Push Your Limits

I signed up for the #29029 Everest Challenge to challenge my soul, push my physical — mental — emotional limits and to connect with extraordinary people.

I’m beyond thankful to report that I did all 3.

With full humility, I did not complete all 17 ascends (I did 12). And I would be lying if I told you that part of me wasn’t very disappointed in myself for not accomplishing my goal.

However, I can proudly say that I’ve never felt more satisfaction from not reaching a goal than I do at this present moment.

I had a transformational experience… I learned a lot about myself… I learned invaluable life lessons… I made new friends… and I was able to stay in the present moment the entire weekend.

I am not an endurance athlete by any means. I have completed a marathon, a Cross-Fit type competition, the infamous Hell on the Hill Challenge… and even played college basketball… and this was far and away the toughest thing I’ve ever done. And it’s not even close.

The running joke amongst the climbers is that it is impossible to accurately describe how hard this mountain was. Calling it a ‘hill’ is laughable and there really aren’t words or even pictures that do it justice. This thing was a beast.

I had a pseudo-strategy that didn’t work well (in hindsight). I did 5 climbs on Friday night and chose to go to bed early (11pm) to be well rested for Saturday and Sunday. I should have kept climbing Friday night (lesson: never postpone work… get it done early).

I got up at 6am on Saturday to begin again and chose to pace myself. I took extended breaks after each climb and enjoyed some wonderful food, a killer massage and some engaging conversations. But again, in hindsight, I wasted too much time during those breaks.

Before I knew it… it was late afternoon on Saturday and I had ‘only’ completed 10 ascends (lesson: slow and steady wins… consistency matters).

My decision to stop climbing on Friday night (while many others kept going) and to take long breaks on Saturday (while many others didn’t) is what knocked me off pace.

So around 2pm on Saturday I had to make a choice — do I step on the gas, hone in on a singular focus and push myself as hard as possible to finish the remaining 7 in the allotted time? Or do I simply continue chipping away, climb after climb, but do so at a pace that will allow me to enjoy the total experience?

I chose the latter — and don’t have an ounce of regret. Once I removed the self-imposed pressure of ‘getting all 17’… I was able to have some fun and forge several very solid friendships. I connected with a few people that I know I will be friends with for years. I also chose to shift my energy from myself to supporting and cheering on my fellow climbers.

And while every single participant has my full admiration and respect — those that completed all 17 climbs — I truly commend you for achieving something remarkable. You are in a very special club and should be eternally proud. I had a few friends in particular that showed unparalleled grit in finishing… it was inspiring to watch!

I feel so strongly about this group — that if/when I ever see anyone wearing the #29029 logo… I will give them a heartfelt hug and buy them a drink on the spot. We created a special community that I’m honored to be a part of.

To help offer some perspective, here is the background of a few of the participants (all of whom said this was the toughest challenge they’ve ever done):

  • A guy who has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean
  • The world record holder as the fastest man to climb the highest mountain on each of the 7 continents
  • A member of the Spartan Race Pro Team
  • 2 former NFL players
  • The fastest man to complete the Hell on the Hill Challenge
  • The lead personal trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser
  • A woman who will be running 7 marathons in 7 consecutive days on all 7 continents
  • Countless marathoners, ultra-marathoners and elite fitness professionals

I’m beyond honored to have ‘shared a mountain’ with these immortal athletes.

Lastly… I want to acknowledge every person that was on staff and made this event happen. Events like this are the definition of teamwork… and this group was flawless. From the event organizers to the operations team to the EMT’s to the folks supplying the food and encouragement at the rest stations to the photographers & videographers… you all added so much value. I appreciate you and will be forever grateful.

To steal a concept out of Jesse’s philosophy… statistically speaking… I have about 2,000 weekends left in my life. And I’m so thankful I invested one of them on this experience.