Why you will be hearing about my Spartan for a long time.
First and foremost it was the most physically and emotionally brutal thing I have ever done.
My feet were not ready and by mile 6 of the Super I was done. Completely done. I knew I had completed over two thirds of the race at this point and was still at the point of not caring anymore. In the middle of the woods on some trail with stumps and roots and rocks and mud and ditches and a team waiting on me I yelled out… “@#$# this race, @#$# a Spartan, @#$@ a Trifecta, I am DONE!” Then I realized the only way to actually be done would be to get to the end. There was no rescue team, there were no flares to send up, it was me and my own strength to get me to the next obstacle. I made it there completely beaten, feeling like a failure as I had for the last 3 miles, and a team mate asked me what was wrong.. the response to my whine was a snark, which was deserved. Here I was at mile whatever it was, almost 8 by this point I think, on the last 6 obstacles of 28 and I was still a failure in my own mind. I could not take into consideration the help I had given my team members not to mention complete strangers. I couldn’t see in my head that being used as a human ladder was taxing to my body. I couldn’t see that without me others would have had to take on more of a load or some may have not completed the obstacle. At the moment all I felt was pain, physically and emotionally. I hurt for myself and I hurt for my team who I was holding back. I was on the biggest pity party train of my life I think and it was running full speed ahead.
I really don’t know what happened to me out there, it was a complete beat down from the first failed obstacle. I got inside my own head and it was a disaster. I didn’t deserve to be a Spartan, I didn’t deserve to get a medal, I didn’t even deserve to be part of this amazing team. I didn’t train hard enough. I didn’t lose enough weight to do this. Fat girls should NOT apply! I was hurting my team mates. I let my son down. He had to help me, that had to have hurt him. Ow, I rolled my ankle again. Crap another wall. Why can’t I get my eating under control? Carry a bucket of rocks? Sure, look around.. I ALREADY carry that much more weight than most of these pretty people. If I sit down I wonder will someone come find me. Oh they are yelling for me again.. I AM COMING!! Over and over these horrible terrible thoughts went through my brain, not once did I feel good about myself or my performance. I was not a Spartan
As I sit here this morning and let my fingers fly across the keyboard, well with the exception of my left thumb which is still pretty swollen, I think back to the team that was out there with me. Summer and Dustin who helped me through the first obstacles and witnessed the first falls. Cody and Todd who breezed by very early on. Vicki who was my first team assist. Megan who blew by me at some point, I don’t think I even saw her pass. Leslie, Nichole, Sharon, Kathy and Cory who stuck with me through the rest of the race. Mom and Ed who waited in the heat of the day for us to make our final steps. I realize I made a crucial error, I didn’t do what the Spartan speech says. I didn’t draw from their strength. I witnessed their strength and pitted it against my own and found myself to be coming up with the short end of the spear. I was the weakest link.
What an incredibly stupid thing to think! Weakest link? How can a human ladder be the weakest link? How can the chick that picked up the atlas ball two handed stand up style be the weakest link? How can one of the biggest women on the course who has made it to the end and jumped over that last obstacle without quitting be the weakest link?? Yes my feet were hurting, yes I was SLOW but that neither determined my strength or my success, the only thing it determined was that my feet hurt and I was slow. At the moment I could not see that as I was looking at my team mates asses move on in front of me. I finished, I was a Spartan Super finisher, I was handed my medal and my shirt to prove it. I just didn’t feel it. I changed my shoes and I left.
I went back to the house and enjoyed the time when my team and allowed the evening to take its course while the nervousness of the next day’s event started bubbling up in my heart. What in the WORLD was I thinking? I could barely complete it today with an entire team behind me, how do I even begin to imagine that I will be able to finish alone. I silently prayed that Cory would change his mind and do it anyway, I knew he wanted to but due to work couldn’t. I half way thought that maybe when I woke up in the morning I would be in too much pain and just bail. I imagined myself telling Summer, no.. you go right ahead I will cheer you on! When it was all said and done, Cory couldn’t possibly do it and get to his training, I woke up banged up and in some pain but not enough for me to bail, and I never got the courage to tell Summer that I wasn’t going to do it. I simply drank my coffee, expressed my fear, got nauseous, told my mom I didn’t want to do this and walked to the start line. I am so incredibly grateful that I did!
The strength, grit, determination to complete the mission on that day would be drawn from myself, my angels and strangers. Going into this event already battered and bruised from the previous days battle was no easy feat. On the very first hurdle when I hit it, it took my breath away. However, not one time did I feel like I was behind or holding anyone up, people came and went, some ahead some behind. I did not utter one I am sorry. Oh wait I did to that one guy I fell on but I was just sorry he was in the wrong place at the wrong time not so much sorry for my performance. I didn’t feel weak or pathetic, I felt like people needed my strength as I needed theirs. I allowed complete strangers to climb up my body, I carried women and a few men through obstacles, I handed off my atlas ball to someone I knew would struggle, I encouraged a young man who was at the brink of tears as he carried a bucket of rocks that weighed as much as he did. I was a team member to everyone I encountered on the course. I did not allow them to fail and in the process I myself did not fail.
As I made my way to the last obstacle on Sunday, the one that I paid off someone to do for me the day before, I stood there and took a look at that wall and thought … I got you. You are mine. While it was completely ugly and didn’t go over as smoothly as I would have wished I did complete that obstacle on my own without a hand from anyone. As I stumbled my way to the fire pit and made what from the photos looks to be a bunny hop over the lapping flames… I became a Spartan.
I embarked upon a quest like those of legends old, I faced unimaginable challenges and I pushed myself further than I ever thought possible. They were honored by my courage and commitment to excellence but know this, my mind body and spirit were all put to the ultimate test as I chased glory on that day. I looked to the Spartans on my left, I looked to the Spartans on my right, I will drew strength from them as they will drew strength from me, I did not let them fail. By all that I hold dear on this fair Earth I stood as a daughter of Sparta. I stood and fought for the day as it was this day that I rose to glory. Who am I? I am A SPARTAN!
Yesterday morning before I even had coffee and could think correctly I signed up for my Spartan Beast in November. I have vowed that I will get the weight thing under control and I will not look at myself as a failure but as a work in progress. I have also decided that I will be competing in another Spartan Super before the end of 2017. While I completed the mission it was not done in a manner that I can find pride in and I am the only person I owe this to. So yes I will be talking about my Spartans for a long time to come, I did these things, I am doing these things and it is worth talking about, because I am doing the next thing and living my life like I am living!
Love and Peace
PS Cory, while you were missed incredibly on Sunday, I am really glad you weren’t there!