This past Saturday was to be a huge day. I had huge plans that involved running the Carolina Spartan Beast at 8:00am. This would give me 4 hours to finish the race and be back in time to run with my daughter in the 12:15pm kids race. It certainly would be enough time to get back by 1:15pm and do the opening leg of the first ever Spartan Relay with my friend David Moore.
The smoke is lit, the announcer does his thing, they play those first notes from “Shipping Up to Boston” and off we go…less than 1 mile into the race and my right foot goes into a giant hole and I twist my ankle harder than I ever have.
I lay there for a few minutes writing in pain as several people stop and ask if they should get medical. Even though it hurts like hell, I know that in a few minutes, I will be back on my feet and running again. I “know” this because I run in the woods a lot, and often twist my ankle on roots or whatnot. Every time, it really hurts, then I rest for a few minutes, start to walk on it again, then start running.
This time around, I can not run. When I attempt to, it’s really really painful. So I continue to walk.
After walking really slow for about 5 minutes, my head starts to go to work.
this really sucks…ok, your not quitting…you can walk this whole thing if you have to… ok this is stupid it’s going to take you 8 hours at this pace…your less than 2 miles from the start-just go back…people are waiting with your daughter and your going to miss her race…they’ll be fine, just keep going…you really should quit, this is stupid, what are you proving…wait, Chris Davis has walked 15 miles, you can too, that guy Todd Love with no legs and one arm has finished these, you can too…this sucks, walking sucks, it really is going to take me all day… ok I am going to cry, if I cry, I will probably feel a lot better… wait, here comes a bunch of people, don’t let them see you cry, no one wants to be seen crying at a race…wait a minute, how lame would be it if they recognized you, “Is that MattBDavisRuns?Are you crying?!”…ok you just assumed anyone would recognize you, you are a jackass…ok, still not too late to go back, no shame in quitting…wait, you just DNF’d in Vermont, are you are going to NOT finish 2 races in a row? What the fuck, no way, keep going…this sucks, how are you ever going to finish?…
Mile 2 took about 20 minutes, the next mile took almost 30. My head was screaming at me all of the above and more by this point. People started passing me going the other way, which is usually a sure sign that you are really falling behind.
When we reached mile 4, I finally found the strength to slow jog with only a little pain. Slower than I wanted to go and still in my head, but at least I wasn’t walking. I will not go into a play by play of obstacles as many other blogs and videos out there can do that for you.
I did finish at 5 hours and 9 minutes. I missed the chance to sign up my daughter for the kids’ race. I was also only a few minutes away from the start of that relay race. There was no way I was going to make that either. I suppose that in the years to come, none of that really matters. What I will remember when I look at my medal and the photo below was that I did finish and that my daughter got to see me do it and that we both got to spend the day with some awesome people.
I will tell you that if you want to test yourself as a human being, a Spartan Beast is a great place to do it. You can find out what your made of, you can find out who your friends are, you can find out who strangers are. The people who build these Spartan courses find ways to keep challenging you, they find ways to get creative, they find ways to mess with your head, sometimes it’s if they designed the course with just YOU in mind.