The nightmare revealed 3 ways to race

I can remember waking up in the middle of the night screaming for my mom. I would shake, sucking up short breaths in need of her comforting embrace. The soft rub of her compassionate hand across my back, and her loving whisper in my ear, "It's okay honey, it's okay, it was just a bad dream." I still have these night terrors even as an adult. I've become numb to them. 

Our nightmares and our deepest fears prevent us from doing some of the things we want to do the most. On the other side of them is freedom. To get through them though we may need the help of a loved one who has been through it before. Maybe a stranger who is just pretending bravery to save face. Sometimes, we go it alone, or so we thought.

The Nightmare Challenge was a perfect wrap up to the Ohio Grand Slam. This season has brought me up, it has humbled me, I have learned immensely. My current understanding is that there are three ways to participate in this world. To run for fun, to compete to win, and to race for life.

Often when we begin our career of obstacle course racing it was a friend who convinced us it was a good idea. This race was my sister's birthday. I had the privileged to run along side of two powerful individuals. Their grit and courage to try something new like this, without training at all, is beyond inspiring. Their efforts, in my mind, are beyond mine. I am used to this they aren't. They made it through the whole race. A race described to me after as "...the toughest race I've done this year. I've done Tough Mudder and some Spartans." It was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a while. Thank you Monica and Dustin. When we run for fun, time means nothing. It is about enjoying it and socializing, and being apart of a group a lot of times.

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and natureWhen we step into the next phase we start competing for the win. Many of us are concerned with our time, or whether or not we placed in age group. We don't have time to stop and help the person next to us. It's about us, and how hard we can push our selves. This phase is all too much fun. There is a lot of growth in our skill and the external motivation is everything we need. To be the best we can can be....physically. 

It wasn't until this race that I thoroughly understood the next phase. Racing for Life. Matt Mullins and I arrived to Mean Green at the same time. Him, moments before I. Earlier I had told my son to meet me there with a towel so I could dry my hands. As he handed it to me I noticed Matt trying to dry his on his wet clothes. "Matt, here use this man." We both attempted the toughest obstacle in Ohio and fell in the waters below. We waited and tried again finishing neck and neck. While approaching the end gauntlet of obstacles we are winding through the woods and jumping into the creek when, "DANGIT!!!" I screamed. I reached down to pull my shoe out of the muddy creek when I heard, "No man, not like that." Matt had stopped and waited until I put my shoe back on to continue racing. Through the gauntlet we swung side by side. Slid under the barbwire one after the other. The final obstacle had three ropes hanging over a mountain of mud in waist deep water. I looked at him as we held the rope in our hands "You ready?" We slingshot out of the water and up the rope to sprint to the finish. He to the outside, I to the inside where I clothes lined myself by the middle rope. 3 seconds he finished ahead of me. 

You see this phase is for the win, but it's really about Life. We race for others around us. We are not there not to get a cheap win, but a win with honor. We don't want an unfair advantage. We want to get beat even. It really is a beautiful blend of the previous two phases. How is this race, going to make me race Life, better. This race is a small part of the bigger picture we are all apart of. The race of life and the world of obstacle course racing have many magnificent metaphors tangled through them knotting them together. 

Whether we are racing/living our life for fun, ourselves, or for others, we all may have certain nightmares. It may be through these fears we find freedom. We find courage, humility, and integrity. All of which allow us to look into fear with a numbed expression, and the silent thought, "I've been through worse."   

The BA2L is real,
Be Addicted 2 Life,
Eric

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Comments

  1. Great blog. The last sentence hit home. I need to remind myself of that. Thanks for writing this

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