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What Do Your Actions Say About You?

Everyday is a Vote

Every second of the day, you have the opportunity to vote. You get to vote for what you want your life to be, how you want to spend your time, and who you are with. Think about it. When you get home at the end of a long work day, you have a plethora of choices before you. All of them say something about what really matters to you and how much willpower you have.

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Simple Patterns or Goal Chasing, You Choose

Let’s look at the choice to watch reality TV. By making that choice, you are saying to yourself that reality TV is more important than any of your goals. More important than working on a six-pack, a Boston Qualifier, writing a book, catching up with an old friend, working towards financial independence, or being adventurous. Yes, it may seem dramatic, but how you choose to spend your time will determine your future. You can’t write a book by watching reality TV all night, every night. It requires you to sit down, write, and hammer out that book.

Remaining Conscious

This isn’t to say that every time you watch reality TV you’re an awful person and that you don’t care about any of your goals. It’s more to call attention to the importance of each decision and how it determines the trajectory of your life. We all could be more conscious during the day, thinking of how our decisions are shaping our lives.

It is difficult to be conscious of our decisions, but there are ways to hack our programming. Most humans have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns of action that are simple such as: watching TV, playing on a cellphone, or browsing the web. These activities are mindless and familiar.

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Hack Your Mind

To hack these patterns, write down what you want to accomplish each day in a notebook and keep to it. Plan out your day the night before, detailing what you want to do, hour by hour and stick to it. Writing something down is a promise to yourself, always keep those.

So what are your actions saying about you and your goals? Are you taking steps each day to achieve your goals or are you just fooling yourself and repeating patterns? Check out this YouTube video for some great motivation on the topic:)

Quote - “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” – Tony Robbins

Always in Stride,

Jack

The Child Custody Battle

I’m in the midst of an ugly child custody battle as we speak. Luckily there are no lawyers involved and both sides are being somewhat reasonable. Ironically enough, you, yes you reading this, are in a child custody battle of your own. The custody battle for your inner child.

When we first start out as little fledglings we are full of dreams, hope, passion, and vigor. There are very few bounds and the possibilities are limitless. However, slowly but surely, the “real world” makes an effort to beat it out of us until we become a compliant drone. There are endless rules that don’t really make all that much sense when you step back and look at it all. “Wear this, do that, listen to that person, you have to get this type of job, work for the man, work isn’t supposed to be fun” … the list goes on. Somehow we have been convinced that life should not be enjoyable for at least 40 hours a week, that all posted rules must be followed, the way things are should just be accepted, and that we should be saving ourselves for retirement. We delay fulfilling gratification and convince ourselves that we need to consume the latest and greatest gadgets. So the vicious cycle continues…

Life doesn’t really, or shouldn’t really, work this way. Nothing is guaranteed with the exception of the very moment you are currently in. Even if only for several minutes a day, you should seek to release that inner child and do what you truly want to. Running is a great way to do so as it is such a rudimentary form of play and relaxation. While running there are no bosses, silly suits, or reports to be created. There is you, the trail, and being the best version of yourself.

The lyrics to the latest Avicii song “Wake Me Up” capture the sentiment rather well. “Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart. I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start. They tell me I’m too young to understand. They say I’m caught up in a dream. Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes. Well that’s fine by me.” I live in a world where decisions are not made based on money, but passion. A world where silly jargon and outfits used to show intelligence and rank are laughed at. The world where “life is a game for everyone, and love is the prize”. If I am just living in a dream, certainly don’t wake me up. I’ll always win the battle for the inner child because it is a fight worth fighting.

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I’ve Never Used Cocaine, I’ve Never Given Birth

“I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

I am often questioned why I choose to enter extreme endurance events such as the marathon, Ironman, ultra marathons, and more. People want to know the mentality behind the madness and where it comes from. It is an inner drive I have had in me since going to college. I am an addict. I am intensely addicted to the rush and adrenaline that comes with pushing the limits of the human body. For those within the sport, they understand the bliss and truth that are attained through these feats.

It is both an addiction and a fear. I have a fear of living a life that I might deem mediocre and uninteresting. The perfect way to combat this fear for me is to enter into these events that allow me to experience the whole range of human emotion and all the world has to offer. For me, life becomes so vivid and so beautiful when I am in these events and when I am outside of the comfort zone. As Krakauer once said “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experience.”

