AAR – Spartan Races & Medical Emergencies

Temperance 12/3/2019

After Action Review: Spartan Races and Medical Emergencies

Spartan Races

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I ran my first Spartan Sprint. I didn’t know fully what I was getting into, and I didn’t have the best training leading up to the race. The day before, it rained for fourteen hours. Come race day, it was cold, windy, and muddy (ankle to knee deep mud).

As a team competing for the first time, we decided we were going to do this together. No man left behind. To go about four miles, it took us two hours. We were cold, exhausted, and smiling from ear to ear. Over the next few days, we were already planning our next race.

I went home after the race, cleaned up, and started moving furniture. After about two months, we were finally going to start living in our new house. By the time Sunday night rolled around, I couldn’t move a muscle.

Lessons learned after my first Spartan Race:

  • Get in better specific shape. I was not in my best physical shape. My training was off, and the training I did do was not tailored to obstacle course racing. My next race is planned for April 2020. In order to perform at an optimal level, I need to plan accordingly and then execute the plan.
  • Have the right gear. The night before is not the time to start planning what to wear. And when it comes to these types of races, I am now a big fan of “less is more,” regardless of the weather conditions.
  • Bring a full change of clothes. I live ten minutes away from this event, yet my drive home was miserable. I didn’t have a full change of clothes, and I was covered in a 2-3 inch layer of caked on mud.

Medical Emergencies

I took the next Monday off from work. I was dog tired and still had a bit to do before we could live in our house. My morning was casual, until I became a first responder to a medical emergency. Typically, we think of first responders as those who arrive on the scene in a professional capacity (i.e. EMTs, paramedics, police, and firefighters). But if you are in an emergency situation and have the ability to provide assistance in any way, YOU are the first responder.

The first thing I did was call 911. I then assisted the victim to ensure no further damage would take place. Later, as the trained professionals arrived, I helped pick up the stretcher and carry it up the stairs.

Lessons learned from this emergency:

  • I could have been more clear-headed on the phone. I was starting to panic and it was evident in my voice. I mixed up the last two numbers of the house address which cost an additional couple of minutes.
  • Over twenty years ago, I took a Combat Life Saver class. I have a rudimentary knowledge of what to do when your battle buddy’s guts get spilled out.* The only practical uses of the class back then was how to treat a hangover with an IV. Twenty years is a long time, and my medical skills are nearly non-existent. If I want to be any use to those I love, or even to those that just need help, I need to get trained. Proficiency in the basics is better than nothing.


Miguel Cervantes said, “To be prepared is half the victory.”  When I think about my performance in the Spartan Race or in dealing with a medical crisis, I was definitely not prepared. And even though both those instances happened just last week, they are both in the past. There is nothing I can do to change what happened. But there are things I can change. I can learn my lessons and be better equipped for the future.

If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes. –Seneca


*Not a lot you can do here. Lay him down and pile them back up on top of him and tell him to wait for help. Like I said, rudimentary knowledge.



  1. Bonnie says:

    Good post! And, even though you had only rudimentary knowledge of first aid —you did exactly the right thing at the right time. You saved a life—it was enough.


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