“Trust the left butt cheek, Stacey, trust it,” my fellow climbers instructed from below, safely planted on the ground at Doylestown Rock Gym. “Yes, that’s it! Grab the red rock that looks like a butt. Now, bring your right foot down so you can spread out.”
The hard part was next: trusting myself to let go with my right hand to grab hold of the next rock.
I had to move forward.
But could I do it when my fingertips ached and the chalk sweat off my already torn-up and blistered palms? Could I do it even when I couldn’t bring myself to stick my hand into my chalk bag to get a better grip?
I was about to find out.
My left leg acted as a pendulum as I reached the next rock in the V1+ bouldering problem, swinging out from under me, away from the inward slanting wall, before crashing back into it with the force of my entire body.
All I could focus on at that moment was the purple bruise already visible on my kneecap as I plummeted into a free fall.
This moment was when my confidence soared, because all fear of failure left me.
I felt like Tris Prior from “The Divergent” trilogy when she decided to become the first jumper among the Dauntless Initiates.
But I am not a Dauntless Initiate.
I am a Spartan in training.
This Saturday at 11:15 a.m. at the Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton, Carbon County, a gun will sound, and among a wave of 248 strangers, my boyfriend Justin and I will begin running our first Spartan Race.
As novices, we ignored reason and recommendation.
It’s recommended that since Spartan claims anyone can take on The Sprint (the easiest race level that’s three to five miles with 20-plus obstacles) and finish it — even without training — we should run this race first.
But Justin and I aren’t just anyone. We’re a nerdy fit couple who enjoy reading “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” when we’re not hard at work training by playing skee-ball (I’m joking … joking).
That being said, we’re taking on The Super (Spartan’s intermediate race that’s eight to 10 miles with 24-plus obstacles) as Team Tralfamadorian Terrapins.