Monday, November 9, 2015

I Am A Spartan

I am not an adventurous person. My idea of the perfect 4 hours is sitting somewhere warm with a book and something yummy to drink. I’m all about the sitting. The staying still. I want to just be. I’m sure that sounds like I’m lazy. I’m not. I’m just always moving and sometimes it gets exhausting. And I’m just not naturally that person who gets excited about doing more stuff that makes me tired. I say all of that to give you a good idea of my state of mind when we set off Friday evening to be a part of our first Spartan Beast…. actually our first race of any kind ever ever. I’m telling you I’ve never even run a 5K or one of those Color/Glow/Hot Chocolate runs. Typically the Spartan Beast is 13 miles long over various terrain and 30 plus obstacles. Not exactly coffee and the latest post apocalyptic fiction.

I signed our family up for this race four months ago….maybe more. It’s all a blur. But long enough ago that it didn’t scare me…then. A week before our race I started to think that maybe I needed to prepare. You know, like prepare by shopping for cute DriFit clothes and a cute running belt to carry all my stuff in while I run. So I start reading blogs about the race and they start like this…”so you’ve been training for the last 16 weeks for this Spartan Race and now you need to know what to take?” Uh what?!?! 16 weeks of training?!? Hmmmmm….not so much. I maybe get to do CrossFit 2 times a week if I don’t get caught in the office taking care of actual business or playing chauffer for my kids. But whatever, I’ve got a Reebok DriFit shirt that says Spartan on it! I’m ready…ish.

Let me quickly jump in here and talk about the cost of this race. We signed up early enough to get a discount. But after signing the kids up for their race and applying the insurance we paid over $300. Then due to my blogging research I had to buy the following: 
Moisture wicking leggings for both me and Levi (that’s right…Levi wore leggings. And they were sexy. I don’t know how but they were) 
DriFit top 
New sports bra (I had no justification for this purchase but I’m sure my boobs required new running gear too)
Running belt (I didn’t use this during the race because the cool kids laughed at me.) Gel pack…lots of them. 
Non cotton socks (we only needed 1 pair each but they were on sale so I went ahead and bought everything they had...I could always store the extra in my running belt if I got kinda wet...It's sweet to look back on how naive I was.) 
We had to get two of every flavor Energy jellybeans…Best purchase ever!!!! I popped one jellybean every mile and it saved my life and my sanity to have that one tiny luxury in the midst of my suffering. 
Air mattress. 
Hotel room because the race was in Glen Rose at 8am. 
The Fancy Expensive Level car wash plus an additional fee for all the mud because in order to park my pretty little shiny Lexus we had to go off-roading and park in a mud pit. 
Meals…not paleo at ALL. I had cheese dip people!!! 
At least $100 worth of cooler snacks and water that we weren’t allowed to take into the race grounds.
Double water bill because it took washing our clothes multiple times and I’m pretty sure our septic system light started blinking because of all the small rocks. Whoops!!! 

We waited too late before making our hotel reservations and everything was booked. EVERYTHING. The closest we could get to the race was an hour away. But our sweet friends and running partners graciously offered their extra room at the vintage (I’m being kind here) inn on the Granbury downtown square, The Nut House.

So picture this. Torrential rain. The night before Halloween. Somewhere close to 9pm Levi, the kids, my mom, and I all arrive at The Nut House. Downstairs looks like an old candy shop and we are greeted by a woman, who I am sure is a lovely person but for the sake of painting a picture you should know that both eyes pointed in different directions, there was more hair on her face then on the top of her head, lots of moles, a raspy, coarse voice and walked with a cane. Addie was not loving it. We went upstairs, checked out our room. It isn’t bad. The furniture is just all very antiquey, floors are creeky and there are a ton of old pictures of people who were obviously trying to kill the photographer with their death stare. The bathroom has an attic access that looks like it has been used recently by the amount of weird gray stuff hanging out of it. I MacGyvered a lock on the bathroom door using one of my precious rubber band hair ties and felt confident that when the serial killer came down out of the attic he would be trapped in the bathroom until we had time to escape.

After several conversations about how Addie should not be scared (even though ALL arrows pointed to get the heck out of there), Levi reluctantly gave up his spot in the bed and joined Jack on the air mattress leaving me to defend myself against the tiny blond ninja. Unfortunately I didn’t have to even build the wall of pillows because I woke halfway through the night so stinkin’ sick! I made my way over the creaky floor, unlocked the bathroom door ready to accept my fate should the serial killer be waiting. I then spent the next two and a half hours throwing my guts up and trying to get some rest on the bathroom floor despite the creepy attic access hovering over my little green head. I managed to make it back to bed, sleep for one more hour and then it was race time. So much for that carb load the night before.

As we were leaving, the dude on the early shift asked me if we had any “experiences” in our room. I stared at him thinking, “How did you know I was throwing up!?! Was that you in that attic?!?” But then he proceeds to tell me that the room we stayed in is well known for ghost experiences and most guests say that they felt a man get in bed with them in the middle of the night!!! So while I’m throwing up, my baby girl may have had a man ghost crawl into bed with her!?!?! Seriously no words!!! We grabbed our free taffy from the candy store and ran!

