It was a mild shock, a quick zap here and there. Nothing paralyzing and not even nearly as bad as bee sting or what I had even anticipated as I completed the obstacle known as Electroshock Therapy. What it was though was one helluva way to end my Three Challenges project of 2015.
About nine months ago and as the calendar steamrolled into 2015 I wanted to find a different approach to capitalizing on the yearly rollover. New Year’s resolutions are crap and let’s be honest they only last a few months at best. In an effort to make myself a better human, a better father and an even better husband I decided to find some challenges that would push me outside my comfort zone both physically and mentally. The challenges I chose were designed to exploit my weaknesses thus in turn causing me to really do the hard work to complete the challenges.
First up was the GoRuck Light — a military style team building rucking event. If you’re not familiar with rucking all it means is that you carry a backpack or ruck and add some weight to that ruck sack. Then go for a walk, preferably with friends. According to a recent article from Men’s Health on rucking: “For the average guy, a 30-minute walk burns about 125 calories, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities. But throw a weighted backpack on and take that exact same walk, and you burn about 325 calories, also according to the Compendium of Physical Activities. Just wearing a backpack with some weight in it makes walking incinerate nearly three times the calories!” (http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/top-fitness-trend-2015) The spirit of Goruck is all about teamwork when tackling difficult challenges. My personal takeaway from this event is this: It’s not about you, DFQ (Don’t Fucking Quit) and lastly the team is greater than the sum of an individual. I enjoyed the challenge and the camaraderie so much so that I have already signed up for the next event — the Goruck Tough which is 15-20 miles in 10-12 hours which is also an over night experience (9p-9a or thereabouts).
In the middle of the summer I tackled 13.1 hard fought miles that mentally challenged me to quit. My wife was my rock star and she pushed me through all those self doubts as she ran right there along my side. I held her back from setting her on PR. The running of the Seattle Rock & Roll half marathon I had trained for, had cross trained for and was prepared for, or so I thought. For those that don’t know me I do not consider myself a runner, I do not experience a runner’s high, I don’t really find enjoyment in pounding out the road miles. Why do I run then? That’s a great question and I ask myself that a lot. I run because I don’t like to run, it makes me uncomfortable and it forces me to over come those obstacles in my head. Yes, it has conditioning benefits that I do like, so I persevere.
The third and final challenge of 2015 was to tackle the Tough Mudder. Two years ago I went and volunteered at this event to get a better insight about the type of obstacles, the vibe and to just get a general sense of the scope of this event. At that time, I wasn’t sure I could knock out the 10 mile trail run while tackling all the obstacles that I would face on the trail. Two years later it was a different story. I knew I could tackle the physical demands that this event would throw at me. Of all my challenges in 2015 this is the one I was worried about those most mentally. As it turned out, the challenges were more mental that physical as I tackled all of the challenges and only didn’t over come one — Everest 2.0. I was wiped there at the end and really struggled to have the upper body strength to pull myself up and over the lip of that slippery half pipe. Even with the help of others also trying to pull me up. I gave it three solid attempts and eventually had to walk around this second to last obstacle.
What I learned was that I still have what it takes to accomplish whatever it is that I put my mind to and that pushing myself beyond my comfort zone provide the self confidence at the end of the day. By doing these Three Challenges I feel stronger both mentally and physically and I know I can be a better husband, father and human because of this self enlightenment. I’ve already turned to look forward and am setting my Three Challenges for 2016.