It was fun and LOOKED super challenging, but really paled in comparison to the Spartan Sprint. So I had that on my mind. I had the HOT WEATHER on my mind. Seriously! This summer has been so wet, mild and even “cool” – then suddenly a ninety degree day decides to show up. On race day. To make things even sweeter, my husband decided we should run at noon. What?! Noon? Perhaps the hottest point in the day? I would have preferred an 8 am start time, but noon it was. So I was a little worked up.
We drove to the Chicago area Friday afternoon, set up camp and took a walk. I was winding down when off in the distance I saw lightening. From the north. Hmm… Is it supposed to storm, again? The storm at the Spartan Sprint had made everything so muddy, it was extremely challenging to run at all on the course. I was hoping to make better time, this time around, and didn’t want the rain to come in. Although, I thought it may help cool things down. I tried getting some shut-eye, but it just wasn’t happening. I ended up with about five or so hours of sleep, and then woke up do the light and horn of a large barge on the river.
The time came where we needed to head to the buses and get to the race. The bus was so hot. I was already sweating. My heart was already racing. I looked at my husband and said, “If Jesus could walk in the desert for forty days and forty nights without food or water, I can surely do this race.” He looked at me and laughed. I was serious. This time I took my daughter’s camel pack with electrolyte water, some protein bars, and Hammer Gel packs (which I didn’t really want to use), my chances of NOT bonking were pretty good.
We made it through registration, got our headbands on and had another meal. I think I used the restroom like four times within twenty minutes, must have been nervous bladder or something, or I drank a whole lot because I did not want to be dehydrated at all. The jitters had kicked in, not just for me, for all of us. The four other guys on the team were just as nervous as I was – I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. We jumped into the corral, started getting pumped to the loud thumping music, and before I knew it, we were off!
an MS symptom. If I became dehydrated, I would have pins and needles in my face and across the top of my head, sometimes I would crash. So this was why I was so concerned about the heat, these two facts from my history. My husband told me to stop thinking about it. I did. But I was also trying to be smart about my approach to doing this race without triggering any of those symptoms.
My husband and I moved along alright. He helped me over walls, I climbed angled walls, vertical cargo nets, angled cargo nets, carried sand bags weighing thirty pounds, carried logs through mud, raised up fifty pound or more bags and released again. All this in between jogging on the trail and going up and down and up and down muddy hills. After mile three I realized how thankful I was to have water on my back. I was already becoming spent. We all were. At about mile five my legs started to lock up. I could feel them wanting to just stop working. So I resorted to a gel pack. This made me nervous because I didn’t know how it would affect my sugar, especially consuming it without protein, but I needed to do something. I ate it while we gained ground jogging in the shade of the woods. Then I started to feel good, but weird.
few minutes, I straightened up, climbed the wall, came back down and didn’t break my neck! We kept going and from there on I just wanted to run and get it over with. I was ready to finish the race. We were able to do that. We ran and ran. I was tired and ready to go. The last water station the lady told us we had a quarter mile to go. I asked if she was telling the truth. Yep. Thank God! We kicked it down and just went for it. The last obstacle was the angled rope climb. Up and over we went. Jumped the fire wall together and then crossed the finished line. I started bawling like a baby.
It’s difficult to describe everything that was going on in my mind at that moment. Everything, I mean everything ran through my mind at once. The struggles. The fight. The scares. The prayers. The daily focus. The setting stretch goals. The follow through. The faithfulness of God. The gratefulness of my husband staying with me. So much more. It meant the world to me to be there in that moment. Standing. Alive. No crashing. No numbness. No bonking. I felt like I was beginning the closing lines of a chapter in my life.
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