Well, actually we drove. And then we rolled slowly. The parking conditions at the race were AWFUL. JUST TERRIBLE. We were stuck in Spartan traffic for over two hours. I had to pee so badly my eyes were watering. Levi drank an entire bottle of coconut water just so he could have an empty bottle to pee in….twice! And I know that sounds disgusting but it was less disgusting than all the bare body parts we were seeing out of our car window as our fellow runners relieved themselves on the side of the road. One chick finally got out of the car and it broke the dam. People were appearing all around us, pulling down their moisture wicking leggings and just letting it go….let it go, let it go, I’m one with the wind and skyyyyyy!!! Oh lordy, I clearly need some adult time.

I was too dignified to potty in public and was so excited to finally see porta-potties. I have never used a porta-potty before but I was imagining it would be like an airplane bathroom. I was wrong. I was soooooo wrong. Porta-potties are the most disgusting, vile things ever ever ever! I can’t believe I ever thought that was preferential to baring it all in front of hundreds of strangers. I knew then that this race was going be tough. The people that run these races truly are beasts if they can stomach those putrid blue poo coffins.

The kids had their own 1 mile Spartan Race with obstacles and mud. Addie refused to run…which made perfect sense to me. I was really doubting my own sanity at this point. But Jack! Man that kid was amazing. He ran with his “best friend who is a girl” and her little brother. They worked as a team and finished the race together with huge grins across their faces. Hope ignited. Okay, I can do this. My kid just did this. Surely I can do the grown up version right? It was time. Mom took all four kids while Levi, our two darling friends and teammates, and myself made our way to the starting line. Oh, but wait, we had to actually go over an obstacle before we could even get to the finish line but it was this little four foot wall and I totally spider-manned that obstacle. FIST PUMP!

Three miles later I’m dying. I’m internally screaming to run. Crazy right? But there was so much mud that we never could pick up the pace and stretch our muscles. The mud would just suck our shoes off and if you weren’t careful you could sink down too far and twist your ankle. Our teammates were so patient with me and pretended like I wasn’t slowing them down. The obstacles continued to get harder and harder. It was this weird mix of wishing we could stop clomping through the mud only to have to climb a mountain holding a 5 gallon bucket filled with rocks and begging for the mud to suck me into the earth again. It was always different but always bad. Well, not always. There were some really awesome moments.

The landscape was beautiful and I had the wonderful fortune to chase after the cutest booty most of the race. Speaking of that cute booty, that sexy husband of mine was just absolutely incredible on the Spartan. It was like he was made for it. He would hurl me over the massive wall and then spring over like he had wings. Seriously those cartoon hearts were beaming out of my eyes every time Levi killed an obstacle. And oh how I loved running with my friend with all of her experienced advice. She was incredible to see just push through those obstacles. There were two obstacles where we had to climb mountains while carrying really heavy stuff. She just hoisted that load (which almost weighed as much as her) and plowed ahead. I had to take breaks...lots of breaks. She pushed on regardless of whether or not her arm fell off from the insane weight. She was amazing to witness. Such an inspiration.

As we neared the end with only 1.5 miles to go, we had to submerge our tired bodies into a freezing, brain-eating, amoeba infested, stagnant pond and swim to the other side. The swimming wasn’t really all that bad. I mean it sucked but it was once again just a different kind of suck. But the really bad part was the getting out. My muscles cramped up so much from that frigid water that I could barely extend my legs out. I pretty much shuffled for the next mile and a half. We tackled more obstacles and when I say tackled I mean Levi picked me up and carried me through a couple of them. I’m telling you, he was in his element.

But then I saw it…the pit of fire. I have never been so happy to have to leap over flames (not that I’ve ever had that opportunity before this) because that blessed finish line was right on the other side! I looked over to my left and saw our dirty little kids just cheering us on with all their might and somehow I managed to muster enough energy to leap over the flames feeling victorious and accomplished.

That feeling lasted all of two seconds. The moment I stopped moving I started to freeze from my wet clothing…moisture wicking my a$$. I didn’t even want to take pictures with our medals. I got my free beer but didn’t even drink it. All I wanted was warmth, food and sleep. We parted with our Spartan teammates and loaded our muddy, disgusting bodies into my dirty car and I plowed into a bag of salt and vinegar chips while Levi proved that my Lexus is indeed four-wheel drive.

I woke up the next morning unable to move without wincing in pain. I walked like a 130 year old with a stick up her butt all the way to the bathroom, started the tub, poured in a bucket of Epson salt and just kinda leaned over the side until my body plopped into the healing water. And wow! It was miraculous! I felt so much better after and that’s when the crazy set in. While that Epsom salt cured all that ailed us, Levi and I decided we are totally going for the Trifecta next year…Sprint, Super, and Beast! I really expected this to be more like giving birth. You know, you swear you are NEVER doing that again until several years later once the memory of the horrific pain dissipates. It was really just such a terrible and wonderful experience and I honestly am looking forward to accomplishing our next Trifecta goal.

Despite the fact that I am still suffering from the poison ivy I contracted while scooting my booty down the mountain I am so incredibly proud to be a Spartan. I really encourage you to take a leap and just sign up for something that scares you. Be smarter than me and actually train for it though. Trust me when I say that I never ever ever thought in a million years I would torture myself with an obstacle race for fun but there is something incredibly empowering about having the opportunity to test your determination, abilities, and willpower. Plus I now know I am going to totally rock the zombie apocalypse…and be the best dressed. I already have the moisture wicking outfit and matching running belt!