Monday, September 25, 2017

Bumps in the Road

Sometimes the world catches up to you.  And this week it finally did.  I woke up Friday morning feeling alright but by the time I got to work, I was groggy, stuffed up and had a headache.  I toughed through it, thinking it was just allergies.  Friday was also our five year anniversary.  I wasn't going to let a little cold ruin Lori and I's anniversary dinner.  Instead, Lori, myself and Avery went and got Sushi.  It was the perfect example of what our lives are made up of right now.  A cranky three year old, one sick parent, and exhaustion from a long week for all three of us.  It was a perfect anniversary meal.  Lori and I actually joked about how real it actually was.  Nothing special, just us, our family.  And it was perfect.

Saturday, I decided to call sick for probably one of the only times I have in six seasons as a pacer.  I hated myself but the reality was that there was no way I was going to get through 12 miles (or even my scheduled 20) on a cold in humid warm temperatures.  Instead, I would probably have to drop out and be sicker than I was originally for trying to push.  I didn't like missing it.  But I knew it was the best thing for myself.  The other part of me was pissed for missing the 20 miler.  For runners, this is a huge hurdle.  But its okay because I have another one in a few weeks.  

Sunday, Lori and I took the kids to Busch Gardens to enjoy some time together as a family.  We wanted to get their early so Avery could enjoy the park one last time before it got dark and scary for kids.  We had a blast.  We ran into the Mautes and hung out.  Avery and Chet played, rode together, and won stuffed animals.  Watching through their eyes of imagination is a lot of fun.  We also got to ride a few rides for us adults too.  The day was just what our family needed, some time way from work, school, and running.  Just us four enjoying the amazing weather and Busch Gardens.  

Lesson learned this week:  Listen to your body.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Halftime

The school year has begun, the temps have dropped (at least right now), and life is getting busier.  It must be September.

Friday, Lori and I dropped off our daughter to her first day of preschool.  The cliche that is how time flies is so true.  But I remember every little moment since she was born.  But she is excited and so are we.  We look forward to her learning, adapting, socializing, and growing.

At the same time, our son started his junior year in high school.

I think it's funny when people talk about running like it's every story or blog or conversation you have.  But the reality is that running is just my therapy.

The past two weeks have been insane.

My ATV needed to be worked on.

My son's truck broke down (aka the world is ending).

my car brakes went out.

So sometimes you punt, you buy a new car, you spend evenings fixing shit and you keep trucking.

But thank God for running and Evofit.  They keep me sane.

The cool part is that Cancer Better Run is halfway through our training cycle.  We definitely have some big hills to climb before we taper but we are closer than ever to our goal of running the New York Marathon for such a great cause.

I will be honest.  I am not excited to run a marathon.  But I am excited to run for this cause.  I am excited to run with three friends that are amazing people.  I am excited to see that hopefully our money we have raised will help save one person's life.

As we completed the first half of our training, we actually all got to run with each other on Saturday.  We haven't all run together in 8 weeks.

Onto next week.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Love Will Always Win

I was typing an update to my marathon training this weekend when I read the headlines on TV.  As much as I am excited to be done with the first quarter of my training, it all seemed very irrelevant with the headlines in our country.

I knew during this last presidential election that there would be mass chaos in this country.  I called out five years ago that the pendulum of politics was swinging ever further from the middle.  And it has.  It doesn't matter who I voted for or who you voted for.  But the truth is what matters is how we act.  How we treat each other as fellow citizens.

Technology has changed the way people educate themselves.  The term "Fake News" has masked the truth with a ton of what we read.  Our children get their news from Social Media.  Our own president terms every news channel or site that has been said anything negative about him as "Fake News".

Recently, I deleted Facebook from my phone.  I did this for many reasons.  The first is that Facebook was occupying way too much of my time.  Another reason is I couldn't stand reading the biased and rude comments people post on Social Media.  The last reason is that I couldn't stand the anger, hatred and bitterness in posts from everyone in the world today.  Today, it seems as though people have no filters, hiding behind social media comments as if they have a giant wall protecting them from reality.  But that is further then the truth.  You can't hide behind your comments.  They are forever etched into the world.

I will keep Facebook off my phone for now.

Last night I cried while watching Vice News on HBO.  They followed the Alt-Right "protest" in Charlottesville.  I cried for fear of the future for my children and every friend I have who is not a white male.  I was saddened by hearing these people spewing such anger and hatred to others.

This is what I saw in the videos for thirty minutes.......

Riot Gear

Automatic Rifles

Bats

Weapons to fight the opposition

Those items are not for protests.  Those items are for chaos.  They are for destruction.  They are to inflict pain.  They are for anger.

