Why would I do such a thing to myself. I have had many rambling thoughts as to why I would do this. The basic overriding reason is because somewhere in the back of my mind is a voice from the past saying “you can’t do that”. I don’t like that voice. It isn’t me, it never was me. That voice has prevented me from a great many things in my life. I didn’t put that voice there, someone else did. I can’t tell you who or when but its there. At some point, someone told me I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t talented enough. And I believed them.
Last year I heard about the Death Race. I watched the only video they had at the time, I think it was from 2007. I thought to myself that has got to be the coolest things ever. And of course I also immediately thought “I could never do that.” Again I thought “Man what an awesome concept”. And again “Well maybe in another life that could have been you too.”
March 2011 I was coerced under duress to sign up for the Spartan Race in Amesbury. To say I was out of shape at the time would imply that at one point I was in shape. Have you ever got out of breath bending over to tie your shoes? That was me. Not terribly over-weight but completely sedentary. Not one chin-up, 5 push-ups and I was out of breath and dizzy. 12.5 minute mile and that was it, I couldn’t have gone another step. Multiple days to recover from that 1 mile. But as you know when you sign up for a Spartan Race you open your email to the flood gates of Spartan Nation. It seems that last year 8-10 miles wasn’t hard enough for people, so now they were going to hold the inaugural Spartan Beast! 10-13 miles on Mt Killington. Well the idea sounds cool and it’s 10 miles (yes I completely blocked out the possibility of 13) and if you registered with the promo code you got %50 off! There’s that voice “you can’t do it” So I bargained, a stage of denial, and I thought its 8 miles further than you have ever run in your life, how hard can it be? So I signed up. My wife thought I was crazy. My son threw up (reflux he was about 7 months old at the time)
So with no training, 0 experience, and not even a good pair of running shoes I set out to do a half marathon obstacle course on a mountain. Thankfully my favorite color is green. Because focusing on that little medal is the only thing that kept me going. I was not leaving without that medal. And I didn’t.
So why do I think I can do the Ultra-Beast?
It wasn’t just the Beast. After Beast I still had to do the Sprint. Thats would be a great way to wrap up the summer and move back to normal life. The Sprint came. It came on the heels of 3 days of rain. It came in the middle of a Hurricane! And it was everything the Beast was in a small package. Epic-ness! It was about this time that someone whispered trifecta. Well I did the hard part: Beast. I did the fast part: Sprint. It didn’t seem right not to at least do one of everything and hang it up. So off to Staten Island my buddy and I went. It was a very fast course, but when Eric DeAvilla and I crossed the finish line and we put a Blue medal over a Green one and a Red one , there was no turning back I was hooked. I must say I really liked hearing the whispers “why do they have 3 medals” or “what’s the Green one for?” I now officially had “mud” in my veins. On that day Eric and I had become 2 of the 77 people in the world who held the title trifecta tribe. Granted its a small world but I belonged to it. And I belonged to an even smaller club. No one could say I can’t.
Upon completing that challenge everything became about Spartan Race. I sought out every fb page, I became a Street Team Member.I began to exercise and run infrequently. I remembered there were these crazy brothers who supposedly dragged a tire through the Beast, I believed it was a tall tale for sure. Wrong! I thought they were crazy when I found out it was true. Then they said they were holding a training camp in Rhode Island. For some reason I signed up. That is when I met people who told me “you can” They joked and asked us if we wanted to quit. But they were changing the voice in my head. They were teaching me how to turn off the “I can’t” voice. I didn’t have to be better than them. Shit I didn’t even have to keep up with them (to a point) All I had to do was not quit. The same thing I did at the Beast. Just don’t quit.
So can I do the Ultra-Beast? Yes I can, yes I will. Will I hurt? Immeasurably. Will I cry? Probably. Will I stop? At times. Will I give up and quit? Not while I have some ability to move forward! I have no intention of listening to that voice that says “I can’t” any more. Now I have the tools to hear that voice and punch it in it’s mouth. And if I can’t there’s a whole Army of Spartan Warriors I call friends that will help me beat that voice to the ground!