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Adventure

Adventure, Hiking, Leadership, Presence of Mind

Why We Are All Meant to Be Climbers

March 3, 2017


After sitting most of the work week and being inside for so long, I knew I needed some time outdoors. I can sense it when my energy gets pretty low, and my surroundings start to feel too confined.

 

That Sunday morning, I drove down to Crowder’s Mountain. The moment that I stepped out of the car and I smelled the pine and saw the trailhead, I felt myself begin to relax. Oftentimes at this point, I feel the urge to snag a picture or adjust my music. But, this time, I left my phone in the car.

 

I set out on a run. I set out on a climb.

 

As I ran deeper onto the trail, I started to see some rocks and boulders. Running on rocks is almost meditative – as much as they make me pay closer attention as I climb the trail, navigating their natural puzzle, they always seem to relax me.

 

I looked over my left shoulder. The morning sun was beginning to come out over the mountaintop.  It was a beautiful view through the trees and I started to lose track of time.

 

I was about halfway up the mountain when I felt my body and mind settle into the pace of the run. That felt about right; it usually takes me just about 20 minutes to settle into it and then see what’s around me – the greenery, the path, my dog running ahead looking back with that “this-is-so-awesome-Dad-let’s-keep-going” face.

 

I approached the top. The trail got steeper. And my run turned into a slower hike.

 

As I hit the last few steps to the summit, I could feel the air on my face. It was much colder. Almost out of breath, I started to see the view from the top.  The sky was so open and so clear and so blue.  There was nothing but open space in my view. And, in that moment, an overwhelming sense of wonder hits me.

 

That sense of wonder turns into a sense of possibility and excitement.  I wonder what else is out there; I wonder what else could be?

 

This wasn’t simply a Sunday morning run. This was a climb – a purposeful move into and out of a confined space; a shift from the thick of a forest to the open view of a mountain’s summit.

 

I think we are all meant to be climbers; not social climbers or actual rock climbers. Climbers as in seekers of open space.

 

There’s clearly great power in the climb but as much as we think our work is the actual climb, there’s a step before that. In order to climb, we must identify the confined space in which we find ourselves.

 

For me, I am inside a lot during the day. So when I have been sitting for a long time and I feel the natural urge to move I know immediately what my confined space is – the office – and I know what I need to do – get outside, run, explore, climb, wander.

 

During the week, I find being outside on a run, bike ride or hike keeps me centered. But what seems to feel really impactful is a weekend climb up the mountain and a view of a wide open vista.

 

I climb for a few reasons. To feel that sense of freedom, curiosity and wonder. To feel more alive and in the moment. To see new possibilities and open up my thinking. But, also to feel more connected to what’s important; what’s simple. Those are all the things that will get me out of any confined space.

 

As I make my way down that mountain many times I find myself laughing out loud like a little kid.  I think I laugh at how something so simple can also be so profound.

Adventure

5 Adventure Pics

February 10, 2017

From time to time, I am going to post some of my favorite travel pictures.  I have been enjoying a little photography lately so here are a few below.

Missouri Mountain, CO

Jackson, WY

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

Grand Teton National Park, WY

Crystal Beach, FL

Adventure, Hiking, Leadership

Why it is important to have great people on your climb

February 2, 2017

I think one of the most important things in life is to have great friends and mentors who challenge us and push us.  One of my good friends Peter Lowry does that for me.  Whether it was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or getting across this snow wall below, he has also been there to keep me going.

 

However, when I first came up to this snow wall I wanted nothing to do with it.  I really wanted to turn around and below were some thoughts on how I got through it.

 

What I got to see instead of turning back…

Thanks Petey!

 

 

Adventure, Running

What inspired me to run up Big Sky Mountain

January 27, 2017

Last year I had a chance to stay up in Big Sky, Montana.  When I arrived I saw this amazing peak and something hit me.  I had this sense of wonder of “hey maybe I could run to the top of that.”

It was like trying to get up there had me really curious and feeling moved.  I always think of my grandfather Poppy too when this happens.  Below were some reflections from about half way up.

