The Inferno

    “I could do that. It’s not that hard.”

    That person talking is me. That fool. That egotistical blowhard. Me. What I was doing when I said that was watching American Ninja Warrior. Me. Slightly pudgy, barely athletic, and only of average strength. I could do that, I said. Wouldn’t be so bad if not for loving Mrs. Me being well within earshot.

    “You could?” She said with a wry smile and a touch of suspicion. “You could do that? You could race on monkey bars, run up and down huge hills, use a rope to climb a wall? You could do that?”

    Feeling confident that she could not call my bluff, and feeling like I was already tasting the tough skin of my own foot, I nodded and continued my braggadocio. I thought nothing of it… until I woke up the next morning.

    There I was, the next morning, in my slippies, reading the Oregonian and drinking my coffee when my wife slipped a note under my nose. The Inferno, it says.

    “What’s this?” I asked.

    “You said that you could do it,” She said.

    “Do what?”

    “American Ninja Warrior. Well, here’s your chance.”

    I gulped, knowing that I had gotten a little too big for my britches. With a good amount of trepidation, I asked: “What’s the Inferno?”

    “I’m so glad you asked,” her big blue eyes lighting up like the Aurora Borealis. The Inferno is an extreme obstacle course challenge. A race. It’s happening on September 10th in Salem. You and I are going to compete.”

    I gulped. I looked at her toned arms, her runners’ legs, her fit body. I liked what I saw, of course, but it also had me worried that I was going to be humiliated come September 10th.

    Perhaps sensing my trepidation, and no doubt trying to needle me a bit, she continued: “There is a 3-4 mile course with 15 obstacles, a six miler with 20 obstacles, and a 13.1 miler with 30+ obstacles. Running, swimming, climbing, jumping. Guess which one you are signed up for?”

    I gulped, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.

    “Don’t worry. 3-4 miles. Tops,” She grinned.

    I was briefly relieved, but then the reality of just how far 3-4 miles is sunk in. This was going to tough. Oh, my mouth had gotten me in trouble once again. I guess I was going to have to hit the treadmill and get in shape so that the day wouldn’t be a total disaster. “Gotta go,” I said to my wife, who was laughing uproariously.

    If you would like to subject yourself to extreme punishment, visit After the challenge, stick around for the after party, complete with food, drinks, music and revelry. Salem, Oregon is just an hour south of Portland, Oregon. I’ll be there. I hope to see you too!

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