Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pere Marquette Trail Run, 2013

Ran the Pere Marquette trail run on Saturday. Very snowy and icy day. Due to the weather it took much longer to drive over there than anticipated - and I missed my start time. I ended up having to run in the last heat which made it a bit more difficult because I had to navigate through quite a bit of traffic during the race. Finished in 1:13. Fun day regardless.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Castlewood 8 Hour, 2013

Ran the Castlewood 8 Hour Adventure Race yesterday with Clayton Cummings. Cold day. My gloves were frozen stiff and was covered in ice after the paddle down the Meramec. We came in 3rd place in our division.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hiking the Buffalo River Trail

Spent a few days down in Arkansas hiking the Buffalo River Trail. The first part of the trail was very overgrown - we were trudging through tick-laden grass up to our waist. Not a lot of fun. After a few miles things opened up and hiking was more enjoyable.

Decent trail, but I think next time I'll go back to paddling it.

Buffalo River Trail trailhead marker Aaron Fanetti hiking the Buffalo River Trail

Monday, September 2, 2013

Whistler, BC

Went to watch Vanessa McKenzie compete at Ironman Whistler last week. Spent remainder of the week playing in the mountains.

On Saturday I did an out-and-back trail run from Nita Lake Lodge through the Whistler village and up to Russet Lake. After Vanessa had (very little) rest from the race, we loaded up the backpacks and headed up to Garibaldi Lake. A very rainy night. We intended to climb Black Tusk the following morning, but it was so overcast there wouldn't have been much to see. Instead, we headed back down the mountain. Beautiful views all the way back.

The next two days we spent mountain biking the cross-country park. It was rainy, but the trails handled it well. Great trails and a lot of fun. After finishing the XC trails, we hopped on the Sea-to-Sky trail and attempted to make it down to Brandywine Falls. Unfortunately, we left too late in the day and lost daylight by the time we arrived. Lacking headlamps, we decided to turn around early and forgo seeing the falls. Next time.

The last day, we grabbed a day pack and made the hike from Nita Lake up to Wedgemount Lake. Long day with a fair amount a vertical - scrambling up a steep boulder field to reach the top. Exhausting week, but totally worth it. Looking forward to going back.

Aaron Fanetti on the trail to Russet Lake Vanessa McKenzie hiking from Garibaldi Lake

Monday, August 19, 2013

Conquer Castlewood 2013

On Sunday I teamed up with Beth Sanborn to compete in the coed division of the Conquer Castlewood Adventure Race in Ballwin, MO. We took home first place in the coed division with a combined time of 2:11:17 - barely edging out the second place team of Holtman and Hagan by only 16 seconds!

Aaron Fanetti and Beth Sanborn at Conquer Castlewood

Friday, August 2, 2013

Leaders should advocate “Fast Feedback” over “Fail Fast”

Language matters. This is true whether you’re crafting a clause in a contract or changing the culture of an entire organization. In fact, with a move from “customer” to “client”, a single word helped transform IBM from a product provider into a professional services company. This is because the language of an organization plays a critical role in shaping the thoughts and behavior of its people. For IBM, the word “customer” emphasized transactions and making sales whereas “client” emphasized service and building relationships.

If language plays such an important role in forming the culture of a company, then leaders should find the “Fail Fast” mantra a little unnerving. It’s an idea spawned in Silicon Valley that has gained significant traction in mainstream corporate circles. Today, leaders from start-ups to 100-year-old companies are rallying their teams under the “Fail Fast” banner. Even the venerable HBR dedicated an entire issue to the F-word.

The idea behind “Fail Fast” is simple and smart. Don’t spend a lot of money, time and effort locked in a room developing the perfect product only to unveil it to the world and discover no one cares. If an idea is going to fail, then let it fail as quickly as possible so resources can be redirected to something more likely to succeed. This is the mindset that underpins the lean and agile movements. It's adaptability, not adherence to a specific plan, that is the key to engaging in a poorly-understood or a rapidly-changing market.

