Notches of Happiness

2014, my 30th year of life. When I was a kid, I never thought I would make it to this point in life. I come from a background that I wont really elaborate on. I will say it wasn’t the best or safest environment for a young man or really anyone. I see news reports to this day of the terrible things that happen in that city. When I was a kid I hated the idea of moving to the south. I didn’t want to leave New York. I thank my mother for doing it either way. Without that decision I know that I wouldn’t be in this amazing place I feel I am in now.

Year 30 Begins.

Year 30 Begins.

I am 29 years old and I haven’t always had the nicest things or the greatest. I always have thought adversity and struggle builds character in the strong willed. I have always been humble of my past and beginnings. I remember what it is like to have nothing but love and the basics.  As a child you grow up thinking of all the amazing things that you will do… All that you will have… We grow up calling these things dreams… Dreams… a funny thing to call them. Dreams are intangible. Dreams are seen when you’re asleep. If you really want to accomplish goals you must be awake. You must open your eyes and look to see what it is you want to accomplish. You must visualize the path and map out your direction. It will come from long days, sometimes long nights. It will come from sacrifice and hard work. It will take dedication and focus. It will take an alertness. Some may start as dreams and create an inspiration, but they transform into progress, growth, stories and finally “Notches of happiness”.

Over the past three years I have been fortunate to have experienced much growth in my character. I have been blessed to add many notches in my belt that houses my bits of happiness. They all started as dreams. They haven’t all been easy and the path has not been all pain free. I have experienced much pain over those three years. In those three years I have grown to a small version of the man I dreamed I would one day be. There are still parts of me that will want to continue to improve. As a good friend of mine says constantly “I am a work in progress” and I will always be. Some think this is draining or doesn’t allow you to be happy or embrace all that you have become. I think it helps me appreciate it more and provides motivation. I realize how far I have come. From the young, poor, nerd kid to the older, wiser, nerd man that wants to save the world and improve all around him. I will continue to work to become more while recognizing I am more than I was!

Highlights of the past three years were;

Falling in love: A true deep and passionate love. I know many people might think that to be a soft moment, but I have grown to a point to accept vulnerabilities and not be a slave to them or the misconceptions of what they mean of me. That love didn’t turn out the way I expected. Thats the pain that I mentioned before but growth requires pain sometimes and usually provides the strongest push… A bolt of lightning hitting and providing the power needed. I am thankful for this. I learned a lot.

New Job: In 2011 I was in a miserable time. I wasn’t happy with my job at all. I didn’t feel respected or appreciated. In early 2012 I started a new job. It was in a different office and it was a job more suited to my skills, needs and personality. It was a huge boost to my ego and a catalyst for future notches.

Time Warner Cable Business Class

Time Warner Cable Business Class

 

Hard Work and Will

Hard Work and Will

Fitness: I had grown to a point where I had not been cautious of my weight or health and overall fitness. I had blown to over 220 lbs. This was the biggest I had ever been. I decided one day that I didn’t want to be that anymore. So, I worked my ass off! I studied, I researched,  I changed routines and diets. I motivated and willed myself to get fit. Not to just lose weight, but to get fit to be able to be athletic and compete in athletic challenges. I wanted to be able to do things I had never done before or hadn’t in a long time. I accomplished this and still continue to work.

Get Fit

Get Fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion: Tie Tuesday. I posted about this before so I wont spend much time on this but I wanted to recreate my image and discover my sense of style. I wanted to express myself through my clothing and to mark myself for more than what everyone else thought of me or what I was.

Some tie showcases over the past year

Some tie showcases over the past year

Volunteerism: One of the running jokes my friends have is that I want to save the world. They arent far off. as I mentioned above. I know what it is like to have nothing or very little. I have suffered and been in desperate situations. I know what it means to want or need that helping hand and how much that can make a difference in someones day or life. 

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for your time.

Meeting Curtis Martin: One of the people that have been amazingly inspirational in the person I would like to be is Curtis Martin. I wrote a whole post on him and that meet-up here.

Definitely an amazing moment.

Definitely an amazing moment.

