Spartan Beast Race Lake Tahoe 2017 – Obstacles In The Way

Kris LeSueurBlog, Mindset, Spartan Race3 Comments


This Spartan Race is no joke! The water is 45 degrees and the lifeguards tell us to slowly walk in so we do not fall. The air temperature is in the 40’s and we are at the top of a peak around 9,000 feet in Lake Tahoe. As I start to swim in the water with my shoes on, my hydration pack, my long sleeve shirt and luckily a life jacket they provide for everyone I start to think for a split second that I may not be able to complete this swim but I am already about 25 yards out and I decide to go for it and get it done. As I start to go for it this athlete in front of me starts to kick and splash water all over me and gets my head wet making me even colder. She starts to freak out and the lifeguards in the water suggest to her to flip to her back and let the sun get on her face. I think to myself that is great advise and give it a try. It ends up making this obstacle way more bearable and I complete the swim. As I get out of the water I feel every muscle in body completely tense up and I don’t feel like I can move that well. Within a few minutes I am off and running with my friend Grant again. This is one of 38 obstacles in this race and one that I had stressed about before and during this race. This obstacle was at about mile 8 and we 9 more miles to go in some of the toughest terrain I have ever run on.

Don’t Stop

There are moments in life that we want to stop or turn around. It is in the moments where we find out who we really are. This race was one of those times where I thought why am I doing this why do I put myself through this type of torture. During this time I decided that I would never do this race again. I never thought to myself that I am not going to finish this race it was just tough and I had way underestimated how tough this race was going to be for me.

Obstacles Change

As I trained for this race I had in my mind that it was going to be around 13 miles so I trained up to about 11 miles. I ran 3 days per week and ran trail every week to prepare for the climbs I knew we would have in Lake Tahoe. The race was held at the Squaw Valley Mountain where the Winter Olympics were held in 1960.

About two weeks out from the race I find out that because this is the Spartan Beast World Championship they are adding extra obstacles and making the course a little over 16 miles. Over these next two weeks the mileage was reported as 16.8 miles!

One of my favorite things about Spartan racing is that they want you to prepare for the unexpected. This time I way underprepared. I learned a ton of lessons at this race that will help me to prepare better in the future.

Extra Obstacles, Some Climbing And Some Burpees

The week of the race I find out they have added some obstacles. From what I had heard most Spartan Beast races have around 30 obstacles. This race ended up having 38 obstacles and they duplicated some to make it even more challenging. This year they decided that they wanted to have two sandbag carries and two bucket carries. The sandbags are around 60 pounds and the bucket are close to that weight range.

Each time we had to carry the sandbag or bucket they made it so we carried it up a ski slope. This added and extra element. There was over 4800 feet of climbing in this race!


The obstacles were a blast now that I look back. During the race they were very challenging. I ended up completing 31 out of 38 obstacles. My struggles were with any of the grip intensive obstacles. It is something I will be working on for the next race. When you miss and obstacle at a Spartan race the penalty is 30 Burpees.

For one of the obstacles they considered it a double obstacle and gave you 60 Burpees if we were unable to complete the obstacle. It was nicknamed Monkey in the Middle. It had a bar called the twister then monkey bars then another twister bar. There were two bells that you had to ring along the way to complete this obstacle. Lets just say I did 60 Burpees! This was one of about 5 obstacles pretty much in a row at the end of the race that was way harder than I expected.

I have run long races with climbing multiple times but I have never paired with obstacles. This creates a huge challenge. Because I missed 7 obstacles total I ended up doing 245 Burpees (one of the obstacles included 5 Burpees) in the gravel that day. Between the elevation, so many obstacles and doing Burpees in the dirt that really messed my hands up and made the obstacles even harder as the day went on.

Just Breathe And Fight For It!

Towards the end of the race at about mile 16 there was a tire flip. This is not your average tire. It is a very heavy duty Yokohama tractor tire that I have been told weighs 400 pounds! When I got to this obstacle I struggled with it and almost gave in and did the Burpees. I was starting to feel sorry for myself. I was feeling very depleted and exhausted. I had never failed this obstacle before. One of the other challenges of the tire is that it lies very flat on the ground and you almost have to dig a little to get your fingers under the tire. 

About the fifth try I took some real big, deep breaths and fought very hard for it and was able to flip the tire. Then I was able to flip it again. Part of this obstacle is flipping the tire twice. This was a win!

Lesson Learned

To train for one of these races again I will train completely different. My plan will be to do a variation of runs including long runs then do grip intensive workouts that include lots of pull ups, rope climbs and monkey bars. I will also buy a Spartan Rope to practice on. I made it up the rope the first race I did then I think because the last two races had the rope climb at the end of the race I failed. I need to practice my foot placement to improve at this obstacle.

Every time I race I find areas that I can improve. This is part of my addiction to racing. I love seeing how much I can improve at each race.

This is something that I have been able to apply to everything that I do in life. I feel that we are here to continually improve. That is why I started this site Transcend Daily.    

Go Get It Done – Trifecta Earned

Right before the race my friend Grant and I were walking over to check our bags before the race and we ran into Joe De Sena. He is the owner and designer of the Spartan Race! He encouraged me, pat me on the back and said “get it done!” I am a huge fan of him and what he stands for. I have read both of his books and I have listened to all 164 of the Spartan Up Podcasts. It is the one podcast I make sure I listen to each week. I highly recommend it for everybody whether you race or not. It all about what has made successful people successful. They have interviewed amazing people from all over the world.

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to earn the Spartan Trifecta Award. To earn this award you need to complete the Spartan Sprint around 3 plus miles, the Super around 6 plus miles and then the Beast around 13 plus miles. The Spartan Super and Beast were very challenging races and I am very grateful that I was able to be a part of these races.

I love what the Spartan Race company stands for. They are all about getting people off the coach and getting them moving. They have a race for everybody!

Doing these races and working on continually improving in all areas of your life will change your life.

One other thing I want to mention is I had a great team to train with this year. I trained with Grant Mitchell and Andrew Lucero we worked as a team to push each other this year and in this race.

This race ended up taking 6 hours and 24 minutes and we finished in the top 50% of all the racers. We found lots of areas we can train better to improve and we were excited to just finish this race! We were able to complete the Spartan Beast World Championship Course!

What Can you do this week that will help you to start improving in different areas of your life? Is it doing a workout, improving nutrition, reading or creating better relationships?

Trifecta Trifecta 2

The medals are magnetic and form this Trifecta Circle. It is one of my favorite medals I have earned!

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3 Comments on “Spartan Beast Race Lake Tahoe 2017 – Obstacles In The Way”

  1. Randall

    Thank you for the race report/review. I am so impressed by your accomplishments, you are inspiring!!

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