The next level of my addiction will be my first Ultra Marathon, The Leona Divide 50 Miler in Lake Hughes, California on April 27th. I am anxious to see what the race will teach me about myself and to enjoy the beauty of my beloved California.

 

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As with all my events, this one will only be another beginning. Greater goals await in the distance. It is my goal to one day complete the World Triathlon that is shown in the video of the week. Swim 275 Miles (Including crossing the English Channel). Bike 9000 miles. Run 950 Miles (Including scaling Mt. Everest). If history has anything to say about it, I won’t stop there. Why would I? Life is for the living. 

The World Triathlon Course

The World Triathlon Course

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Feel Again – One Republic

Quote - “I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

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Kill Your Heroes

Most every person reading this has some type of hero that they look up to; someone that they are in some way striving to become or attempting to emulate. Heroes can serve to give us hope and teach us to hold on just a few moments longer. A hero sets an example for others to live by, grounded firmly in sound morals and values. At times, heroes transcend humanity and become almost godlike.

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The moment a hero becomes godlike is the moment I disdain the hero motif. I stand in a different corner when it comes to heroes. I see heroes as a tool but also as a limitation. Too often heroes are put on a pedestal as someone who is super human and capable of things that nobody else is. As soon as you buy into this notion of the godlike hero, you have set your own limitations of how far you can go. Heroes are just as human as you and I. Heroes will fall and it now happens far more often than we would like in today’s information age. Take a look at Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, the list goes on and always will.

Heroes are imperfect. You must never believe that it is impossible to surpass your hero in at least some way. Perhaps it’s being better at your job, or as a parent, or at a certain race distance, or any other countless measures. With each and every person you meet, you are better than them in some way and they are better than you in some way. You should seek to learn from them, as they should seek to learn from you. Push each other to evolve, the most basic aspect of human nature.

You must evolve to become the hero of your own life. You must figuratively kill your heroes in your mind and realize that you can be better than them in many ways. You need to quit playing the role of victim hoping to be saved and take control of your own life. As our song of the week puts it: “Never let your fear decide your fate. I say you kill your heroes and fly, fly baby.” The way I see it from where I am sitting: Game On World, Game On.

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Kill Your Heroes – AWOLNATION

Quote – “We need a hero. Courageous, sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for ‘em, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to HOLD ON a second longer. I believe there is a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble. And finally gets us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want most.”

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Never Too Late To Begin

Growing up I played just about every sport that was offered: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Track, Indoor Track, Cross Country, Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, and probably even a few more that I am forgetting. While the sports may have rotated in and out as my passions changed, there was always one constant. This constant would sit in the bleachers or stand along the course through the heat, humidity, cold, snow, rain, wind, and whatever else nature threw her way. She enjoyed and cherished every minute of these events and never missed a single one, despite having three kids and a job as a nurse. She is the forever faithful fan, she is my mom.

The Forever Faithful Fan

My mother and I have had a unique relationship over the years as we tend to challenge each other on ideas and philosophies and oftentimes disagree. I am strong willed and strong minded, quick to form beliefs that I believe define me. She on the other hand takes a more cautious route, evaluating all sides of the issue before jumping to any conclusions. Even after she has come to her own conclusion, she keeps an open mind to other’s opinions and thoughts. While her cautiousness in these situations proves to be a blessing, I believe her use of it in other aspects of her life can hold her back. Over the years, I have called her out on it and it seems there has now been a breakthrough.

My mom recently retired this past November and has come into her own. A new version of her has emerged that I had only seen flashes of before. I call it “the kid”. The kid in my mom comes out when she is in a state of complete happiness and a beautiful smile comes across her face as pictured below. I used to only see it when she went on trips or other rare occurrences, but it now defines who she is. My mother is coming into her own. She now takes every chance that comes her way and fully embraces life. Since retirement, she has been away from home more than she has been at home. She has taken trips to Egypt, NYC, California, Delaware, Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, and many more. She has also sought out new hobbies and passions and there is one in particular that I could not be more excited about.