This sense of wonder, curiosity and inspiration kept me going that day.  Even when I thought I hit the summit pretty early :).

Ya, I wasn’t quite there yet. So just kept running to see what would happen.  I just got more curious and had more fun with the terrain.  This was me after hitting the top.

 

Adventure, Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking

A workout that keeps me coming back

April 26, 2016

Below is a post I wrote recently for the Madabolic blog.

I have been going to Madabolic for almost three years now.  This is unusual for me as I tend to move from gym to gym and have tried almost every workout in the city. What I love about Madabolic is from the very first time I walked in, their team asked me about what I like to do and my fitness goals. I told them I wanted a good workout but also love to run, bike, do Flywheel, the occasional yoga, hike, ski and just about anything else outside. They said “greatyou should keep doing all of that and let’s figure out how to integrate our workouts into your lifestyle.” 

I appreciated that the team at Madabolic was more focused on how I could improve my lifestyle versus how many times I came to the gym. Most weeks I go to 2-3 classes with some running and other outdoor activities mixed in.

Recently, I told the trainers I was going to join some friends to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa. The trip was only three weeks away when I made the final decision to go. I believe my training at Madabolic was a big reason I could say yes to an opportunity like this. Will Smith once said, “you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.” The trainers even gave me a few things I could do outside of class to prepare for the climb.

I had an amazing experience on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We made it to the Summit (19,341ft.) after a 6.5 day journey. The view was incredible at the top.

mad trucker hat at summit

Leading up to the trip, I was a little worried if I would make it to the Summit. I used to do this with my workouts too…always wondering if I was doing the best one and so focused on the end result. However, the best part of Kilimanjaro was not at the top. What I really enjoyed was going on a journey with great people. I learned to appreciate the simple things. I loved doing something active everyday, taking in the surroundings and not knowing what the next day would bring.  “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder)

After getting back from Kilimanjaro, I have started to put these lessons into practice. My typical Saturday is a good example of this and is also my favorite day for Madabolic classes. The day starts with a 1 mile jog to Mad with my dog Brooks. He sits patiently outside while I workout.

brooks at mad

The workout keeps my mind stimulated, and I never know what to expect since the intervals change everyday. The trainers (Brandon, Kirk, Cristina, Sarah, Carl, Rae and Finley) are very intentional to watch my form and make sure I am getting the most out each repetition. The music is awesome and I am energized by the atmosphere.

mad workout

 

I usually leave tired, breathless but also with the satisfaction of feeling like an athlete again. After I catch up with a few friends, I grab Brooks and we jog over to Atherton Mill Market. The smell from Not Just Coffee is amazing so I grab a coffee and a Bruks Bar. I talk to my favorite farmers and sometimes buy things I have never heard of like Chinese Kale :).

The afternoon may call for some bike cruising around Southend with music playing on my speakers.

bike crusing

I usually have some Lord Huron, Kygo, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit or “Beat It” by Michael Jackson going. I may have even poached a few songs from what I have heard during my workouts at Mad :). Another favorite activity is heading to the Whitewater Center for some Mt. Biking or kayaking with Brooks.

Dinner could be one of my favorite food trucks like Tin Kitchen, something healthy or making some homemade pizzas :). It just depends on what I want to enjoy most!

I usually hit the pillow at night pretty hard appreciating days like this. I am thankful for the team at Madabolic. I have a greater quality of life since starting there a few years ago.

I still get energized thinking about the next Kilimanjaro but until then…I am keeping the focus on how I climb.

Adventure, Exercise

A 10 Minute Morning Adventure

April 9, 2016

Yesterday morning I finished up a doctor’s appointment about 30 minutes earlier than I expected. As I walked out of the office I was thinking about how I missed my morning workout, and it was beautiful outside.

Usually I would have used the extra time to go get some extra work done. But as I walked out to my car I spotted a little park down the road. I decided to wander over and the below video is the end result.

 

A few pictures…

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