This Saturday’s Spartan Race at Citi Field promises to attract fitness enthusiasts and daredevils hoping to overcome challenges that include climbing 8-foot-high walls, crawling under barbed wire and jumping through fire.
It might sound intimidating to the casual observer, but to 33-year-old Spartan Race vet Orit Lloyd, it’s nothing new.
The Forest Hills resident will be one of hundreds of participants hoping to conquer the 5K challenge. She has participated in seven Spartan Races, including a nine-mile contest this year in Miami, which she completed in less than two hours.
“I’m really excited about the race,” she said. “The first few I did last year were for fun.”
Lloyd was born in Fresh Meadows and moved to New Jersey when she was 10. After graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Hartford, she worked for a firm in Manhattan, then moved into the retail business and now works at a veterinarian’s office. She also operates her own dog-grooming business, Clippendales.
Despite being busy, she does yoga and pilates once a week, as well as riding bike trails on Long Island and in Cunningham Park.
“I love anything to do with the outdoors. That’s where I feel the most at home,” she said.
She also has been training at CrossFit Glendale about four times a week, where she lifts weights, climbs ropes and picks up kettle bells.
“For me, fitness is like a way of life,” she said. “I always found that I felt better when I was running, lifting or just doing something to keep my body in shape.”
Lloyd participated in her first Spartan Race last year after a friend suggested that they try it out. Since crossing that finish line, she hasn’t turned her back on the race.
“I fell in love with the culture, the community. I just had such a good time,” she said. “The experience you get out of it is amazing. You see people’s bodies change, their attitudes on life change.”
She said that she can now “handle a lot more than I ever could” and part of the experience of the race is overcoming challenges such as a fear of heights and claustrophobia.
Lloyd came face to face with a Spartan obstacle that struck fear in her last year at a run in New Jersey: Competitors had to jump off a 23-foot-high cliff into water.
“I never thought I really had a fear of heights before. The moment I stepped up to this cliff I was overtaken with fear. My brain just stopped thinking for a second,” she recalled.
After she gathered her thoughts back together, she reminded herself she was there to challenge herself. She took two steps back and made “that leap of faith” into the water
“I was so proud of myself,” she said.
She hopes to finish the upcoming race in under 50 minutes. She finished her last 5K race, in Boston, in 55 minutes.
To achieve her goal, she is doing a lot of running, intensity rowing and building up of her upper body strength.
As for preparing mentally, she said she gains confidence and a positive mindset from her fellow racers.
“The people who you meet are the inspiration and the reason for me to finish,” she said. “There’s really no greater mindset.”