“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Spartan Meme
That statement sums up the last year for me. It’s true in a way that’s bittersweet but incredibly empowering.
So, in honor of strength I’m doing my first blog giveaway.
In the next few days (just as soon as I figure out the ins and outs of a blog contest) you’ll have the opportunity to try to win a free entry to any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US.
I’ll also have a 15% off race entry link available for all blog readers, making everyone a winner. Registering for a race is one of the best motivators I’ve found to train harder, longer and more often.
That’s why I signed up for the Spartan Sprint in Washougal, Washington last year.
After running marathons, half marathons and range of shorter running events, I needed a new challenge to get my training adrenaline pumping. I’d become too complacent.
My husband and I signed up with several friends as team bumps and bruisers. It was one of our first kid-free trips in years and my pleasure anticipating an active vacation was accented by nervous energy that bordered on periodic panic. I knew I needed to get stronger all over.
The obstacle race was between 3 and 4 miles. I’ve heard conflicting reports on the actual distance but that doesn’t matter much. You climb, jump, crawl, claw, pull, push, slide, clutch, carry and clambor your way through this course.
Running the hills between each obstacle was the easy part. I can run four miles under 35 minutes. The Spartan Sprint took me 1:52, which is the same as my last two half marathon times.
I think about half of that time was spent on a 1/4 mile uphill crawl under barbed wire on hard-packed, wet ground. I left a LOT of skin on that hill.
This race tested every muscle and left me spent and satisfied. I had a blast.
Before we’d even washed the mud away we were talking about doing another Spartan. We considered the new race venue in Seattle this weekend, a trip to Montana in May or even some cross-country locales like Vermont or Philadelphia. But after last year, it looks likely we’ll repeat the Pac West race near Portland in August.
Portland is fun. To name just several highlights that are me-centric, it has:
- Powell’s City of Books (which is like a religious experience for an avid reader)
- an Oregon Duck Shop (Go Ducks!)
- the first marathon I ever ran, the Portland Marathon
- Vodoo Donuts (worth the wait in line at least once and especially delicious as post-race refueling).
Oh, and Portland is about 30 minutes from the Spartan Sprint in Washougal. I need another race on my calendar to amp up my 2014 workouts with a little adrenaline.
Spartan is a great way to test physical and mental strength, two things you especially appreciate when you need them most, whether you’re overcoming the obstacles of Spartan or the obstacles of life. In both cases I know I’m Spartan Strong.