Ryan Thomason

Why This Geek is Doing the 12+ Mile Obstacle Race known as The Spartan Beast

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I grew up as a semi-closeted geek.  Sports was a big thing in my family, I loved playing everything I could.  The competition, the camaraderie and the pushing your body to win was always a main driver in my life.  After I stopped competing in Field and Track (Throwers represent) in college I always felt like a tiny something was missing in my life.  I met an amazing woman,  married her and moved three states away from where I was born and raised to start a family.  This is the time of my life where my geek passions really bloomed.  I found the courage to write about it, and well, WPR has been my outlet to fully express this part of me.

Still, I missed the preparing for competition, the adrenaline of pushing yourself against other human beings in a physical space, the thrill of a finish and seeing where you stand amidst the field of competitors. Last year, I got a taste of that again, when WPR competed in Tough Mudder.  This year, I’m kicking it up by a hundred notches and will be competing in Spartan Race.

20130528_130402I try not to harp too much about the disease I have, but when I find it relevant, I have courage to talk about it. Usher Syndrome – Type 2 is a no joke thing to have. I’m going deaf and blind at the same time and doctors are skeptical if I’ll have any vision left in the next 15-20 years to go with my severe hearing loss. So yeah, doing this event that requires someone to have good depth perception, peripheral vision and just a general, not going blind thing is probably not the best idea for someone in my situation. But, I’m just tired of all the little things that effect my daily life because of this disease. Sometimes you have to really push yourself vastly outside your comfort zone, possibly into a “Maybe you should rethink this, Oh crap, too late” zone at some point in this existence on Earth.

Maybe I’m trying too hard to break stereotypes that people like myself who grew up in a world of sports and athletics don’t have a place as a full fledged “Geek”. Hell, I know most of the guys on the WPR Staff are far more knowledgeable than myself in a huge number of topics. I dabble in everything, like a geek sponge soaking in their collective knowledge. I’ve learned more and expanded my horizons in Geek Culture more in the last 7 years than most of my life up to that point. Working for WPR as the PR/Marketing Guy kinda helped with all the free stuff. Still, we should all be continuously learning and exploring new things, trying something we’d never try before. Isn’t that what being a geek is about? Expanding our knowledge base and showing the world that we’re not a closeted group that can’t interact with the outside world?

Sometimes, we got to not only go into the outside world, but push our bodies to conquer the outside world as much as we try to conquer the Geek/Pop Culture World. In a way, that’s why I’m doing this insane obstacle race. All the training, getting in shape and watching what I eat (mostly) is just a sidebar to the knowledge of what I now know my body is fully capable of. Even if I’m not 18 again and playing Varsity Football, or competing in the Track and Field State Championship. This 31 year old body with sore knees is still kicking around. Even after all the bumping into objects (moving or not moving), my kids, my wife, the toy on the ground I couldn’t see because of my disease, I still find that longing to tell my brain to shut up. Tell my brain to put aside all the anger, frustrations, sadness, everything, in pursuit of a goal that will leave me drained physically and emotionally in the end, but will be so, so worth it.

I am a Geek. I am a Athlete. After this Saturday – June 29th, I will be a Spartan.

Check out Spartan Race for yourself.

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