And thanks to some help from the nice folks at Spartan Race and some Georgia Clay, I did excatly that. And I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend my thirtieth birthday. :)
(And yes, I'm 30. I know I look younger. The guys at the office joked that I was finally going to be old enough to vote. Or buy beer. Real funny, guys!)
But those plans fell through and I was pretty much at a loss for what I could do to make my thirtieth birthday something special.
Having a Spartan Race on my list of things to do, I started looking at events. I was already planning on running the Indianapolis Sprint and the Chicago Super, but when I saw the Atlanta race on the schedule...
Well, a quick google search showed that Atlanta was just three hours away and the race WAS on my birthday...
I had also joined a facebook group called "Spartan Chicked," dedicated to the lovely ladies who run Spartan Races and had found a lady on there who had accidentally signed up for Sunday instead of Saturday. That meant instead of running it with her friends, she was planning on running it solo and was looking for a partner.
It was like the stars were all lining up to make this the ideal situation for my first Spartan Race.
Pffft! Fools. I woulda worked the event for free because I like that stuff. They were gonna let me run for free as well? WIN-WIN.
And so it was that I booked a room in Conyers, GA, just outside of Atlanta and made my way down south to run a race I'd never done before with a woman I'd never met before. Risky? Yes. But I like adventure!
The race itself was AMAZING! I have to say, I loved this course. It was set at the Georgia International Horse Park, which is an AMAZING location for races. The course was set through these amazing trails, and Spartan Race took full advantage of the challenges that trail running adds in order to increase the level of difficulty.
The traverse walls are not a simple test of grip strength, but patience and strategy. Rock climbing and bouldering are definite musts in proper training!
The Hercules Hoist (which I helped disassemble on Monday) is a test of strength and might. So was the tire drag. Both obstacles offer a male and female version, which is great, but there's nothing that prevents women from wanting to up the ante and tackle the men's obstacles. There were a few where I chose not to use the women's versions and others where I did. With a little more training, I'd love to try and tackle them all from the men's side. It's a pride thing for me, and not impossible.
I made this my profile picture on facebook and may never change it I'm so proud.
UNLESS! Someone eventually gets a picture of me conquering that damn spear throw, which was the only obstacle I failed to complete. Mostly because I still haven't managed to convince Planet Fitness to install a spear throwing station... I'm working on it...
I honeslty don't think my first Spartan Race experience could have been any better. I was so lucky to have an amazing woman to run it with. Holly had never done an OCR before and I got to show her why they're so amazing and so addictive. I showed her how amazing it feels to complete an obstacle you thought there was no way you could do. How even more amazing it is to help someone else achieve that goal. We stayed at inverse wall and helped dozens of people, men and women, up over that wall and as we eventually jogged away, Holly couldn't stop talking about how great it felt to have helped all those people.
I'm so excited to run my next Spartan Race Sprint race in Indianapolis in April, and to hopefully complete my trifecta this year by also completing a Super and a Beast, the two other levels of Spartan Race.
This weekend was why I love OCR. It brings together random strangers and makes them family. I met so many amazing people, who ran the race or worked for Spartan Race and felt amazing, despite needing three showers to get rid of the mud. That sense of accomplishment, that pride in knowing that you have conquered your goals, both phsyical and mental, is like no other.
And if you haven't run an OCR yet, I don't know why you're waiting.
I promise, you won't regret that decision.