Wednesday, August 12, 2015

what we think we know

when people ask me where i'm from i always say the same thing "philadelphia, originally.  la 11 years too long and now utah is home"

earlier this year i was house hunting, my mortgage guy has given up on me and my realtor doesn't even send me homes anymore.  and for once i'm okay with it all.  i'm calm, at peace and happy.  i'm indecisive about everything except running.

for the past few months while training for this insane 50 mile run i've also been vey much at peace with myself. a zen or something not typical of me.  i let it roll because that is what happens when you are passionate or perhaps crazy. i hit 17 miles on the trail last weekend and wondered what the hell i got myself into.

it hurt, a lot.   my mind was telling me no, while my body was telling me yes. and then i did what i always do on mental challenges, i thought about the person most important to me, the person i never want to disappoint.  and that got me through the last painful 6 miles.  i remember thinking 17 miles is nothing compared to the 50 in less than 8 weeks.

 in my entire career of endurance racing (racing term used lightly) i've never had someone push me through anything, unless out of pure spite.  but this time was different.  this time i knew i, me, could and will kick this 50 milers ass.

utah is my home.  i got here because of spite and found that this is where i need to be at this moment, in this time.  and for the first time in 5 years, i'm happy.  really, really happy.  with myself and the added bonus is that i've found a non spiteful person to push me through to the finish.

happiness is within ourselves and once we find it there is no letting go.  what we once thought we knew, is nothing like what is actually ahead of us.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


recently, i received an invite to my 20th high school reunion.  i'm not sure how that is possible since i'm 26 and all my stories begin with the phrase "so the other day" when they could be descriptive of events that occurred when i was a teenager.

last year, ironically enough, when my mom came to visit and brought me out my old yearbooks we were sitting on my back porch discussing the days at great valley when i received word of an old friends passing.   at first there was shock, then sadness then i began to tell the many stories of this friend while flipping through my newly reunited yearbooks.   and i smiled.

we lost two more people in the next several months from my class alone.   it was a good brick throw from God that you are not promised tomorrow, only today.   gone are the days of being invincible.

this morning i received word of another classmate from the class of 1995 passing away.  the class of 1995 was a tight knit group. Our school days were pre social media and although there were clicks per se, we all supported one another; cross gender, cross race, cross financial status.   we were lucky and perhaps our luck, is starting to run out.

i'm 37 years old (truthfully) and to the standards of life expectancy, young.   i graduated with 225 people in my class and have lost far to many, to young in recent years.  the thing about losing classmates in your 30's is that it is always tragic, there is no good reason that someone in the prime of their life has to bid goodbye so soon.

but then again i suppose the plan is much bigger than us.  much, much bigger.

rest in peace my classmates, may we all enjoy a drink together in heaven one day.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

climbing, a new story

in 2011 i completed 2 ironman distance triathlons within 7 months of each other.   this means i rode a total of 224 miles in the races alone, that mileage does not include the hours,
upon endless hours i spent riding through the valley, along the coast in california, pre racing in nevada and camps in utah to prepare me for those two races.

sometime after that i lost interest in road biking and went back to the habit of running.  it was easy enough to do, after all i don't really "enjoy" road biking.

recently, i've developed a hip issue just in time to train for my first 50 mile run through park city, utah.  i attempted running last week and on my 8 mile day had to walk the last two with the popping sound in my hip to keep my cadence.  i was discouraged, after all running is what i do.  i don't need coordination, or expensive equipment, i don't need to remember how to change, repair or fix anything i just lace up my shoes and go.  i'm slowing wondering if perhaps that is the point.   maybe i focus on the easy far too much, the comfortable, the control.

take this for instance,  when i run if i see someone ahead of me and my competitive side kicks in full gear i know all i have to do is push myself and move my legs faster.  i'm shockingly pretty fast and probably should have maximized more off of it in my earlier days but my point is this, i know how to run, i know how to run faster, i can probably sprint faster then most 37 (almost 38 year olds)  and i have full 100% control.    i can pass that person and then maybe make the next left turn to fly solo again and grab my lungs from the side of the road, but i can pass them, running.  because its what i know.

