Thursday, May 31, 2012

If not now, when?

The battery on my .mp3 player concked out on me mid-run a few Sundays ago, so I switched over to Pandora on my phone. One of my stations is “Papa Roach”, and I was cruising along to some nice, fairly hard-core alternative rock. The songs fit my mood, fit the miles, and all was right with the world. Ahhhh…running.

Soon enough a song came on that had some almost unintelligible lyrics. This song, in particular, made me stop running long enough to see who was singing/screaming in my ears. Turns out it was Papa Roach. The line that made me take notice was one of my long favourite quotations, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” Bingo. Exactly that.

A few years back I was ‘enrolled’ in a week long class that tried to teach me new coping skills, how to get along with others, and how to be more ‘mindful’. Did you just shudder, too? Yea, i can’t even type that word without getting sweaty palms. No one has ever been able to explain what ‘mindful’ means, at least not in different terms than I already apply to the way I think (at least in my mind….)

A new chapter is unfolding in my life. Hang on, this one is going to be quite a ride.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Foto Friday

Someday, he'll kill me for doing this.....but it flippin cracks me up.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let's brainstorm, shall we???

We have decided to have an employee health fair in August. I am kinda the defacto project leader for this, and i would really like it to kick ass.
It won't be an all day event, but will have  main sessions: one in the morning for the night shift, and one in the mid-late afternoon for the day and evening shift workers.
During the day I'd like to have a few scattered 'lunch and learn' round table discussions on healthy living topics.
what would you like to see at an employee health fair (no pony rides, sorry!)?
what would you NOT like to see?

Can you relate to me any experiences that you've had at employee health fairs that were either good or bad?

Thank you so much for your input. If i do this right, it may become (another) part of my job. Which would actually make me happy.

Lemme have some ideas!!!! (thanks)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hey, Vern~!

well, vernAL POOL, that is. Bryce and I went for a woodsy jaunt today, and he shares with us some things that he has learned about frogs...
hey, you KNOW it is gonna be funny. just wait for it......


“I like Kai, because he’s the leader.”

Bryce and I were just watching episodes of “Ninjago”. He made the above comment completely out of the blue. I am quite happy to know that our 6 year old already recognizes a leader, particularly one of the ‘good guys’.

Leaders are everywhere. All around us. Even in the mirror. Yep, that’s right. We are ALL leaders. Some are more vocal, while some are the quiet and reserved type. Leaders can lead without even really knowing it, or they can stand up on soapboxes and shout to the masses.

As active people, at whatever level, we are Leaders. Our actions serve to show other people who are looking for that ‘reason’ or ‘proof’ or ‘support’ that it CAN be done, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money for special dieticians, gym memberships, or fancy clothes. Wellness and improved fitness is pretty much readily available at our fingertips 24/7. Lead the way.

From the front. Lead from the front, not the back. What do I mean? Put another way I could say, “Lead by Example”. What kind of an example are you setting? Is it one that others could follow? Is it one that YOU should follow?

I often look at my actions with these questions in mind, and I must admit that I am not always able to answer in the affirmative. During those times, I try to think more about what I am doing and how I could do it better. For me, that doesn’t mean better than someone else. It means better than I was yesterday.

What does “better” mean for you, and how do you project yourself as a Leader?

Thanks! –g-

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Relentless Forward Motion

As you may know, I am training to blow away my half marthon PR on 3JUN12. Adam from has been putting me through some rigorous training, and I am a much better runner because of it. Looking for a good, personable, online coach? Check him out.
Yesterday I had the dreaded (read: much anticipated) 12x400s on tap. I had planned to do them at a local high school track, but things being what they are, we ended up going about half an hour north to watch our nephews play baseball. Turns out it was in the town where I went to school (1-12) and right across the street from the school (yes, one building. but more than one room, so we're good, right?) in a newly created field. I'd cleared it with Tracey, and headed over to the school to try to create a .25 mile loop on the playground. There is a service road that runs around the outside, and I found that if I ran that, looped around the swing set and back onto the road, the entire loop made for .25~.26 miles. Instead of a 200m rest, I stopped the garmin and walked along the covered....walkway? that surrounds the school. Lotsa memories there, good and bad. I think that I set off TOO FAST on my first three, so decided to scale it back a bit for the middle six and then try to blast out three fast ones at the end (sounds like my last trip to Taco Bell). As you can see, the last 3 weren't as fast as the first three, but lemme tell you, the effort was all there!!! Yowza!
There were many times during this workout when i just wanted to quit. I mean, really. Those stupid "why are you doing this" demons kept creeping back into my mindset. But I did not let them. I focused on each lap, my breathing, my turnover, the memories of having played on that field for so many years. I rescued 3 balls from the swampy ditch that borders the playground, too. That was fun. On my last lap i was really reaching for the stars, trying to get that same 1:30 that I started had managed at the beginning; but it was not to be. I left it all out there on the playground as I had so many times in the past playing 'boys chase the girls' or soccer, or kickball.

