One of the things that help us stay young is to keep growing by doing and learning new things. As I was coming up to my 50th birthday last fall, I was thinking about some things I could do to celebrate and challenge myself over the next year. What could I do that was out of my routine and different?
Someone suggested a Spartan Race. I did not know much about it but thought it sounded fun, so I signed up. The race is a 5K run with 20 different obstacles on it.
Limited on my Greek history, I had heard of the Spartans but didn’t know they were a leading military force of the time. Eventually, the Persians began to overpower them with sheer numbers. One of the stories goes that because of their skills and physical prowess, an army of 300 Spartans held back 180,000 Persians for three days before being defeated.
The race models the Spartans and their grit and physical fitness.
Being my first race, I was excited but a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. But I knew I was ready to put my best effort forward. I didn’t go into it cold turkey. I workout regularly and was prepared, but this was different.The hardest part was it was something new I had never done before. I was venturing into the unknown.
At one point before the race, the “What Ifs?” showed up. What if I don’t make an obstacle? What if I fall off the monkey bars? Can I pull the sled? And so on! I had to quickly stop my mind from going there by telling myself it’s no big deal if I do my best and still can’t do the obstacle. I can take the penalty of 30 burpees for each missed obstacle. It’s not going to be fun, but I can do it. With that, it settled my mind, and I was ready.
As I started running, I had to tell myself to slow down and find a speed I could go for a long time. It’s easy to get eager because I’m excited and want to take off at full speed. I have learned from other long runs not to do that, take it easy, find an even pace, or I will burn out part way through. As I settled into the run, I was over the first obstacle before I knew it and off to the next. I was able to keep that same pace the whole race. Each obstacle had its challenge, but I am proud to say I made each one and did not have to do any burpees.
I had a great time. The hardest part was the fear of not knowing what to expect. Now that I have done it, would I do it again? You bet!
I challenge you. What is something you want to do, but the fear of the unknown is holding you back?
*Burpee- strenuous exercise requiring you to go from a standing position to the floor facedown, to a pushup, to jumping up in the air. “ugh, the worst.“