Two weeks ago, Morgan, her husband JT, my friend Gavin, and I ran our first Spartan Sprint. It was insane. 4.8 miles of ranch terrain, 20+ obstacles, and moody Texas weather. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done physically. And even though I’ve been training for it, I was definitely not prepared for what would be required. I really have pretty much zero upper body strength, but I thought I was making some progress. I was wrong.
I didn’t magically turn into some crazy athlete since January. I’ve lost weight. I’ve toned up a little. I’ve had ups and downs. Went a few weeks without running. Binge ate pizza. Started working out again. If there’s one constant in my life, it’s that I have a love/hate relationship with working out.
So when we got to the Spartan and saw the obstacles, I assumed I’d be doing burpees the entire time (if you fail at an obstacle, you can do a burpee equivalent). Instead, I only burpeed a handful. Some of them I did on my own, but a lot of the obstacles (especially the walls), I got through because of my teammates.
There was one shining moment at the Spartan I won’t forget. After swimming under a wall through muddy water, you have to climb up a muddy bank, grab a rope, and walk yourself up a wall and climb over the top and down the other side. I was a bit ahead of my teammates on that one, and I was tired and had failed at pretty much anything to do with upper body strength, but I wanted to do this. So I watched a few people before me do it, grabbed a rope, and copied their technique. And I was doing it. I made it to the top. But when I shifted my weight to try to grab the top and prepare to swing over, I slipped and plummeted back down the length of that wall. It was not a short fall.
By the time I walked it off and geared up to try again, the others were waiting at the top. A lot of people had witnessed the first fall. I started the climb again. My arms were tired, and now I was worried about falling. I made it to the top, but slipped. My feet couldn’t get any traction, and that whole no upper body strength meant I had nothing in reserves to pull myself up. JT had one wrist and a friend we made on the trail had the other, but I couldn’t get any strength to push myself up. Finally, I told them to just drop me, I’d just walk around. But suddenly, a bunch of people were invested. I swear there were like 10 people trying to haul me over the wall, and even a few people pushing from the bottom.
Teamwork. Even from random strangers. The thing I love about doing races like the Spartan or the half-marathon I ran is the community. People are friendly. They are encouraging. They want you to succeed, sometimes more than you want to.
I was not in good enough shape to do the Spartan. But it didn’t matter. I had my friends. I had other Spartans. I could have failed, but I didn’t. And that’s sort of the best thing about doing things that are challenging like that. There’s the greatest chance for failure, but there’s also the greatest reward. I know it sounds cheesy and cliched, but it’s true. I did something I didn’t think I could ever do. I might not have been fast or good and only made it through because of Morgan, Gavin and JT, but I still made it through.
I am Spartan. Aroo!
From my overcaffeinated ❤ to yours,