Megan Sloan – The Spartan Racer
In a competition that consists of 75% male and only 25% female, Megan Sloan is contributing to the empowerment of women through Spartan Racing. With hard work and determination, she cultivates her artform of endurance racing.
Megan is from the warm and sunny state of California. She works as an independent contractor in a job that takes her all over the U.S. and sometimes even out of the country. When she was 21, she lost her mom to Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, she has lovingly found ways to honor her mother’s memory, and one of those ways is through developing her craft of Spartan racing.
Spartan races are not for the faint of heart and require extreme diligence. The races vary starting from 3 miles all the way to 26+ miles with obstacles throughout. Any obstacle not completed result in burpee penalties that would need to be completed in order to move forward (as anyone in the fitness world knows, burpees are one of the least favorite exercises known to mankind). The obstacles can consist of random activities such as wall climbs, rope climbs, bucket carries, spear throws, tire flips, and countless others. These races can be daunting to even the most experienced athlete as they utilize muscle groups that are not typically worked in a standard gym routine. A person can achieve a trifecta when they run a sprint, super and beast all in one calendar year. Megan has completed approximately 20 Spartan Races and has achieved a total of 4 trifectas!
Where She Started
Megan was first interested in Spartan Races when she heard about them through social media. Before it was a popular thing, her high school had put on an obstacle course that she participated in. She found it to be a thrilling experience, and so the idea of a Spartan Race intrigued her. However, she did not know anyone who raced. Having no guidance on how to go about such a thing, it became a backburner idea.
Years later, Spartan Race caught her eye again and this time, she couldn’t resist giving it a try. Her boyfriend at the time had done a Spartan Race and she jumped at the opportunity to learn. She signed herself up for her first race, ready to dive in with only one month to train.
Her training consisted of building her running up to 3 miles with stops to do a set of various exercises every quarter mile. Although she didn’t know what to expect, she worked diligently for that month in preparation.
When race day finally came, she learned the true brutality of the race. There was no way she could have properly trained or prepared for it until she had actually run the course and could learn what she was up against. She completed the race high on the accomplishment, but also humbled by the intensity. From then on, she was hooked. Spartan racing had captured her focus and her heart.
Megan did not start out being an intense athlete. She would go to the gym and have basic healthy lifestyle, but the level she has gotten herself to has not been a walk in the park (pun intended). It took her some time to even find a joy in things like running. There were times when she was criticized for not being able to keep up because she wasn’t as skilled as those around her. The struggle of wanting to do well, but the feeling of holding people back or embarrassing herself was something that took time to break past. A lot of people might not have kept going with such criticism, but not Megan. She kept at it and worked at her own pace.
Each race brought new lessons. She did not shy away from learning everything it had to teach and hungrily accepted all critique or tips given to her. It made her realize that even the most successful person had a starting place, and so she gave herself permission to be a beginner. In doing so, she slowly met the goals she set for herself and then went on to set new ones. Her “pretty muscles” slowly transformed into “functional muscles”. She pushed her body past the, “What have I gotten myself into!” moments and found that limitations start in the mind before the body. The doubts of her own capabilities became background sounds that she learned to ignore.
Keeping Motivated and Focused
As her career has her traveling on a regular basis, maintaining a consistent workout routine is even harder than it is for most. Even though her work keeps her mainly in hotels, she does not let that keep her from meeting her personal goals. To keep herself on track, she has to work at it daily. Her virtual personal training program, Veritas Fitness, has her figure out any excuse she may have to not workout that day. Once the excuses have been listed, she has to find solutions to them. Once the excuse has been killed, she will pull out her travel gym that consist of items like resistance bands, or sliders, or anything possible to do a workout in a small space. Or, if the hotel has a gym, she will utilize their facilities to the utmost of its capabilities. If nothing else, she has no problem bringing herself to go for a good old-fashioned run outside. She might even multi-task and use that as her sightseeing time in her new location.
Having watched her mother struggle with cancer, and then shortly thereafter become diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Megan knows all too well how hard life can be when health deteriorates. When she faces struggles to keep herself going, she does not forget the value of choosing the healthiest things possible for her present and her future. Pushing herself past comfort zones to find out what incredible feats she is capable of achieving has become an inspiring way of paying homage to her mother.
One Step Forward Means One Helping Hand Reaching Back
Spartan races may be a competition, but Megan does not let that stop her from empowering those around her even as she races. She stops on the tracks to help if she sees someone struggling. Even though she thoroughly prepares herself with a backpack filled with essentials for completing long races, she will not hesitate to give a power bar to someone who has lost energy, or a bandage to someone who has been hurt. She willingly gives up minutes on her race time to give words of encouragement to someone who feels that the race is defeating them. She never forgets how she started and does not judge anyone for where they are at in their personal journey. Rather, she is excited that someone was willing to at least give the race a try.
For anyone looking to try a Spartan race, Megan lovingly will divulge her experiences and explains what can be gained from it all. She never knew how accomplished she could feel by completing each and every race. She also never expected to gain such a strong community of support from the racers. Of course, there are always a person or two who are not so kind on the tracks, but mostly, she has found that there are a lot of gracious people who are just waiting to have people join their group. Megan didn’t get into it looking for friends, but she ended up finding a niche of people where she feels like she belongs.
Paving a Path, Inspiring Others
Megan’s passion for this unique artform is an inspiration to all that know her. She daily demonstrates that if you persevere despite criticism from others, or the excuses you make for yourself, then you can accomplish great things. She is out there proving that it is possible to be a humble and compassionate woman while at the same time strong as a warrior. What an amazingly unique woman she is, and I think we can all agree that her mother must be beaming with pride as she watches her from heaven to have such an awe-inspiring daughter.
Take a look at some of the photos from her races and be inspired that you too can push past any barrier your mind has created for itself.