Sitting on the plane chatting with my mother today is a welcome break after a furious first quarter. Recent shocks in my support system are making April pretty tough so far and feel like i need to write a bit and see if it helps me understand my feelings. My travel goals have been going well, have made some good progress on most of my other annual goals but in the last few days have focused inward on what is important in life. Many people discuss work life balance and espouse the necessity of not working too much and focus on family and personal relationships. I believe that i have a good social life both with my colleagues as well as an active social life away from the office, but I do have to wonder what if I took more time to relax and “smell the roses”? What if I spent more time with family than chasing the next race, the next adventure, the quarterly goal at the office? Would I be any happier? Any more able to support those I love?
My family has gone through some tough emotional times in the last week losing a very dear member far before her time to a sudden stroke. We loved her and she will be greatly missed but I believe knowing her zest for life she would encourage us all to continue to grasp life everyday and live, love and learn. Just last night some dear friends lost their Grandfather, he was a great man whom I was very fortunate to have spent time with. Hs intelligence and what joy he brought to the family, his music, his intellect, and just knowing how to have a good time will be dearly missed.
Feeling these losses makes me sad, knowing that my loved ones will suffer as we deal with loss hurts more while making me wonder what I can do to soften these difficult occurrences. Being gone frequently probably doesn’t help and limits my time with those I love but I have a sense of wanderlust that needs to be satiated. In a selfish way I feel that my travels and experiences are things I get to bring back to my family and loved ones every time we are together, being away makes being together all the more special. Does this make me too selfish?
To all my family and friends, please know how much you all mean to me, you are what makes me smile when I get up in the morning and before bed at night, I am lucky to have such a great group of loved ones and could never ask for anything better.
Spending this weekend with Mom seeing a new place and getting some Mother Son time will be a good place to refocus on family and how important we are to one another.
Aloha for now
In January I completed the Go Ruck challenge. Having initially seen mention of Go Ruck combined with Tough Mudder in 2010, I always wondered if I could manage to complete the challenge. Go Ruck is no longer associated with Tough Mudder but I did see some people with Go Ruck backpacks at my last TM. Late last year I decided that when there was a challenge in Dallas I would do it, so I signed up. I bought a bag and got six bricks and thought about what to do for training.
Having spent some time running with a weight vest on and done a bunch of different events and challenges I figured all I really needed to do was get ready for the weight of the ruck. The was poor planning on my part. I routinely complete a Men’s Fitness workout that I highly recommend for simplicity and challenge, Spartacus workout. I should have spent far more time Spartacus Training with my bricks rather than just running (rucking). The 3 months worth of rucking 2-3 times per week working up to 8 miles was some of the hardest running I have ever done. This included a few fun ruck events with friends and family including the Dallas Turkey Trot, dressed in a turkey costume but with a ruck full of bricks. I should have guessed how hard it was going to be when I had to walk during my first long ruck but figured I would continue to get stronger as I grew accustomed to the bricks both running and Spartacus training.
As the anticipation grew I came closer to the conclusion I would never be ready and figured I would just have to gut it out as I have done with so many other events, after all the training section on the Go Ruck site it does say:
Beer, aka the latest in advanced cellular repair technology, is the official drink of the GORUCK Challenge. Don’t take the Challenge so seriously. Go for a run or two, have fun, and just do it. It’s all mental.
Yeah that’s it, its all mental right? Short answer, yes actually it is all mental. The physical aspects were some of the toughest I have endured but becoming a team in grueling conditions in the cold sleet while running our missions was amazing, fulfilling, hard as f*&$, but I will do it again. I will not go through the total details of the challenge since I recommend anyone interested to simply give it a try and learn what “An original dose of good livin” can do for you.
Our squad met for our Ruck Off at a bar downtown near the start. The mix of people was great men and women, adventure racers, and novices, veterans and newbies, such good crew. Having ridden the train downtown it was funny to hear people consider going back to the car for this or that but at that point I was committed to what in my ruck and was ready to go. Meeting the team convinced me that I was somewhere in the middle as far as training went and was far more comfortable that this would be a test of mental grit as much as physical strength. We wandered to the starting point in a park in downtown just before our 10pm start time.
The last guy to wander into the squad was G, he was doing a B2B and had completed the challenge the night before and only slept a couple hours. G is a beast and we were lucky to have him along. We lined up got our instructions and began our first “mission”, we were all giddy and ready to get started so we did not do well in staying together and moving as a group early on but all those things would change over the next 12 hours.
After establishing our comm we Indian ran across downtown to City Hall where we started our evening with some PT. Was a good time and I wish I knew how long we worked out for since it was one of the harder workouts I have done recently. Cadre Michael got us into the pond in front of City Hall to make sure we were working hard enough to stay warm I think.
