“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win. “
JFK Sept 12, 1962
Sometimes people ask me,” Why do you obstacle race, isn’t it hard?”
My answer is: “Sure, but that’s why I do it.”
As people, why do many of us have a fascination with doing things that are hard? Some chose to do things which are physically difficult, others chose things which are mentally or emotionally challenging. But, whatever the choice, the question is why? Why don’t we just settle for the easy way out? Why don’t we just sit on the couch and watch life go by? What are we looking to accomplish? What drives us to “go to the moon”? Each of us has our own answers to these questions and those answers are as unique to us as our fingerprints, no two answers will ever be alike.
For me, when I am pushing my body to its physical limits in a race, out on the road, in the gym or on a trail, when my heart pounds, lungs scream, muscles ache and sweat drips off my body I feel alive. During those moments, in a bizarre way, I experience peace, serenity and joy. Those are the times when I sense the God of the universe helps me understand that I am a little piece of the world, one page in a bigger story which is constantly being written and includes me as a part. A story that I can only help advance by being in the place that he intended me to be and using the gifts that have been given to me. The sun, the wind and the rain all drive home the point that this is where I feel alive, this is where I am supposed to be. As I get older, I realize the gift of health and athleticism that has been given to me and it drives my desire to use these gifts to the greatest. I know far too many men my age who struggle to get through the day and none who go out and obstacle course race with one of their kids. I need to take advantage of my gifts and my opportunities before they’re gone and can never be retrieved. I want to live life and to live life to the fullest.
“I want to go to the moon”.
So as I prepare with Luke for our most difficult event ever, the Vermont Spartan Beast. I ask myself:
“Why are you doing this?”
“Aren’t you too old?”
“Isn’t it going to be hard?”
And to steal a line from JKF my answers are:
“I choose to race the Spartan Beast not because it is easy, but because it is hard; because that goal will organize and measure the best of my skills and because it is a challenge I am willing to accept, one I am unwilling to postpone and one I intend to complete.”
For me, that’s the heart of the matter, it is in the pursuit of the hard physical things that I alive, at peace and connected to God and others around me. I can’t answer why anyone else pursues the hard things, but then again don’t need to, that is their story and not mine.