First off, thank you for your service, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to preserving the freedoms that make this country the greatest country the world has ever known. I am forever in your debt.
My never quit story is not one of great courage or great physical accomplishment. Rather, mine is a story of an every day American who decided to give a little bit back in order to honor the heroes who died for our country. To do this, I’d have to push my physical and mental comfort zone beyond what I’d previously done.
I first heard about the Murph Challenge back about 2013 and it intimidated the crap out of me. This was something I immediately categorized as something I couldn’t do. Over the next 4 years, it was always at the back of my mind nagging me and taunting me like a school yard bully.
July of 2017 I finally decide to do the Murph Challenge on Memorial day 2018, (yes, with the 20 lb vest). I would be 50 years old at that time and what a better way to celebrate this milestone. To keep myself accountable, I announced my Murph Challenge intentions on my local Gym’s face book page. I didn’t want a moment of mental or physical weakness to scuttle my efforts.
The next 10 months I trained. I pushed my physical and mental abilities beyond what I thought possible. The accountability to my Gym paid off because many times I thought of quitting…but didn’t.
For added inspiration, I added the names of the Operation Red Wings KIA’s to the inside of the back of my vest. I also added the name of my Uncle who was KIA in Vietnam to the inside of the front of my vest. Reminders that what little pain and discomfort I was going through during training was nothing when compared to the price paid by heroes who never came home.
Memorial Day 2018 was the hottest Memorial day on record in the Twin Cities. My heat ran at 10:00am. It was close to 90F and dew points were close to 70F. It was “hot and shitty” to quote Robin Williams in “Good Morning Vietnam”.
Mile 1 felt good. I was running my race, yet still stayed with the pack. Things aren’t so bad…
The first set of pull-ups foretold a different story. It was way harder than it should have been. The heat and humidity had started taking its toll. I was in for a long day at the office.
A few times during the 20 sets, I felt light headed and nauseous. I even considered ditching the vest, but accountability prevented me from doing so. I listened to my body and took a break, but got back to grind out one more set, and then another, and then another…
At the end of set 20, my tank was empty, The heat and humidity had zapped all my energy, but I had one more mile to go. My forearms were so smoked I couldn’t keep my arms at right angles for the run. I needed to hook my thumbs in my vest. My legs were jello and my lungs were on fire. I told myself “Its just one mile…I got this.”
The last mile was the hardest mile I’ve ran in my life. You could argue that what I was doing wasn’t really running. With every step my body pleaded with me to walk, but I didn’t give in. I didn’t come this far to walk to the finish line. Thoughts of Marcus post gunfight crept into my head…draw the line…reach it…draw the line…reach it…just one more step, just one more step…dont walk…just one more step.
The heat and humidity were suffocating. thoughts of my Uncle in Vietnam crept in…thoughts of being in Iraq crept in too…It was at least this hot over there…how did they fight in this soup…in full battle gear too?
One more step…one more step…
At 50 years old, I am proud to say that I’ve completed a Murph Challenge, on Memorial Day, in oppressive heat and humidity. A small piece of every one of your Team Never Quit podcasts has made me the man I am today. Never quit stories drive me to be a better man, son, brother, husband, and father.
Keep up the great work gents…it is appreciated!
Looking forward to the next inspirational podcast.