So last year, Spartan Race came to Manitoba (Aroo!). At the time, I’d be training consistently at my-then gym and-now work (yay!) for about 7 months. I was terrified for this race and not entirely sure why I signed up when I’m fairly certain that I had said just a few months prior that obstacle races were dumb and only for crazy people with a death wish…
Going into that Sprint (3+ miles with about 20+ obstacles), I had no idea what would happen, nor did I have any idea what it would do to me.
It undid me.
Like, literally. I fell apart after. I got home from that race, tired, bruised and feeling beaten even though I wasn’t in the least bit beaten, and cried. Sobbed. Like…the ugliest of ugly cries.
At the time, I was positive that Spartan broke me. Shattered me and that I would never be the same. Something in my head clearly snapped and I wasn’t sure if I would ever recover from it. It scared me because I thought I was having a nervous breakdown and I felt so incredibly alone in that struggle. I didn’t understand why I felt the way I did. I’d run a dozen races before, some great and some horrible. This was hardly new territory for me. I was confused and figured that I should just leave that kind of stuff to people better suited for it. I was probably better off crawling back under my rock of oblivion and staying comfy cozy there.
Looking back, I know that the actual race had nothing to do my subsequent meltdown. It was merely the catalyst because I was so worn out that I couldn’t fight my body and my brain at the same time so my brain won out (or maybe lost out) while my body tried to repair the 8 billion bruises I endured trying to haul myself over, under and through stuff.
Truth was, I was terrified of myself and my life to that point. I’d spent the better part of the last year searching. I was restless in my life. Convinced that the life I was living was not the one I was meant to be living. I craved the pursuit of life passions that would bring both purpose and fulfillment, not simply a paycheck and a roof over my head. I wanted to live a life, not simply survive it. I knew I needed to take some chances and that some of the risks out there could blow up in my face but if I didn’t take the chance, I would never know with any amount of certainty if I could live a life of purpose or not.
This in and of itself is not necessarily a cause to break down. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t expressing any of this on the outside but was stuffing the nerves, the stress, the fatigue and the uncertainty down as far as I could, figuring it would just evaporate once I got where I was going.
In a sense, there was some evaporation but it came at a very hefty price. Namely, a river of tears that shook me so badly, it would take months and months to even begin to recover and regain some ground. (note to self: stuffing oneself full of suppressed emotion is about as productive as stuffing oneself full of tacos. Short-term victory, Long-term emotional heart burn).
The other part is that I was (and in many ways, still am) a very broken person. Loaded with self-consciousness, negative self-talk and soul-crushing insecurities, I was not only my own worst enemy, I was also the only thing standing in my way to finding joy and contentment in life.
Let me be blunt here: that realization really sucks.
What followed from that was a road that went way deeper into a lot more garbage than I care to write about in this post (which btw, was supposed to be a Spartan race recap from this past weekend…what the heck brain!). I hit some pretty painful lows but as recently as last night, I realize that you need to experience and dive into those lows, feel that pain in order to overcome it. You simply cannot overcome what you don’t allow yourself to face. In my case, that means facing a lot of fears: failure, success (yes…success scares the compression socks right off my feet), rejection, loss, embarrassment, doubt, disappointment…the list goes on for me, and I suspect, for many of you as well.
Am I healed? No, I’m not. Those fears are all still there but I will admit that over the last few months, those voices that overthrew me last summer have gotten quieter and easier to ignore. The great thing about knowing truth is that it allows you to recognize the lies. In therein is where the healing can start.
My road is far from over. But I put one foot in front of the other each and every day. Some days, I run miles with reckless abandon. Some days, I stand still and enjoy the view. And some days, I fall to me knees in defeat. That’s the nature of the beast and as much as I don’t enjoy those moments of defeat, I know that being on my knees means I can posture myself in prayer while the storms rage within me.
If that’s not power to overcome, I don’t know what is.
Now that I’ve gone all deep thoughts on you, maybe I’ll write the actual race recap I sat down to do…