About two months ago, Atlanta Hawks owner and serial entrepreneur, Jesse Itzler came on The Investor’s Podcast to talk about his experience building Marquis Jet. During the interview, Jesse told Preston and Stig about an exciting new endurance challenge he created called 29029. The premise of the event is participants will climb Stratton Mountain (in Vermont) 17 times so they can simulate the vertical climb of Sea Level to the top of Mount Everest (29,029 feet). Not backing down from a challenge, Preston decided to accept Jesse’s offer and compete in the challenge. Today’s episode is a recap of Jesse’s 29029 event. During the event, Preston and Jesse met the 2X world record holder for the Explorer’s Grand Slam – Colin O’Brady. O’Brady climbed the 7 tallest summits on each of the contents and also made an expedition to the North and South Pole faster than any human alive.
In this episode, you’ll learn
- Why grit isn’t something you can learn about in a book?
- The power of setting really big goals
- Why achieving 90% of a big goal is better than achieving 100% of a small one
- How and where a person might draw their strength from
- The power of one’s mind to overcome mental and physical challenges
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Podcast Transcript and Summary
Preston Pysh: [00:00:00] About two and a half months ago we had Jessie Itzler on our show. Jessie is an owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team and he was the founder of Marquis jet which was sold the Warren Buffett’s Net Jets. He’s written the best selling book Living with a seal and he’s even run one hundred miles within 24 hours. During our last interview with Jesse he kind of gave me an opportunity of a lifetime when he invited me to his next big endurance challenge. That was like nothing I’d ever heard of. Jesse rented Stratton Mountain in Vermont and decided to climb it enough times so he could travel from sea level up to 29,029 feet. This is the same elevation as Mt. Everest. So I was afforded this awesome opportunity to participate in this grueling event. And at the event I got the chance to meet some of the most fascinating people in business. For example Jesse’s wife Sara Blakely who’s the billionaire founder of Spanx. She also participated in the event along with 150 other people that were equally hard-core and equally fascinating in their own right. So this interview is broken down into two parts the first part is an interview with Jesse where we both talk about what the event was like and what we both learned from going through this grueling weekend. The second part of the interview I talked to one of the most astounding people I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing. His story is so captivating and moving that you’ll probably have a hard time believing that this is even real. The name of the second guest is Colin Brady. And I’m really excited for you guys to hear that interview. So if you’re ready let’s dive into this. All right. So excited to have Jesse Itzler back here with us and Jesse. All I can say is wow this was crazy. This was just unbelievable the whole experience was painful. It was exciting. It was fun. It was all. Every word you could possibly punch into this thing. That’s what this was. And I just got to thank you upfront. I’ve got to thank you for allowing me to participate in this. This was incredible.
Jesse Itzler: [00:02:40] Well I’m so glad you came. It was great. You know bumping into the mountain. I think it was like some sex and I needed a jolt. And there you were. Came about. I feel like they just did it for us. Like no way. Glad to see you I didn’t see you for the first couple hours.
Preston: [00:02:57] Yeah I got off to a late start so I got up there as I arrived right before 2:00 p.m. on Friday. And so like I was you were making fun of all these people coming up with like the long pants and the long shirt. They were like all bundled up and you’re like where are you all going like are you guys climbing a mountain. Are you like. And I was one of those people I was all bundled up and so I’m like hiding behind everybody is you’re like poking everyone as they’re coming up there for your announcement.
Jesse: [00:03:24] Well it was it was you stood out because you were dressed like you were going to Alaska. I know.
Preston: [00:03:30] So like that was like the first like inclination that I needed to get my head to the right place because I was not in the right place when I showed up. So yeah everyone got a start they started up the mountain. I ran back to my tent and started shedding clothes and like just getting mentally prepared for this. I eventually caught up with you a few summits later. But yeah I mean it was something else.
