TAHOE SPARTAN OCTOBER 2015
At the begining of October Stewart and I did the Tahoe Spartan Beast. It was the World Championship race, and totally the toughest physical race I've ever done. The weather was cold and windy, and it even snowed on us right after we got out of the mountain lake swim! There were several times throughout that race that I seriously considered throwing in the towel. When I was climbing straight up a mountain, trying to keep up with my teammates, I remember trying to keep in the tears. I remember the thoughts of "I can't" and "why even try" running through my mind. Everything seemed so easy for my teammates (and even when I thought I'd be waiting for Stewart, he was right on my heels). Throughout that race I had to muster up more mental toughness than ever before, and honestly Cash helped me do that. Whenever I thought things were too tough to keep going, or that I wasn't worth finishing all I could do was to think of that little boy who went through so much on this earth. The fact that he could have such a positive attitude while enduring such trying trials reassured me that I could do anything; including climbing a mountain for 15 miles, because this was nothing compared to what he'd been through in his short 20 months of life).
At the point of the hail storm, our team was at a dilemma. It was freezing cold, hailing, we had four miles left, and we just happened to be close to a gondola station. Ultimately the majority of us decided it was time to call it quits. A few of our team members started toward the gondola station, and at the last minute Jaime just said, "heck no- I'm just going to finish it". She was probably the "least dressed" of all of us (we all had ripped cotton t-shirts, but I had thought to pack a thermal too) and Steve just looked at us and shrugged like, "I can't just let her go freezing by herself!" So then he ran after her. Ben and Tara took off too and I just looked at Stewart and told him I was going to finish. He decided he was going to ride the gondola down. The last four miles of the race was pretty much down hill, so I just sprinted it out (even though my legs were KILLING me!) I eventually caught up to Steve, Jaime, Ben and Tara. We endured the last of the grueling obstacles together, and "felt our way" through the end of the trails into the ever darkening night. We borrowed light from people around us who had thought to bring headlamps, and finally trudged to the final obstacles (of which I had to burpee for ALL of them because it was so dark, wet, cold and slippery). By the time we crossed the finish line we were beyond happy, excited and proud. As I looked around expecting Stewart to be there waiting for me, I couldn't see him. Maybe he was still changing, or inside somewhere. We boogied over to the bag check station and everyone else changed into their dry warm clothes. Still no Stewart! I borrowed Jaime's blanket and we started to look for Stewart. He wasn't in the medical tent, the van, or any of the little shops inside the buildings. We went back to bag check and sure enough our bag was still there. Since Stewart had our bag bracelet I wasn't supposed to be able to claim our bag, but since I could describe all of the things inside (and I was a frozen popsicle) (and it was one of the last 20 bags there) they let me have it. As I changed in the corner of a dark tent, I heard Ben yelling that Stewart was finishing the race! He was about to cross the finish line!!! WHAT?!? I seriously had never been so proud of him in my life! Turns out when he went to the gondola station they were just shutting it down due to the weather. They were taking people down on ATV's (two at a time), and taking the hypothermia (for real!) and injured people down first. They told Stewart he could either finish the race (4 miles) or cut straight down the mountain to the lodge (about 3 miles). He decided just to finish. It took him about an hour longer than us, and I'm amazed he didn't get pulled off the mountain because he didn't have a headlamp. He said he just blended in with a group that all had headlamps and followed them through the dark.
Tahoe was such a tough race, but I'm seriously itching to go back. We overcame so much there, both Stewart and I. I felt so many emotions, and mustered up so much determination and will power. There's nothing quite like being so low and down, then crushing that feeling and replacing it with power and strength! I also saw Stewart step up and do something he wouldn't normally be prone to do. I love him so much, and sometimes I think he sells himself short. He's a powerful guy, and it's not very often he does things he doesn't really want to do, so to see him cross that finish line was exhilarating for me, and him.
Our Pre-Race game faces
Our Post-Race exhausted faces