Once upon a time
my heart got broken into a few too many pieces,
my soul got smashed up a few too many times, my brain got fried, my will got torn down,
my dreams got shattered, and my whole self got older and slower and tired.
Once upon a time I wanted to give up and fade away.
That time passed…
Once upon another time I dragged my sluggish body and weary soul into a very special dojo with nothing but a wilted spirit, a blank slate, and zero to lose. More time passed…
It took work… a lot of work… but gradually the remnants of that shattered, tattered old self began to fall away like a dried out chrysalis and something else began to emerge… something brand new, energized, and strong.
On the training ground of my dojo I learned (am learning) that I don’t have to be defeated by obstacles, no matter how great. I can rise up, shake it off, and square off against any opponent -including my own fears and weaknesses – with the confidence that no matter what happens, I am always learning and growing stronger. The empowerment I gained through the Elite Martial Arts program helped me to make that choice. I chose to dedicate myself to the hard work of growing stronger instead of growing older, and as a result I am becoming stronger now (at age 40) than I have ever been in my life.
After just under a year at the dojo, I am not only learning how to overcome challenges, but I have become addicted to the idea of overcoming as many of them as I can. It seems that not only am I not interested in running away from obstacles, but I seem to be into the idea of running headlong into them.
About a month ago, completely out of nowhere, I signed up to do an obstacle race. I’ve never been a runner before, I’ve never done any kind of race, and as my first one ever I chose not only an obstacle race but the one which is infamous as the toughest and most hardcore of them all: The Spartan Race.
The one I’m doing is The Spartan Sprint– the “starter” Spartan Race– approximately 4 miles, loaded with crazy obstacles, and hard penalties for each obstacle you miss.
I have been researching, reading, video watching, and falling so hard in love with this insanely difficult thing that I haven’t even done yet. I have been training, running, pushing myself harder, loving the feeling of being pushed, and already obsessing over the idea of doing the next 2 levels up: The Super Spartan and The Spartan Beast.
Once upon a time it would never have occurred to me to even want to know something like this existed.
Once upon a time I was old and tired and weak.
That time has passed.
The Spartan Race is two weeks from now. I’ve never even run up and down my own block before last month, but now I’[ll be running with people who are strong young triathletes, fighters, military warriors, and all manner of professional adrenaline junkies. I’ll be dragging myself through mud, running uphill over boulders and creeks, hoisting over 10 foot walls and crawling under dirty barbed wire. I’ll get banged up and worn out while my aching body tries to tell me I should quit and I don’t belong there. I’ll be racing against myself and the world and all the lies I have ever been told about what is and isn’t possible…
Two weeks from now, I’ll be a Spartan racer. I’m sure it will be much harder than I am even imagining… and I am giddy with excitement like a child about to get a pony.
My dojo is teaching me how to tap into my own strength, and how to defeat that which might defeat me. How to fight smart.
Training for the Spartan Race is teaching me that I also love to run… not from but toward challenges, in order to conquer them.
Fight and flight.
Everyone is fighting something at some point.
The older we get it can seem that the fights get tougher as your fuel gets lower.
They say once you hit 40 “it’s all downhill from here”.
I’m here to testify: That is some lazybrained backdated bullshit.
Make hard changes, fight for your health, conquer your obstacles and win your own joy. Don’t be forced into submission by time and nature, become a force of nature.
Shake it off, do the work, decide to keep growing and always keep going.
It’s like sex- an awkward and painful chore at first, but once you start doing it the right ways and for the right reasons you’ll want it all the time.
Seriously- if I can do it, anyone can.
Once upon a time I couldn’t,
but that time had to pass…
because I stood up to it
and kicked it’s ass.