This past Saturday I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – the Spartan race. I would continually chicken out because I never would train, or told myself I simply couldn’t do it. Well, two weeks ago, I bit the bullet and paid my entry fee, there was no backing out now – the race fee is not refundable.
I not only wanted to do it to prove to myself that I could, but I’m currently working on a book (whether I attempt to get it published or not is not relevant – I simply enjoy writing) and I wanted to know what it would feel to put your body through something that would test its limits without having trained… at all. I like to experience first hand what my characters experience. How would my stamina hold out? How fast would I tire? Would my body give out? Would I injure myself? How sore would I be the next morning? My questions would soon be answered.
The morning of the race I got up at 3 AM to make the drive over to Conyers, GA where the Spartan Sprint was being held. It was cold and forecast to rain all morning. My race started at 8:45. I had signed up with a team so that they could assist me, and they all had signed up for the first open heat of the day.
I had eaten a Nutri-grain bar and a pack of fruit snacks (super healthy, right?) on the drive over. I arrived at the race just in time to throw my bib number and wristbands on, jump the starting wall and shout AROO! I had no time to stretch or mentally psych myself up. What’s worse, the team I signed up with was nowhere in sight. It looked like I was running this race on my own.
The first obstacle was right off the starting line. It was the O-U-T (over, under, through). It was a breeze. I kept a steady pace of jogging and was doing my best to keep my breath steady. I chatted with some people as I jogged along, but mostly focused on trying not to die.
Next was the 6 foot wall. I had watched videos on how to get over it so I thought to myself, “I got this.” I jogged up to the wall, jumped, planted my foot on the plywood to push myself over… and slid to the ground -I didn’t have it. Here’s where having a team member would have come in real handy. Lucky for me, there was a gentleman who offered to give me a boost over the wall. I thanked him for the assist as I jumped over the other side and continued on the rest of the course.
The rain had stopped but it was nothing but solid mud throughout the trails. I had to stop a few times, just to knock the caked on stuff off my shoes. This made running/jogging a bit more difficult. I decided to power walk through the muddiest of places for fear of rolling my ankle (I’d already done it once).
The only obstacles that held me up was the 6 foot wall at the beginning, the 10 foot wall and the inverted wall. Thankfully, there were helpful gentleman at each one to give me the Spartan handshake and help me over. (For those who are unaware, the Spartan handshake is when someone places their hands on your butt to push you over an obstacle).
The dunk wall was the worst, and only because the water felt like it was sub-zero. You had to dunk into three different mud holes, with the last one having a wall that you had to submerge yourself under the water to get to the other side. Let me tell you, muddy water and contacts do not mix. I was half-blinded for a good five minutes after that.
I won’t bore you with the details of the entire race, but I just wanted to let everyone know that it was awesome. I enjoyed every second of it. I did tire toward the end – I attribute this to lack of nutrition before the race. I truly believe that anyone can do this race. It was challenging but fun. If you train even a little bit, you could blow through this course with ease.
I ran across that finish line with a time of 2:13:24; not bad for someone who hadn’t trained, in my humble opinion. I received my Spartan medal and proudly sent a picture to everyone. I was muddy, my butt hurt from the burpees I had to do, and I was tired; but I did it.
The next morning wasn’t too bad. I was a little stiff, but not bad enough that I couldn’t walk . We had sparring at karate that afternoon, and since I’m competing at the Battle of Atlanta this June, I didn’t want to miss a sparring session.
I had a migraine come class time, but pushed through it. Nothing popped or pulled while sparring. I didn’t even feel like I had done anything different… until that night. It finally hit me around 6:00. I have never felt such pain in my calves as I did that night. They weren’t stiff, they just hurt; and I couldn’t raise my arms without a significant reminder of the stress I’d thrown at them the day before.
I rubbed everything down with some Mentholatum and went to bed. My calves hurt all night and by the morning they were just a dull ache. I slipped on my compression socks and immediately felt better.
The pain/soreness subsided by Tuesday and I’m proud to say that nothing tore or ripped from my adventure. I am extremely proud of myself for conquering the Spartan Sprint. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to try something else.
Moral of the story is, don’t be afraid to try something. Never tell yourself that you can’t do it. In my case, I wasn’t the fastest runner – I had no desire to be, my goal was to just finish without injury.
I finished something that my brain told me I couldn’t. I experienced things that I never would have gotten to if I would have listened to that little voice that told me I couldn’t do it. I can do it and I did! I am now a Spartan! Now it’s on to find my next adventure.
Until next time,