When we took off from the base of Squaw Valley, we had very little of an idea on what to expect…
The obstacles were spread out throughout the 30-mile course but what the obstacles were and how far apart they stood was a complete and total mystery.
A couple miles into the race, we hit our first obstacle that consisted of overgrown, uneven monkey bars… We had to swing about 30-40 feet across 10-15 bars then ring a bell on the other side. As always, the penalty for falling off… 30 burpees.
Kowalski and I stood there and looked at each other with what I would call “faces of doubt.” We then hopped on the box, jumped up to the first bar and began the trek.
Right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand…
We both briskly moved across the bars in unison as if we were some sort of synchronized tandem who had done this 9000 times…
We then got to about the 8th bar when all of a sudden, I heard a loud scream…
Kowalski was gone.
I completed swinging across the bars, rang the bell then looked back to find Kowalski slowly peeling himself off the ground…
“DUDE… My shoulder dude, my shoulder. Something popped, I heard it dude. I’m f*cked. F*CK!!!”
I remained silent.
He then headed over to the burpee station and began his attempt to complete 30…
I watched the first couple and he looked a bit like a fish out of water, literally flopping around on the ground as he appeared to be engaging in some sort of face plant session as if his arms were non-existent… Nonetheless, he somehow completed the set then we charged on.
A minute later, we hit the inverted wall. The idea is to jump up and grab the top of the wall then figure out a way to hoist your body up and over… We both made it with relative ease but immediately after Kowalski said:
“Brocio, I might be done.”
“Can you run?”
“I can barely feel my arm… It’s jacked.”
“That’s no what I asked… CAN YOU RUN?”
“We got 28 more miles of this bitch and we are in it together. If you can’t do the obstacles, f*ck it. We aren’t out here to win this thing, but I need you by my side dude so if you can run, just F*CKING RUN.”
Amazingly, Kowalski was a burpee machine and completed many of the burpee sets in nearly the same amount of time it took me to complete the obstacle. He also sacked up on some of the easier obstacles that required less arm engagement and he ran like a f*cking machine the entire time.
So often in life, we hit obstacles (pun intended) and we let the obstacle derail our entire train…
Yet just because the door flew off, it doesn’t mean the locomotive has to fly off the tracks.
Immediately after Kowalski’s episode, surrounded by the majestic Squaw Valley Sierra Nevada mountains, I couldn’t help but think of a famous mountaineer that once said:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Nice work Kowalski, our 26th President would have been proud.