I’m 5’2”. Like Lady Gaga. She makes it seem more cool than I ever thought it was. I never liked being short. I have to cuff my jeans, always. And growing up, people called me “Tiny Tina”, which I didn’t find amusing. Still to this day, people will say to me, “boy, you’re really short.” I feel like stomping on their toes when they say that, so please keep that in mind if we ever meet in person.
When I got divorced, I was an emotional wreck. I thought nobody would ever love me again, I would be a sad old made for the rest of my life. Doing embroidery and drinking wine.
Ridiculous, right? But at the time, myself conﬁdence was shattered. I was in a verbally abusive relationship, so I had started to believe the things he said to me. That I wasn’t smart. That I constantly messed up on things. That I never ﬁnished projects. That I wasn’t important enough to be involved in meetings or events.
It was a ﬂuke that I ﬁrst got started with Spartan Races. I had signed up with my sister, who is a hard core athlete. I’m pretty sure could climb Mt Everest. Barefoot. I was SO nervous about the race. We were signed up to do the BEAST in Dallas TX. 13 miles with 26 obstacles.
I never liked doing competitive races, so I had no experience with how to train for this Spartan thing. So, I started doing blog research. And it scared the PANTS oﬀ me. People made it out to seem so horribly hard. They wrote about the killer training they had been doing, which was way more intense than any training I had done. Yet despite their dedicated training, they got home from the race and summarized on their blog about how intensely hard it was. How they were pushed to the edge and didn’t think they could make it. They pulled muscles, lost jewelry, and were still finding mud buried in ear crevices and other mysterious folds of the human body three days after the race. Maybe they actually enjoyed the race, but my brain only interpreted suffering from their blogs, no joy.
I was a complete ninny about the whole thing. Constantly bugging my sister to get her reassurance that I would be ﬁne and that I would ﬁnish the race ok. It got to the point right before the race where she actually rolled her eyes at me. Oh boy, I had gone too far. My sister is like a saint, never loses her cool or composure with people. Ever.
But when race day arrived, and the master of events delivered his inspiring, heart pumping, rock and rolling speech, my sentiment changed. I no longer felt like a complete wuss, but rather, I felt empowered in my new identity as a Spartan. Looking around, everyone was smiling, bouncing up and down to warm up. The master of events finished his speech, which sounded like something out of Braveheart, and got us all to holler “AROO AROO AROO”. Apparently, that’s what Spartans say.
And it was the most fun thing I ever did.
Here is why I think short people make good Spartans:
Short people get the short end of the stick. No one wants us on their sports team. No chance of making it in the fashion world. In business, people are always looking down on you. And in relationships, your neck gets kinked from kissing someone so much taller than you.
But Spartan races turned it all around for me. Made me appreciate being short in a whole new way.
Not as much mass, so it is much easier to run through mud. Big body builder powerlifting guys who were ripped, had so much weight on them that they got stuck in the mud. They are pulling their feet up, like they are walking through glue, and I ﬂoat by like a fairy princess. Yes, it’s hard to get over the wall/hurdles, but Spartan Races are so cool that it brings out the chivalrous side of men, so they don’t mind helping a SHORT person over that wall! Where, they might not be so chivalrous with a taller person. AND some of the obstacles are much easier for us short people, because we can maneuver our body in diﬀerent ways that taller people can’t. For example, for the barbed wire obstacle, everyone was doing the low crawl or barrel rolling under the barbed wire. I started to do the log roll, but got woozy within about 5 feet of that. So, I thought I would just try getting up on my hands and knees, and walking like a cat. Brilliant!
I spend my days avoiding getting my shoes wet, make sure my nails are clean, and fretting when I eat spaghetti because I know it will splatter on my ivory blouse. But Spartan races are the one time of year that I willingly jump in the mud. It’s the only acceptable time to jump over the ﬁre, swim through culverts, and wade through the mud. The rest of the year, I would look at those things, and respond with, “ew”.
I love Spartans. They are fun loving, adventurous, intense, and chivalrous.
So, there you have it. Us short people don’t have many feathers to put in our hats, but being good at SPARTAN races is one of them.
Lady Gaga, I am with you. Proud of my Five Foot Two.
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