For a bit of context, let's start out with a little bit about me. I finished off 2012 at the doctors, sick and obese in horrible health. I knew I needed to do something about it so I set a 2013 resolution to get healthy and loose some weight. Fast forward, I've lost almost 75lbs and had a child in 2015. I had always seen Spartan Races and never would have thought I would even attempt one. Friends had tried to convince me but I always laughed at them and wondered what they were thinking.
I set a New Year's resolution for 2017 of completing a Spartan Race Sprint. Tuxedo, New York was the race I chose because I had heard how hard Palmerton, PA was. Those were my choices for local Sprint. Plus my in-laws live 20 minutes from Tuxedo so I had a babysitter available which obviously helps with logistics.
I spent the months after I signed up for the race freaking out that I was going to fail horribly and embarrass myself. Having never done a 5k or any sort of competitive sport as an adult I had no idea what I was getting into. I also have a horrible anxiety of failing especially in front of strangers. The months leading up to race day were spent training as hard as I could. I was jogging on inclines with sandbags, carrying weighted buckets, flipping tires, and trying to climb a rope. Anything I could do that seemed to coordinate with obstacles that might be there on race day I tried to work on. When not at the gym I would spend time watching videos on how to complete obstacles online. I also spent time practicing burpees, because let's be realistic I knew I was going to fail something.
The week leading up to the race my nerves were shot. My goal was to complete the race in under 2 hours. I had looked at last year's times and was basing my goal off of that. I arrived just over an hour before my start time and from the moment I stepped out of my car it really was a welcoming environment. Everyone I crossed paths was helpful and encouraging. I had no idea where I was going for check-in, bag check, for anything, but anyone I asked would point me in the right direction.
I ended up making a friend while waiting in line for bag check. They also had a similar goal and a story of their own for what brought them there that day. We started and finished the race together which was not something I expected. I waited while he did his burpees, and he waited for me while I did mine. Strangers offered a leg up over the 8-foot wall that I couldn't do myself. At the Rope climb, people were cheering and encouraging everyone, not just their friends. The atmosphere was so uplifting and positive.
As soon as I crossed the finish line I was in love with obstacle course racing. I came home and started researching other companies and local events. Before that day I had only heard of Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. By the end of this year, I will have completed 2 Spartan Sprint, 2 Savage races, 1 Rugged Maniac and 1 Spartan Super in just over 5 months since my 1st race. My 2018 resolutions are to try more brands, complete a Spartan Trifecta, a Savage Syndicate, and my most ambitious goal is to qualify for OCR Nationals.
Looking back I really wish I would have tried this years ago. There are so many people on the courses with such varying fitness levels at different points in their journeys enjoying these races with friends and family. The biggest thing I've learned this year is anyone can do it. As cliche as it sounds you really just need to put your mind to it and you will cross that finish line. Set it as a resolution, you can do it. You will not regret it.
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