Bryce Amdur served the Army for almost 5 years. Sadly, in February 2013, he was medically discharged at 30% disability. A year before he was released, he was battling pain and, in his own words, “inabilities to be a soldier”. A depression hit him hard because he thought he wasn’t a worthy soldier any more.

“I loved being a soldier and I loved serving my country”, explains Bryce. “I went to Iraq in 2010 where I was a 15 Romeo which is an Apache attack helicopter mechanic. I was also the DART – downed aircraft mechanic – team leader while detached from my unit in southern Iraq. After Iraq I had started dealing with back, neck and left shoulder pain. I had come to find out that my spine had deteriorated disks in C2-C5, which was causing my left trapezes to not sit right. I also was dealing with PTSD. I did pain therapy, PT, while also receiving 2 spinal taps and steroids put directly into my spine. Some days it would get as bad as not being able to walk.”

As he was preparing to become medically discharged from the military his wife was having difficulty dealing with the depression and the PTSD that Bryce was suffering from. She had just started working for the police department as a dispatcher.

One fateful night, Bryce reached arguably the darkest moment in his life. “I had my pistol against my head with the safety off and ready to go. The only thing that kept me from my own death was my son Ryan. I knew I couldn’t let him live without a father. I called my wife at work.”

Bryce’s wife came home with a police escort and took their son. Next day he was served with restraining order as well as an order to exit his house he had bought only 3 months earlier within 24 hours.

“I served the last months of my Army carrier homeless. As soon as I was released, I had nowhere to go but back to California. I drove like a bat out of hell from Kansas to California. I arrived at my parent’s house 27 hours after I was released in Kansas. We finalized the divorce where she would receive everything, including the custody of my son and our home with me having visitation, as well as receiving all the debt from the marriage. Needless to say I filed for bankruptcy at the early age of 25. As I am still considered homeless by the VA, I am back living at my parents.”

Bryce continued along the path of taking care of himself because of the burning passion in his veins for his son Ryan. He pulled himself out of depression by surfing for 4 straight months.

“Every week I have to see a chiropractor in order to function somewhat normal. After 2 years had passed of pain and depression, I am finally able to prove to myself…that I won’t allow the war or any other life altering event effect my emotions and my outlook on life.”

Now free of the depression that haunted him, he has set a goal in coming back from injury and defeating the demons that plagued him.

“My goal of the Trifecta this year is my finish line in coming back from my injury. Crossing that finish line at Temecula meant more to me than anyone could believe. The tears I shed are for all the soldiers who have been injured or killed. It was all I could think about that after all the hell I’ve been through. I beat all the odds stacked up against me and crossed that finish line. I dropped to the ground in tears not just from the pain in my neck and back, but from the feeling that I would live again.  I completed the Spartan Sprint this January and am signed up for the beast in Monterey.”

It was along the way that Bryce found an outlet. A channel through which he could direct the pain and misery away that was hanging over him like a malevolent blanket of misery. Comedy turned out to be his savior.

“I ended up picking up comedy as a release and now I’m an up and coming comedian. I feel that laughter is the last true happiness left on earth.”

“For my entire life, everyone said I should be a comedian because I was funny and had good characteristics to do so. After I had lost everything I began writing comedy to kind of cheer myself up. It wasn’t till this year that I took off with my comedy and began performing at open mike nights. It’s all still new to me, but I have been writing for over a year and now it’s time to put it all out there for the world. It just makes me feel so good to bring so much joy to the audience.”

Even under impossible odds, Bryce knew what it meant to fight back and truly understand what it means when we say that you’ll know at the finish line.

Will you? Sign up today at spartanrace.com for your next Spartan race.

If you feel like you could use some help in your life when it comes to the issues that Bryce experienced, here are some links that may be of some help to you.

http://www.adaa.org/
http://www.samaritansusa.org/
http://www.afsp.org/local-chapters

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Blair Christie beams the smile of someone who is very happy with her achievements.

“I am currently smaller now than I was in 4th grade!” she exclaims, probably showing her midriff. But it wasn’t always a case of smiles and true happiness. 

Poor eating and in her own words, “a sedentary lifestyle” saw her become another victim of the couch. With the vicious cycle of depression simply adding to the problem, it became a downward spiral. Blair grabbed hold of herself and fought against that spiral.

“In 2009, I was just shy of 300 pounds and really struggled with depression.  I had such a horrible self-image and just had enough. At that point, I could not even bend over to tie my shoe laces without getting winded much less even consider doing a Spartan Race!”

“I still have about 30 more that I would like to lose but currently I am just working on getting stronger and building muscle to tone my loose skin. Over my span of 3.5 years of working on getting better and stronger not only have I lost the weight but I have run a full marathon, a half & am now a certified TaeBo(R) instructor. That has allowed me to give back as I have been teaching for a year and a half and helping others overcome their own challenges.”

“I have maintained small victories every day that have added up to huge ones. I will be participating in the upcoming Spartan Beast run on Nov. 9 in South Carolina with a group of all dudes that are like my brothers! They have been a huge encouragement to me the whole way and have always believed in me. I just wanted to say thank you for putting on a race that has challenged me to push to a whole new level of fitness that is out of my comfort zone.” 

The lady that fought back brought back from her own private battleground, lessons she learned in her victory. Lessons of how humility can greatly aid the fight anyone has with whichever obstacle that stands before them.

“I am thankful that I know that you don’t get any better if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone. I am excited about always getting better and stronger. I cannot lie and say that I am not nervous about race day, but what a sweet victory it is going to be when I cross that finish line!”

She’ll know at the finish line. Will you?

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