The Loss of Motivation

I’d like to discuss something here that I have occasionally hinted at in other posts, but during this time, I feel like it’s much more prevalent. At least it is for me; perhaps others are feeling it as well.

Here’s the short part of it:

I feel totally unmotivated to do anything right now.

Now, for further explanation:

At the end of 2017, I had completed an epic year of accomplishments in the OCR world. I had completed my first competitive run in Warrior Dash. I’d finally traveled to a different state for a race. And, most of all, I completed a Spartan Trifecta, running 25 miles, completing over 60 obstacles, and who knows how many burpees. It was a great year, and to this day, the most proud I’ve been of any year since I started my OCR journey in 2014.

Then, 2018 led to all sorts of new adventures. Not the least of which, I got married to my amazing wife who stuck with me when I finished the Spartan Sprint with one of my weakest performances in an OCR, ran her first race with me in Rugged Maniac, and continues to push me to be better than I was yesterday. However, for those who haven’t done so yet, planning a wedding takes A LOT of time. And we did all of that within about seven months. Plus, we both work full time as teachers, which many of you know is exhausting work.

So, in the first part of 2018, I lost a lot of my focus in training. I still trained, but it was no where near as much as I had the previous year. I knew I had to get back into it, but it was just a struggle. A complete and total struggle.

Fast forward to the second half of the year. Going back to school was obviously our primary focus, but we also started the process of working with a builder to build our new home. I got back into some training, and even signed up to run another competitive wave in Warrior Dash. And it was a struggle as I was not ready for that race one bit (still had fun though).

Fast forward again to the summer. We started signing paperwork for a loan, we started making plans with our builder, we signed off on a design. Then, in the fall of 2019, our house-building process finally began with the tearing down of our old house in preparation for the new one. With our space being drastically limited (going from having a house to a single bedroom and most of our belongings in storage), we decided to re-join Planet Fitness so we could start working out again.

And then, the coronavirus.

COVID-19 changed everyone’s lives (not like everyone doesn’t already know that). It forced my wife and me to figure out how to do our jobs from home, and it put a huge dent in our OCR experiences.

(Now, I want to make something clear: I do not mean to minimize others’ struggles by discussing my own as equal; I know they’re not. People are in hospitals on ventilators and many are planning funerals that they may not have for months. Weddings have been postponed, proms have been cancelled, and we have no end in sight. But, as this blog is focusing on my experiences, that’s all I have to share.)

In February, both my wife and I got sick, me right after her. It lingered in both of us for about two weeks, and by the time both of us were healthy enough to return to the gym, they were closed.

At that point, I found myself lost. We’re all going through this wilderness together, but I sometimes wonder if I’m doing the right things. Yes, I’m limiting my trips out and about to only essential things, as per Florida’s stay-at-home order that is still in effect as of this writing. Yes, I am washing my hands several times a day and keeping myself healthy. And yes, I’m still doing my job, as different as it may be, with helping my students out through digital means.

But when it comes to working out, training, keeping up with my own routines, I’m at a loss. And even worse, I check my Instagram feed and see people who are making it work. Tough Mudder and Spartan Race host daily workouts in Instagram live. Many of the OCR athletes I follow are still finding a way to get their training in, whether they’re a pro with a full obstacle course in their backyard, or they’re a dedicated amateur racer who uses their pull-up bar in their doorway.

And me? You should see the high scores I’m getting in my cell phone games! Woooo boy do I have some talent!

What’s going on here? This time three years ago, I had already completed four OCRs, and I was gearing up to drive to Miami for my first Spartan Race. This time three years ago, I had picked out a weekend to drive up to North Carolina to take on a Spartan Super. This time three years ago, I was sitting at jewelry store picking out an engagement ring to give to my girlfriend.

Now? I can’t even get myself up to do some pushups. A couple of burpees. I started making my own weighted medicine ball with a used kickball and a bag of sand. And I didn’t finish it.

