If you have listened to a few of our podcasts, you may know that Jan and I are going on an expedition to Patagonia in October with 5 Special Forces/Special Operations veterans, 5 business executives, Jan (a former SF A-team member), a videographer and two world-class guides.
As part of this process we all need to prepare physically to get ready for the rigors of all day hikes with 50lbs on our backs in rugged terrain. Many of the team members are used to this and will excel. Several of the business executives are in top shape and run triathlons. As for myself, I am not in top shape, I don’t like triathlons and going uphill is something I don’t like – at all.
For me, the preparation started a while ago, but is nowhere near where it needs to be. On Memorial Day weekend I participated in a GORUCK Light event (chronicled here) that clearly demonstrated that I had more work to do to get ready for Patagonia.
A few weeks ago my workouts were kicking my butt and I was getting pretty fearful of the strains and stresses we will face on this expedition. But I remembered what our guest on TLP009 – Scott Kinder said – “fear is a liar.” I took that to heart and persevered.
Today I was up at 5:30am, went to a conference where I was speaking and finished a whole day on my feet (mostly) twelve hours later at 5:30pm. I was exhausted. Unfortunately, my workout plan for the day was the sled hill – a workout I hate twice a week.
This may be simple for some, but not for me. It is 20 trips up a local sled hill with a 30 lb. ruck plate and about 3 lbs of water in my GORUCK GR1. I try to do this in 40 minutes, which is a slow and steady pace. At a height of about 35 feet (It seems much higher, but the GPS says this is only a 35 foot change in elevation), this shouldn’t be that hard. I never have a problem completing it, but I never enjoy it, I hate going uphill and I can get winded sometimes.
This afternoon I dreaded this workout. Much like I do at 5:30pm when I have an evening networking event – I consider not attending. As a pretty disciplined business executive, I always go… and I never regret it. I recognized the similarity in my behavior wanting to talk myself out of this dreaded workout – but I made the decision to push through and go anyway.
I’m glad I did. Today – a day where I was exhausted – was the first time I handled the uphill sections like a boss. I felt good today. It wasn’t easy and there was a little huffing at times… but something was different. This experience gave me hope. It made me understand there will be good days and bad days. It let me know that if I keep with the program I will be able to ratchet up my weight (40 lbs in Sept. & 50lbs in October) and reps as I get ready for our 2000 ft. ascent days in Patagonia.
I understand that I will likely be the pace-setter for our hikes and ascents – meaning I will be the slowest member of the team. I accept that, but I don’t want to be a liability and that’s why I’m prepping as much as I can.
I thought it might be interesting to chronicle some of our prep and to talk about the gear we are planning to use.
Our world-class guide Vince Anderson of Skyward Mountaineering made a suggestion that I am glad I took. He recommended using a supplement called BioGenesis. This stuff is great. I’m starting to feel the difference and I think it is helping.
I’m very happy with my Lowa Tibet GTX boots I’m in the process of breaking in. These are fantastic boots. Super high quality, exceptionally comfortable and they come in wide sizes (really important for me). I haven’t had any hotspots going uphill/downhill and the lacing system is fantastic for the differences of ascending and descending. I must mention that the custom orthotics I got at Alpine Foot Specialists are probably helping with the overall comfort level.
Please feel free to comment and let us know if this is something you want more of as Jan and I prep for Patagonia. If you have any questions, please use the comments section below and we will respond.