“The Kid Smile”

I can now proudly say that my mother is runner. I had always pestered her about the idea in the past but she was always worried about looking funny, awkward, weird, or any other number of excuses. Over the past few weeks she has set aside her doubts and has laced up her Newton Lady Isaacs to become a runner. The roles have reversed and I now know the pride that swells in a parent when watching their child do something they love. I am beyond proud of her for having the courage to take up a new sport at the age of 54, having never done it before.  I’m also excited to share a run with her, most likely at our favorite place, North Park. The Park will always be her and my special spot and and I imagine us circling the lake at a nice conversation pace. It appears its time to trade places and for me to be the forever faithful fan now, cheering her on to the beautiful victories running bestows upon us each day. Just remember, it’s never too late to get started.

Mom and Dad Forever Young at Heart

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack, a.k.a JH

Song – Rod Stewart – Forever Young

Quote – “As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.” – Joan Benoit Samuelson

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The Play After the Play

Me at a young age on the pitcher’s mound.

I was born an Iowa child not far from the Field of Dreams. Being an Iowa child, baseball is a way of life and stitched into the fabric of who you are at birth. I played the beautiful game for 14 wonderful years. To this day it is the only sport I have competed in longer than running, though running will be passing it by next year. I learned many of life’s early lessons from baseball, many of which I still carry with me today. Baseball holds my fondest memories of growing up, most of them thanks to the greatest Little League coach one could fathom, Coach Winklevoss.

Had he been my coach all through my baseball years, I have no doubt I would still be playing the game today. He inspired in me a love for the game. He also knew exactly how to handle the young, impressionable minds he was charged with helping raise. He instilled values in us and taught us life lessons that I will forever carry with me. There is one lesson that sticks with me more than any other, I call it the play after the play.

Little Leaguers are very prone to making mistakes and errors as they learn the complex game of baseball. It can be easy for one to quickly get down on himself after an error. However, Coach Winklevoss never once allowed this to happen. After any error, he would always call out his simple phrase “Hey now! Play after the Play!”. The meaning behind this phrase is nothing new or groundbreaking, but the magic was that it was worded in such a way that an 8-year-old was capable of understanding and applying it.

It was the simple adage that what matters is not the situation you are in or how you got there, but how you act afterwards, for that is the only thing you have control over. If we made an error, it didn’t matter, the play that followed mattered far more. With this coaching style, I can’t recall a single time where I ever really got down on myself or lacked confidence thanks to Coach Winklevoss. As it applies to baseball, it applies to both running and life. Should you start a race too fast, slow down, recover, and regroup. Any mistake you make can be dealt with rationally and intelligently. With any negative event in life, how you respond is infinitely more important than whatever you did to get there. Your next chapter always starts at this very instant in time that is “now”, how you choose to write it, is all up to you.

Thank you Coach Winklevoss for being such an amazing coach and giving us some of the greatest childhood memories we could ever imagine.

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Smash Mouth - All Star

Quote – “You possess a unique combination of gifts, some already realized and some as yet untapped. Rewriting your life simply means reassessing your strengths and preferences, and putting them to work for you in a new and fulfilling way.” – Maud Purcell

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Well-Done Wednesday (6/6/2012)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Hope your June is off to a great start! Here are this week’s picks!

1.I Bow to You - Runners come in all shapes and sizes. This article does a wonderful job to celebrate a running group that oftentimes does not celebrate themselves. – from FlintLand

2. The Relentless Road Runner – One of my best friends, Brian Beatty has started a new blog to chronicle his journey to the Chicago Marathon. This is his first post on how he has reached the point where he stands now.

3. My Very Guilty Pleasure - I have been known to have a soft spot for awful bubble gum pop music, however, I’ve hit a new low. Carly Rae Jepsen has now made it on to my mix. I dare you to listen to it and not tap your foot to the beat. It’s fun to run to;) So call me, maybe?

4. Wonderful Showing of Sportsmanship - ESPN article about a high school track runner who helped carry another runner across the finish line during the 2 mile.

