I spent this past weekend with family at a lake house. We do this annually. We gather with my wife’s extended family to enjoy each other and the time sitting on the dock while children swim and play. Every year things usually go according to a simple pattern. The pattern was never predetermined but always seems to follow the course. The early evenings begin by those younger heading up the hill to the house along with the mothers. Once again, this is not planned and for our assembly, has no signs of a masculine driven society. The men always linger on the dock a bit longer than the others.
As per the usual man-time, the conversation changes once younger minds and ears depart and we men get to gloat in our abundance of testosterone. Not really. We are all dads in our 40’s and 50’s working full time. Every one of us profess Christianity and stick to guidelines rooted in the scriptures to help guide our lives. There are no wild tales. There are no escapades to invoke envy from the other men. There is only us speaking of our daily lives or of relaying some of our past experiences.
There is about a 10 years difference between us. I fall in the middle at 45. The oldest is 52. These numbers matter. Not for the sake of our conversation but for the sake of this writing. These numbers are fixtures in which we can not shake or distract. We can not shed these for a new set. I’m not sure any of us would if we were given the opportunity. It is part of who we are now. It’s not where we’re going but it’s where we have been.
The 52 year old is 6’5″ and weighs 185 pounds (per his quote). He played some small college football but has maintained a passion for health and fitness throughout his adulthood. He has recently started to compete in competitions to express his physique. HE does very well for his age group. He also has ran a Spartan obstacle race yearly for a few years now.
Now to me. I have been on this family lake trip for 12 years now. I have repeated the same quote to the buff guy above for 12 years. Here’s how we play this out. He tells of some of his endeavors regarding working out, competing, and the like and then I always reply to him, “I will not look like this next.” The insinuation is that I will show up at the lake in shape and physically fit. However, for 12 years I have yet to even give a glimpse of physical fitness. I am 5’10” and weigh 215 pounds. The only shape I am in is that of a peanut M&M. This year though, something was set in motion that cannot be stop, cannot be slowed down. The only hope is to contain it from the damage that ensues from it. Well, damage may not be the best word. In fact, just by chance, I need to slow my roll, as they say.
Our manly dock extravaganza turned in to a wager. This has never happened before. This does not follow the flow of our pattern. We talk and laugh and have a wonderful time but now we have introduced an extremism. The tall guy has thrown down on to the little man and presented him a challenge. Actually, little ol’ me introduced the wager. Shorty (in comparison) set the mark and big man met me at my offer.
Here are the guidelines of said wager and thereby creating a onslaught of the written word in which you too are now participating. This make you an accomplice, you know? I, 46 in October, must finish a Spartan Sprint race prior to the lake outing 2020. So, I have a year to go from 215 pounds and the mascot from M&M’s to running from 3–5 miles. Okay, that’s possible. I was an athlete in high school and even though is was over 25 years ago, I’m sure that still counts. I have taken up running (jogging, lets be serious) a few time in the past. I firmly believe that I can get to the point of completing this run. I might add I have completed 1 10K race in the past. (6.2 miles and 13 years ago, but who’s counting?)
Here’s where this wager gets good. (I have to keep calling it a wager because we are all Christians and Christians oppose gambling/betting, we think.) During the 3–5 miles of my soon to be leisure stroll is on average a minuscule set number of obstacles. By minuscule, I mean an average of 20-ish in the Sprint race. And oh yeah, they are rope climbing, wall climbing, extreme monkey bars, mud crawls under barbed-wire fence, and etc.
Allow me to finish with a few little details. I did 20 push-ups that same day and 2 days later I am very sore. I cannot talk in complete sentences after walk back up the stairs from the lake to the house due to focusing on catching my breath. So here I go, at the beginning, typing on a laptop while sitting in a recliner headed toward a wager to complete a Spartan Sprint (3–5 miles, ~20 obstacles) in approximately 1 year.
Please follow along the journey. It’s Spartan or bust.