This brings me to 2014. This year has been an amazing year filled with a few special moments and pieces of happiness captured. I made a promise to myself last year that I would accomplish a few goals. The first of which is a continuing goal. I would mold myself into a better man. I will work to inspire people to do the same. I want to see a world where we are all pushing ourselves and each other to become better people. I want us to stop settling in this life as we are imperfect so theres no reason to try to become more or better. You don’t have to work to be perfect but to be better can improve us all. There is a lot happening in the world today and much of it saddens and darkens the hopes for a wonderful future. People are fighting each other and killing each other. We are making excuses for wrong doings and excusing some inexcusable acts. We fight with people of differences and disguise it as group/cultural/racial or religious pride. We can embrace differences and still see each other as one. My goal is to try to share this vision to bring people together. I am working on this goal and getting people to help each other and those in need. I have showcased my volunteering on social media as a way to inspire others to do the same. Theres a saying that if you do something good and more than one or two people know about it, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I can see the reasoning behind that but if no one glamorizes the care for fellow man then who will see all the good it can bring. I will say that while it hasn’t been the most successful goal of the year, I have seen moments where I have inspired. I have had friends mention to me their desires to volunteer after seeing me do so.

The next goal I started was from a seed planted last year. I had completed my second Warrior Dash race and it was after I completed the Spartan Race earlier that year. As I sat and looked at all of the medals I had. I thought to myself

“I would like to take the next step…”. “Next year I want a bunch more medals”.

So I decided that I would race to get more. I decided in January I would work to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta. I would race in three races each of different lengths. The Spartan Sprint. The Spartan Super and The Spartan Beast. The lengths were 5 miles, 9 miles and 12 miles. The number of obstacles were 17, 24, and 27. I knew that in order to prepare my body for this challenge I would have to work. I had never run anything longer than just over a 5K and I was very hesitant about completing the Super and Beast. But I set my mind to it and decided that I can do it. It is worth the time, training to complete something so physically challenging and proving to myself that I am willing to put myself through all challenges. I completed the Spartan Sprint in March. It wasn’t as challenging as my first sprint and I felt pretty good with my preparation heading in. I paced myself and handled many of the obstacles with ease. I even surprised myself on some of them. I will go into more detail on my races in a later post. I did write about my Spartan Sprint experience earlier this year. It was more about my mental  and emotional experience than the  physical and you can click here for it. I just completed my final two pieces of my Spartan Race Trifecta last month. They were by far the most physically challenging things I have done. There were times during the race where I thought that I would not finish and did not want to finish. The second race I wasn’t even sure I could do because of the toll the first race took on me… I decided though, that none of that would stop me. I made a commitment! A commitment to no one but myself that I would finish both of those races. After over 20 miles, over 50 obstacles and 10 hours… You are reading the blog of Spartan Race Trifecta completer!

 

Trifecta Complete

Trifecta Complete

Trifecta Finisher

Trifecta Finisher

Trifecta

Trifecta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A notch of happiness

A notch of happiness

Another thing that I have accomplished was just last week when I met Curtis Martin for a second time. I met him at the Charlotte Touchdown Club. He was a guest speaker for the luncheon being hosted. I love hearing his stories of his background and where he has come from and how he has overcome adversity to be in the position of where he is now. The first time I met Curtis I was 50 lbs heavier. I didn’t expect him to recognize me. When I met him this time I reminded him of our first encounter back in 2012 during his induction and the letter I had written to him. He told me that he didn’t specifically remember and that he had gotten a few letters that day but kept them all. It was to be expected. We went ahead with the luncheon and then after the luncheon I spoke with him just a bit more and explained to him how he has been an inspiration to me. I brought up the letter again and I reminded him of his last words to me that day and how they were a catalyst for me to push me through challenges such as my fitness journey and The Spartan Races. Those words were “Keep Pressing”. Once I told him this, his eyes lit up and he said that he remembered me. He told me that he remembered saying that to me. I thanked him again for how much he has done for not just me but inspiring people all over. I appreciate that I got to share news with him that he had reached a goal of his own and found a “notch of happiness” by being able to inspire me. This is a moment that I will cherish for a lifetime!

This brings me to the final “Notch of Happiness”.  I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

I moved a bit

I moved a bit

When I moved into my last apartment back in 2012, I had realized that I was so tired of moving. I was tired of picking up my life and moving it from one place to another. I knew I hated moving way before this but I had decided I was actually exhausted. I didn’t feel I could rest. I felt that I had worked my ass off so hard and I didn’t really have anything to show for it. At that point I was still making payments on my car I just moved into another apartment that I wasn’t all that happy about and I didn’t feel it fit me or all my plans and hopes and the happiness I wanted for myself. I was tired of paying rent to stay in a place that was so far out of my control. I figured I was tired of moving and I was ready to stabilize my life and quit lifting heavy shit back and forth.  I decided that my next move will be to a place that I owned. That it would be to a place that I would stay in and have control over.

