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F3 is Fitness, Fellowship and Faith

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And lastly…

No one likes to finish last. We are taught to be winners. That competitive spirit is one of the things that F3 utilizes to help us push ourselves longer and harder. If the guy next to you can do it, then so can you.

Over the past two weeks two members of the pax have shared that they are struggling with being last in workouts. DRM is not sure why they picked him to talk to about being last, but they did. They stated that they have lost their way. They are not as motivated as they once were to hit the gloom at 0530. They don’t like being last but they are not sure what to do about it.

Being first is an accomplishment that only a select few will achieve. In the middle of the pax you have perspective on first and last. There is comfort and room to improve. Lots of company and friendly mumble chatter. It’s lonely at the back.

But the back of the pax is where you can have impact. When you look back and see that the last guy is struggling ask yourself some questions. Why is he last? Does everyone work harder than him? Is he really trying? Can’t he do better than that? What’s keeping you from being that guy?

Maybe it’s worth the effort to drop back once in a while and check out what’s happening at the back of the pax. If we lose the last guy, you better hope that you are not the second to the last guy. Or the guy in front of him. We must remember that it’s the guys behind us who push us. They make us better. We need them. And they need us.

So who’s pushing who here? Are you trying to keep up with guy who is better than you or are you trying to keep ahead of the guy just behind you? No matter which, someone is helping you to be better. What are you doing?

Do Re Mi

Do Re Mi

Comments

  1. Gnarly Goat

    Great food for thought Do Re Mi.
    It made me think of graduation day at USNA. During the ceremony, the graduating midshipmen generally sit relatively quietly as the names of the graduates are called out. But when one name is called out, the graduating mids erupt into wild applause, hooting, hollering, and a standing ovation. That honor is for the “Anchor Man.” The Anchor Man is the Mid who is dead last in the graduating class. The families and spectators in the stands are often at a loss for what is occurring down on the field when the graduating class suddenly goes bananas. But the Mids know. It is guaranteed that the Anchor Man has had a really, really tough 4 years. The Anchor Man has likely struggled academically. There’s a good chance he’s had some rough patches with physical education, and no doubt he (or she) has stood a fair amount of restriction. There were probably moments when it looked like he might not make it.
    But the Anchor Man has persevered. The Anchor Man has lasted, and there is no doubt that he has helped his classmates do the same. The Anchor Man is with us and will put on his butter bar with us. And for that, he is held in high honor.

    • Ironically (perhaps), I believe the Anchor Man is called the Goat at USMA and each man above him pays him a dollar for managing to graduate last but not fail to graduate.

  2. Being a mediocre combination of power and speed I am only (rarely) first, but (I want to think) never last. Not so however. My first taste of #YoungGuns post last Thanksgiving found me dead last. I (#ExcuseBagWarning) was coming off ThunderRoad marathon and a holiday trip to #FogArea (with accompanying emotional depressitude) and found myself #SnotWoggled by a bunch of young coyotes. My first thought limping back to the car was that I wasn’t coming back out there. Halfway home (when my seat warmer had un-quivered by bowels) I realized what an attitude of surrender that was. My speed wasn’t important. It was my acceleration that counted. All I had to do was to be faster tomorrow than I was today, and all I had to do that was to catch the next to last guy. That wold be #Acceleration.

    Don’t worry about being last. Worry about last being the position from which you surrender. If you are going to surrender, do it from the front.

    #Acceleration trumps speed. Aye.

  3. Great food for thought DRM and I love that example Goat.
    I am frequently “last.” I am always last at SIB (frequently by over a mile). I am usually behind the Pax at bootcamps. I was the last F3 guy at Thunder Road.
    It could be easily demoralizing looking at it like that.
    Instead I look at it like, there are other Clydesdales that haven’t even braved SIB and if they did, I might be faster. There are hundreds of men in Charlotte who can’t shake the covers and get their rear out of bed for a morning boot camp. I’m probably fitter than them. Only a few thousand in Charlotte even attempted the Thunder Road Half (and certainly none of them carried the stress of trying to get on a plane for a 6:00 PM wedding in DC the whole race).
    Sure I may be “last” most mornings. But I’d rather be last amongst great men than to not even be out there at all.
    Last isn’t a position, it’s an attitude.

