By Sharla Hoff
I am overweight, non-athletic, asthmatic, have heart problems, serious nerve damage (from a compound fracture) in my left leg and foot, an injured elbow (broke it 2 years ago) but I didn’t want be defined by my limitations. I wanted a new story to tell. It was time to change. And I did. Now, I am a Spartan.
I decided, with one week’s notice, to do the Reebok Spartan Race in the high school heat in Arizona as a reward for my son, Anthony last February. He has always struggled in school but he reached a goal he had set for himself and I promised that I’d do the same for him. We joined the race and got five other teens and one mother to join us. We were all scared and very nervous. But agreed to NOT GIVE UP.
The kids were faster than me and the other mother. So we told the kids to do their best and we would see them at the end. The entire race myself and the other mothers were excited and proud that our boys were out there somewhere and finishing. But nothing prepared me for that moment when I saw the FINISH line just past the wall and barbed wire. I was so exhausted, but knew I had to finish. Then I heard the teens running down toward the wires screaming and encouraging me. I was doing it, slowly but surely. Then almost through the wire I heard my sister (she was sweeping the course) yelling for me. She jumped in and pushed me faster and helped get me over the wall and to the end. She asked to give me my medal. As she placed the medal around my neck and gave me a hug she had tears in her eyes. My son ran up and gave me a huge tight hug with an ear-to-ear smile. While I was still wet and muddy, I knew I impressed him.
On the ride home my son told me how worried he was at some of the challenges and how I would handle them. He checked with staff several times to see if there were any injuries on the course since I was so far behind. He told me when I crossed the line he knew he had a strong mother and he was amazed and proud to be my son. I guess this race was MY reward not his. Now I am more confident that I CAN do things if I WANT them bad enough.
I plan to continue to exercise and get in better shape for the journey ahead. I had an amazing experience. Since the Arizona Race I have lost 9 inches around my waist and I have changed my diet and exercise habits. I also went to Vegas and did the Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge. I cannot thank the Spartan Race enough for helping to light this fire and determination inside of me. I’m a Spartan.
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