I sat down to write a simple race recap and ended up with something a little more meaningful :)

I'd like to start with a story. It's 2003 and I'm in the middle of a 10k road race. Things are not going my way. I'm almost a full minute behind the leaders and losing ground with every step. I was so frustrated and angry that I quit. While I was walking down the road, a voice of reason began to creep into my thoughts telling me that I should finish the race. But my anger was in control, and to make sure I wouldn't come to my senses, I tore my bib off and threw it over a tall fence where I couldn't retrieve it. I walked back to the venue, found my wife and told her we were leaving.

Yup, I used to be "that guy". I hated losing, and if things weren't going my way, I became a victim, and somehow that excused me from battling through and being my best in those moments.

Well, I like to think I've learned a little since that day. In my "older" days now, I know one thing for sure; if I base my happiness and satisfaction in life on always having things go my way, and on always getting what I want, the way I want it, I'm not going to be very happy.

So what does all of this have to do with my Seattle NBC Spartan Race recap.......?

Picture this, we're 4 miles into the race, and I'm right where I want to be. In second place, 20 seconds behind Robert Killian, and getting ready to start reeling him in. Soon the course will become more obstacle dense, Robert will begin to tire, I'll put the hammer down and slowly pull away. Ryan Atkins may catch up on the double sandbag carry, but I'll be able to outrun him in the final miles, so that's ok. It's the perfect plan...right? Exactly what I want, the way I want it...right?

Well, I methodically make my way across the Z-walls, allowing my legs to get a little break, and then simultaneously let go of the wall as I swing for the bell. My hand swipes just to the side of the bell, completely missing it, and I drop to the ground in complete shock. What just happened? Is this real? Immediately the thought enters my mind (you know, the one nobody ever wants to admit to), "just pretend you hit the bell, you totally made it through the obstacle, just keep running". But knowing that I couldn't live with such a decision, I head straight over to the burpee pit wondering how this could have happened to me. My whole race plan is shot. My odds of winning are now slim to none. I contemplate accepting defeat and just cruising through the rest of the race with the excuse that things just didn't go my way. Remember the 10k I quit back in 2003...I sure did in that very moment. I snapped out of it and focused on the fact that there's still 5 miles left in this race, and I wasn't done yet.

So, I get my head back in the game, and pump out my burpees. The leaders now have a disheartening lead and I'm more tired than I wanted to be due to the burpees. But now I'm inspired by something bigger and dare I say better than just racing to win. I'm going to race to be my best me. Interestingly enough, this change of focus also launched me back into fight mode.

To start the bucket brigade, with maybe 2 miles left, I find myself in 3rd place behind Ryan Atkins and Robert Killian. I estimate that I'm maybe 40 seconds behind Ryan, and I start to think to myself that I might still have a chance of winning if I stay strong. By the halfway point of the obstacle I've almost caught Robert and I'm only about 25 seconds behind Ryan. Now I'm really excited. I convince myself that this is going to be an epic comeback, and I'm going to pull off a win after all. Buuuuut, no sooner do I think this than a vine reaches out and grabs my foot. I try to pull myself loose to no avail. I lose balance and realize I'm going down. Time slows as I hold on to my bucket for dear life, praying that somehow I can keep it from spilling. Sometimes God says no. Rocks go flying. I drop to the ground in complete shock. What just happened? Is this real? But there's no time for pity party #2 of this race. There are a full 2 miles left and I had already committed body, mind and soul that I would give my very best.

As I'm kneeling there scraping my fingernails in the dirt, trying to get all the rocks back in the bucket, Ryan and Robert once again pull away from my grasp, and Ryan Kent, who I had fought so hard over the last mile to put some distance on, once again passes by while I am powerless to resist. Once my bucket is up to standard, I can't help but to think of advice that I often give to people, "when all else fails, just keep smiling". So I charge on, giving my all, but am also able to laugh at the circumstance. It's a very peaceful moment that I'm extremely grateful to be able to experience from time to time.

With 100 meters to go and just the rig between us and the finish line I find myself in 3rd place about 5-10 seconds behind Robert. I begin to contemplate how I might attack the rig to try and make up a few precious seconds when I see Robert, in a miscalculated effort, fall. It's a bittersweet moment as I know that 2nd place is mine, but also know that a strong competitor was going to lose that 2nd place spot. In a feeble effort to try and provide him some consolation, I pat him on the back as I run by. I don't remember what I said, but my thought was "I've been where you are and I feel your pain".

After hearing and watching the accounts of other people's experiences of their races, it was inspiring to see that many of them shared the same story of struggle and triumph. There were other missed swings at the bells, missed spear throws, etc.. but everyone had given their all and fought the good fight to the finish line.

It is such an honor to be a part of the Spartan Pro Team. Though we fight to best each other out on the course, it's the unique opportunities these races provide for us, that bring out the best in us, that matter most.

I stopped by the rope climb for a moment in the afternoon and watched as people went through. Their bodies were tired and in pain, but their spirits refused to quit. Never have I seen such a resilient group of people in the world until Obstacle Racing came along. So many people in one place looking for challenges instead of hiding from them, refusing to give up even when defeat is staring them in the face. They fight the good fight and carry on, all the way to the finish line!

So thanks again to Spartan Race for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful team, to SunWarrior for providing nutrition to keep this 40 year old body going, and especially to everyone else out there who continually reminds us that the greatest victory doesn't come from when we finish, but in how we finish.

#spartanrace #nbcsports #nbc #reebok #sunwarrior #sunwarriortribe#obstacleracing #ocr #aroo #fitlincmedia #dontgiveup #dontevergiveup

 


Comments

05/09/2017 10:36pm

The Spartan Race seems like a hospitable and wonderful team. I really envy your experience with them. I'm a fan of their passion for the sport. I'd love to meet and interact with them someday. I follow their team in the league and I always hope that they win their games. I'm looking forward for the future of their team.

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    Semi-Retired Semi-Professional Obstacle Course Racer
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