Today was yoga day, and yoga is, well just yoga. It’s an essential part of my training to add flexibility, balance, heal wounds, etc., but I can’t really come up with any way to write about it that is not as agonizingly slow and tedious as yoga itself. For that reason I’m going to write about something else today. That something pertains to a question that I get almost daily by friends and family regarding my entry into and training for the Spartan Beast Race at Killington. Depending on the day and mood I’m in, I have answered that question differently. Sometimes I’ve said that I just want to challenge myself. Other times I explain that it was a crazy idea and I don’t know why I’m doing it. The more I’m asked the question though, the more I have thought about it. Yesterday I came to the realization of why I’m really doing it. It’s because I like to do hard things. Actually, I like having done hard things. I’ve not always been that way and in fact, it is only within the last few years that I’ve discovered that about myself. Traditionally I’ve only attempted things when there is a good chance that I would be successful. I have not been one to buy into the whole “failure” thing. I know that when I start something I have a dogged determination to not quit and I don’t want to waste my time on something in which I might fail. I am now more of the mindset that success is a direction and not a destination, therefore I’m not as concerned about immediate success as I once was.
Doing hard things has become even more important to me as a father to a young, talented girl. I very well know that things could change, but she finished first grade with a perfect report card, no disciplinary issues, and overall 1st place in fitness among all first graders at her school. I couldn’t be more blessed with a great kid. However, I know that as she gets older she will be met with challenge upon challenge on top of other challenges. Some of those will simply be a natural part of growing up and other challenges will be forced upon her by unfortunate circumstances or cruel-hearted individuals. Things might be easy for her now, but they certainly won’t always be that way. I want to make sure that she knows that she can fight her way through difficult times. One way I can help is to model to her that it is possible to do hard things. It doesn’t really matter what the hard thing is, just as long as she can see that this will make her “better”. For me, the Beast will be very hard. I’m not a runner and the thought of unknown obstacles awaiting me is a little bit frightening. I don’t know what my daughter’s hard things might be, but if she can be physically and mentally tough then she will be okay. I’m so thankful that my wife (her mother) also does hard things. She has been right there with me for almost 2 years training hard and completing workout regimens that many, many guys haven’t had the fortitude to finish. If my daughter sees both of us doing hard things, then hopefully she will just see that as a way of life.
With regard to doing hard things, I’ve also grown increasingly appreciative of the Spartan Chicks (Maurya & Carrie). I’ve followed them recently on the blogs and podcasts and admire them for what they are doing to teach girls about perseverance and hard work. I find it incredible what they and the other females like Grace Cuomo Durfee and Katy McCabe do to prepare themselves for the challenges. I tip my hat to them. As a male, I had never really thought much about the “toughness” and “fitness” issues that females face. As a father of a young girl, I want her to know that she can workout just as hard and be just as fit and physically and mentally strong as any boy. So between me, my wife, and the Spartan Chicks, maybe that will happen.
DO HARD THINGS!