Spartan moms share their thoughts, experiences, and stories in honor of Mother's Day.
“Lucky enough for me, I was reborn a Spartan Mom.”
My son was born December 2014 with a severe heart defect called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Basically, this means half of a heart.
We would spend many days in the hospital. In the first five months of his life, my son had two open-heart surgeries. With his diagnoses came a low immune system and a plethora of other diagnosis, therapies, procedures, and so on.
The first year of his life was a battle for him physically, and a battle for me mentally. I ate all of those feelings, and couldn't leave the house since I was his only caretaker. I gained a lot of weight.
For the next several years, I focused so much on my son that I forgot about myself. I realized that if my son was fighting to live, I need to fight to be here, too.
I joined a gym, and went every day with my son in tow. I literally used my son to train; his body was the perfect weight. We did squats together, push-ups, and crunches, and I had a "mommy and me" variation for us when I couldn't make the gym. I lost 45 pounds in three months and never felt better.
I met my fiancé a month later. He was already a Spartan and encouraged me. I wanted to do my first race for my 30th birthday. In March 2017, I did my first Sprint. After I accomplished this, we set out together as a Spartan family, traveling to races. My son cheers me on from the sidelines: "Arooo Mommy!!!”
Lucky enough for me, I was reborn a Spartan Mom.
“My toddler loves burpees.”
Both my mother and my mother-in-law played an important role in my Spartan life. I was never athletic growing up, but after having my first child I started running to get back in shape and completed my first 5K. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law asked if I wanted to join them on this fun obstacle race called the Biggest Loser 5K. Little did we know, it was really the Tuxedo Spartan. We put it all out there and did the best we could.
We vowed to complete the Tuxedo Spartan again the next year. We picked up some other family members, including my mother, and completed it.
Since that Spartan, I have had a second child and completed eight more Spartan races, earning my first Spartan Trifecta — many of them with my mother, mother-in-law, or both by my side.
It is hard working out with a full-time teaching job and having two young kids at home. We try to work out with the kids, or use them as part of our workout: weighted squats holding a toddler, leg lifts with a 6-year-old on my legs. My oldest has completed four races so far and will be completing her fifth this weekend.
My toddler loves burpees.
I hope that I can be the inspiration to my girls to live a healthy life and try things out of their comfort zone that my mother and mother-in-law are to me.
“My Mom Was a True Warrior.”
My mother was the strongest person I know. She battled cancer for over five years before passing away. She never gave up. It was her that I get my strength, my determination, and my motivation to keep surging forward. She endowed in me my love for challenges, being outside, and pushing myself to be better. My mother was my inspiration and I try to be inspirational and a role model like she was. In Spartan Race, I have found the support, love, motivation, and community to keep pushing forward and being the best person I can be. My mother was my biggest fan and supporter. She was proud of me and my accomplishments. If there is anyone in this world I would want to be like, it would be my mother. She was a true warrior. And I, too, am a warrior.
“Mommy, You Won!!”
Seven years ago I was “working out” at the YMCA. Just a little Zumba and some free weights on my own. I was intimidated and scared to death of doing something wrong.
Six years ago I married my sweet husband. When we met, I was a size two, 130 pounds soaking wet.
I had put 30 of those 130 pounds on within the six months before meeting him. I married him two years later.
I had our first daughter weighing over 200 pounds.
The four years after our wedding day were challenging. After our second daughter I went from viewing myself as a person to only viewing myself as a mom and wife. I was very self-conscious of my body image and how I looked versus how I looked on my wedding day. I hated my image.
I would stay home with our girls, so I wasn’t forced to dress up every day. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. At the end of 2016, I reached a new low with my attitude and patience.
My girls were almost scared of me because I yelled all the time. I was tired of being Mommy. Around this time last year, with the encouragement of my mom, husband, sister, and a good friend, Lindsay, I decided to rejoin the YMCA. I had been working out on and off at home, but couldn’t stay committed longer than two months. The first few months I took Barre. Having to look at myself in the mirror during that class was upsetting but fueled a fire. I began taking some challenging classes. Years before, the person I had quietly stood in the back with of the Zumba with was now the teacher of the class—my friend Lindsay. She encouraged me to do race a Spartan Race. On April 7 of that year, we jumped the fire and crossed the finish line. I called my daughters—now 2 and 4—on Facetime and showed them the medal. “Mommy! You won!” My 4-year-old is so excited to join us next time on the kids course, and I hope to eventually convince my husband to join.
“She is Super Mom”
My mom was a perfect example of the kind of loving, caring, compassionate, involved parent that I strive to be. As a full-time working mom of seven she somehow managed to come to basketball games, choir concerts, drill team performances, church activities, and have hot chocolate chip cookies on the table for an after-school snack, and dinner made, and chores done. She is Super Mom. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be my role model.
