I’m not sure if I’ve started a tradition or not. But last year and this year I took epic road trips to Steamboat Springs, CO. It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 hours depending on the variables of weather, alertness and endurance. I like to do these trips because they push my discomfort. As you head out, you can always stop and turn around, until that magical no return point. This is where I like to challenge my training and its effectiveness. I hit my threshold of discomfort and I have to keep going, I am fully committed. I love this challenge. It’s just like getting in the ring! Once the bell goes, you have work until it rings again. I arrive on the 24th and I leave on the 26th.
My brother Patrick is a UPS driver and I like going there to catch up with him after all his hard work is over. I used to work for UPS so I understand what he goes through. There really isn’t any amount of explanation to do justice to the amount of effort he puts in and the amount of physical, emotional and mental fatigue he experiences at this time of year. It’s probably comparable to the 15 round fights back in the day. The job is hard anyway and then for 2-3 weeks it is complete insanity. When I am driving to see him, I think about how hard he is pushing himself and I match his effort in my driving expedition.
It’s always the last round, (last 2 hours) that are the hardest. You want it all to be over with, but this is the place where you have to dig in and pay attention more, or you could be vulnerable to hitting the mat. You have to push yourself to stay present and focused even though you feel like quitting. When I arrive at his house, it is the sweetest feeling of accomplishment. My favorite thing to do is indulge in shower beer and get in a nap before he gets home from his longest day (Christmas eve).
Once I wake from my much needed nap, I like to cook him dinner and chill on the couch and suck at X Box games while he decompresses. The Holidays have so many different meanings for all of us. Some of us love them and spending time with family, others find it to be a down time. I’ve gone through many different versions of the holiday and I have to say that the version I am creating now is my favorite. One that involves, Boxing, dogs, road trips, and a little bit of family time. It feels good to sit there with my brother, neither of us having expectations of the other. It feels good to appreciate the people we are becoming and what we are doing in our lives. It is wonderful to see how we have evolved in our interpretations of life and where we are headed.
After my visit with him, I gotta do the trip all over again and he has to head back into work. Each of us has to commit to another level of awareness and focus so we can accomplish our tasks efficiently and safely. I have no desire to hit the mat permanently, so I put myself in the right mindset and systematically attack the road until I arrive home safe and sound ready to get back into the gym.
It’s the feeling of being away, even just for a few days and then walking back into the gym again that is amazing. I get back and see people working hard while I’ve been away and it makes me happy that we are all a part of creating this incredible space. I’m able to go away and come back home ready to work more rounds and give more of myself to all of you!