The streak ended at 5. It ended because of travel. Well, it ended because I wasn't strong enough to overcome the burden of travel. I awakened at 2am on Wednesday morning, went out for 2 miles, and hustled to the airport for a meeting in Connecticut. With little to eat during the day, I gorged myself at the airport with a hamburger, bleu cheese and bacon, then hopped back on a plane which landed around 11:50. My head hit the pillow at 1am, and the next morning wasn't an easy one.
So here we are. Day 1 again. I took our puppy around the lake for a walk / run this morning. It's best for everyone if he gets out. Puppies are great. They're best when they're someone else's. Our dog is a wonderful, cute puppy. But he's a puppy. He's full of energy and taunts our older dog with nips and bites and seemingly incessant energy. I say seemingly incessant because nothing cures that chaotic energy like a run. Today was over 3 miles, and we walked more than we ran, but it was exactly what he needed. We went out longer than he's ever gone before, which is a big accomplishment. His name is Apollo, and he has a rough time with loud bass noises. If there's a loud exhaust, or a deep bark, he cowers and freezes up. Today he did better than ever before. For the run out, he needed less cajoling and encouragement than other runs, which is encouraging for my running. It's tough to consider it a workout if I keep stopping to spur Apollo along. Many times, that "spurring" ends up being a tug on the leash. Half way out, he started crying. I wondered what it was all about and understood this to be a cry to be carried. Everyone around thought it was cute. Except me. This wasn't a "carry Apollo" trip, this was supposed to be a "run with Apollo" trip. The good news is he fell in line and ended up running the last mile consistently with me. The best news is he's been resting on the blanket ever since we arrived home.
If I can get him this tuckered out every day, then every day will be a good day.
I'll be running a 10K on April 2 with a friend. Not sure how well I'll do, and not going to try and win it. Between here and there, I'll be getting strong and making sure I'm consistent. I know what needs to be done. I just need to do it, and not overthink it.
My name didn't get selected to run the NYC Marathon this year, and neither did my brother's name. We decided we'll try Marine Corps, which opens up soon. Given how difficult it is to get in to MCM, we'll likely not get picked. The good news is my youngest brother also wants to run. If we don't get into MCM, I'll try and talk them into the Space Coast Marathon here in Florida at the end of November. All that said, I didn't overcome the challenge of travel last year so didn't run a marathon and fell WELL off my plan to be fit. That changes in 2016.
This coming week will be a challenge to that approach. I travel to Wisconsin tomorrow (Sunday night), then to Indianapolis, then New Jersey, then Chicago. And I'll make every run amazing!! The challenge will be to find cool runs everywhere I travel and share them here. Maybe that'll be the spark that prevents me from falling off the plan. Running in New Orleans was fun, and it was as much about getting out in New Orleans as it was the run itself. We'll see how it goes!
There isn't much useful on Bourbon Street at 4:00 in the morning. Based on how things are going at work, I expect I'll be on the road more than I was in 2015 which is more than I was on the road in 2014. I'll document progress along the way for two reasons: (1) selfishly, it holds me accountable for what I say I'm going to do in some weird way; and (2) there's the remote possibility someone will read this and be inspired to overcome their own challenges and accomplish their own lifelong goal.
My challenge with running has been in maintaining consistency, and work travel is what threw me off last spring. Progress was made from Achilles recovery into training, but travel picked up considerably in the spring and it threw off my strength training. I realized this weekend my focus had always been on the goal, and not on the process. I tell people, "I'm not a runner, but I want to run Boston." That doesn't happen. People who aren't runners don't qualify for the Boston Marathon. So now I'm a runner. I've been a runner for 3 days. This morning I ran on Bourbon Street and tomorrow I'll run at home in Orlando, Florida.
This morning I ran while others staggered on the streets. I chased the garbage truck for part of the route, then stumbled across a silhouette of Jesus as the words "The only easy day was yesterday" played in my head. It's a beautiful morning. It's a beautiful day. The new week starts now.
Day 1 was rough. Next week is BattleFrog where I committed to bringing boys from my Sprint Team to run the 5 mile obstacle designed by former Navy SEALs. I'll be volunteering and watching the boys compete while I get my sorry ass back in shape and prepare to run a 10K in April and hopefully a marathon in the Fall. The Frog will be back in Central Florida in December, and I'll be prepared then.
Between here and there, the challenge is getting my ass on the road. I'm following the path paved by a fellow regular guy who kept a running streak alive for a long time. I can't remember how long - but it propelled him to Boston. Getting on the road regularly is easy for me compared to what it took to strength train. His plan was to run at least a mile every day, with marathon training obviously requiring far more than that. We've communicated via e-mail, and I haven't asked him this question, but I have to assume the consistency is what drove him to qualify for and run Boston. I've had my head wrapped around what it's going to take to first get strong, and that was a focus on the goal and not on the process.
