Do Spartans Panic?

This past Saturday was my baby sister’s 30th birthday. It was also the Fort Knox Spartan Sprint Race. They only spent the last year promoting it, so it was obviously a pretty big deal. And of course, I signed up.

I also signed my kids up.

I asked Justin if it was something he would be interested in, and he told me he wasn’t “a Spartan kinda guy.” So, I didn’t sign him up–until we were out to lunch with my best friend and she asked him if he was going to do it and he replied, “well, I said I wanted to, but no one signed me up.” Well, I marched right home and signed that sucker up for the Elite category, which means competing against guys who spend their entire summer traveling around competing in these brutal races.

I also spent the last I don’t even know how many months, training.

Saturday morning, I was pumped. Ready to go. Psyched. I was so ready for bad-ass-dom. Justin ran that sucker in 1:06:25. Which put him 101st out of the 167 elite humans. And then, out of everyone who ran yesterday, that put him 223rd out of 4382. Which I think is SUPER badass. His response was, “GIRLS beat me,” and, “I should’ve run faster.” He did zero prepping for it, apart from the insane amount of time he spends in our garage gym weekly, but he refers to that as “training for life.”

The kids raced. And they loved it! And it was super cute to watch. I was getting super pumped.

But I should also add that it was 95+ degrees, with a real feel over 100 degrees. A lot of sweating was happening.

Trial by fire?!

By the time it was my turn, the kids were hot and tired, I was HOT, Justin was sweating so way much. We had been there over 4 hours, in the hot sun. And then, away I went. Jogging through the woods. And jumping over walls. Each wall got a little taller, and a little more effort had to go into jumping them. The final wall was a brutal 6 feet high. I was jumping and throwing myself at that wall on repeat. Nearly everyone else in my heat was on a team, and I watched them hoist and boost one another over the walls, while I ran and threw myself full force at them. My volleyball jumping skills came back to me, and I put every ounce of everything into my vertical leap. I was starting to get frustrated.

Next up–basically, a horizontal log about 5 feet into the air. Not only do you have to throw yourself at it, you have to keep your legs from swinging underneath it. Multiple attempts, quite a few fails, and the feeling of intense bruising on my ribcage. By the time I made it to the final wall, I was feeling intensely defeated. And then the volunteer watching that wall looked at me and said, “you got this girlie!”

Bring on the bruises.

Bring on the tears.

I have not had a full on panic attack since 2006, when a Transportation contractor told me there was NO way I’d get my passport in time, and I would NOT be able to move to Germany with Justin.

I jogged on. Compose yourself, Sam. He was just giving you words of encouragement.

But…everyone else is with a team, and they’re all helping each other, and I’m ALONE!!!

The men at the water station were also quite friendly, as I paused, tried to stop the overheating feeling that was not helping with the on-coming panic attack.

Finally, we had made it to the first obstacle that would require 30 burpees if it could not be completed. And, panic I did. I was hot. I was uncomfortable. I looked out into the crowd–if I could just see Justin, he could talk me down…but I had sent him and the kids back to the van to cool off, since I figured I would take at least twice as long as Justin did.

Twice as long?! I was ONE MILE IN! I had over THREE MILES LEFT!!! I looked back–Terry the Torturer was in the heat behind me. If I could just COMPOSE myself and wait patiently, he would most likely be able to talk me down. IS THERE NO ONE OUT THERE ABLE TO TALK ME DOWN?!?!

I stood off to the side for what seemed like an eternity, trying to keep myself from crying. It wasn’t working. I was crying. I was standing, looking out at the first REAL obstacle and I was crying.

There’s no crying in Spartan Races!

I found a gap in the fencing, wide enough to fit myself through. And I tapped out. And then spend the next 30 minutes wandering around, trying desperately to find Justin. While crying. And not wearing sunnies, so people could actually see me crying!

I was the little kid, lost in the mall, and I couldn’t find my family.


Finally, I decided to just take my crying face back out to the parking area. If they weren’t there, then I guess I would come back and have the Man with a Mic make an announcement.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this crying lady has lost her husband. And it’s obviously super serious.”

