How to Fight Fire with Fire

I lead a very fast paced life. It’s been described as nuts, crazy, too much and has been described as “intimidating.” When running obstacle course races (OCRs) and attending heavy metal concerts is considered your down time, yeah I guess I would agree with that statement.

The concern I get from others is honest and real. I take it seriously and I know they are looking out for my best interest. Sure, I think some are truly concerned but, it’s possible some are just uncomfortable.

Making people uncomfortable has been a constant thread in my life, but we’ll talk about that another day.

It might appear like these activities are fueling the fire and I am certainly aware of the possibility of burnout. I have noticed, if I’m unbalanced in other areas of my life, there is danger in this fuel if everything else is spinning out of control. However, if other areas of my life are balanced, the flame is contained and these activities serve as a release. There is no spillover.

Describing what these activities do for me has been difficult, because at first I didn’t fully understand it. Running 10+ races in 6 different states (some of these races lasting 11+ hours) this year has given me some time to think and now I get it.

It has everything to do with the task at hand.

My life is busy. It’s loaded with things to do, places to be and things to create. Nearly all of these activities are susceptible to interruption and distraction. (Even as I write this, I have two dogs getting in my face and trying to lick my hands. Like why?) Aside from OCRs, I can’t remember completing a task from start to finish without some form of disruption. I have a young family and a young business – it’s just the current season of my life. I accept it.

Racing provides me with a task at hand. I pack my bag with the necessities: water, fuel, mustard (for cramping), chapstick and likely an extra layer for unexpected weather. The clothes on my body is carefully chosen, right down to the socks that cover my ankles during rope obstacles and hopefully prevent poison ivy (yeah, right).

The night before a race is when I turn inward. I get my game face on and my mindset in place. It’s all about laying out the gear, packing and stretching out. Oh and the obligatory Instagram photo. My busy life fades away and it’s shear focus on the upcoming event.

I’ve done enough Spartan races to know where to go and what to do that even those actions become part of my pre-race prep. It’s methodical and routine. I enter the starting area and the MC gets the crowd going. I participate and go through the paces, but I’m still turning inward and preparing for what I’m about to tackle.

Before I know it, we give our final “AROO!” warrior call and we’re off. This is where the magic happens.

It becomes all about the task at hand.

There are no emails or phones to answer. No questions asked. No interruption. It’s about the Here and Now. Right Now. What’s right in front of you, what lies ahead and what you’re about to overcome.

This is where I find peace. Ok truthfully, after the race is where I find the peace. Certainly there were courageous attempts, successes and failures. It’s an accomplishment no matter what happens. I might be bumped and bruised. I may walk like I’ve ridden across the country on horseback, but I am lighter.

I am lighter.

I am lighter because I have left everything out on course. I’ve pored my heart into the task at hand. I’ve sweat and grit my teeth. I’ve experienced thirst and hunger. Pain and pure victory. And that fire jump finish ignites my heart. It solidifies, “I can and I will.”

Peace lives at the finish line.