Each year I set goals that will challenge me. Sometimes, they are to do a specific set or number of races, but if I have done these races previously I tend to try to add a little challenge if I do them again. Last year I did the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo, NY on my own. I started the race with the team, but ran off ahead and ran my own race vs. sticking with the team as I often do. This experience was very different than what I was used to, but I was pleased with my time and performance and it set the bar for what I wanted to accomplish in the future.
In pondering what my race schedule and goals were for this year, I knew that I wanted to run Tuxedo both as a team and as an individual, so I registered for both weekends. Saturday June 6th would be a team event but the prior Sunday would be one that I would sign up to run alone. As an added challenge, I decided to not take off from the 3 classes I instruct at CKO Franklin that day, nor did I take it easy on myself during these classes. My heat time was set for 1:45 so I would finish up class, change and immediately head over to the race.
While instructing boot camp that day, we were outside and the humidity was unbearable so I decided to wear a tank top and shorts vs. the usual Capri pants. When I arrived at the race, I immediately headed over to the registration tent and picked up my packet, put on my chip timer and all of the other bands you need to wear, and headed over to the start line. Although I planned on doing this race solo, there were others that I knew there that either came to support me and see me off at the start, were volunteering that day at the venue, or already started the race earlier that day so I never felt alone.
As I stood at the starting line, the clouds started rolling in. The race had been stopped earlier that day for rain, but the sky was blue with white fluffy clouds when I arrived to the race. The announcer begins the usual speech and we chant “I am a Spartan, AROO, AROO, AROO!” and just when I think we are about to start the race, thunder begins to roll in and it starts to drizzle. The announcer says we cannot go through the start until we are all cleared to ensure there is no lightning in the area. After waiting for about 15 minutes, the rain starts to really come down and it was so cold! The lightning started and we were instructed that the race will be shut down and we are to go to our cars immediately until further notice.
As we are walking back to the car, the water is pouring down and the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees in that short period of time. I am now freezing and as we are walking, there are crowds of people being pulled off the mountain. The rain was falling so fast, it was creating mud slides and people were falling around me. We got back to the car and sat and waited almost 40 minutes as the rain continued to come down. At this point, I knew the race would be cancelled, so I got out of the car and walked over to registration to get my timing chip cut off. On my way to the tent, I waded through water that had just fallen and in some areas was up to my knees!
When I finally got to the area to have my timing chip removed, I was advised the race was officially called off and I would get an email that would explain how I would be compensated for the course shut down. While I understand it was for my safety, it was truly a bummer to not be able to achieve what I had set out to do. I walked back to the car and met up with others that had been with me or cleared from the course as well and we ended up meeting up for food and drinks and shared our experiences from the day. While I didn’t achieve my goal that day, I felt the love and support of some wonderful people. I later decided not to dwell on what I didn’t accomplish, but rather to just look forward to the next week when I would tackle this course with the team, many of which were with me supporting me on this day.