Wisdom, Empathy, and Thankfullness

A few weeks ago I promised to delve into what I’ve been up to since posting on a more regular (weekly basis).  To be completely honest, I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to this post, and in some ways have had it hanging over my head…as I knew what it would entail…..a reflection on the year…a re-organization of my “personal plan”…and a real personal gauge of what I’ve gotten accomplished vs. what I had set out to do in 2012.  A little daunting to say the least…but thankfully, and for me somewhat typically, I found a bit of clarity on a recent trail run last weekend (having been inspired from some of my trail running friends Nick P., Todd J., Joe G. who swear by it!).

And although I wasn’t planning on “thinking about things” per se as I went out for my run (8 miler)….it just sort of happened.  I found myself, in one of the more beautiful sections of my area, within the Round Valley Reservoir trail system, jogging slowly and dashing back and forth, under and over trees that had blocked the path after their battle with Sandy….and my mind started to wonder.  It having been only one week away from Thanksgiving, I started to think about all the things that had happened recently due to Hurricane Sandy….and then all the things I was thankful for this year….and what my brain quickly locked onto as I recounted the year in my head, was a pretty consistent trend.

I’ve had some pretty extraordinary shared experiences in 2012 that have helped me to gain wisdom, empathy for others, and grow as a person, not simply because I’ve gone through them, but because I’ve done so with people I care deeply for…and for that, I am most Thankful!


January 2012 – Amy and I, along with the rest of the Eisenhart, Hank, and greater Pro-Activity family welcome Emma into the world.  Everything people say is true….you’ll never love something quite as much as you love your child…and your life will never been the same.  It’s hard to even comprehend what life was like just 11 short months ago before she came, and it’s hard to express just how much appreciation, love and respect I have for my wife who continues to make it all look easy.  Emma continues to be our greatest blessing.


Feb-March 2012

I start to learn to ride a bike and swim….ok not literally…but as far as triathlon goes, not too far off.  This would be my year to jump into the triathlon world officially.  Thankfully the training principles aren’t all that different from any endurance sports (base – build – peak), but there’s much to be said about and appreciation gained for technique.  I’m incredibly thankful for my friends who met me for Saturday morning spin sessions (Justin, Mike, Wes, Chris, Derek, & Jeff) and those that met me in the pool (Chris, Cassy, Mike).  2013 could be a big triathlon year for me!

April 2012 – After months of limited training.see January 2012 above :)…I decide this was the year I’ll learn to appreciate running again, and take to the Streets of the Boston Marathon with one goal….find my fun again.  And after battling the unseasonable 90 degree heat for 3 hours…around mile 20 or so, I run into a “friend in need”….thinking very little of it at the time, I stop what I’m doing, and stay with this man in the middle of the race for somewhere around 10 minutes to ensure he is safe and with medical personnel.  My finish time that day was humbling…40+ minutes slower than usual…but the wisdom I gained after the fact…in realizing that the journey IS the destination is something that will stick with me forever and I continue to (have to) remind myself.  The outpouring of support and thanks that I received from readers for the actions I took that day continue to catch me by surprise but further reinforce to me that we truly are “in this together”…and that when the opportunity presents to help another, sometimes simply taking action can be the best thing.  Read recap here if interested

May 2012 – I decide, with some reassurance from some more experienced Triathletes, that one month of focused training, with a decent endurance (marathon) base under you, is enough for complete the Jerseyman Sprint triathlon.  My expectation was simply to finish and gain more appreciation and empathy for those that compete in this sport, and of course do my first triathlon with my brother Greg (also doing his first that day).  Mission accomplished and a sub 2 hour finish in a longer than traditional sprint distance.

June 2012 – Main health & fitness goal for the year accomplished.  2:38 Olympic Distance Triathlon finish along with some of my training partners Chris, Derek, and Mike….great day, and reassurance that “anyone can do this if you put your time in”.

July 2012 – After spending the last 12-15 months supporting / training a local group of professional athletes (NJNYTC), I watch with 50+ other community members, overcome literally with tears of joy, as my life long friend, and a member of our Pro-Activity family realizes her personal dream.  Julie Culley wins the US Olympic Trials and claims her stake as an Olympian (I still get chills writing this now), and we send her to London in style!

August 2012 – Are you kidding me….who seriously gets to watch their friend compete in the Olympic games!  Another lifelong friend Kristen P. and I travel to London to watch “our” Julie tear up the track with the world’s best.  Having already accomplished more in 2012 than most could dream about in a lifetime…Julie again overachieves and advances to the Olympic Finals!  My respect and admiration for her and all those that have sacrificed for 20+ years for simply the opportunity to get to this kind of level of performance  leaves an unforgettable mark on my heart and mind.

September 2012 – After 6 months of planning, our Race Directing team successfully directs the 2nd Annual “O’er Hills & Far Away Race” – a Vineyard 5k with a harvest fest flare.  We hussled to pull it all off, but were so pleased to watch as so many conquered the challenging course, many completing the 5k distance for their first time….and realizing they have so much more within than they even knew.  I’m so pleased and thankful to watch our Fuel Good Cafe team put on a great catering performance, and love the guts shown by colleague Gina Strouse who officially brings “Rocket Girl” to life!  Check out pictures at http://www.ohfar.com

October 2012 – After challenging my colleague Phil Cyphers to use his incredibly impressive fitness and strength to their highest function…we work together and he pushes me through the NJ Tough Mudder in 2:10 minutes, qualifying us for the “World’s Toughest Mudder”….not bad for two first-timers.  See video HERE

November 2012 – After a week of devastation at the hands of Hurricane Sandy, our area of the world is stumbling back to form.  And even though our business was without power….in following the leadership of colleague (and sister-in-law) Lindsay, who had this crazy idea to host a “Sandy Relief Marathon” in lieu of her earned right to participate in the NYC Marathon…..our team gets behind her with full force, and the community rallies like none other as we officially form the BaseCamp 31 “Co-Motion”.  In 48 hours, a simple, yet passion-filled, idea turns into an impressive display of community service…and we collectively host the first “pick-up game of marathon” for 250+ runners, and raise $10,000 in support of Sandy Relief.  I take a step back, post event, and realize….we truly live in a great nation….and I’m so thankful for the community that surrounds me.  To get more involved, check out http://www.basecamp31.com

So where do we go from here?  Good question…but it’s almost time to start writing plans for 2013.  Prior to this blog I went back and looked at what I had really set out to do.  As in year’s past I had broken my goals into 6 areas:

  • Relationship / Family
  • Personal / Financial
  • Professional
  • Health & Fitness
  • Faith
  • Community Service

In total, my goals had 66 different working parts (crazy I know)….The not so great news…only 51% are 100% complete…the better news is that I’ve made substantial progress on 92% of them….but the best news, I’ve learned and am thankful for each and the experiences gained along the way.

I sincerely hope this Thanksgiving finds you just as thankful, and that you and yours are truly Happy!

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