“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” Dr. Seuss.
I had yet another running breakthrough last weekend. One of my 2015 running goals was to do a Spartan Sprint. I’d always see pictures and little videos of Spartan races, considering it the ultimate form of badassery…..and I’ve never been an athlete, let alone badass. So early in 2015, I looked up the Spartan Series and saw that the LA Sprint would be on the December 5th/6th weekend. A full 9 months in advance, I made the commitment and registered. I sent an email to the group of ladies that was doing the Chardonnay 5 K with me to see if they were interested as well, and only one of them took the bait. While my friends will happily do a 5K in exchange for some Chardonnay, it seemed that doing a 5 mile course with about 25 obstacles and a mud bath bonus did not appeal to them. Fortunately, the one friend who did decide to join me has more energy than the energizer bunny. She’ll hoot and holler enough to make any team of two sound like a team of ten.
What I failed to take into account when I registered for the Spartan was that I would be smack in the middle of long-run marathon training in December. Once I got the L.A. Leggers training schedule and saw that the 18 mile run was on the day before the Spartan, I went into a little mini-panic state. I was not about to bail out on my friend who had signed up for Spartan based on my suggestion, and I was not going to try to do my first ever 18 mile run by myself on a different weekend. Miss type A plan every detail of her life out to a T had made a huge planning mistake and would have to just deal with it.
I started to dread that upcoming weekend. I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy a couple libations or stay out late on Friday night because of the 18-miler Saturday (my husband and I have a regular Friday night date for a few years now), and I wouldn’t even be able to make up for missed margaritas on Saturday night because I was getting up at 4:30 am on Sunday for the Spartan. After spending Monday and Tuesday with dread and unhappiness and making statements like “I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the weekend” or “I wish I could just fast forward to next Monday,” I realized I was being a 42-year-old toddler.
I’m the one who decided to run a marathon. I’m the one who put the Spartan on her bucket list. I don’t have to run a marathon, I want to…I get to. I get to run 18 miles Saturday and then meet my amazing kick-ass friend on Sunday for a Spartan. And just as simple as that, I ended my temper tantrum and flipped my attitude.
Part of the new plan was to move Friday to Thursday….so we went out for jalapeño margaritas on Thursday…..Thursday being the new Friday for the next couple of months and Friday being hydration day… and Friday night I still went our for an early night of carb-loading with pizza and fries.
I’m not lying when I say that with my new attitude, Saturday’s 18 mile run was as close to a breeze as an 18 mile run can possibly be. At the end of 18 miles, I knew that I had at least another 4 miles in me, and if I absolutely had to do it, yes, another 8.2 as well. For the rest of the day, I was pretty much like a crazy person who is happy and giddy for no apparent reason because of how great that run went. Periodically I’d remind my kids and husband of what I’d done that day… “You know, your mom ran 18 miles today” (eyes rolling, they could care less)….or “You are married to a woman who can run 18 miles” (his response: ya, that’s crazy….not that you are crazy, but crazy that you can do that..and you’re a little crazy)…. I may have repeated those statements to them every hour on the hour…back to being a super annoying toddler who keeps saying the same thing over and over and over until it is NOT CUTE ANYMORE.
The next morning, I woke up ready to go before my 4:45 am alarm even had a chance to go off. I had some minimal soreness in my legs…minimal. I was just excited. As for the Spartan…..if you have ever even thought about doing one for a second, you should do it. It was so well-organized and so absolutely fun, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It took us about 2.5 hours to finish the course….but we were really doing more of the Spartan Stroll rather than the Spartan Sprint in between obstacles because we were just enjoying ourselves and the experience. Since I am always honest, I will tell you that there were a few obstacles I chose not to even try. These involved having to jump down from a high wall, and I did not want to do anything where I would risk any type of ankle sprain or injury 2 months before my marathon. And then there were quite a few that I just could not at all do…that required upper body strength and strategy beyond anything I had….and so I had to opt for doing a few burpees at those stations instead. (You are supposed to do 30 burpees at each obstacle you can’t do, but no one was counting and I was really there for the experience and not to prove that I could do burpees). I must also mention that most of the other participants were more than willing to give you a boost up and help you complete any obstacle you couldn’t do. But most of the obstacles….swim through mud, crawl under barbed wire, climb high over and down wobbling structures, throw a spear, carry a heavy sand bag up and down a mountain, jump over fire( sort of)….I did. I felt like I got the full spartan experience. (I should say that my energizer bunny friend was able to do almost everything, and in half the time that I would do it, and then she waited for me to finish each one because that is the kind of amazing person she is.)
On Monday after my 2 day “dreaded weekend”, I was barely sore. I am in awe of what you can train a body to do. And what have I done in the last 9 days since this all happened, gone around on an absolute high and announced to everyone that I ran 18 miles and then did a Spartan the next day….everyone….multiple times…. I’m sure everyone is really really sick and tired of me at this point, but I don’t care. I’m just a toddler who is learning to put herself in a timeout when being overwhelmed and overstimulated is making her have a tantrum, and emerging when she’s calmed herself down and ready to test her limits yet again.…. this Saturday: 20.