One of the fitness things I want to accomplish is starting and finishing a Spartan Race. I've taken the first step of signing up for one, the Chicago Super in September. I have friends who have run this and each of them has told me how life-changing and life-affirming the experience was for them. In my path to prep for Chicago, I dove into Joe De Sena's book, Spartan Up! If you can, read it. Now. It took me four hours to read the book and left me so excited about the Spartan lifestyle and inspired to take up the challenge of doing 30 burpees a day. There were two quotes that instantly struck me and haven't left me:
"Challenging yourself to accomplish more than you know you can is never stupid--it helps show you what you are capable of. It creates a new frame of reference, one you can draw upon in the face of other things that are perceived as being tough in your life. It shows you the possibilities you didn't know existed." (p. xix)
"Everyone has to suffer to put things in perspective, and bitching burns between zero and zero calories a minute, so there's no use in complaining about your hardships." (p. 180)
My life has had its share of challenges lately and, the more I think about those challenges, the more stressed out and frustrated I become. This book and those two quotes in particular reminded me of the importance of not being afraid to stop thinking and start doing. Thinking and talking about my problems gets me nowhere other than deeper in my problems. Doing something about them, changing my frame of reference, does the opposite and shows me that I am capable of overcoming life's obstacles and of looking back on those challenges and being able to smile ruefully.
To celebrate my signing up for my first Spartan Race and Spartan Up! here's an interview with insanely inspiring Joe De Sena. But first, a video:
What keeps you driven to lead an active lifestyle?
To be better than I was yesterday. My inspiration is in seeking inspiration from others that would wake up and take action in their lives. Isn’t it fun to watch movies where people work against all odds and get it done?
Where did the idea for the book, Spartan Up!, come from?
I have been writing it for 30 years, but now someone wants to listen :)
What is the most unique thing about Spartan Race?
We design our courses in a way that helps really push people up against the wall. That is the best place to be because it helps change your frame of reference. Once your frame of reference is changed life becomes easier. Spartan Race is more like the Special Forces or the Olympics. Others are more like going to a carnival and party.
As someone who is participating in the Chicago Super Spartan, what makes this particular location unique?
Its Chicago home of the deep dish pizza and worst mud in the universe...its brutal.
What has been your proudest athletic moment?
I would say it was the Ukatek in Northern Quebec because it was terrible and pushed me to the edge…I just liked to be pushed! The harder the better.
How is it that you hope to inspire others to lead healthier and more active lives?
Because at our core, we are meant to do this. We are animals and somewhere along the way we forgot. I want to inspire; there is nothing worse than an uninspired person in my mind. Let's get the world off the couch and pumped up to get stuff done in life!
Which obstacle is your favorite Spartan Race obstacle?
Yourself. If you can get your head to believe you can get anything done that is the key. We are all our own greatest obstacles.
What are your hopes for yourself and Spartan Race for the future?
To have Spartan Race in the Olympics!
What has been the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Be patient. It's a long game and listen to older people.
If a person was only able to read one chapter of your book, which chapter would you suggest they read and why?
The prologue so they get hooked :)
Thank you Joe De Sena for creating Spartan Race and for writing such an inspiring book. Can't wait to conquer Chicago! For more on the book or to purchase a copy, go here.