I've been some sort of an athlete most of my life, and as I get older I have started to set one fitness goal each year. Before that I participated without goals. One year, a friend challenged me during the annual Charleston, SC Cooper River Bridge run to run it in sub 60….meaning under an hour. This race has a steep bridge incline, gah! I stuck with her for most of the race, and finished two minutes under an hour, and THAT COUNTS! So then I switched my thinking, if I didn't set goals, I wouldn't challenge myself.
So every year I set a new fitness goal. Year 1 – half marathon, year two run 500 miles, and now it's year 3. This year I opted for something beyond running…the SPARTAN TRIFECTA! Cue the dumbest decision I've made to date. I thought, oh I should cross train more, oh this will challenge me to get stronger, and it'll have pretty medals. No clue what I was in for…and seven months later, one short obstacle race down and the second on the way… I'm TIRED. I've never been so sick of training, running, lifting, climbing, sweating, burpees, pulls ups, monkey bars etc. At the same time, this is the first year I've done any training like this. As much as I hate waking up at 5 am 4 days a week, the results have been solid. When I do three days of HIIT training with body weight strength training, 2 days cardio focused and Saturday's are race training days, I'm thrilled with my body. Now I don't change my diet extremely, I love pizza, but if I increase healthy proteins and fruits and veggies too, I see results weekly.
When I paid the $300 plus dollars to do this year long obstacle race series, I thought the price tag alone would motivate me, wrong. I joined the team for a few gym workouts and realized, I'm in over my head. I realized I can't do a single pull up. After the first Saturday training, I couldn't lift my arms to wash my hair, it would've been funny from the outside, but I was crying. Cue the pain reliever tabs to get through. Each week, I stuck with it out f sheer fear of the first race. How the hell will I do this obstacle course race? What am I in for? I don't back down and I stick to my commitments. I didn't give up and showed up to Charlotte for the race terrified. There were a lot of people there, all body types. So I was more of a here goes nothing!
Our team woke up at 5am and had a carefully planned breakfast: whole wheat toast or bagel with peanut butter, banana, orange juice, tea for me. You do need to practice your food intake and energy gels/beans/squares before races like this! Your digestion paired with nerves are no joke. Once we got to the race starting line I also split a Energy Speedball drink with teammates. It is aptly named like a drug because that drink had me hopping and floating over the 7 foot walls the first hour of the race, haha.
They start you out jumping a small wall to get to the starting line corral, nailed it. I thought I've got this…and then it really started. Mile 1 was lots of obstacles to jump over and then the bucket carry….that's where I got zapped. That is when you realize you it's a mental game.
This race is NOT easy, you need to dig deep and you are very uncomfortable! The water we had to go through was COLD, miserably COLD! I thought to myself, why am I doing this, I never want to do this again, this sucks the whole time. You can tell by my facial expressions.
I also thought if I can get through this, it'd be amazing! Instead of thinking of the whole race, I broke it into small goals, just what's in front of me. If I can do what's in front of me and keep going then it's a success. When you think you can't do anymore, there is another obstacle. Then finally there was the fire jump finish line.
Looking back I remember every feeling, struggle, sore muscle and accomplishment…and don't know if I'm ready to did this again, on a mountain, for 10+ miles! I will, this coming weekend, in Asheville, eek!
I've been fitness fatigued for three weeks, scared that I can't do this. Today I trained with my team and rocked the monkey bars with ease, kept at every challenge and realize how far I've come. The thing about these races is that they'll push me to my physical and mental limit, and it makes me feel stronger, more confident and like I can accomplish more! The medals oddly make me happy!