Jesse: [00:03:52] It was great. It was great. Well the format of the event is if you’re not together initially the mountain is so big that there were some people I didn’t see until Sunday just because the way that you know if I was a half mile ahead of them or a half mile behind there was no way that we would ever connect if we both kept going. So it was good. It was good to bump into it and get it checked.
Preston: [00:04:16] It was awesome. I kind of liked that because almost every two or three summits you’re kind of with a different crowd of people and you’re networking you’re learning. I mean everyone there was I mean these people were hard core First of all and then almost everybody I met was a CEO this year. And so it was such an opportunity. And I that’s why I’m just so appreciative because everyone that I had a chance to talk to was just so giving with their time and like sharing just amazing information. And it was just really fun. I mean we talked about so many books with these people. That’s the thing that I thought was really cool as well.
Jesse: [00:04:52] Well you know I don’t look at the weekend as a race. It wasn’t a race. There was no there were no awards given. It was personal. It was a personal challenge. And you know we set this up to be an investment in yourself. You know I think the goal of this weekend was for everybody that came to get something at it that way bigger than just completing a challenge. It was just you know, a three-day investment in yourself, to learn something about yourself. And I think we accomplished that.
Preston: [00:05:33] I guess let’s start off with this Jesse. So where do you get an idea for something like this, like how does this come about, because whenever I was on the mountain, I was talking to a gentleman Mike Sheehan, which I’m sure you know who Mike is. And Mike told me, he goes, “Jesse’s had the idea for this for like a decade.” And I was like “No way.” Is that is that true? First of all, and then talk to us about how you think through an idea like this. This is really cool stuff.
Jesse: [00:06:00] Well I think, I think my superpower is I’m an idea guy. You know everybody has something that they’re that they like to put a flag in the ground and say this is what I’m good at. And most of my ideas are bad but I have a lot of ideas. After I finished marathons or 10Ks, 5Ks, you know it’s always like what’s next. People always ask me, do you want to climb Everest? Why don’t you go climb Everest, you ran 100 miles? I really can’t go to Everest right now you know. It’s expensive it’s a long trip I got four kids. There’s altitude, there’s training. It’s crazy dangerous. So I just said to myself well why don’t I bring part of the element of risk to here. You know the largest summit, the highest mountain in the world to the United States. And that’s sort of how it came into my head. And then and that’s sort of what happened then it just built it from that initial idea.
Preston: [00:06:58] So people that I was telling this to, like I was talking to my parents about this and they’re just like oh yeah twenty nine thousand feet that’s really high. And like in my own mind it’s really high. But then I was trying to put it in terms that people can understand. And so this is like climbing the Empire State Building something like 35 times. Like imagine yourself going into the stairwell of the Empire State Building and then running that stairwell 35 times and doing it in a weekend.
Jesse: [00:07:27] The magnitude of it didn’t really hit me until I was flying home and we see the light illuminated telling us that we were at 10000 feet. And I looked down and I was like I couldn’t believe how far up in the air we were. And my. This is only ten thousand feet. And we kept climbing and on the visual on the airplane you can see how high you were. And when we got to 29000 feet I looked down and I said no way it’s no possible way that this is what we just did. Yeah.
Preston: [00:08:01] Now you know you put it into that context. I never thought of it from that vantage point. It is flippin high.
Jesse: [00:08:07] It’s high and it’s steep and slippery and it’s windy and it’s sunny and it’s cold and everything.
Preston: [00:08:15] We’ll talk about your first summit up because I know it my the first time I went up the mountain. I know what I was thinking. And I’m curious with what was going through your head after you did the very first summit.
Jesse: [00:08:25] Well as the curator of the event. About three quarters of the way up I said to myself I probably should have walked up this mountain before I threw the challenge out because I was like man this is really hard. I looked down at my watch and I’m like I’ve been out here for 45 minutes like this is going to be 17 times. And basically almost you know an hour plus the commute down like this is going to be a 22 hour event.
Preston: [00:08:54] Yeah.
Jesse: [00:08:55] Wiggle your thumb for 22 hours. Your thumb will fall off.
