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Clint McManaman

Completing the Strenuous Life Bootcamp

A recap of my final four weeks in the Strenuous Life bootcamp and a look at what's ahead.

I had posted in my previous Strenuous Life recap that February was "one of the heaviest, most hectic months in a long while for me".


February feels "lite" given what the month of March brought to the world. Along with this new reality of COVID-19 being thrust upon our lives, March also brought with it a couple other new reality shifts for me personally.

In week two of March, we said goodbye to the twins we had been fostering for six months. One of the toughest moments in my life, hit me harder than I expected it would.

In the third week, I turned 40. We had plans to fly to Atlanta to celebrate, explore the city, take in the SportingKC vs. Atlanta match, but due to COVID-19 we cancelled all those plans and a few others, missing the opening home game at Sporting Park in KC too.

The Strenuous Life was still going on, I had four weeks left to complete the 12 week bootcamp. I'm really thankful for it, honestly, it was an already established routine I could count on and press into. With all the big life shifting happening around me, all the uncertainty, it served as a healthy distraction.

Badges Earned

The Strenuous Life Challenge Coin

The Strenuous Life Challenge Coin is an award given to Strenuous Life Members who successfully complete the 12-week Strenuous Life Challenge.

Deeds not Words / Facta Non Verba

Class 045 badge

Proud to say that along with completing the bootcamp, my class (Class 045) had the highest completion rate of any in TSL history at 51%! Because of this achievement a new patch is being created for any future class that has 50% or more of their company finishing the bootcamp.

The Polar Bear Badge

Because we completed the challenge during the winter months we earned the Polar Bear badge.

The Pandemic badge

Because COVID-19 added an additional layer of "strenuousity" to the challenge we all received this new badge.

Weekly Agons

Week 9 - 60 minutes outside every day

Thanks to the daily TSL requirement of 60 minutes of physical activity I had already established a routine being in the park to run and walk for an hour a day. Thankfully that week brought us beautiful weather and this challenge was met with ease. Thankful too because that week was the beginning of the end for us as foster parents and so much of our household was being shifted around, the weekly time away in the outdoors was just what I needed.

Week 10 - Attempt to talk to one stranger a day for 7 days.

COVID-19 was already stateside the week prior, and I had grown increasingly hyper-aware of social distancing. When this challenge dropped, I chose to forego the actual physical irl act of connecting with strangers in public and instead utilize this time to build my Cabinet of Invisible Counselors ( a requirement of the Journaling badge I was working on). I reached out to several folks in my field, a couple of fellows outside my field and a couple of dotcomrades whom I had never connected with but what to learn more from. All of these men were open to the idea of mentorship for me.

Week 11 - Fast from Food for 24-hours.

I have fasted many times before, so this wasn't a new challenge, but it's still tough. This particular day at work was full and I worked through lunch without thinking to eat. But it caught up with me later in the day, so I distracted myself with a run in the park to get past the hunger and drank lots of water.

Week 12 - The MicroAdventure

Ha! The final week, the final challenge and all the state and local parks were either closing or heavily restricted due to the virus. The challenge required that you sleep outside at night, involve two hours of active time, visit a place you've never been before and at least a 2-mile hike. I chose to go on a walk in the park, then a run, then camp in my car in the driveway. Many of my fellow Class 045 did variances of this, as we all had to get a little creative based on our geography and restrictions of where we live in the world.

Now that I'm "in"...

So that was bootcamp for me, but the Strenuous Life is a way of life, it's a community, with new challenges, new skills to acquire. I'm currently working on a couple of badges that I plan to complete this month. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this and I'm ending bootcamp with a heart full of thanks for the experience. I set out to do this to challenge myself, to shake off the complacency I had felt and I got that, and more. I'm looking forward to what the Strenuous Life holds for me as a husband, father, friend, co-worker, neighbor and online dotcomrade into this new decade.

Cheers to Living Strenuously,

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