Obstacle Racers Make the Best Couples: To My Wife on Our Anniversary

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Today marks the 11th wedding anniversary with my wife, Heather, and I couldn’t feel more thrilled, thankful, and blessed. Considering that according to an article in The Economist┬áthe average American marriage lasts around eight years, we have plenty to celebrate. Looking back, we may be new to the world of OCR, but we have always been obstacle racers on the course of life. Honestly, I don’t think we (or anyone) could have made it this far without being so.

In honor of my OCR queen, Her Majesty Heather, here’s why Obstacle Racers make the best spouses (and partners).

Damn that's one fine couple!

Damn that’s one fine couple!

We are Friends and Allies:

Heather and I are complete and total opposites in every way, but we discovered something magical which has served us since our friendship in college: we adore one another as other. We share a love for the other’s company, though we have little to nothing in common. Because we love the other as other, we can completely share in one another’s life selflessly.

This foundation is also what powers the community of OCR. Everyone converges on the race with different backgrounds and motivations, but we all celebrate and help one another at every turn regardless of those divergent backgrounds. Heather, you are the best of friends: someone with whom to join in the adventure. Thank you for being part of mine.

I'm a muddy girl, in a muddy wooorrlld. Wrapped in spandex, this course can't handle it!

I’m a muddy girl, in a muddy wooorrlld. Wrapped in spandex, Sparta can’t handle this!

We’ve Got Your Back

In our relationship I am the dreamer and adventurer, while Heather is often the voice of reason–a solid ground. Without the gravity of reason and sound calculation, dreams would have nothing fertile in which to plant roots.

Sometimes we dreamers walk aloof, oblivious to danger, our minds lingering in the clouds. If I am a balloon, Heather is the kid who has me on a string. Otherwise, I’d float off and go Icarus.

Heather, your the best of lovers because you keep me honest, safe, and on plan. Sometimes I take training too far, sometimes I push myself too hard too soon and get hurt. Thank you for helping me understand my limits, how to wisely confront them, and not teasing me too badly when I come home with a new “I told you so” moment.


woody reality



Obstacles Ahead: Challenge Accepted

Relationships are difficult, and marriage seems impossible at times. In a culture where we toss things for the slightest malfunction or cosmetic imperfection, where we base our fidelity upon the emotions of the moment, we’ve lost sight of the big picture. We’ve forgotten that our health and relationships, dreams and goals, are not lived out like a fad diet or quick and easy workout program. They are not disposable.

By my estimation, according to cultural norms, Heather and I should have divorced many times over simply because we’ve spent the majority of our marriage fighting long, hard battles. But such is the perspective of an obstacle racer. We know the race will be long, we know the path is crawling with obstacles and traps waiting to bar our way. Someone may get hurt, one of us may tire, maybe even want to surrender, but the fight remains because the end is always worth the effort. Our love and friendship is forged in struggle. There is no defeat, as long as we rely on one another in the race.

Heather, you are the best of teammates because I know that you are poised to fight for us, even if I’m the obstacle, on and off the course. Your cheers are like gasoline splashed upon the hot, steady coals of our marriage. When I tire, when I don’t think I have another ounce of strength, your encouragement ignites an indomitable passion to battle on.


Heather, this 11th year of marriage is like the 11th mile of a race of unknown distance, where every obstacle is “classified,” but there is no one else I’d rather have along the adventure. You are my queen, the regent of my heart; may I always have the honor of being your muddy knight in compression gear armor.


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