I wanted to be secure in the fact that someone wasn’t dictating how much I would pay them to tell me what I could not do. So, in that thought I decided to begin my research and that when my lease was up in 2013, I would be purchasing my first home. So I studied and did research I tried to learn all I could about the home buying process. I picked the brains of friends and even strangers. I reached out in all ways I thought I could. When 2013 came I took the next step. That february I began my search for a real estate agent to assist me. A friend of mine mentioned that his wife worked for a real estate agency and gave me her information. I looked her up and sent an email. Her office was right around the corner from my job’s office so I decided she would be the agent that I would reach out to first for information. After my first meeting with Kadena, she provided so much information that I hadn’t already known. She was sweet and was understanding of my newness to the process. When that meeting was over I felt the nerves that I had prior were still there but less prevalent. I was still hesitant about the financial process. I wasn’t sure I was able to cover the upfront expenses that would be involved. I was struggling a bit and hadn’t saved enough to the point where I had felt comfortable. I went back and forth about it for about a month. At that point it became close to the time for me to either move or renew my lease. I made the decision that I would renew my lease and put off buying the home until the next year.

Fast Forward to 2014 and the year of the decision. I realized that I absolutely did not want to renew my lease. I planned and spoke with friends. In April, 3 days before my birthday. I decided to contact my bank to get pre-approval for a loan. I received a call back on my birthday informing me I was pre-approved for a loan for the budgeted amount $150,000 I gave to the mortgage consultant Kevin. I then called Kadena and left her a message and informed her of my pre-approval. She called me back and thus we were ready to get the ball rolling. My original search parameters were for the current area I was in. I wasn’t having much luck with that so I expanded my search. I learned about so many different mortgage programs and housing and real estate terms. I asked hundreds and hundreds of questions. I feel I must have gotten on everyones nerves but they were all patient and assisted. When we were looking for homes I had a conception in mind of what I wanted but I also had to realize I couldn’t look for a dream home on a non dream budget.  It didn’t feel so much as settling as it did learning to love what can be beautiful. The whole process felt similar to a dating process. I found the home I wanted to make an offer on, it fit that idea perfectly. It wasnt my dream home or a perfect home but it fit so much of what I wanted and needed. It felt right but I also felt a fear of commitment creeping. I decided I would not let that keep me from gaining something possibly great and I walked into Kadenas office with a check for $1,000 earnest money deposit and made an offer on the home. There was some back and forth on the offer amount between myself and the sellers. In the end I put a number and held firm on that and the offer was accepted. Then came the most nerve racking part of the process. There were inspections to schedule there were papers and documents to submit and calls to make. So many times I became frustrated and worried about the process and what I was taking on. Until… one day I prayed and let go. I decided that the house was going to be mine and that I would great. When closing came I found out that instead of having to pay down payments or closing costs… I would actually be getting a check back for $650. I signed the papers and then had that beautiful feeling.

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

Closing; Kadena and I

Closing; Kadena and I

I have been in my home 2 months now and I am loving it. It is an amazing blessing. I couldn’t have done it all alone. There was faith and God involved. I want to thank Kadena and Kevin for everything. They took good care of me and provided me with my best interests. Kadena provided me with so much info and helped me tremendously. I would recommend her to anyone in the market for a home. Thank you to all the friends that have provided me with information and advice. I know have talked a few ears off and complained a lot. I truly love you all for being there.

So, safe to say I added a few notches of Happiness to my belt this year. Its time to tighten it up and see whats in store for 2015. Though I do know it will be tough to top 2014.

 

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Curtis Martin: Someone to admire.

It’s no secret that one of the people I look up to the most, possibly more than anyone is Curtis Martin. He is a former Jets player who was recently inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. Yesterday was his birthday and I have always respected this man. Not just because he was a Jets player, but because he is a man who believes in doing the right thing. He has made over $40 Million and is so incredibly humble. He’s a man that doesn’t hold grudges and wouldn’t want you to hold one. He works to help those that are not as privileged or blessed. He fights a rigorous fight to help the homeless. He is a dedicated man that always worked hard to accomplish goals. His main goal is to inspire more people to be as humble, to help out those in need.

