There we were, sliding down the final two-hundred yards of the first ever winter spartan held on a mountain. Luckily, we were all wearing swoosh pants that allowed us to gain a lot of speed and sled down to the final obstacle before jumping over the fire to get to the finish line. As dozens of us slid down this monster of a mountain, all we could think about was wanting to go back up and do it again, but this was the end. So let me back up a little bit...
Three months ago a bunch of crazy killers from No Bull Training decided to sign up for some races to ensure that we keep our diets, sleep and nutrition in check. I remember seeing the March 4th race when I was signing up for a few races, but I didn't think much of it at the time, I just knew that we were going to do it. As the months turned into weeks and the weeks into days, we were two days away from the race. We were checking the weather reports daily, and they were all saying that it was going to be a high of seven (7) degrees and winds up to thirty miles per hour on race day. Two days out I honestly was having second thoughts, but when I say I'm going to do something, I do it.
A few car loads of us set off yesterday morning with mixed feeling. We knew we had a three and a half hour drive ahead of us before the race, so we decided to drive up and drive back in the same day instead of getting a hotel room like we usually do. Driving up was filled with nothing but laughs, we talked about everything from our kiddies to funny movies and everything in between. After the long haul, we could finally see the mountain.
As we got out of the truck, one of our teammates fell on his ass (I will not mention any names). We weren't sure if this was a bad omen or not, but we continued on anyway. We walked up to registration and it was cold, like really cold. Just standing around for thirty minutes sucked, but we were determined to get on that mountain. After getting our numbers and timer chips on, we set out for the starting line.
At the starting line we all let loose, gave out hugs and high fives and went our on ways. As we ascended the first climb, we all gradually split up. We already planned on this happening, so before the race even starts we all decide who will be sticking with who. Shortly after the race began, we watch so many people trying to climb down these steep slopes and falling, that we decided to sit on our asses and slide down. This instantly caught on quickly by everyone around us, so every time we had a big drop we all just sat down and went sledding. It was safer, easier and way more fun! After the first ten minutes out on the mountain, we were all sweating a lot, so we started to strip away layers to avoid sweating too much and becoming wet. (that's exactly how you get hypothermia)
We attacked twenty-six obstacles that day, they ranged from six-foot walls to twenty-foot rope climbs to vertical cargo nets. Some of them were quite simple like the icy barbed-wire crawl, but some were made to test your mental and physical toughness, like the sand bag carry up and down really icy slopes. As we approached each obstacle we made sure that we all helped each other out if needed. And of course, when it came to anything with heights (my biggest fear), I would get a quick earful from my teammates to "suck it up and just do it". We all need a push when it comes to things that scare us, and because of those pushes I'm happy to say that we all tackled every single obstacle. (We all missed the spear throw)
Between the car ride conversations, the snow angles being made after one of us would hit the deck, the medals being placed around your neck at the finish line, and the euphoric feeling you get after you've completed the race, you quickly realize that it's all worth it. All that work and effort pays off, all that hard work makes you a better version of yourself, and all the memories you gain and the bonds that you build with others during your journey are priceless.
After you do things like this, you gain a new respect for yourself. These races really are "game changers", they allow you to earn the confidence that most of us are looking for. It's not the actual "Spartan Race" that does this to you, it's the lifestyle and daily decisions that must be made that lead up to these races. If you want to tackle these types of challenges, you stop hanging out at bars wasting time and money every day, you stop eating fast food (as much), you get to bed a little earlier, you make training at the gym and running at the park a priority, and you make sacrifices others aren't wiling to make. You gain structure in your life, and by gaining that routine you allow yourself to have laser focus, which leads you to success.
I am fully aware that we only get approximately 29,200 days on this amazing earth (if you hit 80); and that's if we're really lucky. Personally, I really enjoy hiking mountains and being in decent shape (although, I could be better). I cant wait for the day that I can hike with my kiddies, I love the outdoors and love being active with them. I don't want them to see me as the dad who sat around drinking beer yelling at the TV screen. I found my Why, whats yours?!
Go find something that challenges you and give it all you got...