It has been months since my last Blog. I have no reason for the lapse other than sheer procrastination. I think. When thinking of what to write I thought you have to finish what you started as it was one of my last year’s suggestions to write/blog on a regular basis.
Finishing things was always somewhat of an issue when I was growing up. My Mom always said that I had good intentions…and then would trail off. I let other things cloud my goals and yes, that damn procrastination took over and I allowed plans to stall or just plain fizzle. I settled and let it happen. Situations changed when I had kids because well, you just cannot let things ride when you have kids. Goals with the kids were always met except for maybe putting my foot down about cooking four separate meals while they were growing up. That my friends is a completely different blog. My business world is full of deadlines which I meet easily (although some days I am kicking and screaming all the way to the last day) and my life outside of work in let’s say PTA was successful in that I was able to collaborate with my boards to complete piles of projects and plans. Yes, I can do things well when I put my mind to it. We all can. It is just a matter of drive and the basic question of “How bad do you want it?”
2017 – My second Spartan season. I was certainly more confident than my first season. I doubled up on my training and committed to running my races. I became more involved in the Spartan community and started to learn that my new passion is something that I truly cannot and will not live without. The principles I have learned in this world have spilled into my personal life. I will talk about this extensively in future blogs and if you happen to catch me in conversation about this topic. For this and a million other reasons, I realized after my summer race in Boston that I needed to finish what I started and grab my Trifecta by the end of the year.
Things had really changed last season. My outlook on life was completely altered since my maiden season when I first jumped fire at Tuxedo in 2016. I realized that I could do ANYTHING if I really planned for it. Gifts arrived in my life last year that showed me that I was indeed on the right path. They have strengthened me and shown me that my life is on course and is headed towards what I really want – to be me…and my best me at that. Again. Mom was right. Be yourself but be your best self.
In September, I knew I had to register for my last race of the season in order to complete the Trifecta. It would be a Beast, which to my non-Spartan friends means a Spartan race that is 12-15 miles long filled with 8 billion obstacles. My first thought was to register for Dallas but after researching the course and consulting with my personal Spartan guru, I decided that the final race would be in Florida. The issue was then getting there. I knew at this point that I would be travelling and racing alone. That to me was huge. As many of you know, I am a social beast. I do everything with my friends and enjoy life to the fullest when I am with them. This would be different. I planned it out during my trip to Boot Camp every single night and finally announced that I would fly into Florida on 12/8, race 12/9, and return home on 12/10. There was no question. I could not let the Trifecta go. I worked too hard in Boot Camp and in Planet Fitness to not grab what I wanted. I needed to jump fire and wear that green medal. I could taste it.
I announced the plans that I would be running Florida. I knew that my friends in Spartan 4-0 would be with me on the course. In Spartan, you are never ever alone. You can be on that course and look at someone and they will help. I have written about my Spartan angels in past blogs. They are real. They are everywhere on (and off) that course. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the airport waiting to board my flight to Tampa. I struck up a conversation with someone on the plane who when they heard I was running a race in Florida said…”I admire you doing this at your age”. I cannot say that I am sorry for bopping them in the head when I pulled out my bag from the overhead compartment and beating them off the plane. At my age. As if. I would like to see you try to climb a wall or slog through mud and barbed wire lady. I digress. The drive from Tampa to Lakeland was flawless and somewhat liberating. I was alone. I was doing this for me. I thought…in 24 hours, I will wear that green medal and hopefully be diving into a very large bottle of wine.
The night before the race was nerve wracking. No. It was not nerve-wracking. It was terrifying. It rained all night long. I thought about what the rain was doing to the course. It did not matter. We literally ran through a hurricane during our Boston race. I made it through that. I was not going to let more mud and rain get to me. I did not get much sleep between the storm and the nerves. Before I knew it though I was sitting at breakfast with my 4-0 pals laughing and taking selfies. After breakfast, I geared up and put my game face on. I piled it all into my UPGRADE rental (everyone deserves a very large upgrade in life) and headed for the race. On the final approach into the lot, I found myself singing “Mas Tequila” by Sammy Hagar at the top of my lungs. I was relaxed. It was still raining. In true Spartan fashion, I parked about a mile from the entrance. It is the Spartan way because you cannot run 12-15 miles and then just get into your car. That isn’t enough. You need to hobble another 1.6 miles back to your car.