I got to meet him almost two years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was always a Curtis Martin fan. Since my young days as a Jet fan. My introduction to the Jets was about 1995 during terrible years for the Jets. I was just a casual fan who rooted when the game was on and really never gave much thought to what happened after.  When Curtis arrived my passion for the Jets that many see today came with him. I became a die hard.  I loved watching him play. I wanted to find out more about him. These were in the younger days of the internet so information wasn’t readily available but once it was I would read all about him. I watched sports shows hoping they would mention Curtis and the Jets. I got to see the non-football side of him and all the great and charitable things he was dong. I was ecstatic in 2004 when he beat out Shawn Alexander by one yard to win the rushing title. I was disappointed when his string of consecutive 1,000 yard seasons to start a career came to an end. And down right heart broken when an injury forced him to retire. I knew he was going to the hall of fame and I knew I would have to wait five years but I also knew that when it did happen… I was going.

As I said I got to meet him two years ago. Curtis was elected into the Hall of Fame in January of 2012. From the time they announced his name I started making plans to go. Leading up to the event I had to wait on tickets to go on sale. I wanted as many chances as I could get to see him. I bought tickets to the Jacket presenting dinner. I bought a tickets to a round table luncheon and the enshrinement ceremony. My most prized ticket though was to an autograph session to meet all of the enshrinees and get autographs. When the weekend came I rented a car and hit the road. I drove to canton and went to the dinner it was an awesome ceremony where the enshrinees are presented with their HOF jackets. I didnt have the best view from my seat but it was awesome nonetheless. The next day was the parade and this is when I got my first close up view of Curtis and he noticed me after I gave a huge Jets chant.

He looked Right at me and pumped his fist to my Chant!

He looked Right at me and pumped his fist to my Chant!

After the Parade I went to explore Canton a bit and get ready for the Enshrinement Ceremony. This again was another great experience. While waiting to get in a bus pulls up with many former Hall of Famers and NFL Legends. I saw so many from Gayle Sayers to John Madden. From Shannon Sharpe to Joe Willie Namath. I got to shake a few of their hands and heckle Dan Marino a bit.  Then the ceremony started. I sat through and listened to the other enshrinees read off their speeches in what felt was an uncomfortable state for them. After every speech I would get anxious and hope that Curtis was next… But Each time they made us wait. Though during that waiting everytime I got excited and thought Curtis was next I’d stand up and cheer. That apparently caused me to get a few texts and tweets telling me that was just seen nationwide. I ended up being shown on ESPN and NFL Network.

Look Ma! I'm on TV. ESPN

Look Ma! I’m on TV. ESPN

 

Curtis was last to speak and was that a great decision. His speech was filled with so much. It call came straight from the heart. He told what would have made for an awesome movie. He filled it with humble beginnings, Comedy, Joy, Pain, Loss, gains and life lessons. There were moments that you couldnt help but feel emotional and a deep connection as he bared his soul with intimate details of his father’s abuse of his mother and the murder of his grandmother. You couldnt help but laugh when Curtis he spoke of Bill Parcells’ Parcelisms. We were inspired when he spoke of his near death experiences growing up in Pittsburgh. The speech was truly the greatest enshrinement speech I had ever heard and I sometimes listen to it again to provide inspiration. Anyone who would like to see this speech can see it here.

After the ceremony the guys that I was hanging with for the weekend ran into Curtis’s pastor. He was the one that encouraged Curtis to stay in the NFL and inspired him to use it as a vehicle to do the amazing, wonderful and inspirational things he wanted to do.  Curtis took this advice and used football to reach people. His pastor told us the story of the conversation.

The next day was the big day, the day I meet Curtis Martin face to face. I wanted to express to him how much of an inspiration he had been to me and that he accomplished more than just the goal of being inducted into the hall of Fame. I wanted him to know that he accomplished the goal of inspiring someone to be a greater person. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to express this so I wrote him a letter. Before the autograph session there was a round table luncheon. The meal was actually pretty good and my table was pretty close to where the players would be sitting for the discussion. When the discussion had ended the players posed for pic and then headed out to the Hall of Fame for the autograph session.

