After months of training for a race like I’ve never run before…..I ran the course and finished.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

And I finished well.

The race was 4.22 miles with 22 obstacles and it was amazing.

It was the teamwork. The encouragement. The ability to do more than I thought I could. It was strangers offering a hand or a knee to help and me offering one in return. It was how I pushed myself. It was conquering fears and obstacles and it was watching others conquer fears and obstacles. It was hard and eye-opening. It was humbling and heart-opening too.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

Running a Spartan Sprint was a good thing to do on a Saturday morning.

I almost missed it though. In short, a wrong map took us to the wrong place. We turned around and took the right map to the right place and finally arrived at the military base where the race was held. But 100,000 slow moving vehicles were between me and where I needed to be (not really that many but it seemed like it). I jumped out of my husband’s truck, sprinted a mile to the registration tent, picked up my racer’s pack and made it to the starting line in time.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

This race was more than just a race for me. I learned a great deal about myself and others. I learned the importance of doing new things and taking on challenges but two things really stand out.

Training made a significant difference in my race. And not only my race……but getting to the race in time. I ran the mile to make the race with no problem because I was prepared. I trained with other women every Saturday morning for months leading up to the race but I worked out on my own 5 times a week. Our Saturdays were great but not enough to prepare me adequately. I was consistent and disciplined in my own preparation and it made all the difference in my race…..in my confidence going into it and in how I performed.

The other major lesson learned is that we are better together. The women I trained with were a constant source of encouragement as we prepared for the race. We lifted each other up on our bad days, cheered our victories, and talked down our fears. We held each other accountable.

I made it to the starting line on time because two friends helped me get my gear and chip timer on and made sure I was hydrated before we started.

And  I could not have finished the race well without my racing partners. We stayed together throughout the entire race. 57b90c27a0898a9211ffdb19-oThey pushed me and lifted me (they literally lifted me at one point). We laughed. We strained. We cheered and helped each other. We cheered and helped other racers. We joked at all the mud and we raced with all our hearts.

Together.

The encouragement from these women…..the help, the drive, the smiles and laughter were vital to my race.

Life’s that way, too.

We are better together. We just are.

And being prepared is better than not being prepared. It just is.

Now go.

Try something new and do something hard. And help others do it.

And let them help you.

Because it matters. Live like it matters.

 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”       Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT