“Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it, until you become the person who can.”

Setting a goal so big I can’t achieve it until I become the person who does is a mindset like the grinding, clawing, muddy, steep incline I faced last weekend.

I am an Obstacle Course Race competitor. A relatively new one, really. My first Spartan was three years ago at 49 years old. Since then, I’ve decided I want to “Win” a Spartan Sprint. (For me, that means getting a spot on the Podium in the Master’s Division, which is age 40 and up.)

IMG_4135 2Last weekend, I left for Spartan Portland Sprint praying that I would come back a changed person. I left thinking there is a real possibility I could end up standing on that podium holding a trophy, and that would change my life. But there was a better possibility I wouldn’t win. And that could change my life.

Winning the trophy was an opportunity to step away from this audacious goal; to end the era of Andrea Bowden, the athlete. Not winning the trophy also meant an opportunity to step away from this crazy goal. To stop this madness of trying to podium at such a demanding event in which the winners, my competitors, are “public figures,” performing on national television shows like American Ninja Warrior or Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. They are women who compete most months, if not most weekends. They are women more than 10 years younger than I am.

The goal of placing at a Spartan race is becoming more and more complicated. Every year it will be harder on my aging body. My training will need to be more meticulous. It’ll be more dangerous for my health and well-being. The energy it takes to keep up is vast.  Everything about it is wrong. I need to quit.

But I don’t think that’s going to happen.


I didn’t come back the changed person I had hoped for. But, I am growing into the person I want to be. Spartan is just a race, and one I don’t get a lot of opportunity to try. But every day I wake up, this race makes me want to be stronger, better, more resilient, more tolerant, more able to let go of things that I can’t control.

The grinding, clawing, steep muddy incline of maintaining this mindset is often more than I can keep up. But, God has given me an event that helps me move forward, not backward. Sure, the goal is not THE Goal, as the old cliché tells us, the journey; the path; the day-to-day is the reward….but sometimes it’s SO HARD to keep going.

What I want to say is, for some of us, we have to not quit even the biggest, most impossible dreams because that’s what God gave us to keep us moving forward. For some of us, the tiny thread that keeps us going is the biggest, hairiest, most audacious goal.

What is yours?


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