I’m skipping Monday School today so I can share what my friends and I did over the weekend.

We ran the Nashville Sprint Spartan Race on Saturday and the Nashville Super on Sunday. Those are my fifth and sixth Spartan races but the first time I’ve done Spartan races two days in a row.

The heat and humidity took it out of us early on Saturday. By the end of the four miler all of us were wiped out, but we finished and felt good about our race.

It was cooler with a light on-and-off rain Sunday. The heat wasn’t an issue but the soreness and blisters from the day before made some of the obstacles even harder. We finished the eight miles faster than anticipated.

My niece and her friend ran with us on Saturday. According to them, this won’t be their last. They enjoyed the intense challenge of it all. My niece said the best part of the race was realizing she could do more than she thought possible.

The same thing happened to me. When I finished my first Spartan Race I was in awe of what I’d accomplished. I was thankful for the camaraderie on the course and the shared experience of training and racing with friends.

Training together, working toward a common goal, and cheering one another on for months prior to a race makes the race even better. Those shared experiences have a way of bringing you closer. When we see each other trudging up a steep hill in 90 degree heat carrying a bucket full of rocks or giving it our all at the atlas carry, we see and appreciate the grit in each other. When a teammate climbs the the rope or heaves the Hercules hoist to the top with sheer determination, the physical strength is evident but we see her inner strength too. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’m no elite athlete. Not even close. I’m only determined to use and take care of this wonderfully complex gift called my body, as much as I can, for as long as I can, however I can in pursuit of health. It’s the only body I’ll ever have. So I move it and it’s more fun with friends and goals.

This weekend we met a brain cancer beater, a two time heart attack survivor, several people fighting diabetes, and a 70 year old grandmother who told me “my body’s going to ache anyway, might as well ache doing this.” Each racer has a unique story and a different reason for being on the course. All of us feel the same sense of accomplishment when we cross the finish line.

Maybe you’ve never heard of Spartan Races, so you Google it and you decide it’s not for you. There are so many ways to move your body. Dancing lessons, walks in the park, Frisbee golf, hiking, skating, gardening, biking, mud runs. The number of ways to move is endless.

Find something that looks fun and try it. Even if it looks impossible at first. Try it. If you’ve been inactive for a while, take a walk at the park. Build up distance slowly, then try the Couch to 5K app. You’ll surprise yourself.

I did and I’m going to keep at it.

If you want more information about Spartan Races and how we’ve trained, let me know. I’d be glad to share our secrets and encourage you on your way to a Spartan Race or better health in general.