Now with my own children I want to be the person that inspires them to set goals and know that they can accomplish anything. Last year was my first year of Spartan racing. My boys, Hunter and Mason, were my best cheerleaders as I trained and ran for my Trifecta. I am so excited to continue to be a Spartan family as together we challenge ourselves to aim higher, work harder, and crush those goals.
“I Mostly Do It For My Kids.”
Sometimes I wonder how I got myself into this. I try to be at the gym at least five days a week. Sometimes I’m so sore I can’t sit down. Then after all the crazy training, I run through the mud and beat up my body on obstacles for fun. And even after all the bruises and injuries I've had over the past year since starting this, I wouldn't stop, I won't stop. I do it for myself. But I mostly I do it for my kids. I set goals for myself and try my best to achieve them. I want them to see that they can do anything they set their minds to.
“I Realized I Could Do It.”
I began this journey to prove to myself that running a Sprint and completing a few obstacles was even possible for me. I did it with some of my closest friends. We worked hard, motivated one another, and pushed each other when needed.
Then, I realized I could do it. There were four obstacles I couldn’t complete, but I did my burpees and moved on. I went home with a vision and goals. I was coming back to take on a Super and conquer at least one of those obstacles that I had recently failed at. That damn rope! I worked hard in between races and eventually killed it. Now, I’ve succeeded at the multi-rig, twister, and spear throw. I received my Double Trifecta and got a little further on each of those each time, so this is my year. My kids were so proud and wanted in on the madness. They did two Spartan Races last year. I do this to show them what you can accomplish. You put your mind to it, set goals, work hard, achieve, repeat!
“I will keep showing up because I know my son is watching.”
I race because you can’t tell a kid to be confident, but you can show them how to get there. I started my Spartan journey two years ago, at 32, and with zero athletic ability. I’ve failed obstacles, I’ve been injured, and I’ve been terrified standing at the front of the Elite pack only to come in dead last. But the bravest and most important thing you can do is show up. That’s when growth and confidence blossoms. As a single mom, I will keep showing up because I know my son is watching.
I signed my son up for his first Spartan Kids the second he turned 4 years old. The mud puddles might as well have been filled with crocodiles to a timid four-year-old. When we reached that first pit, I knew in my heart that he was looking to me for how to handle the situation. I grabbed his hand and said, “We’ll do it together!”
Less than two years later, my son has earned four medals and I’ve earned 10. Every local Sprint and Super, we’re both there! He races one day and I race the other. Which equals a lot of packing and driving back and forth. But we make it work, because it’s worth it. He is now a brilliant example of compassion, true sportsmanship, and is on his way to earning his first Trifecta this year. I’m still holding his hands through the mud puddles so he doesn’t lose a shoe, but’s his enthusiasm makes my heart sing.
Jessica Soria Joson
“At the end of race day, we talk about race highlights like anyone else.”
My boys are 14 years apart. I couldn’t find activities that my boys could do together because of their difference in maturity. Fitness was something we could all do together. My older one and I would take turns with the younger one with the jogging stroller and sometimes the little one likes to go on our backs during push-ups and squats. At the end of race day, we talk about race highlights like anyone else.
“I take care of me so I can take care of my family.”
I am a 36-year-old mother of two. Most people see my races as just a hobby. I see Spartan as a lifestyle. I take care of me so I can take care of my family. My kids have watched me their whole little lives as a strong happy mom. I teach them to believe in themselves, to be determined, to work hard, and to do what makes you happy. I have set an example of living a healthy lifestyle. My kids know I love them more than anything, but they also know a mom who loves herself.
“This has been an experience but I wouldn't change it.”
Hello, My name is Natasha I have been doing races for a few years now and I love it. This past year I met my now fiancé and her kid. I stepped into a role of step-mom that I really didn't think I would ever do. My mom has always been my biggest fan and supporter, she has always pushed me to do things beyond my comfort level and if I want to be better to work for it. As an athlete she is usually around to watch me race or at least keep up with me to see how I do. She has been someone I can joke and laugh with to try and be more. As a person she is now my best friend. I know that how I was raised is how I want to try and help raise Wyatt. He is a good kid who just needs a little more attention. My hack is getting him to go outside and run, play, do hills with me to make sure I get that extra energy out. He sees my medals and what I have done and wants to be like me. He completed his first Spartan Kid race in Charlotte a few weeks ago. I was so proud of him. I get him to work out with me and he is my weight vest. I hope that I stay a positive influence in his life and I hope that I will continue to grow in my patience with him and dealing with a child myself. This has been an experience but I wouldn't change it.
“I quickly realized my 5-year-old son was taking it all in.”
When I started training for my first Spartan Race, I was doing it for me. I needed a challenge and a change in my life. I quickly realized my 5-year-old son was taking it all in. He watches me practice and cheers me on. He believes in me even when I don’t. When I asked him if he wanted to do his very own Spartan Race his eyes lit up. He truly is my mini-me in every sense and I wouldn’t have it any other way!