Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Start From Zero

The slate has been wiped clean.  The miles for 2016 are in the rearview mirror and the Holidays are over.  Few pounds gained, several lost, and now looking forward in 2017.  My goals (most of them) are set.  How about you?  Have you set any goals for 2017?  It's not too late.  Just because you didn't sit down on January 1st at midnight and list everything you want to accomplish this year doesn't excuse you.  Write them down.  Set them in your head.  Create a document on your laptop.  Use your smartphone app.  Whatever works for you, get those goal set, start from zero, and get it all done in 2017!  Happy New Year!  Happy New Goals!  Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


This past Sunday while my family and I were rocking out at our Family Experience (FX) at our local church, the reverend played the kids a quirky little video about being full.  A family, gathered around after dinner speaking about how full they were.  Of course, the assumption is they had just finished their Thanksgiving dinner and couldn't eat another bite -- until the mother walks in stating, "Dinner is served."  By this time, you realized they are a different kind of full -- thankful.  And so am I.

We always find ways to improve ourselves, improve our lives, and improve everything around us.  However, it seems we never find ways to be thankful for what we already have.  I try as much as I can to appreciate what's before me, but it can be difficult when you're always trying to improve -- learn a new running technique to get faster, lose ten pounds to impress your spouse, buy the latest gadget to track your stats better, or <insert your improvement here>.  I have no problem with that -- refining your skills is a part of everyday life, and so is being thankful.

I am thankful I can get up every day and exercise -- run or bike or play with my kids.  I am thankful for my wife, my two kids, my home, my health.  I am thankful I have a great job, can put food on my table every day, sleep in a bed every night.  I am thankful for my extended family -- my parents, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews, cousins, parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, friends, and anyone else I've missed here.

I try to take time out of my week to give a quick thanks for all experiences that happened -- positive or negative.  Why negative too?  By the time I am giving thanks, I realize the negative events are usually a learning experience and I usually find a positive from it.  Now, I'll admit I'm not religious about giving a quick thanks every week -- like I said, I try.  This week is especially obvious in that reflection.  Take some time, reflect back on the last few weeks, the last few months, or even your 2016 and find out how full you really are.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm Such A Dope!

Right around November or December of this year if you ask me, "Steve, you're about to turn 40.  What are you going to do?"  I'm going to say, "I'm going to Disney World!"  However, not for the reason you might think.  You might be thinking I'm some insane Disney fan who lives for every Disney movie ever made and wants to meet every Disney character there is while they sign my "official Disney character autograph book."  Nope, I'm insane for a completely different reason.  In fact, you might call me a "dope".

This afternoon I have signed myself up for my first (and probably only) Dopey Challenge for the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in January 2016.  What is the Dopey Challenge you ask?  If you are not in the running world, Walt Disney World created a great set of races to run through the Disney parks -- 5K (3.1 Miles), 10K (6.2 Miles), Half Marathon (13.1 Miles), and Full Marathon (26.2 Miles) -- which do not all occur on the same day.  In 2006, Disney created the Goofy Challenge which gave you the opportunity to run both the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon all in one weekend.  Not only would you receive medals for finishing both (Donald Duck for the Half, Mickey for the Full), you would also receive a Goofy medal and a hearty pat on the back from your family, friends, and loved ones.  My running "career" was not ready for that challenge at the time, but I knew one day I had hoped that I would be physically able to accomplish this lofty goal.  Then came the Dopey Challenge in 2014 and it had my attention.

The Dopey Challenge is a feat in of itself.  How would you like to finish all four races in four days?  Start with the 5K on Thursday, serve up the 10K on Friday, tee up the Half Marathon on Saturday, and button it all up with a nice Full Marathon on Sunday.  48.6 miles and six medals . . . a 5K Medal, a 10K Medal, a Half Marathon Medal, a Full Marathon Medal, a Goofy Medal, and a Dopey Medal.  Yep, one Dopey Medal.  A Dopey Medal for a dope finishing the Dopey Challenge.  I'm all in.  It's a once in a lifetime chance, but not for the reason you think.  I could see myself doing this several times over.  Yes, I might hem and haw right after about how I will never do it again, but I say the same thing about marathons.  This is my 40th Birthday present.  In other words . . . it's a lot of money!  All to be called a dope(y challenge finisher).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Boston . . . Maybe One Of These Days

I don't consider myself a fast runner.  I don't consider myself a slow runner either.  I'm (pardon the pun) "even Steven".  As much as I love to run and as much as I want to be faster, it's a tough road to travel.  I know what the key is.  I know how to get there.  I just don't put in the effort.  I watched those runners on Patriots' Day cruising through Boston like it was nothing.  I don't necessarily want to be at the front of the pack, but I want to be there.

I have a marathon bucket list and Boston is on it.  Starting next year (I will be in a different age group), I need to shave 20 minutes off my marathon time to qualify.  That's a lot.  I know it can be done and I know I have it in me.  The quote goes, "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."  I believe that.  You should too.  Anything you do in life, dedicate yourself to it and I guarantee you will make it happen.  I am going to make Boston happen -- probably not next year, probably not the following year, but one day I will.  I will be there at the starting line knowing I put my mind to it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fire It Up, Fire It Up

Me???  Run???  That's exactly what I was thinking in 1999 at 268 pounds.  To say I was overweight is an understatement.  I could hardly walk let alone run without choking on my on air and looking like I just took a shower.  That was THE sign.  It was time to buy running shoes.  It was time to get off my ass.  It was time to stop eating out for lunch every day.  It was time to "fire it up."

When are you going to "fire it up"?  How about today?  Have you been thinking about running or getting in shape or losing weight?  Then do it!  Running might not be the way, but how do you know?  Try it out!  Go out to your local running store.  Wal-mart, Target, Sports Authority, Rack Room Shoes, Payless Shoes DO NOT QUALIFY.  Find the local folks.  They know running and running shoes and gaits and everything there is to know to get yourself started.  You don't have to buy from them, but I would recommend it to give them the business since they gave you the push.  There you will find the shoes for your fit.  I guarantee buying any old shoe will be trouble.  Blisters, hurt feet, turned ankles -- all can happen because of the wrong running shoe.  And guess what?  Most folks stop running because of it.  Yes, you will need to break in your new shoes and it will take a couple of weeks, but find the right shoe by getting fitted.  And yes, I'm spending a lot of time on shoes, but think about it -- running shoes are the ONLY equipment you really need in the sport.

"Fire it up, fire it up."  Get outside and start today.  I found my passion in running.  It clears my mind.  It gets me outside.  It brings me joy.  It makes me who I am today.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll find your passion in running.  Start today!