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Pushing Your Limits

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.

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