Monday, August 29, 2016

Conquer The Gauntlet 2016

Conquer The Gauntlet was this weekend.

Conquer The Gauntlet, if you are not familiar, is an obstacle course in the line of Tough Mudder (but not nearly as much mud) or Spartan (but not nearly as expensive):  4.5 miles or thereabouts, 25 obstacles of varying degrees:  climbing, swinging, balancing, carrying, some truly individual events, some that you purposefully cannot accomplish without the assistance of others.

My time this year was 1.5 hours less than last year (don't be too impressed:  that was mostly people standing around waiting to get onto the next obstacle so we ran earlier this year), all obstacles attempted, 21 of 25 achieved (84% completion rate).  That is two better than last year.

I had a good time of course. I met up with my running comrade Mr. Electricity - which is a sort of remarkable story in and of itself.  I glommed on to him last year as I was running and we ran the course together. Turns out we enjoyed it so much, we decided to do it again this year.  He is a delightful running companion.  And Tulsa is always a pleasant place to visit.

The highlights of my day?  Climbing a 16' rope and ringing the bell (something I could not do at all last year) and climbing a series of 5 walls in a row, 8.5' tall.

It is probably a reasonable question to ask why I do this.  After all, I drive about 8 hours each way for something I spend around 3 hours total doing.  I probably spent about $180 all told to do it.  And the only things I get are the ones you see above:  a medal and a t-shirt.

What do I get?  I get the  moment of stepping up to the rope and not even questioning that I am going to go up it.  The moment of almost slipping near the top but pulling myself back up and to the cowbell to ring because it was too far to have to climb back up.  The moment when, over the first wall of five, I suddenly realized that I could do this.

I have put enough obstacles in my own life to realize that most of the time I am my own biggest reason I do not do these things.  Climbing a rope - something I could not do at all prior to this year - continues to remind me that in most aspects, the barriers that most often block our way are the ones that we put there ourselves.

And yes, you can do amazing things.  You just have to try.

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