The Time Between Fear and Success

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I received admission to this event in exchange for an honest review.

I learned an incredibly important lesson last weekend: The time between fear and success is less than a second.

If you had told me in my 20s that at 37 years-old, I would participate in a 4.2-mile race with 20 obstacles, I would have laughed at you. I was always physically weak. I faked illness, exaggerated the extent that wounds hurt, and stayed home from school to avoid certain physical activities. I feared bus evacuation drills in high school because the one time I attended and jumped off the back of the bus, I busted up my knee badly. I was always picked last for kickball in elementary school, and I let everyone cut me to avoid having to kick. Simply put, I did little to challenge my physical strength, endurance, and coordination until I began working out regularly 3.5 years ago.

Well, fast-forward to last weekend. I had seen lots of friends participate in all different types of races. I’ve done several 5Ks and I did a 4-mile race in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale a few years back. Distance running alone is not my deal, so a half-marathon never interested me. But an event with obstacles? That piqued my curiosity. I decided to register for the Reebok Spartan Race in Hialeah for April 29th. Richard registered, too, and it became our 12th anniversary celebration. But then the reality of this event kicked in… and with that reality came fears.

I hate heights, I don’t like climbing, my upper-body strength is poor, I run slowly… What if I absolutely failed? What if I got stuck? What if I had to give up in the middle? What if I injured myself? And then I remembered who I am: I am a person who challenges herself and finds ways to be successful. And that’s exactly what I did.

I climbed up high walls {with boosts from Richard} and lowered myself down on the other side. I climbed up cargo nets as high as 15-feet, turned my body around, and climbed down the other side. I crawled under barbed wire. I lifted and carried weights I didn’t think possible. I tried obstacles I knew I could not do — but that didn’t stop me from making my best attempt. I walked through water with weight around my neck, carried a bucket with rocks, climbed a wall with soaking-wet shoes using only a rope to hold on. I had to trust my body in ways I never had before.

And this is when I learned my lesson: The time between fear and success is less than a second.

While at the top of each wall, each net, each obstacle that required me to look down and think “I could seriously injure myself if I feel right now” I would freeze for just a moment, kick my leg over the side, and find success. It was a freedom like no other. To say “I can’t” a nanosecond before knowing “I absolutely can” is simply amazing. I’m still covered in bruises and scrapes, and I was sore for two days after, but what a great feeling of excitement to have accomplished what I thought was never possible!

If you’re thinking of registering for a Spartan Race, here are a few pointers:

  1. Arrive prepared. You will get wet, you will be filthy, you will sweat. Wear pants or long shorts so that your legs don’t get too chafed. Wear old shoes you don’t care much about. Wear short sleeves or a tank top. Wear sunglasses and put on sunscreen, especially during this time of year.
  2. Set a realistic goal. Since I had never done this type of race before, I had no idea how much time it would take. I ended up taking about 1 hour 30 minutes, but my only goal was completion. Perhaps next time I will set new goals, like completing one of the super-challenging obstacles better or shaving 10 minutes off my time.
  3. Participate with a partner or team. Richard was such an awesome support for me. He maintained my pace {even though he could go much faster} and he assisted me with boosts over the high walls. Sometimes we ran, sometimes we walked. We had the opportunity to work together, but also as individuals.
  4. Put your fears aside. Heights, tight spaces, overall feeling of failure – I had to put all those aside to find my success. Mind over matter.
  5. Train hard. Make sure you regularly do a good mix of weight-training and cardio. I’m so grateful to my wonderful trainers Amy {who finished first in her age group} and Jorge who have taught me to have the physical and mental strength to be successful. I am so much stronger now than I was when I met them November 2013. I have truly found a love for physical fitness that I never thought possible.
  6. Stay hydrated. Drink water beforehand, drink water at each rest stop {there’s one every mile}, and drink water after. There were several venders at the event, so we got to try different juices/waters. Make sure you load up on those.

Interested in participating in your area? Learn more at Spartan Race.

About Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Dr. Carrie Wells is a college instructor, blogger, wife, and work-at-home mother to two children, Lydia {age 8} and Bryce {age 6}. Carrie earned her doctorate in Special Education in 2008. After becoming a mother in 2009, Carrie began blogging as Huppie Mama to share her passions for cooking, crafting, beautifying, and her family. In 2016, she rebranded as Our Potluck Family, and her husband Richard became a regular contributor.

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