Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Make Your Life An Adventure.

It's more than just words. It's a Spark People Mantra. Instead of just passing one day into the next, make your life an adventure. 

"Sounds great, but I can't," you say. "I have bills and kids and work and too much to do," you say. "Adventure is great for other people, but not me," you say. 

Why not? Why not YOU? 

It starts with a simple decision. Choose to make it so. Decide that your life can be an adventure, and it can start right now. Today. Believe that it's worth the effort, the time, the work it will take. Make the choice and it can happen. 

Don't know what I'm talking about? Let me explain by asking a question. What did you do last Saturday? Do you know? Can you even remember a week ago? Or was your Saturday just another day of chores, tasks, responsibilities and to-do items? Did you do ANYTHING at all for yourself? 

I know what I did last week. I ran a 3.75 mile adventure race at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia. I joined two Marine buddies and we ran, walked, crawled, slogged, climbed, splashed, laughed and loved our Run Amuck adventure. 

Was it an adventure? Absolutely! I ran with two people I hadn't seen in more than twenty years, and we enjoyed an experience that we will remember the rest of our lives. THAT is what matters, what makes it an adventure. It is significant and important and meaningful enough to be a lifelong memory. 

Adventure. It's out there waiting for you. So why aren't you reaching for it? Are you afraid? Worried that it's too much for you? Worried you'll try something new and fail? So what? Life is worth the risk. And the rewards are so amazing, so affirming, so powerful. Take the first step and see that I am telling you the truth. 

I know. You're wondering, "so, I made the choice, now what?" Here's the cool part. Your adventure is completely up to you. It may be something grand and outrageous. (Bungie jumping from a bridge?) Or it may be something simple and personal. (Walking your first 5k?) It doesn't matter how your adventure begins, just that it does. 

In the past few months, I have done things I never thought I would do: 

Super Spartan 

Safari Park Half Marathon 

Ragnar Relay 

Bay to Breakers 

Tough Mudder 

Rock and Roll Half Marathon 

I have made memories worth keeping, written stories worth telling, and lived moments worth remembering. And all because not too long ago, I said, "yes."

Decide right now that YOU are going to live a life worth living. Decide that you are going to find one activity, one goal, one challenge... one thing worth doing and bragging about later. It may be a walk around the block or a run across the country. What it is doesn't matter. All that matters is that it is an adventure for YOU! 

Do something now that you will remember next week. Make your life an adventure. 

P.S. And you can LIKE this blog, or forward it on to other people, or copy parts of it, or use it as inspiration and write your own version. Whatever you choose to do, you do so with my blessing. I am SO grateful to Spark People for helping me turn my life around, I am more than happy to do anything that helps "Spark" someone else! 

P.P.S. Heck, I even inspired myself. I just now signed up for the Camp Pendleton Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon in September. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Look at the Tough Mudder

Here's a quick recap of the Tough Mudder, courtesy of the amazing Ryan Southwell Films. My former Ragnar Relay buddies (Ryan and Mark) are featured, along with the uber-cool Kelly Southwell. Enjoy!

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Tough Mudder - Snow Valley 2011 from Ryan Southwell on Vimeo.

Tough Mudder SoCal - My Insane Adventure

Monday, May 30, 2011

(This recap is going to be in two parts. The first, here, is the objective description of the Tough Mudder. The second, still to come, is the way I felt before, during and after running the event.)Saturday, May 28th, I ran the SoCal Tough Mudder. Without a doubt, this was the single most intense, demanding, and inspiring athletic event I have ever done. It was ten miles of rugged terrain, an elevation ascent equivalent to climbing a 300 story building, and a lack of oxygen that comes from running at nearly 8,000 feet altitude.

In other words, the Tough Mudder was exactly what they promised me: Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet. And this is the official description: Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. It’s Ironman meets Burning Man, and it is coming to a location near you. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor.

And this is the Tough Mudder pledge that every Mudder swears before the start:

As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…
* I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
* I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
* I do not whine – kids whine.
* I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
* I overcome all fears.

Here is a link to the video I made during the event using a helmet-cam. The times on the obstacles below correspond to their appearance in the video, in case you want to fast forward to a specific obstacle.

And here is a breakdown of the obstacles, and nearly every one of them was done while we were being sprayed with ice cold water:

(06:00) Braveheart Charge – The start of the event, with a wave of 500 people cheering and yelling and charging downhill

(09:00) Boa Constrictor – Crawl through small pipes with sand, mud and grit

(13:00) Kiss Of Mud – Crawl on your belly through mud under low wire 8” off the ground

Platform Cross – Up and over a slick wooden platform

(14:30) Mile of Mud – Run through a mud pit

(15:00) Jocks on the Rocks - Jump into a pit of mud and ice

(17:45) Log Bog Jog – Leap over fallen logs

(21:30) Funky Monkey - Swing across monkey bars over cold, muddy water

(23:00) BBQ Pit – Low crawl through a pit, underneath hot coals and ash

(25:00) Hold Your Wood - Pick up and run up a steep hill with a heavy log

(27:30) Underwater Tunnels - Swim underneath barrels held on the surface of the water

(31:10) Ball Shrinker - Traverse ropes stretched across a pond

(34:15) Walk the Plank - Jump off planks into a super cold pond and swim across

(39:00) Dirt Hill – Climb up soft sand and a lot of it

(39:55) Box Trot – Leap from box to box… or fall like the rest of us and slog through the mud

(41:00) Bottleneck – Single file through a tight trail, then rock climbing to get up and out

(41:50) Devil's Beard – Crazy cargo netting

(43:15) Death March - Steep climb up one of the ski slopes

(43:35) Primal Scream – Near the top, let the world hear your call

(46:55) Evil Knievel – Race up the greased half-pipe, reach out, and hang on

(49:15) Cliff Hanger – Climb straight up the mountain

(52:58) Greased Lightning - Slide down a steep hill into the cold water and swim back out

(55:08) Kentucky Derby – A crazy mix of logs to navigate over

Gauntlet - Up and down a steep ski slope while being sprayed by high-pressure hose

Berlin Walls - Climb over 12’ walls made of wooden planks

Platform Crawl – Crawl through a low passage drenched in mud and packed with hay

Electroshock Therapy - Run through live electric wires (seriously, live wires)

And of course, the glory that came with finishing!