Never quit. Never give up. Relentless forward motion.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Billy and the juice

There was once a patient who was very, very ill. He was in the hospital receiving all sorts of care to extend his young life. Doctors and Nurses were working round the clock to stabilize Billy so that he could leave the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and go out to the wards with the rest of the healthier patients.
But he wasn’t progressing as fast as everyone would have liked. He remained ill, thus having to spend more time in the ICU than most patients. As a result, the staff got to know Billy and learned about his young life. One day, as things started to take a turn for the worse, the doctors made him NPO (nil per os), meaning that he couldn’t have anything by mouth. He was hooked up to more tubes and drains. Nutrition came in through a tube in his nose that went into his stomach. Billy was in bad shape.
A few evenings later, as his nurse sat with him, Billy asked for some orange juice. His nurse explained to him what he already knew: his stomach couldn’t tolerate the juice, and they had strict orders not to give him anything by mouth. Billy persisted. His nurse, around 4 in the morning, called his doctor, woke him up, and pleaded with him to allow Billy to have some juice. The doctor said no.
Reluctantly, and as gently as she could, Billy’s nurse relayed the information from the doctor. When her shift was over, Billy’s nurse went home. Later that morning, Billy passed away as a result of his many complications. When his nurse came back to work and heard the news of Billy’s passing, she felt incredibly bad that she hadn’t fought harder to get Billy that sip of juice.
For the rest of her career, over 30 years in nursing, she beat herself up for not getting a dying man his last wish. Realistically, Billy would have died with or without the juice. If she had given him the juice, and he died, she would have beaten herself up for that, too.
There are some things that are just simply out of our control. We have to try to identify the things we CAN have an impact on, do OUR BEST to get them done, and then be ready for the outcomes, favorable or not. I don’t think that we should continue our lives wondering ‘what if’ or ‘if only i had…’. There are way too many variables involved.
All we can do is to do our best HERE and NOW.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilde-

With a hAt Tip to EMZ, i am using a song title for this posting. I can’t recall the last time I heard that song, but it had been going round and round my head all day yesterday. Earlier yesterday I posted a link to a youtube video of the song being performed on Solid Gold. If you missed that tweet, well…i’m sorry. I’m writing outside now, from a place where I don’t have internet access, and will simply publish this later when I get home…..

“Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, and nothing gonna hold me down, oh no, i’ve got to keep on moving.”

As you know I’ve been struggling lately. But I can’t, and I WON’T let myself get bogged down by these struggles. Here’s part of a conversation that I had with Tracey a few days ago:

Me: I’m doing it again. I’m thinking that I really don’t need to do all of this running, and that I should just forget about the Vermont 50 and the Philly Marathon.

Tracey: What the what?

M: Well, I’ve been training for the Covered Bridges Half in June, and have paid for the 50k in August, but not for the other two. So I’m thinking that I won’t do them. I’ll stop training for the half, too. Hell, I could run a decent half right now, so why bother? As far as the 50k goes, I’ll just show up and plan to finish whenever.

T: Why do you do that? I have you doing all three, and doing well in them, so….you’d better stick with it!

Me: Well, thanks, but I’m just not so sure that it is worth it any more.

T: Yes, it will be. Now, don’t you still have to run today? Get to it!


And that little bit of encouragement from my biggest fan and supporter was enough to relight the fire. I set a goal for myself to NOT miss (read:skip) any of my runs this week. NONE. I will find a way to fit them in. New challenges are arriving tomorrow night, and I’m going to have to make some adjustments, but I will NOT throw in the towel; I will use that towel to mop up my sweat.

Sometimes, as I’m running on the treadmill, I start to get discouraged about my upcoming race.The half isn’t that hard, it is mostly slightly downhill, and I’ve run the course before. I get discouraged because it means so much time NOT on trails. I don’t run fast enough for scenery on the roads to change much, and I get bored. In the woods, though, things are always different, and I have to use my brain a bit more than I do on the runs. But then I think about how this half and the training leading up to is is also great base building for my longer races at the end of the summer. I see the half as a means to an end, with a healthy dose of NEW PR goal sprinkled on top.

Who helps keep you going when you find yourself to be lacking motivation? Ever want to throw in the towel? Why don’t you?


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Attention to detail…

SQUIRREL! I swear there are only like 999,000 things going on in my head, but you would THINK that I could keep track of simple details, right? image, cartoon, wallpaper, movie, dogWell, this isn’t exactly how it happens for me. I like to think that I am able to keep things straight most of the time, but if you only look at today as an example, you probably wouldn’t let me be on your Code Team. (Mind you, I make an EXCELLENT Code Team member). Here’s what happened today, and see if this has ever happened to you.

