“Now a life of leisure and a pirate’s treasure
Don’t make much for tragedy
But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company
Every fool’s got a reason for feelin’ sorry for himself
And turning his heart to stone
Tonight this fool’s halfway to heaven and just a mile outta hell
And I feel like I’m comin’ home”
~Better Days by Bruce Springsteen.
Last week I attempted my first Spartan Beast and failed. For reasons both within and without of my control I came up short, and I’m stuck with a sour taste in my mouth for the whole thing. I’ll spare you the details, save for one important one: technically I DNF’d (did not finish) because I didn’t reach the last checkpoint in time. I had gas in the tank, so I know I would have finished if the clock had been on my side, or I’d been faster earlier on.
I was really angry. I had the bumps, bruises, scrapes and aches that Finishers had. I had no shirt or finisher medal…and no real chance at a Trifecta this year. It was a helpless anger, that led me to a lot of thinking, reflecting and realizations I needed to come to.
For a long time now, Spartan Race was dictating my exercise, my goals, my fitness levels…and everything has been slipping. I lost the joy in exercise!!! I knew this last summer and thought I had time to get it back…I didn’t. The race hanging over my head, a several hour event I was dreading, was an anchor; dragging me down and slowing my progress.
I don’t know that I’ll ever get a Spartan Trifecta. I’m very, very okay with that, I don’t want it bad enough. Sour grapes? Nope. I wasn’t having fun in my last 2 races. Seriously, I wanted them over before they began. I was subjecting myself to this, and would continue to do so! If I’d finished on Saturday, I’d have booked a back to back Super and Sprint in July, just so I’d have the trifecta and wouldn’t have to wait for September! This stopped being about health, fitness and fun and became about 3 pie shaped pieces of metal!!!!!
And it’s over. Ha, I un-liked Spartan Race and several related people and sites on Facebook. Is this what breaking up is like now? Didn’t have Facebook when I was dating.
Haven’t figured out all my next steps. Going to do some running because I used to enjoy that a lot. Gonna throw around the heavy sandbag (which I got signed by my friend Stephanie and the rest of Team Charleston Warriors!!!) and my goals will be 1: Do something about my midsection and, 2 have fun doing it. In August I’ll be doing a Warrior Dash because they’re still fun for me. Till then, I’m thinking of trying yoga, and getting back on the mountain bike.
I’m the one that DOESN’T look like a fitness guru.
“So Sean, why the song?” I’m getting there. I crapped out at mile 11 of a 15 mile mud run over obnoxiously hilly and rocky terrain. I’m not one to undermine my troubles by thinking someone else has it worse. But, in context, not many people would have bothered to do 11 miles last week. I’m pretty lucky that here, at age 43 I have the health, time, money and sense of adventure to even try something like this. Spartan didn’t give me those, I cultivated them. Spartan was simply a way to express them….and now I want a different way to do that.
My good friend Ed ran a much earlier heat and texted me that night, the next day and several times since. This level of athleticism comes easier for him and he struggled with the course. (Edit: This is not to diminish his hard work and sacrifice to get to where he is. In truth, I’m envious at times.) Had I finished, my time would have been respectable compared to him, and I’ll take that as a small victory. He’s going for the trifecta and I’m wishing him nothing but a great time doing so, and an amazing feeling when he crosses those finish lines.
I did the race my friend Cheryl as well. She DNF’d as well and was my ride home, so we had 90 minutes to talk. We really didn’t talk about the race. She let me sulk and then we slipped back into the nonsense we joke about all the time; whatever guy she’s met online, some dumb thing we’d done in the past, or breaking into long winded diatribes on simple things. By the time we got to my house, I was definitely better than when we left the mountain.
As I walked up the driveway and saw what my wife, Heidi, and daughters had done. The front door was plastered with signs of encouragement.
This fool has every reason for feeling sorry for himself….but I just can’t. I can’t call it unfinished business or a personal failure. I took a shot, didn’t make it, and am opening new doors within myself because of it. I don’t want to go back down the Spartan Path right now. I started OCR for the excitement of something new and completely different. That led me to running for fun for the first time in my life; even to doing a half-marathon! Right now, I’m missing running for fun and lifting heavy weights because I feel like it.
The fun is just starting; I got some ideas, a sense of adventure and proof I can do some amazing things and most importantly, friends and family who care. Let’s see where this takes me.