My First Obstacle Course Race

My friend Sharaya and I approaching mile 5. 

My friend Sharaya and I approaching mile 5. 

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
— Albert Camus

At 26, let's just say, I've faced my fair share of obstacles. I've had my entire life turned upside down with one sentence. I've had to completely start over, but those obstacles were the catalyst for many beautiful things in my life. 

One of the best things I've done since then was to get strong. In Spokane, WA, there is a life-changing gym called FarmGirlFit. I walked in a weakling. I barely finished the easiest level workout without throwing up. The only athletic endeavor I had ever mastered prior to this was Dance Dance Revolution. But finishing felt so good. I felt, for the first time ever, strong. It was addicting and confidence boosting. I can vividly remember the day I deadlifted more than my own weight; I channeled Camus, "There is something stronger - something better, pushing right back at the world."  I can remember the first time I climbed a rope, and I can remember the first time I pulled my chin up over a bar. 

And there's so much metaphor in this, because it - to me - is all about being able to pick yourself up. It's being able to persevere until you reach your goal. It's outer strength turned deep inner strength.

And the ultimate metaphor for me was completing my first obstacle course event - the Spartan Sprint in Big Fork, MT. Because it was through that dark winter, it was through those obstacles, that I found my invincibility. And nothing makes me happier. 


Ashley Peak

Teacher & traveler seeking bright sides and adventures. I recently left my position as a Title 1 middle school teacher in Spokane, WA for a position in Manizales, Colombia teaching English and Geography at a bilingual private school. I'm passionate about education in action, the power of literature, and traveling the world. Optimism Rampage is a place for me to reflect on the adventure. “Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.” -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451