Preston: [00:08:59] Well still it’s a long time and that’s where I kind of made my error because you know the mileage was being broadcast at 1.1 miles per summit. So I was wearing my apple watch and you know it’s keeping track of my steps and keeping track of the mileage and doing its calculation and whatever. And so like you know and I just got done run in a 20 mile or a month before and you know I was thinking how long am I going to be on my feet. You know that’s where you can really kind of gauge your pain is like how one of my on my feet. And so when I was like oh it’s just 1.1 miles up. You know I can I can knock that out probably 30 minutes 25 minutes or something. So this shouldn’t be too bad. Like I can do this. And like you said it was way longer than what I had expected the time to be. And so then I looked at my watch after the first time up and it was saying something like 2.1 2.2 miles which was double what I was thinking it was going to be. And most of that’s because of the a little bit of a switchback you’re not walking in a straight line like you’re kind of like zigzagging as you’re going up just trying to get in some of the parts on this mound were super steep like I saw a guy going up on all fours. At one point Me.
Jesse: [00:10:14] Yeah my wife said to me you know I think you might have undersold the difficulty. And you know she said maybe for the next one you might want to think about doing it on a mountain where it’s not as hard. I said absolutely not. No absolutely not. You know I want to listen you can go run a 5 K or married and. A marathon maybe. And that’s an event it’s an event. It’s like a weekend thing and it’s great. But I wanted something that had a permanent imprint on everybody that did it. And the only way to get there the only way to really get the benefit is for it to be a struggle. And if it’s not a struggle or a point where you don’t want to. What we want to quit what you want to just go like this is ridiculous. Are you not mad at me. Then I fail. And the end. No seriously then the thing isn’t worth it because it had the fee that you pay that everybody pay has to go beyond just the weekend. It has to be either a memory a series of lessons that are applicable forward. And that doesn’t happen unless it’s hard. So I said to my wife listen no way no way this is the exact challenge doable if you were willing to go through the pain and willing to do the math and willing to plan and willing to sacrifice and get in early to get extra assignments stay out late if you’re going slow and finish it. And if you don’t then there’s a lesson learned.
Preston: [00:11:34] And if you do you know you give me like it you know I love this point because there was a quote and I think you were the one that came up with this quote. You said you can’t learn about grit from a book. You have to get out there and do it.
Jesse [00:11:49] I speak a lot. So I get to hear a lot of speakers before I go on or after I go on and you know there’s a lot of that a lot of people and inspiration and motivation out there books speakers movies. And you leave fired up for a five minute and then you go back and your kids are crying or the Bills have to be paid or this and that and that motivation goes away. And the only way in my opinion you can get lessons that you can apply. But you have to put it into real life situations so you know you have to go out and actually do something that’s challenging and it doesn’t have to be physical. You know it could be staying and returning emails when you when everyone else is at the bar and you want to be at the bar and you’re sacrificing and you’re you’re challenged because you know you’re conflicted between comfort and goal. And to me the only way that you can really really hit a nerve and have a permanent more is by going and trying to do something.
Preston: [00:12:50] I just recently read Nassim to Lebas book antifragile and the basic premise and we decided not to do the book on the show but the basic premise of the book is a person who antifragile they actually get stronger and more robust whenever they are disrupted or whenever they are putting in an environment that that rattles them. They actually get stronger through that. And whenever I think about this event it’s it’s hardening a person it’s showing you what grit is truly about. And whenever you come out of this event a person then approaches the next hardship in their life with this mindset like hey so what I did this thing over here which was like really flippin hard. And so this I can get through this right here. And you can’t. Like you said you can’t read about that in a book. You have to experience it you have to do the hard things so you get hardened right.
Jesse: [00:13:43] I mean think about a boxer if you and I read or watched a video on how to box and read every book about boxing and watched every fight ever for 10 years and then we got in ring like until we get punched or a deal with the speed or you know the adrenaline and the fear and everything that can substitute Boxer for entrepeneur anything until you’re in that situation. All of that study listening learning or watching you know it’s not really going to mean anything. So that’s sort of what I was getting at. Yeah.
