We Are Sparta [Spartan DC Sprint Finishers]!!!

27 Jul

Good morning friends!

Happy Sunday! I woke up sore with my back feeling twisted and knotted up. No surprise here. I did just complete the Spartan DC Sprint 4-5 mile 15 obstacle run yesterday.

The course was saturated with mud. There was mud. Mud. And more mud. Obstacles were almost always paired with mud. I didn’t realize there were so many different forms of said mud. The first few obstacles contained water with dirt-I thought that was mud. Boy was I wrong.

I met mud face-to-face. Mud was a jerk. I received no offer for an exfoliating facial. Instead, mud promised me a few kicks to the face. I paid for this mud-what do you mean there’s no spa treatment? Not even after the race to heal my sore muscles and bruised legs?

Anyways, we were acquainted with mud’s resistant demeanor when we crawled in its thickness. We crawled under a barbed wire fence while also trying to maneuver over inconveniently placed logs. We looked like flies with wet wings slogging to move but gained no momentum. The mud had the same effect. The logs scraped our chests and knees, at which point we were thankful we were clothed.

After what felt like 30 minutes, we escaped the barbed wire crawl. We were wearing mud from our shoulders to our feet-an ostentatious reminder of mud’s temperament. The weight of the mud and our clothes was intolerable if we were to continue running another 3 miles through obstacles. That’s when I made the quick decision to discard my shirt. My husband followed suit. The shirts were our saving grace during the first few obstacles but all good things come to an end.

The mud on our friend’s shirt didn’t bother him much. He was distraught over something else. Something he couldn’t discard-his shorts. The mud weighed down his shorts so much so that the threat of him losing them was very real and very probable.

Our friend’s shorts…His shorts were missing drawstrings which meant he couldn’t tighten them. They kept falling down. You can’t hold up your shorts when you need both hands to participate in the obstacles. That’s when Operation Keep My Shorts was birthed. The safety pins holding up unreadable bib numbers came to the rescue. The safety pins were strategically placed on the side of his shorts to tighten the waistband. We looped one pin into another. Viola. It worked. We were a go. Not two minutes later his shorts began to fall. Our Operation commenced, again. Fail. Again. Fail. Repeat. Then my husband suggested that he take the pockets of his shorts and tie them together within. Brilliant! The pockets were tied into a knot in the inside. We safety pinned the knot probably more than necessary to ensure their was no liability of his shorts falling down. Operation Keep My Shorts was a success.

The miles and the obstacles continued. There was more mud. The trail running meant there was more uphill climbing. The obstacles got more difficult and laborious. And all the while, our friend’s shorts, jimmy rigged and all, persevered!

There were so many obstacles I can write about. Moving cement blocks with a chain rope. The mountains of mud and board climbs, the lifting of sandbags up and down a mountain, etc. But one stood out for me and made me feel like a champion. I mean Spartan!

It was the rope climb. We were immersed in watery mud and had to climb to the top. My shoes were wet. I was wet. The rope was wet. The knots in the rope obviously catered to someone much taller than my 5’2″ stature. I fought through it. I pulled my weight up, and up again. I was finally near the top, reaching to ring the bell when I lost my grip. Whoa! I caught myself but couldn’t find the knot to rest my foot on. That’s when I used my thighs to balance me while I pulled myself up again. I reached to ring the bell. My thighs were thankful to hear the bell because the rope burn was over. I descended down and my thighs graciously welcomed the cool body of muddy water.

Next up was my husband. Wow, he was quite the Spartan. He went up in what I swear was less than a minute.

The rest of the course was exhausting, exhilarating, and grimy!

What we learned from this Spartan course was that the obstacles cannot be completed easily individually. These obstacles were made to be completed by teams. For example, we had to climb wall after wall where each wall stood taller than the previous. My husband instinctively put his hands together to act as a step for my foot, when another participator joined his efforts and did the same thing for my other foot. Seconds later their collaboration helped to hoist me up the wall leaving me with only a few inches to scale myself. Our friend was not a part of this transaction for good reasons. He was assisting others by acting like a human ladder, propelling one Spartan after another over the towering wall. Teamwork was obligatory if you wanted to finish.

There were hills of mud that guaranteed we would misstep, lose traction, slip backwards, inhale some mud, and begin again at the starting point. Thank goodness for random acts of kindness and by that I mean, random people laying flat on top of the hill stretching their arms to help pull fellow Spartans up. We all returned the favor. Teamwork.

My point is, by being a participant at the race we all had a perceived sense of camaraderie. We all had an inherent disposition to help each other. There was no time to beat, no PR to aim for, no runner ahead that you felt inclined to pass, and no competition to out perform anyone else. This race was about challenging yourself while encouraging and aiding others other along the way. It taught me to a smile through the grit and the grime because during this race you come to the realization at some point that you’re stronger than you think.

And smile we did. We all had smiles when we crossed the finish line-despite the 15 arduous obstacles and terrain along the way.

In addition, our friend’s shorts managed to stay up! One of the major victories of the day and all the more reason to smile! They appear rather short in pictures so I hope you now understand as to why!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Sunday!

Happy running! Happy riding! Happy rest day! (I haven’t decided what option I’m going elect).

XO

Valgal

I’ve added some pictures post-race which are post-shower. I can’t wait to see the pictures from the race! I’ll be sure to post!

I’ve also added a picture from my date night post-Spartan race. Amazing how we clean up! 🙂

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