This past month (September) found me in the cheerleader role, as most of my training mates, my coach/hubby and even my daughter were signed up for the Spartan Race at Killington Mountain in VT.
The atmosphere was electric, with music pumping as the energy, nerves, and excitement filled the air.
Parking was done well, we were close enough to walk in from the lot, but they also had shuttle buses running from the lots to the event if you were short on time or energy.
Getting checked in takes time (the arrival suggestion they give of 1 - 1 1/2 hours early is a good one), once done we headed to bag check and then to the Starting Line (daughter's heat was at 10:00am, and everyone else at 10:15am).
It was my daughter's first Spartan Race, and she rocked it!
The only downside was the kids were coming in so fast that I missed my husband's take off. But mommy duty called, I had to get over and snap a few pictures of my girl kicking butt.
After she finished, she was hungry, so off to the lodge we went (one of my training mates and the wife/mother of a couple racers was hanging out with us). Lodge food is pricey, bring your wallets, but they do accept credit cards.
Refueled and seeing a bunch of fun activities setup outside, off we went to check out the trampolines for her, and the Spartan Challenges for us...
The Spartan Challenges are timed events for those in waiting mode (finished racers, pending racers, or spectators like us). The one that caught my eye was the Slosh Pipe, which is a PVC pipe (I think the ladies pipe was 8 feet long, 3" wide and filled 60% full with what I assume is a couple gallons or so of water).
The pipe is deceiving, as it doesn't weigh much (estimate about 20 or 30lbs), but the water "sloshing" from side to side, and the length of it really throws you off balance, and changes the weight you are pressing.
They gave us a chance to get a feel for it, and then you put your hands on the tape (cannot leave the tape) and ready, set, go - the timer is started and you have to get it up and do as many presses as possible in 60 seconds.
While my friend decided if she could do the challenge (her shoulder is injured), another woman came up to get a feel for it. She had great training and determination, really good form, but you could see the balance portion of the challenge got her attention. After several minutes of trying, she asked if I was ready to go, and just like that, my challenge was on.
We have been working our squats, so I was able to get low, and surprised myself when I got it into rack position pretty quickly, then I began to do my presses. You would get a couple in and the balance would go wonky, and you would need to get it stable again. I was able to get 25 presses in before time was called.
I was pleased with my performance, and stayed to watch a couple others go for it, before heading to the finish line and awaiting our friends/family to come in.
As we were just about to leave, the woman practicing before me went. She struggled a little getting the pipe into rack position, which really ate up the time, but she was still able to get a good amount of reps in. When she finished, she walked off the platform and gave me a high five. It was so nice to feel equal with athletes on the mountain.
That is one of the best parts of my training, feeling connected with real athletes, and seeing myself as their equal is slowly taking place within me, too. My husband pointed out that athletes are the last ones to judge, they know the work that goes into it, they respect the work and those doing it.
Fight on warriors, being larger doesn't mean we are not fit, or unable to compete and even win sometimes, too.
I say win, because I was told I had a real shot at winning the Spartan Slosh Pipe Challenge! The man running the challenge came up to me and asked to verify my email before we left. At the time the closest person to me had 15 presses to my 25. I cannot tell you the confidence builder that moment was. Win or lose, I felt amazing!
Huge congratulations to my husband, daughter and all my training mates - you guys killed it! Now off to the hardware store for slosh pipe making materials!
(Update: I did not receive the winning email from Spartan, so congratulations to the winner, I only wish I knew how many she beat me by so I could make sure next time I give her a better run for her money! Spartan HQ said they don't post the results, and they don't know the winning number of presses, the rep in Killington just sends the names and emails to HQ so they can send out the winning email - AND you get a free entrance into another race, how cool, so get yourself to Lowes/Home Depot and make a slosh pipe - so much fun, and great training, just maybe use antifreeze if like me you live in cooler climates.)