Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Spartan Thanks

Yesterday, I ran The Spartan Sprint. This is not the place to go into what it is, or why I ran it. No, this is a letter to a single woman whom I encountered.

Dear Spartan,
You may not remember me. I am quite sure that I did not factor into your race the way you factored into mine. I was the woman sitting crumpled in the mud at the foot of the last obstacle, crying quietly. You asked if I was ok. I lamely replied, "I'm just tired." It was an excuse befitting a 3-year old child, and I apologize for it. I was not entirely in a clear-thinking place. Had I had more wits about me, I would have said this:

"I'm so goddamn tired... tired of not showing up to my life. Tired of having lofty dreams and goals that I'm too lazy or terrified to pursue with the vigor they need. I'm tired of failing. I did not train for this the way I should have, and yet through some grit and determination, I've made it this the last obstacle. But I'm not sure I can climb this wall. And I'll be dammned if I'll quit within site of that finish line. Each time I rally the physical strength to attempt it, and fail, sliding back down to this muddied grass, I waste precious energy. And I'm not sure where that energy is coming from, or just how much more I have. I'm overwhelmed by the frustration, ashamed that I'm sitting here, and just before you arrived I took a particularly spectacular face and chest plant on the wood that knocked the wind out of me, so I'm in a fair amount of physical pain as well. But all that is nothing compared to the screaming voice in my head that is telling me over and over that I shouldn't have even tried becuase I ALWAYS FAIL. That voice is so loud that I fear you can hear it, even over this cheering crowd."

So thank you Spartan, for being one person out of hundreds who stopped to ask if I was ok. Thank you for taking time out of your experience to check on me. Please excuse me that moment of human fear & frailty. Know that after you left, I took a breath, regrouped and climbed that wall a 3rd and final time, and finished my first Spartan race. I hope your race was an amazing experience. I hope you had fun, but also that you found within yourself a place of power, of strength. I hope you surprised yourself with all you could achieve. I know I did.