This weekend, through snow and the wind, across twenty-eight miles and over more than sixty obstacles, Joe, my partner in crime, completed the Spartan Ultra Beast in Tahoe. Seventy percent of people fail this endeavor
Early this spring, he set a goal of completing three Spartan races: the Sprint (3+miles and 20+obstacles), the Super (8+miles and 25+obstacles) and the Beast (12+miles and 30+obstacles) within the year. Far off in the distance, the challenge of the Ultra Beast was just a glimmer, a possibility that would take several years of training to achieve.
He was in decent shape but had never tackled anything of this size before and the task was daunting. In late August, after completing a Sprint and Super, he completed the Beast beating the time he had set for himself by almost an hour. This made room for the idea of signing up for the Ultra Beast only a month later. Even with his muscles still exhausted from the last race, he decided to go for it. If he completed the race, it would mean he would have achieved a multi-year goal in just over six months.
In Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, he uses the term “Resistance” to represent that mental block that detours us from accomplishing our goals. Resistance also is the scale on which you can determine what challenges you should be focusing on. The more resistance, the more important the goal. “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel towards pursuing it.” The month leading up to the race, Joe completely lost motivation. An entire six months spent training and when he needed it the most, the drive to finish the Ultra Beast had left him. The Resistance was overpowering.
Despite this, the evening before the race, I asked him how he felt mentally. His response was "Feeling like I have 28 miles and 60+ obstacles on a snow covered mountain standing between me and my goal. Gonna have to do better than that to stop me from achieving this". He ran the entire race in nine hours and 53 seconds taking 12th place in the open wave. I am in complete awe of his fortitude and determination. This was no small feat and he did it entirely by himself.
This has inspired me to carry on tackling my personal goals. I wanted to share this to remind myself and others what incredible things people do when they push themselves and refuse to quit. My hat goes off to you, Joe Hass.