Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Spartan Family

Most of you that know me have already heard about the misstep that cost myself and several other racers a chance at elite placement at the Spartan World Championships in Vermont last September. Since that race, I have spent countless hours wondering what would have happened if Nick, Melinda, Alec, and myself hadn't followed the wrong path that day. There isn't a blog that I could pen that could express my immense disappointment at the way everything played out that morning. During this race, following the path ahead of me was a mistake that not only marked me ineligible for the championship, but also meant that I couldn't head up and complete a second lap; Spartan's first Ultra Beast had slipped from my grasp. The rest of my weekend was a whirlwind that culminated with an unexpected turn of events that left me reeling.

After the race on Sunday, Corinne Kohlen, Jeff Bent, and I drove from Killington to New York City to spend a final night together as friends before our chaotic weekend came to a close. Somewhere around 2:00 A.M. we headed back to New Jersey so I could catch an early flight back to Los Angeles. As we pulled our luggage from the car to the hotel, Jeff snagged the handle of my racing bag. "You don't need to bring that in. It's just my bag of muddy, wet racing clothes." I consider offering that sentence as one of the biggest mistakes that I made that weekend. Jeff threw my bag back in the back of his SUV and we walked into the hotel, crashing as soon as we hit the beds. Early the next morning we packed up and headed out to the car. As we approached the car we noticed that all of the windows were rolled down. We looked at each other confused and wondered whether we had somehow forgotten to roll up the windows? When we neared the car, it was clear that the driver's side lock had been broken and was lying in pieces on the ground. Upon opening the car we realized that several items were missing from the car including Jeff's headphones, a backpack, and my racing bag. The bag that had seemed unimportant enough to leave in the car was gone. My mind instantly started racing and going over the contents of the bag as Jeff walked into get the hotel manager. The manager of the hotel was unhelpful and assured us that the police would not come out for such a trivial crime. He suggested that we call when we had time and file a report. I needed to catch a flight, and it seemed that the three of us were in some sort of stupor. We headed to the airport, I checked my only remaining belongings, and wandered to the gate. I sat down alone waiting for my flight, and began to revisit the contents of my bag again. As processed everything that was in the bag, I started to cry. I cried in the airport that day for over an hour. After leaving my friends and having my bag taken, I was emotionally overwhelmed at the thought of everything that I had lost.

I returned to L.A. that day disheartened. Not only had my race gone awry, but now all of my racing gear was gone. I couldn't do anything but wait for a police report and insurance money, I assumed the waiting game would be long, and I would have to work with the gear was left, replacing a few key pieces until I had enough gear to race again. I was so disheartened that I had to try to forget about everything until more information about how to replace my gear had presented itself. In the meantime I e-mailed Jason at Spartan and he contacted Inov-8 and iTab to get the process of replacing my gear moving. After a week had passed, Jeff called to let me know that the advice that the hotel manager had given us that day was incorrect. The police wouldn't file a report over the phone, and there wouldn't be any insurance money to replace my gear. I had another good cry that day and Jeff assured me that he would do everything he could to help me out.

Jeff posted on the Spartan 300, an elite racer Facebook group and let everyone know that I needed some help. Allowing him to do this was incredibly tough for me. I pride myself on struggling through life on my own and typically find it hard to accept help when it is offered. Living life on my own with three kids for the last five years has taught me that the struggle is often part of the reward, and few things come without hardship. I had already turned down help from a few individuals that had offered it in the week immediately following Killington, hoping that I would receive money from the insurance company. At this point, I knew that replacing all the gear on my own would be impossible.

Within seconds of Jeff's post, both Jeff and I began to receive messages, texts, and e-mails with offers to help. I begrudgingly provided Jeff with my Paypal address and financial help started pouring in. I was shocked that much of this help came from individuals in the Spartan 300 group that I had never met. To say that I am incredibly thankful to these people is an understatement. My gratitude is overwhelming. I have never felt so loved by a group of people. Even though my "thanks" may never seem like enough, I want to thank my Spartan family. You are amazing and wonderful. I wouldn't be able to race again without you. Though so many offered to help, I feel like I need to recognize several by name. Thank you (in no particular order) to Junyoung Pack, Shane McKay, Janice Marie Ferguson, Melinda Branch, Eric Matta, Leslie St. Louis, Shawn Feiock, Sue Luck, Leslie St. Louis, Jeff Cain, Shannon Hulme, Kevin Brodsky, Jeffrey Bent, Jason Rita, Caitlin at Inov-8, iTab, and Spartan Race. Each and every one of you are my personal hero's. :) -Ang

*** While most of these pictures are in no way a representation of this blog content, I couldn't miss a chance to post a few of my favorites from my weekend in Killington. Special thanks to Eric and Andrew for getting me through day #2. Without your humor and support, I'm not sure I would have fared so well. :) ***


  1. Spartan racers are the best! Glad to hear that you're re-equipped. :)

  2. Eric and I had a great time with you! Thanks for keeping us company :) Hope to see you again sometime soon!