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Winter Death Race: Further Reflections & Elaboration

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I’ve already spoken at length about the race, and exactly what on during my 19 hours at the race. If you haven’t read it, you can here:
 http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/winter-death-race-2015-after/

The question becomes, what else could I have to say?

This race has messed with my head, big time. I’ve had so many ups and downs emotionally because of it.

There are days when I am fine with it, knowing that after 19 hours I gave that mountain everything I had to give.

At the same time, I have struggled with my decision to pull myself from the race. Had I just thought the task out a bit further, maybe tied some ropes around the boards I could have made it. There had to be another way, other guys got those things up the mountain, why couldn’t I?

There are times that I am so flippin’ angry with myself, and the self loathing runs rampant. I GAVE UP!

It’s funny how the mind works, isn’t it? Because after a few breaths, after more reflection, I realize that what I did was a HUGE accomplishment. I look back at the person I was before this race and see a man who was afraid to face his fears. I see a man that was so set in his ways, change was the last thing on my mind. If you see me at a race, you will see a name on the back of my jersey, “ProcrastiN8”. Yeah, I always waited until the last minute, or wasted the time I had. I thought putting it on my jersey would be amusing, now it’s a fire that will burn inside.

I learned so many things about myself in that short time on the mountain. As time goes on, other things will present themselves, that I am sure. Will I struggle with the decision? Absolutely, I am sure of that.

I hope to use my experience as a catalyst for positive change. That means in my every day interactions. I will not let it consume me though, and I will not waste any more time on the what if’s.

Robin Sharma said it best:

“What separates the people who create great lives from those who don’t is how they use these hours. Most of us live as if we have an infinite amount of time to do all the things we know we must do to live a full and rewarding life. And so we procrastinate and put the achievements of our dreams on hold while we attend to those daily activities that fill up our days. This is a certain recipe for a life of regret.”

I do not want to regret a thing!

drtony1

Grace

bcf41756a6a665d6cdb62c77c2d0dda4Off to Myles Standish State Park for a little camping trip, yet I cannot stop thinking about Pittsfield; especially today as the Summer Death Race kicks off. I started thinking of nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc that might sum up what the racers are going to encounter. Fear came to my mind most willingly as did pain, discomfort, frustration, confusion, failure, etc. I bounced these words around so much and tried to find one positive in them all and it came to me; grace. It was probably after I read the following quote from one of my all-time heroes:

“Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions, courage that could be described as “grace under pressure” — grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.” ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

You can define grace in so many ways. such as: (from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grace)

grace; (noun)

1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.

The racers must face their fears with grace. To stop the momentum of it would be giving in to failure, which is not even closet to what grace is defined as. Fluid and constant that is the type of grace needed.

2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.

They will doubt the measure of grace they embody. That is more of the race than anything, the doubt that is cast by the tasks and by the mental challenges. They must dig deep, extremely deep and dust this off, it is there

3. favor or goodwill.

There will be those on that mountain that define grace in this way, yet they may be unseen, or unheard from. The grace shown by the support teams is immense and so important to a Death Racer, they may seem benign at time. This is far from the case, 110% of the time. Crew has more grace in their tiny little pinky finger than most. They subject themselves to the same race and endure the same conditions. All to help back those who are taking on the challenge of their lives, that folks is grace!

4. a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.

Especially important is to admire and inspire with grace. Whether that is manifested by a DR veteran or not, the grace is there and the noobs must be able to see it and follow it.

5. mercy; clemency; pardon.

There will be no grace in the hallowed stare and boisterous tone of the RD’s voices.

Said plainly: Joe, Andy and other’s are there to break you.

They pull no punches and have said it themselves, they expect you to quit.

They expect you to cry.

They expect you to find whatever excuse it is that you will use to get out of the race.

They expect from the moment they lock eyes with you that you will cower and not make it through the race.

Do you have enough to get through and not let their scorn deny you an experience?

Do it with dignity, integrity and modesty. Be humble and strong. Do not let other’s define your experience and what you will or will not be at the end. Channel grace in whatever form works for you, the world is watching and win or lose; grace is what truly defines you.

How I Define Hero!

**UPDATE! Less than 24 hours after posting this, the Death Race is finished and The subject of this article, James Horgan, has completed the race!!! Now you all see why I wrote this, right?!**

Just shy of two years ago, I met a man named James Horgan. While we have yet to officially met, thanks to this digital age we live in, I think it’s truthful to say I can call him friend. This weekend, as you all know, the Death Race began in Pittsfield, VT. You can see my previous post to see what it is exactly if you are unsure. James is one those Death Racers (at least as of “press” time he is).

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When he and I started chatting, we (and a couple other’s) came up with this crazy idea to put together what we considered to be a small running club of sorts (more on that at some point later). We would get together, run some obstacle races, maybe train together before them, etc. We thought how cool would it be to get some shirts done up, we could be all matchy-matchy and even look like a team. We tossed around some names and finally decided on the Massachusetts Spahtens. We adopted the name because, at the time, we were both Street Team members of the Spartan Race. The Spahten part came from the dialectical specific traits most folks have in the Massachusetts, and most of the New England area. The team, at current count is now over 800 large, and we have incorporated the whole New England region to bring you one of the most diverse group of racer’s from elites to beginners to those that just want to have fun with friends and run. We are now known as the New England Spahtens!

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The Summer Death Race 2013

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***A current list of those that DNF can be found at the end of this, list compiled by Beth of The New England Spahtens

This morning the Peak Summer Death Race officially kicked off. What is the Death Race? From their website:

This is the ultimate challenge. The Death Race is designed to present you with the totally unexpected, and the totally insane! This endurance race is comprised of mud runs, obstacle racing, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in a +48 hour adventure race. 90% of you will not complete this endurance race. Please only consider this adventure style race if you have lived a full life to date.

I have many friends/ teammates from the New England Spahtens taking on the challenge. You can follow the race by clicking here and following the team directly, or follow at the Obstacle Racing Media site  right here for all racer updates. If you use Twitter, you can also follow by using various hashtags such as #nesdr #peakdr.

Let’s go get those skulls racers!!

Click for list of current DNF racers
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