Battered and bruised – but not broken

Posted: November 4, 2016 in Life, Writing

Joining the obstacle course racing craze, I hit the Savage Race for the second time this year.
The course was brutal. Some of the obstacles took several tries to get through. My left leg cramped so hard after the race I could barely get back in my car.
But I loved it. I took the challenge and fought through every obstacle, every mud soak and the 7+ mile run.

Certainly, age is starting to become a factor. Turning 53 soon means I don’t heal as quick. I’m more busy in my work life than ever before and I don’t get up before the sun to go for a run.
But the good news is I can scale myself against others in my age group.

Placing 8th out of 110 in my class was passable. But a lousy 4 seconds haunts me. Four seconds quicker and I would have been 5th. After two hours and six minutes, all I had to do was sprint four seconds faster and I would have been in a much more tolerable place.
So what do I do?
Sign up for the Spartan Race in December. Of course.

You do a lot of thinking over two hours. You learn to stop listening to your body when its yelling that it’s time to quit, walk to the finish line and get a beer. It’s more about personal accomplishment. I jumped and hoisted myself across tall wooden walls. Crawled under barbwire that sliced cuts into my back. Trenched through giant mud pits that pull the remaining energy out of sprint weary legs. And pulled myself up by thick, coarse ropes knowing that letting go will hurt more than finishing. So you finish.


So you finish one obstacle. Then another. Then another. Others run past you reminding you it’s a race and not a walk. You pick it up. You pass others that have endured enough temporarily. You keep moving. Fatigue becomes the enemy of confidence. And when you stand up against a warped wall of twelve or more feet, you launch yourself with all the confidence you can muster and tell yourself you will not fail.

It’s a test of mind, body and spirit. All I have with me are running shorts, shoes and a bib with my race number. No phone. No Go-Pro (my choice). No fit bit. I was fully disconnected for the entire race. It was refreshing.

When you think you’ve had enough, you see the finish line on the horizon. A few more obstacles and you’re home free. You cross the line with a surge of adrenaline that can be overwhelming. I beamed and smiled knowing I had done it.


I implore you to challenge yourself. Test yourself. Complacency is sneaky. It creeps up on us when we’re not looking and settles in. Find something to test your character. It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself.
The only thing I can tell you is to sign up for something stupid like I do and get out there. You’d be surprised what you can do. At how much more you can do than you realize.

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