I have a half marathon coming up, and have been stressing out a bit about my wife not being able to come because she’s coaching T-ball. The race finishes about 1 mile from the field, but the roads will be closed, so she’d have to drive 3 miles out of the way, fight for parking, and hopefully get to see me as I collapse at the finish. Then I figured oh well, that’s just the way the Gu crumbles. Then, today, for some reason, I decided to double check the start info, etc. Yea. THE RACE IS THE DAY AFTER T-BALL. so. no conflict. silly details…..

Then tonight, as I was making an experimental Chai Banana Bread that I read about on….someone’s….blog, I had to mix a buncha the spices, as the recipe called for. Then I dumped the whole mixture into the batter. Stir stir stir….YUM! THEN I double checked, and I was supposed to save out 1/4 tsp for the glaze, which I wasn’t going to do. So..yea. BAM! all the spices into the mix! Silly baking…..

Perhaps most importantly, though, was that I overlooked the details that my running coach, Adam, had written for today’s workout. I proceeded to run 3 miles at 9:00, then attempted 4 miles at 7:15. It killed me to try to keep that pace. I could hold it for about half-three quarters of a mile, but then it felt like my heart was going to bust through my rib cage. So I’d jog until my heart rate got back into the 150’s, and then have another go at it. When I’d fall short, I’d curse myself, doubt myself, and then plug onward. It turned out to be a nice run, but…KILLAH! When I got home to update Dailymile and my training spreadsheet, I noticed that my fast speed should have been 7:45. That’s right. HALF A MINUTE SLOWER. Maybe I wouldn’t have thought I would die. Again, details.

Lesson learned? Probably not. Just another batch of stories to tell along with the others. Stay tuned for more….

Monday, May 7, 2012

“If you’re tired of starting over…stop quitting.”

By now, most of us who troll the web looking for inspirational  tidbits have seen this one. When I first saw it, I probably scoffed at it, thinking, “ha. yea. stop quitting, quitters!”

“hello, my name is Gene, and I’m a quitter.” I wrote about quitting a few years ago when I quit after the third leg of a 4 leg double duathlon that I entered on a whim. It hasn’t been the only time i’ve quit, but is has been the only time i’ve quit in the middle of a race. Lately, though, I have given waaaay too much time to thinking about quitting. Quitting running. Quitting my job (not my profession, just my job). Quitting social media. Quitting trying to be a good example. Quitting….just about everything.

This is not characteristic of me, but perhaps a symptom of something else. I won’t go into the varied reasons for all of it, but please allow me to focus on the aspects that deal with running, wellness, and promotion of healthy living. Thank you.

I spend quite a bit of time online reading blogs, reading stories/articles, interacting with other like-minded (for the most part) people. In my eyes, they are all very successful. Heck, just this past week several of my ‘friends’…no, just friends, either Qualified for Boston, PR’d, WON races, or placed in their age groups. It is FANTASTIC to read these stories, and just imagine the hard work and commitment that it takes to achieve these goals. I find them inspiring, for sure, but I also find them a bit intimidating. I mean, I don’t think that I could realistically achieve any of those things. Sometimes that realization really sends me into a tailspin. I get really down on myself when I think about how there is no way that I’d be the one to write a post about my BQ, a podium finish, or how I managed to cure Cancer while helping eradicate homelessness for our Veterans. I mean, if I can’t do all or any of those things, what’s the point, really? I, too, get trapped in measuring my self up against people who have completely different lives than I do; some are 13 years younger, some have no kids, some work from home. NONE of them are 43 year olds with 3 kids, bunches of chores, my boss, the every, the every. I am ME. I can really only compare my present self to my former self, and make sure that I continue on the path to my preferred future self.

So the only thing that I’m willing to quit right now is to quit comparing myself to others. I can rejoice with others in their triumphs, console with their defeats, and offer an ear when needed. But I will NOT base my self satisfaction on how i stack up to other people any longer.


Friday, May 4, 2012

“Reach back.

…remember your conditioning!” One of my soccer coaches used to scream that from the sidelines. Mind you that this was over a quarter of a century ago. I continue to play it over in my head, and it has become one of my mantras. A what? Mantra. (mahn-trah). Means something like “a word or phrase you repeat to yourself to get you through tough times”. Examples other than the one above might include:

  • “Gonna fly now!”
  • “I think I can, I think I can”
  • “One.More.Rep”
  • “Back awaaaaaay from the cookies”
  • “Say my name, say
  • “Mama say mama sa ma ma hoo sah”
  • “Don’t pants my poop, don’t pants my poop”

Get the picture? Good. I find it helpful and entertaining to have a mantra. Even better when I actually USE the flippin’ thing. Our son, Bryce, has picked up on this, too. I’ve always said to him (when appropriate. not just randomly!) “Never give up!” He’ll say it on occasion when he is struggling with something, and I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside.  One day, as I was struggling on the treadmill and he was playing a video game nearby, I must have been complaining aloud about how i was struggling. You know what he said, without even looking up from his game?

