I like to win.  Big news flash right – who doesn’t??  After all, winning is fun!  I am hyper-competitive, and stubborn as hell.  Those two factors combine to make me a little more willing to step into a challenge when it’s laid down.  That’s how I got into Spartan racing, after all – my business partner put out a call to her Chicago friends in late 2016 to join her for the Super race in June 2017.  Crazy Poked!  I don’t live in Chicago, but I immediately said, “I’m in.”  My crazy side got poked at the right time to make that an easy call.  Almost immediately, fear and hesitation set in; this is where the stubborn part kicks in, though.  I said I was going to do it, and I damn well was going to do it.

This isn’t a one-time thing for me; our group of friends has a habit of “poking” each other and spurring to sign up for the next big hairy race or event.  Ragnar, two Spartan Trifectas, half marathon…  The instant response is generally “sure, why not??”  One exception is the Dopey Challenge; Amy hasn’t been able to talk me into that one.  She has a couple of other suckers runners going along with her, though, so she’s not alone.  Apparently, my Crazy Line stops before a full marathon.  Good to know!

Why You So Crazy??

Where does the crazy come from?  Well, for me, I think it started because I spent most of my life thinking about doing things and finding reasons not to.  I never had the Yes Man epiphany, exactly, but I did reach my breaking point.  Tired of being tired and wishing I could get in shape, I started doing… something.  I walked and worked on my diet.  Then it became running, then on and on.  Always competitive, it seemed obvious to challenge myself to a 5k.  That grew into the Chicago Spartan, which became a Trifecta, and so on.

My beautiful, sainted wife is also competitive; we definitely passed it along to our son.  He’s competitive and athletic, so he expects to succeed at everything he does.  To take advantage of that and keep him moving, I bought a trophy that is on the line whenever we are in the same event (engraved and everything!).  He likes to hang off my shoulder, then out-kick me to the line.  Being almost 13, he has energy to spare, so he can do that kind of thing.  That definitely pokes my crazy!

The other night, my wife mentioned that The Boy had completed a clapping push-up for her.  Crazy Poked!  I have thought about it but never attempted one; if the boy can do it, though, it was clearly time.  I immediately did two in a row; goal achieved, and I did one more than him.  Woohoo!  I win!

The Spartan Fall Burpee Challenge was the same kind of thing for me.  I saw it mentioned online and thought, “hell, I can do that!”  6 weeks later I’m over 7000 burpees and heading for 8000.  Burpees in the morning, burpees in the evening, burpees at suppertime.  They get easier, faster, more efficient.  It makes a big difference for other exercise also – when I just run I have more stamina, since most of my training runs include burpees at each mile.


Is Being Crazy Really That Bad?

It’s good to be a little crazy sometimes; the experiences I’ve gained the last two years by saying “YES!” have changed my world.  The people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone, the things I’ve learned about myself and others – it’s been an amazing stretch for me.  After all, I’m Just Some Dude, right?  Now I spend my time poking the crazy of other folks, encouraging them to push themselves.

Seeing the look on someone’s face as they complete a PR, finish a Spartan, whatever it is that they achieve – there’s really nothing like sharing that moment of joy.  I remember vividly crossing the line in West Virginia and completing our first Trifecta.  Our group of five stopped short and drank it in for a second, then crossed the line the way we started the race – together.  At that moment, I felt like the five of us could achieve anything.

What Pokes Your Crazy?

What about you?  What’s the craziest thing you have done?  What’s the one thing you wish you had tried?  More importantly – what’s stopping you from doing it?  Well, I’m here to poke your crazy.  Whatever is stopping you, there is an answer.  Tell me what you want to try, and we’ll figure out a way to get you there.  Let’s get it done!