On the way to the start corral, I found my pals Ray and Rob who helped me with my hydration pack which was now hemorrhaging Gatorade. I needed my fuel for the race but there was really nothing I could do about it. I am not allowed water breaks in Hell Boot Camp so what difference did it make. I took my place in the corral and met so many familiar Spartan 4-0 faces that I see every day on Facebook and Instagram. It was time to shout “I am a Spartan” right before we take off. It gets me every time and I cry. Not shocking really considering how sentimental I am. I ran the first mile at a good pace. I was beaming because if you know the real me…I loathe running. I hit the Hay Bale obstacle and pulled myself over with zero issue. I literally turned around to look what I had done. In other races, I need a boost and my Nicole to rip the arm out of my socket to get me over. Hmm I thought…let’s keep going. I hit the next one or two obstacles and thought my God Kiki you are on a roll here. By the time I got to my nemesis “The Bucket Brigade” I thought…just get in there girl. I boxed jumped to the top of the rock pile. HUGE feat. I do not box jump. I step. Somehow, though I found the adrenaline to do it. The rest of the obstacles were challenging and very hard but I got through it one at a time. Except the rope. I will not get that rope no matter how hard I try. You just have to finish. One foot in front of the other.
The course was long and I decided early on that I would think. Really think about things while I ran or walked. I had three topics two of which were Jake and Julia. I thought about how far these angels have come in life and how my life would never be what it is without them. I would not be on a Spartan course working my ass off if it wasn’t for what I am trying to teach them. Never give up on your goals and what you want for anybody, any reason, or anything. Keep pushing yourself even when things get in your way or seem as if they will never get better. Never settle or accept average for that is not what will get you through life. Hard work and determination will get you through any situation placed before you. Passion about what you love will get you through hell. You just have to want it bad enough.
I got to mile 12 and someone mentioned the time. I had been on the course for over 4 hours but that was where I wanted to be pace wise. The 2016 Beast had me on the course for 8 ½ hours. I was almost done and it was nearly 4 ½ hours. My goal was in reach. By the time I reached the Dunk Wall, I was giddy. Giddy or getting punch drunk with adrenaline. My hydration pack was toast so I literally tossed it to a spectator and said please trash this. I could see the finish line and smell the fire ahead of me. In typical Spartan fashion, the course creators kicked us back into the trails for another 3-mile hike and final 4 obstacles. The end was indeed near but it would need to wait. I spent the last few miles climbing and clawing through thoughts and obstacles. I was back in the trails and back into deep thoughts. I thought of Julia. Her last year in school. Her college choices. Her relationship with me and how much fun we have together. Yes, I am a very strong disciplinarian but we have an incredible bond. We giggle and we binge-watch Friends together laughing like village idiots over the characters. I tell Jules every day that you cannot give up on yourself. Always plug away. Always go for what you want in life even if you do not think the outcome will go as planned. I found myself smiling as I came up to the last two obstacles. I could hear the DJ and you will not believe what was playing…it was the theme from Friends “I’ll Be There for You”. I could not believe it. It was truly a sign that I was not alone. Jules got my message and was with me. Jake was with me. I found my strength at the Hercules Hoist (my fave obstacle) and hoisted that damn red sandbag with one hand. I was pumped and I was singing along. Then it happened. I jumped over that damn fire. The final obstacle. I crossed the finish line ALONE. There was no one to greet me. There was no one to high five me. I collected my banana and Finisher shirt wearing my green medal ALONE. I did it. I came to run this race and prove to myself and myself only that I could do this. Walking back to the car, I heard my medal clink that distinctive Spartan sound….clink clink clink clink clink as it banged against my chest. I heard the cry “I am a Spartan” that we screamed at the beginning. I had earned my Trifecta and most importantly,…I finished what I had started.