when i ride a bike its a whole different ball game.  you have to learn new things, you must respect the road, be aware and fully be willing to succumb to the chance that at any given moment you can face plant into the concrete going 30+ miles an hour.  i'm often intimidated when riding and that probably hurts my performance the most.   take today for instance,  i decided since i couldn't run i would ride (for the first time in a year, on a road bike at least)   i somehow ended up with the entire BMC team.   wait, let me clarify, i ended up getting schooled, like i've never been schooled before going up the canyon by the entire BMC team.  If i had to guess i was traveling up the mountain at a conservative 8 MPH, yes that is correct 8 MPH.  and then i heard them behind me and then there they were ahead of me, serious faced and on a mission.  they kicked my ass.   i grew slightly discouraged and then realized this,... climbing a mountain is not an easy task it takes hard work and dedication, it takes time and effort and skill.   things that previously i wasn't willing to do and they were.

i'm re reading donald millers book,  a million miles in a thousand years and in the book he describes how important it is to create a story of your life.   if i keep running, it will just be me going through the motions, nothing new to challenge myself other than upping the mileage.   after my bike ride today i felt accomplished, even though i got a quick lesson in humility.

so maybe what i mistook for not enjoying riding was actually me not willing to create my own story, its harder that way.  i finished the ride,  2.5 hours later and maybe now i'm ready to re start that story i started in 2011, climbing until i can't climb anymore.

Monday, May 25, 2015

new beginnings

stress- a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

what defines a demanding circumstance?  a life changing event? a decision?  committing to something or someone?

in the past ten days i've realized that perhaps life could potentially be comprised of one big stress or it might be defined as events or circumstances, as the true definition dictates,  that change us, make us better or sometimes worse people.   i've moved a lot (A LOT)  yet with every move i swear i will never move again and then i realize most times i'm not really in control someone else is, someone who potentially has a bigger plan, a better plan then i once thought for myself.   with every move i learn something a little more, i leave behind a few memories, prepare myself for a new direction and what is ahead.  

i've come to really like salt lake city, there are more pros than cons.  more mountains then celebrities, more room to grow and explore.   

so yes, packing and unpacking and loading and unloading can be a stressful act it can also be a time to reflect on the past and move forward with new beginnings.  

so once again i set out on new path, a new direction and i'm more excited then ever.  i'm finally going to just let go and let God. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

missing piece

“I think you are the one I have been waiting for,” said the missing piece. “Maybe I am your missing piece.”
“But I am not missing a piece,” said the Big O. “There is no place you would fit.”
“That is too bad,” said the missing piece. “I was hoping that perhaps I could roll with you…”
“You cannot roll with me,” said the Big O, “but perhaps you can roll by yourself.”

one of my favorite shel silversteins poems is the missing piece,  it seems we all have a place to 'fit' within ourselves.

we visited bryce canyon this weekend for a weekend of non stop adventure.  i had never been and i realized that i never fully took advantage of the landscape california had to offer.  it was hard for me to venture out when all i ever knew was changing for the sake of changing.  now with a 50 miler on my calendar i am thrilled to recognize that this missing piece is going to finish.

in bryce we started with a nice waterfall hike that had more laughs then it did physical conditioning.   and over the years i've realized just how important that piece of the training is.  i raced with spite for so long i forgot what relaxation  and simply enjoying the ride felt like.  

i have moved a lot in life and just tonight my mom said to me "can't you just find something permanent for once?'   i laughed, because i've come to discover that permanent and i don't mix.  we just don't. period.

we ran bryce,15 miles worth uphill, through the snow,  i met up with that anxiety along the way and discovered it doesn't have that much a hold of me as i thought.  my poor friend ashlan, seems to always be right with me when i'm having these 'freak outs' (for lack of a better term)  and every time she just says "you will be fine" and that is enough to get me over the damn mountain pass.

