Training for The Race

We had one month to train for the Race from the time we were told we were selected to when we would leave for Los Angeles (orientation, meetings, bag checks, etc).  That meant trying everything and anything we could to get familiar with various tasks and each other. Unlike other teams that would have years, if not lifetime relationships, we had only known each other and dated for slightly over a year.

We decided that every day we would train at least 30 minutes with our packs including weight.  That meant at the gym on the treadmill or stair climber, or outside on the stairs, or on the beach.  Some days we did interval runs and others was just traditional hiking.  But in either case we got used to the weight, to the fit and to the fatigue of a weighted down backpack.

Other activities that we did just one time (just for familiarity and in the event they could show up on the race) were kayaking, rock climbing, and rappelling.

Some activities we did repeatedly to get in better physical shape and learn the proper technique, swimming, cycling, pilates and plyometric cross training.

And then there were the things we did in mental preparation – learning how to tie knots, map reading, compass reading, mental games, puzzles and brain teasers. Oh, and we watched every single episode of seasons 12-20.  Then we re-watched 20 again.  We had a feeling that because of the success of season 20, our season might have similarities.

Finally, Abbie never had learned how to drive a stick shift. So for a few hours every week we borrowed her sister’s boyfriend’s car, a 1990 Toyota Camry, and she practiced on side streets and highways.  This was by far the bane of our relationship for the better part of 4 weeks.  Every fight or argument we had seemed to revolve around stop-starts and the concept of down shifting.  This may have been our greatest preparation for the race – not the actual mastering of the stick shift, but how we learned to manage emotions, feelings and the right and wrong ways to argue discuss.


Training Jui Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu is not just a martial art. It’s not just a method of self – defense. I study Jui Jitsu because it allows me to escape into another realm of consciousness.  For one hour, almost every day, I put on the gi, and I learn this beautiful art.  When I’m training, my mind is “off” as most people would say, but for me its actually “on.”  Whatever stress or anxiety or concerns that have filled my head that day, they are removed entirely from my thoughts. I study the technique and practice it and repeat.  I then train, freely, flowing with my partner until submission or time stoppage.  I repeat that over and over and over.  When I am finished I am somewhat reborn. Those stresses and anxieties and conerns may still exist but their impact is reduced.  My approach to them may be clearer.

I then take these hours of mat time, training and learning and improving to competitions.  There is no greater adrenaline rush than standing across the mat from your opponent, man to man, ready to engage in a battle of strength, technique, speed and determination to win.

I would like to think one day I will master this sport, but that’s not possible.  So I will spend every day trying.

Starting a New Business

I’ve had the good fortune of forming and branding and operating a globally recognized and well reputed financial services firm.  With employees and a business partner that thoroughly understand and embrace our clients and their needs, the company has thrived since 2008.  In that time I have come across little nuggets of wisdom, usually learned through a failure on some level. Of course success has been rewarding and I embrace success more than failure (who doesn’t?) but it was those failures that have opened my eyes and guided our development as a company.

In the coming year I am excited about the launch of two new businesses. I will rely heavily on my own experiences with the financial services firm in order to pave a similar, and hopefully even more profitable path.  I am looking forward to sharing some of those moments of success and times of failure and their lessons with you.