Monthly Archives: November 2011

Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

A quote made famous by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and if you’re a child of the 80’s / 90’s – reproduced in Aerosmith’s “Amazing”.  Not sure if Steven Tyler holds quite the same amount of clout as Emerson….and while I’m hoping for a pretty outstanding final destination….I’m a big believe in the quality of life’s journey.  I’ve found time and time again that our experiences shape us, and that in those very rare experiences that bring out our best physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – we are truly alive.  It’s why I named my blog the way I did.  In my opinion, if you’re not fit in any of the above listed capacities….you don’t have the capacity to truly “live”.

And so, as I referenced last week, I’ve started to dream a bit again about some of the next coveted milestones on my journey, and after about 30 “off days”…I think I’ve come up with a few physical goals that will test my merit, get me out of my comfort zone, and bring out my all-around best.

In 2012 I will:

  1. Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon – seeing as I’ve never completed even a sprint triathlon (single attempt = epic fail), swimming isn’t overly enjoyable for me or something I’m incredibly talented at – going after this experience definitely gets me out of my area of comfort.  Step 1 – register for a race…….CHECK……registered for Bear Mtn. Tri on 6/3/12.  Step 2 – develop training plan…..CHECK (sorta)……modified / cut back a half-iron training schedule to more appropriate volumes and incorporated enough running to help me accomplish goal #2
  2. Complete AND enjoy the 2012 Boston Marathon.  I’ve thought long and hard about this one….and yeah, I’m still gonna train to go for the sub 3 hour mark in Boston – but it’s not my sole focus.  I’m yet to just go out and enjoy a race….so I’m going to give it a shot…why not, it’s only the most storied marathon ever.  And if I go sub-3, well that’s pretty freaking awesome too….after all, isn’t it more enjoyable when you do something incredibly extraordinary 🙂
  3. Break 18 minutes in a 5k.  So I’ve never really trained for this type of event before…and I’ve gone out and squeaked under 19 a time or two (and subsequently vomited after the finish line…gross).  But come fall – this will be my main training focus so that I can better represent my team in our annual turkey trot.
  4. Ramp up the strength training – I’m yet to quantify this one yet but here’s the gist…increased lean muscle mass, decreased body fat.  Did you know that after the age of 30 you lose approximately 1% of your total lean muscle mass annually if you don’t work at keeping it?  Yikes

Of course, physical fitness is just one facet of life…and I’ll be sure to set goals for the other parts of life  (relationships / family strength, faith, community / charitable, professional, personal assets).  I encourage you to do the same.

And I’d be willing to bet you…if you think about it….then write it down…then state it publicly….then track your progress….you WILL get it done!

Leave me some love (aka comments) and tell me what you’ve got in store for 2012.

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A Moment of Thanks

I’m really a pretty lucky guy….I wake up each morning to an awesome wife…not only to a person that puts up with all my craziness, but she actually still loves me even when I think I’m obnoxious.

I get to work…sometimes very early…sometimes about the time “normal” people do, and I’m surrounded by people that care about me, and at least as important…care about what we all do here, and what we stand for.

I train and coach people for a living, and over the years have had the opportunity to play a part in my fair share of life changes, extraordinary moments, personal conquests, and have built some incredibly strong relationships along the way!

I live in a community where people are genuinely nice (for the most part), many of my friends have settled (for now), and my family is literally at every turn (at least on the 5 mile running loop I’ve been doing since I was 5).

I’m pushed to do my best, to give my all, and I’m supported along the way.

I’m a pretty lucky guy.

Thanks!

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Time to Start Dreaming Again

I’ve been getting a little more active on Twitter lately….never really was huge on social media, but I’m finding this device is pretty cool.  I can quickly get headlines on news for the day….interesting business advice from some of the worlds best…and follow along in the lives of friends, family, or just about anyone I find interesting.

One of the person I’m following on Twitter is a “running-mom” who began following me at my recent marathon….and like I do with most people who follow me, I followed her back.  Don’t worry..not ANOTHER running blog….there are actually more important things in life.  But the thing that I think is cool about this “running-mom” is this woman’s mantra…”Dream Big…Run Long”.

In reading some of her blogs and her mantra over and over again…it got me to start thinking about “Dreaming Big” (not so much about running long..not there yet)…..maybe it’s time I start dreaming again and planning for 2012.

In year’s past, I find that I am guilty as most folks are…I start really planning out objectives for the new year…just when the new year actually starts.  Why would someone do this?  It makes absolutely no sense…..it’s like starting the race 5 minutes after the actual start….puts us all behind from the get go.

So I’m vowing to put a little more advanced planning into 2012….and while I don’t know just exactly what I’ll dream up or set my heart on achieving….I know the areas in which I will focus will be the same as they have been over the last five years:

  1. Family / Relationships
  2. Faith
  3. Health & Fitness
  4. Professional Development
  5. Community Service
  6. Personal Assets
Yup…that’s right…I’ll set goals around each…plan around each…track my progress around each…and if all goes as intended….have stronger relationships with those I care about, a deeper faith…a more fit body & mind, an advancing career, a charitable mission accomplished, and more valuable assets.
Should be no problem…right?  Better get to dreaming up how I’ll do all this and balance a new edition to the family…yikes!