Preston: [00:14:16] So let’s talk about what was the thing that you were most surprised with during the event like. Was there something that stuck out. What was the one thing that you’d you walk away and say I was really surprised by this thing.
Jesse: [00:14:30] I was really surprised at how many people kept going and regardless of body shape body type age experience there were some people that stood out in my mind that completely shocked me. And they just kept going and I kept saying to myself This is just a weekend event. There’s not even a word at the end of the I’m not giving out any trophies. Why are these people on the mountain at 3am in this wind storm. You know and the answer is they wanted to finish their goal no matter what. And you know those people I want to hire tomorrow. Yeah. Paramo never seen anything like it. Brett Brad is a fellow that did two times double Everest he double Everest. He did the thousand feet of climbing and it was time restricted so he could go around the clock. So he had to put in so many hours and he had to go at such a fast pace. When I was done with 17 men I was done. Yeah it’s done time I’m still done.
Preston: [00:15:43] All that I want to put this in context for people with Brad. So Brad’s the guy that did it twice. He started at 2 p.m. on Friday with all of us. He went the entire night. He completed all 17 by the morning. So like me after I’ve done 17 it call at 5:30 6:00 o’clock in the morning I’m toast. I mean you’re going to bed at that point right. But no not bread. Bread stayed on the mountain. He kept climbing it past 17. He went cleared of 5 p.m. the next day. So now he’s over 24 hours and all he’s doing is climbing a mountain for over 24 hours to 5 p.m. the next day. And then he finally stopped because that was the time constraint the mountain shut down at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. You had it open the whole night from Friday and Saturday then you shut it down at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and that’s when Brad finally slept.
Jesse: [00:16:33] Unless you were even there it’s impossible to put it in context of how challenging I found this to be very very challenging and the challenge is it’s the physical but it’s also the time just to be present and focus on a goal for 20 something hours it’s really really difficult. You know listen we live in a world where our minds constantly wonder abt we’re floating around. We’re multitasking we’re getting distracted. How many times in your life have you actually spent an entire weekend. Here’s what he did on one thing. And like before the race. I don’t know. I don’t know if you are there precedents for this but I said a couple of words to everybody and safety briefings but also I was encouraged. I was encouraging everybody just on on some thoughts on how to finish and one of the things that I said is for this weekend this is your job. Everything else in your life stops right now and resumes again on Monday. But right now this is your job to get up and down the darn mountain until you’re done. And when you think you have no more keep chipping away just chip away chip away chip away like any big task right. I mean you start a business. You have a zillion things to do list. Chip away. Knock one down. Go to the next one. Chip away chip away. And that’s exactly what Brad did. He put everything aside for the weekend and I don’t think he like he would pass me like. Good luck and keep going. There just like you. We talk about the economy we talk about like business proposals. You know we were talking about you were talking about your soul bill. He was just like got to go. He was on a mission and that those are the kind of things that stood out to me. The most during the race and there were you know probably a dozen plus examples of people with that same determination.
Preston: [00:18:24] I mean he looked like a tornado going past me. I was I was going up. I mean he just went past me like I was standing still. I’m like Who the hell is this guy. This is crazy and consistent.
Jesse: [00:18:37] And look he’s a guy that has very little endurance experience. I mean he’s got a long bike ride but it’s not like he’s a professional ultramarathon or or anything he’s just a guy that said I am not putting any limitations on this weekend. I’m leaving it all out there.
