Posts Tagged With: Fitblog
It’s been one full month since my last post….and maybe not so ironically, 3 weeks since the birth of our second, a son we named Thomas John Eisenhart – named after 4 of the strongest and most giving men I’ve come to know….both of his grandfathers, his great-grandfather…and one of his Dad’s truly best friends…..it’s been a whirlwind of a month…..an incredible display of strength by my wife (in the delivery room for 24 hrs. and consistent pushing for the final 3)…lots of emotional highs…..and lots less sleep! Blogging hasn’t exactly been the top priority as I’ve made a consistent effort to keep first things first. But now, as my life STARTS to get back to some semblance of routine…and I sit here on the eve of my 33rd birthday with what I hope to be “only” 1/3 of my life behind me…I take a moment to reflect…..how am I doing…what have I learned….where do I go from here?
– How Am I Doing?
Hmmm….always my own toughest critic…my initial urge is to criticize…talk about all the things I should have accomplished by now…how much more I can / should do….BUT….if I balance that and take a look at the gifts I’ve been given…..a healthy and loving family and support network of friends….a strong faith…a beautiful part of the country to live and work….a job that allows me the opportunity to do good, meaningful work for the benefit of others all while having a bit of fun in the process….well, things seem pretty good, but certainly with room for improvement….after all, no sub-3 hr. marathon (yet)….haven’t amassed the seemingly millions I’ll need to pay for kids college (likely never)…haven’t conquered the world (alright maybe I’ll reconsider this one)…
-What Have I Learned?
Well…there have been MANY things…some things unfortunately more than once….but probably the most powerful thus far are as follows:
1) I haven’t learned everything yet, nor will I ever, but it’s important to not stop trying (had to learn this one again last year)
2) Surrounding myself with amazing, caring people has provided me more opportunity, greater experiences and higher life satisfaction than is probably reasonable for any one guy to expect.
3) Pursuing purposeful work ahead of $-full continues to yield valuable dividends.
4) Consciously putting faith and family first….although not always easiest …continues to be the right approach for me…I’d argue for others too.
Where Do I Go From Here?
I have this vision….one that builds strong people, fosters healthy families…and leverages physical resource… for the benefit of those that need it most. I’ve mentioned it in prior posts as “Fit4Duty”……and though my progress towards this goal has been slower than I’d like….and there’s much work to be done….I believe with consistent effort….we can create a movement…..one where groups of good people come together and train for a purpose greater than personal health & well-being (although that’s clearly a nice side-benefit)…a purpose that would allow them to gain physical strength and mental stamina alongside their friends and families in the process …but most importantly prepare the group to serve and labor in communities and areas of the world with need. If you think this sounds good and you want to be involved in the “from here” or know someone who would…drop me a comment, a message, or a re-tweet and we’ll talk next steps.
Happy Birthday to Me,
This year, unlike year’s past, I have no specific athletic event goals. No big races I’m training for….no “PR’s” I’m trying to obtain (although I haven’t given up on a sub-3 hr. marathon performance in the future). No…instead, after much thought at the end of 2013, I decided this was the year where “purpose” would come first…and my goal would be to pursue and develop a program that recruits and builds on the passion of others, so that we may collectively facilitate greater good through volunteered physical labor in this world in areas that need it…relying on things I know most – health & fitness. I call the program “Fit 4 Duty” and details are to come….BUT in prep…I vowed I’d find ways to invest in my personal spirit so that it may be centered and rich enough to keep me moving forward…in the RIGHT direction, putting first things first.
This weekend, after being recruited by friends and family members regularly over the last few years, I attended a men’s retreat at the church I’ve belonged to for all of my years 30 in NJ (since I was 3). While I’ve often considered myself someone of strong faith, and have had many moments in my life where I’ve felt an incredible sense of spirit burning inside of me, outside of regular attendance at Sunday mass, I’ve pretty much resisted anything that might seem a bit too “churchy” for me, and at times have gotten a little off path. Actually the thought….or even using the word “retreat” has historically been a bit out of my comfort zone. But having known and respected many of those who attended before me, including numerous community members, client-friends, parents, siblings & siblings-in-law (is there really any difference?), and most recently my brother Mike who has taken a slightly more active role with the group of organizers….I decided this year was the year I’d push out of my norm, and I promised myself to enter with an open mind.
