This past Saturday, I completed my first Spartan Race! Here’s a little description from the website:
SUPER SPARTAN: Tests a Spartan’s Endurance
The Super Spartan obstacle race provides an 8+ MILES / 20+ OBSTACLES battlefield of insane mud running with 15 or more obstacles to test your physical strength and mental resolve. This mud fest of a race will have many trials to push you to your limits that any man or woman with resolve can complete! This endurance race consists of mud runs, trails, and both mental and physical obstacles and challenges. The good news is that after you complete your painful journey, there will be live music and a catered meal to soothe your aching joints. Top 3 Males and top 3 Females at each Super Spartan qualify for a free entry into the Spartan Beast.
This was by far, one of the toughest (both physically and mentally) races I have ever encountered. Even including the 3 marathons I’ve completed! However, it was challenging in a very different way. The 8+ miles of grassy fields/trail running was delightful, it was the obstacles in conjunction with the running, that was a different story. I have never cried at any point during a race, and I almost did at this one.
Two of my friends (and next door neighbors) did the Spartan Sprint (3 miles) last year. They said it was a lot of fun, and I should do Spartan with them this year. I had never done a mud run/obstacle race before, so I thought why not give it a try.
Once I read the warning message “There is a real possibility you may die or be catastrophically injured” on the race packet, I wondered if I really should go through with this or not. After all, I have a marathon in 6 weeks for goodness sake!! Not to mention, a husband, two kids to take care of. However, I knew at this point, I had committed to my neighbors, and to myself. I am going to go through with this race!
Pre-race we took a picture together, checked our bag, and made our way to the starting line. Since we were in the competitive or “Elite” heat- we started in the first group (8am). I started getting pretty nervous when I looked around in the starting corral. There were very few women. My first thought was, “I’m going to get trampled” by all of the guys once we hit the obstacles. Second thought was..”God, just get me through this alive”. Finally, the starting gun went off. Fear, at this point, was not an option.
The first few obstacles were not too bad.. Mostly ducking under a fence or tarp. Then we came upon the first tall fence (over 6ft) to climb up and over. I pretty much thought to myself, “yeah, right. Not happening”. I could take the easy way out and do 30 burpees (if you couldn’t complete an obstacle on the first try, that was the consequence). Everyone else was making it over. I figured I should at least try. I jumped up as high as I could, pulled and threw my legs over… I did it!!! I couldn’t believe it! However, there was no time to waste, on to the next one.
My neighbors were ahead of me at this point, and I knew I had a long ways to go yet. Though fields and woods we went- climbing over large fallen trees, leaping over horse steeples (the event was held at an equestrian park), and jumping across ditches. I thoroughly enjoyed the run portion. We soon arrived at the barbed wire mud crawl. This is where I got scraped up the most. Not only were you crawling/log rolling under barb wire, the mud was full of rocks. Not gravel- fairly large rocks! I almost started crying from the pain. However, I knew I needed to stay tough. I was not going to let my body surrender. I was covered from head to toe in mud at this point. Covered in scrapes and bruises, but, not defeat! On I went, mud-covered, hurting, and tired.
Once again, through the woods I went, enduring further obstacles testing your balance, upper body strength, and will. However, when we came upon a massive structure, this is where I once again had to face my self doubts and fears. We had to climb a really tall (probably 15 ft or more) rope climb and come down the other side. I have never done this in my life, ever. Nothing that high, at least. I composed myself, took a deep breath, and up in went. The whole time, talking myself through it, and holding on as tight as I could. Finally, I made it to the ground!!
We then carried sandbags up hills and over fallen trees for about a quarter of a mile. We flipped large truck tires and pulled concrete blocks on chains up and down a hill. Once again, I had to get over a tall (8ft I would guess), wooden fence. I banged my knee up coming down the other side. Thankfully I think it’s only bruised. We waded through waist deep ditches of muddy water, and climbed up muddy wooden ramps. Finally, the end was in sight. The last few obstacles I couldn’t complete (they happened to be the most difficult for everyone), so I did my 30 burpees x 3 (90 in total). I ran through the gladiators at the end (who tried to knock you over), and crossed the finish!!
What I took away from this race was more than just a race medal. I proved to myself, I can dig deep, I can find strength. I can overcome fear…
Today I ran 4 miles with my neighbor, Amanda (pictures above). I’m still sore, but, today’s run went very well. Only 6 more weeks until Chicago Marathon!
Have you ever done an obstacle race? How have you had to face your fears during a race?