This is Pastor Tim’s newspaper article published in the Evening Leader on Monday, Jan 11, 2021
Of all the things that were thrown off during 2020, one of the biggest losses to me personally was all of the Obstacle Course Races (OCR) I had been doing for years were cancelled. That means by the time these events start rolling around this summer, it will have been nearly 2 years since I have completed one.
This makes me nervous because now, not only am I two years older, but last summer my normal conditioning never really got underway. My heart was never in it because I knew that if COVID was going to cancel anything, these events were going to be a casualty. Therefore, I haven’t worked myself into that kind of shape for 2 years. All of this gives me concerns because compared to summer of 2018, I am significantly heavier and have lost a lot of my upper body strength. It is a struggle for me to even do 20 pull-ups any more and my grip strength is really poor right now.
However, I am currently signed up for 2 Tough Mudders, a Savage Race, and a Spartan Run. I did this because I need the challenge. Admittedly, I did not have to pay for any of these events because I had already paid for them last year and I got this year for free, but I did get a new pair of gloves and some combat pants to keep from getting scratched up.
What I love about these events is the opportunity to overcome an obstacle. Every wall I climb, every mud pit I wade through, every step I run, happens because of the work I put in to get to that point. Nothing is handed to you out on the course. It is a chance to test yourself and see what you are made of. I have pushed people I didn’t know over walls. I have drug people out of mud pits. I have even carried people I never met before across rough terrain. I have helped people climb over obstacles when they were afraid of heights and reached out a helping hand to people who just needed a pull.
There is no feeling on earth like crossing the finish line of an OCR. To know that you have had this experience and came through the other side is a sense of accomplishment that few other things in life can provide. It is that moment that makes all the hours of training worth it.
I have a box of finisher medals and Tough Mudder headbands at my house. They are in a closet and literally no one ever looks at them but me. They wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else. I can tell you exactly when and where I got the Tough Mudder headbands, the OCR finisher medals and the half marathon medals I have
accumulated. I feel pride in that box of medals because I earned them. I earned them not for being the fastest or strongest but for completing the challenge. I could go on eBay and purchase those same medals and they would mean nothing to me. This box of medals and headbands I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I tell you this as someone who weighed in at 356 pounds on November 28, 2006. Since that date, I have had three major abdominal surgeries – bariatric surgery and two bowel obstructions. I have had injuries to almost every square inch of my body, and I have some of the best scar stories you will ever hear. I have also loved every minute of it, and I cannot wait until the Bellefontaine Savage Race where I will be in the 9:30 heat on Saturday, May 15. By then I hope my weight is down about 25 pounds and my bench press is up by even more than that. As soon as the weather is decent, I will be flipping my tractor tire around my backyard, the greatest OCR training device God ever invented.
I pray that you have something similar to this lined up for your 2021. Because, just like you, I could spend the time between now and May 15 sitting on the couch and eating chips. I proved that last summer. This year, however, I am choosing to push myself, and I pray that you are too. It is in those moments of pushing ourselves that we get to find out just how much grit and determination we have.