5. Really Cool Ryan Hall Commercial - thanks to Relentless Road Runner

That’s it for this Wednesday! Please feel free to share with the great stuff you’ve found or created and I just might feature it next week! Send me an email or leave a comment:)

Always in Stride,

Jack

From The Healthy PUSH

My Complex…Keep Running

A family of five winds along the asphalt path beneath the tree line canopy of Ohiopyle State Park. Each pedals along on their bicycle at a leisurely pace, or so it seems. Though it may look relaxed, within the mind of the 10-year old boy it is an all-out race. To him, everything that can be a competition is a competition. As the group enters the final miles of the ride, his sister begins to pull away and the boy gives chase. This will prove to be a common theme for him growing up, chasing the footsteps of his two older sisters.

I have recently come to a conclusion, one that has been in the works for a while:  I have a complex. I can’t quite say where it came from or what sparked it. I know for sure it’s not family as I have one of the most loving, encouraging, supportive families one could ever hope for. It’s just that to me the idea of what is “enough” is an ever-moving target as I grow older and I’m not sure any personal performance will ever live up to my standards. I have convinced myself that being content is to grow complacent, something that I never hope to do. I know that these viewpoints can come off as extreme and unrelenting but it is how I keep myself progressing, or as a good friend once put it, staying in a state of “relentless forward motion”.

I think that this is one of the reasons I am so drawn to running and triathlons. There is no end. You could be a world-class athlete, but someone better will always come along. World records are not made to stand, nor are titles. I keep on telling myself that if I just do this race or complete this one goal, then I will be happy with my performance. However, this is never the case. I live in the moment and enjoy my races for what they are, but do not allow myself to savor it for too long. For the most part, I cross the finish line with a smile, enjoy a moment with those I am close with, and then say inside my head “What’s Next?”

My best way to describe it is a lyric from the end of Kid Cudi’s Up Up and Away: “The end is never the end. A new challenge awaits. A test no man could be prepared for. A new hell he must conquer and destroy. A new level of growth he must confront himself. The machine in the ghost within. This is the journey of the man on the moon.” In short, as our video of the week puts it “Keep Running”.

I’m curious to hear if anyone else has the same type of “complex”?

Always in Stride,

Jack

Song – Up Up & Away – Kid Cudi

Quote – “The end is never the end. A new challenge awaits. A test no man could be prepared for. A new hell he must conquer and destroy. A new level of growth he must confront himself. The machine in the ghost within. This is the journey of the man on the moon. “ – Kid Cudi

Video – Keep Running Short Film 

Well-Done Wednesday (5/30/2012)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! I hope you’re enjoying the short week after the long weekend! Here are my 5 picks of the week!

1.The Past Shapes Us, in Life and Running - “Whether it is in running or relationships, our past experiences shape us into who we are, but we shouldn’t cling to them blindly. ” – from Runnin’ From The Law

2. Running Passion Picture - from Living for the Adventure

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Courtesy of Living for the Adventure

3. Couch to 5K Success Story in Progress - Becoming a “runner” is just a step away:) – from Jules, Jam & Journalism

“It’s blurry cos I took it while running.”

4. You Can Always Find a Finishing Kick -

5. Down But Not Out - Something that we can all relate to, impatience during injuries. Just have to always remember that: “It’s a good day to have a good day.” – from GuarnteedHome

That’s it for this Wednesday! Please feel free to share with the great stuff you’ve found or created and I just might feature it next week! Send me an email or leave a comment:)

Always in Stride,

Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (5/23/2012)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! I have 5 brand new picks for ya that I know you’re gonna love! Check ‘em out!

1. It Gets Easier - “So I’m here to say, right now, to every runner or aspiring runner out there: Keep it up. You’re doing great, no matter what you might think. And it gets easier.” – from StaufenRunning

2. It’s Like a Switch - “When you really focus and make concrete decisions to do things, suddenly you remember how to run and how to jump and how to sweat your ass off.” – from Idiot Runner Girl

3. Great Quote for the Week - from It’s Progression Not Perfection.

Good Luck to Progression Not Perfection in her Half Marathon!

4. Color Run - I have no idea what this is, but it looks so awesome and fun. Put a smile on my face:) Thanks to Win! for the find.

5. Bay to Breakers Pictures - Nice write up on Bay to Breakers complete with Top 10 costumes. I NEED to do this race at some point. It looks like such a blast!

That’s it for this Wednesday! Please feel free to share with the great stuff you’ve found or created and I just might feature it next week! Send me an email or leave a comment:)

Always in Stride,

Jack