I am the slow life doc, but I often do push my limits just a tad in the hope of “getting ahead.” However, more often than not, I find that instead of getting ahead, pushing those limits simply allows me to maintain the status quo. I think it is probably just a sign of the times.
So… I did complete The Beast Quest. May 6, 2023 was a wet, raw day with the temperature in the 40s in Bigfork, MT. I trained hard and even did a little cold conditioning in preparation. All my hard work and training simply allowed me the benefit of completing the course. It was not pretty and it certainly was not “fun.” It was a painful and agonizing experience.
There were seasoned Spartan warriors who were not able to finish that day but rather chose to walk off the course in order to live to fight another day. It was a long slog through mud the entire way. We were unable to keep a fast enough pace to maintain adequate body temperature. Four water crossings certainly did not help matters. We were soaked to the bone. There were Ultra competitors who were out there too long and had to be pulled off the course, disoriented and hypothermic. It was a battle of mind over matter. It was a battle for survival.
My nephew says, “Never again.” At least not The Beast in Montana in May! We had to keep our hands in our armpits or pants just to keep them barely functioning. Most of the obstacles that tested grip strength were impossible to navigate. We soon learned to appreciate the penalty loops or having to do burpees for not completing obstacles because it helped to boost our body temperature. It was rather absurd that we actually found ourselves grateful for penalties… imagine that! However, my nephew, grandnephew and I persevered. We battled. We prevailed against The Beast. We accomplished our goal!
What’s the moral of the story? No matter how hard one works or trains, or how well you think you are prepared for what lies ahead, you just never know what challenges await. Life can be very humbling. The Beast was very humbling. All our hard work and preparation was not rewarded with the glory of personal bests or broken records. Our hard work and training simply allowed us to finish and receive our “Beast Finisher” shirts, which was a huge accomplishment!
I encourage my patients to prioritize self-care with the goal of achieving the best health possible. There is no better feeling than the feeling of being healthy and fit. In these uncertain times, I strive to be as healthy and strong as possible so I can better handle whatever challenges life throws my way.
So… how do you train for something like the Beast? Cross-train! If you go to www.spartan.com, they have some basic training recommendations to offer you. In general, you need to have a decent level of overall fitness… strength, aerobic fitness, and agility. Most importantly… you have to build your fitness SLOWLY! It’s so important to go slow because the whole idea is to increase your level of fitness and make yourself stronger. If you go too fast you run the risk of getting hurt… and then you can’t train anymore!
Please don’t forget to stretch a little bit each day. There’s this stuff in the body called fascia… it’s the stuff that conventional medicine traditionally has considered does nothing in the body other than just hold all our parts together! If you don’t stretch regularly, the fascia builds up in the areas of highest stress and makes us very tight and stiff. How come that’s not a good thing? If the fascia gets too tight and stiff, it can put pressure on nerves causing pain or perhaps restricting blood flow to certain parts of the body. Fascia also joins with the dura mater… literal translation is the “tough mother” that covers our brain, spinal cord and the spinal nerves as they leave the spinal cord to connect with various parts of the body. If the fascia is pulling inappropriately on certain parts of the dura, it can inappropriately affect nerve impulses traveling to particular organs in the body or even restrict proper circulation to parts of the spine and brain… perhaps even negatively impacting hormone release by the pituitary gland! So, be sure STRETCH a little each day! It’s so important to keep your body loose and limber!
I mentioned previously that training for the beast is good motivation for me to pull myself out of bed each morning to get myself moving. It is best to move the body first thing in the morning, if possible. It gets the body jumpstarted and sets the metabolism at a higher rate for the whole day which helps with maintaining ideal body weight.
I have to confess that there are some mornings when I just want to roll over and skip the workout. My secret? I force myself to get up… unless I’m sick or injured of course. On those mornings when I got plenty of sleep and feel like I just don’t have the juice to get going… I just go slow! I’m not trying to break any records. I may even reduce my workout a little if I have to… just remember, something is better than nothing! It’s so important to stick to a routine because the body loves routine. I may even find that when I’m having “one of those days,” I may have more energy and feel so much better after my workout… even if I had to half-ass it a little.
This is real life people… I just can’t make this s_ _t up! My nephew had a Garden of Gethsemane moment on Holy Thursday evening of all nights, asking if it was possible to let this cup pass. It turns out that his brother-in-law, a seasoned Spartan warrior and the instigator of our Beast Quest, is not going to be able to make it to Big Fork, MT to join us in attacking The Beast. My nephew called and tempted me with the prospect of postponing The Beast for some other time and that he and the fam could just come visit us in Helena for the first time. After all, he said, “Montana can be cold and nasty the first weekend in May!”
I have to confess the offer was quite tempting! I thought about how we could go for burgers at the Old Salt Outpost, drink beers at Blackfoot River Brewery and play a few games of Catan! However, after a few short moments contemplating what fun we could have, I just couldn’t do it! I explained to him, “I just went public about The Beast on my new blog and I’ve been telling everyone I know that I’m doing this thing.” While the suggestion was made that blog postings can be deleted, he ultimately asked my grand-nephew, a 15 y/o gymnast, what he wanted to do… and he said “Let’s Do It!”
Yeah baby! That’s what I’m talking about! That’s commitment! We are really going to do this thing! Life happens. Situations change. It is so important to keep your word to yourself and stay committed to your goals. There will always be temptations to pull you off course. The bottom line? It is possible to do it all. We Will Do The Beast AND we will still have a little time to hang out, enjoy some Blackfoot growlers, and perhaps play some Catan. Oorah!
Ok, so I’ve been training for this thing called the Beast… it’s a Spartan 21K Race with 3500’ of gain and 30 obstacles to negotiate. Yes, Spartan as in Sparta… the ancient Greek city-state that was a dominant military power and was known for its rigorous training.
Why would I want to subject myself to such rigors when I’m already well into my 50s? Afterall, I’m the Slow Life Doc, right? However, living slow doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself now and then to push my limits… slowly of course!
Fitness has always been important to me but the fact of the matter is that my nephew talked me into joining him and my grand-nephew who is a 15 y/o gymnast. Family is a top priority of mine… and heck, I guess you could say we are planning to just have some clean, family fun! Oorah! It’s also a good motivator for me to drag myself out of bed each morning to get myself moving. Everybody knows that if you want to increase your odds of living a longer life… you have to be a moving target!