You’re Going To Die

I can achieve and accomplish my goals or I can make excuses and settle for a life I don’t want.

“You’re going to die” and “you’re going to fail” are two of the most important realizations that you can come to terms with. Not only are these statements true, but it is absolutely imperative that you come to grips with them if you want to accomplish anything worthwhile in this life. Both deal with

TIME AND ACTION

Coming to terms and accepting these truths clears your mind, and life, of fear. Grab hold of the fact that this life is temporary for all of us and that we have a limited time to make it meaningful. There is no tomorrow, only today.

We must see this life for what it is and understand that failure is a natural part of moving forward. No one gets out alive and no one accomplished anything worthwhile without failing. Let failure become your starting point and let today define your future.

Get rid of someday and tomorrow…remove them from your vocabulary and start today. From wherever you are, start there. There isn’t enough room in our lives for achievement and excuses; it’s one or the other.

I can achieve and accomplish my goals or I can make excuses and settle for a life I don’t want.

Make the decision on which road you’ll take and get moving. Start now, not tomorrow. Don’t wait to find your “mojo”, get up and create it.

Action produces results…Positive Actions create Positive Results and Negative Actions create Negative Consequences.

No one is going to do it for you. The calvary isn’t coming to save you. If you want it, get up and get started…today not tomorrow. Take a step forward. Make the decision and stick to it. If you fall, get back up and keep moving forward.

This is your life and it’s temporary.

YOU HAVE LIMITED TIME!

Don’t waste another minute being unhappy with yourself. Change, Move, Execute…Everyday.

A Story of Courage, Commitment, and 26.2 Miles

This is Sonya Harrington, and she is a marathoner. Sonya (1)

Of course, that wasn’t always the case for Sonya. Just 7 short months ago, she showed up at a Fall Marathon Informational Meeting at Fleet Feet Sports in Schererville, Indiana to gather details on what it would take to complete 18 weeks of training to prepare to run the Chicago Marathon.

Many “would be” first time marathoners come to these meetings, but after seeing the intense amount of training that is required to successfully complete a marathon…never come back – only Sonya did come back, and that is where her journey began.

Continue reading “A Story of Courage, Commitment, and 26.2 Miles”

The Night Before the Marathon

I know that you all have a thousand thoughts running through your heads right now. Some thoughts are good and positive, some are not. Regardless of the thoughts in your mind, there are some things that you know for certain. You have spent more than 4 months training for this day. 

You ran through adversity in the form of heat, humidity, rainstorms, sickness, soreness, and even injury. You did that because you are strong and determined individuals with BHAG’s. What are BHAG’s? BHAG’s are Big Hairy Audacious Goals!

You aren’t like other people. You are not content to simply exist in a lifetime of easy contentment. You have something inside of you that drives you to challenge and push yourselves well beyond what most people would ever attempt. 

There is something inside of every one of you that pulls and tugs at your soul. It’s what drives you out of the door every morning before the sunrise and it’s what will get you across that finish line tomorrow. It’s the Spirit of the Marathon. It does not exist outside of you; it is woven into your inner core.

The marathon chose you because it knew that you were special; that you have the toughness, the desire, and the will to complete an act of unrealistic ambition and expectation. You are not lining up at the start line tomorrow by happenstance. Each of you are here for a reason; a reason known only to you and the Spirit of the Marathon. 

Tomorrow, just as in training, you will be tested time and time again, and you will find a way to overcome everything that these 26.2 miles could throw at you. The path that you have chosen for this day is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is a path that is most aligned with your character and your courage. 

Because of these things, you will never choose the easy path of submission or surrender. You will line up tomorrow aided by the spirits of millions of marathoners who have gone before to light the path and to prepare the way for you. 

Tomorrow, you will own a piece of history and whether for the first time or the twentieth, you will forever be called a Marathoner!

Why Rock Bottom is Never the End

“Those who can bear all can dare all.” – Luc De Clapiers

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if we lived as if we had nothing to lose? If you woke up tomorrow with nothing and had to start all over again, could you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and start building again? Everyday would be bound by struggle and each step would be a leap of faith into the next. Does the though of this scare you or does it ignite your senses?

