Every day, many of us are out there fighting a much bigger fight. Leading up to the night of the Spartan Hurricane Heat 12 Hour (in Littlefield, Arizona), I was too. And it was personal. What I took onto that course was not only my desire to lead, motivate and inspire teammates, along with the excitement to participate in something greater than me, but I quietly carried my own baggage that I needed to leave behind once I crossed the finish line, too. I was determined to overcome any obstacle in my way that night.
We’ve all had moments in life where we stopped, we quit, we ended something, knowing we had more fight in us. That applies in any aspect of life, and that feeling sticks to your ribs. Nobody wants quitting on their conscience, ever.
After running several Spartan Sprints, Supers, Beasts and Ultras, the Hurricane Heat was the next step up in my journey. Without any real clue as to what I was walking into, I showed up as a new face among the many HH veterans the evening of March 8th looking to motivate others to be their best, by being my best. But what I didn’t anticipate, was that the person I’d be motivating, was me.
Let me set the stage.. a Hurricane Heat is from 8 p.m. Friday night until 8 a.m. Saturday morning and is a stand alone event designed to test your mental and physical abilities through challenges, problem solving, teamwork and individual performance under physical duress. The completion rate is 40%. No pressure. The gear list included a ruck sack with a 20 pound weight (which would be carried the entire 12 hours), enough fuel for the night, hydration pack, three sandbags, duct tape, a multi-use tool, sharpie, head lamp, reflective vest and a black shirt. Your Krypteia (aka leader) creates the missions laid in front of you. You could do 300 burpees, your food could be taken from you.. you could be doing literally anything as a team and individually. Their goal is to push you past your perceived limitations. And by the way, you may not finish. Time hacks are timed challenges where being cut is a real possibility.
A few crucial pieces of advice were provided: Be prepared for anything, don’t overthink it, and don’t stop moving. Noted.
The Krypteia led the welcome party with squat holds, plank, and the ‘tunnel of love’. All 73 of us created a circle in plank position. One by one, we crawled and squeezed our way under our teammates, ruck sacks on, around the entire circle. What seemed to be 30 minutes of plank later, we moved on to burpees as a team. Then, we were off to fill our three sandbags, which had to weigh about 15-20 pounds each. Watching the veterans, I followed suit by duct taping two of the sandbags handles together for an easier carry across the back and shoulders. This would come in handy later..
It turned out, I had fractured my fibula in that fall five hours into the event. Yet, I still somehow completed the remaining seven hours. I overcame every obstacle in my way, including the biggest one of all. Myself. When we get to the other side of the pain, we will be changed forever. And I was. It wasn’t the first time I’ve endured physical pain during an endurance race, and it won’t be the last.. but I grew exponentially and am stronger every time for it.
Many people I know tend to avoid pain (mainly referring to our willingness to push through temporary emotional discomfort to reach our goals.. some might include physical pain, too). But our lives actually become easier once we are able to deal with pain more effectively.
Reality check. If you’re unwilling to push the boundaries of your pain tolerance consistently, you must accept living a mediocre life. What’s worse? You’ll die without knowing what it’s like to achieve or experience anything even close to your fullest potential. A low pain tolerance equals a small life. Truth.
Any goal that’s worth having in this world is probably going to hurt a little initially. Now, I’m not suggesting that you break your ankle and continue seven hours in a race to increase your pain tolerance. This is my life, this is my story.. you can write your own.
We have ONE LIFE. Live it. And believe that you can. Stop using the idea of pain as an excuse to stay stuck in a smaller life than the one you deserve. I commit to pushing through pain because I know that I will be of a greater service to my loved ones, friends, clients, myself.. and to the world if I’m able to do so. I choose to LIVE BIG.
Now, I challenge you to challenge yourself.