“Become one of the rare people who don’t know how to quit.”
It’s almost ironic that I could only think of this popular quote by Robin Sharma while getting ready for this race while people told me I was crazy for participating. The ironic part is that he too has roots in Cape Breton, therefore I felt like he was talking right to me, eh!
At any rate, all last week I was not feeling great. I was sick pretty much every day (I forgot what that was like… it’s been a while!) So needless to say, I didn’t do much of anything leading up to the Spartan Race. The family made the trek out to Westlock (four hours from Calgary) so I would only have a quick 20 minute drive to the race in the morning on Saturday. When I woke up Saturday morning I felt like absolute rubbish, there was actually a moment I thought I was too sick to run. With Spartan Races they ask you to arrive approx 90 minutes before your race just because it can be an absolute zoo to find parking and also the lines can get pretty long to pick up your race kit, so the 90 minutes + a 20 minute drive meant I needed to get my shit together pretty quickly. However, being a morning person I was up at around 4:30 a.m. so I decided to start my pre-race routine anyway to see if I could get myself mobile (it would be a game time decision.) By 6:15 I was feeling better and decided that I would be alright to give it a go (after all, it was a 5k obstacle course – last September I had done the Super…)
It was a beautiful morning – for anyone not living in Alberta right now, we’re experiencing a bit of a heatwave (alright, it some parts of the province were supposed to get as hot as 40 degrees!) When I got to the site it was around 18 degrees and by race time it was just over 20. It’s difficult to explain the energy at these races in comparison to regular races but it’s pretty incredible. What I like the most is how friendly and encouraging people are – they’re a very supportive crew (and we’re all strangers!)
I wore my newest “I’m not slow, I’m pregnant” tank top and had lots of comments from people wondering if I was being serious to people high-fiving me, and still others calling me nuts. I’m not going to lie, it’s nice not having any pressure and being able to blame being slow on pregnant (when I damn-well know I’d be slow even if I wasn’t!)
When we got called to the start for the second heat of the day, people were all ready full of adrenaline – there were lots of guys bouncing around – I saw a few doing push ups and pull ups ahead of time wondering what-in-the-hell they were thinking wasting their energy… I mean… it’s one thing to get a proper warm-up in and another to burn out ahead of time. At any rate, as any runner could hope for, we started right on time. We made it 50m and hit the first bit of mud and slop. Then the first obstacle was a mud pit…some people went around it (which I think is technically cheating) but I dove right in – we were going to get muddy anyway! For the next 5km we were tested mentally and physically.
What I love about Spartan is that it’s not just about whether you can run (because a lot of it is actually walking up hill) but it’s about your mental willpower and whether or not you will push yourself to keep going. In fact, at about the half-way point I found myself pep-talking a young woman (who, strictly based on appearances looked extremely fit.) She was exhausted and wanted to quit. But that’s what makes it so neat – every shape and size is out on the course and everyone is good to support one-another. I ran with two women for a bit and we had a lot of laughs. We were joking about the fact that I had to go through all this and I couldn’t even have a real beer afterward… anything to keep your mind off of your burning muscles and nagging mind! Of all the obstacles, the most challenging for me are always the walls. This year, I didn’t even bother attempt them because last year I fell and my doctor told me she was O.K. with me doing the course so-long as I didn’t put myself in those sorts of situations. Therefore, I took the burpees. In total, I think I took burpees on nine obstacles, so I did a lot of burpees and squats! (I want to thank the volunteers who were incredibly supporting and looked out for me on the course… you guys are the best!) There were a lot of hills, it actually made MacKenzie Mountain look like a joke. I kept reminding myself “You ran a mountain, you ran a mountain, keep going, you ran a mountain.” But when I got to the top of the umpteenth hill and looked down I thought, there’s no way MacKenzie was that damn steep! It felt great.
When we got to the end and I saw the barbed wire I was so relieved, I knew I was out-of-steam and I could hear my mom saying: “Don’t overdo it.” (Which was in an em
This morning, I woke up with tight quads but otherwise feeling great. However, I realized that the Canada Race I signed up for is actually an obstacle course (I thought it was a straight road race) so I headed to the gym first thing and started stretching out. Then I spent about two hours in our cooled down hot tub so I could stretch some more. So that’s it fail she sent just before I left for the race in the morning.) Again, I just dove right in there. Slopped, crawled, pulled, kicked and inched my way through the thick, smelly mud. When I jumped through the fire, I thought I would cry. But I didn’t. I had absolutely no idea what time I had actually finished in, where I placed or anything else I was just so happy that I didn’t quit and I got my finisher medal. The rest of the day was spent eating celebratory food which included Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar chips, pizza, pasta and orange julius (excellent combo) plus a dip in the pool.or my Spartan season – I was really hoping to get my Trifecta this year but I guess I will have to wait.
For anyone else out there, how did your Spartan Race go? I want to hear the muddy details, leave them in the comments 🙂
So here it is: I’m in my 21st week of pregnancy, I finished the Spartan Sprint (5+km and 21 obstacles) in 1:45:00 AND I found out today that I finished 1073 out of 4000 participants – this made me really happy!
AROO! AROO! AROO!