I did the Spartan Race Fenway on Nov 18th as a part of Team in Training. To say the experience was life-changing is an understatement. It was the hardest and most rewarding experience that I’ve had in a long time, and it really has made me re-evaluate how I tackle, not only working out, but also life.

After almost two months of training and pushing myself beyond what I thought my limits were, I found myself jittery and walking around Fenway Park for two hours before my heat started. I was so excited, falling asleep the night before was probably the hardest part of my preparation.

We warmed up inside Fenway right inside Gate A. Like… someone pinch me now? 

The course was 3 miles of awesome. Started with wheel barrels, crab crawls, jumping hurdles and then run up and down picnic tables. We carried water jugs up and down the back stairs. 

We ran every single stair in Fenway Park, including up and down the Green Monster.

What obstacles stood out? The damn rowing machine. That obstacle was that you needed to row 500 yards in 2 minutes. If you didn’t complete it, then you had to drop and do 30 burpees. I was 15 yards away… when the screen stopped and said “BURPEES FOR YOU”.  This was 1 out of 2 times that I thought I was going to throw up.

The second time? Carrying the 60 lbs sandbag up and down the grandstand section. With that much weight pushing on my neck, looking up and down the stands, I felt like I was just going to lose it. But, I have never been more proud of myself when I finished the sandbag carry, threw the sandbag down, and then successfully scaled the 8ft wall on the warning track.

When I crossed the finish line I was smiling ear to ear. I have bruises from where I knocked myself around in order to get over walls, running the stairs, bumping into obstacles. I would do it again in a heart beat.

I also realized that this was my last race as a 24 year old. 

Why does that matter? Because a year ago, one week before my 24th birthday, I would have laughed at you if you told me that I would have completed 7 races in the next year. I was overweight. I was drinking 5 beers a night. My stress levels were through the roof. I was just not happy.

Next Friday I turn 25. I have a race/run/5K the weekend after. It’s the day after my boyfriends last show in his band. I will be out late. I will most likely have a beer. But the difference? I won’t be using it as an excuse. While I’m home, I signed up for a couple virtual 5K, in order to give me that little extra push that I need to remember to work out.

A lot has changed in one year, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds. 

That’s what Spartan Race taught me. It taught me to never take no for an answer. If you want a change, you have to make a change and you have to fight for it. Nothing will come easy. You have to work for that change, and it will be a result of all of the hard work that you put in.

That’s what being a Spartan and participating in OCRs is all about.

One of the virtual 5Ks that I am doing is the Fit 4 Life Series. It’s a series of 5K’s that participants do in January, February and March. If I would have told myself last year that I would be running through the holiday season and training during the coldest months of the year, I probably would have laughed in your face while proceeding to pound another beer. 

This year, I’ll be running through the cold in order to raise money for the Jessica Huse Foundation

Spartan Race – I have to say thank you to you. You made me demand excellence from myself during a year that I felt like I couldn’t. Training for you made me push my limits, made me believe that I could and then tore me back down before building me back up again. You made me break out of my mediocre shell that I had built for myself and allowed me to transform into the person I really am.

It was more than a race to me.

I look forward to doing another Spartan Race again next year, (maybe 2 if my paycheck allows!) and many more in the future. Your team puts on a great event, and the blood, sweat and tears that go into producing something like this are all evident in the passion that every Spartan staffer has. 

I’m not quite done with my year though! Next up? Somerville Jingle Bell Run on 12/16!!

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