“suck it up, buttercup.”

I love that kid! I laughed, he laughed, we embraced, ran through a field of daisies, and then went out for creemees. Ok, not really. But if it had been a MOVIE, we just might have done that. Instead, we laughed, I thanked him, and plodded on through the workout.

And he was right. He’s heard me say that one, too, and I believe that it doesn’t hurt to have some ‘negative’ mantras in the mix. Remember the whole ‘carrot and stick’ theory? This applies to mantras as well. See? They’re everywhere…..

Hit us up with some of your mantras!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carrot or Stick?

Which one are you? Also, which one do you need? I offer that we are all both, and need both, at some point. Further, there are days when I need both at the same time, for different reasons. It can be a difficult balance, but when that balance is achieved, great things can happen.

By now you may be saying, “wow. Gene has really lost it. quick, someone give him a piece of carrot cake!”

For me, carrots include family, running goals, endorphins, clarity of mind, and emotional release. Among my sticks are family, genetics, feelings of humiliation, setting a good example, and old habits. Take a few minutes to think about yours. Doesn’t have to be right now; could be on a run, during a yoga session (c’mon. who REALLY thinks about nothing during yoga?), during a commute, or instead of counting ceiling tiles. Jot them down. Add them to Evernote. Blog about them. Tweet them. Email them to a confidant(e). Post them here! Be anonymous if you’d like.

I believe that we can ALL benefit by sharing our carrots and sticks. Chances are that we have many of them in common. We can build on those strengths and use them to our collective advantage. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel here; there’s nothing wrong with the wheel. But not all wheels fit all vehicles; choices are good. I believe that it is good to have options; you just never know where your next carrot may come from.

Common Thread

“I really started running for meditative purposes. I would pick some problem to have in my head while running - not for the purpose of solving it, but for the purpose of having it bounce around in there. Like when you say you're going to sleep on it; I say I'm going to run on it. Then at some point later on, a solution falls out.”
Biz Stone, cofounder of Twitter (Men's Health, May 2012)

Sound familiar? Could you apply this to you and one of the reasons you work out? I sure can! This quotation (not ‘quote’, as quote is a VERB) showed up from Runner’s World this morning. Admittedly I’ve been deleting them without reading them for quite some time. Don’t know why today was different, but I decided to open it and read.

Glad I did, too. Today’s quotation reminds me of another, similar one: “Running won’t solve your problems, but you’ll both feel lighter when you finish.” –can’t remember who said it. I especially found it interesting that Biz is a runner, too. I am always intrigued to learn about other people who run and hear about their ‘why’.

For all decisions that we make, we make them based on a ‘why’. I’d love to hear some of our why’s. Doesn’t have to be related to running or working out! Lemme hear about any why you care to share.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Running Commentary

Back in January I signed up to have Adam from @theboringrunner ( coach me in my running. Up until that time, I had been only going for runs, and not really training. I never thought that there was much difference, but Adam showed me that there is a difference. How big a difference? Well, I think that part is largely up to your coach, your relationship with your coach, and ultimately YOU.

Adam and I wrote back and forth online, wherein I told him what my goals were for 2012, he asked me what some of my PR’s were, and he asked if I had any restrictions on my training, either physically or as it related to the calendar. Those questions answered and items discussed, Adam sent me my first training schedule. It had become “real”. I admit that I was apprehensive at first, but this apprehension quickly turned to gut wrenching fear comfort, knowing what my next week would look like, being able to plan ahead, and keeping track of my progress with his clever spreadsheet. I glommed onto the dailymile community for tracking my runs and to hold myself accountable to the schedule.

My followers will know that lately I have had a rough time getting out of my own head, and for a week or so I had a tough time staying in the running groove. Adam, Colleen (@tryn2bfit), and numerous other online pals have helped get me back into the groove. Several conversations with Tracey (@shedoesnthaveatwitteraccountyet) have helped me to become a bit more comfortable asking for time to run, and I have become more flexible and forgiving with my running schedule; used to be i would ONLY run in the morning. When i couldn’t (mostly because I overslept), I would beat myself up all day over it. Now i just run at night before bed. Not the ideal time, but it beats not running at all. Right?

I have noticed a few things along the way: 1) I sleep better on nights when I have run during the day 2) My mood is more consistent (in a good way) when my runs are more consistent 3) being consistent with my runs/workouts is the key to success. My sporadic runs of the past served a purpose, but didn’t necessarily move me closer to my goals. At least not efficiently.

So that’s what i’ve been up to in terms of training. I’ll be sharing a few more details and thoughts coming up soon. Other fun things cooking in my head, too. I’ll bet you can’t wait….