Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Sadly, most of those limitations we have are placed either by our own mind looking for an easy way out, or somebody else telling you what is impossible in the hopes that you won’t do this thing and rise above them in some way. We have built-in excuses for just about anything. The problem (and reality) is that they are precisely that: EXCUSES.
This year, I decided to pursue the Spartan Trifecta. On the 22nd of April, I put the Spartan Super in my rearview mirror. Trust me, I had plenty of chances to make excuses why I couldn’t finish. In particular, at the 9-mile mark, a water obstacle took a serious toll. I got a cramp in my left calf that went all the way up my leg to my hip. I couldn’t move the leg, couldn’t stand. I crawled to the side in pain and heard that voice in my head try to tell me that I was done. But I only had just over a mile left! I decided that I would crawl to the finish if I had to. There was no way I would go through what I already had and then quit so close to the end.
I was lucky. A lady came over and helped me push the cramp out of my hip so that I could stand. It was then just a matter of walking off the one in the calf. So, I pushed on. I hit two obstacles that I knew were simply beyond my reach by that point, so, that added 60 more burpees to my day, bringing me to the total of 150.
The important thing was that I finished. The first wedge now sits in my display case waiting for the other two pieces. In September, right around my 52nd birthday, I will earn that last piece when I do the Spartan Beast. 13+ miles and 30+ obstacles. Just as with the Super, I WILL FINISH. How could I get that close to my Trifecta and not go the distance? Answer: Not an option.
I’m not doing anything incredible. There will be many others doing the same thing. Some older, some younger. Some faster, others slower. I never thought that I would get hooked on something like this, but I am. I love how I feel when I finish. I can look back at the pain I pushed through and feel like I have truly done something noteworthy.
Each race on its own is a unique challenge. I found Spartan after a Warrior Dash when I wondered if there were any other races like it. Spartan came up in my search, but I promise you, it is nothing like any other Obstacle Course Race that you will run. The first time I did it, I finished and wondered what the hell had possessed me to do something that insane. But I wasn’t even to the car when I was already determined to return and give it another go.
This August, I am returning for my 5th Spartan Sprint in Washougal, Washington. Here is what Spartan.com says about the Sprint: The Reebok Spartan Sprint: This is our shortest distance. It is perfect for athletes of all levels; from Spartan first timers to seasoned racers. The 3-5 Mile Sprint may be our shortest distance but it packs more than 20 Signature Spartan Obstacles. If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. Get to the starting line and show yourself what you are capable of.
I have a team set up, but I am currently the only member. The team is DEADCREW, and the password to join is my motto for each morning, “ItStartsToday”. So, maybe your mind is already starting to tell you why you can’t. But to that, I say you probably don’t have Spina Bifida, you likely have both arms and legs, no MS, and maybe even no cancer. That puts you ahead of some of the racers I met at the 10+ mile Super. Yeah, a lady who used crutches the entire way due to Spina Bifida, a pair of vets missing both legs, three women who are breast cancer survivors, one man who weighed over 300 pounds, and a pair that have MS. They all finished. They all earned their medals because they didn’t listen to that voice.
So, what excuses will you listen to? Or…will you silence those excuses and join me. Listen, I don’t go fast. Maybe 30 minute mile pacing considering the obstacles and the burpees. You CAN do this. So join me. We will start as a team and finish as one. We only go as fast as the slowest member. And when we get to those burpees (and we will) maybe some of the team can step in and take a few of yours. All that matters is that 30 get done. As a team, we can help each other finish. THAT is what being a team is all about. And once you cross the finish line, that medal and finisher’s shirt will be yours forever to remind you of what you CAN do.