“You enter a brightly lit room. The room is completely empty except for a large, raised dais on the far side from where you entered. Atop the dais is a long, oak table carved with ancient symbols and runes. Seated behind the table, cloaked in heavy black robes trimmed in green and blue are the Four Judges of Fate. One of them makes a complex motion with his hands and conjures a plain wooden chair that comes into existence with an audible pop. Another of the Judges motions you to sit. You cross the room and sit before the Judges. With one voice, a harmonic chorus that resonates throughout the room and reverberates to the very center of your soul, they speak: ‘Why do you want to be a Road Warrior?’”
Okay…so that’s not quite how my Road Warrior interview went.
What I did was try to imagine the scene when I entered the room to interview with those who would eventually become my new coaches and friends as if it were a scene in a classic table-top roleplaying game. Think Dungeons & Dragons. Think Pathfinder. Think even video game RPGs like Everquest, World of Warcraft, or Skyrim (you might as well know now: I’m a nerd). What do all of these games have in common? Completing challenges, gaining experience, and leveling up. If you’re not familiar with any of these games, or you’ve never played a video game or RPG in your life, don’t worry…I’ll explain what I’m getting at.
Just like in a classic RPG, I have accepted…no, I have been chosen to embark on a quest. It is a quest of fitness, of health and well-being, of a new lifestyle. It is a quest of ambassadorship to the community. It is a quest to slay the final boss. The final boss battle is going to take place on May 11th, 2013 in Downtown Grand Rapids. It is the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K. Along the way I will face many obstacles and be challenged to the very depth of being, but it is the 25K that is the final goal.
As I begin my training, as I participate in the public runs, as I spread the word to the community about my charity partner, Bethany Christian Services One Family, and the Fifth Third River Bank Run, as I do each of these things, I will gain experience. With experience comes new abilities, or levels, if you will. This is how I will visualize my challenges over the next several months.
Through weight loss and running milestones I will gain levels. I will advance my character and become stronger, faster, and more experienced. I will acquire new tools and techniques, meet new people and make new friends, and I will make real and permanent improvements to my life.
I realize that life is not a game, but these are just some of the ways in which I plan to make the next several months fun and exciting.
Join me, adventurers, as we prepare together to slay the Dragon. I am not yet ready to face this final challenge, but tomorrow I will begin training under the battle-honed experience of my mentors, Coach Mike and Coach Amy. I will also learn from my fellow Road Warriors. Each one of them has unique experiences and skills and we will learn together with and from one another.
“You stand in the midst of thousands of warriors, waiting for the signal to begin. You haven’t even taken the first step yet, but your heart beats hard and fast threatening to burst from your chest. You inhale deeply and draw upon the training of the last several months. You glance around you and see the same nervous excitement and awesome fear in the eyes of your fellow Road Warriors. Together you will travel the path of these final steps to victory. You will run the 15.5 miles to the head of the Dragon, and you will conquer that beast. You will slay your Dragon. For you are a Road Warrior!”