From Couch Potato to Spartan Racer

couch potato spartan racer w logo

23 years ago I crossed the finish line at our local city/county cross country meet, claiming the title of champion.  It was a rather unexpected win, but well fought for.  By the time I graduated High School my Letterman jacket was covered with medals from numerous races and events.

Those were some of the best years. I loved running and being a part of a team.

The years following High School I continued to run and stay fit.  It took a little more work because now I was juggling college classes and a full time job.  As the years progressed, exercising became less and less of a priority.  Soon I was chasing four young kids around the house and mentally I decided that was enough “running” for me.

I wanted to be fit and healthy but seriously, who had time for that?

And isn’t that where we all find ourselves? Lots of “want to” but not enough “time to.”

But then, you hit this point in your life where you realize you need to make time, for the good of yourself and the good of your loved ones.  You realize that to let your health go continually impacts you and those around you.

Over the years I have battled my own set of health challenges.  From severe adrenal fatigue to asthma, chronic bronchitis, multiple sinus infections, allergies, migraines, endometriosis, seasons of depression and a 12 year addiction to soda.

Over the years I have had my share of surgeries.  At 29, a partial hysterectomy to deal with the years of pain from endometriosis.  At 30, radical sinus surgery to create and repair sinus cavities that had been missing from birth and to straighten a severely deviated septum.  The sinus surgery allowed me to breathe normally for the first time ever.  Also, as a result of the surgery, my migraines disappeared, my allergies cleared up and I no longer dealt with chronic bronchitis and sinus infections. My asthma also became less of an issue and much easier to control.

country girl

And while those surgeries changed my health for the better, I still did not make the choice to take my health a step further.

Honestly, I never meant to become a couch potato.  But at the end of a long day of work it was easier to crawl into my PJ’s then to climb on the treadmill or go for a run through the neighborhood.  It was easier (and much more pleasant) to sit in front of the TV and pretend I didn’t have get up early and start all over the next day.

Unfortunately, over the years most of my work has been in an office setting where I have spent a good majority of my day sitting.  Walking back and forth to the restroom and a quick trip to the cafeteria for lunch doesn’t count for exercise, as much as we want it to. (Sorry if I just busted your bubble.)

And the older you get the less friendly that kind of work is to an aging body.  Sometimes I think we delude ourselves into thinking we are still 18 years old and if we really, really wanted to, we can just throw on our running shoes and knock out a 3 miler.  The reality is, that a sedentary life has caught up with us and our hearts are not willing to admit we are not 18 anymore.

Over the year, as we have started to simplify our lives – de-cluttering our spaces, saying no to things in our schedule and saying yes to things that matter – I have had to come full circle and give serious consideration to my health again.

The thought that it is time to kick excuses to the curb, has continued to dog my every step.  Yet I still wasn’t ready to be committed to doing something about my health…until my brother called me out.

My brother has always been one to challenge me.  As kids growing up he was always egging me on to beat him at a foot race, to out scale him on the haymow or out jump him on the dirt bikes.  During high school he would train with me during the summers, always pushing me to be better, to run further and to dig a bit deeper.

So it was no surprise when he said – “ going to do this Spartan Race with me?

I seriously thought he was joking.

Really? You do realize I have not seriously competed in anything in years, right?  You do realize that since having four kids and working a mostly desk job,  I have put on weight, not lost any. Right? Do I look like a runner to you anymore? Have you lost your mind?

“Ahh sis..come on.  It’ll be fun.

girl on bike w author credit

Yeah, right! That’s what he used to say when we were kids…right before I crashed my bike and bloodied my knee.  Or the time I wrecked the motorcycle, coming away with a 3rd degree burn that left a scar down my leg.  That’s not what I called fun.

But you know I am again.  Remembering that bloody knee, the scarred leg and knowing that the “fun” is in the challenge.  And honestly it’s what I need to get my rear in gear.

So two weeks ago I began to train for the Spartan Race.  The best part is that I’m not doing it alone.  My husband has jumped on board and has committed to train with me.  The Spartan Race is an intense event and one that will challenge you to the core.

I will be completely honest and tell you that it’s not going to be easy.  I need to lose weight, get back in top shape and gain strength and endurance.  I need to eat right, drink more water and get more sleep.  Just like simplifying life, it’s going to take small steps each day to reach the bigger goal.  It’s also going to take a team effort.

By working together with my husband and brother, I know I will make it to race day.

To help jump start our bodies and training, Brian and I will be embarking on a 24 day health challenge with Advocare during our training.  We feel it is essential to heading us in the right direction.

I also know it’s important to not go this journey alone.  A team can make all the difference in the world.  Maybe you are like me, knowing it’s time to make a change for the better.  Maybe you have been wanting to train for a race or tired of walking the health journey alone. Maybe like us, you need a jump start in the right direction.

No matter where you are in your health journey, I hope that my story can inspire you. I’m just an ordinary wife and mom with some extraordinary dreams (like so many of you.)  If I can do this, so can you. It just takes one simple step and the courage to say “Yes” to yourself.

Here’s to team…Here’s to having fun! (Hopefully minus the bloody knee and scars – but probably not)

Keeping it Simple,


Check out this Follow Up Post – From Couch Potato To Spartan Racer – An Update

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11 replies
  1. Elizabeth Thompson
    Elizabeth Thompson says:

    YAY! Once you get past the first month, I bet you’ll have so much fun, especially since you’re not doing it on your own. And as someone who used to be a competitive runner, I bet you’ll rediscover and reawaken a part of yourself you didn’t know you missed so much. Every time I’ve had to make myself get healthy again, after a few weeks, I’m like, “Oh, THERE she is, that girl I’ve missed! I like her! She feels good all the time and she’s happy!” Enjoy the ride…here’s hoping for no bruises and blood! 😀

  2. Susan
    Susan says:

    Very inspiring. My work requires a lot of writing, and lately it’s been a lot. So I’m back into getting my butt out the door and walking every day. It’s a start. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s a real motivator.

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      So glad my story can be Susan. Way to go getting back to walking. I understand the sitting part for sure – as a writer I think it’s about time to get myself a standing desk for at least a few of those hours.

  3. Clare Speer
    Clare Speer says:

    I’ve been neglecting my health (and trust me – I’m a lot older than you) and shouldn’t be…. our fast paced lives, working full time, learning blogging and all the responsibilities of maintaining a household and family…. I know it’s tough – This was very very encouraging for me! Refreshing! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Greta'Gigi' Smith
    Greta'Gigi' Smith says:

    Bless your heart AND body- but I believe you can do it because YOU believe that you can do it. Also remember that you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you. I think that it is so awesome that your husband has taken up the challenge with you- that’s real partnership! Keep us updated- Rooting for you!

  5. Emily
    Emily says:

    What a great goal!! Good luck!

    I, too, ran cross country and still run. I think that running is just the best for the body. And stress relief too. 🙂

  6. Sharon Rowe
    Sharon Rowe says:

    WOW what an inspiration you are! Thank you I have just been evaluating my lack of physical health and wondering what has happened over the years! Thanks for sharing and making me think about what I can do! Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness link party 🙂


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