Posts Tagged With: Fitblog

Chicago Marathon Recap – Putting the Pieces Together (Finally)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered myself an athlete…someone reliant upon body, mind, and spirit in pursuit of “something” greater.  Of course the “something” has changed, evolved, and grown over time, but my belief in needing all three (body, mind, spirit) to get closer to “it” hasn’t.  And while my pursuit continues…and I know I won’t get “there” till I get “there”…maybe surprising to some, I’ve never considered myself a runner, but instead often choose to run…and have even set running-specific goals, for the lessons it’s continued to teach, and the ways it’s helped me to strengthen (my body), sharpen (my mind), and enrich (my spirit) along the way…
I guess you could say breaking the 3 hour marathon mark has been a bit of a lifelong goal…or at least the primary athletic focus since 2010 when I first “publicly” stated it…not exactly sure why…maybe it’s because I’ve always been inspired by my Dad’s story of breaking his marathon goal by exactly 1 second…maybe it’s because after my first marathon in ’08, I knew it was something that was possible with a great deal of work..but not something I could just wing or rely on “natural” ability to achieve…or maybe it’s because in my five failed attempts and the events leading up to each in the years precedingChicago 2015 (2:58:30), I’ve continued to learn more about myself and things I’m passionate about (health, training, nutrition, fitness, the importance of relationships, faith, community, etc.)…and have met so many great people, training partners, and  friends throughout.
But when I look back…the “how I did it” isn’t really all that different than anything we’ve talked of before……the pieces of the puzzle were the same…the elements that make them up..the same…it’s just that this time around, I paid closer attention to them…acted upon them with more discipline, focus, and precision…
BODY: MOVE + FUEL + RECOVER – For years I’ve placed too much value on “harder” and not nearly enough on “smarter”.  This year I made use of all of the resources available to me…and with the help of our team here and the various training systems we use, I closely monitored each training session and the stress (training load) each placed upon me…training almost exclusively with a watchful eye on heart rate (the body’s objective window into the inner workings) instead of subjective “pace” as my guide.  I followed a systematic progression where I provided ample time for my body to establish a fitness “base” prior to encouraging it to “build” speed and strength via increased intensity, all while balancing and allowing the appropriate time to recover both in between workouts, and throughout training cycles (3 weeks up, 1 week easy, repeat x 4-5).  Although looking back, I probably could have done a better job adhering to my strength training routine (2x / wk), I made sure to jump in the treatment room whenever I was on the verge of breakdown or felt something not “right” (happened twice), and was so very fortunate to be able to rely on our PT’s to help me get back on track and facilitate the recovery process, FIRST, prior to returning to intense training….the results?…The blue line below is indicative of fitness progress / gains from 5/27-10/12 (race day)…something I was able to complete injury free for the first time since I took up this type of training…maybe the tortoise was on to something with his slow and steady approach.
My FUEL choices moved from primarily to almost exclusively a whole-food, plant based selection, and for the first time since I began extensive marathon training I didn’t “ache” post long run….I was somewhat surprised to finish a 19+ miler on more than 5 of the final 8 weekends in the season and still feel relatively fresh later in that given day…I guess I shouldn’t be given the anti-inflammatory properties of this type of nutrition…but to take it one step further, I was very excited to get down to “race weight”…nearly 15 lbs lower than I started in January…without ever feeling hungry, all while completing LESS total training volume (mileage) than in years past….can only be attributed to one thing…the right mix of FUELING (actual myfitnesspal results below).
MIND: ENDURE – If I’m totally honest, in years past…I’d have to admit that I’d often slip mentally before physically.  I’d approach workouts with ONLY the end in mind…cutting a little off the front here and a little off the back there….I’d tell myself I’d listen to my body if I was aching..but wouldn’t totally trust it and would default to cranking out more mileage just because “that’s what the plan says to do”….I’d tell myself how I’d eat “almost vegan”, but often almost turned out to be during the week with a junk binger on the weekend because “hey I just worked out really hard”….and what’s worse…if / when I failed, I’d often be more worried about my pride than the ways in which to improve….
Enter the world of positive psychology…the power of mindset…theways to make stress your friend…the concepts of grit and resilience..and so many more….with the help of these “friends” and their teachings…my mind stayed (for the most part) focused in the moment….on incremental change…knowing full well that my actions in the moment would dictate my outcome in the end.
SPIRIT: CONNECT – I had the opportunity recently to attend a mindfulness meditation led by a Tibetan monk…and though much of what he spoke of was fascinating…the two things that stuck with me were 1) we are all connected by something much greater than each of us individually…and 2) faith above all is the most powerful thing in this world…A “believer” even before I attended, not sure I could agree anymore strongly.
Throughout the training, and most especially on race day, there were so many people in this community I was pulling strength from.  If you’ve read this far, you’re most assuredly one, and I’m not sure any words will do justice to the gratitude I feel towards each of you.  When the going got tough…as it always does…I thought of you…struggles you may have gone through and obstacles overcome….I prayed almost continuously, and especially when the “hurt” set in between miles 22-25 and I began to lose time while fighting with what I had left not to lose faith……it became a bit of a mantra for me, “I can do all things through God who strengthens me”. With calves literally seizing on and off from mile 22 to 26.2, I’m convinced that your strength, prayers, and God saw me to the finish line right when I was supposed to arrive, in time to reconnect with a stranger I’ve only met once before on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon 2011, where he tells me I may have helped save his life (scoll to bottom of linked page), and in achievement of my goal, one step closer to “there”.  Somethings aren’t coincidence.
The 2015 Chicago marathon and events that led to it pushed my body…it pushed my mind…and it pushed my spirit…and when I crossed the finish line, arms outstretched in gratitude, it broke me emotionally, like only something you’ve emptied yourself for can.  Whether you know it or not, whether we’ve connected recently or not…you and yours helped push me through.  Should you be ready, I eagerly await the opportunity to repay the favor.
Happy Training,
-E
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First Things First…

