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On Being A Beast
I ran a race yesterday called the Spartan Beast. It was 13.8 miles in the mountains with 31 obstacles, and the culmination of three years of training. There were hills, as in climb-up-and-down-on-your-hands-and-knees cliffs, miles of them. There were physically demanding obstacles as in things that needed to pushed-and-pulled, climbed-over-and-ducked-under, which left one bruised and scraped; there were lakes as in it’s-still-April-and-the-mountain-water-is-cold; there was mud… lots of thick-heavy-foot-dragging-knee-deep-muck, and there was even a black bear. I didn’t see it, but those around me did and thought the wiser to keep quiet until far away and then tell me.
They say you run the first half of a race with your body and the second half with your mind. The Spartan Beast seems to tax both from the very beginning. Fifteen minutes into the race I had to plunge into cold-muddy-can’t-see-through water and then swim under an immersed wall as in down-to-the-bottom while wearing the backpack I carry to supply me food, hydration, and anything else I deem necessary to complete the race. While your mind screams fear, your leg muscles seize from the cold water, and then one comes out from under, climbs a muddy embankment, and then running again – always moving forward – always towards the finish line – rubbing the mud from your eyes and trying to relax the calf muscles between strides because a cramp can end your race. Another obstacle requires one to crawl along the ground a substantial distance under barbed wire. There’s changing terrain and rocks that scrape your arms, chest, and legs, …. and the barbed wire that tears at your head and back if you don’t stay low… a reminder that the consequences are real. One can drop out at any time, and one can also choose to continue forward.
For me, running a race like this is a mathematical strategy. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. I break that race into sections…. The first 3 miles is a 5k - which I know I can do….then it’s getting to the 7 mile marker, more than halfway through, because then it’s like going downhill (sometimes literally)….then it’s getting to 10 miles because I’ve entered double digits…then it’s getting to the 11 mile marker because what’s left is less than a 5k….then it’s getting to the 13 mile marker because after that there’s nothing left to feel but the adrenaline carrying me across the finish line which by the way is impeded by one last obstacle… a wall of burning logs which must be jumped. Yesterday, I wish I had jumped higher because you can imagine where one feels the flame.
Crossing that finish line is a feeling that can’t be fully described by words. It’s the culmination of a challenge undertaken and a challenge conquered – that one can always do more – that one can seek to strive further than they can see – that goals can be set – and goals can be met – and then new goals set.
I am a Spartan, and while it may be an historic name of a warrior known for tenacity, or the brand propelled furthest in the obstacle racing community, I am still proud to know I have met that test – met it and crushed it. AROO!
Are you looking to sell your home, buy a home, rent for a period….call me….It’s proven I can go the distance – and then some!
From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales…..
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