Monday, August 29, 2011

Inner Strength and an Epic Fail

Over the weekend a series of unrelated, but common thread things happened that got me thinking about inner strength. Some peoples gots it...and some peoples don't.

Thread one....

Have you had a chance to catch the new show "Take the Money and Run!"? A colleague at work suggested it to me a few weeks ago. Lovely wife and I Tivo'd an episode and watched it on Saturday. The premise for the show is that a couple has an hour to hide a briefcase filled with $100,000 somewhere in a major city.  The police then arrest the couple and throw them into "solitary" confinement for 48 hours.  The only interruptions are "Interrogators" who try to get you to give up clues so that field investigators can try to find the briefcase.  If you can keep the briefcase hidden from the investigators for 48 hours, you get to keep the $100K.  If you give up enough clues under interrogation or the investigators can piece together the clues before the 48 hours is up...they keep it. 

Thread two...

While out doing 20 miles on Saturday, the Giants Half Marathon course happened to be on my regular running route.  I coincidentially ran into a DailyMile Friend Kathy Johnson who was running the race.  She was obviously limping and nursing an ankle injury.  I happened upon her at mile 6 or 7 of the race.  We joined up and I ran a few miles with her, just to catch up but also maybe to keep her mind off of her ankle long enough to get a few miles closer to the finish.

Thread three...

Ironman Canada and Ironman Louisville were raced yesterday.   Roughly 5,000 people swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 and ran 26.2 miles between the two events.  Most people take a year or so of solid training, spend probably $10,000 and sacrifice time with family to race for 12-17 hours.  Painful?  You bet.  As a nine timer, I know how nasty these races are on you mentally and physcially.  There are no pansies out there at mile 12 of the run.

Thread four...

I read two books over the weekend.  One was The Warrior Ethos, by Steven Pressfield.  The book was just "okay".  But one of the cool themes that Pressfield weaved into the book from the first to the last page was how the ancient Spartans raised warriors from children into adulthood.  The amount of abuse these kids suffered would wilt our kids and 99.998% of the adults these days.  Parking six year old kids in the woods with no food, no water and letting them figure it out or die was commonplace.  (Survive or die?  Today's kids get a medal just for showing up!)   They figured if the kid was a strong one, he would survive and go on to be a warrior.  If the boy perished, the parents would be forbidden from reproducing again.  (A little harsh, but I have seen some parents that I wish could be banned from reproducing again!)

Back to "Take the Money and Run".  You would think it would be easy to spend 48 hours in "Solitary Confinement"...especially as you know a few things going in.  One, there is $100,000 waiting for you if you make it.  Two?  There are no lonesome 6' 4"" cell mates named Bubba that want to marry you.  Three, there will be no physical abuse by the guards/police.  All you have to do is wait it out. 

Welllllll......epic fail on this week's episode.  One of the guys on the show caved after four meals of eating beans and living in the 8X10 cell.  He caved after about 29 hours!  29 hours.  Perspective? My friend John Teeples RAN that long at Badwater!  This guy was blubbering like a baby after 29 hours of sitting in a warm, well lit cell and all the beans a man could want!

So how does this all weave together?

Inner strength is a funny thing...

My friend Kathy ran the 13 miles hurt just for a Tim Lincecum Bobblehead.

5,000 people gave up a year of intense training, buckets of money and lot of pain just to be called an Ironman.

Spartan children would devote 10 years of sheer hell to become "Warriors". 

And there we have some poor slob on TV who could not muster enough inner strength for even $100,000 to just sit on his butt for 19 more hours. 

My point?  Inner strength is awesome when you see it in action.  And, absolutely disgusting when you see someone fold like a wet Kleenex. 

Have you tested your inner strength recently?  Did you like what you saw when you looked in the mirror? 

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