Heading into the weekend, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, and had a decently realistic perspective on who I was….what my God-given talents are, and the principles and values for which I stand. I figured on some listening….some sharing…. and some reflection. But what I didn’t expect, at least as much, was the inspiration and wisdom I would receive from the other men in attendance, and the consistent opportunities that seemed to come slowly but surely one time after another, to refine my focus on what is (and maybe isn’t) important in life as each of us travels down our own unique roads.
I left the weekend feeling enriched, having learned a bit more about myself and my faith and gaining a deep appreciation for the others in attendance, and their willingness to share the lessons they’ve learned about themselves and the role God (and their faith) has played both in good times, but more powerfully…in the bad. I left the weekend feeling stronger, knowing that going through trying times is a part of EVERYONE’s life, but when relying on God, we can endure the hard times, and actually find strength in our pain. I left the weekend feeling blessed….blessed with an amazing support network at home, and a community that has allowed me every opportunity to thrive, should I choose to pursue them AND do the right things for the right reasons. And I left the weekend feeling clear….clear that while I’ll never be alone on my “journey” through life.. it doesn’t make it any less mine, full of choices and responsibilities, and opportunities for good….and after “randomly” selecting a bible out of a stack of 50 with the below passage highlighted…I’m clear that I’m on the right path.
“There are different kind of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
Given the fact that I was…well, “minus 13” when Simon & Garfunkel’s hit “Mrs. Robinson” came out…and since I’ve never actually scene “The Graduate”….I’ve never totally understood what this phrase meant…..but in thinking about how to title this blog….it seemed so fitting.
So fitting – since I’ve been more than just a little “MIA” lately in blogging…..so fitting – that my beloved NY Yankees (who face the possibility of being swept by the Detroit Tigers tonight) could SO use Joe D. right now…..and so fitting that last night, instead of watching the Yankees, I found myself glued to the Presidential Town Hall debate….DESPERATELY wanting for one of the candidates to say something with actual substance….not just statements about historical items….or what their track records are…or what the high level (aka vague) basis of their plans are to lead our country back to where we “should be”…..substance…you know…like HOW they might actually implement their plans. And while I find myself so eagerly looking for new direction and leadership in the White House….I turned off last night’s debate feeling less than fulfilled.
So when I decided tonight was the night I’d start back to regular updates…the night I’d no longer “be gone” from the blog-o-sphere….Paul Simon’s lyrics popped into my head….and after doing a little research as to what he actually meant by this statement (below) ….I find myself missing “Joe Dimaggio”….a man, admittedly, I’ve never seen play.
[In a New York Times op-ed in March 1999, shortly after DiMaggio’s death, Simon discussed this meeting and explained that the line was meant as a sincere tribute to DiMaggio’s unpretentious heroic stature, in a time when popular culture magnifies and distorts how we perceive our heroes. He further reflected: “In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence.”]
But while “Joltin Joe” may have left and gone away…..my plan is to come back, regularly, to blogging…..in part because the feedback from those that have chosen to read has been pleasant and uplifting….special thanks to Chris S – a guy I’ve respected for a number of years, who stopped me randomly this weekend to tell me how moved and inspired he was by my piece on my Boston Marathon experience….and the rest…selfishly…for me…..because somewhere in the last 4 months, I’ve gotten away from one of the things that’s served as an incredible tool for self-reflection (this blog)…something that’s helped keep me focused on WHY….and something….like Joe D…..that I’ve missed.
For all those that truly desire a path of “Fit 2 Be (a)LIVE”, I encourage you to think about the reflection tools in your life and how they impact your personal health and wellness…it certainly helps me. Till next time (when I’ll fill in some of the 4 month gap)….remember…”Heaven Holds A Place For Those Who Pray”….
Vicarious experience can be an incredibly powerful thing. It has been shown to be a vital strategy in motivating others, helping them to change behavior or take further action. It can evoke the most extreme emotions…putting butterflies in your stomach, chills on your arm, a smile on your face, and tears in your eyes. It can make you laugh, stomp your feet, clap your hands, jump up and down, and even scream and cheer at the top of your lungs. It can literally MOVE YOU!
