You Can Tell Everybody
Last year I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I showed up on the side of a mountain for the Reebok Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo, NY. I made it to the other side expecting to fall apart every step of the way. At no point was I sure that my feet would take me over the next step, especially when I couldn’t breathe and my hands were visibly trembling.
I earned my first Spartan Sprint medal with amazement, not because I doubted my heart, but because I was blown away that something so crushing could make me feel so wonderful. I realized as soon as the first spray of cold water hit the side of my face and my feet dunked into the first gully that this was beyond the whole “mud run” trend for me. It was to prove that I wasn’t a cripple and that I will never let myself be one. It was a test of badass-ness and I’m glad to say I passed.
This year I decided to go for it again. This MS journey has taught me that there are those challenges that don’t disappear just because they were conquered once. They come back wanting to be knocked down over and over and it’s up to me to stay vigilant, gathering more weapons to deliver decisive blows.
The Reebok Spartan Sprint at Citifield on April 12th didn’t disappoint. The day was clear and mild (thankfully, after the wintery spring we started with) and I was able to bike to the stadium since I live nearby. I met my friends and their 6 year-old daughter (a mini Spartan phenom who I want desperately to be like when I grow up!) and this time there was no 93 degree heat, no mud, and no flames to jump over. However, the bazillion stadium steps we had to climb up down and over worked hard to make up for it.
My friends and I tried to keep pace with each other for the fun and camaraderie of it all, but it was always about a personal challenge for me. I found myself in a bubble of perseverance that left little room for chit-chat. I happen to be one who doesn’t need constant screaming and endless shouts of encouragement as I struggle and push. It actually derails me because the added pressure makes me worry that I’ll let those voices down. While heaving on a rope to lift a what felt like a hundred-pound brick, I’m told I snapped at my cheerleaders to “shut up!” so I could focus. I don’t remember that, but I totally believe it. Luckily, they’re my peeps and they get it.
Now I’m thinking about going for the Trifecta: the Sprint, the Super, and the Beast. I know the next two levels are going to be crazy, and crazier, but I’m no longer afraid of my body’s limitations. For me it’s all about mustering the will to push forward and confirm to myself that I am super, and I can be a beast.
I biked home worn out after Citifield, slightly dizzy, with some bruising behind my knees, jello legs, and sore arms, but there was music playing in my head, or was it coming from a passing car? I’m not sure anymore, and I don’t care. I may as well have been spinning my wheels on air, coasting peacefully singing the words over and over: “You can tell everybody, go ahead and tell everybody, you can tell everybody… I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the m****f**** man…”