The day has come and gone...a week now to be exact and I can't believe it went so fast! The day is still kind of a blur to me. Just like a graduation, a wedding, or anything else you spend days, weeks, months, preparing for, anticipating and then in a blink of an eye...it's done! Lot's of people swirling about, your mind fixated on just getting through the day, but going in a million different directions all at once, and yet feeling you have no idea what you're doing. Lack of sleep from the night before, a few hour car ride,and feeling scared to death are what proceeded the big day. My niece and I were literally screaming with excitement as we topped the mountain and saw the official Spartan signs. Pulling into the parking lot we about pooped our pants seeing the gigantic hills we KNEW we'd be climbing that day. We found our way around, to the bathrooms, got something to eat and linked up with our crew.
I had my trusty camera man with me, aka hubby, as he tags along with me to every race, never complaining and always there to support me emotionally and physically with whatever I need him to do. At the starting line I was ready to jump out of my skin with fear and excitement. As we started off up the hill....sorry I mean ski slope...it suddenly became apparent to me that I was FREAKING out. I felt like I couldn't breathe, I started wondering what the HECK I was getting myself into! My adrenaline was going and all I felt like it was doing was making my heart pound heavier and faster in my chest and wasn't helping me up this massive hill! I had ran into Aja, my friend from Vermont who I've been talking to FOREVER on Facebook and was so incredibly excited to be running the race with. I told her that I wasn't sure, but if I didn't know better I was in the beginning of having a full on panic attack. I trudged up the hill little by little realizing that this isn't going to be a running race...it will be a HIKE and I'm ok with that. Slow down my breathing and just concentrate on what's in front of me, not what might lie ahead. I have problems in real life with that same concept. I always want to be a "what if" kinda person and worry about different scenarios and things that lie way ahead. What I need to learn to focus more on is the here and now...what is lying directly in front of me. Pay attention to that, and don't worry about anything else, it will all work out in the end.
The race took us through lots of trails, LOTS of hills, rocky terrain and of course lots of obstacles. I was able to do all of the obstacles minus the ones that I KNEW I wasn't going to complete. Even things I thought I would do ok with seemed like a breeze. The hardest obstacle was the sand bag carry. We carried a Spartan pancake, which is a 20lb sand bag a 1/4 mile down and back up a double black diamond ski slope! My friend Eric, who I met through my accountability group, ended up being my other partner in crime throughout the race. Aja was our ultimate motivator as she blasted through most obstacles (especially the sandbag carry) with ease.
Through more obstacles we went; through mud, water, barbed wire, pulling a cement block, flipping tires, traverse wall, spear through and the infamous fire jump! I ended up doing 120 burpees total, penalties for not being able to do some obstacles. The things I need to work on for next time are the things I knew I wasn't prepared for, the rope climb, monkey bars, traverse wall, and spear throw.
I made it to the finish line feeling extremely accomplished and dumbfounded knowing that I actually just finished my first Spartan race, something I had been dreaming about for the past year! I gave my husband, John, a kiss and he kept telling me over and over again how proud he was of me.
They say there is a HUGE percentage of people that return the next year to run in a race after being a spectator. John often talks about starting to run after coming to my races. I've now run six 5k's, was on a marathon relay team, one 10k, and a 5 mile trail race. After each race I hear him talking about how cool it would be to start running with me and to get in better shape. This is coming from a now 40 year old who has smoked 1-3 packs of cigarette's per day for the past 20 years!! OH yeah, and he's a type 1 juvenile diabetic! His excitement usually fades over the next 2-3 days and he never starts anything. On the way home after the Spartan John said he'd like to do the race with me the next year. We joked about how he says that after all my races and give it a few days and we'll see how serious he is! Even John wasn't sure the feeling was going to last and we decided I better not hold my breathe. The next day John started talking about his "plan" and how he was going to accomplish this massive feat. He told me he was obviously going to have to quit smoking. I've also heard this a million times over the last few months and have yet to see it happen. I love my husband dearly, but I also know that addictions can consume someone, after all, my addiction to food still likes to rear it's ugly head on a daily basis!
A few days went by and John starts talking to me about an app he downloaded on his phone, Couch to 5k. Excuse me?? I don't think I heard you properly!! REALLY?? Wow, I'm really starting to think he's serious! THEN he tells me that he wants to go yard saling to find some exercise shorts! OK, now I'm starting to think, who are you and what'd you do with my husband?! He had a few packs of cigarettes left and decided that when he was done with them, which should take him to Friday he was DONE! Holy crap I think he's really serious! Yesterday came and he still had his ambition. About 8:30pm last evening he smoked his last cigarette!! It has been over 24 hours since he has smoked!! For anyone that knows John this is huge, I mean HUGE!! Today has been rough. He's going through some serious withdrawal symptoms. He's getting fits of energy where he feels like he just needs to shake. He's gone through almost 3 packs of gum and is eating like a teenage boy that just came home from football practice. But he's doing it!! It gets better... We went today and found 2 pairs of exercise shorts and spent money we didn't have (but he needed new shoes anyhow) and got him a pair of running shoes. We got home from the store and within 20 minutes he was all geared up and ready to go for his first run!! We went to the trail that I started on, it's nice and flat on macadam and lots of shade, and John completed his first day of Couch to 5k!! He's already been looking at race calenders to try and find his goal race! I am SO incredibly proud of him and realize that this is his first step in the right direction to change his life, to get healthy, and to experience the same joy that I had crossing the finish line of my first Spartan race!! Here's to the next year of accomplishments and now getting to do it with my husband not only cheering me on...but at my side!
|After John's first run/walk using Couch to 5k. Total distance about 1.75 miles! (he even added a little extra running at the end because he felt so good!)|