i've heard in the past, that if you face your fears they will go away or possibly dissipate.  they don't.   the reality of the situation is you change as a result of your fears.  so the fear itself does not go away

sometimes you might give up and sometimes, just sometimes you might find that missing piece...... in yourself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

the hill we climb

its been a while since the last post and i've missed writing.  the computer was in the shop and in a way so was i.

as many know, i tend to be a bit of a nomad in the softest sense of the word and these days have been no exception to that rule.  i am back in salt lake and i can't imagine not being this close to the mountains.  just driving back up here several months ago i was overcome with dare i say, happiness?

as for training, that too went on a bit of a hiatus, much like my blogging but i am pleased to say i am back at it.  a different challenge this time, as i've finally accepted that the road bike and i don't get a long for periods much longer than an hour.  so i took to the trails and found my soul.   

now road running, biking anything seems a distance past, much like the sport of triathlon, at least in the typical sense.   i registered myself for a 50 miler in september in the mountains.  elevation and a lot of climbing, this will not be easy.   my 'racing' if that is what we are calling it has turned from 'for everyone else' and back to me.   i used to wonder how i spent that many hours on the bike, in the pool, on the road thinking and contemplating my next move, digging from the anger within.   i don't think the anger is gone.   it has just dissipated or taken on a new role.   when i'm running in the mountains its almost like it never existed,  that rock finally being lifted.   

don't get me wrong there are many other 'rocks' in the way but i've learned to accept them as added weight instead of trying to push them up the mountain alone.   

so the journey continues, in utah, in the mountains and most importantly, with myself.     

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

Public events of mass notary often unearth feelings in others that were dormant for many years. 

Robin Williams was one for me.   It is said that the magnitude of an event is often judged by how much a person can humanly or personally relate to the tragedy.   Mental illness has made the headlines more this past week prompting blog posts, news stories and even horrific postings to relatives twitter accounts, robbins daughter had to take down her profile due to malicious postings with photo shopped pictures of the suicide to comments of  selfishness of her father to commit such an act.   Which brought us all to stand on a soapbox for mental health awareness.  We should be more excepting; we should change the taboo, we as a society need to take off the blinders.  

Mental health is a broad term, one might argue that the same people posting these horrible comments and pictures to a daughters social media account might also suffer from ‘mental illness’ not depression per se, but if these individuals aren’t a little shitty in the head than I don’t really have another excuse.  My point is this; mental illness will most likely never be ‘accepted’ in our society for this very reason.   We don’t get to cherry pick what mental illness we want to support, we don’t get to be angry at loved ones we have lost if that mental illness doesn’t fall into the empathy category.   You see the idea of acceptance is finite.  

I say these things as a human being. i can say these things because I am human and have been slowly educated and advised that depression is wrong, it is crazy and that you should easily be able to snap out of it.   Anyone can write a blog post, mental struggle or not but do you really accept it?    Do you really accept the fact that your daughter, son, sister, brother, mother, father tried to take their life because they were ill?  Chances are probably not.   And yes, society will dictate that, society will judge because that is what we are programmed to do.  

One point that can change is the compassion we have for others.   There have been countless studies and algorithms created on happiness and what defines a person to be happy.   Money is very low, if even existent on that list.   Robin Williams had money, lots of it and after watching the countless videos and clips; I would agree he was in fact a genius.  I don’t think sad is a good emotion to tagline him with though, and in my opinion I think that is where the empathy comes from on some (not all) mental illnesses.  As much as we are wired to be angry, we are wired to ‘feel badly’ for individuals that at face value seem to be ‘sad’.   Depression is sad, to others.    But more importantly and mostly misunderstood is depression is helplessness and inability to decipher between any emotion outside of it.  Including sadness. 

Robin Williams was probably very happy up on stage, a genius he was indeed.  He was also probably very lonely.   One of my favorite movie lines is that of into the wild when at the end of this journey he discovers that happiness is best when shared with others, for depression, its hard almost impossible to make that delineation and when one can’t the unspeakable occurs.  

It is an illness, a very serious illness, and for many its something unfortunately many of us can relate to, but will it be accepted?  Probably not.    All I can ask as a human in the world of millions that we not judge so harshly onto others.  

RIP my captain.