By Daniel Pebbles
We men, we live, we are strong, we rule, we beat our chest, and yet our strength is nothing next to the will of the women who love us. I have never been surer of this than I was when I watched my wonderful, beautiful, wife (my SPARTAN PRINCESS) complete the Spartan Military Sprint Challenge at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs Colorado.
For months now I have watched my wife dedicate herself to change physically and mentally. Working out almost daily at Gottsche. Now she had been doing this while never failing in any of her others endeavors such as taking care of our children, our home, her more than needy husband, and full time job.
I did not know much about what she had signed up for with this Spartan Race until I watched what it made her. Waves of 200 racers were released beginning at 0800 hrs. and continued throughout the day. Sherri’s heat was set to go at 0915 so numerous racers had been released prior to her start, making the course ahead wet and muddy in places that those who started first and or were in the lead would never have known. Just to give you an idea the first obstacle was a series of trenches that were 4 to 5 feet in width and full of water and mud, and there were at least five of them.
She was nervous and so was I, but she now it was time for her to do her thing out on the course. So then the waiting started. Minutes were multiplied and time seemed to slow down as I watched for her to appear on the horizon. And then finally of all people to see her, Stone said, “Hey there is mom.” He pointed to an area just after the mud crawl, under the barb wire and through several mud pits, as long as or longer than two semi trucks and trailers end to end. And there she was covered in mud from head to toe running toward the “spear throw.”
I hollered, “Sherri” and the kids yelled, “mom!”
We caught up with her just prior to the spear throw and due to the bottle neck of throwers we were able to exchange a few words. She was muddy from head to toe, sopping wet shoes and an abundance of mud caked on her face, hair, and clothes. I could tell she was tired, exhausted.
I looked at her and simply said, “Do you want to quit.” And with a look that I honestly can say I have never seen in her before she said, “No”. I never asked again. We told her that we loved her and she continued on to the spear throw. That is where we lost her and we did not find her again until the mud pits on the other side.
Once she emerged from the mud pits there was the slanted wall of 10 feet or so that now was covered in wet mud, and the ropes were so slick with mud the racers could not hold on as they attempted to scale the wall and continue on. This is where I truly learned the meaning of this endeavor that my Spartan Princess had got herself into. As racer after racer attempted the slick muddy wall and muddy ropes, numerous racers slipped and fell back from where they had started. Other racers stepped forward and were able to get atop the wall and sat on top and helped racer after racer get up and over this obstacle. Encouraging words, hands outstretched helping each other beyond this obstacle of slick mud and slimy rope. This is when I learned this race was not about who was first or the fastest. It was about who was willing to give that possibility up to turn and put out their hand to someone who was struggling and simply say, “Take my hand.” I am a man a chest beater but I became just a little emotional at this point, not outwardly because I am a chest beater.
As Sherri stood in line for this obstacle we were to be able to speak with her. She was watching as racer after racer slid back and or fought this wall. She looked at me and said, “I don’t think I can get over that, I don’t know anyone here to help me. I told her to just go for it and they would help her. And she did, she grabbed the muddy rope and twisted it around her hand and placed her muddy shoes on the slick muddy wall and began to pull herself up and as she did the racer on the wall above her and the one below her helped her scale that wall of which she thought she could not do. I was in awe of her, and so very proud. Then we again lost sight of her for what seemed like forever. In the distance you could see where it appeared racers had to drag huge tires and hike up and down a steep hill with back packs (that I was sure were not empty) and then disappear from sight for god knows what for which seemed like forever.
And then again on the horizon the kids and I seen her, coming down the hill toward the last four obstacles that were between her and the end of this madness. What were left were the rope climb, cargo net, fire pit and gladiator pit. The rope climb was so slick with mud it was 30 burpee’s and on to the cargo net. Sherri climbed up and over without a hitch. Then on to the fire pit, which she cleared with ease, and through the gladiator pit to the finish line. That’s when my Spartan Princess received her Spartan medal.
As I took her picture standing there covered in mud from head to toe, with her medal around her neck on the right side of the finish line. I realized why she had answered the way she did when I asked her if she wanted to quit. Even though at the time of my question I knew and she knew she was tired and hurt all over but it did not matter as she intended to conquer and nothing was going to prevent that, not 4.5 miles, not 28 obstacles, not the mud, not being alone (or at least thinking you were), the face I looked into was one of determination and dedication. I realized it was the same as many of the faces that I saw thrusting forth their hands and simply saying, “take my hand, there is no way we fail”.
I learned a lot from my Spartan Warrior Princess this date. And I am one lucky chest beater.