At the beginning of June, I ran a brand new obstacle course race. The Battle of the Lions series has 4 scheduled events: Dallas was the Grip course, with a variety of obstacles to test your grip – hangs, climbs, etc; in August, Oklahoma City will be Endurance; then October has Little Rock, listed as “Standard” – which based on these course designers and their unique ideas and obstacles, is going to be far from standard for most humans.

Olathe/Kansas City, though, was the Strength course. To give an idea, we left the start line with 50 pounds of gravel in a bucket, down the hill and back up again for a quarter mile before setting the bucket down and going to the next obstacle. Solid opener!

It was warm and humid (hello, Kansas!) and I was trying to hustle through as The Boy was about to play a ballgame on the north side of town, 45 minutes away. I did my best, and was proud of the outcome. It was a real test of strength, and I think I held up well.

It Adds Up

For me, most of the obstacles (most of them, I said) weren’t individually too tough. But they added up as we went along; sure I can carry this concrete weight or drag that sandbag, but as the muscles wear down and the race goes on, they each felt a little heavier than they really were. When it goes that way, you need to find strength and push on the best you can.

Life is like that too. Sometimes, it’s the small thing that seems to send you over the edge. In reality, of course, it’s all the other things that have piled up along the way – but the final trigger can be something that seems relatively insignificant by comparison.

Your true supporters will understand and not just think you are overreacting; they are the ones who will help provide you that strength. Stick with them and let the other folks go on their way.
Comic is property of and well worth the time suck to check it out!

At the end of the race, after 3+ miles of building muscle fatigue, we finished with a tough rig going over and under bars, hanging off T-hooks, moving through the path. I knew what I needed to do, but 2/3 of the way across my arms were just… done. So I ended up on the ground; the volunteer asked “you okay, sir?”. Yes, I said, standing up and dusting off, just annoyed. “I understand!”

So I jogged to the end, this hexagonal monstrosity that we had to “roll” back and forth using an iron bar through the spokes. Not entirely sure what it weighed, but it wasn’t light. Finished that and the race was done. Was I well-tested? Hell yes I was. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Finding It

Wherever you find your strength, there are going to be days that are tougher. It adds up and piles on – so you have to know when to put down that weight. You do what you can as long as you can, catch your breath, then you find the next challenge and face it head on. What other option is there, after all??

Just remember this – strength takes a lot of forms. Arnold Schwarzenegger with muscles popping is only one way. That person next to you in the store, pushing their cart along, dragging the invisible crap of their daily life – they may be the strongest person you ever meet, but you’d never know it. Give them a smile and let them know you admire their toughness. Draw a little of your own strength from the smile they give back, and move on to the next thing.

Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash