Well friends…the journey has started!  Race #1 of 40 complete.  Gladiator Assault Challenge…check!  Of course it would have been challenging enough without incident, so the story begins.  I was charging down the hill at the start my eyes were set on the obstacle #2-Hunker in the Bunkers, the energy was flowing and I was excited for what was ahead over the next 5 miles.  There was a man spraying the Gladiators with a fire hose as we prepared to climb over the 3 mounds of mud which were separated by 2 mud pits.  As the cold water hit my face I closed my eyes for a moment and my feet slipped from under me on the mud, as I caught myself with left my hand I felt a pop.  I continued through the obstacle realizing I had lost the strength in my hand and it was throbbing in pain.  What was a Gladiator to do?

The immediate reaction was that I must make the smart decision by finding a first aid person to check it out.  I continued on to the next obstacle where I talked to a volunteer who said I would find someone ahead.  As I was talking to this gentleman I saw my fellow Gladiator TJ Anderson run down the hill as he had continued on without knowing I had injured my hand.  I shouted at him to let him know what happened and to continue on.  Of course the last thing I wanted to do was stop the race…so I continued on, finding the next obstacle to be a rope climb up a slope bank.  How would this go I thought to myself?  I made it work with one good hand!  But I only imagined how I would be able to get through the rest…

One of my favorite movies is Gladiator and all I could think about is what it truly means to be a Gladiator.  I found a video speech inspired by the movie that is a fitting message for the obstacles I faced Saturday morning:

Like Maximus, I found the resolve to continue on as a Gladiator!  I came across the first aid guy at obstacle #5-Snake Bite, which involved sliding through tunnels into a pit, then crawling under barbed wire.  He happened to be standing right next to the pit, so I slid through the tunnel and then had him check it out. He really had nothing to advise.  He wrapped it in a bandage and sent me on my way.  I continued as I withstood the pain, completing the remaining 25 obstacles and enjoying the company and scenery along the way.  I was able to talk with Luke from Boone, Mitchell from Creston, the Perry girls and a few others.  As I always say, it is about enjoying the journey and that is the perspective I carried.  Along the way the hand may have slowed me down slightly, but a Gladiator doesn’t quit…they know their limits and I had yet to reach them.  I like what the gentleman said in the video you watched, “All warriors know pessimism and uncertainty hold one back at moments like this.”  There is no room for this negative frame of mind in my life, in particular because it keeps me from God’s best.

How will we go about our next setback?  Will we let it change who we are and what we believe?  I believe God makes all things work together for good(Romans 8:28).  Let this photo help us think about our setbacks in a new light:

Yep you are looking at a broken hand!  XRay Saturday afternoon revealed I broke the metacarpals of my ring and middle finger on my left hand.  Yep that is my writing and eating hand!  So this Gladiator has a real Gladiator story to tell.  As I shared in my post on Saturday, the Gladiator Assault Challenge was my first of 40 races to complete prior to 40…imagine what I was thinking as I experienced this setback before I had even broken a sweat and before I had even gotten through the 2nd obstacle.  Many of you know the positive attitude I live out, and I wasn’t going to let a broken hand change on Saturday, nor will I tomorrow when I find out what the surgeon suggests for fixing the bones.  I know that God has a plan in this and that is light I choose to live in that allows me to continue on no matter what challenges, obstacles or setbacks I face.  Can you say this is true for you?

My decision to continue Saturday allowed me to experience the journey in a new light.  I had never been injured in a race in a way that could potentially not allow me to “complete” all parts of the race.  In my first half ironman I had experienced a real tight back as I hopped off the bike, which led me to walk the majority of the 13 miles on the run leg.  The similarity is the attitude I carried in each, as in life no matter the challenges we face, it is about enjoying the journey!  Had I not continued Saturday, I would have missed out on the creek run which I thought was one of the most unique and fun obstacles of the race.  I wouldn’t have been able to draft off of the adrenaline of a couple whose heat had started 20 minutes after ours.  As they came running by I joined them at a faster clip as we went through the last climb and the final 4 obstacles together, crossing the finish line with some yells and smiles!

In what areas of your life are you being called to be a Gladiator?  May you let this story of a Gladiator you know inspire you to carry on in the face of obstacles and to live out what you believe!  To me it is all about PUTing GOD FIRST and ENJOYing THE JOURNEY!  We can all be GLADIATORS!!!  Will you choose to be one with me?

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