Preston: [00:18:53] He was doing it for himself he definitely wasn’t doing it to impress anybody. He was he had set an internal goal for himself that he was going to knock out 34 from the instant he was there on the mountain. And I guess this was something I really took away from this just this is something that I learned. Really it was so obvious that this was the learning lesson for me coming away from this man was the first time people went up. People had adjusted their expectations of themselves. People had people that said I’m going to knockout 17 no matter what. Whether my you know my hands are bleeding and my feet are bleeding and anything like I’m going to do 70 no matter what. There was people that came away with that mindset after the first hill. There was other people that were like I don’t even know if I can do one more of these. And then there was people that were like I’m still going to knock out 34. And that mindset was something that I guess I need to ask you what do you think drives that mindset. Howard how can a person hone that skill of just being rock hard in their mindset and being relentless and persistent and getting what they want.
Jesse: [00:20:00] I mean he channel it from somewhere and I think it’s almost like it’s almost like a I call it an underdog mentality where you know when you’re the underdog and you want to like prove everybody wrong and you want to work harder. And no matter what you’re not going to stop because maybe you’ve been bullied maybe ridicule maybe you’re I don’t know whatever you’re channeling it from me had that mentality that. And that’s what it takes. But you know a lot of times we get comfortable we lose that edge we lose that underdog. You know I remember what it was like as a kid when people didn’t think I’ll make the basketball team or they didn’t think that I could ever do this or start your own business you want to go into business school. But you talking about you’re not even an entrepreneur you’re not even that smart you know all those thoughts come into play when you have to make a decision to stop or to keep going. And I call it the underdog mentality because that’s really what I would think about when I was an underdog. I’m like you know what. I’m leaving this meeting with the deal with the sale. I’m going to finish this race despite what people think I’m going to create this event even though I’ve never done an event. You know all those kind of thoughts. And I think that’s what he said. He said like I don’t care. You know they’re not there are no obstacles. I’m an underdog. No one thinks I can do 34. And he did. I did. I didn’t either. I said not a chance in hell. I said Brad I don’t love you. I want to see you do it. You’re out of your marbles. It’s not going to happen. There’s not enough time. And quite honestly I don’t think it’s strong enough. I said that to myself and she probably sensed it. He said I have another dog. No one thinks I’m going to do it. Here we go.
Preston: [00:21:49] I mean he did 10 summits on the last day and we. And you shut down the mountain. At 2 p.m. he was sprinting.
Jesse: [00:21:56] When he got up with nothing. But when I got to the gondola after each one it was like it was like I was celebrating my wedding and I was like taking my time. I was signing autographs. You know I’m not literally I’m just saying in my own head you know and taking my time he was sprinting. He would brand the board which was our indication that you can play in a lap. You know he would he would brag that he completed the lap he would drop the iron and start flying up the mountain. And it was clockwork. I would go to my tent you know make make like two e-mails get some hot water to warm up take me 37 minutes like come back in the areas of the gondola fly back up the hill.
Preston: [00:22:37] Having read your book Living with a seal I was expecting Sarah to not participate in this because in the book Sarah kind of saw your antics with David in like what you were doing like kind of from a distance like you’re just crazy. This is nuts. And I wasn’t expecting her to be there. I was maybe expecting her to be there but not be climbing the mountain so I was very impressed. Are you wearing off once there. Is that what’s happening here like what’s happening.
Jesse: [00:23:04] Well Sarah likes a good challenge. She is she had just come back from a trip a 10 day trip to Africa with Richard Branson where they had done four days of cycling and hiking extreme cycling and hiking and if you know Richard Branson his version of extreme is like extreme to X and she had just flown back she was home for a day and I said to her as I said you know it’s great that you’re coming to support me and everybody that’s doing this and I think it’s amazing that you there just get it get comfortable the campfire and enjoy yourself. Just like what are you talking about. I’m going to do it. And I just kind of laugh chuckle to myself and I’m like OK how much are you going to do. And she’s like I’m going to try to do the whole thing. And she actually got to 12 which was one 11 11 summits was the equivalent of Kilimanjaro climbing Kilimanjaro. Yeah. And for Sarus she just clocked out. She just she just didn’t have enough time. She wasn’t moving as quickly as she did do the math right. But it wasn’t lack of effort or lack of will.
