In 2012 I signed up to volunteer for the Death Race in Pittsfield. I didn’t realize until I was almost done my shift that I would get a free Spartan Race out of it, I signed up to volunteer purely because I like to volunteer and I live only 30 minutes away. When it came time to utilize my voucher and sign up, I joined the NE Spahtens at the suggestion of Heather Gannoe, the Death Race volunteer coordinator. I couldn’t have made a better decision.
I was given a great glimpse of what to expect from the group when I put out a feeler to see if I should consider the Hurricane Heat despite the fact that I had never done an obstacle course race. The responses ranged from “of course,” “no one is going to discourage you,” “yes,” and every other positive response imaginable. I had looked into the Hurricane Heat but didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.
Fast forward through the summer, some trail runs, tire dragging and the weekend was here. I didn’t feel as prepared as I could, I was nervous, I was shaking. I got up at 2:15 in the morning to drive down with my friend Traci who offered to take photos and drive my ass home.
Upon pulling into the parking lot I saw lots of NE Spahtens shirts and after pulling my shit together, I walked over and introduced myself. It didn’t take long before we were doing burpees, lining up, and counting off. At this point I couldn’t tell you the name of anyone, I was too busy gasping for breath and feeling my muscles burn.
|Running after the truck.|
As the Spartan Race truck pulled away, we were to run after it. The pace was fast, much faster than I run. It wasn’t long before I was falling back, sucking wind, and trying not to cry. Someone who I couldn’t see was giving me instructions on how to breathe, telling me it was okay to go at the pace I needed to, that we were to work as a team. That someone turned out to be two people and they would carry me, literally at times, through the entire day. Another someone ran ahead to let our team know I was slow and that I would be the one setting our pace. We did planks, signed the wall, lined up, and I had my first experience with the buddy carry.
|Swapping out on the buddy carry.|
It was at this time I learned the woman who helped me get through the run was named Mercedes and the second voice belonged to Sandy.
They became my battle buddies and they were amazing. There were others, Amy, Jessica, Pierre, and many more.
I helped carry my team mates and they carried me.
|We had to get our entire team over the 8′ wall without ropes.|
I tried to climb a rope for the first time, I crawled in mud.
|Lots of teamwork… This is just after climbing up and over the ladder contraption.|
I listened to a coach hammer us with PT until my legs wanted to fall off.
|Planking… IT SUCKED!|
There wasn’t as much teamwork as I expected but I did things I never imagined I could do. It pushed me and challenged me in ways I didn’t expect and ways I did. I will certainly be out there again.