    • Kim Jung

      THIS IS F3 IN A NUTSHELL!!!!!!

      Great Post Gator! it’s hard to be last in the workout, but it is even harder to be the #sadclowns who haven’t realized yet how far they’ve dropped behind us….

    • Gator, long before you came along to SIB, I was consistently last. That is a brutal workout regardless, but even more difficult if you aren’t some speed demon. I pride myself in being more Tortoise than Hare, but I loved that workout for pushing me. Never did I feel like I didn’t belong with the speedsters. And that is why I keep coming out to post. The support of the F3 brothers I know and work out with keep me getting out of bed when that alarm goes off. Because I was supported and encouraged, I never gave up and am now one one of the “middle of the pack-ers”, or maybe “back of the middle of the pack” if I’m being honost. I for one will work harder at being that supportive brother for those slower than me.

      • That is why I go to SIB. As Today put it, “If you want to get faster, run with faster guys.”
        Unfortunately, they are also getting faster haha!
        Seen big improvements since I began though.

    • Gnarly Goat

      Gator, I really appreciate the idea of “clydesdales” and “racehorses.” We all have our raison d’etre (our wheelhouse) as eloquently expressed by Dredd in his piece on that subject. Most things worth doing require a team, and we all have our place and purpose. Many times in a fire we need to get into the attic IMMEDIATELY to control keep the fire from taking the whole house. The ceiling is 8-10′ up there and there’s no ladder handy. What to do? I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the following: Big burly guy (clydesdale) takes small wiry guy (racehorse), lifts him up, lets him bust a hole in the ceiling and then shoves him into attic with a hose. In the outside world the big burly guy might fret about running slow miles. The wiry guy might fret about his maximum bench press. But when the world is burning down, If one man is missing, the mission is not accomplished.

  4. Perfectly said, DRM. We’re working to re-commit the Swamp Rabbit PAX to not only push themselves but to turn back and help to pull their brothers along. It’s really easy, especially when the heartrate is up and the sweat/snot flowing, to turn in on yourself and forget about your brothers. If we are truly to put ourselves Third, then the ultimate act of victory is not the guy Larry Birding off the front, but the Man at the back struggling to overcome his physical and spiritual limitations and those that turn back to urge him to the finish. What he is doing is far more impressive and demanding, and he should be the one we celebrate.

  5. Do Re Mi

    Gator, I love your comment about “last isn’t a position, it’s an attitude”. I have been the “flesh anchor man” at several of the running workouts, Ranger and Bandit come to mind, but I didn’t worry so much about being last as I did about holding others back. Maybe my job on that day was to allow the next to the last guy to be able to look back, drop a step and say “good job DRM”. A good thing for both of us.

  6. I’m a middle of the pack kind of guy and normally post at BootCamp workouts. Last Spring I went to Wiggler, which went sailingly well. Then I moved on to Sweet Six a couple of times and did just fine what with the staggered times and all. I figured the RingRun would be a happy medium between the typical boot camp and the straight run workouts. I had no idea what I was getting into. For the first third I was comfortably in the middle, but as the speedsters up front kept a blazing pace I slowly began dropping towards the tail end of the pack. Somewhere in the neighbrhoods along the Booty Loop, I loooked up and realized I was offically Last. I was also dying and unsure how I was going to make it back to Christ Church on 2 feet. And then out of the gloom I spotted a fellow F3er. He had circled back to check for stragglers. He not only ran with me the remainder of the way, but he talked me through the pain. I don’t remember the dude’s name, but I will always appreciate his actions. To me, that morning exemplifies all that is right about F3. I am ashamed to say that I have since avoided the RingRun like the plague, but this conversation has inspired me to go back and try try again.

  7. Great post DRM. I’ve noticed the 2nd F begins to drive the 1st F. The accordion model keeps the PAX together while everyone can get as smoked as they will allow themselves to get. I’ve learned that FOF keeps all men equal and getting to know the brother next to you is just as important as getting your heart rate up. If you can do one more, you’re better than you were yesterday. The only real last is the fartsacker (me today) or worse, the sad clown.

