I made it all the way up to the end of the monkey bars? And…

I made it onto that swinging bar? And…

I made it nearly all the way to the end of the pole and to the other side? And…

I was only about 2 feet shy of the end before I finally couldn’t hold on any more?

What the…

That should not have been possible. Right?! I mean, seven months ago it ended so quickly and I completely lacked the strength to keep going, so it should end that way now, shouldn’t it?


Humaning is hard sometimes.

Humaning is also incredibly awesome sometimes.

In the course of about 39 seconds, I monkey-barred between those two extremes, and just… like… that… that ghost from my past was exorcised from me as well.

But nothing could have prepared me for my last personal accomplishment which did more to give me faith in my own physical capability than anything else did that day. The “Dead Ringer.”

Now this, absolutely, 100% should have been impossible. I knew it when I got there. I had no expectations or hope of actually doing it. I mean, look at this thing…


This one was for Mudder Legionnaires only, meaning, only team members who had done a Tough Mudder in the past got to try it. To get across, you must move the rings from peg to peg until you reach the other side of the obstacle. See what I mean? Impossible.

And, come on. It was about 400 feet from the finish line. Our team had been going for ten hours at that point. I was done. My energy was gone. I was just ready to cross that finish line and celebrate with my team.

I had no ghosts from my past telling me I couldn’t do it. I just knew I physically couldn’t do it. I watched all sorts of tougher, lighter, more fit and athletic guys try to get across and not make it. Very few people did. Duh. Of course I wouldn’t, either.

But still, I had to try. I mean, it looked fun and all.

I grabbed two rings. I reached out and put them on the first pegs. And…

I somehow didn’t fall? And…

I somehow was able to keep moving from peg to peg? And…

At the one point when I slipped and was dangling completely by one arm, I was able to recover, pull myself up, and get the free ring to the next peg? And…

I was able to find an awesome rhythm? And..

I made it all the way to the other side?!

What the…

That should not have been possible. Right?! I mean, fill in the blank as to why.


Humaning is hard sometimes.

Humaning is also incredibly awesome sometimes.

In the course of about 27 seconds, I pegged my way between those two extremes, and just… like… that…I realized that I was strong. And capable. And that I really need to stop doubting myself the way I so often do.

Sadly, as far as I know, not a single photo exists of me on King of the Swingers or on Dead Ringer. But it doesn’t matter. I left with something far more incredible than a photograph.

I left with a belief that I am strong.

And perhaps far more importantly…

I left with a belief that I am not weak.

Life is funny, sometimes. That which we fear is usually so irrational. And that which we think we cannot do is usually more within our reach than we want to believe it is.

That is humaning. And I do not understand why it is so natural for us to listen to our fears. I do not understand why we limit ourselves, and expect the worst, and assume the difficult parts of our pasts will repeat themselves. I do not understand why we believe we will fail, and why we believe we cannot do things before we even try. All humans do it, to some degree, in at least some areas of their lives.

And I sincerely mean it when I say I don’t understand why. I mean, we have all tasted the successes and the glory that comes from ignoring those fears and silencing those doubts. We all know that our greatest moments will only come when we believe in ourselves and go for what seems so far out of reach. We know that. We crave that. Yet we doubt that, and we let that keep us from achieving so many things.

Humaning is strange, indeed.

And I will tell you right now… I like the feeling of being better than the limits that my fears love to feed.

Bring on the next one. I have a bell to ring and a Funky Monkey to conquer because… I can do it. And I will do it.

Anyway… thanks for plugging through my Tough Mudder series. We’re almost at the end. Up next… Everest.

My son’s paralyzed stepdad. A blind man who found our team. And perhaps what were the most incredible moments of the entire day…


Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing