Have you ever watched any of those obstacle race shows and wondered, “what are those people thinking?”
Or maybe you said to yourself, “I could never do that.” I remember thinking, “those people are crazy!”
Then one day, I woke up and decided I needed to challenge myself. A group of co-workers and I decided to tackle a Spartan Race. Spartan races can vary from 3-15 miles with 20+ obstacles testing endurance, physical strength and (especially for the beginner) mental strength.
Our particular race was 5 months away at that point, giving me a good amount of time to train. The things I learned during this process really apply to anything in life.
Here are my top 5 lessons learned:
1. Train hard.
The biggest part of training is creating a routine so your brain knows exactly what to do even when stress or other factors come into play. I trained hard for this race. Never having done anything like it, I was truly nervous.
Anxiety and fear crept in the week before the race.
But the day of the race, I felt I was ready. I trained and worked for it.
I learned to climb ropes, carry ridiculously heavy objects and pull sleds with massive weights, NONE of which I’d ever done before. When I was up against an obstacle that wasn’t exactly what I’d trained for, my body was up to the task because I’d trained my muscles well.
Oh, and I’m including my brain in the definition of my “muscles.” Creating habits and a routine allows you to stay focused even when other stress factors are in play.
2. Ask for help.
At the start of the race, the very first obstacle was a hurdle. I saw it and thought, “no problem, I’ve got this.”
And then I slammed into it…over and over again. I have huge bruises on my ribs from slamming into it. I couldn’t get the height I needed to push myself up. I couldn’t get over that dang hurdle. I tried, and failed repeatedly.
I felt tears welling up. It was the first obstacle and I couldn’t complete it on my own. The team cheered me on and let me try over and over again. Finally, I accepted the help. I let a friend give me his knee and give me the boost I needed to get over it.
My ego was shot, as I had wanted to overcome those obstacles on my own; I mean, I had been training for this!
I could have quit right then.
I could have let my head take over; the negative thoughts were strong.
But I knew that as in life, we have a choice; a choice to pick ourselves up, swallow our pride, recognize that we need help sometimes, put on our game face and put one foot in front of the other and carry on. And it didn’t hurt that I nailed the next several obstacles climbing over walls.
3. Have a team.
Working with others is so incredibly rewarding. It’s always amazing to watch how much more excited and fulfilled we are when we achieve things together.
The success is stronger and more exhilarating. Our team had different strengths and, therefore, certain obstacles were easier for some than others. Having your team there to support you gives you that help when you need it, but also affords you the opportunity to pick someone else up when they need you.
4. Anyone can do it!
Seriously. You may go slowly, you may cry, but you can do it.
I watched people cross that finish line who I never would have thought would even consider a Spartan Race. That, in itself, was so inspiring! Pick your dream, identify your goal and work for it.
“Can’t” is just a word, not a reality.
5. Our mental game is so key.
If you want ANYTHING in life, you have to make the choice to get over those inevitable hurdles…and the good things usually have really big hurdles!
The challenges can be overwhelming.
You will question why it’s so hard.
You will want to give up, go the easy route.
You will think you can’t do it, but you’ll be wrong. You can. You truly can.
When the noise creeps in, focus ONLY on the training and the activity that will allow you to achieve your goal. Just take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
YOU CAN, TOO! GO ATTACK THAT HURDLE, DANG IT!