I remember telling myself in 2014, I'm going to Canada, I'm going to travel to Canada to race, and meet amazing people!
Fast forward a year, I'm on a flight to Canada. Meeting friends who have been following me ON social media. I've seen a few photos of these friends, but nothing more then a profile picture. I had arranged my stay with two families who had kids with Spina Bifida. Upon arriving at the airport, I look around and see a little girl holding balloons with a sign saying "Welcome Misty!" I made it to Canada and I had no idea that my life was about to change for the better.
I had some how convinced the two mothers, to run a Spartan race with me. One mother denied me twice, but eventually I convinced her it would be fun! Being completely uncomfortable is fun right? Later did I know she would be thanking me from the bottom of her heart to changing her life.
I had the most amazing privilege to run for three amazing little girls with Spina Bifida.
Three beautiful girls all being connected for the first time. Social media has allowed me to connect so many friends together for the first time, unbelievable. My mission to finish both Spartan races became ever so pressing. All 3 families would take the time to come watch me race and participate.
I had no idea how the weather would be during the race, but when I got word that there were heat warning advisories, I knew I would be in for a hard race. I geared up with my regular routine before and during a Spartan race. Showed up on time introduced myself to some directors of Spartan Canada, they were so welcoming and helpful.
The first day about 9:30am I met my team of 4 meeting for the first time. The first thing we did after crossing the start line, can you guess? That's right, went up a huge hill. Damn you Spartan. Hill, after hill, after hill.
The course was on Brimstone ski resort, which was a grassy terrain. There were some groomed trails, a lot of mud. Some gravel, pretty tame. Just a lot of hills. The hills were as steep as you can expect them to be at a ski resort.
The first day my team and I did the sprint. Some obstacles were walking on a beam, ringing a bell at the end, monkey bars which were very slippery, 12ft walls, 15 ft walls, mud pits with tons of water, under cargo nets, slippery wall climbs, rope climbs, and a lot and I mean a lot of mud.
There were times where it was just so hot, I would drench myself under these water towers they had on the hills, and run my entire body under. I wore a cool towel and wet it at every station. When the negative thoughts came to my mind, which was quite often, I was reminded of how I had two amazing kids with SB waiting for me at the finish line.
At some points coming down the hill's completely exhausted, we could see all of our cheerleaders team cheering for us. I knew once I heard those little girls saying "Go Misty Go”, we needed to keep going.
My mission has changed over time the more I race. At first I just wanted to feel better, to find something worth waking up to on a daily. The more that I have raced, I found my purpose. Running for those who have Spina Bifida. Going into the homes of these kids and spending one on one time with them, recharged my battery and gave me more direction on staying true to my mission. Doing my best and telling others my story. Seeing those kids waiting for me at the finish line with there families made my heart so happy.
Another Spartan race completed! Couldn't of done it without my team. Oh but wait, we still have another race the next day!
The next day Liz and I ran together, she has an amazing daughter Emily who has Spina Bifida. This firecracker enters kid races in her walker and her hot pink crutches! They welcomed me into there home for a sleep over and let me tell you, this future Spartan already has her own medal rack...I love it!!!! Liz was my 1 and only runner for Sunday. This was her first Spartan race.
Right off the bat I swear it felt hotter than the day before. Mile one I told Liz, I feel like I've been on this course ha. We went though all the same obstacles until about mile 5. Then we were faced with the largest mud pit I had ever seen. Who knew yards of mud pits existed deep into the ski resort. Oh and there was barbwire along the sides to keep you on the course.
We attempted the mud pit and immediately knew it wasn't going to work. You would think the mud pit was one level, until you stepped into it got some speed and boom it dropped off shoulders deep. My crutches kept getting stuck. The only way around this was going on the sides. Thankfully I had a team I met up with who helped me stay on the outer edges.
I can't tell you how many times I lost my crutches, we would stop and dig for them. Liz lost her shoes, she ended up running barefoot though the mud until we finished it. This obstacle took quite awhile. We laughed a lot, I think at that point we might have have been delirious due to the heat and being on the course for 6+ hours. The rope climb got me this time, I made it to the top so completely exhausted, but couldn't hit the bell. I had exhausted all my upper body by the second day. I learned what I needed to do next time and moved on.
By the time we got out of the mud pits, rain started then thunder. I started freaking out running and skipping a few obstacles, I had to...I'm using medal crutches. Lighting and medal don't go together. hahaha.
Liz and I had such a great time, we crossed the finish line with rain and lighting, while her family waited for us under the slippery wall, Emily was cheering for us so loudly!!! I knew all the suffering hahah and having to dig for my crutches, all the heat, all the mustard packets I had ate paid off. All for hugs and smiles waiting for us at the finish line, I knew my mission was complete.
Showing these kids and parents anything is possible, you just might just have to do things a little differently, and that's okay. I learned that I am stronger then I thought, that life is better being lived by example for others to follow.
Canada you were amazing. Thank you to the Spartan staff, thank you to all those who ran with me, thank you to everyone who cheered for me. Truly, thank you.