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Home » Overcoming Obstacles in Running and Life! Episode 007

Overcoming Obstacles in Running and Life! Episode 007

#007 – This is a special episode! Your host Richard Conner, marketer, runner, writer, husband, parent, and runner, shares his story about how he overcame obstacles during the pandemic and achieved the Spartan Virtual Trifecta. Richard shares ways that you can overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to obstacle course races
  • Journey to achieving Spartan Virtual Trifecta
  • Ways to overcome obstacles
  • Tips that you can apply in running and life

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Richard Conner 0:01

This is a special episode. We will have a different format today, as we’ll talk about overcoming obstacles in running and life. And we’ll do this in the context of my own story. And I’m excited to share insights and lessons learned along the way.

Intro/Outro 0:22

Welcome to Inspire virtual runs podcast, whether you are new to running or seasoned, get tips and the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host, Richard Conner.

Richard Conner 0:40

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Inspire virtual runs podcast. If you are tuning in for the first time, welcome. If you’ve been following along, welcome back.

I recently had an achievement this year, a running achievement. And even though 2020 is not over, I started to reflect on the year and how I got to where I am. And I realized that this may be a story that would be interesting for you to hear. Because this is a story about overcoming obstacles.

Overcoming obstacles, is an important topic. 2020 has been a challenging year. No matter where you are in the world, you’ve been impacted by the pandemic, social issues, politics, environmental issues, economic challenges, no matter where you are in the world. And this has impacted our daily lives, and has created many obstacles for us in many aspects or different aspects in our lives. So this is a very important topic because I’d like to share my own story, and how I was able to overcome certain obstacles in my life. And what I want to do is kind of boil those down to like, what are the things you need to think about as you’re facing obstacles in your own life? And how can you overcome them. So I’ll start with my achievement. So my achievement that I’m very proud of is that I recently ran the Spartan virtual beast race. And the reason why I’m particularly excited about this is this completes the trifecta, the Spartan trifecta, which means that I’ve run the Spartan virtual sprint, virtual super and virtual beast all in one year. And that wasn’t exactly my goal. But the goal that I had set at the beginning of the year was to run the Spartan trifecta, but pre pandemic, expecting they would run all live races this year, with the final race being the Spartan beast. As you can imagine, the pandemic hit, races were canceled, races were put back on for later in the year, then races were canceled again. So there was a lot of chaos earlier this year due to the pandemic. And I was really at risk of not meeting this very important personal goal that I had this year. So what I’d like to do is just kind of bring you roll back the clock and bring you back to when I first started running Spartan races, just to give you a little context and why this was so important to me. And then we’ll we’ll come back and explain what happened this year. So if you roll back the clock, a couple of years ago, I was first introduced into the Spartan races, I had no idea what obstacle course races were. At the time, I may have heard of competing races at that time, but never heard heard about Spartan. And, you know, really wasn’t running that much at the time, I was only running really as part of my workout even though I had run cross country and track in high school, a little bit lost interest, but really just didn’t have the time or focus for running. And that’s really what Spartan had done for me is because the training that I needed to do to run a Spartan Race was different than what I had done before. It was challenging me in different ways. And of course, the the running aspect was something that I need to to get back up to speed on. So all of that got me back into training, both for strength training, as well as running and a renewed my interest in running. So the first race that I did was interesting. I did I thought that I trained pretty well for that race. It was a Spartan sprint, it was in Virginia, it was only about three to four miles so the distance wasn’t terribly long. And it was about 22 obstacles. Beautiful day when we started, we started off and I hit the first three obstacles, no problem and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. And then I got to the fourth obstacle, and I failed it. And for those of you who don’t know much about Spartan.

In writing about obstacle course racing, Spartan in particular has penalties if you fail and obstacle. So I had to do 33, zero burpees as a penalty for that first obstacle that I failed. Let me tell you something, after I finished my burpees, I literally had lost my will to live. Because all I’m thinking about is, I have another three plus miles to go, there’s probably another two or three obstacles, and I’m probably not going to do successfully, because I hadn’t trained really the way I needed to, to do those obstacles successfully. And it was it was hard. But I’ll tell you what I pushed on, I had an accountability partner with me. And we finished a race. It was my first Spartan Race. And I can’t tell you how happy and excited I was to do something that I had never done before. And from there, I had made a commitment that I was going to start doing more of those things, start overcoming some of the fears that I had, and just in general, and start to do more things that I’ve never had done before and challenge myself in different ways. So the next year, I said, You know what, I’m going to go back, and I’m going to do those races much better than my first race. I’m going to get a coach, and I’m going to train for the race, I’m going to do better. And I did. And I signed up for the races, and I did better. And this was last year. So I said, Okay, now that I have a good baseline, let me take it until the next level. I at this point, I had only done stadium races and sprints. And I said, You know what, how about I do a super, and then maybe even a beast. So the super, instead of being a five K, like the sprint is a 10 K, and a few more obstacles about 25 obstacles. And then the beast is a half marathon distance and 30 obstacles. So in both cases, I never done the distance, the 10 K or the half marathon, and just that many more obstacles just made it that much more challenging. But I said, You know what, for 2020, this is going to be the challenge I’m going to take on this is going to be my goal, to train to do a trifecta, Sprint, super beast.

So let’s come back to to the beginning of 2020. So as you can imagine, I have all this accomplishments from the races I’ve run before, I have these lofty goals of doing a trifecta this year, I want to achieve these things that I never had done before. I never thought that I could do. Then the pandemic hits.

Spartan starts to cancel the races, social distancing starts to be put in place. No one knows when these things are going to come back. And I started to have a lot of anxiety about whether or not I could run the races and even achieve my goal for the year.

And you could say okay, well forget 2020, right. Let’s just put it aside and just wait for for 2021. And I really didn’t I didn’t want to do that. And I started to think about you probably heard the saying about God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And I’m just thinking, Okay, well, I can’t change anything about our current situation and the pandemic and the fact that these races are canceled.

But then, one day, the opportunity popped into my inbox, spark and said, Hey, we’re going to offer the we used to have as live races as virtual races. Now I get it. Not everybody is into virtual races. It’s not the same, you don’t have that crowd. But for me, it was perfect. It was going to allow me to reach my goal of doing a trifecta this year. So for the obstacles, they had transition that into exercises, right. So really challenging your body in similar ways as if you were doing a live race. In addition to that, I was going to do those distances that I would have done in a real race. So that was the opportunity that I took to say, you know what, I can’t do the live races. But I’m going to do the virtual and I’m still going to achieve my goal of doing a trifecta this year. At the time, we had no access to the gym. So that was something else that I started to do. I started to run outdoors. Something I never did. Well I can’t say never did it. But I didn’t do it then for a very long time because I would run that treadmill, you know, 100 treadmill at the gym before after my workout. Whether it’s a short run or a long run, I was on the treadmill, very rarely would ever run outside. So I started running out to

I started doing some of the strength training at home. And I started to prep for it. So it really started with my decision that I wasn’t going to let this pandemic get in the way of my goals for 2020. And run this races as virtual.

So, let me talk a little bit more about the races themselves, the virtual sprint, virtual super and virtual beast, just to give you an idea of what the races were like, and what I had to train for and what I was trying to accomplish. So starting with the Spartan virtual sprint, this is a race that is a five k race, so not a terribly long distance, and 20 obstacles. And since we don’t necessarily have access to a gym, or a lot of equipment, the quote unquote obstacles are really exercises, they’re bodyweight exercises. So it’s burpees and push ups and sit ups and leg raises. So there’s a number of those obstacles for the sprinters 20 of them.

And since I informally completed a virtual sprint, early in the year, my goal was not only to complete this race, but to complete it faster than the last time I had done the race. So I ran the race, thought I had a pretty good time. But I missed my goal by three minutes. However, I was seven minutes faster than the previous race. So I missed my goal. But I still completed the race. And I was seven minutes faster overall. So still pretty happy with the results. The next race was the Spartan virtual super. And this is a 10 K, twice the distance and 25 obstacles. So a few more obstacles added to to the race. Overall, I didn’t have a goal other than to finish, I hadn’t run a 10 k race before. So this was the first time that I was doing that. And I felt like that in itself was an accomplishment. I finished the entire race in one hour and 23 minutes, and the run itself in 58 minutes and 27 seconds. So I was pretty happy with the time that it took to do the obstacles, as well as the time it took me to do the run. Then the final race, I’ve already shared, this was the Spartan virtual beast. And this one, I had met my goal, I wanted to finish under two hours and 30 minutes. And I finished in two hours and 17 minutes. So very excited about that the run itself was again under two hours, which was my goal. And I finished it in one hour and 58 minutes. So I already touched on these earlier. But let me share with you some of those key insights and lessons learned during training and running these three races. So the first one is all about positive thinking. It’s an I can do it versus I can’t do it. And having that right mentality, I can’t express how important that is. Right? Because your mind is really going to help you move through these obstacles. And when things get difficult, right, it’s going to be your mind is going to tell you whether you can or cannot do it right, you control your destiny. So there are a number of things that I did to to keep thinking positively. One of the things that I was doing was I was thinking about that bigger picture. So for me, my goal was to complete the Spartan virtual trifecta. That’s what I kept in mind. So every step that I took, every time that I that I hit a bump in the road, I was thinking about what is that end goal? And why am I trying to accomplish that? So there’s a lot about a lot about positive thinking. And, you know, I’ll share with you some of the things that I’ve started to do. And you could certainly read up and learn about this, if you’re interested. Is it about like the positive affirmations. And I know there’s a number of different ways to do this. And I myself, I’m not an expert, but you could you could write down the affirmations, you could say them out loud, they talk about or suggest that you do it multiple, multiple times a day.

So there’s positive affirmations and probably other things that you could do to have a positive mindset and that positive thinking.

The second thing is get started. It’s not as scary as you think at first, when you run into an obstacle, you’re thinking the worst probably right? And probably back to what I just said, you’re probably thinking I can’t do it. And you just need to start. So one of the things that I didn’t like about our current situation is I didn’t have access to the gym. So I mentioned that I had to run on the run on the treadmill. I didn’t like necessarily being outdoors. Don’t particularly

Next is don’t quit. Keep going. So I’m going to try to make a joke. But visualize your next milestone. I know I’m not funny. But if you think about it, when you’re running a long run, or if you have an obstacle that you’re trying to overcome, and it’s going to take a while, think about what is the next milestone you need to achieve. And for me like a one mile block was was really a good, you know, milestone for me to say okay, I’m just going to do the next mile, the next mile after that, and the next mile after that. So that really helped kind of to keep going just don’t quit. And you know what? celebrate some of the small wins and successes along the way. For each of the races that I did. I was excited about it. I wanted to talk about the races that I did. I wanted to treat myself. There’s certainly celebrated with food. But you gotta celebrate your wins and successes along the way. Don’t wait to the very end because you might lose that motivation or that interest or, or just kind of the energy to to keep going.Don’t quit, celebrate the small wins.

Next, is, be consistent. But take the breaks that you need. achieving your goals doesn’t mean working at it 24 seven, no matter what social media tells you, it’ll tell you to wake up at 5am in the morning, and stay up until 11 or 12 o’clock at night working on,take the breaks that you need, you can stay consistent, but listen to your body, right? rest when your mind needs it.

Also to help you be consistent, and accountability partner really helps. And this is not something that I really believed in or understood before. I felt like hey, I really if I needed somebody who’s really to help me something technical or tactical, right or technique, I need someone to show me something. But I don’t really need somebody who’s who’s kind of after me to push me and motivate me. And boy was I wrong. Like I just realized during the Spartan virtual beast, my coach ran with me. And he was helping me through the through the exercises, as well as through the Ron to have the right frame of mind and to keep me motivated. And I would recommend that you find that accountability partner, right, if it’s through, inspire virtual runs through our Facebook group, a friend of yours, whatever the case is, have someone who you could share your obstacles, your goals and things you’re going to do, and have them help keep you accountable to achieving those goals.

I started out to run and I almost quit as soon as I started.

I wanted to change my plan to only run two miles. And as I mentioned, it wasn’t my long run day, right. So I didn’t prioritize those days. But it really should have ran the four miles. And I had all of the usual excuses. It’s too hot. I haven’t eaten enough, I’m not hydrated, then I remember that I made a commitment to my IVR community earlier that week. And that community really helped me stay accountable. And I completed the four miles. Now. It was still hot. Right? So all of the reasons all the excuses were still there. But I overcame them because of that accountability factor. So find your accountability partner group, or those that could stick with you through your journey.

I hope those insights and lessons learned were helpful for you. I hope you had some some key takeaways or things that you could implement in your own life again, as you’re working through things and trying to overcome obstacles. So if there’s nothing else that you took away from this episode, I just want to leave you with a final few thoughts. The first thing is when we’re thinking about or approaching an obstacle that we need to overcome is, number one, we need to start with the why like, remember or why or what was that end goal. And that’s really going to help us get into the the right frame of mind to tackle that obstacle. Next is really about your mentality and your mindset. And changing that narrative in your mind from this is something that I can’t do to something I can do. But then next, you have to take action, right? Once you find that the opportunity or right opportunity to take action. And in some cases, you’re taking a chance. And again, that’s what we have to do if we want to be able to overcome, you know, these obstacles that come in our way. But after that you really have to make a commitment and a plan. So you may take action, right? But you really want to have that plan on in terms of like what is it that you’re going to do to overcome that obstacle and stick with it. And then the very last thing is just celebrate the small wins and successes along the way. So I talked to a lot about my journey from moving from the Spartan trifecta to the Spartan virtual trifecta and doing the three races through the course of the year. And if I waited to the very last race to to celebrate and be proud of what I’ve done, you know, I might have kind of lost interest along the way. But each race I completed, I celebrated along the way I said okay, I completed the Spartan virtual sprint. Next one I completed a Spartan virtual super and I knew I had done the 10 K, I think for the very first time and I’ve done the obstacles along with it. And then of course the the Spartan virtual beast. So just pause, take a moment and celebrate the small wins and successes along the way. So I really hope you enjoyed this episode. This is a different format. So if you enjoyed this episode and enjoyed the other episodes for inspire reverse runs podcast, please give us a five star rating. It helps us reach more people gets the podcast into the into the phones and devices have many more people in this community and really kind of give them the inspiration and motivation to run. If you haven’t done so already, visit our website, inspire Virtru runs comm join our community. We have a Facebook group, Instagram, you could find us on Strava so check us out. With that. Thanks for listening again, and have a great day.

Intro/Outro 26:13

That’s it for this episode of inspire virtual runs podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening.

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