I wandered around, trying desperately to remember where we had parked. We were one of the first people here, so close to the front. WHY DOES EVERYONE DRIVE SILVER VEHICLES!?!? Finally, I glanced to my right and saw a sweaty man, standing near the back of a minivan. And I CRIED. So many tears happened. I walked up behind him, and as soon as he saw me he looked instantly concerned. “What happened!?”

“I tapped out like a bitch! I just started crying, and I couldn’t stop. And it’s so hot. And I couldn’t find you guys. And I looked ahead and every obstacle looked IMPOSSIBLE. And I’m still crying. And…”

“What do you want to do?”

“I just want to get in the car, and cry myself home.”

And that’s what I did. I cried. And then I laughed about how foolish it was. Did I seriously just have my first panic attack in over a decade?! All because of a foolish race?!

But seriously, why was it so dang hot!?

Could I have finished it? Physically–yes. But my head said no, and there was no talking me down. I could pretend that it was something else. I’m absolutely COVERED in bruises, which Justin has been teasing me about–“I FINISHED the race and I have two little bruises on your elbows! What the heck were you doing out there!? You didn’t even make it to the REAL obstacles!”


Next year, I’ll be trying this again. And next year, I’ll force someone to run it with me. Not Justin–even if he was around, I know he’d either tease me the entire way, or take off and leave me (only to run back after he’s finished, to say, “you’re all the way back here?!?!). And I’d spend the run saying, “just carry me!” Which he wouldn’t do. No–I’ll find some equally fit/unfit human, who will whine with me when it’s too hard, but who will keep me from reaching the point of no return.

Your Feet Stink

Our darling puppy, Emma, is often confused about what she is. It probably doesn’t help that our cat, Captain SparklePaws, taught her the fine art of hunting–and killing–mice.

Sometimes she takes credit for Captain’s kills; sometimes she does the deed all by herself, with minimal help from Captain. He brings her live mice, and she finishes the job. Just this morning she posed with her prize.

Look at how proud she is!

Last night, I was sitting in my usual spot on the couch, watching tv with Justin after our kids had gone to sleep. I kept smelling a smell. “Justin, do you smell something?”

He didn’t, and I spent a few random moments sniffing nearby pillows, our pug, Bruce (who already thinks I’m crazy, so I’m sure sniffing him solidified that feeling), and even nearby shoes.

By the time we went bed, I had failed at locating the odd smell, and I was beginning to think maybe Bruce’s feeling about me were correct.

Until about 30 minutes ago, when I once again found myself smelling everything. I was beginning to feel like the little kids in room 309 (from Four Rooms, for those who are unaware). I smelled the pillows. I tore the cushions off the couch. None of them smelled. And yet, something smelled.

I moved the couch. And instead of finding a dead prostitute crammed in a box spring, I stumbled upon a large mouse, hidden perfectly under the computer desk. Thanks, Emma!

I then remembered that only Friday, Emma was trying to cram herself between the couch and desk. She was shoving her nose into the hidden space next to the couch, tucked away under the desk. My gosh, I also stuck my hand into that space and fished around for what I thought must’ve been a lost toy she simply had to get her paws on. I’m super grateful that I didn’t stumble upon it then. I might’ve saved myself from 2 nights of the stinky smell, but I ALMOST TOUCHED A DEAD MOUSE WITH MY BARE HANDS!

Let’s keep the mouse-gifts outside, ok Emma?

He’s Leaking Brains!!!

Last night, after dinner, Xander went outside to play with the neighborhood kids. Army post living is a lot like stepping back in time–as long as we know where they’re going, and they stay on our street, they’re allowed to run off and play.

Suddenly, Justin said, “there’s a woman walking up to our door. Go see what she wants.” Justin! I’m not wearing a bra!!!

As soon as I see who it is, instant fear. Xander was going over to jump on her trampoline. Please please don’t be here to tell me he hurt someone.

Hey, I just wanted to let you know. Xander was jumping on the trampoline, and something came out of his nose. I think maybe it was sinus related or something. IT WASNT BLOOD. But, it got on the trampoline. And, I gave him some water. [My husband] wanted me to come and tell you, because we don’t want you to be concerned.

I’m sorry, what?! Is this really happening?! Did you really travel across the culdesac to let me know my son had boogers?!

I thanked her multiple times, because she obviously was concerned. About snot.

