I’m running, and I am meditating. I’m lifting, and I am at peace!

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By Ellen Chevalier

Every now and then, a member of Worcester Fitness is so thrilled with the results they have achieved through the HD classes that they write all down and send it to us!

We LOVE that!

Here is an open letter from Worcester Fitness Nation’s own Alissa Comlin!

Looking for a new fitness challenge? Finding yourself in a rut, without progressive fitness results? I wanted to share with you the very positive experience I’ve had
with the HD Training program at Worcester Fitness.

I’ve been a “gym rat” for about 25 years now, I’ve done every class from circuit training, P90X, yoga, pilates, step, bootcamp, kickboxing, cardio blast to ballet and
free weights. Variety is the key to overall fitness, but let’s face it, there’s only so much we can do given our busy schedules and we often hit a fitness plateau.

The classes at Worcester Fitness are never the same from week to week, and I noticed faster results and a higher challenge level as soon as I became a member in 2013. Although I work hard in every class, I did begin to feel another plateau, but I didn’t know what else to try to introduce a new challenge.

Then, the HD class schedule was announced. I was immediately drawn to the challenge level and did as many different classes as I could, including Boot Camp, dieZel,
Cardio Sport, and Spartan. The small group setting provided a high level of attention from the instructor, the camraderie of a small team, and the ability to challenge
each participant at the individual level.

Although I loved each of the classes, I was particularly drawn to Spartan, and it has since earned a place of honor in my fitness routine and in my heart. I initially
thought it was a boot camp of sorts, with perhaps some more challenging stations. I didn’t realize it was for those intending to sign up for an actual obstacle course
race. The question on the table right from the beginning was “Are you going to do a race?” Honestly, I had thought of it. But I didn’t feel prepared or motivated
enough to sign up, more like an interested spectator saying “Maybe someday.”

A few weeks into the program, after intense physical and mental challenge, I can truly say that Spartan has been the most difficult class I’ve ever taken at any gym.
The amount of strength, stamina, endurance, and mental discipline it takes to prepare for a race like Spartan has pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. The
question “Are you going to do a race?” was now answered with “I think I can do it. I’m feeling more ready.”

Another several weeks into the program, and I find myself completely hooked on obstacle course racing as a sport. I feel more empowered and motivated than ever before,
and I know with certainty that I am ready to race. My answer became “When’s the next race? I’m doing it!” I will watch Spartan races on TV over anything else, I study the obstacles and the competitors, I work on my technical mastery of each challenge, I ask questions, I shop for racing gear, I think about which races I want to do and why. I’ve joined a local team called the “New England Spahtens”, a community of racing athletes of all abilities who run any type of race including Tough Mudders, Rugged Maniacs, Spartans, 5k Walk/Runs, etc. The social support in the OCR community is tremendous, and I feel a great sense of belonging among like-minded racers who truly enjoy what they do.

By the end of 2014 I will have completed 6 months of Spartan HD Training, a 2.5 mile practice course, a 3.5 mile Wicked Mud Run for charity, and a 5 mile Spartan Sprint at Fenway. I am already registered for several 2015 races, including a Rugged Maniac and a Battlefrog Navy SEAL 5K event. After watching me race, my two sons have even joined in the racing community and are registered for two kids’ races in 2015.

What I have learned from doing Spartan is that there are two sides to every obstacle. There’s the side you see when you’re approaching it, the side that often appears bigger than it actually is and is covered in fear, anxiety, self-doubt, intimidation. Then there’s the side you see in hindsight, once you’re over/under/across/around it, the side that reads triumph, success, accomplishment, pride. The only person telling you “you can’t” do something is you. I’ve chosen to focus on the second side of the obstacle. It’s way more fun over there, and after a while, that first side isn’t nearly as intimidating. Will I continue to struggle, and push beyond my physical and mental max, and fall down, get hurt and perhaps fail a few obstacles? Probably. Will I get up and keep going? Every time. Therein is the Spartan challenge.

Obstacle course racing has become the fitness direction that I needed, and I know it will give me both short and long terms health and fitness goals. I have realized that this is what I was meant to do, my body and my mind. All of those years at the gym has given me the tools I need to run these races, and I can say with certainty that I am myself when I cross that Starting line and I am on that course. I’m running, and I am meditating. I’m lifting, and I am at peace. I’m climbing, and I am free.

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