Social Climber: Mountains and mental discipline

12 - Jaime Ski HillThe goal this week was to keep the positive momentum going, despite a trip across the county to Vancouver and back that had me away for only 51 hours.

I’m proud to say that I succeeded.

In the past, travel for work was my undoing. From odd hours to poor meals to a lack of time to work out, it was always a struggle to stay healthy and in shape.

This trip was different, by design.

I decided to stay at my mom’s house instead of at a hotel. She provided me with a well-stocked fridge of healthy food and snacks so I could continue to eat how I do when I’m at home. She also provided tons of seafood, which is not only my favourite type food to eat, but it’s good for you!

I also had the benefit of using my old gym, which has been upgraded with state of the art equipment.

I made it a priority to get in a workout the morning after arriving and it was the best decision I made all week. In addition to putting in 30 minutes on an elliptical machine for cardio, I was able to grind out an hour-long round of weights that included a new personal best on the leg press (630 lbs. + 118 lbs. rack for 20 reps).

12 - Leg Press

I landed in Toronto late on Friday night so that I could be back in the gym on Saturday afternoon to hit the weights with Marshall. I was firing at about 75 per cent, but still managed to knock out a solid workout. As Marshall likes to say, “We’re not breaking any records today.”

The good news is that a 75 per cent effort day today is 10 times better than what a 100 per cent day was three months ago. That’s progress.

12 - Hiking Group

I was really looking forward to Sunday morning’s #KiliHikeTO because my quartet of hiking partners selected the Caledon Ski Club for our location. It is always nice to get out of the city and experience an area of Ontario where I have never been. It was an extra bonus that Caledon presented the most challenging terrain to date.

Today’s crew featured Aaron, Lauren, Cobi and Cosi. I have to applaud them because they were some of the earliest friends to sign up for a hike – almost three months ago. I’m sure when they signed up they assumed it would be spring by now and not another week of old man winter rearing his ugly head.

I rolled up to Cobi’s chalet just after 9 o’clock in the morning. Cobi and I met through Aaron. Aaron and I studied together at Rotman for a couple of years, but he was in the full time program so he graduated a year ahead of me. Also joining us was Cosi, who is Cobi’s girlfriend (imagine our names on a wedding invitation, she joked) and Lauren, who is engaged to Aaron.

12 - Aaron TrailsWe had no set route, except to go up and down the run at the Caledon Ski Club and dart in and out of the trees when the snow became too deep to navigate. This made for some challenging ascents and descents. Many times on the way down, we had to hang onto trees to stay on our feet.

The excitement built on the second lap as we elected to go straight uphill on a couple of the snow covered runs. My legs were burning from Thursday and Saturday’s workouts and I was feeling dehydrated from flying. But these were the exact physical and mental challenges that I needed to test myself for Kilimanjaro. From all accounts, the final day of the climb will be mostly mental and any adversity that I can face now will help down the road.

You can see our zigzagging route through the eyes of my Delorme inReach satellite tracker.

The satellite tracker was a big hit with Aaron and Cobi who are also big tech geeks. They were equally excited about my ability to stay connected to the world from a remote mountain in Tanzania. Aaron and Cobi build mobile apps and I always find it fascinating to learn about the new services that talented people are creating.

Cosi and I also have a lot in common. She works as a Community Manager at TAXIGUY and we know many of the same people, yet this was the first time that we had met. We discussed several aspects of community management, but the one topic that stuck out to me was the importance of responding to people quickly on Twitter and engaging with them ‘in the moment’.

This topic will be part of a presentation that I’m delivering in a couple of weeks at Social Media Camp in Victoria. By the way, you can use ‘STEIN’ as a discount code if you want to register for the conference.

Lauren is an engineer. I never really knew any engineers until I started studying at Rotman. I’m always impressed by engineers because of their ability to create things. Lauren is a land development project manager, which is obviously a big deal in a region like the GTA that is constantly under development.

12 - TrailsSunday’s hike was by far the most challenging during my training. We covered 10.6 km and were out on the trails for more than three hours. For the first time, I really felt hungry and craved energy during the hike. Overall, I’m feeling great on my weekly hikes and my body is adjusting to the physical demands – especially in areas like my feet, lower back and shoulders.

The next couple of hikes are exciting. I’m off to the Rouge Watershed on Saturday (yes, I’m making an exception for my dear friend Heidi) and the following week I will be climbing Mt. Finlayson near Victoria with Chris Burdge and some other attendees from Social Media Camp.

This week I will pass the 100-days-to-go mark until I depart for Tanzania. As a result, I’m planning on making another fundraising push. I have been able to raise over $13,000, but I would love to reach my new goal of $15,000. If you haven’t donated yet, you can do so right here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for supporting me on the road towards the #Climb4Cord.

The #Climb4Cord features a group of business leaders who will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with the hopes of raising $750,000 for the campaign For All Canadians, which is dedicated to building Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. Click here to donate to my personal page or for more information on the campaign please visit: http://campaignforcanadians.ca/

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About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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