There’s a trial in triathlon
By: Casey Arbenz, Hester Law Group
Along with RTB members Lance Hester and Brett Purtzer, I’m a trial lawyer for the Hester Law Group. We pride ourselves in fighting for clients who have been injured or are facing a criminal charge. Oftentimes, the matter is serious, time-consuming and overwhelmingly stressful. Sometimes, the case requires a jury trial.
A trial is a lot like a triathlon. Some are short, like sprint triathlons. Others last for weeks or months and resemble an ironman. Both have ups and downs and are inherently unpredictable. Both require lots of preparation and attention to nutrition (a trial requires a lot of coffee in the morning and beer at night 😊). Both are both mentally and physically exhausting. In the same way you learn something new after every triathlon, a trial is the same way. Every mistake becomes something to avoid the next time around.
This time last year I was training for the Oceanside 70.3 (I’m doing it again this year on April 7th). For the entire month of February I was also defending a client in a complex embezzlement case. The trial was stressful for several reasons. First, my client was innocent. Second, there were thousands of pages of documents to comb through. Third, the trial was in Seattle and I live in Gig Harbor – meaning I had to commute around 3 hours a day. Fourth, at the time my kids were one and two years old. Fifth and finally, I really wanted to PR the race in Oceanside.
While it could be argued that my triathlon training might need to take a back seat during that stressful month, I took the opposite approach. I decided to focus on time management, organization, proper nutrition (less beer), quality workouts and as much time as possible with my family. I avoided sitting in traffic as much as I could by taking the ferry to Seattle in the morning and putting in one solid hour of trial prep while on the boat. After trial, rather than go eat, drink or get on the road, I went straight to work out. As a YMCA member, I could use the Seattle facility. I swam in that pool and even made it to a couple 5:00 spin classes. I ran the Seattle waterfront and went up to Green Lake a couple times. By the time my workouts were over the I-5 traffic had usually dissipated enough for a faster drive home. I was able to eat with my kids and help put them to bed. I slept like a rock every night and woke up each morning ready to fight. I was in perfect trial mode; perfect triathlon mode!
Looking back on that month of my life, I was as disciplined as I’ve ever been. While I came up four minutes short of a PR, I still had a great race in Oceanside. I won my trial. I managed my stress during that busy time and somehow, despite all that was going on, I didn’t have to sacrifice too much family time. I learned a lot about being a trial lawyer and being a triathlete. I learned that for me, being good at one means being good at both.
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