Over the weekend – I flew up to Philly to support my mom in her first Spartan race! Being up there for less than 48 hours was worth it to be with her as she finished.
My mom needed a new goal. Telling herself to “get in shape” wasn’t cutting it. She needed a bigger reason, something to push for, an end goal… Hearing our race stories, she decided that would be her new goal – to finish a sprint. So she signed us up and got out to the garage to train.
And she worked her butt off! She was out there almost every day – in the heat of the summer, next to the trash cans in the garage, with stupid green heads working as an extra obstacle. She took routines from me, from dad, from anyone and anywhere; she did them alone, while my dad cheered her on from the porch, or with a friend who was brave enough to come over and try it out.
All this from a woman who had hip replacement surgery just last summer and a plate put in her wrist the year before that. Oh and I won’t mention her exact age, but she was pretty stoked to go on Medicare this past August…
After she signed us up our phone calls often got on the race topic. She always said the same thing, “I’m probably not going to be very good, I’m definitely gonna need your help, but I’m gonna do it”. As the race got closer the frequency of this topic went from once in a while to every phone call.
She was always reminding me of her age and her level of fitness (when it comes to this type of thing) and how I shouldn’t expect too much out of her (paraphrasing, but that’s basically what she was saying!).
Now, I know she was mostly saying it for her own self. I’m not sure if she was psyching herself up or out – but it didn’t really matter because we were going to do this race, do as many obstacles as fast as we could, and cross the finish line. I didn’t really care about her age or abilities. I know my mom can handle pretty much anything and I was there to assist her with the rest.
As we approached the starting line for our heat, she was met with her first obstacle, a 4′ wall you have to climb over. The start area is packed with people, we’re standing like sardines on either side of this wall so it’s a bit nerve wracking. She got over it but slightly pulled a muscle on the way down. Noooooot the best start!
Luckily that pulled muscle got itself together before we took off.
The stadium races are very different. There’s no mud or water obstacles and you obviously don’t have to climb a mountain. Just stairs.
So. Many. Stairs.
We were formally introduced to every step on the upper deck of Citizen’s Bank Park. And she never quit! Probably running bleachers at the local football field was to thank. We pulled over maybe 3 times to catch our breath and let faster racers slide by. And those times we were carrying a weighted pancake or giant water jug – completely acceptable.
Since her hip surgery, her left leg is a little… lamer. She has difficulty running for more reasons than running sucks. She has trouble hopping because ol’ lefty doesn’t want to. Even so, she ran quite a bit, speed walked when she couldn’t, and hopped over the jump rope obstacle as best she could.
To say I’m proud is an understatement. She committed to this race months ago. She trained harder than she has in a long time. She pushed herself in solo workouts. She showed up to the race with determination and a smile. Even when she felt silly she still did it (looking at you 8′ wall) and at the end she got the medal she deserved.
Love you, Mom. AROO!