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Tribesports User of the Week: Brandon G

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Posted by Brandon G under Running, Adventure Racing, Geocaching on 19 June 2013 at 3:00 PM

Brandon G Warrior DashWhat has been your toughest Challenge to date and which are you most proud of?

Hands down, my toughest challenge to date is Man powered global circumnavigation. I've picked out a virtual route and am slowly making my way around the world. So far, I've made it from Cambridge, Ontario to just South of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, working my way to the Florida Keys before swimming to Cuba! 

Keeping track of my route has been a lot of fun and I'm probably set to finish this challenge by 2020 if I'm lucky. 

The Challenge I'm most proud of is Run your first half marathon. When I joined Tribesports, I ran my first 3km and was almost too tired to make it to the shower. After 3 months training (and a LOT of help from Tribesports challenges and user input), I ran the Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon in just under 3 hours. Not a great time, but a HUGE milestone for me! I'm planning on adding a few more to my belt, working my way slowly towards an Ultra!

Climbing the CN Tower (144 floors) in 38:51 is pretty impressive, how did you train for the vertical run?

LOTS of time on the Stair Climber. I didn't have much time to prepare for this, as I signed up on a whim. I've wanted to do this for years and just haven't had the time or stamina for it.

CN Tower ClimberOnce I'd committed, I added stair climbing to my workout. I did a practice run a week before the event and made it 50 Stories before quitting. Once you're doing it for real, you just have to keep moving. If you stop, you start to feel it. If I felt I had to stop, I tried to make it up 2 or 3 more flights before taking a break - and try not to look down!

Great Wall of ChinaWe recently featured your Great Wall of China photo in the Earn the View article, how did you end up hiking one of the wonders of the world?

I worked as an English Teacher in Seoul, South Korea for a year and a half. While I was there, I wanted to visit some of the Asian countries I'd probably never get to visit again. China was a no-brainer and I ended up with a few days on my own in Beijing. After visiting a fully-renovated section of the Great Wall during a tourist stop, I decided I wanted to see what the 'actual' wall looked like, so I had a cab drop me off at one section and pick me up at another, about 8 hours later. What resulted was the greatest and most taxing hike I've ever taken. With a local guide (a farmer's wife I met on the wall) and a friend who came along for the trip, I encountered thousands of uneven steps (some over 3 feet high!), almost vertical slopes, sheer drops with no hand-rails, crumbling towers, fog so thick you couldn't see where you were stepping, and some of the most amazing views I've seen to date!

Great Wall of China

How did you first get into Geocaching?

GeocachingI actually found the sport by complete accident. I was reading a blog (in the days before facebook) about the tunnels under my old University and hit the wrong link, which took me to a geocache page the author had hidden just off campus. I didn't own a GPS, but thought 'what the heck' and went off looking for it. That started a hobby I just can't get enough of! It's taken me to some really interesting places, including the top of a mountain in South Korea, all over Glasgow, Scotland, and caches in both Ontario and Quebec, Canada. I actually cached for about a year without a GPS, using hints, maps, and descriptions from other cachers. I have to admit, using actual coordinates made it a lot easier, though it brings its own pitfalls. I've walked right off a cliff into a river while following my GPS while some fellow geocachers laughed at me from the bridge I missed by 10 feet!

Which do you prefer; half-marathon running or mud races?

Brandon fire run!This may sound cliché, but they're so different it's impossible to pick one. Distance running is simple training, stamina and determination, interesting routes and pushing yourself to the max and beyond. Mud runs are much more taxing to the whole body, breaking your run (usually up and down ski hills) with obstacles that push you in completely different ways, such as running through live electrical currents, plunging through rivers, crossing greased up monkey bars, jumping through fire, and crawling through thick mud under barbed wire. Either way, it's about pushing yourself and crossing that finish line!

What's your big Challenge for the year and how close are you to completing it?

My Big challenge this year is to complete 6 organized events over the course of 2013. So far, I've run a 5k in my home town and completed the CN Tower Climb. I am planning on another Half-Marathon, a bike-race of some sort, and Tough Mudder Toronto in September. If anyone has any interesting ideas for event #6, I'd love to hear it!

Which Tribesports user makes your day?

Heather G profileThere's my wife, Heather G - who has been by my side for five years now. She's done way more challenges than she's recorded, and probably doesn't even realize it! She's been my number one motivator, and put up with a lot of snap decisions to enter events and the pathetic sore muscle complaints that resulted from biting off more than I can chew! 

There's also Rita M (who made User of the Week not long ago too!) has been a great inspiration, both through comments and banter, and her great challenges, one of which led directly to my ongoing series Barenaked Ladies Challenges

Lastly, the TS Community at large! There are so many great creative and interesting tribes and challenges out there that I'll never run out of motivation!

What's your favourite quote?

I have three quotes which spring to mind:

'Do what you can, where you are, with what you have'

'Burpees don't like you very much either' 

'Do or do not. There is no try!'

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