Dapper as always

Dapper as always

After the luncheon I raced down the road to prepare for my meeting. The meeting was at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The line was long. But I patiently waited. I got closer and closer and I became more and more nervous. I know I had to capture this moment though. I took several pictures and videos while I traversed the red velvet lined path toward the Hall of Fame players. The inductees were at a long table in row. I stopped at each player and had them autograph HoF book I had picked up earlier in the weekend. I congratulated them and walked on. When I began to approach Curtis I handed my camera to the guy in line ahead of me to take a picture of the moment.  I reached out my hand to shake Curtis’s and he grabbed it firmly and shook. I told him how much of an honor it was and how he has inspired me. I then showed him my two jerseys I had brought and asked him which does he think will be better to sign. I could only have him sign one because I only bought one ticket (Which were $300 a piece). He suggested that he could sign the white one and it would show better on that. I handed him the jersey and then pulled out my letter. I explained to him why I wrote it and why he meant so much. He took the letter and thanked me. He then asked for my other jersey and signed the other jersey. I was so humbled by this act. He then handed me the jersey and said he would read my letter as soon as he got back into the car. Before I walked away I shook his hand again and he gave me something that stuck with me. He told me “Keep Pressing!”. It was advice to not give up to keep working hard and not to give up. I keep those two words with me and they empower me when I faced with struggles.

 

Definitely an amazing moment.

Definitely an amazing moment.

After the meeting I got to tour the hall of fame! I was on a high the entire time. Not only did I meet one of my heroes but I was surrounded by football greatness. So much rich history was in the atmosphere. I was flooded with memories of previous seasons and players. To think of all that played the game, imagine the impact you had to have made to be exclusive enough to make it here. I think I spent a good twenty minutes in the bust room. I spent at least 7-8 at Curtis’s Bust. I wasn’t ready to go. I had to leave though. I had a long drive back home.

was powerful

was powerful

The drive that felt like forever coming up felt so short going back. I was still on my high. I thought of all the amazing moments of my weekend and how I would use the two words Curtis left me with to impact my life and others. The first I used it with was to lose weight and get healthier. “Keep Pressing!” When I’m in the gym that would keep me going. I used that to make it through. It helped. I’m 45 lbs lighter than I was in that picture. I use it today to try to make an impact. It’s what gets me to keep giving back and to keep volunteering. Its what gets me to press for societal changes that will make us better. I think we can all benefit from this. I think we can all use motivation to continue to push through trials. So from Curtis Martin through me to all of you I say… KEEP PRESSING!!!

 

My Jerseys

My Jerseys

Meeting the Man

Meeting the Man

My Spartan Race Experience

          The weekend of March 22nd was an amazing and rewarding experience. I participated in another Reebok Spartan Race. It was the second one I have completed and it will not be my last

          Before I go any further into details about my specific race. I will explain a bit more about what it is. The Spartan Race is a timed obstacle course that traverses various distances and several physical obstacles. Most of these races involve copious amounts of mud.  It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. I love doing it.

          Some of you may remember I was overweight a couple years ago. Years before that I was a highly athletic and in shape kid. I loved playing football and running with friends and doing all kinds of activities. When I became bigger I had still loved doing those things but couldn’t enjoy them as much.  One of the things that drove me to get fitter and healthier is so that  I may enjoy those things again. The Spartan race is one of those things.

          I completed my first Spartan Race last year.  It was one of the physically toughest things I have ever done. I pushed myself to complete it. I raced at a time right after I completed a fitness goal. I wasn’t in as good shape as I am in now. It was cold. The temperature was mid to high thirties and rainy. There were times I wanted to stop and quit but I kept pushing.

          One of the reasons I was able to keep pushing is because of my favorite part of the Spartan Races and even other Mud Runs such as the Warrior Dash. The camaraderie is amazing. When I was limping through last years Spartan Race I was strengthened by hundreds of other runners pushing me on. Everyone was offering kind words and encouragement. When I needed help with an obstacle, without even asking people offered assistance. They were quick to reach out a hand to help me out of the mud when I couldn’t use my legs to push off.  The race was full of people that genuinely wanted to help you and see you finish and keep going. This was such a beautiful concept to me.

          This year I was much more fit and prepared much better for this race. I went in with a goal of 1 hour 30 minutes. While I did not meet my goal, I still felt a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment.  Obstacles that I had struggled with in the past were less of a challenge. I got help out others that were struggling to complete their journey.  I loved my racing experience and I loved putting on that medal at the end.  Another physical obstacle conquered and I’m ready for more.

          This year not only did I run the course but I also volunteered as well. It was such an amazing experience as well.  I volunteered first for the load out/build which means I helped set up for the race festival. I got to see the site prior to the event and it was a much different look. The most rewarding part of volunteering though had to be my course shift on Sunday. I had already ran on Saturday but I got up at 5am the next day to go back to the site to volunteer on the course. I got to volunteer at the Fire jump obstacle. I loved this because it was at the end of the race near the finish line so I got to see people’s excitement and joyous finishes. It was great seeing people come over that slip wall and smile as they jumped the fire and prepared for the gladiators. Some of them never thought they would make it this far but they had some of them looked spent. Those were the ones that I loved seeing because when they came by I screamed out at them to “Finish strong” I yelled “You’re almost there” I cheered and hooted and hollered for every runner that I saw coming over. That’s when I hit the most inspirational part of my whole experience.

