4:00am September 17, 2016
Alarm goes off. It’s race day. I had been preparing for months and the day was finally here. I was excited, nervous, and anxious; practically every emotion there is to feel I was feeling. My mom, Tami, and I left the house promptly at 4:45am and headed down to the Pala Raceway in Pala, California…
3 hours and 31 minutes later, I had completed my first Spartan Beast. This course was a long 12 miles of hills, sand, rocks, and 30 obstacles spread throughout. It not only challenged one physically, but mentally as well. I had been sick the past two weeks prior so I had missed 11 days of workouts in my prep but I still felt good going into the race. I had hydrated the best I could, was properly and sufficiently carb loaded, and was mentally ready to go. However no matter how much you think you’re prepared, you never know what is going to happen and what obstacles you might face…pun intended. Starting at mile 5 and continuing throughout the rest of the race, I experienced some of the worst leg cramping that I have ever experienced in my life. Being sick the weeks prior had left me so depleted. At times I was completely immobile and was just bent over on the side of the course because I was incapable of straightening my legs without both of them cramping simultaneously. Although this setback killed my pace and left me questioning if I could finish the race, I experienced an immense amount of generosity from other Spartans running past me. The number of people who asked me if I was okay or if I needed a gel pack, salt pill, or mustard to fight the cramping just blew me away. One man whom I didn’t know ran past and said, “Just walk it off! You got this!” I was starting to get inside my head and panic a little because I was starting to really question if I was going to be able to finish the race. Something about those simple words knocked me into my senses and I felt this inner strength that told me I just needed to keep moving, even if it meant walking. The sense of community at the Spartan races is truly remarkable. In a world where we turn on the news daily and see turmoil every which way, it was refreshing to see the kindness of human nature in such pure form.
This race reminded me of the power of words and a positive attitude. I was starting to lose my positivity and mental toughness but the great words of encouragement around me brought me back up. As a trainer, I do my best to encourage my clients daily and to build them up so they feel confident in doing something that I KNOW they can do. It is so rewarding seeing someone accomplish a task they never thought was possible. During this race, I was on the other side. People were encouraging me and it was exactly the little boost that I needed. I tried to pass this same kindness on to fellow Spartans suffering my same fate, as I continued the race once my cramping subsided. Although this race didn’t go as anticipated, it was very humbling and made me feel a sense of community. I took away from this weekend, that even the smallest amount of encouragement or kind words CAN make a huge difference to someone. Remember to be mindful of what you say because words are powerful. Be kind to those around you because you really don’t know what someone may be struggling with internally. A few simple words can change one’s attitude in a matter of seconds. I want to thank those amazing people who helped me throughout my race this past weekend. It truly made a difference and didn’t go unnoticed in the slightest.