Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spartan Essay Contest

Just for fun, I entered into the contest for writing an essay on our experience from the Spartan Mud Race. I know, you're probably sick of hearing about this, but I'm sharing anyway! Plus, if I win, I'll get some sweet new running shoes!

Remember that Captain Planet theme song? "Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart!"  Those five words pretty much sum up my experience this past Saturday at the SoCal Spartan Race. They should probably add in a 6th element though....MUD! Lots of it. I'm still amazed and oh so proud of myself for completing those eight. long. miles. It was not easy and it was unlike anything I ever expected. 

I heard about this Spartan race about 5 weeks prior to "D-Day." Take note, I am not a competitive athlete (unless you count Beer Pong). My brother wanted me to sign up with him, enticing me with words like, "It'll be FUN! Not hard at ALL! We can go SLOW if you want!" Also take note, he originally told me it would only be THREE miles. I thought to myself, "What the heck, Michelle. You've always wanted to do this. Go for it, it's only three miles!" I then turned around and enticed my boyfriend with the same words that convinced me. To my horror, after I clicked "Pay Now," I realized it was EIGHT miles...not three. Oh dear God. What did I get myself into?

Training went a little something like this:

Week 1: Ran 2 miles.... In 38 minutes. And when I say ran, I really mean ran for about 5 minutes and walked the rest. Off to a great start, right? Um. Wrong.
Week 2: All the treadmills at the gym were taken and of course it was far too cold to run outside, so I had to skip that week. What? It wasn’t my fault.
Week 3: Felt mucho pressure from my brother and was tired of him calling me lazy, so I ran/walked about 4 miles and called it a day.
Week 4: Treadmills were taken again, so I hopped on the bike for about 17 miles in 60 minutes. I felt accomplished. Brother said it was a cop-out.
Week 5. Had an “oh shit” moment when I realized the race was in 4 days. Boyfriend and I took to the streets and ran 3 straight miles in 30 minutes. I literally thought I would pass out and my lungs would explode.

D-Day was finally here! You could just feel the excitement and energy wafting in the atmosphere as we drove up to the site. I told myself as long as I finished under 2 ½ hours, I would be happy.

We were off! Less than 30 seconds in, we jumped over fire and immediately submerged our lower halves in ice cold water. If that didn’t wake you up, I don’t know what would. Then we ran, and ran, and walked, and ran some more. I had no idea we would be running up steep, treacherous mountains!  But alas, there I was, in the herd, huffing and puffing away. The rush from the whole experience made it so worthwhile; The support you get from a total stranger, that competitive drive that emerges when you climb over 6 ft high walls, thinking you’re at your breaking point but then somehow overcoming that and pushing onward.

We finished in 2 hours and 1 minute. I surprised myself. I surprised my brother. I am still riding that high of accomplishing something I never could imagine for myself. Though I can barely walk and look like I’ve been in a gang fight from all the bruises and scratches, I am so happy I did this and would definitely do it all over again.



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