RUNNING MY FIRST SPARTAN RACE

A group of people standing on top of a ramp

Want to run an endurance race? Here's a little inspiration from my first Spartan Sprint to get you started.

For a little over two years, I wanted to run a Spartan Obstacle Course Race.

The photos online of people trudging through the mud, jumping over walls and crawling under barbed wire intrigued me. In my mind, Spartans were strong, fit and fierce.

I wanted to be one of those people.

But back-to-back pregnancies and fear of not being fit enough forced me to put it off as one of those things I would do one day.

Spartan Races are for hardcore fitness folks and I am far from that I thought. I was a yo-yo dieter who had lost and gained weight more times than I could count.

THE TURNING POINT

Before I began what I like to call “my fit mom journey” I set small goals like running a mile in under 10 minutes and doing a single pull-up. Since I was shooting for the stars, I also set a goal to run my first Spartan Race too.

After losing over 50 pounds of baby weight with months of consistent resistance training and a little cardio, it was time. Since I had already accomplished my other goals the Spartan was the last thing on my list for the year.

So I told my husband about my goal. He said, let’s do it and signed us up right away. We chose to do the Spartan Sprint, 20 obstacles over 3-5 miles. The shortest of the Spartan races.  

Once he paid the entry fee there was no turning back. By the way, there are no refunds on endurance races.

TRAINING FOR SPARTAN

Once we were all signed up I had a few weeks to get ready. I had been weight training and running for quite a few months so I felt I had a pretty good foundation. Honestly, I had not clue what to expect but I used the Spartan to help me remain consistent and up my intensity in the gym. The Spartan inspired me to run faster and lift heavier.

RACE DAY

The morning of race day I was extremely excited but also a little nervous. I didn’t know if I’d be able to finish the race and complete the majority of the obstacles. Although I had been training for a couple of months, building my endurance and strength, I was still a little intimidated by the whole experience.

When I shared my fears with my husband he assured me I was ready. I knew he was right. So I pushed doubt aside and decided that I would do my best, run my race at my own pace, and have fun!

ARRIVING AT THE RANCH

Even though I started the day a little nervous once we arrived at the Ranch the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was super supportive. Volunteers cheered us on and experienced racers encouraged newbies like us.

Once the race started I realized I was in great company and there were racers of all fitness levels. Throughout the race I found myself helping and encouraging people I never met before and being inspired and supported just the same.

nikki spartan race official

My confidence grew with each mile and obstacle. I was having a great time. Me. The woman who said she hated running was running up and down the hills of Malibu and enjoying it.

The atmosphere was electric. Everything was going well until…

THE MONKEY BARS

Doubt, as it does sometimes, crept back in on the monkey bars. And these weren’t normal monkey bars these were widely spaced, Spartan style monkey bars.

My goal was to try each obstacle no matter how intimidating and ask for help when needed.

Sensing my hesitation, my husband offered to let me ride on his shoulders to “complete” the obstacle but I declined. I wanted to give it a try even though I had NEVER been able to do the monkey bars, not even in grade school.

My husband went first. Then I climbed up to the starting platform as a growing line of eager racers lined up behind me. I  reached out for the first bar…and froze.

I couldn’t do it so I let the young lady behind me go instead. Watching her swing from bar to bar inspired me to try again. If I didn’t I knew I would regret it big time.

LETTING GO

So, after she had gone almost midway I put my hand on the bar and let go using my momentum to propel me forward.

Before I knew it I was at the halfway point and had actually caught up with the young lady ahead of me. I could hear my husband cheering me on and letting me know I was almost to the end.

As I reached the end platform he swept me up in a big bear hug. Without saying a word we both knew how much that moment meant to me and how much of a mental and physical obstacle I had just overcome.

After that point, I felt unstoppable!

I knew that I would make it to the end and despite being kicked in the head with a cleat (I’m not sure why anyone would wear soccer cleats in an endurance race) and slicing my hand on a rock I would not quit.

Not this time!

I ran, jumped, crawled, and climbed my way to the finish line. As I jumped over the burning flames I felt like I had won the NBA Championship or the Superbowl.

nikki spartan race official3

Have you considered running a Spartan, marathon, triathlon, or 5k?

If so, don’t think about it too much, just Do it!

What I learned throughout this process is that most of us totally overthink these type of things.

Yes, there are super fit folks out there but there’s also moms like us. Women who are just looking to push themselves and see what they are made of while having fun and getting a little muddy.

So, if you’re up for the adventure sign up and start training. Or not, my husband didn’t train at all. (Psst…want to know how I trained for the Sprint? Grab a copy of my book Better After Baby for the exact workout plan I used to prep my mind and body for my first Spartan).

The commitment makes consistency with training and nutrition easier. It gives you a goal.

Once you arrive, enjoy the experience. Make some new friends. Run your own race. Everyone gets a medal.

I promise you won’t regret it and you might even surprise yourself, I know I did. Don’t let fear or doubt stop you…you can do it!

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