#676 100 Pounds of Sand

The Story of Two Sandbags

In our last few +1s, we’ve been having fun hanging out with Spartan Race Founder/CEO Joe De Sena, his son Jack and his cast-iron friend Leo. We also met my new sweatband Leonidas.

Today I’d like to talk about 100 pounds of sand.

First, quick context.

As you know if you clicked on this link to read the longer story about why Joe carries around a 44-pound kettlebell with him everywhere he goes, he didn’t do that to be some weird tough guy.

He did it to support a guy who was committed to completely transforming his life.

Super short story: Joe has a huge farm in Vermont. One day a 697-pound guy stopped by and checked himself in—hoping that Joe could help him transform his life.

As per that story I link to above, Joe “gave him a 25-pound sandbag, and had him carry it on long hikes every morning and evening. In return, he promised to carry his own sandbag, but with this twist: As the man lost weight, De Sena’s sandbag would get heavier.”

The story continues: “The man responded well to the challenge, losing two to three pounds a day at first, and eventually getting all the way down to 267 pounds. Meanwhile, De Sena’s sandbag increased to 85 pounds.”

Now… Joe wanted to use that experience as a symbol of his commitment to the world but he realized he couldn’t take an 85 pound (!!!) sandbag with him everywhere he went. So he asked his wife to get him a 20-pound kettlebell. She accidentally got him a 20 KILO (aka 44-pound kettlebell) and, well, here we are.

That’s what I was thinking about this morning as I carried 100 pounds of sand.

Short story there: Every day I hit the Trail around sunrise. And, every day I carry something for the first (and last) 5 minutes of my hike. I alternate between carrying my shoes on off days (Fix Your Feet, baby!) and carrying my 50-pound Spartan sandbag or bucket of rocks on the alternating days.

So… Yesterday I carried my 50-pound sandbag up for the first 5 minutes of my workout. I plop it down (with a “That’s like me!”) near the trailhead and proceed to do my Spartan warm up a la Spartan Fit (which I also do every day): I skip out and back for 15 yards. Then I bear crawl forward and back for 10 yards. Then I do 11 air squats and then 2 sets of 5 pull-ups on the beams that support a trail map thingy. (Plus some quick wrist and ankle mobility movements in between the pull-up sets.)

Then I hit the Trail.

Now, usually when I loop back around to the trailhead, I pick up my sandbag and carry it back to the car.

Only yesterday, my sandbag wasn’t there. (Hah.)

For about 3 seconds I was like, “Did someone really take my sandbag?” Then I was like, “Wow. That’s awesome. I wonder who the Beast is that took the bag and where they took it!” “I bet it will be here tomorrow. Impressive!”

Then, because I’m committed to always carrying something on my way up and down, I took my shoes off and carried them back to the car.

Fast forward to this morning.

I hit the Trail. This time I brought my backup sandbag (yes, I have a backup! lol) and, sure enough, there’s my other sandbag right where I usually leave it.

I smile and give a silent tip o’ the cap to the Spartan Beast who worked out with it yesterday and continued on with my workout.

Of course, at the end of the loop, I had 100 pounds of sand to carry back. (And, it had been raining all day so… Does that make it even heavier? Hah.)

All of which made me think of Joe and the fact that he carried an 85 (!!!) pound sandbag ANYWHERE for ANY distance. That’s crazy.

I carried my two 50 pound bags for about 100 yards (max) and then dropped one bag, carried the other one to the car and headed back to pick up the second one.

And, I did that all with an ever deeper level of respect for the fact that a) obstacles make us stronger and that b) the world needs more exemplars like Joe De Sena (and me and you and everyone else we can rally to the cause!) to BE THE CHANGE so we can change the world together.

All of which leads us to Today’s +1.

Of course, carrying heavy things may or not be your thing.

But… What IS your thing?

Are you ALL IN?

Please be.

Pretty please. Thank you.

That is all.

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