|Ed Lyell and new-found friend and Coach: Ken Helgerson|
I have been working full time in Fire and Emergency Medical Service for 29 Years and this January I came to a point in my Career where I no longer felt much Brotherhood in the Fire Service and felt like I no longer mattered within My Fire Department. Physically I was completing multiple 100 Mile Ultramarathons and Triathlons along with Open Water Swimming. I found this was not much help with the specific skills we do and I was in terrible Fire Service Shape. Also, I saw that Internally my body was fighting early stages of Heart Disease and Pre Diabetes. All of these together I knew I needed to do something drastic to be able to make it to Retirement and Beyond.
So at 47, I decided to train and compete in my first Firefighter Combat Challenge at FDIC.
In training, I found little or no support from My Brother Firefighters some of who were former competitors. Troy Brown at My Department helped me transform my workouts to build the strength needed to complete the event. The first time I actually ran the whole course was at FDIC.
At FDIC I was overwhelmed by the Pride and Brotherhood that I and my wife Rieko felt. Immediately at warm ups, Brothers were pulling me aside and giving me suggestions and walking me through the course.
When I lined up to start, little did I know that the Brother standing next to me would become my Mentor and Guide through this journey.
While I was trying to survive my first time out Ken Helgerson finished in Personal Record time joining the Lion’s Den. The next thing I know is Ken is by my side every step of the way and as I fell at the end I could hear Ken and Mike Word yelling "Pull, Pull, Pull!" and somehow Rescue Randy and I made it across the line. In that moment my Life has changed forever!
Since FDIC Ken has been in constant contact and I had the honor to compete with him as part of a Tandem Team in Longmont, Colorado. The Lessons he gave me has got me hooked on the Tandem event in addition to the Individual. Though I learned my lesson at Sulphur Springs, Texas that three Tandems in a day can be tough.
Social Media has been a fantastic place to exchange training suggestions and critique. Matt Baca has been my online and in-person mentor along with so many others.
I have completed Seven events this Year and to memorialize my Lucky 7 I got the Firefighter Combat Challenge Tattoo as a constant Reminder of the Pride and Brotherhood that the challenge celebrates.
Over the last Seven events I have truly discovered the Jacobs Ladder of Learning that Ken Helgerson described. Each time I compete I learn something new to improve my performance and I look forward to one day Joining the Lions Den!
Thank You, Dr. Paul for creating this life changing event. I truly appreciate it.
Federal Fire San Diego
|The Japanese characters are “Firefighter”|