Lesson Learned from Black Diamond

I have been running obstacle course races coming up on 2 years now. I love them. They are the perfect blend of pain and pleasure. With the combination of endurance trail running, obstacles ranging from jumping a wall, going under a tree, carrying heavy things or hanging from your fingertips, there is always a skill can be focused on in training. Beyond that, the strategy. The rigorous and insidious question, did I really do my best? Was that my best effort or did my mind trick me into giving into it? Aren't these also great questions to ask for our race of life as well?

The first race of the season this year was Memorial Day Mayhem hosted by the Black Diamond Obstacle Course. This 5k was well thought out with strength sections, trail runs, decent strait away for the runners to open up and a decent selection of grip obstacles.

I came out strong battling between first, second and third for the first half of the race until we came out of the woods and the runners were able to utilize there strengths. I was passed  by the first place and second place finishers never to see them again. No excuses, I need to continue to build my aerobic capacity. During the second half of the race there were points I stopped and walked a couple of times to try and recover quickly then run again. These moments need to be eliminated. Training goal priority #1. 

Those moments allowed the fourth place competitor to overtake me. We battled through some obstacles where the fifth place competitor also completed our little group. He passed me too. I'm not sure where. I just remember seeing him ahead of me at one point.

The now fourth place competitor and I had just finished the last rig. I look down and my callous ripped coming off of the last obstacle. I looked up and saw the finish line and the only competitor left between us. With everything I had left there was no way I was going to let him finish there. My final kick left my knees high every step as my feet floated over top of the grass. My heart rate elevated to a healthy 200 beats per minute with a short lived pace of 3:28. I collapsed across the finish line with an official time of 39.22.9. Seven seconds slower than the 3rd place finish.

Did he beat me, or did I beat myself by seven seconds? I have these two words plastered all around me reminding me of the importance of prudence and honesty while racing. First is the thoughtful forethought into the race. I should study the course knowing what is coming up next to eliminate unnecessary surprises. Was I completely honest with myself? Did I need all of those recovery periods? Could I have held a slower pace longer? There is a point when we have to race our race. This line then is only determined by that one question. Was this my best effort? 

The life lessons which this sport are woven with are learned in training sessions and in each race. 

Nosce Te Ipsum (know thy self)
Often during the race of life we won't realize until after we finish how much those seconds really matter. There will be the times we should of had a little more confidence and times we should have been a little more realistic. There will be times we should have rested and times we should have pressed on a little harder and longer. What if it was just seven seconds between your efforts and your best efforts that could have made the biggest difference? 

Lesson Learned: You never know how close it's going to be at the finish. Don't lose to yourself, make them beat the best you. 

The BA2L is real,
Be addicted to Life.

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