Oh yeah… it’s January 1st and I live in Canada.
It was cold. But no Lake Tahoe. THAT was cold.
The Pacific Ocean in January was the kind of cold that bites at your skin. The lake in the 2015 Tahoe World Championship Spartan Race gnawed on your bones.
Take that for perspective.
Obstacle course racing isn’t always easy. In fact, it isn’t usually easy. That bone-freezing swim in Tahoe wasn’t even the hardest or most unpleasant moment for me in OCR in 2015.
So why on earth do we do it?
If you ask me, that too is perspective.
Five years ago, and pre-OCR, I wouldn’t have considered the Polar Bear Swim if there were a hundred-dollar-bill attached to the buoy I had to swim out to. The invite would have been met with a reflexive and guttural NO. I’d hardly get into an unheated pool without a wetsuit in those days.
There were a lot of things I thought I’d never I’d do.
Obstacle course racing has changed my life, and with it, my mind.
And I’ve been fortunate to have had some serious opportunities for growth beyond OCR in my life.
I was hit by a truck at highway speed on my pedal bike in 2006 – breaking my back, pelvis and arm. As an endurance athlete at the time, I fully credited the tenacity and stamina I earned through many hours training and racing for my ability to survive the accident.
In essence, I had trained myself to be ready for the long road to recovery… the discomfort, the patience, the need to stay positive and keep moving forward. All things one sculpts into their psyche through those hard days on the road and in the trails.
I didn’t realize what I was preparing myself to be ready for though, until I needed to be ready for it.
After the icy plunge, a friend who had empathically declined the Polar Bear Swim called me from the warmth of his couch. He asked me why anyone would jump into the ocean for fun.
Sure, it’s fun because venturing outside your comfort zone is innately elating and exciting. But it’s more than just fun.
The real answer is that I don’t know why anyone would jump into the ocean in January. But I do know that you’ll never know why until you need it.
Allison has two young girls at home and devotes most her time to overcoming the obstacles of daily life with a couple of little cuties in tow. Allison has eleven Spartan Race wins including three UltraBeasts. She also came second in the World’s Toughest Mudder in 2014. These accomplishments all came after being hit by a truck on her bike at highway speed and having been put into a full body cast for six months, unable to even roll herself over in bed. She is left with a 24.5% permanent long term disability rating – and a desire to encourage others to explore the full potential of their bodies and hearts.
Her blog can be found at www.yomamasofit.com
Cover photo credit: Vancitybuzz