Read Part One HERE.
At the end of 2012, prior to the Spartan Beast, I sustained a stress fracture to my right foot. I unknowingly ran the Beast thinking it was a minor injury, then went on to run my first half marathon two weeks later. After taking two months off to rehab my foot, I began training with my team (the Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners) for the Spartan Race in Georgia and getting excited about the 2013 race season!
Then I heard about the Biggest Losers Run/Walk Challenge that Spartan Race also hosted. I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I registered and was so thrilled over this chance to work with and motivate others. A set of fortuitous circumstances led up to me transferring from the Open Heat to the Elite Heat the week of the GA Spartan Race. Add yet another thrilling dimension to my Spartan experience! I was so nervous!
I thought, “What am I doing on the start line of the female Elite heat? I’m 46 years old, and I’ve never been known as an athlete?”
As I ran across the terrain and through the woods, I felt strong! I took on one obstacle after another, burpee-free! And then it happened…Somewhere in the 3rd mile, my right ankle found that random hole in a flat field, rolled, and snapped like a twig. My first thought was, “I HAVE to finish this heat and get back in time to help with the Biggest Loser Challenge.” The course volunteer asked if I wanted her to call a Medic. “No, I’m finishing this race”, I said as I heaved a sandbag over my head and walked up the hill, confident I could walk it off. I was jogging as I came back down the hill.
I finished the race in 1:15:34, ran off the course, grabbed my volunteer t-shirt and ran back on to the course to find Chris
Davis and the Biggest Loser Challenge participants. I randomly attached myself to a group of ladies I wound up calling my “Fab Five” and journeyed with them throughout the course. As we approached each obstacle, I gave them instructions on how to successfully navigate through the obstacle… should they choose to do it. I was THRILLED that they chose to take on every challenge (with the exception of the rope climb). They were FEARLESS!
The Fab Five and I worked together as a team through each obstacle, over every hill, and across every mile. The bond seemed to solidify more and more as we continued on our journey, and I saw confidence exuding through the mud as the ladies proved to themselves they could do what they set their minds to. The encouragement they received from the Spartan Racers along the course bolstered their sense of determination as well! They began cheering for and encouraging the Spartans who ran past them in a show of camaraderie!
Almost to the Finish Line
As most of the time we encountered cold water, the pain of my sprained ankle was kept at bay; but I also believe the adrenaline and the endorphins were my saving grace. At the slippery wall, the only thing left between these ladies and their finisher’s medal was the wall, the mud crawl ,and the gladiators. A couple of the ladies took on the slippery wall, paying close attention to the instructions I gave them, “Keep your weight behind you, your feet in front of you, and use your hands to pull you along. I’ll be at the top to help you over.” The third, and final, lady in our group to attempt this obstacle stepped up to the wall, hesitantly saying she would “try”.
I yelled, “You’ve got this!” One of her teammates stood next to me on the back of the wall, ready to help her find her way over. She grabbed the rope and began to climb, strong and confident. Then a look of hesitation flashed across her face. Self-doubt started to gnaw at her resolve, “I just don’t have any upper body strength.”
I yelled, “You’re halfway here! You’re doing it! You’ve got this! Keep coming!”
Another Spartan Racer was scaling the wall, and he stopped to help assist my Fab Fiver in her quest up the wall. She wanted to quit. She wanted to let go. I knew I couldn’t let that happen, so I grabbed her hand and yelled, “I’m not letting you go!” She didn’t realize at the time that I was leaning backwards. If she chose to let go, I was going to tumble off the back side of the wall. I believed in her. So did the crowd who was cheering her on! The Spartan Racer who had been behind her climbed over the wall and reached across to help us as another Spartan Racer got behind her and started pushing.
As we got her left leg over that wall, the emotions burst forth in uncontrollable sobs… it was ME who was crying! The crowd was cheering her on! Her teammates were cheering her on! So many emotions of that day all released at once as I grabbed her at the bottom of the ladder and hugged her tightly! The team laughed at the fact that I was crying!
We still had the mud crawl. I ran from the first of the team to the last, encouraging, and cheering, and redirecting! When the final one cleared the barbed wire, I had us link arms and said, “Let’s do this!” We ran through the gladiators across the finish line together! My team was THRILLED to see the blood from the scratches and scrapes! It was a personal victory for each and every one of them!
I’m still in contact with each of those ladies and have added them to my team! They are signing up for more OCR’s and are still on an incredible high from their accomplishment!
The Street Team provided this great opportunity for us to share our Spartan Spirit with our fellow athletes of the Biggest Loser Run/Walk Challenge, and for that I am grateful. That race changed me in a positive way. Yes, I sprained my ankle and tore a ligament, but I finished strong in my Elite Heat (because I had a purpose); and my team of Fab Five finished as stronger ladies because of the experience they had.
I’m 46, almost 47, and I AM A SPARTAN CHICK and STREET TEAMER! AROOOO!
Spartan isn’t just a race it’s an experience! You’ll know at the finish line. Sign up today.