Maybe it’s the omnipresent blah that’s taken over with this virus. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t go on my Facebook feed anymore without seeing people complain, criticize, or cringe at what’s happening around the world. Maybe it’s the fact that we canceled our trip to Jamaica this summer, and I’m bummed out. Whatever it is, I can’t shake it. There are people around the world working harder to be the best selves. And I don’t have the motivation to do anything other than play cell phone games and binge Netflix when I’m not helping my students.

I’m not asking for much from this post. I’m not even asking for advice. I’m just venting. Maybe even asking for permission to vent. Maybe I want to know I’m not alone here. I’m not really sure. I just know that this is happening now. And I’m not happy about it. And I’m not sure how to fix it.

I’m also sharing because I’ve talked about restarting this blog several times and it hasn’t happened. That’s been a frustration of mine as well. So thanks for letting me get some of this out of my system.


My Thoughts on Warrior Dash

My First Warrior Dash, February 2016
Finishing my first competitive wave at Warrior Dash, February 2017

Like everyone else, I was blown away when I saw the news that Warrior Dash was folding. As many reported, it was the first race to really break ground on the mainstream OCR community with its many national events. It was a great introduction to the sport. And it’s a shock that after 10 years, it is now closing down. The news of several other races, including Tough Mudder, Spartan, and others, stepping up to fill the void is a great sign of the community that exists in OCR. Yes, these companies are competitors, but more than that, they are allies in a single common good: getting people to get off the couch, get on the course, get muddy, and have a good time doing it.

While everyone has their take, I find myself in a position of being on both sides of the coin.

Memories I’ll Miss

Warrior Dash was not my first race, but I know it was for many. I ran Warrior Dash four times in the last four years in Florida, with the last three being a part of the competitive course. The first year I ran it with a friend and her friends, the largest group at the time that I’ve run with. Although I was the veteran of the group, many of them have never done a race like this before, and Warrior Dash was a perfect chance to get their feet wet (or muddy) in the sport.

Our Group’s Fire Jump, February 2016

It’s hard not to look at photos like this and smile. It was such a fun day despite being unusually cold in Florida. At the end, we all stood proudly dirty with our medals around our necks and ready to grab a beer.

This also provided a milestone moment for OCR Club at the school where I teach. We took our largest group to date to volunteer there (12 students and two adults). Two young men finished the course in about 35 minutes, solidifying for me that they could be the next big names in OCR if they start their training now.

OCR Club at Warrior Dash, February 2019

This is a hard race to say goodbye to. But, as I said before, I see both sides of the coin.

Seeing This Coming

When I saw the new obstacles coming to Warrior Dash for its 10th year, I was stoked. Especially with a large group of students (many of whom hadn’t run a race like this before), it was exciting to watch them get excited about the event. But then, race day came, and for me, it was really more of the same. Many of the new obstacles were not on the course (or at least not the 5K distance; maybe the 10K had new ones). And since I had run this course three years prior, I felt many of the obstacles were the same. In fact, in Florida, the event was at the same venue and we followed virtually the same path.

If we’ve seen anything from the OCR industry, the other big names like Spartan and Tough Mudder are constantly trying to find ways to push boundaries with their obstacles or their challenges. Perhaps Warrior Dash was banking on being the race specifically for beginners. But I remember hearing that a business usually needs about 70% repeat business the maintain itself. And if this business focused only on beginners…

A couple of days after the event this past year, I went to the event’s Facebook page, and it seemed like every other comment left was from someone upset with the event. 10 years in and it’s the same old thing. In OCR, it’s important to evolve, and it seemed like Warrior Dash was evolving a little slower than everyone else was.

Final Thoughts

Yes, I am sad to see Warrior Dash go, but it may have been inevitable. Maybe the way the business was run wasn’t conducive for growth in the new world of OCR. Perhaps people lost interest. Or perhaps it was more of a “all good things must come to an end” situations. No matter what, Warrior Dash was a fun event, and it will leave a hole in the OCR world. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this industry, there’s always another race ready to come in to the fray.

