I’m not a recliner when I travel. At my height, leg room is at a premium, especially on planes. As a result, I don’t tend to tilt, and I hope karmically that the person in front of me will do the same. (Yes, I know, there’s a whole set of arguments on both sides. As far as I’m concerned, unless you’ve had your knees wedged immobile in the back of the next row when someone power drops their chair on you without even a backwards glance, your perspective and mine are never going to be the same.)

Recently I flew to Florida for a Savage race. 2020 being what it is, my flights were never more than 2/3 full. I took advantage of that to stretch my legs towards the center seat. Ah, some sweet relief! I know my knees appreciated the extra space.

Here’s the funny thing; I don’t check my seat when the plane starts its descent, because I don’t recline. This time, on two different flights, I got tapped on the shoulder and asked to put my chair all the way up. Apparently when I rotated to stretch legs, I bumped the button and reclined an inch or so. Certainly not the end of the world, but the rule exists for safety. As for the attendant (his mask named him as “Tiny”, which matched his roughly 6’4″, 275# frame nicely), he was just following his checklist and doing his job.

Details Matter

I have written about planning and goals on multiple occasions. It’s critical to look at where you’ve been and where you are going, resetting your plan as needed. That comes down to the nuts and bolts; details are important here. You don’t build to a longer distance or heavier dumbbells by just saying “I will do this” – the smart way is to do the work and build up to it, following your “checklist.”

Just like that seat back, it’s about safety. Run a half when you’ve never gone more than 3-4 miles and you’re likely to hurt yourself. Grab heavy weights and deadlift with bad form, you will wind up in pain. The truth, of course, is that you can get hurt even if you do everything right – but the odds are much greater when you skip the details. The controlled rollout is the right way to go, even though all you want is to rush to the end.

As I awaited the last leg of my return (hello, Nashville!), I thought about my path for 2021 and what I’d learned in 2020. I came into this year focused on building upper body, and my progress at the gym and on the Savage course tell me I’m headed in the right direction. My next big target, while still working on upper body, is grip strength.

It’s one thing when you grab the monkey bars or even a metal ring on the course. Grip matters there – but when you are faced with something like the twirly bird ropes, or hanging from a towel or nunchuk, that’s a whole different animal.

Don’t believe me? Give it a shot! Just take a towel, throw it over a tree branch, monkey bar, whatever you may have access to, then grab hold of both sides and lift yourself – do one pullup. This is what I’m talking about. So how do you prepare for that? You do the work.

I started training for 2021 this past week; ordered some new toys, found a training plan that I started but didn’t finish a year ago, and am preparing my steps going forward. I will talk with my trainer and we will make sure I have a solid start; details matter, after all.

Prepare for takeoff

Friends, as you wind down this year and build to your next set of goals, take a moment to make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in the upright position. Check your electronic devices (I may have done a training 10k this morning but only had enough watch battery for 2 miles… DOH!), and make sure you are ready to roll.

We know you have a lot of choices on how to travel through life; we hope you choose the one that excites you and scares the crap out of you at the same time. Challenge yourself today; pay attention to detail and start checking the items off your list. Find an accountability partner; if you need one and don’t have a good candidate, give me a call. I got you!

Can’t wait to see where you land – and remember, pictures or it didn’t happen!

Photo by Sacha Verheij on Unsplash