keeping fit, Patrick works as a submarine engineer at a Naval station in Portsmouth, NH, where he inspects submarines. “It’s like giving a submarine an oil change,” he says. Although he’s never been underwater in a sub, he knows them inside and out. He seems serious about his job, which is good because I don’t imagine there’s an ejection seat on a sub if something goes wrong. Batten down those hatches, Patrick.

Amanda went to high school with Patrick, but they didn't give each other a second look until after college, when they met up again. She now works for a financial consulting firm in Portland and is on the fence about going with Patrick when he takes off for San Diego at the end of May for a shift at a Naval base there. She’s a realist and doesn’t take risks—except when it comes to sleeping in a treehouse, I guess.

These good folks were with us for just a short stay. We had a jovial Saturday evening visit before they headed to the Bobcat for dinner. Patrick hoped to have a chat with the brew master because he’d like to start his own beer brewing project—maybe he’ll call it mead and brew in Spartan fashion. The race, by the way, benefits St. Jude Children's Hospital in their battle against cancer. Good fun for a good cause. Patrick, we hope you won the coveted spear of victory!

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