From there the missions continued until well after dawn and included getting in the Trinity River very early in the morning even though it was sleeting. As the night wore on many of us had opportunities to lead the team as well as carry other people and tons of other heavy sh!t
Rather than describe in detail the training, teamwork, obedience, challenge, leadership, and fun, I will just show some photos and assure everyone that it was the best physical challenge and team event I have ever done. I plan on running at least a few other challenges and probably some other Go Ruck events, Navigator is high on the list as well as Scavenger for fun.
On our way back into downtown we were all really settling into our team movement and finally seeing that we may just get through this. Unfortunately two members of the team dropped out somewhere around 3am but the rest of us persevered and running up Main St. at dawn while doing some Go Ruck chants was fantastic and exciting. After getting back to the park and meeting up with a visiting Cadre and his family we completed some more PT before being presented with our patch. All in all waiting for the train to get me home for some well deserved rest I reflected on what I think is one of the premiere events out right now and would strongly suggest anyone who has thought about signing up must do so immediately.
The company makes a great bag, the cadre are an amazing group who have proudly served our country and deserve our respect and admiration. Supporting Go Ruck also helps supports the service members who are part of Go Ruck while also supporting America’s great Special Forces Community via the Green Beret Foundation. The hardest part is indeed signing up, I think I may just sign up again soon, not sure what city to try or if I will be ready but I will give it a try and again learn what it takes to make a group of individuals into a team.
Time get memorialize my goals for 2013. In years past I have not done well at New Years Resolutions but this time I figure if I commit them to public view then I have a strong reason to make sure and complete everything. The list is fairly lengthy and will require commitment to work hard day and night throughout the coming year, but I think it should bring fulfillment and growth in the coming year. Much of the academic effort is based on the Self Guided MBA from Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Art of Non-Conformity, that a wonderful friend turned me on too a few years ago.
I have always wanted to expand my liberal arts side and to see if I could work through his suggested course work in a single year, while maintaining normal work and life pressures. In addition to Guillebeau’s curriculum I will be a bit more specific about what I want to read, where I want to travel, and will expand greatly on the “gym membership” or healthy portion of his plan. Below is my interpretation and personal growth goals for 2013. I will maintain a reading list, athletic achievements and failures, as well as a travel guide to see just how much I can accomplish alongside my day job managing our portfolio at the office.
Self Guided MBA/2013 Growth and Development Plan:
Read 3 major world religious texts(Torah, Koran, Bible)
50 books (10 history, 10 brewing or entrepreneurial, 20 classics, 10 misc)
Read The Economist cover to cover every week
Chinese study (2 hours per week, including at least one blog post published in Mandarin)
English grammar (1 hour per week)
DSVP and charity work (2+ hours per week)
Refine and expand on this blog and adhere to minimum bi-weekly posting schedule
Visit at least 3 new countries
Finish visiting all 50 states (Only Washington and Hawaii remain)
Hike in at least 5 states
Complete one significant event per month (significant is at least a half marathon, 50 mile bike, Mountain 3500 m, etc.)
Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
Complete the Go Ruck Challenge
Complete 3 triathlons one being a Half Iron
Finish the car……
Skills to acquire:
Learn to ride my unicycle with a stretch goal of juggling while on the unicycle (clown fall back career)
Video editing to begin posting some of my GoPro videos
Backwoods navigation by compass and GPS and outdoor survival skills
2 new knots a month
Explore new music (10+ concerts, 5 new favorite albums)
Spend more time with family
Visit 5 new breweries
Do more dancing
More that needs to be done but this seems like enough to memorialize.
Best wishes to all for a fantastic 2013
Watching the scenery go by was gorgeous and made me wonder what life was like along the Nile thousands of years ago.Spending a few days cruising the Nile wasn’t all just rushing from one ancient place to another there was some downtime as well.
Cruising the Nile is such a lovely experience. I tired to capture a small portion of it in the few days I had but there is not way to summarize the experience in photos or words.
There was something special about seeing a beautiful Coptic church tower beside a similarly beautiful mosque’s minaret both towering above the same village.
For the people who were concerned about security, don’t worry I got this.
Egyptian archeologists are working on the road between Karnak and Luxor with a two mile stretch of 3000 sphinx. It will be amazing once it is finished but they have to move many homes and businesses and apparently has been ongoing negotiations for 30 years.
Couple more views of this beautiful obelisk
Bit closer to see the magnificent hieroglyphics
The amount of color that has survived 2000+ years is amazing, have huge sand storms to thank for the preservation.
Apparently the Nile lacks very many bridges so crossings are often times on small boats. The group sat below but I rushed up to the roof to catch the views.
Outside of the valley of the Kings is this magnificent temple of Hatshepsut, carved into the mountain. The statues in front are in wonderful condition.