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My 1st HYROX

I was running the 6th lap around the track, and I was feeling strong. So I started kicking it into a higher gear. I loosened up for a second. The race became even more fun, or maybe I should say, “less stressful” when I got past some of the harder stations for me and knew I could kick it into gear. Before that moment, I was locked in. Breathing mindfully. Focusing my gaze. Not looking into the crowd of people or even at my family/friends cheering me on. And definitely ignoring Mike (my videographer) during the race. But, at this moment, I felt a strong urge to smile and take a quick look around just to appreciate the moment.

I glanced up and saw my mom standing with Emma and her parents. Quickly I heard a voice in my head saying, “Lock back in, Sean.” I brought my gaze back to the track and got back to work.

After a hard finish, I crossed the finish line and screamed with emotion. Then, I took a huge exhale. When doing any races, especially if it is the first time you are doing a race of that sort, only compete against yourself. Just be proud of your training, game planning, and effort. That is all you can ask for. And I am happy to say I was.

When I finished I looked back and saw all four of them celebrating, almost as if they finished.

And in a huge way, they did.

Each of them, individually, were extremely supportive and part of the team that competed. Michele (Emma’s mom) and Emma were grocery shopping and cooking meals that fit my “race week diet.” My mom flew in that morning and had to fly out the next day just to be there for me during the race and to support me! She even just sat around with me for hours before when I didn’t want to do anything when she could have explored Chicago. Emma has been getting my mind right, stretching with me, giving me tips from looking at other people’s forms, and going to the gym with me 2x/day. And George kept my mind light going into the race.

They made me feel like this was a special thing to achieve. Thanks guys!

This was a team win.

I had a lot of support from my pops and brother too. They also made me feel like this was another big High School football game or something they knew I was stoked about! I even had a bunch of friends who texted me before… man I am so grateful for all the support.

But I had to think… I know human psychology. People do not want to do this. They make excuses for everything. Me included. People forget important tasks, can’t find the energy to get off the couch sometimes, and definitely are not motivated to give up their time, money, and energy for something without good “reason.”

So why did people help me? Why did they remember to text me? Why are people picky some nights about dinner and other nights it was, “Whatever Sean wants?!”

Because they were inspired.

They were a part of something bigger than any of us, me included.

They wanted a memory.

They wanted to feel empowered and have a front-row seat.

That is why doing hard things is cool.

It inspires others.

Emma said she was signing up for one before I even started!! Doing hard things brings people together. It unites people. My mom hasn’t seen Emma’s family in a few years and HYROX brought us together.

At a deeper level, someone's effort to do something hard brought people together.

I am eternally grateful for the chance to be the person doing that.

Sometimes it is bigger than you. I didn’t realize this during the race, but I did after. I got the same feeling from a few of my ultramarathons, especially the 100-miler. My family cried after. They were so damn proud of themselves. They were glowing with pride. And they had a story to reminisce on and tell others.

They also got to see the work up close. They saw it was a grind. It helps people recalibrate themselves.

Others avoid it. They don't show up. They don't ask questions. They even try to avoid the topic. They don't want to try and compare themselves to it.

I get asked a lot why I do these things. What people have no clue about is that I ask myself that more than anyone could. Every time the run gets hard. Or I have to run in the dark and the cold and grab a headlamp just to see my feet. Or in the gym, every damn day, when I just can not do another rep of something, I have a little voice saying, “It is okay, just stop.”

At that moment, you have to ask yourself… why!

Now, I have another reason. Thanks guys!

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