I didn’t have to write this, but I felt it necessary. I was not the Q for the event, but I wanted to offer a slightly different perspective on what happens in F3 and what happens during a #CSAUP event when it doesn’t quite work out as planned.
First a bit of background…
I spent a good portion of my adult life traveling for work. I was platinum on multiple different airlines from 1999 to 2012. During that time, friends got reshuffled and lost from all walks of my life – childhood, high school, college, early adult, etc. I fell in love with glamour of travel, but I was missing something.
I got married in ’99 as well. I love my M. We’ve traveled and shared wonderful experiences here and abroad. We added 2.1 in 2003 and 2.2 in 2009. She is awesome, the kids are pretty darn good. We’ve fallen in love with each other a thousand times over since our first date, but I was still missing something.
To make things really interesting, we bought a 1865 general store in a remote part of Western Mass and settled in a small town. We worked really hard and got out of the house just in time before ’08 crashed the market. We moved to Huntersville in ’09 and fall in love with this area every day, but I was still missing something.
During that time, I also fell in love with excuses. I made lots of excuses to not eat right, to not work out, to not reach out to friends who were struggling. In 2014, I made a commitment to start working out. I started to eat ‘mostly’ right. And I ran. I was a plus size Forrest Gump and slimmed down 50 lbs to a healthy weight.
So … I had it all. A great wife, good kids (if I call the kids great it will go to their heads – its a Scotch thing) and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s labor.
But something was still missing. I was getting bored running. 8 miles is a lonely, boring start to a Saturday. I’ve done Insanity and T25 and Meh! DVD’s are great but how hard do you really push yourself.
And then I met the spouse of a female friend who told me about F3. I ignored his EH for 8 months. Then I met Ponyboy from Highlands and Marshan from Chapel Hill and they were killing F3. Ponyboy wouldn’t let the EH go and dragged me out to Arnie’s Army on a warm and sunny Monday. It took me 2 days to recover. And then I went back to Arnie’s Army the following week.
Then I started attending workouts 2X a week, then 3X, and then 4X. I started grabbing a coffee with the characters I’d met like Hippie and Moses. Finally, I felt ready to dive into a #CSAUP event. I registered for the Ultimate Mud Run and was teamed up with Scrappy, Snoopy and Flyover.
I realized that I needed to be stronger and started challenging myself with extra pull-ups and pushups. I was even OK gaining weight because my clothes were fitting better than ever (which is kind of like saying you had the best teeth at a hockey game) and I was feeling strong. I even led my first Q. It felt awesome. I screwed up a little bit, but the PAX coached me on how to fix my Q going forward.
Back to the mud run … as the team drove down to the Leatherneck, we devised a plan to push each other. We started out hot. And then disaster struck. On the 12th obstacle, I dismounted from a horizontal pole about 8 feet up, and I stuck the landing in a perfect squat. Unfortunately, my weight plus an 8 foot jump plus the wet conditions equaled a mudslide under my ankle.
And with that, my day was done. I was carted off the field with an ugly sprain. And that was the moment when I knew F3 was more than fitness. It was a deeper fellowship, and it wasn’t about me. Heck, my 3 teammates had volunteered to stay with me until I pushed them to keep going. I know that they needed to finish what was started and I couldn’t hold them back.
Admittedly, I fought back tears on the ride back to the medic tent. All of my thoughts during that ride were about me – about my struggle, and how hard I had worked. But OBT and Dredd said no tears and bones heal, so I reckoned I needed to pull it together.
As I was socializing in my one person pity party, I looked up. My brothers from all over F3 were taking on obstacles and fighting through that course. But they were also lifting their eyes and seeing a fellow Pax member in pain. Guys from Florida were yelling for me to get better, friends from Isotope were telling me to get well, dudes who I only knew from the gloom were wishing me well. When Mayhem saw me, he looked like he got injured instead of me. Other men were offering prayers.
When they finished the race, Snoopy, Scrappy and Flyover didn’t tell me stories about the race. Instead they asked me how I was doing. Think about that for a moment… three guys who had met me for a cumulative 3 hours were asking about my health and my state of being and not telling me about how they had conquered the mud run. Other leaders from Isotope came over to check in on me. F3 members on twitter reached out for support and said they would keep the gloom warm for me (I think they were just saying that though).
That’s when the fellowship of F3 hit me right smack in the face. That’s when the lesson “its not about me” stuck. That’s when I figured out what I had been missing all of those years. I was missing a brotherhood… a brotherhood of men who will support you in stupidity, in conquest, and in defeat. A brotherhood that will let you be a man and have some fun but support you if that fun goes sideways.
I wrote this post in hopes that everyone will take a moment to reflect on what F3 means to them and appreciate the goodness of the men of F3 around them. I know that somewhere, someone is struggling with their own gloom. That gloom could be work, family, marriage or friends. Most men are missing something and they don’t know what it is. We need to reach through that gloom and be that beacon of greatness in a world where mediocrity is celebrated. My F3 brethren taught me that lesson this part Saturday.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to crutch over to the pull-up bar and get my reps in for the day. The mud run beat me this time. And I know that with the support of my F3 brothers, it won’t get so lucky next time.