My First Spartan Race
A few years ago, I ran my first Spartan race. If you aren’t familiar, Spartan races are adventure-type obstacle course races of varying distances held all over the country. Here’s how I did it.
Spartan races are designed to test your mental and physical strength, determination and endurance. There are three main types of Spartan races: a Spartan Sprint is 3 + miles with 20 + obstacles, a Spartan Super is 8 + miles with 28 obstacles, and a Spartan Beast is 12 + miles with 30 obstacles.
As crazy as it sounds, I started with the Spartan Sprint because it was held near me in San Francisco. I got a great push from my fiancé to do it. We volunteered which gave us a bit of a behind the scenes feel of the race and then we felt more confident to conquer more of the course.
You Can be a Team
There is no way I could have accomplished this race without my fiancé. Yes, we are a team of two. We have had our ups and downs together along the course and in training.
Our Physical training, however, is different. Our mentalities are different. But we became stronger together. One of our toughest challenges was being at each others pace’s. We stayed together for the entire race, looking out for one another.
Strangers helped and cheered for other strangers such as us. Which is all part of the culture of Spartan races. You don’t leave anyone behind. Our teamwork made us strong, made us closer friends, closer companions, and led us to the finish line.
Fear is like Faith
Fear is like faith. It only has power when you believe in it.
I am a huge fan of the unknown. I became a fitness trainer because I have a natural curiosity about how the human body moves and I like answers. So signing up for a Spartan Race where they pride themselves on some classified obstacles, was downright exhilarating.
What obstacles would I face? What if I got hurt? What if I can not complete all the obstacles? I had to let go of knowing (there is only so much you can Google) and just trust my training.
An amazing thing happens on race day: adrenalin takes over (even if you are only competing to finish, and not for a medal) and you become who you want to be.
If you can’t do an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees. That alone is quite motivating to do the dang obstacle. My fiancé Karianne, was facing obstacles that scared her and she kept doing them anyway. We both surprised ourselves.
Setting a goal can transform your training. I had three goals:
- Finish the course
- Don’t break anything.
- Get as few penalties on the obstacles as possible
In the end, I met those goals, but what was transformative for me was signing up for the Spartan race. Setting a goal to run a Spartan super-charged me. I told myself I was running a Spartan Race and that made me feel like I needed to go the extra mile.
I’d add a mile to my run, use heavier weights. I’d do bear crawls around the house with my daughter. I used the deadline of the race to stay committed to my workouts and give it my all. I even signed up for some for classes at my gym and now I’m hooked.
You think race day is your goal, but it’s your day-to-day training that transforms your body.
Having a goal on the calendar can be a huge motivator. And never discount the power of your associations/friends.
My fitness is always an exploration-in-progress. I completed a trifecta the following year to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t run as an elite athlete until 2017, but until then I ran with the teams I built and we would be aiming for time and go for a medal, but I still feel like a champion because I faced a scary new challenge and finished!
I improved my ability and fitness level in preparation for the races. I want to change perspectives of what age to race is supposed to look like. I want to be a good role model for my daughter.
The sense of accomplishment after achieving hard obstacles totally fuels you for the obstacles ahead—during race day and beyond. And as Spartans say: Aroo, Aroo, Aroo!
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