Preston: [00:24:10] You know it’s funny you said she didn’t do the math right. So Friday night I had done five summits on one at the end of Friday I was smoked. I went in had a bowl of chili I sit down at the table and who comes and sits right next to me but Sarah and so I’m sitting there and I was talking to one of my friends and I said you know the math tells me that I’ve got to have a big day tomorrow or else I’m not going to finish. And so they’re letting me see this. What’s the math. Just run that math past me. And so I started seeing the numbers of like what I thought I you know I I was shooting for 10 on Saturday. I didn’t get there but I got eight on Saturday. And if I didn’t get that far I mean I was I was hosed like I wasn’t going to make it on Sunday. And you know it’s funny because she I think was she was really she was shooting for it. And for anybody that doesn’t know what 12 summits on this mountain are like that is when you’re really kicking.
Jesse: [00:25:08] But if you did 12 because this thing was a beast without question it is funny the math is so funny. I didn’t even think about the math until like hours and hours into the race and all of a sudden I turned around with a group of five guys and I just turned to him and I guess this is basic arithmetic. It’s no longer a hike it’s arithmetic. If we don’t finish seven or eight summits today what happens is what happens if we twist our ankle. What happens is the gondola stops running because of the wind and it takes longer than you. You can not play from behind here. You have to play from a head and you’ve got to get some assignments under your belt and we’re like you’re right. And like so we got to the challenge. And what’s amazing about this is I’m like let’s do three more. Like I will do three more and the like well like 30 is going to take five hours to do it. And did you like you do the math and you’re like well it’s 11:00 at night. If we do three more you know we’re down to 4 am. So then you adjust it you like. All right well let’s do like two. And then you’re like well that’s too much left for the next day. So it became a math problem.
Preston: [00:26:18] It was a math problem. And you know I was fully expecting to be done on Saturday. I want to enjoy the band on Saturday night and so I was like I was really trying to get there. And at the end of Friday night I realized that was not happening. It was just not going to happen. Jesse let’s let’s transition to the showcase interview here. I want you to kind of introduce a little bit. Don’t give away too much but talk to people a little bit about Kohno Brady who I interview here in the next segment because I was just honored to be on the mountain with him after hearing what this guy has done it is absolutely astounding.
Jesse: [00:27:00] I mean if you use all the adjectives humble unassuming gracious and everything. I didn’t really I didn’t know Collin I knew a little bit about his story but I I met him on the mountain too and I met him at around 11pm pitch dark. I was going so slowly and he I feel his head lamp you know being on the back of my neck and I turned around and he introduces himself and I’m like like I looked on the board you like in first place or something you know you’re a good first top three guy. What are you doing here. Like talking to me and he slow down. And he joined us for the rest of the next basically 30 minutes slows followed his pace down and shared his story. And when he shared his story I was like This is absolutely unbelievable inspiring. I mean motivating sad everything. And it was just an honor. I mean I I can’t think of a lot of people that I even really rather be on the mountain than him. And I don’t even know. And afterwards I went and I watched one of his speeches online and it was just made me cry literally and he’s so I’m glad you have him on the show. You know we hear about the headliners the guys that have a million people following them and the guys that you know are allowed on social media and you know try to tell the world how to live their life in this kind of thing and that’s great to an extent.
Jesse: [00:28:41] And then you have guys like calling all world record world. Seven billion people in the world number one record holders that have lived through incredible tragedy and just unbelievable experience. They don’t even know that. And then they come into your world and you’re like wow there’s just so many interesting people that I don’t even know about you know. And it just it makes you realize how many stories and how many people are out there that have done incredible things. And then it makes you think to yourself you know why can’t I you know I can’t I do something incredible in my life and it doesn’t have to be something not avarice. You find your own version of incredible and that’s that was my takeaway from college. You know we entered this field late in life he wasn’t trained in birth to do what he did. And I don’t want to ruin his story. You figured out late late and became the best in the world. And it just gives everybody hope as you go to your own journey of life. Well again it’s not too late. It’s not too late to be the best in the world at something. And I think your audience will really enjoy it. I know they will yeah.