These people will not win with ANGER.

These people will not with HATRED.

Love will win.  Love will conquer all.  Because I will keep raising my children to be kind, educated, and tolerant for all people.

I will teach my children to love.

I will teach my kids to be open to all opinions.  Even if they don't agree upon them, they will learn to listen to others.

What happened in Charlottesville is just the beginning.  My heart goes out to the parents of the girl who was killed.  My heart also goes out to the parents of the guy who murdered this girl.  Both sets of parents have lost their child to anger and hatred.

So in honor of Heather Heyer, I will raise my children to love, be kind, and tolerant.  And hopefully, you all do too.

LOVE will conquer hatred.

LOVE will always win.


Monday, July 31, 2017

New York Marathon, J&A Training Team, and everything in between.....

Since I am back in the training cycle, I promised myself I would write more.  Sometimes I don't have much to write about and sometimes I have too much.

This is the first time in 3 years that I have started a training cycle with a blank slate.  I always had a goal in mind.  I had always been running non stop.  But after back to back marathons and too much running, my body and mind couldn't keep up.  As I wrote in one of my last posts, my goal is to run happy and run healthy.  So far into week 3, I have been able to accomplish this.  I have backed off the running 5 days a week but am concentrating on better runs and getting stronger doing EvoFit.

Monday kicked off the J&A Training Team.  This will be my sixth time pacing.  I think I now firmly hold the lead on that.  But more exciting is that we have over 50 new team members and a few old members coming back who haven't signed up in a while.  The dynamics and energy will completely be different but I have a feeling this will be the best training team yet and we will have the most amazing positive energy that we have ever had.  From top down, I think we have the best pacers and team leaders we have had yet.

Summer has been super busy.  Having a teenager driving, working and playing baseball and having a three year old to chase down has kept Lori and I busy.  We have enjoyed a few days at the beach here and there, Water Country USA once, and have traveled twice to Pittsburgh since June for family events.

Running, being a dad, and husband are always tough to juggle.  But I am very thankful I have a supportive wife in helping me stay healthy physically and mentally.  Part of my personal goals this fall is to be happy.  I never ran because I wanted to be fast.  I ran to be healthy and happy.  I may never BQ (Boston Qualify for you non-runners) but I know I will enjoy my life.  Between my amazing wife, two beautiful kids and amazing friends who surround me each and everyday, I don't need much more.

As each week approaches to the New York Marathon, I have to remind myself what the feeling was like when I got to first see my wife and daughter in Detroit when I was running my first marathon.  It was the greatest high I have ever had.  Just like it was when I finished Shamrock in 2016.  Finishing and being able to hug my family is what it is all about.  My time didn't matter.  It matter knowing who is around you.  I look forward standing side by side with my friends in New York when we finish.  I have never run a race with friends but I am pretty excited to have these three beside me finishing.

This past week hit the 100 day mark until the race.  100 days feels so close but 100 days feels so far away.  Time will creep up fast.  But for right now, I am going to enjoy the rest of the summer with my wife, my kids, and close friends.  Cheers!

Friday, July 14, 2017

November Project Hell Week

So Sunday my friend, Kristy, asked if someone would join her on Monday to November Project's first day of #hellweekvb.  I was hesitant because I didn't really know any of the people who typically go and I didn't want to feel like an outsider.  But I promised Kristy I would try Monday so I went.  Monday was bridge repeats and was a lot of fun.  It was refreshing running with new people and with such positive energy.  After I finished, I decided if I was going to wake up at 4 AM Monday, I might as well do the rest of the week.  So I better figure out where I was going to shower between the workout and work.

Tuesday was track work and it was a lot of fun.  Since I am still doing physical therapy, I am not allowed to do true speed work.  Instead, I ran a controlled quick pace.  It felt great, which has been rare in the past six months.

Wednesday was my first time at Mt. Trashmore.  We ate hills for breakfast.  Ran up the hill, ran down the stairs (three days later and my calves are still sore).  I still don't know how I have never ran at Mt. Trashmore (we need some team weekday runs here Ryan!).

Thursday was at Lake Smith Nature Area.  This was a fun workout, team building, Survivor (the show), Paper/Rock/Scissors for Burpees.  Just a fun overall experience.

And then the final day was the beach.  Everyone I talked to was nervous.  Should I run, should I swim.  The plan was to swim.  And as November Project's mottos is #justshowup, so I did.  And I decided to swim.  So did my crew.  It actually made me a little more confident that I can pull off a Sprint Triathlon.  We all had a blast and before you know it, #hellweekvb was over.

I earned my #novemberprojectvb #NP_VB #grassrootsgear and #hellweekvb.

