Monday, February 28, 2011

Spartan for a Day

I'm sure many decision makers thought, "Hey Southern California is great place to host a race in February! The weather is always nice there!"  And then Feb 26th arrived with snow in the mountains and cold rain in the hills, as the scene for the Super Spartan Race in Temecula.

Honestly, it was gross. It seriously could have been MUCH worse, but who cares about that when what you are facing is just not looking so great.  Thank God for crazy new girlfriends who are warriors... I don't think I would have been able to do it if they weren't there.

It was cold, wet, and intimidating.  There were over 1200 people entered to run apparently, though maybe 200 in our heat?? I really have no clue about crowd sizes and numbers.
In the first 50 yds we had inhaled a bunch of smoke, hopped over a fire, and splashed through a quite oversized puddle... to face a LONG LARGE ascent.

I was the one in our small group that had "never run 8 miles in my life!"  Yet as we began something came over me.  I couldn't hang back with my friends.  I had to run.  I had to power up that hill while I had strength to do it.... and so I did... hill after hill after hill, bounding up, but mostly DOWN with reckless abandon.  I didn't see my friends again for about 3 hours, after we had all been long finished with the race.

Guys, It felt like a scene from Lord of the Rings at parts... you know this one....

where they are running and running for days across country.  It felt like that except with a lot more people and single track, much steeper trails.  I don't know what flipped inside me but I wanted to give my best.  I wanted to RUN, even though I kind of hate running, and when people were blocking my path it made me want to go even more.  I had little patience for being held up behind a long line of people on a single track trail who were walking... so I leaped over and through the vegetation and around them as often as I could.

I know this makes me sound like a jerk, but maybe I AM a jerk... when it's my turn to play, when I get my competitive spark, when I think, "I can DO this!" - friends, I love you, but I have to go!
I wanted to see what I could do, & I wanted to CONQUER it!

and In my opinion, I did :)

THAT is my kind of race.  I wouldn't want to do it again, because now I've done it.  But the unknown and unknowable, the "Oh my gosh, I've never done this before", the variety of stimuli and obstacles to overcome - THAT I love.  Another location, different terrain to test and try - I might do that.

So Results, drumroll...
8+ miles of intense hills and mud, wall climbs, barbed wire, weighted hoists, javelin throws, balance beams, and much more....
I finished in 1 hr and 35 minutes!

That put me in the top 20% overall and top 10% of women finishers.
I. was. stoked.

not only did I survive, I triumphed!

It's the beauty and the thrill of finding something you've never tried, that you have no idea that you can actually do, and just doing it.  That's life!  Looking at a wall and finding a way over it.  Facing the sincere risk of failure, and finding you did not fail.  (Maybe you are not the elite, best but you did NOT fail.)  Friends, what risks have you taken?  What triumphs have you savored?  If it's been too long to remember - get a challenge!  It's good for the heart.

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