I’ve slowly been building toward a healthier lifestyle. It took me a while to get going, but I’ve been exercising and working out, not eating entire bags of cheez doodles, and even took a fitness bootcamp. Since January/February, I’ve turned it around, losing the 25 extra pounds I had packed on in the six months previous. This was the weekend it was all working toward.
Saturday was the first “OCR” – obstacle course race – I’d done in two years. In 2013 I did a “”Spartan Sprint,” the shorter of the Spartan Races and finished in 1:40:00. Pretty shabby actually. This year we finished in 2:07:00. But it was 2 miles longer this time. All the literature says 3-5 miles, so we didn’t expect this one would be the 5 mile one. But it was.
We passed the sign that said “MILE 3” and KNEW we were almost done. We passed the sign that said “MILE 4” and were confused. We accused the water table people of lying to us when they said there was another mile and a half to go. BUT we finished. It was awesome.
Of course, I sustained some injuries. I sprained my wrist picking up the atlas stone – it was already a touch gimpy and I just exacerbated it, but it screwed me on climbing obstacles for the rest of the race. I also broke my middle toe; I just jammed my foot on a rock or something and I could feel it. Fortunately adrenaline being what it is, I didn’t realize how much it actually hurt until after the race was over.
The validation came however when I looked at my placement in my age group. Not really my standing really, but the fact that of some 3300 participants there were only 141 people in my age group. That means that I was one of a small group of old farts who had it to run. Even if I was 141/141, I’d still be in better condition than most guys my age. I’ll take that. Shockingly to me was the fact that the #2 finisher for the entire race missed #1 by 30 seconds – and he was 50-55. No one in the top 25 was even close to that. That may well be my new goal.
I spent Sunday on a friends boat sleeping; resting for a day before running the second one of the year – the Warrior Dash on October 3. I know that I’ll have to baby my wrist for a bit, so push ups and monkey bars will be on the back burner, but I can still get crunches and running in. And burpees.
If you haven’t done an OCR, it’s a great deal of fun – halfway through I was complaining about the fact I had paid for this experience, but at days end I realized few other things I’ve been doing gives the sense of accomplishment finishing this run does.
A little more than a week ago, I pretty much destroyed my car. I took the insurance money, paid it off, and with the left over I got myself a sweet new (used) one. Now I’m the envy of my friends AND a Spartan Race finisher. That’s right, I’m a goddamned winner.
Come November I’ll run the last of my three OCRs for 2015 – another Spartan Sprint through Fenway Park. I haven’t been to a ball game there this year but I’ll have been to a concert and an OCR. I expect that one will be a lot of stair climbing, because…well, it’s Fenway. There is a method to my madness there. I’ve got to keep my eye on my training for another 3 months, meaning that it’s less likely I’ll backslide right when the temptation is the greatest. Research suggests that remaining active, working muscles, will help keep you active and healthy into old age. My neighbor is testament to this. I’m not willing to simply retire to a wheel chair or rocker. I’m not giving into aging without a fight. Middle age is when you have to fight that battle – it’s on now.
A final note. Sully’s brother passed away unexpectedly this weekend. Please make sure you let him know you’re thinking of him.