ImageIt’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,

-E

 

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Investing in Spirit, Fueling the Soul

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

 

 

 

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Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio….

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,[9] 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”….

-E

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Reporting from London 2012……

 

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!

Over the last few days, I’ve had the sincere privilege to experience the 2012 London Olympic Games, vicariously through our hometown Olympian Julie Culley – a colleague at Pro-Activity since 2010, an athlete under our training since 2011, and most importantly a very close friend since 1988.  Few moments in my life have moved me so!

 

If you’ve been following along in the the newspapers, our “Elements” newsletter, with us on facebook or twitter, or have been with us at our BaseCamp 31 facility in the last few months – you know that the Olympics have been a focal point.  Something we’ve talked or written of frequently, trained some for, and celebrated with many in our community.  In June, alongside our friends from the Hunterdon Lion’s Track club, we hosted a send-off party for 15+ members of the professional NJNY Track club (seven of them locals) as they made their way to Eugene, OR for the Olympic Trials.  In July, with 250+ of our closest friends, families, and community members we welcomed US Olympic Trials champion and newly crowned Olympian, Culley, home and sent her off to London in style, writing about it in last month’s “Elements”.  But with all of that, little could prepare me for what I felt in London these past few days, vicariously through the efforts and heart of an American champion…..

 

As Mrs. Culley (Julie’s mom) describes it, “It’s not even a once in a lifetime experience…there is no framework or reference point for this….most will never get to experience this type of thing…this type of atmosphere…this type of pride in their lifetime”.  And so, while I consider myself one of the very fortunate few locals who got to be there in person, please understand that as I left for London, I did so consciously doing my best to represent you, the greater Pro-Activity family and BaseCamp31 community, with an abundance of USA pride, and bringing along your strength, prayers, and heartfelt best wishes to Julie.  I write these next few (ok so way more than a few) paragraphs in recap of my experience, as a celebration of an American achievement and realization of another dream, a thank you to all of you who (maybe unknowingly) played a role in getting Julie there and me to support, and as a hopeful encouragement to all readers….that you may break through trepidation, and tear down adversity, following Julie’s footsteps, IN PURSUIT and MOVING towards your dreams…..

 

Sunday, August 5th:  It was an early start at Newark Airport and promised to be a long day of travel with seven hours of flight-time and a five hour time change, but my travel partner and I (another of Julie and my best friends Kristen Haughey-Prendergast), were greated by United Airlines employees and other passengers with encouraging smiles.  They saw Kristen’s shirt that we had ordered from the USA Track & Field association, imprinted with a large American flag, and personalized with “Team Julie” inscriptions on the sleeve and back.  We were continually asked, “What’s Team Julie?” and responded eagerly and pridefully with, “Oh…our friend Julie Culley is running for Team USA on Tuesday and we’re going to cheer her on”.  And as we strolled down the aisle to take our seats, we could feel the eyes of the 200 other passengers on us as we walked by, smiling at us, and wishing Julie best, even if only through a quick glance!

 

Monday, August 6th:  It was our day to explore the town a bit.  Julie was tied up in pre-race preparation in Athlete village (in Stratford London), a few train stops from our apartment near Hoburn, so we thought we’d use the day to see some of the sights.  Of course, Kristen, an accomplished runner in her own right (University of Virgina ‘03, North Hunterdon High School ‘99), thought it would be best to see the town on foot, or as she put it “What better way to explore a new city than to run it”.  Given the airplane food indulgence, and seemingly abundant supply of bacon, and refined carbohydrates in English traditional fare that we’d soon be ingesting, I agreed.  A facebook post later from some colleagues, and a challenge by team physical therapist Justin Bagley, and we were off to see how many places and famous sites we could get to and take a picture with “Mr. P-body” aka the Pro-Activity logo.  

 

 

 

 

 

After a trip to Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the London Bridge, and Tower Bridge (where the Olympic rings are hung from), we ate an early dinner and packed it in…..Tuesday was race day…and although we weren’t racing, we had work to do!

 

Tuesday, August 7th: Olympic Women’s 5,000m Semi-Final:   Rise and shine bright and early!  We were told by tour guides to get to the stadium two hours prior to the Tuesday morning session start.  This was going to be a day to remember!  After some back and forth phone calls and text messaging to other “Team Culley” members (Julie’s family), Kristen and I suited up in yet another Team Culley shirt, this one designed by Kristen and our friends at Sneaker’s Plus who’ve always done right by us, and we were off to Olympic village.

 

Now, Olympic village was unlike anything I had ever seen.  Everything was gigantic, from the buildings, to the advertisements and VISA banners with Usain Bolt, to the multiple huge stadium structures in one section of town creating what looked to be an entire town built specifically for the Games.  The stadium almost had a Roman Coliseum feel to it with huge pillars everywhere.  Thankfully (I guess) Kristen and I were in by about 8am, leaving us plenty of time to walk around..snap a few photos, spend 5 pounds (about $7.50) on the world’s worst coffee, and make our way to our seats, which surprisingly put us only 23 rows up from the 5,000 meter starting line!

 

The session started with the javelin, and then progressed to the men’s 110m high hurdles, but with the exception of when the British athletes were competing, the stadium stayed relatively quiet.  And then…after much anticipation, the athletes in the first women’s 5,000m heat walked out of the tunnel and entered the stadium to a moderate applause.  

 

Now, if I had told you Kristen and I quickly made “friends” with those around us (or at least gave them something to chuckle about) it would be an understatement…..as Julie entered the stadium, Kristen and I bellowed “CULLLLLLEEEEEYYY!!!  LET’S GO JULIE …..WOOOAAAHHHOOOO”.  Instantly those around us turned, smiled, and realized Team Culley was here and ready to rock!  And after a few warm-up strides, before we knew it, she was on the starting line, and our incredible loudmouths, among 80,000 spectators caught Julie’s ear and our frantic jumping and screaming caught her eye.  She flashed back a bright Culley-like smile and greeted with a quick wave….you could tell it meant the world to her to see some familiar faces out there…and the world to us to be there in support!  

 

Can you imagine….there you are, sitting amongst 80,000 people, in England, in an atmosphere anticipating the entrance of Usain Bolt..arguably the most dominant track and field athlete of the current era, and there you are, with your friend of 22 years on the starting line in Olympic stadium waving to you with a reassuring smile.  It gave me chills instantly as I thought about what she was getting ready to attempt…what it meant to her…how hard she had worked to get there…..how proud her family and we were…and how, above it all, she was there…with the defending Olympic champion from 2008 only a few yards away from her….and still smiling…the same old Julie we’ve all come to love!  And then…a hush from the crowd and a familiar “On Your Marks”……this was really happening and I was there!
 
With the gun, the crowd erupted as they normally do….Julie almost instantly took her position in the middle of the pack, keeping the leaders in striking distance, but not overdoing it from the start….a strategy that has proved her very well in recent competition.  With each lap,  Kristen and I were our usual “not-so-bashful” selves, and before we knew it….those around us were joining in and hopping on the “Team Culley” bandwagon.  At one moment, I looked down the row at a man calling to his friend, seated in front of us…and as he struggled with his english to say “Caulie”….I quickly realized we had the Americans next to us…the Brits that surrounded us, and even those around from lands far away on our side!  Julie’s cheering section was building, and so was her pace….

 

It’s pretty amazing, when you watch a 5k (5,000 meter race) on tv, it seems to go a bit slow, watching 15 minutes of athletes going round and round a track, but when you’re there in person…it FLYS by.  Before we knew it, Julie was 10 laps into the 12.5 lap race, and continuing to jockey for position somewhere between 6th and 8th out of about 18 women (keep in mind top 5 automatically advance).  As she passed time and time again her demeanor didn’t seem to change, she appeared calm, but focused – but those that know her best (us) knew she was ready to pounce when the opportunity presented itself….

 

At the bell lap things started to spread out…the leaders (including the defending champion) took to the front and you could see the girls kick it into high gear….and Julie was ready!  As she passed us the last time, our whole section erupted, cheering her on….and in the last 100 yards, with Kristen and I jumping and shaking each other…screaming “She’s gonna do it!  She’s gonna do it!” she repeated what she had done a month prior at the Olympic trials, outkicking a couple of women, and securing 5th place and an automatic qualifying spot in the final…all by two tenths of a second!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 7th – Post Race  The next few hours were pretty awesome.  All of us were on a high from Julie’s recent performance, and better yet….we were actually going to get to spend some time with her!  And after some traipsing through Olympic Village (side note – Olympic village was CRAZY – you couldn’t get in without a ticket to one of the events….it was the only place to really buy souvenirs and there were literally hundreds of thousands of people) we finally had our reunion! To be there in person, when Julie hugged her parents….it was amazing…I’ve never seen a more proud family…and I’ve never seen a more grateful daugther!  

To be there when the Brits in various restaurants and in the streets came up to Julie and asked for pictures…..to be there to hear her tell her race story and what it was like competing against the world’s best….to hear her experiences in athletes village…what it was like to have some NBA stars come to meet the other athletes….how it was “not a big deal” to be escorted around town by FloTrack and interviewed by numerous media outlets, or ride the elevator with Michael Phelps…..to be there with Julie, Kristen, the Culley family, and all of “Team Culley” and know in my heart …that Julie Culley, Olympic finalist….was still Julie Culley..the self proclaimed “ordinary girl, trying to do extraordinary things”…..it was, has been, and continues to be something that brings me great pride…pride in my friend and colleague…pride in my community, and pride in my country.  USA, USA, USA!

 

 

 

On to the final…..we’re with you Julie!.
 
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Pursue With Pride

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!

 

 

 

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Dear Mom

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!

Love,

The “All-time Momma’s Boy”…Eric

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Is the “E-GO” a Ticket to Recovery? ElliptiGO Outdoor Elliptical Bicycle Review

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!

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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!

For more information on the EllpitiGO or to schedule a demo ride go to http://runon1.com/. Check out additional product specifications HERE

Happy and Healthy Training…and in this case, no worries, your new “E-GO” won’t get in the way!


-Eric E.

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