Here is my most recent blog post, originally written for & published on the Spartan Race Blog.
Recently, as I was casually lounging with a friend while our kids played carefree in the backyard, she suddenly gasped, staring at me in shock. “Your legs!” she cried, “They’re so bruised!”
I looked down at my legs, recognizing the familiar peppering of shadowy circles, reminders of the many moments of struggle and triumph experienced at my most recent Obstacle Race. Returning my gaze to her astonished face, my reply to this exclamation was simply a shrug and a smile. I’m a Spartan Racer, bruises are par for the course. Honestly, in a way, they are my badges of honor after a battle fought against the onslaught of obstacles and terrain that I have conquered.
To me, my bruises are beautiful.
Despite my unwavering confidence in my post-race appearance, this exchange initiated some introspection. What I view as my Spartan Badge of Honor, a sign of strength, power, ferocity and beauty, many other people who are not involved in the OCR and fitness world may view as an atrocity. It lead me to realize that choosing a lifestyle centered around fitness, albeit empowering, can also seem somewhat alien to those who choose to live their lives differently.
Not only must we brave the obstacles on the course, but we must also brave the scrutinizing eye of those around us who do not understand the passion that we have chosen to pursue. And more often than not, not only do we brush off the scrutiny we receive from others with little care, but we instead embrace the imperfections that boldly display their statements on our bodies.
We bruise, we bleed, we lose toenails. We give up pedicures for foam rolling, instead of spa days we revel in the comfort of compression socks. Life is lived vibrantly through early morning adventures, and we are fast asleep before the night casts its hypnotic allure on those seeking excitement. We struggle, sometimes we fail, but ultimately our trials become our triumphs.
The Obstacle Racer is a beautiful, imperfect, amazing, inspiring individual. We are the men and women who stand tall and confident, all while covered in dirt and filth, with hair haphazardly out of place and sweat dripping down our brow. Bruises and sore muscles won’t cause us to waver, we don’t back down to a challenge, and we bravely tackle each obstacle that comes our way both on the course and in daily life.
I’ve come to admire my fellow OCR enthusiasts, and to be honest I’m proud of myself as well. In my own imperfect way, I am a wonderful representation of the beautiful struggle that I have become so passionate about.
So be proud of your bruises and blemishes as they represent the struggles you’ve overcome. You are amazingly, imperfectly you, and no one can take that away from you. You are beautiful.