I don’t know if you’ve heard…

But I’m training for an obstacle course.

“Hey, how would you feel about coming to my city and watching a bunch of hot people do exercise?” Asks a friend.

Thus begins my journey into Spartan Racing.

2020 was a big flop for me. I was burned out by January, in shape but plateauing, and a few months later all the gyms closed. When the world stopped, I stopped. I stopped everything. I didn’t take walks, even though I love them, I didn’t work out at all, despite access to a home gym setup, I didn’t run or hike or anything, and I picked up a nasty carbs habit. I rode the crest of the wave I had built up with regular pilates practice, but as it ebbed, I did nothing to replace it. It took years to get back to a baseline, but it wasn’t a baseline I was happy with.

So when I found myself at a crossroads, this innocent question held far more appeal than my fitness minded buddy thought it would.

Previously, in this particular group of three, I take on the caring role. I feed, I drive, I shop for supplies, and they do whatever sporting event they’ve dreamed up or decided to join. They would be forgiven for assuming I’d rather watch than run.

Too bad this time I wasn’t ready to stand by.

My gym has made some changes to their class structure so instead of daily pilates, I have to stick to twice weekly. How am I supposed to build this fine, fine booty on only two sessions a week? And how am I supposed to get excited to work out when I have nothing to work toward? Sure, I’d love to have an athlete’s figure, but cheese is far too easy to get around here so without a LOT of work (and a LOT of motivation to get it going) that’s impossible.

Enter the Spartan.

I think most people are familiar with Spartan races (and Tough Mudders and other such obstacle races) but if you’re not: imagine a 5k run peppered with monkey bars, climbing walls, enormous tires to flip over or hop through, vertical climbs, horizontal poles to clamber over and under, and more. Basically it’s a playground for adults who like structured play time. Sometimes it’s in a stadium and you have to go up and down the stairs. Sometimes they’re much longer, with even more grown-up playground equipment to navigate.

Suddenly, I had the perfect storm to hand. Plenty of time to train, a variety of very clear functional goals, and a social motivation component. It took me a week to decide to actually do it, and we’ve made a tiered bet so there’s actual money (and if I do well enough, a very nice bottle) riding on my performance, but now I am locked in and have a deadline.

For the past three months I’ve been trying new ways of exercising. I’ve been hiking (LOVE IT), running (only like it when it’s cold out), sprinting (not sure yet, that’s new), lifting weights (love the results), keeping up my twice weekly pilates (love it), and shoving yoga in here and there where I can.

Also for the past three months, I can’t shut up about it. My friends, my family, my patient, darling clients hoping to sneak a kiss in between words… have all put up with me waxing eloquent on pull-up drills, weight lifting form, how much I truly hate running, and the many details that have consumed my life of late.

I would just like to thank you for your support, your patience, and for being one of the reasons I can afford to do this. I marvel at the life I have available to me and it’s you who make it possible. I only hope that my stamina, exuberance, and impressive new muscles are enough to make listening to me gab on about my new journey worth it.

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