Three months ago, I signed a waiver acknowledging the possibility of serious injuries or death before running my first Spartan Race on an island in the Bahamas.
My only goal for the race: survive.
Spartan Races are broken into three categories based on distance and number of obstacles:•Sprint (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles) •Super (8-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles) •Beast (12-14 miles, 30-35 obstacles) I tackled the Sprint, and on May 17th I'm running a Super in Austin, Texas. Before my first race, nervous energy surged through my body. But after a few obstacles and about 60 burpees (every failed obstacle demands 30 burpees), I felt empowered. I knew obstacle races improved physical fitness, but it wasn't until I jumped over a fire pit to cross the finish line that I realized they can change your life. Here are five things that happen to you after your first race: 1. You realize the actual meaning of "being a team player."
I helped my mom over the eight-foot wall — and she helped me, too. We hear words like teamwork tossed around at the office all the time, but they take on a whole new meaning after an experience like this.2. You build major mental and physical endurance.
Toward the end of the race, my energy was in short supply, but I continued to push through. In life, we often experience never-ending weeks that leave us wishing we could crawl into bed and sleep for hours. Building physical and mental endurance helps us survive until the weekend.3. Failure is NBD.
If I had quit after my first failed obstacle, I would have lost out on the rush of crossing the finish line. Even the toughest racers were forced to do burpees after a failed an obstacle (like the almost-impossible spear throw). Learning to overcome failure and grow from it builds character and strengthens self-worth.4. You become your biggest cheerleader.
From struggling during the rope climb to panting toward the finish line, I was forced to keep moving forward. When you’re self-motivated, you are more likely to persevere and achieve your goals.5. You find new ways to cope with stress.
I signed my life away before the race. Believe me, I was stressed out before I started running. But once the race got going, I discovered my coping method: laughter. Being able to smile in the face of extreme obstacles is half the battle.
Many people think you finish these races covered in mud. I came out of my first race mud-free and damp because of water obstacles, but that may be different for future races – it's all part of the thrill.
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