Monthly Archives: July 2011

A First For Everything

This week marked a few firsts in my life….

It started with a relaxing “vacation” (or as close to we’ll be getting to one this summer) in Sea Isle city….my first trip to the South Jersey beach town.  And for the first time…and very much to my pleasant surprise, there was very little fist pumping, hair product…and no sign of “Snookie”.  I was relieved to learn that the stereotypical Jersey Shore character, and their lookalikes, seem to stay north of Atlantic City.  And although it felt odd to be outnumbered by Phillies fans while still in NJ….I enjoyed the seemingly laid-back day on the beach, and a 12 miler up and down the Sea Isle promenade on Sunday.  It was actually kind of fun to say…”yeah, I’m just gonna go ahead and run to Ocean City”….felt a little like Forest Gump.

After vacation (also known as “the weekend”) ended, it was back to the grind, but there were a few fun firsts to look forward to coming up later in the week…mainly, the “I Pink I Can” event this past Friday that I referenced in last week’s blog.  And before I knew it, the week was flying by, with plenty of work and a decent week of training, highlighted by the following track workout (in 96 degree heat!)…..I can’t wait for my NJNY Track Club friends Julie & Frances are back in town to kick my butt!

  • Warm-up .5 miles
  • then 2 mi @ goal pace (6:30 / mile) with 3 min. recovery after
  • 2x 1 mi @ 10k pace (6:20 / mile) with 2 min. recovery after each mile
  • 2x 800 at 5k pace (6:00-6:15 / mile) with 2 min recovery after each 800.
  • Cool down x .5 miles
  • Stretch x 10 min!
I’m happy to say that I was able to manage the workout nearly perfect….with the exception of needing an additional minute of recovery after the initial 2 miles.  It’s amazing what a few decent workouts strung together can do for the psyche!
And then came Friday….the weather forecast was calling for dangerously record breaking heat, and our group was doing our best to raise awareness, funds, and support to beat breast cancer.  It turned out to be an incredible event….yes , we wheeled a treadmill out alongside a busy highway to gain some exposure….yes we love attention…..yes we, as a team, ran 9.5 straight hours…….yes, it was dreadfully hot (some people claim the temperature gauge hit 110)…..yes…we had to be extremely careful, take it slow and steady, and stay hydrated….yes we did it under a tent to get some shade…..yes we took turns (about 1-1.5 hours / leg)…and yes we work PINK…..many many firsts!
And after a long day….we (the people running, the people promoting, the people cooking at Fuel Good, the people buying, and the passer-by’s supporting) …..as a community….did something “rediculously” awesome!  Turns out we raised over $1,250 throughout the week for some close friends and their quest for the Suzan G. Komen Walk for the Cure…..but more importantly than any financial figure….we did something bigger than any of us individually…for the greater good….it made me proud to live where I do!

It wasn’t my first charity style running event…but it was another example of what I believe being Fit 2 Be (a) Live is about….this one was a lesson in using one’s fitness for a higher purpose…a way to pay your energy forward, literally one step at a time….and hopefully away to inspire a few to do the same.  I was honored to be a part, and thanks to all those who supported!

…..side notes….few other firsts from this past week:

  • first time shopping for a brand new car of our own (have always purchased used / pre-owned in the past)
  • first time purchasing cycling equipment (shoes, pedals to use on a loaner bike from my brother, helmet, and spandex shorts with a enough built in padding to keep “things” protected)
  • first time doing a “brick” style workout (45 minute bike, followed by 7 mile tempo run)
  • first time falling off a bike….twice….within 30 seconds of one another(don’t worry, I wasn’t even moving….it’s those damn clip-in shoes)…the neighbors must have gotten a laugh out of that 🙂
  • first time signing up for a twitter account…follow me if interested in further ramblings by clicking HERE
Catch ya next time…enjoy the photos!
Justin, all smiles!
Me on leg 2….heat, what heat?
Mike on his 2nd leg…..going for hour 2.5
The Newbie….Phil

Nick on leg 2, hour 2

Phil and I finishing things off….9.5 hours straight!

 

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Pink – It’s My Favorite Color

“Pink – it’s the color of passion……Ah, ’cause today it just goes with the fashion”…..thanks Steven Tyler, not only did you amuse us with your antics this past year on American Idol….but it turns out that you have an uncanny ability and gift to turn nonsense into musical genius.

And it is with great honor that this Friday, July 22nd – our band of Pro-Activity brothers will don the most decorated pink attire that we can find (or is lent to us…hint hint) as we run tirelessly (we hope) alongside the highway in support of the fight against breast cancer, and specifically to raise funds and support Pro-Activity family members Wandy Bush and Michelle Cyphers as they embark on the 60 mile Susan G. Komen Walk later in the year.

Let me give you some background……if you’ve been reading my blog….you’re well aware that I truly believe that when our bodies are strong, our minds sharp, and our hearts filled….we as humans are “Fit”…..no one component is more important than the next and each fuels the other.  It is at this time, when all three components work together seamlessly that we’re not just living…but instead…are ALIVE and able to enjoy life to it’s furthest potential.

Of course, that’s not to say that any of those components are easily attained…and sometimes it takes an external motivator, like a good cause (i.e. a cure for breast cancer), to motivate us internally to get “moving”.  And so it is both inspiring to see friends commit to move for a cause….and personally fulfilling to find a creative way (like running roadside in bright pink attire…in 98 degree heat) to show some support.  Check out the May edition of Thrive for some more examples of “Moving for a Higher Purpose”.

BUT…..

As you know, the economy has seen better times and it can be difficult for all of us to donate financially to as many charitable causes as we may like…and as such, our friends Wandy and Michelle haven’t quite hit their fundraising commitments.  And speaking from experience (I ran with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society in 2008 and had to raise $3,600), it can be difficult to feel like you’re always asking the same network of friends and family to support your efforts financially.  So here’s where the twist comes in…..we all have to eat right?

Well, fortunately (or unfortunately I guess depending on who you are), our staff is usually up for something we like to call “REDiculous” (click link for what this actually means).  So I suggested that the Fuel Good girls consider donating some of their proceeds to the cause….and I’d happily volunteer the men that work here to run on a treadmill, in crazy pink outfits, for 30 minutes for every $80 raised…….I saw it as a win-win-win…..help raise some funds for Wandy & Michelle, provide an opportunity for individual donors to donate simply by purchasing lunch, something we all do anyway….and maybe draw a few new friends to cafe who will hopefully come back to visit more often 🙂  And not surprisingly….our team was in!

So through Thursday, the Fuel Good girls will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the cause…and on Friday…the girls have graciously agreed to donate 50%!  And the guys…..well…..keep this in mind….the goal is to raise $2,000….so do the quick math and if we hit that goal we’ll be completing 12 hours of continuous running!  We hope you’ll come play a part!

Want to make it even more fun….bring in your most REDiculous pink outfits (keep it clean people), and I’m confident that we’ll sport it roadside (***disclaimer*** it’s supposed to be 98+ degrees, and men sweat….a lot!).

And to bring this blog full circle….show up on Friday (and as often throughout the week as you like) and you’re sure to be entertained by “Dudes That Look Like Ladies”!

Men in Tights?

 

 

 

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The Golden Touch

This past weekend may go down as one of the most exciting weekends for USA sports in some time…at least for 2011….at least for a guy that grew up in NJ….and I must say, I walked away in awe!

Saturday was it’s usual day…wake up…put the finishing touches on the work week that I decided not to cram into Friday (is it me or do you all feel your inner-child coming out on Friday’s and struggle to do anything but want to “play”?)….then determine when I’d “squeeze” in a couple runs over the weekend including a 13 miler sandwiched around a few business related meetings.  Yes, I said meetings….I know it may sound crazy to most to have business related meetings on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays….but in the world of a small business looking to grow in a poor economy…I’m fortunate that my partners and I are in agreement that these are the types of sacrifices necessary to get important things done.  And I couldn’t help laugh a bit to myself (and out loud) as I looked at my wife and said…”Don’t blame me….everyone warned you…and you still said Yes”!

But in the midst of hammering out action items and takeaways from the previous night…I nearly missed the first of this weekend’s golden moments happening about 65 miles to my east in the heart of the Bronx!  Now, I know there are some serious haters out there…and hey, I guess I can’t blame them….I mean if I had to watch an opposing team dominate sports over the years with 27 World Championships and 40 American League pennants…I might feel a bit…well….let’s all be honest…..JEALOUS….too!  And yeah…we’ve all heard the “they spend big bucks and buy top talent”…and to that I suggest haters look into the phrase “best practice”…..keep in mind that Major League Baseball is a profession for it’s players….the entire organization is a business….and like most businesses…those willing to make calculated big investments usually get big rewards….it’s best practice in this game…and hey, it’s catching on…ask the Philadelphia Phillies!  But Yankee hating aside…..this weekend, the Yankees “Golden Boy” Derek Jeter did it again.  This guy has built a career on coming up HUGE in the big moment….and becoming only the 28th player in history to eclipse 3,000 hits in a career….for a brief moment…he smiled, hugged friends and waived to family…acted human….and then got back to business with 3 more hits including the game-winner and went 5-5 on the day.  So it got me wondering….how do some people, like Jeter, always seem to deliver in the most pressure-filled moments?

And then there was the US Women’s Soccer Team.  Now, my soccer experience consists of 2 years in community athletics at the age of 6 & 7….and although I’ve got quite the little “dynamo” in a niece…I’m not a huge soccer guy.  But, this World Cup thing is captivating….and thankfully Amy and I made it home from church in time to catch the final moments of the US team’s most recent victory.  My words surely won’t do it justice, but here’s the gist…….

