Reflections on the Spartan Sprint

So it’s no secret that I love doing adventure races. Partially because I love the challenge, but more that my husband is willing to do them with me. It means the world to me because I know that he seriously hates running, but does it because he loves me and knows how much I enjoy the challenge that these races set forth.

I once convinced him to do a half marathon with me. Despite a very lacking training schedule for both of us, we still took on the Indianapolis Mini Marathon. I remember not being able to laugh at walk at the same time following that race. I don’t think I will ever be able to convince him of doing a straight mini again but over the years I have been able to get him to do multiple adventure races.

It started with the Warrior Dash, then on to a local Marine Mud Run. Last year I took on my first Tough Mudder and he was a trooper enduring the hour shuttle ride to the race and keeping our 3 kiddos occupied during the race as they waited for me to arrive at certain spectator checkpoints. For my birthday last year he granted my wish to participate in the Men’s Health Urbanatholon.  This past May he and a number of our friends joined me in another Tough Mudder race and the team will be gathering again this coming weekend in Dallas to take on another TM.

Yesterday Don and I completed our first Spartan Sprint race. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of racing two weekends in a row but somehow I convinced him, the things you do for love, right? The race itself wasn’t too bad – just over four miles winding through the woods and mud but what stood out to me was the ‘individuality’ of the race. Don and I worked together as a team when we could, which for the most part meant him boosting and hoisting me up over walls. But overall, the obstacles were designed as individual challenges rather than ones requiring teamwork.

I realize the thing I love most about most of these adventure races is working with those running it with me to accomplish the feats. Personally I know I can push myself, I know I can push past certain limits, but I also know there are things that I need help to accomplish. I didn’t feel like the Spartan allowed us the opportunity to work together as a team. It was much more focused on the individual.

Don’t get me wrong, my bruises, scrapes and sore muscles remind me of how hard I worked yesterday and how much I pushed my limits, but I missed the camaraderie that normally comes along with these races. I feel like it bonds you to those you are running with and looking back you can say, “We did that!” After yesterday I can say, “We did it side by side, but not necessarily together.”

In short, would I do another Spartan? Maybe. Now that I know it’s more about the individual, my expectations might be a little different. But thinking ahead to this weekend, I have to say that I can’t WAIT to accomplish all the Dallas Tough Mudder has to hold for me and my teammates to accomplish TOGETHER!

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