Today was a steady 1.46 miles with the new puppy for part of the time, and just me and 20lb. vest for the rest of it. I'll also be running while I travel this month - which will create its own challenges. Tomorrow I'll be in New Orleans, then Wednesday I'll be in Connecticut. The following week I'll be in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Chicago. The following week I'll be back in Chicago. Here we go! Ready or not, here I come!
March 5th. Back at it, brothers and sisters. Starting today . . . getting the rituals back in line. Once again, I'm done working on the "before" photo. The goal remains the same, however I was taken off track over the past seven months. With a new role at work, managing a move of the family, and the regular craziness of life that serves as nothing more than yet another bullshit excuse, I've fallen off the rhythm I was establishing around establishing the right habits to create an amazing experience - or set of experiences.
It's easy to see how things fell off track with all the happenings. We have another dog, my daughter is now at a new school, and we've decided the best path for my son is to be home schooled. My oldest is continuing through college, making sure the experience lasts, and here we are seven months later without much to show for it in terms of AMAZING EXPERIENCES.
Blogs about goals and intentions are by definition a bit selfishly aligned, however anyone who knows me understands the intent behind writing all this down here is for two purposes; first, to further solidify what's important; and second to perhaps share challenges, failures and successes with others so they may learn from what I've done and perhaps add color to your own life experience. After all, our lives are different in the detail, but we're all living somewhat similar experiences. As kids, we all want to accomplish and experience great things. As kids, we felt if we work hard and make good decisions, everything will work well and great things will happen. For the most part, that's true - however challenges arise along the way. As a result, most of us aren't doing what it takes. I'm a great example. Why is that? Where does it all start? Let's start with what's most important. If we can agree our families are the most important thing to us in our lives, and we can agree it's important for us to be healthy in order to be on earth longer to create more experiences with our families, and we can agree if we're in our best shape we can bring create the best experiences for our children and spouses to remember for a lifetime, then why isn't fitness a priority?
In the past, the food we ate was natural and day-to-day survival required physical activity. Now with food being processed and most jobs requiring us to sit most of the day, health doesn't just "happen." In fact the opposite happens, and many of us live a life of slow death.
One of the problems in American culture today is the devices and society have created bad habits; habits where we either think without doing, or do without thinking. Why is that? I think it boils down to rituals and routines - or habits. The first step is an awareness of the habits we have. EVERYTHING we do is the result of a habit, since we're not creatures of discipline. Those regular routines in the past involved something physical with healthy food to fuel bodies. Today, we need to be more intentional about it or risk a daily march toward death without bringing our best energy.
The word for the year is STRENGTH - with a focus on PHYSICAL strength, MENTAL STRENGTH, EMOTIONAL STRENGTH and SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. What are the GOOD habits to want retain that create strength, and what are the BAD habits to replace? My good habit is I wake up early every day. Sometimes 4am, sometimes 5am. But early. My bad habit is lately (like for 6 months) not engaging in PHYSICAL ACTIVITY in the morning. I'm AWARE when the day starts with something PHYSICAL in the morning, the rest of the day, week, month, quarter, year, life is STRONG. If the day DOESN'T START with something physical, it likely won't happen and as a result the daily experiences aren't as good as they could be. Therefore, a CORNERSTONE RITUAL to create a LIFE OF PURPOSE is to start every day STRONG and FAST with something physical. So let's start there, with the long term goal to run a marathon in 2016 (my name is in the hat for the NYC Marathon).
Another goal for the year is to get Just Keep Pouring established as a profitable program assisting parents in setting and achieving goals with their kids. A key to credibility will be to write a book focused on the program, and regular writing adds to MENTAL strength. To that end, writing 750 words a day will create CONTENT and the ritual of writing leveraging http://www.750words.com. I've played with 750 words, and like how it provides a simple framework for success around writing consistently. We'll start . . . now.
Emotional strength is important for being fully engaged. As a regular listener of Tim Ferriss' podcast, I've learned many high achievers (nearly all he interviews) have established a ritual of meditation to achieve balance. Between exercise and writing, a MEDITATION practice will tee things up mentally.
Spiritual strength is also a key factor to success and bringing your best energy to every event. To that end, every morning it'll help to write the mission for the day, week, month and year, giving time to reflect and ensure what is done every day aligns to the deeper purpose and deeper mission.
And now it's 2:50pm on Saturday - and no more procrastination (the WORST habit I have). Time to get strong.
Run On, Sentences follows the path of the author as he evolves from a lackluster inaugural marathon time to pursue a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Along the way, he'll deal with the challenges of a short attention span, growing older and the chaotic calendar of a husband, father, corporate executive, and active member of the community.