The US team seemed to have been getting a little short-changed throughout the game by the ref….regulation ended in a tie and the teams were given a full 30 minutes of extended time (I’m still trying to figure this out but I think it’s partly the ref’s discretion).  Right away the Brazil team scores on a questionable goal.  The US battles and battles but can’t find the net for the next 30 minutes……Brazil pulls some shenanigans with players faking injuries to eat away precious time…and the ref’s extend time even farther to account for Brazil’s ploy to eat up the clock…..what’s most exciting is that the audience and players (presumably) have no idea when the official end of the game will be as the clock continues to tick……and with one final push….the US team drives up field….and Megan Rapinoe crosses the ball (probably about 30-40 yards), perfectly leading her teammate, and team captain (a girl who has struggled to score through the tournament)….and as Abby Wambach heads the ball into the net…the stadium (in Germany) ERUPTS!  USA USA USA!

Amy and I literally jump off our couch for joy…..and I find myself getting chocked up as I watch these women…representing our country…living the “never say die” mentality….and with their backs against the wall of elimination….they tie the game up, delivering in the most very critical moment!

The US team, like Jeter, went on to finish their day with an amazing victory…defeating Brazil in penalty shots….but how…why…..where do some people “get it”…..that Golden Touch?  Next on the reading (or listening as I tend to do) list…..”Talent is Overrated”…google it for yourself.  Check out the US team highlights below…well worth it!

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The Best Man? Nah..the Best Are Those That Serve!

Some rambling thoughts and recounts swarming my head in the last 7+ days….

I had my first opportunity to be a “Best Man” at Nick’s wedding two weekends ago….and I’m happy to say things went relatively smooth.  I had contemplated winging the whole “speech” thing, but was frequently reminded that a few in attendance were expecting something a little more grandiose.  Thankfully the bride and groom beamed with happiness, it was an incredibly love-filled event, and although I may have been a bit long-winded, people laughed as I ragged on just about everyone I had the chance…but most specifically Nick!….Mission Accomplished!  Special thanks to John Doscher for laughing before I even introduced myself to loosen things up!  And why was it that the Pro-Activity staff and few clients in attendance were among the last on the dance floor?  Is it because they’re fit….crazy….or both?  I’ll let you make your own opinion.

Gear shift**************

Independence Day….I must admit, the long weekend was AMAZING…got a chance to visit with friends and family…get a few good workouts in….decompress and enjoy a few BBQ’s…and sleep in…..actually slept till 9:30am yesterday…felt like the old days…it was glorious!  But it wasn’t all just about R&R…while last weekend was about being “the best man”, this weekend made me think about all the truly best men and women that came before us and had the guts to stand for what they believed in….and regardless of the price, remain united with faith and pride in freedom and a better way of life for them, their children, their grandchildren…and eventually us.  I hope to model my life, with a similarly firm commitment to value.  Thanks to them, those veterans that came after them, and those “best men and women” that still fight today.  I’m especially impressed by some of our younger clients and family members thereof that have chosen a path to defend our country.  Thanks to Kyle Cyphers, Jacob Jantsch and his wife, and newly enlisted Pro-Activity training client Matt Wilson who will be joining the Corp after graduating next June from high school….along with all those serve!

THANK YOU!!!

Gear Shift************

A few weeks back I stated that I’ve decided to (slowly) begin making the transition to triathlon after my next big race (the Marine Corp marathon) this coming “Mischief Night” morning.  And in thinking about my upcoming training over the next few months, I’ve come to a few conclusions:

  1. To achieve platinum on the Pacer Team and reclaim my stake among our team’s top performances, I’ll need to run approximately a 2:58:00 marathon – the equivalent of a 6:47 pace…..seems like a bit of stretch after running a Boston PR at 3:04:45….but having averaged 6:40 through 20 miles in Boston…I think it’s doable.  I’m currently training to run a 6:30 pace in the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half marathon with my teammates….and after today’s workout it’s clear to me that I can do it……………and…………..I loath track workouts in the summer heat.
  2. In order to be totally prepared I need to find ways to up my training volume, increase my leg strength, all while not trashing my joints with too much pavement pounding….mainly my achy feet.
  3. Enter some road biking……I’m been doing a little research here, given that I’m going to be moving to triathlon…and figured this was a good way to add volume, add additional cardio and strength workouts (i.e. hills) without the pounding, and actually learn how to ride.  And, this past week I had an incredibly generous client, Wes, offer to let me try his son’s bike out for the week.  See there are some benefits of being the same size as most 14 year olds!  (FYI – ever hear of the “Eliptigo” eliptical bike….a bike for the road used by some of the worlds best runners looking for cross-training options?….get in touch with Wes for a free demo ride….it’s a pretty awesome alternative).  And after two rides on the road bike….I’ve learned two huge lessons: 1) Road biking is a great option for a distance runner looking to get some additional work in…and 2) It’s time to buy a pair of those ridiculous looking spandex with the built in butt implants / diaper looking pads. ************Side note************ I think I’ve come to realize why the typical cyclist / triathlete is a middle-aged, married man…..yes the stats indicate that it is because this group typically has more disposable income than other demographics….however I think it might have just as much to do with the fact that one must be very secure in their relationship to go out in public in this awesome (?) attire…..God knows that in my single days you would have never seen me in padded spandex shorts, tap shoes, and a bobble-head helmet spinning through downtown!
Till next time……..keep this in mind “You’re Only Young Once, BUT….You Can Be Immature FOREVER!”

 

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