S (NO) W Fun?

In my own personal hell, the devil would wear ice skates and a balaclava.

I woke up to a good inch of snow on the ground this (OK yesterday, I’m working 12+ hour days this week at the gym, blogging is taking a while) mid-April morning. I know, I know, this is New England.  “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, and it will change.”    Five minutes, seven months, whatever.  I’m starting to truly believe this winter will never end.

And perhaps it was the weather,  but more likely my third 4:30 am wake up call in a row, but I’m completely guilty of throwing a small temper tantrum over the fact that I had foolishly taken my ice scraper out of the car and placed it in the basement for the summer.  (To my credit, I hadn’t had any caffeine yet).  The windshield wipers were not up for the challenge of clearing off that mess.

Touche, mother nature.

Today I am thankful that I spent most days outside last week soaking up what I thought was spring.   A small bit of reprieve from another week of cold, winter weather.  Rumor on the streets (well, in the gym at 5:30 am this morning) is that tonight will bring a low of 15 degrees.

FIFTEEN DEGREES. With a high of 29 degrees tomorrow.  Mid April.  Ludicrous (at least in my world.)

But enough ranting…race season is officially here.  Snow or no snow, it’s time to put my game face on.

Yesterday I received a comment on my post about training in the gym for obstacle course racing that really got me thinking.   (And for a hot minute, riled up.  I’m sometimes guilty of getting slightly offended when I think someone is using a rude tone, when in fact they weren’t, it’s just impossible to decipher tone via the inter-webs.)   Not verbatim, but it was along the lines of  didn’t I realize that most people run obstacle races for fun, and therefore suggesting that one train to perform obstacles while exhausted (as opposed to pausing to catch your breath) was “elitist”.

I obviously, whole-heartily, disagree.

Not to say that it is wrong to take your time throughout a course, because it’s not; everyone has their own reason for being out there, and if yours is solely to have fun, then so be it.    Now, I am not an “elite” by any standard.  I’ve podiumed one time in the sport of obstacle course racing, and I’m pretty sure that was due to the fact that not many other people signed up for the “elite” wave.


2nd place “elite”!!  I won $25 “Hero” bucks that bought me a sweet beer stein. RIP, Hero Rush.


Other than that, I’m what you would consider a participant “out there for fun”.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t push myself to do my absolute best. I can’t even begin to tell you the personal satisfaction I feel when I conquer an obstacle that I couldn’t do before, or beat a previous course time.    That, to me, *IS* fun.

So let’s bring this post full circle.    Reebok and Spartan race recently (and slyly)  announced an invitational, 1.5 mile race at the Reebok Headquarters in Canton, MA.    After Mass Mayhem last weekend, I wasn’t sure when our next obstacle race would be.  But this one sprung up on us, and fortunately Geoff and I will have the opportunity to race.


I’m excited and a little nervous all at the same time.  Spartan races are known for pushing your limits.  The fact that this course is only 1.5 miles long leads me to believe that they course designers are going to push us…and throw in some unexpected surprises.  With only just over a week left until race day, “stepping up” the training isn’t really an option.  But it is another opportunity to see where I’m at, and see where there is room to grow.  I’m ready to push…and it will be fun. 

I had a point to this post yesterday, but it’s now 5:45 am and my brain is struggling with the consecutive 4:30 am wake up calls (kudos to you morning people!).  So let’s just end it with this question:  do you push yourself during each competition (road race, OCR, CrossFit comp, etc), regardless of the possibility of placing or “elite” status?  Does “competing for fun” mean you do not care at all about your time and accomplishments, or do you find it “fun” to push yourself?  Or is it a combination, and why? 

Leave a Reply


  1. Mindi Fried says

    For me, being out there is pushing myself – when I could actively train, I was doing so so I could do better while on the course. I have no desire to (and no illusions that I ever will) win any medals or prizes, the joy of being on the course is enough for me. And now I wake up dreaming of just being in the mud again. I have even less podium aspirations than I did before – winning for me will be able to race again.

  2. says

    I go out there to finish a race and complete as many obstacles as my body will allow me to (and get mad at myself when I can’t do one). I will never, ever be in a class with the people I train with at Unleashed or any of the Spahtens but I can learn from the best, for sure. You’ll never see a smile on my face bigger than when I cross a finish line of something I once thought was impossible. And I’m OK with that.

    Btw, I wanted to thank you for the advice on the Spahten page about narrow shoes. I walked out of REI last night with a new pair of Merrell hiking shoes and Salomon trail running shoes. The only two I even needed to try on it turns out!

    • says

      yaaaah I’m so glad you found shoes you like! Happy to help :) And I agree with you, I am THRILLED when I accomplish something I once could not (or ever imagined I could!) That is “winning” for me :)

  3. says

    I probably take myself and my racing way more seriously than I should. But yes, it’s fun for me…in an “overall” sense. PRing is like the most fun ever! Even if the training was hard or boring.

  4. says

    I do some of both. I very rarely place unless it is a local road race (like the kind only 10-15 deep in an age group…lol), but if I am out there I am usually giving it my 100 percent to compete with myself, i.e. better time, feel better, get through an obstacle with more ease… However, if I am racing with friends I will sometimes “run for fun” and throw all time goals out the window. I see a point to both, but do take offense to people who have a problem with training hardcore for an event.

    • says

      I 100% agree! Last year we did a race with Geoff’s mom…60 years old and her first OCR. All I cared about was having a good time and getting her to the finish line. We had a blast! I think there is certainly a time (no pun intended) for every situation!