Things have been crazy busy again lately, but I’m back! This past weekend I ran my first ever Spartan Race (eek!) and then last night, I ran the first of the Good Times Series 5k carrying a big cardboard box. I know I need to explain more (like why I would run 3.2 miles in sweltering temps carrying a large empty box), but first let me rewind to the craziness that was this past weekend.
Not only did I run my first Spartan Race this past weekend, but it was a super (a sprint is 3-5 miles, a super is 8-9, and then there’s the beast, which is 12+ miles). Essentially, it would be like deciding to run a 10k without having ever tried a 5k – doable but maybe not the best idea.
Obviously, I’m pretty used to your traditional running races at this point- this, I WAS NOT used to. If I had to pick one word to describe the experience for me, it would be “humbling.” Not in a bad way, but in a “holy crap, these obstacles are really freaking hard” way.
Luckily, I did this with a team of 3 other friends. I can honestly say I never would’ve made it through without them- we gave each other boosts to climb up walls that were slick with rain (did I mention it was pouring when we ran?), we motivated each other when certain obstacles just seemed impossible, and we waded through more mud than I could ever have imagined together.
My training for this was definitely half-hearted. I only found out a few weeks before the race that I would actually be running. If I had known sooner, I would have done more upper-body work. Doing the race and going through the different obstacles showed me that this is my biggest weakness, without a doubt. But you know what? I still had fun. Yes, I had moments when I was hanging on to the edge of a wall 8 feet off the ground, where I would get really freaked out and I’d say “I’m good, just help me down, I’ll do burpees!” And my teammates never let me give up. And that was pretty cool.
This leads me to my biggest piece of advice if you’re considering trying your first obstacle course race: Do it with friends. Could you do it alone? Certainly. But frankly, it’s kind of nice to have someone you know beside you to give you both the mental and physical boosts you may need. That being said, I did meet a lot of very friendly and helpful runners along the course that gave this race a really nice sense of community. After all, we were all crazy enough to be out running 8 miles in pouring rain through mud that was up past our knees at various points.
Doing this obstacle course race has really given me a whole new appreciation for a nice, relaxing half marathon! 😉 No walls to get over or heavy buckets of gravel to carry? What a breeze! Will I do more obstacle course races? Probably at some point. I know I can do better on some of those obstacles, so as always – my mission is simply to just keep getting better. 🙂 That’s why I race.
Have you ever tried an obstacle course race? How about something that just ended up being a lot harder than you expected?