For my last Spartan Race – a 12+ mile Beast – I had set five goals for myself. Those goals ranged from simply crossing the finish line to running 35% of the time. Although I did cross the finish line, truth be told, I pretty much failed across the board on the rest of them.
Going back to last year’s Spartan Sprint/Super weekend, again I set some personal goals and, again, I failed to achieve most of them (although a calf injury a week prior to the races was the biggest factor there.)
Homer Simpson once told Bart: “Bart”, he said, “you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is… never try.”
It’s time I took that advice to heart and applied it here. I’m not setting any goals for the AZ Spartan Sprint (well, just one). Thus, there shouldn’t be any failure.
Other OCRsWhenever I tell people that I do these types of races, I talk about how fun they are; how inspiring they can be. If I have time, I’ll go into how I started seven years ago with Warrior Dash and the costumes, the festival area, the big-ass turkey legs, running with my cousin and the muddy obstacles.
I’ll certainly mention how Rugged Maniac is my favorite OCR race series with “Bang the Gong” (an obstacle where you bounce on a trampoline into the air attempting to hit an overhead target and then landing in a water pit), their stein hoisting contests, the party atmosphere and so much more.
And without exception, I’ll talk about the first time my wife, twin sons and I all ran the Terrain Race together as a team – The Muddy Millers we called ourselves – and how that day was, hands down, the happiest I’ve been crossing any finish line.
It’s not that way with Spartan Race.
(My) Spartan Mindset
It’s sort of been ingrained in my psyche that Spartan Race is tougher, more competitive and not for the weak-minded. That when you cross that finish line, you know you’ve accomplished more than just a muddy 5k run. And for the most part, that’s pretty much true.
Yet I’ve never had a beer before a Spartan Race as I’ve had with other races. I’ve never crossed the finish line thinking to myself, “I’d love to go back and do another lap” as I have with Warrior Dash and Rugged Maniac.
My race pictures from Spartan always show somewhat of a scowl; my “game face” if you will. Each step seems more determined. Each obstacle is meant to be conquered.
I allow that typical over-competitive male asshole attitude to come out as if somehow this race on this day is more manly than all others (although the Beast still might be the exception to that rule.)
That stops on February 11, 2018.
My Spartan Goal
Yes. I still want to complete a few more obstacles and ring a few more bells. I’d love to finish much, much, higher than in the bottom 20% of all finishers. I still want to cross that finish line with a strong sense of accomplishment.
But I also want to high five more people in the starting corral. Perhaps sing a few lines from a Tiffany song while straddling atop Stairway to Sparta.
I want to smile for a few course pictures, perhaps drink a beer before the race and if I fall off the monkey bars – say “Oh fuck that!” and try again.
Maybe I’ll sit in the mud a few minutes longer. You know, for soft, more supple, skin.
The bottom line: I just want to have fun.
There will be other races to crank up “Undefeated” or “Eye of the Tiger” in the headphones. There will be other times to take the race and the obstacles more seriously.
I’m not going to conquer the course. I’m just going to enjoy the experience.