Last year, I hit some kind of emotional and physical wall with Spartan Race. Not only did I not even come close to completing my goal of a Double Trifecta, I did not earn a single Trifecta in 2018.
My first year running Spartan, I was a fucking force to be reckoned with. Not shit was gonna stand in my way of earning that first Trifecta; for the first time in my life, I considered myself a true athlete with a goal. It felt amazing to be so focused on a goal and to see the results and be nearly unafraid of challenges. That "athlete" persona became incredibly important to me, and I didn’t fully understand how hard I needed to work to maintain that lifestyle.
The next year, things started to get out of hand, and I thought it was a problem of complacency – I had proven to myself in 2016 that I was capable of doing the impossible, so in 2017 I spent entirely too much time resting on my laurels instead of training to improve. I ended up scraping a 2nd Trifecta out of that year, but I was left with deep feelings of dissatisfaction and I couldn't quite get my hands on the same kind of intoxicating joy that I used to feel in 2016 when I crossed the finish line. I chalked it up to the fact that I hadn't worked very hard to earn this 2nd Trifecta, and accepted that I couldn't count on the same level of happiness if I wasn't willing to work for it.
But in 2018, my racing career (finally) completely fell apart. I struggle with disordered eating; I am not anorexic or bulimic, I have extreme issues with my emotional state affecting my physical ability to put food in my body. It is definitely not possible to reach full athletic potential while you're literally starving and wasting away, but I was able to finish all three races last year through sheer force of will rather than actual strength. I had lost control of my anxiety and became intermittently depressed and unreasonably angry, and I was not able to see a way to wrench myself out of that funk.
I paid for my gym membership in full and maybe went 15 times over the course of the whole year. Not only did I find little to no joy in training, I was also was not getting Finish Line high, I wasn't getting Starting Line pumped either. I found myself opting for shorter, easier races, not because I wasn't sure I could handle the strain but because I was shortcutting my way to medals, something that I would NEVER have settled for my first season.
So what am I going to do about it?
First – I am going to accept that I am probably not going to be a good candidate to re-apply to be a Spartan Brand ambassador in 2019. I have not been making very many Spartan-approved choices this year, and the bottom line is I need to focus on representing myself better rather than half-assing everything.
Then – I am going to try some new shit. I don’t know if my interest in Spartan is over, or if I need something else to give me some variety, but I do think I need to broaden my interests. I will continue to do Spartan Races in 2019, but I am also considering a straight running events like 5k's and marathons, a GORUCK, or some other kind of fitness-related competition like bodybuilding. I would like to experience the joy and drive I felt when I first opened began doing Spartan Events, and am working hard to keep my soul and spirit open to new ideas.
Also – I'm gonna fucking enjoy my Spartans, however few I run. I have a tendency to be super hard on myself. 2017 was so focused on beating my 2016 times, that I forgot to step back and have fun and enjoy the scenery. 2018 was a bust, but in 2019 I would love to really make Spartan FUN again! Whether I earn a Trifecta or not next year, I love what Spartan Race represents – these events literally saved my soul back in 2016 and I lost sight of that very important experience.
Lastly – I am working on being less of my own worst enemy. Its so easy to focus on the things I did badly this year – squandering my paid-in-full season pass, tarnishing my reputation as an influencer, the list goes on. But I have definitely made some great life choices along the way, so I am trying to focus on what I did do rather than what I didn't. Human perspective is interesting in that you can develop an abundance of whatever you focus on, so I am choosing to focus on happiness and small wins this time around.