We went berzerk, cheering…slapping hi-fives with the “strangers” around us…..and as tears streamed down Kristen’s face, and I choked back a few of my own….our friend had realized ANOTHER dream…something she’s been IN PURSUIT of for many, many years. Julie Culley had earned herself the distinction of American Champion, Olympian, and now…Olympic Finalist!
Been a while since I’ve posted…no excuses, I’ve just been lame. Well, at least in my writing. It’s funny, I had a friend and client ask me the other day…in not so many words….”what do you want to be when you grow up”. It kind of through me for a loop at first…I mean to be honest, I’m not really used to folks asking me about my personal goals, etc……I’m usually the one doing the asking…but this person is pretty important to me, so fair enough. I admitted that I loved coaching people and helping them achieve their goals…sometimes helping them realize something they never thought possible, other times just giving the extra bit of encouragement or training tools they need to put the finishing touches on top of an already incredibly solid foundation. I told her that what I’d love to do more of is writing, and that someday…after a few more interesting experiences and stories to tell…some day I’d love to get into the professional speaking circuit.
But what I failed to get out was what I’ve written so many times….. that my life’s mission is to live with uncompromising commitment and relentless drive, to stay true to family and self, and to have the courage to pursue with pride. Sound vague? Yeah, I could see that. The thing is there isn’t only one thing I’m specifically after…but instead to me it’s more important that whatever I’m after…I pursue it in the RIGHT way! So while today’s pursuit may be somewhat different than tomorrow’s, my mission is to truly go after it, never sacrificing my values or ideals, and take pride in and enjoy the pursuit.
“Yesterday’s pursuit” (actually 10 days ago) included my first Olympic Triathlon…something I initially thought would be a bit of a stretch goal. After all, only two short months ago I struggled to swim 100 meters without rest and this event included 1500 meters of swimming, but this was another one of those experiences I felt I “had” to have. And although there were times I thought how easy it would be to just bag it….to stay true and achieve it (2:38:57 time for 1500 meter swim, 24 mi bike, 6.2 mi run) put another notch in my athletic belt, a check mark off my 2012 goals, but above all….provided an even more undying respect for those athletes that pursue triathlon.
And for tomorrow’s pursuit (besides being an awesome husband, father, brother, son, entrepreneur, coach, colleague, and friend)…..to get back to basics a bit and re-find the fun and passion in my own personal strength workouts! I’ll keep you posted…but till then, go find the passion in your pursuit!
p.s. To all my NJ-NY Track Club friends, especially those that have trained with me the last few months…Julie, Frances, Kate, Ashley, Nicole, and Steph….good luck at the US Olympic trials next week….we’re pulling for you! For all you readers, if you’re somewhat local and would like to join us, we’ll be hosting viewing parties at our facility to cheer our friends on!
So I’m a couple of days late with this post, and I’ve been fortunate to be somehow associated with so many incredible achievements and cool things going on, I wasn’t quite sure where I’d go with this post.
There’s my best friend who, after over a year of training, has just logged his first 50 mile ultra marathon, qualifying him for the “Western States”….what he calls, “The Boston Marathon for Ultra-marathons”! And instead of giving himself a much deserved pat on the back, he deflected his success, crediting his wife and the community that supported him. Read his recap here. How incredibly awesome!
There’s my pending “sprint” triathlon this weekend (oh yeah, conveniently forgot to mention this), where I’ll be entering the open water for only the 2nd time in my life (suffice it to say that my last attempt, with 40+ degree air temps and no wet suit, and next to zero training, didn’t last long and I got the dreaded DNF). I’m a bit of a last minute entry, but figured it’d be a good test as I get ready for my first Olympic distance on 6/3. Probably the coolest part of this weekend is that I’ll be doing the race with two of my brothers, and good friend Chris. And although I’m thinking they’ll probably be so far ahead of me that they’ll be finishing when I’m just getting off my bike (or before)…beware gentlemen, if I see you on the run course, I’m not above tripping you just before the finish if I have to…ha, kidding of course!
There’s my two nieces, who have trained incredibly hard, and have been vying for their spot in the HS varsity chearleading line-up (with three high schools in our county alone placing nationally year after year, chearleading is quickly becoming one of the most competitive sports around), and while it only worked out as planned for one of the two….I’m confident that if each of them continue to truly desire greatness in the sport and stay focused, they have the love, support, and resources available to reach whatever they set out to achieve.