Great idea, but “Fail Fast” is a lousy brand with some potentially dire consequences. Yes, failure happens and one should try to learn from it. However, the words “Fail Fast” imply that failure is an acceptable outcome. Even worse, it suggests to the less ambitious that a strategy or a plan isn’t needed at all. Just throw things against the wall and see what sticks. Failed attempts can become nothing more than poor attempts.

Failure shouldn’t be a corporate value – no matter what rate it is happening at. So if failure is not what you are looking for from your organization, then why promote it? At core, the fail fast movement is attempting to provide an efficient method to deal with uncertainty. But it’s not the failure that’s important. It’s feedback – fast feedback.

“Fast Feedback” is the mantra that should drive meetings, process design and new product development. By focusing on feedback rather than failure, leaders avoid inadvertently instituting an intellectually lazy, fail-and-bail mindset. Instead of implicitly excusing failure, when leaders invoke “Fast Feedback” they acknowledge uncertainty, communicate a need to deal with it quickly and encourage a method for doing so. “Fast Feedback” directly emphasizes the right behaviors and requires no special interpretation or background knowledge to understand.

In a “Fast Feedback” culture, conversations don’t stop with the decision of what to try, but rather push further to a discussion of how to learn from what was done and how to do so quickly. As well, organizations focused on “Fast Feedback” ultimately become more data-driven. As teams strive to collect and act on feedback faster, systems and dashboards fueled by numbers naturally begin to steer the conversation and correct behavior.

In a “Fast Feedback” culture, conversations don’t stop with the decision of what to try, but rather push further to a discussion of how to learn from what was done and how to do so quickly.

While the test-and-learn ideas underlying the “Fail Fast” mantra are valuable, leaders would be wise to consider the consequences of building a culture using a language of failure. Instead, using “Fast Feedback” as the rallying cry communicates the core ideas more directly and goes further to building an organizational mindset that confronts uncertainty more thoughtfully and effectively.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 MFer - One Day, 300 Mile Ride

Completed the fifth MFer ("mostly flat") ride this Saturday. In one day we rode 310 miles out-and-back from Columbia, IL to Kentucky (via Cairo, IL). Started at 6am and finished about 4am the next day. Long day, but lots of fun as always.

Aaron Fanetti at the finish of the 2013 MFer
Stefan Adams, Brian Looper, Chaz Moreno, Beth Sanborn and myself at the finish.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Indian Camp Creek 9-hour MTB Race

Raced in the ICCP 9-hour MTB race on Saturday. Completed 11 laps covering about 82.5 miles. Finished in 5th place.

Aaron Fanetti racing 2013 ICCP 9hr

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alive Magazine Article

Recently had a little write up in the July 2013 issue of Alive Magazine. I certainly appreciated being recognized, especially considering the inspiring athletes that were also covered. That said, I think it was written with a bit more drama and high-adventure than I expected. While it's true I was afraid for my life at one point during my first ITI, I wouldn't consider that the highlight of the race. As well, the "running around bare-chested and barefooted" was only a partial quote - which failed to note that I was referring to when I was kid growing up in a somewhat rural part of Missouri. The way it was written it seems as if I was doing it yesterday.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational

Completed the 350 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. Second time around. A little warmer this year with temps only getting down to -35F and much better trail conditions. Road most of the way from Puntilla to Rainy Pass and crossed the Alaska Range under the cold moonlight with a thrilling night ride down the infamous Dalzell Gorge.

What a trip. The ultimate mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. Impossible to describe. Finished in 5 days, 20 hours. So happy to reach McGrath again, but then instantly sad it was over.

Rohn, AK

Aaron Fanetti on the Iditarod Trail headed to Nikolai

Aaron Fanetti at the finish of ITI 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

SHivering Icy Trail Run Half Marathon

Ran in Rock Racing's the first annual SHivering Icy Trail Run ("SHITR") half marathon at Lost Valley in Weldon Springs, MO. Started around 5pm and quickly became dark, wet, muddy and cold. Finished 3rd place overall in 1h 51m.

Aaron Fanetti finishing the 2013 Shivering Icy Trail Run Half Marathon