by Amanda, Czapla, Elite Spartan Athlete
Playing as a Child
As a child I idolized my older brother. I was more or less his shadow. What he did, I did. From getting into trouble, playing in a mound of dirt, searching for rollie pollies, making mud pies. We were kids having fun the only way we knew how. Those were the good old days.
Flash forward 15 years. The monotony of being a roadrunner was starting to take its toll. I needed a change. Deciding to branch out, a friend and I signed up for our first obstacle race, the Warrior Dash. Disappointed by the lack of intensity, we wanted something a little more challenging and we found the Miami Super Spartan Race in 2011. I knew I found my race. I felt like that little girl running carefree with my brother through the trails, picking up heavy objects, throwing myself over walls and getting down and dirty. A second place finish and a few nefarious battle wounds motivated me to come back the following year faster and stronger. My weakness was obvious; I neglected my upper body and relied heavily on my speed and endurance.
Over the next year, I made a few lofty goals in preparation for my ultimate test to WIN the Miami Super Spartan 2012. Hard work and a few PRs later, I did take the top spot in Miami and then a few others. Admittedly, I was still intimidated by the rope climb and a few other obstacles. To be truly competitive, a racer would have to finish a race burpee free.
Carolina’s race made me stop making excuses and to learn to swim. For the Vermont Beast, I thought training for the Chicago Marathon would suffice. Mountain legs? Ha! Joke was on me. Those weren’t any mountains, those were mountains from hell! I never walked so much in my life on a course. I met my match. I was under-trained. South Florida may have beautiful beaches, but it will not prepare you for the course in Vermont. A little bitter post Vermont, I wanted redemption and set my sights on the Spartan Texas Beast.
My preparation was solid. I knew this would be MY race to prove myself in the fast growing sport of obstacle racing. And then, a fatal fall the first mile in, I hobbled my way through another 12 miles of obstacles to finish 6th. I took it hard. I did this to myself. I refused to heed the obvious caveats of over-training. I was forced into submission. My Achilles’ heel was my Achilles’ heel. Achilles’ Tendonosis. No running for 6-8 weeks per my doctor’s orders or I could risk a complete rupture. The fear of being out 6 months with surgery if I decided to push it, I succumbed. Feeling empty and lacking the anaerobic push with the Miami Super Spartan quickly approaching, I chose to join CrossFit Fort Lauderdale, The Playground. I knew if I wanted to play with the big boys and girls I would need to step my game up.
Miami Super Spartan came and went. It was a surreal feeling to be back in action. I knew I wasn’t 100%, so my goal was to have fun and stay within my limitations and not overdo it.
The Spartan Way
What I love about Spartan is pushing through that damned and fathomed wall, refusing to give up, refusing to quit. I love the ability to test my limitations that bind me by breaking free and emerging fearless. I refuse to say, “I won’t, I can’t.” I love what I hate, what makes my skin crawl.
Whatever it is that you abhor, that you cringe at the very mention of it, make it your strength. Dominate. Work on it with relentless dedication and perseverance. Believe in your abilities and when it comes race time, let that be the obstacle that you do not falter, that you own and you makes you smile looking back. Embrace the inner child.
The Spartan community is a family. A network of friends from across the country that may or may not be as “crazy” as you are. We are hungry. We refuse to settle. We share similar desires, the same passion to continually strive to be the best, constantly evolve, have fun along the way and experience the adventure that awaits us.
The people are real. The emotions are real. The journey is real. For everything that Reebok Spartan Race is, “You will know at the finish line.” Aroo! It’s time you find yours. Register today.