There’s my grandfather, a WW II veteran, who was just flown to DC by an incredible not-for-profit “Honor Flight“, to be recognized and honored along with two PLANES FULL of his fellow servicemen, for the extraordinarily selfless work they did for us overseas 65 years ago. I am eternally grateful, and humbled for the sacrifices these folks made so that we can live the life we do.
There’s my brother-in-law who just graduated from college….and for those of us who have been there, we know what a hugely impressive…and sometimes daunting next step this can be….after all, with the real world comes real responsibilities and accountability to self…..but not to worry Jeff….what also comes is the real chance of “freedom”….to live the life you want! Probably the best advice I ever received was to do what you love first, worry about money later….and even though I was too stubborn to listen right away (shocking, I know), after 4 months in a cubicle and some serious life changing events….I quickly realized that if there was ever a time to take a chance and follow your passion….the year(s) immediately post graduate were certainly it. I urge you to consider the same, and am confident that if you do….you’ll land happily on your feet!
And then, there’s the one day each year when we actually stop for a second, and honor the people that brought us into this world….those so instrumental in giving us our greatest gift…life! Mom’s may just be the most incredibly strong people in the world. Somehow, from the moment their feet hit the ground in the morning, they start sprinting with one main mission….to take care of the people they love. It’s pretty amazing really that they keep their sanity at all….and what may be even more impressive, it doesn’t seem as though they slow or stop as their children continue to age. And in that, they may be life’s all-time best endurance athletes!
I’ve been fortunate to have had so many “moms” in my life supporting me….from the sister’s and sister-in-law who’ve made sure I’ve always had what I needed (also known as “spoiling”) and do the same for their kids, the Mom’s of friends who have “adopted” me over the years, the clients-turned-friends who have been so incredibly care-taking and generous, a mother-in-law that has treated me as her own from the moment we met (and recently trekked to Boston just to watch her granddaughter and support me in the marathon), and now a wife, who in only 4 months as a mom, has shown me the most incredible demonstration of strength, will, and love that I’ve ever seen.
But of course, this blog wouldn’t be near complete without a testimonial to my Mom. This woman is nothing short of incredible. With six kids and 11 grandchildren, she has in some way figured out how to make each of us feel like her favorite. And it’s not just us…..having spent a career in education, I’m yet to meet someone more devoted to the lives and enrichment of children then her. She has a gift, an endless love, and I couldn’t be more thankful that God chose her for me.
Happy Mother’s Day all!
The “All-time Momma’s Boy”…Eric
Taking from an article I wrote for last month’s edition of Pro-Activity’s “ELEMENTS” newsletter, a monthly publication providing education and resources on how to MOVE, FUEL, RECOVER, ENDURE, & CONNECT…..Well!
A little less than a year ago, Wes Knowles walked into our facility looking for some additional guidance, coaching, and rehab to supplement his current training routine, as he worked his way back from painful knee surgery. A lifelong endurance athlete, Wes’ message to us was clear, “After 6 marathons including Boston, NYC, and Chicago, a dozen or so half marathons, and a couple of triathlons, the time shortly following my knee surgery was when I hit rock bottom. I started to gain weight, couldn’t get outdoors to exercise or get the time away like I was used to, and what was maybe even worse, I started to lose touch with my social network….all the friends I had normally met for weekend runs were doing their thing, and I couldn’t keep up. At that point I knew I had to find a way back.” And so we got started, as health & fitness professionals typically do, with an assessment.
Within short-time, as we were completing various tests, measurements, etc. Wes asked, “Have you ever heard of the Elliptigo?”…..”Uh, can’t say that I have.” I stated….”Oh, you gotta try it. It’s like a high-end road bike except you stand upright and propel it with an elliptical motion. There’s no impact, and it’s the closest thing I’ve found that gives me the same workout feeling as running outside, without beating on my knee.” A few weeks later, he brought one over for us to try…Turns out that Wes, who had seen the product months prior at a race expo, was such a believer, he decided to become a distributor of the product.
Now, I must admit, anytime someone approaches me with a new product in the health and fitness industry, I’m extremely cautious to jump on the band wagon, maybe even more so if the person has a vested interest in it. It’s not that I’m not a fan of innovation, it’s just that, well I consider the Pro-Activity brand and my personal brand one in the same in many ways, and at the end of the day, the brand is worth more to me than just about anything in my professional world. So before I “buy in” I study the product, use myself as a guinea pig, and weigh the pros and cons before I’ll even consider recommending it to a client or friend. The Elliptigo being no different in this case. But after a few quick “tours around the neighborhood”, and a 10 mile trek as part of “the REDiculous Relay” (a little 200+ mile human powered event I’ve done with a group of friends the past two years from High Point to Cape May, NJ), I started to think…”Well, this could definitely be a fun alternative to pounding the pavement or great for someone seeking a new enjoyable way to exercise outside, but could it really be an effective training tool for recovery? Can I really get the cardiovascular intensity I need for performance improvement without as much stress on my legs?”.
In the ensuing 10 months, the ElliptiGO gained a a great deal of media exposure (most recently featured on Good Morning America below), and has gained the respect of some serious top notch runners, including Ultramarathon legend Dean Karnazes, American 50k record-holderJosh Cox, and 2011 US Road 5k National Champion Julie Culley, among others. Oh yeah, did I mention Julie’s also one of our coaches on staff here at Pro-Activity, and coached me to a 3:02 marathon PR six months ago!
“I’ll use the ElliptiGO on my long run days or as a secondary run on workout days, I get on the ElliptiGo to add on additional miles without putting the extra miles on my legs,” says Culley. “It saves my body, helps me enjoy getting the extra work in without taking extra out of my body, and I feel more recovered for the next day. Especially if I feel like my form is starting to break down or when I’m trying to build my mileage up, it’s a gateway to getting the time in without the draining effects of those last few miles. Having dealt with my fair share of injuries and set-backs through my career, I’m a big believer in recovery, and understand how important it is to listen to your body and work hard, but be weary of teetering on the edge of pushing too hard. I believe the sooner you can recover and prepare your body for the next workout, the quicker you will progress, and the Elliptigo is a great way for me to do that.”
Soon after Julie’s endorsement, I got a note from Wes in my inbox “Elliptigo Metabolic Testing Study“, stating the Elliptigo induced similar cardiovascular output and rates of perceived exertion as running (click to read full study). I thought, “Wow, these guys are for real with this thing…. maybe time for me to give it a second look!”. So, lucky as I am, I took Wes up on a previous offer for a 12 mile demo ride…but this time I was coming a “prepared guinea pig” with my Garmin 405cx and accompanied heart rate strap. I’d see for myself if I could get enough of a cardio workout (average heart rate between 140-150 is a typical “recovery run” for me) and still have fresh legs (judged by my ability to run around “race pace” immediately following). Away we went, and the results follwed:
Important Personal Statistics & Results:
- Distance Traveled – 12.33 Miles
- Time – 50:12
- Pace – 4:04 min / mile or 14.75 MPH
- Average Heart Rate = 144
- Max Heart Rate = 169
- Energy Expended (Calories Burned) = Estimated 609
- Running Miles Completely Immediately thereafter – 3 miles
- Average Running Pace – 7:05 min / mile (5 seconds off “race pace”)
- Estimated Environmental Impact – minimal, it’s human powered! (had to throw that in there for Earth Day people!)
Done and done…I’m a believer! In my professional opinion, the Elliptigo does in fact hold up to it’s billing! It is a fun way to workout for the “newbie” or someone looking for a different approach to outdoor exercise, especially if running is NOT your thing. And it can be a realistic training and recovery tool for those runners who have been in the game for a while (Wes), those chasing Olympic dreams (Julie), and the “slow to jump” professional out there who wouldn’t mind a little performance boost (me). In fact, I’ve become such a believer that I’m co-championing an effort with Wes and “Run-on-1” to officially bring Elliptigo to Pro-Activity’s BaseCamp 31 training facility, giving clients and passer-by’s an opportunity to test it out for themselves. And if you’re as “MOVED” as we were, consider joining us in celebration of environmentally clean “Human Powered” energy as we Ellipti-GO-GREEN on May 18th, 2012 as featured in the “CONNECT” article this month!
Happy and Healthy Training…and in this case, no worries, your new “E-GO” won’t get in the way!