by Andi Hardy, Elite Spartan Athlete
One short year ago I attempted and accomplished my very first Spartan Race. What an adventure this past year has been since that life changing race. It has been an incredible journey that has not only changed my life, but saved my life.
I began the adventure for one simple reason, to find out what I was capable of accomplishing. I wanted to put my body and mind to the test. I wanted to know at the finish line if I had what it took to be a Spartan. I was also overweight and out of shape, I was miserable in my own skin and in my life. Circumstances had led me down a road I didn’t want to be on. I needed a change or I was going to snap. I knew at the finish line in GA on March 10, 2012 that I had found my life saver. I finished second overall woman in the competitive heat. I was handed a sword, and the ticket to a new life.
Georgia was just the beginning of my journey. As I crossed finish line after finish line, my confidence grew, my weight dropped, endurance was gained, and I began to feel alive once again. Nine months, 14 venues, back-to-back races on weekends, and countless adventures later, I had become the person I had always wished I could be. I changed from a quiet, withdrawn individual to someone who could talk to strangers giving them motivation, encouragement, and advice. I came out of my shell and gained confidence that I’ve never known before. I no longer made excuses; I learned to give everything at every workout. I learned to tolerate pain. I learned how to be a winner and how to graciously accept not being on the top of the podium. I felt incredible happiness for the first time in years. I have had the privilege to race all over the country on untamed terrain with amazing views. I was running on knees that specialists had told me wouldn’t make it one month. I developed friendships with fellow Spartan athletes that are second to none, amazingly compassionate people who simply understand and accept me. My two best friends ever are people I met through RSR.
I was not ever very talented athletically. Yes, I was a high school ball player, and played a little at the collegiate level, but was neither a superstar nor even a standout. I always loved sports of all kinds, I enjoyed the competitiveness and physical and mental aspects of sports, but wasn’t great at or committed to anything, until I found obstacle course racing. I now had the drive to push incredibly hard and to give my training, racing, and clean eating habits all I could.
I accomplished that goal from a year ago; after years of searching I now know what I am made of and what my passions are in life. I embrace each and every day. Thank you Reebok Spartan Race for changing and saving my life.