Preston: [00:29:59] Thanks Jesse and thanks for the opportunity to to meet people like Collin and to just go through this experience where I can really learn a lot about myself. I really hope that some of the stories we are sharing with the audience they can be motivated maybe to go out and do something similar or whatever that Everest is in their life that they’re trying to overcome to think about maybe some of the comments of what we learned and what we took away from trying to tackle this. And they can apply to their own life because there was so much learning happening over the weekend that I’m just so thankful that you were able to give me the opportunity to do it. So I really appreciate it. Jessie thank you.
Preston: [00:30:38] All right. So man I’m excited to share this interview with you because Colin O’Brady is here with me right now. And Colin I got to tell you a quick story before we start our discussion here because you might not realize this but climbing this mountain for me was was very very difficult.
Colin: [00:30:57] This was, this was not easy I think for everyone.
Preston: [00:31:01] I mean this thing was such a grind and you know I’ve done a lot of things in the military and have done a lot of sucky things in my life. But if I had to say something that was just pure suck like this thing is way up there I it might even be the highest for me. For you it’s obviously not. But then we’ll get into that. So I want to tell this story about the first time I met Colin Brady. So we get there on Friday. The event starts on Friday and it starts at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. And Jesse’s making the announcements you know I’m still trying to shed all my clothes off and it’s like boom everyone’s running up the hill. And so they’re going up the hill Well later that night. You know it’s getting dark. I’m a moron I didn’t set my head lamp. I had it on like the lowest setting I didn’t even bump it up you know to the highest setting like an idiot. I get up to the top of the mound. I want to say it’s probably 9:30 10:00 at night something like that and it’s starting to get a little windy. It’s getting cold and cold for me. Cold for you is two different definitions and you all are going to hear why his definition of cold is so much different than mine. When we get up to the top and we were riding down so we were taking the car down. I get into the car and it’s dark. You can’t really see anything. And I asked the people you know we get in the car we’re just kind of having some side chat about how how much this mountain sucks and how much of a steeper hill it was than I kind of anticipated before I got there.
Preston: [00:32:36] Well I ask this question in the car I said hey so how many are you guys trying to complete tonight. Because I’m pretty much on my last run like I’m getting ready to go to bed. I did five and I was smoke. That was I was exhausted and I had Saturday and Sunday to Sunday morning to still knock it up and everyone is kind of like oh you know I want to do this I’m going to do that and then there’s one person sit and kind of up in the front of the car and he goes I’m going to do 17 that night. And I just I literally just started to laugh and I was like yeah right. You know like like that’s even possible you know. And he was and this person was dead serious. He was like he said it without even hesitation not like I think I’m going to do 17. It was going to knock out 17 and I and because that’s how many times we had to do it to do the total amount to every twenty nine thousand twenty nine feet. And I just thought to myself on the on the car write down there’s no way that guy serious but I don’t want to be the dummy in the car that ask him Are you serious. And so that was you that was my friend. And so I before we go into the rest of the event I want to I want you to take us back. OK. Take us back how many years ago was this 10 years ago that you had your accident.
Colin: [00:33:54] Yes so. Yeah. So long before you and I ended up in a car in the middle of the night on Stratton Vermont trying to climb it all through the night which I did. I did stay up through the night and finished knock finished out the 17th one around 5:45 AM or something like that. But that was a long night. Say the least I can think calling I came out of 5:30.
Preston: [00:34:16] Ok. Cause I was like I’m going to get a good jump start in the morning. I came out at 5:30 and I was like let’s see if this guy did 17 I go over to the board and you had the brand you had the brand like this mountain into 17th slots. And sure enough I go over and I look at this flippin board And right next to call. Brady there is 17 marks on this flippen board. And I looked at I just like looked up at the sky like Who the hell is this guy. Because I didn’t know who you were before this. So go ahead. I’m sorry to interrupt you.
