It has been 5 days since I completed the Spartan Obstacle Specialist (SOS) Workshop and my first stadium sprint at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
This trip to Texas is rather atypical for me. Being involved in the management of FuelFit and as a person who is usually relatively thrifty, the decision to make this trip involved a lot of considerations, internal conversations and a big leap of faith. Going on this trip would mean an increase in expenses and a significant time away from FuelFit, the people, as well as my family. On top of that, there is also that voice questioning incessantly : “What’s the point of doing this?”, “What difference will it make?”, “Are you sure you can be away for this long?”, “Are you good enough?”, “Who really cares?”. I feared travelling all the way to Texas for the workshop and the race would turn out to be a frivolous and meaningless escapade. Do I even “deserve” to go on this trip?
Amidst all the busy work at FuelFit for the past months, it was only when my parents sent me off at the airport that I realized that I would be gone for two weeks! I was nervous, but at the same time filled with gratitude for having such loving parents who have been supportive and accommodating despite the frequent inconveniences they often endure due to my busy schedule, as well as for an amazing FuelFit team whom I can count on to cover for me when I am away.
In the morning of the Spartan Obstacle Specialist (SOS) Workshop, I had woken up earlier than I needed to partly because I was still adapting to the time, and partly because it would be my first time training out of Singapore. The workshop was conducted by Coach Todd Cambio and I had the honour of meeting the other participants who had different backgrounds and came from different states, but united in the passion for obstacle racing. One of the things that struck me was how humble and open everyone was. Coach Cambio set the context for the workshop by saying that his way isn’t the only way and that he always looks forward to seeing how other people tackle the obstacles and learning from them. The workshop was great as we get everyone pitching in and coaching each other through the obstacles.
I met an amazing lady, who is now a grandmother (*gasp!), coaching me on how to plant one foot and launch myself up a 9-foot wall. It was a technique that I wasn’t comfortable with and I failed numerous times. It is incredible how with the support from people who were perfect strangers to me a few hours before, I managed to scale over the 9-foot wall after many grueling attempts. It was truly a heartening experience to work with all the SOS participants!
The SOS Workshop definitely gave me new knowledge and skills which I can pass on as an OCR Coach, but more importantly, it reminded me of the importance of having a learner’s mindset. Learning from others doesn’t mean you need to ditch what you have. It just gives you “more tools for your toolbox”, making you more versatile, and a better individual.
The Spartan Stadium Sprint was the very next day after the SOS workshop. As it was my first Stadium Sprint, I decided that my focus for this race would be the experience and the fun, not the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love to compete. However, I have also been in a position where I got so caught up in the results or the “destination” that I could not experience the enjoyment and fun of the training, the process, the “journey”.
It got me thinking back of the days when I was a kid. Coming back from school, I would run up the stairs with my backpack to my Grandma’s flat on the nineteenth floor, accumulate a hundred sit-ups a day, secretly play with the dumbbells that belonged to my uncle, do vertical wall climbs in my Grandma’s kitchen. I wasn’t training for anything in particular. I did all those just because I enjoyed it, and most importantly — it was Play for me.
As an athlete, it is often tempting to take on the “go hard or go home” mentality all the time. As I grew from an athlete to a coach now, I believe in continuous learning everyday, to balance training together with rest and recovery, and most essentially, all of us should return to play!
Working out, racing and running should never be a chore, instead enjoy the process, stay committed to having fun and your fitness goals will fall into place!