I am proud to say that my ‘Believe In Yourself’ World Tour 2013 officially kicked off on April 13 at the Las Vegas Tough Mudder. The event was held two and a half hours north of Vegas in Beatty, Nevada which is on the border of Death Valley.
After months of planning and exhaustive training, it all began on Friday, April 12, when I landed in Las Vegas and checked into my favorite hotel – the ARIA. I have been to Vegas many times but this trip felt very special. It was the start of my World Tour and I was feeling nervous, anxious but very excited. It was my first Tough Mudder of the year after a very successful 2012. However, I was coming off various injuries as well as surgery only six weeks prior, so I had a slight feeling of apprehension. After barely sleeping Friday night (It is Vegas after all) I awoke on Saturday feeling excited about my upcoming event. I took a scenic drive across the desert and couldn’t help think about how remote I was. I was truly in the middle of nowhere. After not seeing any vehicles for almost an hour I decided to pull my vehicle over. I stepped out of it – listened – and only heard silence. What a truly peaceful feeling. I continued my journey and after what seemed like forever, I finally saw the Tough Mudder sign. What a great feeling. Tough Mudder has almost become my second family. I have met some wonderful people and have forged many lifelong relationships. Anyone who has ever done a Tough Mudder will understand how addictive they are. I have been privileged to witness some of the best athletes in the world. I am very proud to be part of it.
In all of my previous Mudder’s, I have always started in the earliest waves – usually about 8 – 9 am. I was about to start at ‘high noon’ with temperatures soaring over 100F. I was fortunate to meet up with a gentleman by the name of Dave Jeffers, who was a triathlete from Wisconsin. We decided to pair up and run the course together. Dave paced us superbly and by properly monitoring our water and carbohydrate intake we completed the course in great time with no problems. What a blast! I can’t believe that it was my twelfth Tough Mudder. I felt fantastic. I could have done it again. I was very proud of myself for my preparation and suberb conditioning. I thank Dave for his assistance and we will definitely be running a few upcoming events together in the near future.
After the long drive back to the ARIA, I treated myself to a nice tub of chocolate Haagen Dazs (tradition for me after every race) plus a nice fresh cherry danish from ‘Jean Philippe Patisserie’. I earned it!! … I then had a nice massage at the ARIA Spa and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Las Vegas.
The following evening, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Sean Corvelle and Clinton Jackson from the Tough Mudder family. They stopped by my hotel on the way to California and we shared some laughs and stories while dining at the fabulous ‘Lemongrass’ restaurant in the heart of the ARIA. Great friends. I truly appreciated having them take the time to come by. It meant a great deal to me.
The following day (Monday), after a great breakfast at ‘Cafe Vettro’, I ventured to the ‘Sunrise Hospital And Medical Center’ which is located in downtown Las Vegas. It was time to put the wheels in motion for the other purpose of my ‘Believe In Yourself” World Tour 2013. For every venue that I travel to, I will be visiting local hospitals and spreading encouragement and good will to patients that I will be meeting. With the assistance of Linda Ivers of the American Cancer Society I was guided through the cancer ward of the hospital. We met with several patients and I gave each of them my ‘Believe In Yourself’ wrist bands as well as Toronto Fire ball caps (courtesy of The Toronto Professional Firefighters Association). They shared their stories with me and it was very humbling and gratifying to be able to put smiles on their faces. I left the ward trying to do my best not to cry – but I did. I felt that I had touched some hearts. That is good for the soul. I thanked Linda for all of her hard work and dedication in supporting the society. She is truly a special person. I definitely walked away from the hospital – a changed man. I saw the strength of what my ‘Believe In Yourself’ tour can do, and my experience will only motivate me to be stronger and more focused.
I spent the rest of the day reflecting on the wonderful start to my tour. I love Las Vegas. The energy, the feeling of life. That is why it was important for me to begin my tour here. I always leave Vegas with a sense of sadness, even though I know that I will be back. I leave this weekend with a rejuvenated sense of purpose and excitement for my upcoming events. Life is about LIVING – not EXISTING. To see the smiles on the faces of the many people that I met this past weekend makes it all worth while … As always, ‘Believe In Yourself’ …
Special thanks to the following for their continued support and encouragement and for helping make the start of my World Tour a reality:
– The ARIA Hotel, Resort & Casino
– Maria Beck (Mudder Hen) for her excellent administrative skills back in Toronto
– Sean Corvelle (Tough Mudder) for always putting a smile on my face.
– Ed Kennedy (President Of The Professional Firefighters Association) for all of his help.
– James Qi – Web Designer/Developer for his hard work and encouragement.
– The University Of Toronto Mississauga – for all of their support.