Pushing Your Limits Mentally and Physically-You Got This!
Y’all. I end every post with, “You Got This,” because I want anyone reading to always know that…whatever it is in your heart, you got this.
This past weekend, I repeated that mantra to myself as I ran the Spartan Beast race-13.1 long miles and 30 no-joke obstacles.
Things started off badly. The race was called the Chicago Beast so we (my husband and I) booked a hotel in Chicago. Turns out, the race was actually 2.5 hours from Chicago in Indiana. Ugh. Once we realized that, we set our alarms for 3:30 am and went to bed really, really early.
Gameday: We wake up at 3:30 am and are in the car by 4 am. This would give us plenty of time to get there and stretch out before our 8 am start time, right? Wrong. Turns out being 2.5 hours from Chicago means we would go through a time-zone change and not be arriving until right at our start time. Crap.
We keep driving. We arrive at the race only to find the longest race line I have ever seen to get our numbers/race package. By the time we get to the counter, both of our heats are long gone and we are put into a 9:00 am heat. Okay, cool.
Did I mention that I have heel spurs? Well, I have chronic heel spurs that won’t go away, no matter how much stretching or staying off my feet I do. It means that when they appear, it feels like every step on my right foot is like I am stepping on glass. It’s terribly painful. The week before the race, I went to the doctor to get a cortisone shot because that is one of the only things that seem to help (or at least, had in the past). Getting a shot in the heel of your foot is excruciating and people could hear me screaming from the waiting room. But hey, I needed to be able to at least walk if I had any hope of running my race! Unfortunately, cortisone is no guarantee and two days later the pain was back.
9 am-off we go. 13.1 miles of soft sand, rivers, rocks, climbing and running. My foot is throbbing, but I have shoe inserts, took a pain reliever and I am stubborn. It will not beat me.
Mile 3: My heel spur breaks in my foot. I feel it. I scream. This means bone fragments (well kind of) are in my heel crunching with each step I take. What was painful before has now increased even more. But I keep running.
Obstacle ahead-I manage to nail the monkey bars and rope climb with no issue and then I see my nemesis-the Twister. Monkey bars that spin while you hang sideways and shimmy along. I have trained for this. My upper body is strong. I hold my breath. I make it! Pride and excitement lift me up and carry me the next few miles.
I hit a few more obstacles and there she is, my other nemesis: The Bender. 10-foot high monkey-bar style metal bars that reach backwards so that you are climbing upside down (after pulling your entire body onto it 7 feet up) and then flip over it and climb down. This one slowed me down by 30 minutes at my last race as I struggled just to make the 7-foot jump and lift my body onto it. I trained hard for this one.
A lady about 10 years older than me (so in her 50s) jumps up and pulls up. She looks down at me-“you got this,” she yells, “I know you can do it.” I needed her words and I believe her. I jump, grab the bars and pull my weight up. I make it without dying. “Thank you, you are amazing” I yell as she jogs off.
Mile 9: Tyrolean Traverse Obstacle (Google it: it’s hard as shit). I wrap my legs and arms around the rope and start to crawl along, all while the rope is ripping the skin off my legs and my hands are raw (look, I don’t know what drives me to do this, but I love it). With each pull, the bell (the target) seems to get further away. “Help” I yell. But nobody comes. I keep going. After what feels like forever, I am within reach of the bell. With the last bit of energy I have, I lurch forward and reach my right arm out, hitting the bell in tandem with accidentally letting go of everything else.
I fall 10 feet to the ground landing on my back. Snap. You can hear the wind get knocked out of me. Am I dead? Did I break my back? Am I passed out? “Medic” I hear someone yell. “No, I am fine, I got this.” I scramble to my feet and jog away, praying that I don’t faint.
At the next station, I grab some water and catch my breath.
I fail the next obstacle. I do squats instead of the required burpees because I think I may faint.
I keep running.
Another girl is running next to me. We help each other at the final obstacles and cheer each other on. I am amazed by her. She is amazed by me. Before we lose each other I pat her back and tell her that she is awesome. I thank her for pushing me through.
I get to the spear throw which I have never made. I don’t make it today either, but I have caught my breath by now and do my thirty burpees.
I get to the Hercules pull-I love that one-and sail through it.
One more obstacle, the fire jump. By now, I am more hobbling than running. I do my shuffle-hobble and leap over the finish line.
My husband, who has been waiting for an hour and forty minutes (he’s basically superhuman) is at the finish line when I cross. He takes a picture and says, “Great job, babe, you did it. I was worried about you the whole time.” “Yep, you and me both,” I am thinking to myself. We high-five. We don’t hug because we are both gross. I am so proud of him. I know he is proud of me.
And…I am proud of me, too. Because for four long hours, I repeated the words that I always say to everyone else, but this times, thousands of times to myself: “You. Got. This.”
And you know what? It’s true. I got this. And so do you.
You don’t have to let fear, or pain, or anything else stop you. Ever.
You got this.