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!


Monday, January 30, 2017

Cancer Better Run: New York Marathon



2016 was a year of personal records. I kept thinking about what is next this past fall.  I didn't really have a clue what my next goals were.  What I wanted to do or race.  I sort of plateaued with my running and was pretty burnt out on it after two hard grueling marathon cycles.

Fall training came around and I started doing my Tempo runs with Karen.  And one day, she couldn't keep up.  She knew something wasn't right.  The next day she went to the doctors and found out she had cancer.  Long story short, she instantly went into Chemo and fought throughout the fall.  To watch someone fight so hard and honorable during such a  crazy time was admirable.  Karen isn't just my running partner.  We have become friends.  And most importantly, she was a mom, a daughter and wife.

During the chemo we would run.  Maybe not as fast but definitely more memorable.  During these runs we talked about doing something bigger than ourselves.  And what do runners talk about?  Well, races of course.  So, Karen, myself, Karen (Fancy Fonts) and Kristy came up with a brilliant plan. Let's run for a charity.  Lets run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.  LETS RUN THE NEW YORK MARATHON.

Then the "Oh Shit" moment happened.  We actually signed up.  Its funny because sometimes you talk other people into it and tell them to not worry about that than next thing you know you are freaking out about the same damn thing.  And next thing you know, I am signed up.

Even though when I race, I race for my team and pace group, it usually is a selfish sport.  I raced for myself.  I ran Detroit for myself.  I ran Shamrock for myself.

I decided I needed to do something bigger than for myself.  Even though my friend, Karen, fought this Cancer.  I am not running for her.  I AM RUNNING WITH HER.  I am running with her to prove to this world that there is some good.  That Cancer will not defeat her or anyone else if they don't let it.  I am running so that maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else fight and defeat cancer.

I am completely scared shitless thinking about raising funds.  But screw it.  As Jess (The Fit Petite) once told me, if you aren't nervous or scared, than you aren't passionate about it.  So here I am. Scared and completely nervous.  But I am thankful that I am doing this with three (hopefully four) awesome friends.

So today, I am here to apologize now.  I will be annoying the hell out of you for ten months for fundraising.  Get used to it because until we reach our goal, I can't stop.

PS- It is going to be fun running a whole marathon with a friend or in this case friends.  It's going to be a crazy fun day.

Also, feel free to donate to US.  Follow the link: Cancer Better Run

Friday, November 4, 2016

One Last Ride

Two years ago I started this journey as a pacer.  I didn't know what I was doing (I still don't).  I remember showing up at my first run scared shitless.  Here I was, just finishing my first half just a few months ago pacing people that have run dozens of halfs and marathons.  I remember asking Ryan, "What am I supposed to be doing?".  Sixteen weeks later and Shamrock weekend over, my life was completely different.

During those sixteen weeks, the elite group of individuals that I ran with each and every week steered me along.  We had some really crappy weather days during that training cycle.  I still remember the feeling of one January run at Seashore and every step felt like ice daggers into our feet because it was so cold and rainy.  But we got through it.  We weathered the storms.  We weathered injuries.  And together we became #teamawesome.

Before pace group names were a thing, there was just #teamawesome. We were the last ones back and the ones always cheering and smiling.  For 64 Saturdays in the last two years, I paced these kids.  And they changed my life forever.

Saturday brings an end to me pacing #teamawesome.  It is very bittersweet.  I take my job as a pacer very personal.  When they PR, I PR.  When I race, I always race for them.  Both my marathons I ran for them.  When I was hurting, I would think about them.  But tomorrow brings an end for me but not for #teamawesome.  #teamawesome is more than one person.  It is a collection of individuals who I admire and respect.  #teamawesome will move forward with another amazing pacer.  As I have said before, "Next one up".

To #teamawesome (old and new), Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have given me.  I will miss our Saturday runs more than you will ever know.  There is too many of you guys to name but I love you all.  As we move forward to Norfolk Harbor weekend, I can't wait to celebrate your accomplishments.

I just ask one thing, to keep #teamawesome awesome.  Everyone of you guys made our group amazing.  You are the reason our training team is so special.

So tomorrow, One Last Ride.......