I've been asked by several different people "so why are you doing this again"? I suppose there's no one answer as to why I've chosen to participate in the Spartan Race (www.spartanrace.com) that takes place tomorrow at Rawhide in Chandler, Arizona.
I guess the main thing is it just seemed to call to me, if that makes sense. I've never been a big fan of just running for the sake of running. Not a big marathon guy. Always admired those who can lace up the shoes and just go for 13 or 26 miles but it just wasn't me.
But the Spartan Race offered something besides just running. There are four different Spartan Races. You have the Spartan Sprint which is a three-mile run that has obstacles, then there's the Super Spartan which is an eight-mile obstacle course, the Spartan Beast which is a 10-12 mile obstacle course and then the mother of all Spartan Races which is called Spartan Death Race! As the site says:
This event is somewhat new but is quickly taking the country by storm because of the setup. It was created by several ultra athletes who were seeking another way to challenge themselves and others. They broke away from all of the long standing events such as marathons, triathlons, etc and came up with an event that really incorporates a little of all of them.
The Spartan Death Race is designed to present you with the totally unexpected, and the totally insane! Traditional physical challenges will make giving birth look like a walk in the park. This endurance race is comprised of mud runs, obstacle racing, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in a +48 hour adventure race. 90% of you will not complete this endurance event. Please only consider this adventure style race if you have lived a full life to date.
The Super Spartan is the race that's taking place here in Arizona. I've always enjoyed staying in shape but anyone that's worked out for any period of time knows that after you've worked out for so long you have to change things up and make yourself uncomfortable for the sake of growth both physically and mentally. By electing to do the Super Spartan race it gave me a new challenge and more importantly an immediate goal to shoot for. I've always enjoyed competing and this is not only about competing with others who are participating but with yourself as well.
Now after reading a little of this you like some of my other close friends may be saying, "are you crazy"?
My answer is perhaps a little bit, but more than anything I won't allow myself to be limited by my age, experience or any other factor that may be involved. For me this isn't necessarily about going out and trying to win this thing but by just going thru the training and completing the event I've already won certain personal goals. I view this first one as a test run of sorts and yes I said first one because there's no doubt in my mind I'll do another one or something similar.
I've never bought into the belief that you should be defined by your age. I hear and see so many people have their lives defined by how old they are and I've never quite understood that. It's almost as if they have this imaginary chart in their head and when they hit certain ages or periods in their life they close their mind to certain things whether it's working out, going out with friends, travel, you name it. I've always held the belief that the moment you start telling yourself you can't do this or that because of your age then a little piece of you is dying.
Now this isn't to suggest that at 50 you want to try and hang with partyers on Spring Break, you do have to be smart about it. But just because you've turned 50 or 40 or 60 for that matter that you can't still do things you used to do or more importantly still want to do. Don't let age define and certainly don't let others tell you how you‘re supposed to act at a certain age.
I'm hoping to see men and women of all ages tomorrow at the Spartan Race and I'm confident that I will. Some will be there to try and win while others will be there to complete a goal they've set. Whether it was just to enter and run it or maybe improve on a time from a previous race they will be there competing with others but more importantly with themselves.
While my family thought I was a little nuts in the beginning when I told them I was going to do this they've fully embraced it now and have helped me in my efforts to eat smarter and they've supported me in my training and now I think they're as excited as I am about the race. Having that support is an important element and if you can get that it makes everything much smoother.
My hope in writing this isn't to get you to run a Spartan Race so much as it is to open your eyes and mind to challenging yourself. If you've ever thought about trying something but been too afraid to do it because of your age or because you might fail you've already lost a little bit of life. Break out of your comfort zone and jump into something new. While failure is certainly a possibility there's also the chance of success and if that happens who knows what other ideas might come as result. So you've wanted to try your hand at writing, do it. You've always wanted to raft down the Colorado River, then don't wait, make a plan and do it.
Break out of that comfort zone you're in and start living and embracing what life gives you every day! While many basketball fans remember Michael Jordan for his amazing feats on the basketball court and his numerous game winning shots and plays I've always found his outlook on failure to be incredibly impactful. He said: "I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."
So tomorrow when I line up at the line and the starters pistol goes off I know I've already accomplished something significant and there will be other victories that will take place during the race as well and of course crossing the finish line is the final achievement. So ask yourself today, tomorrow or the next day, where do I want to go? What do I want to achieve? Open your mind and the possibilities are unlimited.
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