 

 

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A Week of Extraordinary

So after documenting a bit of a personal set-back in last week’s edition of “Fit 2 Be (a)Live”, the last 5 days have brought about some incredibly inspirational  stories & experiences.  Some things to really help you want to keep moving….stories of every day “ordinary” people, going out and accomplishing some extraordinary things.

As you may have read, I’ve had the pleasure over the last 3 months to take on a few additional clients with Olympic dreams….they’re a bunch of speedsters, but somehow manage to keep things focused and light-hearted all at the same time.  It’s really a pleasure to be training this group from the NJ-NY Track Club as a supplement to their current coaching program with Coach Gags, and it’s always awesome to watch as they perform, knowing that Pro-Activity has had even the very smallest part to play in their success.  This weekend, two of our athletes (Julie Culley & Frances Koons) scorched the streets of Manhattan in the NYRR Dash to the finish line crossing in 16:00 and 16:23 respectively….Julie taking 2nd among women ahead of a World Games Silver medalist and a host of elites, and Frances besting American Marathon record holder Deanna Kastor…..pretty extraordinary!

Two days later on Monday evening, a conversation that started on Labor Day weekend at the VA Beach half marathon expo, landed a legendary endurance icon Marshall Ulrich at our BaseCamp 31 facility.  This guy LITERALLY ran across America….a good athlete no doubt…but for all you disbelievers or folks that may feel “I’m too old for crazy goals”…he did it at 57 years old, in 52 days, averaging over 60+ miles per day (that’s over two marathons)….on foot!  Oh yeah….he’s also climbed all seven summits, including Mt. Everest.  And after an awesome 3 mile jog with Marsh, and inspirational presentation by him, and a book signing….he left us with this “The human spirit…when challenged….will SOAR!”  Pretty extraordinary!

Some of Team Pro-Activity & Marshall Ulrich

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Set-Back? Maybe. Vulnerable? Maybe. Real, Yes.

I was talking to a good friend a few minutes ago, someone I care very much about and who’s perspective I deeply value….she asked me to tell her about my weekend, and how I made out in the the Marine Corps marathon.  It’s a question I’ve been fielding a lot in the last 36 hours….and a story I’ve now told a dozen or so times.  And while it doesn’t seem to get a whole lot easier with repetition….especially when telling those who have been there for much of the journey (like when I choked back tears in speaking with my Dad post-race)…it’s a good story, I guess.

Not a story with what I’d consider the happiest of endings….but a true story nonetheless….one to most certainly learn from…one with plenty of emotional highs and lows….one where the main character can’t hide from struggle…and while the “bad guy” is held off…not one where  “good guy” wins.

Some might relate this type of story to a few in their own life….with all the planning and preparation….all the strategy and training that went in….to have a good plan, watch it unfold perfectly for 90% of the “game”…to give it your absolute all, and still come up shy of your publicly stated mission (in this case by 121 seconds), it’s been a tough one to swallow.  Was it a set-back?  Yeah….I’d be lying if I said it didn’t knock me and my confidence a bit.

Has it made me feel vulnerable?  Yeah….most definitely….I’m not used to saying I’m going to accomplish something and coming up short… and I absolutely hate the feeling.  I hate saying “this weekend was bittersweet….I did my best and that still wasn’t good enough.”  I mean, logically I know in my head “giving your best is all anyone can ask for”.  It’s a lesson I’ve had ingrained in me since birth….one I’ve shared and taught many times.  One that my logic can very much accept.  But emotionally, it’s an internal battle….was I just not good enough this day….was I not being realistic with my goals (rule #1).  Or is this just part of a grander plan…..an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to confront emotional struggle, set-back, and move forward…grow?  My faith would suggest the latter.

Was it real…..yeah this Sunday was real.  From the highs of running through historic downtown DC and all that those monuments stand for, to the physical pain endured as I clipped away at an average 6:45 pace through mile 20….to the emotional lift  thinking about my family and wife, standing 7 months pregnant in the cold, just so I could have my sports drink just at the right time…to the emotional low when I realized my mission was literally slipping away one step after another no matter how hard my coach and truly awesome friend Julie tried to pull me along…..it was real.

And in the end….as I focused with all of my might….all of my being just to put one foot in front of the other as fast as I could….I finished this leg of the journey faster that I’ve ever done before….but not fast enough to put this mission to rest.

And so here is my parting thought……yeah the details of this story are about running….but is this story so unlike life?  Isn’t giving it your all….dealing with set-backs….accepting vulnerability as a necessary consequence and risk of a valued mission what we Americans are all about?  How often have we given all we’ve had….endured all we thought we could, and it just doesn’t seem enough in the short-term?….and so we’re faced with an all too familiar choice…. to get back up…regroup, recover….dust ourselves off and give it another go for something that’s worth it?

I’m going to take my time recovering from this one….but I will go at it again….I hope, when presented with the choice (since we all are) in your endeavors, you’ll do the same.

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