Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spartan Race Wrap Up- Obstacle Course As A Metaphor For Life

The descent to Hades is the same from every place.

The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

In many ways, an obstacle course is a metaphor for life. As we go through this one life we have, there are ups and downs, windy roads, easy spots, tough spots, tougher spots, impossible spots, things to go over, things to go under, sometimes you'll have a heavier load, sometimes a lighter load. Along the way you'll notice people traveling faster than you, and some going slower. 

What an obstacle course of this magnitude will teach you, is that you have to run your own race at your own pace. Sometimes you'll get hurt and will have to carry wounds... but you'll be surprised how they pale in comparison to the next task. And in time, they all heal. You will discover when you can push it and when you have to walk a spell. You will figure out when to ask for help and when to offer help.

Most importantly, though, it all boils down to this. Whatever obstacles you face...

"The best way out is always through." -Robert Frost

Yes, I overcame nervousness and trepidation to run my first Spartan Race. They distribute no maps before the race so no one had any idea where they were running except to follow the ribbons and path provided, thereby testing not only your physical prowess but mental toughness as well. Just like in life... there are no road maps, right?

I ran up and down steep inclines, darted along winding forest paths, crossed a rope bridge that spanned raging rapids, climbed a rope out of waist high mud, climbed another rope up a sheer incline, hauled a sandbag, dragged a rock by a chain, trudged/ swam through shallow river water littered with fallen tree limbs, crawled on my belly under barbed wire, hurled a javelin, scaled high walls, and hurdled fire. And now... I am Spartan!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Neale Donald Walsch

It took me 2 hours and 7 minutes to complete the 4.5 mile course. And at that time, I beat roughly 40% of the field. It was one of the most challenging events I've ever experienced. And I would absolutely do it again now that I halfway know what to expect. What I WILL NOT be doing is going after the Spartan Super Race (8+ miles) or the Spartan Beast (10+ miles). The Spartan Sprint is quite enough for me. Though, I might do a Super with a team. Maybe.

At it's core, the Spartan Race is about overcoming, physical and mental... and in some cases emotional. I discovered new aspects about myself in the process. I shattered limits that I'd previously had in terms of activities performed and general endurance. Three days after the race, my legs are still sore in areas that had not yet known anguish. In the end, I am soooo glad I did it. And even more than that, I'm proud of myself for finishing.

Below are a few pics of me and a video.

Before the race

In action...

After the race.

Battle scars, right leg

Battle scars, left leg

I EARNED that medal!!

Here are some videos and news coverage of the event, which was held in Charlotte, NC.

Here's a link to some still shots from the event

Here's a video

Friday, March 23, 2012


"Spartans... Prepare For Glory!" is a line from the movie 300. But it is that, which I am doing right now. Tomorrow, March 24th 2012, I will embark on the most physically challenging undertaking I have ever encountered; The Spartan Race!

The Spartan Race is not just cross country running, not just a trail race or mud run or an obstacle course... No, the Spartan Race is the ultimate obstacle race designed by seven ultra athletes and a Royal Marine. It is designed to test your resilience, strength, stamina, and quick decision making skills.

On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit.' As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.

~Ayton Senna, former F1 champion

There are four levels of difficulty for a Spartan Race
Sprint 3-4 miles, 10 obstacles
Super 8-10 miles, 15+ obstacles
Beast 10-12 miles, 20 obstacles
Death mud runs, obstacle racing, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in a +48 hour adventure race

I am participating in the Spartan Sprint. (Baby steps, people). Below are some videos to give you an idea of what I'll be facing.

So... what are you waiting for? Click here: Spartan Race and sign up for the closest Race to you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Artful Thursday: Cronus... Like Father, Like Son- The Prophecy Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

In Greek Mythology, Cronus (also spelled Kronos) was the youngest male offspring of Gaia (The Earth) and Uranus (The Sky) and leader of the Titans, who were the second generation of deities following the primordial ones. Cronus was also known as Father Time.

According to Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus deeply envied his father, Uranus' power to rule the heavens, so he devised a plan to overthrow him. After a murderous coup in which he castrated Uranus with a sickle, Cronus became king of the gods and ushered in the Golden Age. He ruled with the help of Rhea, his sister and queen and had six children; Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus.

It was later prophesied that Cronus himself would be overthrown by one his own sons. In a fit of madness and cunning, Cronus attempted to preempt the prophesy and ate all of his children as soon as they were born... All save one; Zeus, who later fulfilled the prophesy. Rhea gave Cronus a rock in swaddling clothes whom he thought was Zeus. Meanwhile Rhea gave birth to Zeus on Crete. Zeus returned to Mount Olympus, rescued his siblings and a ten year war ensued, during which the Olympian gods overthrew the Titans.

Presenting Cronus as Art:

In case you're confused, this picture is an older version of Marvel Comics' modern interpretation of Cronus.

This is an updated Marvel Comics' interpretation of Cronus that gets back to his roots a bit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Critique of The Sky Throne By Shelley Watters

I was honored to have Shelley Watters critique my pitch and first 150 words for The Sky Throne. Here are her comments:

Name: Christopher S. Ledbetter
Title: The Sky Throne
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word count: 85,200

Pitch: In order to become powerful enough to avenge an attack on his family, Zeus must access the power of The Sky Throne. But, doing so might kill him in the process.

Shelley's Comments: Great, powerful pitch here. 


The distance between darkness and light was a nano-moment, my mother once told me. A sliver of space. The breadth of a strand of hair. I hadn’t known what she’d meant until that day. And still wished I hadn’t.

Shelley's Comments: I love this opening paragraph. However, that said, I've heard that you shouldn't open a YA with mentioning the protagonist's parents. But I really do love this.

I trudged up the darkened beach, digging my toes in the sand with each step. Visions of pearl-skinned sea nymphs still danced in my head. Their iridescent eyes and seductive charms made me smile.

"C’mon, Zeus" Anytos called, throwing a stick at my feet.

I held a finger in the air.

"Zeus, seriously." He clapped his hands.

"Wait. Hold on." I closed my eyes to enjoy the images of those sea nymphs. Just a moment longer.

"Zeus!" His words sliced sideways through my memories of them. "Sun’s nearly up. We don’t have much time!" Tos stood at the top of a dune, calling down.

I sighed. “I’m coming.”

Shelley's Comments: I have nothing to critique for this. I loved the opening scene. Other than starting with the mc's parent thing (which, even though that's the advice, I still like it as-is). Great writing, beautiful description. Great job Chris! 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Apple Gift Pack Giveaway by Sparkling Reviews

If you like Apple Products as much as I do, enter to win an Apple Gift Pack Right Here!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Artful Thursday: In The Right Light, Everything Is Extraordinary~ Homage To Apollo

Into my heart's night
Along a narrow way
I groped; and lo! the light,
An infinite land of day.

Last week I posted about Hyperion, one of the original 12 Titans and original deity of the sun. I also posted about how his son Helios inherited the sun from him. And since we're on the subject of Sun Deities, Apollo is often considered to be God of the Sun.

I think Apollo's relationship to the Sun is blurred a bit because he is often depicted in a similar manner as Helios; both young, handsome, boyish charm and good looks (The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth)... both with auras of light crowning their heads.

But while Helios is associated the Sun only, Apollo is in fact one of the most complex deities in any pantheon. The son of Zeus and Leto, Apollo has been widely recognized as a god of light (and the sun), truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo also became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks.

Without further ado... Apollo

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Second Campaigner Challenge-4th Platform Building Campaign

Thank you to Rachael Harrie for putting together this Campaigner Challenge.

Using the picture below, Do one or more of the following:

  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”

Pitch: When the sun goes supernova and devolves into a Black Hole, humans have 30 days until the world is swallowed up. Archeologists Gemma and Dante must overcome a huge fight and risk everything to save three of the world's most prized artifacts. But when they reach the very last rocket off the earth, there's only space for one more person.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Artful Thursday: Helios-Let Your Light ShineOn Me

Because of such an incredibly mild winter, and the Sun just reappeared the other day after many days of hide-and-seek behind stubborn cloudbanks, I decided to reopen Artful Thursday with Helios, The Greek God of the Sun

Now as some of my readers may know, but many may not, Hyperion was the first Greek deity associated with the sun. Hyperion was one of the original twelve Titans, and Helios his son. In later Ancient Greek literature, Hyperion is always distinguished from Helios; the former was ascribed the characteristics of the 'God of Watchfulness and Wisdom', while the latter became the physical incarnation of the Sun. Hyperion plays virtually no role in Greek culture and little role in mythology, save in lists of the twelve Titans. 

And so it was, that Helios then inherited the great ball of fire from his father and became the complete personification of the fiery orb. Helios is often depicted as fiercely handsome with a bright halo of sorts encircling his head. At a certain point Apollo is also associated with the Sun and as being the God of Light, and so I will present him next week.

But for now, I present... Helios