          Allow me a tangent for a moment. When I tell someone about the Spartan Race and ask them if they would like to run it. So often I hear “I’m not in shape for that” or “I’ll never make it.” “Im too big” etc.  I wish those people would at least volunteer or watch a live Spartan run. I saw people twice some of the peoples size or twice their age. There were runners from age fifteen to mid sixties. People weighing upwords of 320 lbs. If you are determined you can complete this event.  There are people with missing legs and missing arms that are completing these runs.

          During my volunteering session, I noticed some people having issues climbing the slip wall to get to the final two obstacles. Not wanting to deny anyone their sense of accomplishment, I went to help those I saw struggling to get over the wall. The slip wall is basically an angled wall with a rope attached to the top of it that you have to use to climb the wall. What makes it incredibly hard is that you have to climb it right after getting out of a giant pool of muddy water. Many people slip. Many make it to the top and just cant get over.  Whenever I would see someone struggling I’d race to the top of the wall and try to pull them up and over the wall.  There was this one guy. I will remember his name for a long time. Chad. Chad was a bigger guy. He was over 300 lbs. He was having trouble getting over the wall. He was running with a friend and they had both made it this far. I saw Chad trying to climb the wall. The first time he made it halfway to the top and couldn’t push any more and slid back down. He could have accepted that he was too big or that he didn’t have what it took but no. He rested for a moment and grabbed the rope and tried again. He climbed to the near top with his buddy pushing below and Myself and now another volunteer trying to grab him from the top. Chad didn’t make it this time. He slid back down to the mud and tried to catch his breath at this time many other racers were looking at Chad and encouraging him. His buddy is stressing to him that he WILL make it over that wall. Myself and the other volunteer cheering and pressing him not to quit and pushing the growth of will power through our words. The huge crowd of spectators were cheering for him. He grabbed the rope again. He pulled and lifted himself on to the wall and out of the mud crowd other runners and other volunteers, all cheering for him. He makes it to the top and cheers are louder than ever but he still cant get over the wall we are holding him from over the wall and we don’t want to let go. He asks us to let go and we assure him that we will let go but he is going to get over the wall.  We let him go he slides back to the bottom. The crowd of spectators watching and runners watching is now at its peak. Chad holds his head down but not as if in shame but as in gathering his will and summoning his strength. He snatches the rope he beats on the wall and pulls the rope tight. He sets his foot on the wall and begins to climb everyone is cheering. With each step Chad makes the cheers get louder. People are screaming;

“You can do it Chad!”

“Don’t quit!”

“That medal is waiting”

“Aroo Aroo Aroo”

          Chad makes it to the top of the wall. He’s holding on with everything he has. Now with three volunteers we all reach over to help pull him over grabbing his leg and dragging it over the wall. Once he used that for leverage and climbed over that wall the crowd of spectators other racers and volunteers erupted in applause and praise everyone was smiling and shouting. I told him to go get his medal.  One of the other volunteers walked with him through to the finish line.

          As great as that experience was for me, I can only imagine how great it was or Chad. The feeling of having hundreds of people cheering and pushing you to complete and genuinely wanting to see you succeed for no other reason than the fact that you refused to give up.  That had to be an amazing mixture of emotions.

          I wear my medals proudly and so should anyone that has earned one because you do earn them. After my race I overheard a woman on the phone bragging to her mom about her completing her race and about how hard it was and about how she never thought she could do it. She had an excitement in her voice of a young kid after he opens a gift that he had been asking for all year. I’m not the woman’s parent and I don’t even know her name but I was extremely proud of her as well.

          To me the Spartan Race is about much more than times and people competing with each other. Its about the times we realize we are so much more than we thought were and competing with ourselves. To me its about the sense of accomplishment, the will to keep pressing and the amazing camaraderie that can make this world so much more amazing if we treated all of life as a Spartan Race.

It may hurt at first but that pain becomes strength and Pride and then you realize. "Hey I survived"

It may hurt at first but that pain becomes strength and Pride and then you realize. “Hey I survived and I’m greater”

My Spartan Sprint Medals

My Spartan Sprint Medals

Spartan Race Gladiator Pit

Spartan Race Gladiator Pit