“AGOGE”? What the hell is “AGOGE”?
That was my first thought when I first heard about this new thing from the Spartan Race people a few years ago. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time but it sounded pretty intimidating. 24-48-60 hours of hard work, little sleep and God knows what else… no thanks!
Fast forward to the Fall of 2016 and my tune had changed. I had done plenty of Spartan Races in 2016… 4x Trifecta and 14 total races last year. So it was time to start thinking about what else is out there for me. Set new goals. Push limits in new ways. Basically just see what else I have inside me.
So here is what I learned. Spartan AGOGE is amazing and full of surprises!
Time to prepare so I did my homework…
I did my best to prepare my body based on input from others who had previously completed or attempted the event. I watched YouTube videos. I got everything on the gear list (and there was a shit ton) and participated in the event chat group.
And yet I was still intimidated as hell! 60 hours in the wilderness of Vermont with a bunch of strangers enduring God knows what physically and mentally. I’m just a regular dude from Indiana. Can I do this? Have I bitten off more than I can chew?
Then the day arrived. It was time to find out. AGOGE 005 was at hand.
I met some fellow gluttons for punishment (Dom and Stan) at Boston Logan Airport and we proceeded to get to know each other, share tales of our lives and get psyched up for what was coming. Getting to know these guys (and others) prior to the start made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. You never really appreciate how important it is to have genuine support until you are significantly tested in life. This was never more real for me than during AGOGE 005.
It all started at Midnight on June 2, 2017. Over the next 65 hours, I would be challenged in ways I had never experienced before. My body was tested. My mind was tested. My spirit and will were tested. My ability to be selfless and committed to the mission were tested over and over and over…
And I FRICKEN LOVED IT!
So the surprises…
- It doesn’t always pay to be first – AGOGE is about team first while pushing your limits – this is NOT A RACE!!!
- Everyone sucks at some point. These events test every aspect of an individual. The biggest, toughest guy can wince at the thought of eating a worm. The smartest land navigator can struggle to carry a pack 10 miles. EVERYONE has a weakness. This makes the team all the more important if you hope to make it through.
- Limits are self-prescribed. This is somewhat intuitive given all of the motivational quotes in the world, but until you experience that point when you would normally choose comfort over continuing in pain… you have no idea what the other side feels like.
- I am fucking bulletproof if I allow myself to be. Fear is man-made. I am wildly more capable and resilient that I ever knew before. Performing strenuous tasks with only 3.5 hours of sleep over a 70+ hour span is 100% possible!
- There are some unbelievably kick-ass people all over this world who share the same desire for continual growth and challenge that I have.
So I landed on the term “bonding through suffering” to describe the essence of my Spartan AGOGE 005 experience. Spending 65+ hours with people who started as strangers enduring whatever was thrown at us by our Krypteia (event leaders), picking each other up when one fell, sharing food and water to prepare for the next phase, boosting each other in our darkest moments… that was
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to experience this truly special event. I went in hoping to learn big things about myself and shine light on some of my own personal demons. What I got was all of that and so much more.
We Will Endure! AROO…