As I walked back inside, Justin asked, “what!? What was it!? What did she say!?” Deep breath, and I tell him what she told me. He stared at me for a second, and then responded: “what the fuck?! Did they think it was brain matter or something?!”

I guess I should be taking leaky snot more seriously?? It’s brains!!!

Nah, it’s boogers.

Happy Birthday to Me!

When you’re a kid, you are always counting down to the next great thing. You count down to Christmas. You count down to Birthdays. It’s all so exciting!

Two weeks ago, Justin turned 35. So obviously, it meant that in 14 days, I too would be turning 35.

Then, I woke up this morning, and Justin was wishing me happy birthday. Oh crap, that’s right!

The excitement over the day is lost. It’s cool–I have now graduated to the next age bracket. I’m no longer 25-34. Nope, welcome to 35-44!

This morning at work–my very last day as a lead lifeguard (yes, that’s right. I am once again an Assistant Aquatics Manager. Or at least, I am, as of tomorrow)–my boss called: “what are you doing this morning?”  Well, I was planning on guarding: “what do you want me to be doing this morning?” It turns out, he wanted me to go to a meeting with a team of 10 individuals to discuss locker room renovations at the gym/pool.

My business casual is nothing like your business casual.

Of course, I’m wearing a bathing suit and flipping hot pants. This is how I make first impressions. With booty shorts. Pardon my bathing suit, I wasn’t expecting to be walking around with a handful of adults who put clothes on to go to work.

It all went swimmingly (see what I did there)! I even got to give some input, and hopefully they were able to hear my ideas over my hot pink tank top and spandex.

I worked out with Terry, who had me do terrible, terrible “box jumps” up a dang amphitheater’s outdoor cement retaining wall-style seating. There is nothing more terrifying that jumping onto a 2-3ft cement barrier. It felt more like 5ft (um, yes, I was jumping walls nearly as high as I am tall. Ok, maybe I wasn’t, but my shins were telling me it was all much too high for any human to jump). This is his idea of fun–all in my preparation for the Spartan Race in July.

I had intended on going out to dinner for my birthday. Of course, at 6:30am when I finished throwing dinner into the crockpot, I remembered today was my birthday. So much for going out.

All during dinner, our puppy, Emma, kept running outside, and then running back in. We watched her carry one of her blankets outside. Oh Emma, you’re a crazy girl. The kids asked to be excused. Then Justin told Emma to “drop it.” What did she have? Oh, just a skein of green embroidery floss. I glanced outside and saw that she had already brought pink string out. We watched her drop the green skein. Justin wandered out to pick up the string: “Sammi! You need to see this!” I better get my phone…

Mouse Art

It turns out, Emma was creating some sort of shrine to a dead mouse. String art, with a rodent center.

Look how proud she is!

I might have forgotten that today was my birthday, but at the end of it all, I was given a pretty awesome gift. A ridiculous collection of string, places around a dead mouse. And a full evening of giggles. Thanks Emma.

And thank you to everyone who wished me Happy Birthday! I’m now closer to 40 than I am to 30, and that’s totally cool. I’m still just as awkward!

Razors Scare Me

This morning, I finally remembered to shave my legs. For a lady who spends most days in a bathing suit, I should really be better about shaving regularly. But, my legs are long, and it feels like it takes forever. And I always end up with tiny cuts everywhere.

This morning, my worst nightmare came true.

I should start by explaining that I took a film class my freshman year of college. The professor had us watch a short film by Scorsese, titled “The Big Shave.” In it, a man shaves his face. Then he goes back and shaves again, this time shaving his skin off. Now, I am a girl who likes gross things. Blood and injuries. It’s all fabulous and interesting! But that short has stuck with me for 17 years, and still, the thought of it makes me cringe.

I basically reenacted that short this morning. 

Instantly, I had an “oh crap” moment–especially since I was only halfway through shaving my first leg when the incident occurred! I WANTED to call it quits, as the blood mixed with water and made the injury look a million times worse.

Alas, I managed to finish shaving, without passing out from the blood loss. Miraculously enough, I did manage to complete the job with any further incidents. But really, there has to be a better way! This is probably why I only shave my legs once a week…or maybe this is the result of weekly shaving. I have no skills.