I’ve done something really cool. I always want to be someone who does what he says he will do. And, this year, I have fulfilled a promise I made to myself. Let me explain.
At last year’s World Domination Summit (WDS), I spoke with a young lady named Ekaterina about adventure races. You see, she is super fit and I’d always harbored a desire to complete a Spartan Race. Almost immediately after I mentioned my goal to her she said she’d be my accountability partner. My first thought was, “Oh crap! What have I gotten myself into?” Ekaterina went further to ask if I had looked into the races in my part of the world? I said, “no”. She replied that I now knew where I needed to start. Since this was on Sunday, the last official day of WDS, I knew I had to plan. I found a race in Charlotte, NC, and told her that I was forming a training plan.
I returned home and started exercising. I hadn’t exercised regularly in some time and, honestly, knew I had a ways to go to be strong enough to complete any kind of race. So I got on my bicycle and started pushing my 20 year old Cannondale mountain bike.
A co-worker had also recently started exercising so we talked about it a lot and I learned a lot from his experiences. He has started dating a serious runner and triathlete and started gearing up. Being techies, that was a natural response to anything. You ask yourself a question, “what gear do I need to be successful?” Granted running shoes and a bicycle are the only two *true* answers, but there was a lot more information we wanted to track, so onward we went. My friend purchased a road bike, a Garmin sports watch and related gear, as well as modern athletic clothing (you may or may not believe how technologically advanced our clothing is today!!). This meant, though, that I, too, needed to “tech up”. Fortunately for me, my friend had accidentally purchased two road bikes (that’s a story for another time) and he GAVE me one.
I really had no excuses.
So I started running and biking! It was really ugly at first but, with time, became easier and easier. My regimen became exercise classes three times a week and biking at least two times a week for distances between 5 and 10 miles. Using the gear that I started accumulating I was able to track my progress. Not only was I able to continually increase the distances but also my times.
The race I settled on was a Spartan Race in Charlotte, NC, to be held in April 2017. It was a “Sprint” which means it is roughly a 5 mile race with up to 25 obstacles. I really didn’t know what to expect so I stuck to a regimen of exercise and healthier eating (meaning less alcohol as well). It showed. I lost weight, discovered muscles I didn’t remember, and noticed a shift in my work too. I was able to better focus at work and accomplish more. You hear things like this but don’t understand the impact until you do it yourself.
Next, I recruited a friend of mine to do this with me. His name is “Uli” (short for Ulrich) and as you can imagine from his name, he is German. I studied in Germany while in college so we have a lot in common. We asked others to join too but almost everyone responded with a comment like “..maybe next time.” We named our team the “Germinators” and just kept asking each other how much we were exercising. Uli is a great runner. I am not. My body type is better suited to weights. But what we realized is that we complemented each other really well! This would be really evident when the race actually took place.
April quickly arrived and I drove to Charlotte to stay with Uli the night before. We joked about the pending race, knowing that this would be a first for both of us. Saturday morning came quickly. After a brief drive, we parked then went through registration. Our race time wasn’t for another couple hours so we got some lunch, checked out the vendors, and settled in to stretch out and limber up for our race. Yes, I was also getting anxious.
Finally, they called our starting time and we grouped up at the start. To reach the start we had to jump over a small 5′ wall and we were not alone in laughing while trying to just get to the starting line and not fall down! When the announcer kicked off our group we were off and running about three quarters of a mile to the first obstacles – a series of walls of increasing height for racers to go over, under, and through.
The race continued for 4.9 miles and 23 total obstacles. There were some that I could help Uli with and a lot of support he offered me with the running. I didn’t know it, but a neighbor of Uli’s came out to cheer us on too. By the time we saw him, there was less than a mile to go but still a creek run and three more obstacles. We were feeling good, really enjoying the experience.
At last, we jumped over the fire and crossed the finish line. I couldn’t have been happier because I had done what I set out to do. More importantly, a valuable lesson was reinforced – enjoy where you are, but if you want to do something you have to plan it out, strive to get there, and then enjoy it once it is completed. On a recent Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness podcast Kyle Cease said, “the biggest illusion of your life is that when something happens you’ll be happy.” This process really made me happy, and the sense of accomplishment is huge! Now to do it again…
I’m planning on doing this all over again next year. If you want to join me, let me know! I’m still working out and I feel good! The best thing of all was when I sent this text back to the person who really made me think about goal setting, my accountability partner Ekaterina: