Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meatballs

Remember the 1979 classic "Meatballs". Love this movie and love this scene where Trippper (Bill Murray) delivers a motivational speech to the campers who are worried about their annual competition with another camp.

A couple of days ago my friend Julie who I have known since we were at Syracuse together back in the mid to late 80's asked me if I was writing on Just A Mile To Go anymore. I gave her several excuses but the truth is I have not made the time. Hopefully Julie's encouragement and willingness to help out will give me that little kick in the pants I need. Here is what Julie has to say.

"It was much easier for me to ask Eric to get back to his blog so I could enjoy his thoughts. But my old important college friend, who introduced me to the Princess Bride said if I have something to say I should write. So here is what I have to say, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER.

Julie and son
I seem to have to learn this over and over again. I have not been running my entire life, I started after the birth of my youngest son and he just turned 8, so not that long. I have had great training runs, have fun prs, lots of race shirts with lots of great stories and even one marathon under my belt. But this winter was something different and it made me learn the lesson I keep having to learn over and over again, “It just doesn’t matter”.

I am a competitive person, I don’t like to be last and in most aspects of my life I am up front, except for running. I have been humbled, I have been blistered and I have learned the same lesson again and again, “it just doesn’t matter”. Eric will always run more miles than me, but others will run many fewer miles than me. And that just doesn’t matter. So what doesn’t matter? That after a winter of insane cold, insane work and insane sick I feel like a beginning runner. It just doesn’t matter that my times are back in the 10-minute mile range. It just doesn’t matter that I start my run with my friends but usually end alone and behind. It just doesn’t matter that my running partners had a great winter training season and I am jealous.

Julie and Danny
What matters is that running allows me to be honest that I am jealous, angry at myself for for being back at what feels like the beginning, slow and human. Also that running makes me push myself like I never have in anything else in my life (and I have a PhD. , so I wrote the dreaded dissertation so I can push hard). But running makes me say I can be better, I can push and I can try, succeed, fail and try again.



And if yesterday I finally had a sub 10 run, it just doesn’t matter because tomorrow I might have a sub 11. It just doesn’t matter because even with injury, blisters, snow, rain, and lack of sleep it matters that running makes me better. Better mom, wife, professor and friend. A better Julie. And for all of those shitty runs, the early mornings and the miserable first two miles that don't matter, today’s run, with the sun shining, all the chores for the day done and sub 10 miles shows me that I will probably have to keep learning the lesson over and over but it is worth it, because I get to be a runner."

Julie's point, if I may opine, is one of the most relevant when it comes to running. I am not taking away from the fact that we as runners often work tirelessly with specific time or distance goals in mind and often fall short. This can seem extremely disappointing at the time. But in the end Julie is right, "It just doesn't matter". First of all lets be honest. There are much more important and disappointing things going on in this world that are more catastrophic than missing a pr. For our purpose here, what matters is how we handle these moments and how our journey through running impacts our journey in life. I ask you the following question in several variations. To me what matters is if I answer yes to the following.

Do your failures and successes....
  • change the way you attempt to solve problems?
  • make you stronger?
  • make you a better person, husband, father, friend businessman?
  • drive you to pay it forward?
Ahhhh....feels good to write again even if it was only a couple of paragraphs. It's the thought that counts right? Thanks Julie!

Peace

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Resolutionist

January 1st
It is that time of year again. The gym is packed to the gills and unfortunately as history dictates, within the next few weeks it will be back to normal, EMPTY! Every year it's the same thing. Gym gets packed, I get annoyed, gym empties out and all is well again. This year I began thinking a bit more about this. Why does this bother me so much? Am I such an a-hole that I simply want all these people to go away so I can have my space without interruption? I am sure there are many who say yes, but I say I actually give a shit. I watch all these people come into the gym with great intentions, huge goals and fire in their hearts, only to run out of steam before the first month or even week is over. It's aggravating because I wish everyone would succeed and I know they can. So why don't they?
February 1st
There are variations on the definition of resolution but what applies in my mind is:

a decision or determination; a resolveto make a firm resolution todo something.

the act determining upon an action or course of action, method,procedure, etc.

I do not consider myself a linguist by any stretch but as I see it, here is the problem. A resolution is an act, only to the extent that it is a decision you make. Therefore, the moment you make that decision, its gone. The decision that is. We all still need to act on that resolve, each and every day.  After about 7 years of following through on my commitments to run and raise money, here are a number of things that I believe can help anyone fulfill their resolution. I think this can apply to all goals that require consistency and dedication over a long period of time but of course I will be more specific to exercise.

  1. Take it one day at a time. If your goal is months away you can't rush to the end. It takes time. Commit to whatever you need to do tomorrow and get up and do it. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up. You can't get there in a day and you can't destroy the dream in a day either. Get over it and do it tomorrow.
  2. Pace yourself.  Remember, it takes time. If you try to do too much, too soon, you may injure yourself or simply burn out.
  3. Set attainable goals that will gradually build up your conditioning and maybe more importantly your confidence. As you learn more about yourself in this process including how you handle failure and success, you can start to set loftier goals.
  4. Share your goals with others. I find telling people is further motivation to succeed. You may also be surprised at the interest and support you will receive from your family, friends and co-workers.
  5. Ask questions. If you don't know what you are doing ask someone. If you don't know how to use a machine ask someone. If you need help coming up with a program ask. You can pay for this advise or simply ask others who are at the gym or who you know run, workout, etc. I have found over the years particularly in the endurance community that most are very willing, even eager to share ideas and experiences to help others.
  6. Read! There is so much material out there on whatever your interests are that can help you design your path and get through it safely and successfully.
  7. Do it for a cause. There is no greater incentive than doing something you enjoy while helping others. There is no greater reward than when someone says thank you. Find a charity that is meaningful to you, then find an event you have never done before and do it for the benefit of that charity in recognition of someone.
  8. Have fun! Although it takes work, it should not always feel like work. Find ways to make it fun. Change it up. Different locations, routines, people etc.
  9. Most importantly always remember, YOU CAN DO IT, just stick with it.
Don't let history dictate you. Get up tomorrow and dictate your new history.

Peace

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Remember Your First?

Everyone remembers their first time.  After months or even years of anticipation, when the moment has finally arrived, you can't believe it's actually going to happen. You have butterflies in your stomach and are so excited you don't know if you are going to throw up or laugh uncontrollably. Maybe you should just run away to save embarrassment for poor performance. But you don't. Somehow you manage to keep it together just long enough to begin.

As I think back to my first time, I can feel those butterflies. This week however, I am on the sidelines. Tani is running her first marathon, Marine Corps in DC and I will be in my rightful place, as supporter and crew. I wish I could simply turn off the pre-race jitters switch, and turn up her confidence. But I know that is not possible and I will therefore listen, yes listen and do my best not to comment. There is nothing I can really do beyond that as she needs to go through this torturous time and learn for herself. 

While Tani (and all other first timers who have put in the effort) should feel good about what lies ahead, knowing that all the sacrifices are about to pay off.....That is not how it works. Nerves take over as we panic and every little thing is a major issue. Here are some examples of thoughts that may be running through her mind right now:
  1. "My foot hurts, it's probably a stress fracture. No way I can do this with my foot this way"
  2. "I feel like I am getting sick, must be the flu. No way I can do this feeling this way"
  3. "I missed my long run a few weeks ago. I did not train enough. No way I can do this on such little training"
  4. "What was I thinking??? There is no way I can do this."
As the fall marathon season is in full swing, the air is filled with anxious thoughts from 1st time marathoners, and many experienced runners too. It may fall on deaf ears right now but to all and especially my wife I say this - "You may not feel this way until you cross that finish line but you are ready. Enjoy this moment, savor every second, because like most first experiences, this one too will be over much faster than expected."

Peace

Sunday, October 13, 2013

48 Hours, 164 Miles, $110,000

Three weeks ago with the support of so many amazing people I ran/walked 164 miles in 48 Hours, completing 27 loops in New York City's Central Park. Most importantly we raised over $110,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation as we continue to do what we can to help find more effective treatments and eventually a cure for cancer. I am still struggling to find the words to meaningfully share this journey so for now I hope this amazing montage Tani put together will suffice.

Peace


Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Journey For A Cure Continues - 48 HOURS IN THE PARK

One week from today I will begin running in New York City's Central Park to raise money and awareness for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. I along with my wife, family and friends have been on this journey to help find a cure for all cancers since 2007. To support our efforts please like our Facebook Page and more importantly DONATE HERE to fund critical research. Peace and thank you!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Find Your Inspiration

Living with Multiple Myeloma since 2008 Pam inspires me with grace and courage!

Albert Einstein said “Life is like riding a bike. To maintain your balance you must keep moving.” This was brought to my attention by the young man who spoke at my sonʼs 8th grade graduation a few weeks ago. Yes, thatʼs right a 14 year old boy about to move forward into high school got me thinking. What exactly is it that keeps us in balance? Is it simply moving forward with our training wheels slightly above the ground? To truly experience the ride, sometimes you need to take off those training wheels and go flying down a hill even at the risk of a few bumps and bruises.

So what motivates us? For some, basic personal drive provides enough incentive to take chances. The simple will to succeed or experience something new is ample fuel to actually risk failure? For most of us however, I think we need a little something else, “Inspiration”. So where does inspiration come from? Where do you find yours?

  • Watching your children fearlessly glide from one year to the next? 
  • Holding the hand of your partner as she gives birth to your child? 
  • Watching someone dear to you fight an invisible killer to stay alive? 
  • Witnessing a man or woman accomplish physical feats you canʼt imagine?

Whatever it is, when it happens I believe in taking that fire, lit by another and running with it. I have been inspired by my children, my wife, friends and strangers. The thing is, I never know where itʼs going to come from. So I canʼt actually say I find inspiration, it finds me. When it does, I feel this insatiable appetite to take a chance. The need to get out there and do something that scares the hell out of me, knowing I could get hurt or even worse, FAIL.

Donʼt let fear of failure hold you back. Being balanced does not mean never falling down. Use the incredible actions of those around you to become the inspiration others will feed off of. 

Get inspired and pass it on. 

Peace E

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pain Don't Hurt

Yes it does, but that does not mean it's bad.  This weekend while cheering on Tani and watching runners come through the first aid station during TNF's half marathon in DC, I read the following quote on the back of a man's shirt.


I have not stopped thinking about it all week. I did a little search and apparently it was originally said by General Lewis B Puller who was a U.S. Marine. What he may have meant was, that if you work through the pain it is strength that will survive the pain.

I honestly don't know what that means to General Puller or anyone else for that matter. I do know this...

After I have run for a day, or even two
When the sweat has dried and nausea fades
My feet are swollen and blisters are full
And my legs feel beaten and stairs seem like Everest
I have washed the trail dust from my body
Life seems anew
The beer is crisp, the hugs are warm
I feel fresh, so incredibly empowered and stronger than I was before.
At these moments I am so aware of my body and my mind feels forever clear.

Perhaps all the weakness is gone. Maybe it was never there and I just need to run to remind myself the strength is right there where I left it. 

Do what ever it is that reminds you of the strength you have.

Peace
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