Sadly, I am rarely able to attend the normal meet-ups but after feeling so awesome after this week, if I can, I will.  The people of our community are amazing and I am so thankful to my #evofit757 and #trainjanda crew for keeping me motivated to come out all week.

If you ever get a chance, step out of your zone and join a meet-up.  I promise you, you won't regret it.



Monday, June 5, 2017

Be Happy, Be healthy

For many who read my blog.  They never knew Steve at 340 pounds.  Many also don't even know what its truthfully like to deal with obesity.  Sadly, I wasn't born being skinny.  And people who don't who have the genetic code of obesity don't really understand what its like. (Disclaimer: I am not judging people who aren't fat or work hard to not be fat).

For some of us.  We have to fight it every single day.  Its not easy.  And I am struggling myself.  Am I where I was when I first began this journey? No.  But am I at the lowest weight I have ever been? No.  
Sometimes when you finally hit your goal (Weight Watchers lifetime weight, Marathon PR, Pant Size, Image Happiness, or whatever) its very tough to maintain.  You have worked so hard for so long and then what are you supposed to do.  Are you supposed to act like skinny people and do all the fun stuff?  Are you supposed to starve yourself?  How to you find an equilibrium of staying healthy and maintaining.  

On top of that, life sometimes gets in the way.  For me it was a few things:

Injuries have been plaguing me for the past fourteen months.  During Shamrock 2016 season, I only missed one run during the sixteen week cycle.  I also ran my body to nothing.  I ran too hard, too fast and didn't think about the consequences.  My glute/hip has been bothering me for the longest time.  I hurt my foot last fall.  What people forget is that training for a marathon is very difficult for a full-time employed Dad of two kids.  Not everyone can take off work, go get messages, dry needling, tissue repair, or just not do the regular things that parents and adults have to do.  Waking up at 3:30 every morning to run means you aren't sleeping.  Which means your not letting your body recover.  Running 40-50 miles a week while being a dad and working is a lot.  So how do you find the middle ground?  

So I have been spending my time since March not running and concentrating on getting stronger and healthier.  I have also been seeing a physical therapist helping me fix my probably from destroying my body.  

Life always seems to get in the way of the important things.  When I moved 8 years ago to North Carolina.  I didn't know a soul down here.  It was tough.  People don't know what it is like moving to a different region, different culture, and not know anyone.  Once I met my wife, we had our little group of friends but I was always missing out on my group of friends like I had in Michigan.  

As your life changes, so do your friends.  In Michigan, I had friends from different places.  I met my best friend Chuck while working at Applebees.  He was working a second job to save up for his wedding and I was a bartender.  We hit it off shit talking like no other.  Now we both have families, houses, and careers.  My other friends I met through college.  And through college you meet others.  

Here, I did not have that.  I am 700 miles away from my high school and colleges.  So when I met people, I am always looking for "real" friends.  The ones who call or text you when you need it.  The ones who you bounce ideas off of.  The ones who give as much as you do in a relationship.  Sadly, there aren't that many people out there like that.  Most people use others for their own benefit.  Sometimes I get sucked up into all that and waste time instead of using my time for the people who matter.  

The one thing I have learned is that even if you meet someone who isn't worth your time, through those moments you will meet people who are.  

I kept beating myself up all the time.  I kept telling myself I needed to be something for everyone.  But I need to remind myself I didn't go on this journey to please anyone else.  I did it for me and my family.  I did it to be healthy.  And being healthy and surrounding yourself with healthy people is what I am working on.

My goal for 2017 was Run Happy, Run Healthy.  But I am changing that to be Happy, Be Healthy.  Because its more than just running.  Its life.  And sometimes life is a struggle.  But if you surround yourself with the right people, you will be healthy and happy.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thank You!

Surround yourself with good people and good things happen.  And that I have.  Not only am I lucky enough to be running the New York Marathon with three awesome ladies, I am also surrounded by an amazing group of friends and a wonderful community.

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be surrounded by good people.  My first Slow Ride of 2017 went great thanks to my awesome friends and our wonderful community.

When I first started doing Slow Ride, I did it for fun.  I did it for the community.  Out of it, we have helped raise thousands of dollars for fundraisers including the Roc Solid Foundation and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I can't thank all the local businesses enough.  But I really appreciate all the donations, time, and gifts you all donated to our raffles and event.

We were lucky enough to raise over $2,000 for our Cancer Better Run.  Which put us over the $11,000 as a group and also let our leader, Karen, hit her personal mark of $3,500.

Being able to combine a Slow Ride and raise funds for a good cause can't get any better.

So again.  Thank you to everyone who attended, donated, and helped in every fashion!