  8. Great post and comments. My intro to F3 was similar to Oscar’s experience. I was dead last and struggling even after a short run, but Haskell (whom I had just met minutes earlier) came back from the lead and helped me through the struggle. That single act is was brought me back for a second post. It’s been a year and a half, and I may no longer be last, but to Gator’s point, wherever I fall in the pax, that pax is full of great men among whom I am blessed to be.

  9. Kim Jung

    is it too late to get an F3 bumper sticker with Gnarly Goat’s wisdom on it?

    “But when the world is burning down, If one man is missing, the mission is not accomplished.”

    this is a pure truth…put an f3 logo on the end of it, and put it on the back of a tee shirt immediately!

  10. Ann & Hope

    Aye. Thanks DRM and all. Showing up, literally and figuratively, and actively leading and following makes a real difference. Thank you for being out there with and for me. It has truly made all the difference.

  11. SoCal aka Ballistic

    Aye good post and great comments. Two thoughts:

    1) since I’ve posted to Jungle a few times in recent past, and those Beasts have simply gone crazy with their fitness, I am absolutely dead last. Sampler (and others) are exceptional about coming back and encouraging. Funny thing is, I did the same when I was in shape and he was coming out for his first F3 workout. Is very motivating gesture by the young brother.

    2) nothing better than a good CSAUP, specifically a GoRuck, to level the playing field in fitness and force you to support and be supported by the Pax. One of the key mental strength tactics I learned through GoRucks is, if you’re focusing on others — you’re NOT focusing on your own perceived pain and false limitations. Yet another way we are pushed or pulled by those behind or in front of us.

  12. SoCal aka Ballistic

    Aye good post and great comments. Two thoughts:

    1) since I’ve posted to Jungle a few times in recent past, and those Beasts have simply gone crazy with their fitness, I am absolutely dead last. Sampler (and others) are exceptional about coming back and encouraging. Funny thing is, I did the same when I was in shape and he was coming out for his first F3 workout. Is very motivating gesture by the young brother.

    2) nothing better than a good CSAUP, specifically a GoRuck, to level the playing field in fitness and force you to support and be supported by the Pax. One of the key mental strength tactics I learned through GoRucks is, if you’re focusing on others — you’re NOT focusing on your own perceived pain and false limitations. Yet another way we are pushed or pulled by those behind or in front of us.

  13. Sundancer

    Story time
    Setting: The Gauntlet
    Tango Delta drops back seeing that I am struggling. “You can do this. Let’s just run to the next point. [run to point] Okay, I lied, let’s keep going. You’ve got this.”

    Setting: Governator
    Titan is leading 11’s on a series of hills. He stops in transition to make sure I’m not having a seizure. “Just one more set and we’re going to be done. Just give me one more. [do one more] Alright, now let’s do another.”

    There is no stick with this carrot. The finish line is not actually the carrot. The confidence that comes from overcoming your self-perceived limitations is the carrot.

    • Sundancer

      You will always find me in the back, hoping to inspire others to chase that carrot.

  14. Great post Do Re Mi and the comments are great, as well. I’m a back packer in most of the Boot Camps and all Muthaship events.

    I have seen the likes of Lee and Ginsu (stronger and faster men) partner with me at the WIB (which slowed them down a bit). Also, I take great comfort that many will check on us in the back from time to time and audible the workout to give us time to catch up and rest.

    Most guys have learned that being INSPIRATIONAL is better (and better remembered) than being first.

  15. Reverend Flo-rida

    Having a comment about finishing last without me is like making an early 70’s mix tape and not including Norman Greenbaum ( for you Hates and HateHates–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swIcX57vYDI) . My best example of being last was a Farmer led workout in January. Total beatdown, doing the castle with 5 burpees every lap. The rest of the flesh anchors were fart sacking, so i was solo bringing up the rear. On the last lap, Farmer says–“Lets all run the rev’s last lap with him.” I could have shed tears to be supported like that. if last=love, make me last every time.

  16. Do Re Mi

    Just had to jump back in and keep the Rev from being last to comment. Gotta get in the last word. In the end we are all last at something. What’s the best last thing you did?

  17. Gnarly Goat

    DRM,
    THAT is an AWESOME question brother… the last best thing you’ve done where you were last, or uncomfortable, or a fish-out-of-water, etc. Awesome brother.

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