Colin: [00:34:49] Go no go so yes so long before all of this I and crazy things that I’ve done the last 10 years taken it back to the sort of origin story for me was I had just graduated from college and thought I was going to be a finance guy so any econ econ degree and kind of grabbed a surfboard and a backpack and thought I want to see a little bit of the world I’d been instead of I was actually a house painter in the summers all growing up so as sincerely socking away a couple of thousand dollars each summer with this idea when I graduate from college I want to take a trip around the world. Nothing. I mean I didn’t have money to do anything fancy but just you know peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and living in hostels and hitchhiking around and just kind of you know spread my wings a little bit. And Mosen trip up into when I found myself on a beach in rural Thailand. And for those of you who have been to Thailand you might know this but fire dancing and things like that are somewhat common. And of course because I was you know 22 years old and seemingly invincible at the time I thought that jumping a flaming jump rope sounded like a great idea.
Colin: [00:35:46] So I participated in that activity which changed my life honestly and instead the rope wrapped around my legs slash excess kerosene and my body with me on fire I completed my neck and I was able to jump into the ocean to extinguish the flames which certainly saved my life. Without a doubt. But not before about 25 percent of my body was severely burned. Predominantly my legs and feet. And I was in the middle of the tiny little island in the Gulf of Thailand so the ambulance was a moped ride down a dirt path. The hospital was a one room shack and they couldn’t really move me until they finally moved me in a back of a pickup truck in a little boat to what they called the better hospital and the better hospital I underwent eight surgeries eight days in a row where I’d come out from the hospital room or the surgery room and there’d be a cat running around my bed and across my chest in the ICU.
Preston: [00:36:37] So it kind of paints a picture of the worst place one would want and certainly with this kind of injury where infection can honestly kill you like I’m here in this story and like if this happened to me you know and it’s not like you didn’t have a lot to look forward to. I mean you went to an incredible college you had so much going for you. And then two and I’ve been to Thailand and I’ve seen exactly what you describing. You see so many people go up there everyone’s having a good time. No one has what you describe happen you know. And it’s just like everything is shattered at this point. I couldn’t imagine what was going through your head. You just devastation right.
Colin: [00:37:21] Complete devastation and like you said I think this no matter what phase of life you’re. And just having this type of thing happen to you is horrible. But of course I’m 22 years old. I’m thinking I’m embarking on the next chapter of adulthood in my life. I’d been a lifelong athlete as a swimmer in college which is it was you know what kind of got me to be able to go to a university like that. After a lot of hard work as a kid. And you know here I am sir. But I think my whole life in front of me and all of a sudden boom this accident happens and to make matters worse. The doctors are coming in every day and they’re saying like hey kid you’re pretty much not going to walk again normally after this. How about your legs are burned with the ligament damage the scar tissue over the ankles and knees like you know you’ll be lucky to kind of be hobbling around. And so just being told that was just a definite devastating diagnosis to say the least. And the physical pain mixed with that emotional trauma mixed with being a million miles from home was just overtaking me and honestly I can just remember sitting in that hospital bed just being like I want to give up like my life is over and you know I don’t you know just the darkest phase that I can ever remember in my life.
Colin: [00:38:23] And then you know enter my mother who really is part of a hero of this story for sure. She flew over to Thailand and sat by my bedside and I certainly know now that she was just as afraid as I was being a parent and seeing her kid in this way. But she’s always been someone that’s instilled this just values of dreaming big setting goals looking for the future you know working towards things and that you know I’ve a lot of things I’ve achieved my life have been kind of because of her. Eat those. And she was unrelenting in that in this hospital and the doctors saying you never walk in again. She came in smiling being like calm let’s set a goal let’s look towards the future. What do you want to do when you get out of here. I live like an hour like Mom you’re not trying to cheer me up. Like let’s not let’s call this what this is like. This is devastating. And she really just kept in on me and kind of forced me to pick something some anchor point in the future which actually we’ve been back to that point 9:0 29.