Blood, mud, and barb wire,
Up mountains and over fire,
I AM SPARTAN, AROO!
It’s been one week since I became a Spartan – and I didn’t even have to look like Gerard Butler to achieve my new found status. All it required was 8+ miles of of mud and sweat, the overcoming of a number of treacherous obstacles, and a lot of grit. Running the Salt Lake City Super Spartan was honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve done both physically and mentally. And it was incredible!
It was a hot summer day in Utah, which meant temperatures were in the upper 90’s. Over the course of a little over 8 miles we had to wade through mud; climb under, over, and through a number of walls and cargo net obstacles; climb up ropes and pull things attached to ropes; we carried buckets of gravel uphill and hefted heavy stones; we tossed spears, did burpees, crawled under barbed wire, and jumped over flames. While thousands of people ran this same course that day, the victory I felt was personal. I’ve had a goal to get a team together and run this race since the beginning of the year. It was more difficult getting people to join my team than I thought it would be, but in the end, there were just enough of us. We trained hard for 6 months – admittedly we could’ve done more, or at least I could’ve. There were a number of times I felt like giving up; tossing in the towel and taking a nap instead. And even if I had, I don’t think my team would’ve let me. I learned a lot about myself and my ability to push myself further than I thought I could. Every ache and pain was worth it, just to prove to myself, that I am capable of accomplishing anything. I know that all sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true. It gave me a glimpse of what I could accomplish. Not only on the race course, but in life. Now, if you’ve never heard of Spartan Race, where have you been? The Spartan Race is one of many, in a long list of obstacle course races, each with different challenges and each drawing hordes of athletes to their various events. Their popularity seems to come from the fact that they are so much more than endurances races, and they aren’t just competitions of strength either; they challenge competitors to be more well rounded. This is what initially drew me to the Spartan Race. I’m not a fan of distance running, unless I have something to keep my mind occupied (ex: cross country running vs soccer). So to just run for miles and miles seems awfully dull – for those of you who love this I mean no disrespect, it just isn’t my particular cup of tea.
Another aspect that I love about the races, and didn’t fully appreciate until race day, is the sense of camaraderie and support along the course. In fact, unless you’re in the elite heat, it seemed like most racers weren’t concerned about beating you as much as they were with pushing themselves. It may be this way in other races, but I think these races take it to a new level. In a marathon I can’t help you run any of the miles, and I can’t run your miles on an obstacle race either, but in an obstacle race I can lend you my hand to offer some help over a wall or boost you up a to reach a ring. In essence, running it with friends, or making some along the way, means you have real physical and psychological support throughout the ordeal. We’re already halfway through 2015, what are you going to do to finish the year out strong? What memories will you create? Even though the pain of this first race is still fresh in my memory, I’m already planning my next one. Maybe you’ll join me in achieving Spartan glory, AROO!