Horns up, everyone! Raise ’em up for Warrior Dash!

Road to Trifecta 5: Mission Accomplished

Around this time last year, I decided to push my personal limits in the world of obstacle course racing by shooting for one of the ultimate prizes in the sport: a Spartan Race Trifecta.

Here’s what that means for those who have been living under a rock while in OCR (or just getting to know the sport): Spartan Race has three distances: the 3-5 mile Sprint, the 8-10 Super, and the 12-14 Beast. Complete all three within a calendar year, and you complete the Trifecta.

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Story of 20: How My Life Has Changed After 20 Races

It’s funny writing this post after I recently completed my 21st race (Mud Titan 8 in Plant City, Florida), but that doesn’t change one major fact: my life has not been the same since I started this journey.

Let’s start from the beginning:

In April of 2014, I was sitting in the conference room at my job’s end-of-week meeting where we went around the room and shared how things went. My boss liked to do these meetings to recap the week and discuss plans for the future, both professionally and personally. He was very good about getting all of us involved in helping each other with what we hoped to accomplish. (Just so you know, this was a small company of eight team members at the time, including the CEO, so this was not as time consuming as some might imagine.)

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Road to Trifecta 4: Don’t Call It a Comeback

Well, it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write a new blog post. For my loyal readers, my apologies. It’s been quite the busy summer. I’ve taken on a new teaching challenge which took up a good chunk of my summer, plus a couple opportunities to travel, and the adoption of a sweet black lab puppy (yes, puppy; four months old when we adopted her), it hasn’t left me much time for writing. But I’ve decided it’s time to get back to it and catch you all up on the happenings of the year, especially as I continue my trek for a Spartan Trifecta.

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Road to Trifecta 3: Where I Went Wrong

In my last post, I outlined how my first Spartan Race went, and, as I often do in my posts, I discussed the areas where I fell short and how that affected me through the rest of the course. For this post, I decided to take things in a slightly different direction: I know where things went wrong for me; now I need to work on how to prepare for them so when I take on the Spartan Super (most likely in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in September), I will be ready for it.

This will also be a challenge on its own since I haven’t had time to work out much since I got back from Miami. Not to make excuses, but the month between then and now has been busy. The school year came to an end (for those who don’t know, I’m a teacher), which meant lots of grading, my girlfriend fought off mono, plus I’m preparing to teach a new level of my subject, which means I have lots of professional preparation to focus on this summer as well. But, as long as I create a good routine, I know I’ll be able to get back on that horse quite easily and somehow manage to accomplish everything I hope to.

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Road to Trifecta 2: One Down, Two to Go

This past weekend, I ran and completed my first Spartan Race with the goal of getting my Trifecta this year. While I’ve decided to take on the Spartan challenges in order, I’ve learned something very important this weekend: Spartan Race is no joke, and I’ve got a lot of work to do.

I took on the Sprint in Miami, the shortest of the Spartan Race series. This one was approximately 3.2 miles with 22 obstacles standing between me and my Trifecta wedge. I ran at 11am, later in the day than I’d prefer, but that was fine. The weather was nice and there was a constant breeze that kept it from being crazy hot.

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Road to Trifecta 1: Revving Up

One of my big goals for the year is to complete a Spartan Race Trifecta. For those who are unfamiliar with this, here’s a short rundown:

The Trifecta is earned when an athlete completes the three levels of Spartan Race within a calendar year (or from January 1 to December 31). Those three levels are: the Spartan Sprint, which includes 20-23 obstacles over three to five miles; the Spartan Super, which kicks up to 24-29 obstacles over eight to ten miles; and finally, the Spartan Beast, the toughest of the three at ten to twelve miles and packing over 30 obstacles. Continue reading