On January 2016, after accomplishing my first Spartan Race in SoCal, I said to myself: “I can carry the entire world on my shoulders now!”
And this is how everything started!
In November 2015, I got ‘invited’ by my fitness and lifestyle coach to participate in a Spartan Race with her team. I literally had never run longer than 1.5 km and that made me pass out at the finish line. I was a bodybuilder, that girl with huge legs and the massive amount of muscles. There was no way I could do ‘cardio’ longer than 30 minutes and that was limited to Stairmaster. “Nobody will ever make me run” was bouncing in my head. However, under the ‘pressure’ of my very smart coach, I signed up.
That was it. As a perfectionist and a fully committed to my goals athlete, I literally took the entire preparation into my hands and signed up to the local ninja gym to get my rope climb ready. All I wanted to master was rope climb. I knew in the worst case scenario I will end up doing 900 burpees during that Spartan Super run in SoCal Spartan Race in Temecula, CA. So, rope climb and burpees became my obsession for the next two months.
After I finished that race, the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. I have never felt like that. Not even after receiving my Ph.D. title or placing top three at my bodybuilding competition. The feeling of being able to do anything, including carrying the entire world on my own shoulders, was amazing. I felt high on life and I wanted more of it.
The 2016 year ended up with just one Trifecta. I am saying ‘just’ because something managed to stop me from getting more.
As I was preparing myself for the third race in April, and planning to do at least three more that year, I injured my knee. I was in a brace for a few weeks and not capable of doing a single long jump for several months. The discouragement and the feeling of being a personal failure crept in and all I wanted was to give up. However, not having healthy legs didn’t mean I couldn’t practice and train upper body. Wasn’t the upper body actually more important to complete the obstacles at Spartan Race, such as monkey bars, rope climb, twister, multi-rig and so on? So, there I was, in the brace and doing literally hundreds of pull-ups every day.
That entire life experience turned out to be a great lesson to the coach and a personal trainer like me. It not only taught me to look at the injuries through a more humbling lens but more importantly, to see how mental and personal commitments are crucial in perseverance. It motivated me even more to be a role model and show that physical injuries are not the end of the athletic lifestyle. It was a beginning of the journey called ‘how to love yourself through the obstacles that life puts in our way’.
After just five months after my injury, still not being able to fully jump or run, I created the beYOUtiful Team who raced with me (or rather I raced with them) in Breckenridge, CO, in Sprint Spartan Race. My team was extremely happy overrunning their coach, and I knew that I would allow them to do that again and again at any moment. I could see how the race which was changing my life, was changing their lives, too. I could see the happiness on their faces for not only beating their own trainer but accomplishing and completing something they would never think to be possible to do.
The path to becoming better was about to get started. I officially became a Spartan SGX coach.
In 2017 other life-changing events happened. I run multiple races and participated in the brutal events called Hurricane Heat. I was so high on life. I never felt more powerful before.
The Hurricane Heat 12 hour in Las Vegas, March 2017 was another one totally shifting my belief system and values in my life. For the first time in my life, I was tested mentally like never before. The past traumas and abuse were nothing compared to what I went through during that night. I learned one major lesson (and many, many more minor lessons), that we can do whatever we put our minds to. There were moments of total numbness in my body, where all I could do was repeating ‘step, step, step’ to myself and keep going. The HH12HR was the biggest challenge of my life, the best life lesson and my proudest moment.
In May 2017 something magical happened. At that time, I didn’t know it is going to be magical until after some time. However, the number of coincidental events happening around that race, in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson, was incredible. I had no clue why just a day before my friends left me alone to drive and race two races. I had never raced alone. But I did this time. I ran both of the days and in both cases, I managed to set my own personal records for both distances. In the meantime, I met cool friends and people, among them my future boyfriend. Yeay! That’s what happened!
After the first day, we couldn’t find each other on Instagram. We both knew that we just met someone we might possibly like but who clearly didn’t want to be in touch. It happens, it was just a race and we usually meet a lot of people. However, I knew that the next day he runs again, just 15 minutes earlier than me. I knew that all is in my hands. I ran so fast, that I not only set up another PR but caught up to him almost at the end of the race. I ‘screamed’ at him why didn’t he accept my invitation on Instagram. Surprisingly, he was asking me the same.
Who knew that two months later we would be a couple, four months later we would move in together and a year later we will proceed into another phase of our relationship.
One year later, at the same venue, in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson, I took my life fate again into my hands and decided to propose to my boyfriend. I was waiting for him at the finish line, with the medal in my left hand and the Spartan Groove Life silicone ring in my right hand. I was totally aware of the audience around cheering me on and I was even more aware of this what I was about to do.
I have never heard of any woman proposing first. Oh well, I do act on things which matter to me. So, I did that time again.
Spartan Race truly changed my life. It showed me what a real feeling of accomplishment is. It brought wonderful friends into my life. It gave me motivation, courage and mental strength to deal with my injuries. It taught me life lessons in the middle of the night. And it brought my fiancé into the life of a woman who went through abuse in past relationships and didn’t truly believe there was someone out there who could love her. Who could love her for being a crazy Spartan Lady. Who could be a crazy Spartan himself.
I am so lucky! I am such a happy Spartan Lady!