"When you sign up for something, you're forced to train for it" (pg. 30), just how you train for it is up to you. Anyone can physically train for weeks or months for a race, whether it's a 5K, a half marathon, or an obstacle race like the Spartan, but it takes a highly motivated, and determined person to train the mind.
Whenever I tell someone I'm training for the Spartan Race, they look at me like I'm crazy. I mean, I'm not denying that, but doing a Spartan race had become so much more to me than just running 3 miles, and making it through 20+ obstacles, including trekking through the mud, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping over fire. It's about pushing your body, and mind, past the limits you, and the world, set on it. It's doing something you didn't think you could ever do, and coming out on the other side of an obstacle knowing that you're capable of so much more. "It shows you possibilities you didn't know existed," Joe De Sena writes in the prologue of his book, Spartan Up!
When I signed up for the race, I knew what I was getting myself into, but when I started reading the book, it opened up my mind to a heck of a lot more than just how to make it through a Spartan Race. Instead, it has been guiding me and allowing me to see this obstacle filled race as life. "These obstacles help condition them for 'the mud' of everyday life, the stuff that drags us down, or at least tries to" (pg 6). Mud, or any of the problems, issues, and tough experiences we go through on a daily basis, can easily hold us back - whether it's because of fear, anxiety, worry, depression, anger, sadness, but we don't have to let it! We can keep trudging through that mud, knowing it's going to happen time and time again, and we can continue to stay positive that there will come a year, a month, a day, an hour, a second, where things aren't so hard. As long as we persevere and never give up, we can make it through anything we set our mind to, but like I said in the beginning, training our mind is sometimes tougher than our body.
You have to challenge your mind to overcome "your short-term desire for comfort in an effort to reach for something greater than your current self" (pg. 6). Whenever I'm teaching my kickboxing classes, I always, ALWAYS, tell my crew that they're capable of more than they think they are, but they have to push out of their comfort zone. I never want them to walk out of the gym thinking, damn I probably could've banged out another 5 reps. It's an uncomfortable feeling when you're not in control, when you're not sure what's coming next, when you are pushing your mind and body to the brink, but how will we ever know what we can do unless we try.
I don't want anyone, in the gym or outside those walls, going about life being comfortable and content. "Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition" (pg. 43). I signed up for this race to prove to myself that I can do it. I'm not running it for anyone else, but me. What's the point of living if you aren't living life to the fullest? You only get one shot, jump over that fire before you race to the finish line.
"Whatever situations may come up during the rest of my day, they won't be stressful in comparison. If I was able to push through that last set of burpees when I my muscles were shaking, that last quarter mile when my lungs were on fire, then I can easily handle whatever obstacles come up during my day" (pg. 20).