Most of us have grown so accustom to our lives of luxury that just the thought of losing our sense of comfort sends us into a panic. Of course, no one would willingly choose to throw away comfort for gloom and despair but what if it wasn’t a choice? What if it was all taken in the swiftness of a sudden dark wind?

“If you’re going to die, then die. If you’re going to live, then fight.”   – Emilie Autumn

History is filled with giants of success who became that way only after hitting rock bottom, or being born into it. Oprah Winfrey was born to a young, low-income mother and was abused throughout her childhood. She was fired from a local television station because she was “unfit” for work on television.

Martha Stewart was the world’s first female self-made millionaire. Only a few years after her firm went public, she was sent to prison for 5 years because of her involvement in a stock scandal. Her story could’ve ended there but it didn’t. After being released from prison, she went back to work and within 12 months, her company was again profitable.

“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.”   – Oprah Winfrey

After finding success as an actor late in life, Liam Neeson lost his wife to terrible skiing accident. He was left alone to cope with his two young children. Instead of cashing it in, Neeson regained his senses and his career by pouring himself into raising his children and soon regained his stardom as a premier hollywood icon.

For Neeson, Winfrey, and Stewart, and a plethora of others, both famous and common people, rock bottom wasn’t the end, it was the beginning. Rock bottom strips away the facade and exposes us to our very core. There is absolutely nothing left to hide behind. We are forced to look at our life for exactly what it is, both good and bad. The decisions and circumstances that brought us here become painful lessons, which if allowed, can help us to begin rebuilding.

In these moments we have no choice but to be humbled. It is in this humility that we ultimately find out who we really are. It forces us to find the strength within us that we no longer thought we had. We become self-reliant and we begin to see things for what they really are. We cease depending on externals for our happiness and ultimately become aware that everything that we need is already within us.

“Endurance pierces marble.” – Moroccan Proverb

Lastly, we become grateful for everything that is left because all of the phony has been removed. We realize that there is nothing left to lose and because of that we are free to dare, create, move, and experience life like never before. Just as failure is often a prerequisite for success, rock-bottom can also serve as a launching pad for better, more vibrant life.

Someone Told Me I’d Never Be…

“You’ll never be an endurance runner because you’re too big”. 

I love to lift AND I love to run. When I started lifting less and running more, I told someone I wanted to be an endurance runner. I wanted to run marathons and ultra marathons. I wanted to push my body passed the point of breaking. I wasn’t content with just finishing them, I wanted to race them.

I’ll never forget the words of a fellow runner who told me, “dude, you’re not built for that…like a runner”. I was insulted but I held it in. I started to doubt everything. When I looked around, I saw a lot of lean but thin runners. 

I wanted to challenge the status quo that said skinny runners run fast and everyone else gets thrown into the misfit land of “joggers”. Since then, I’ve finished a marathon in 3 hours and 46 minutes, I’ve run 100k’s and didn’t come in last or even close to last. I will run a 100 miler and I will race it, but I won’t change who I am and what I love. 

I wasn’t born with a runners body, but I’ve made the most of what I have. That’s what we have to do…make the most of what we have. Strong is strong in any shape and size. Tell me I can’t and that’s exactly why I will.

Lessons I learned from being sidelined with an injury…

Guest Post from my wife, Adriana!

Check on your fellow injured runners. And when I say check, that doesn’t mean only when you run into them at the grocery store. Call them, text them, invite them to have coffee and just listen to them. Chances are they are deeply depressed. Running becomes such a huge part of who we are that they probably feel very lost and alone. Luckily, I had a few friends that were my saving grace during this whole ordeal.   You all know who you are……THANK YOU!

Be careful of what you say to them. Some of the most insensitive things said to me during my injury were from fellow running pals. If you have to start your sentence with, “I don’t mean to be discouraging but….” I would probably refrain from saying it. My mind was my own worst enemy and I certainly didn’t need anyone else to pour salt into the wound. And unless you’ve been seriously injured (not just aches and pains) it’s difficult to understand the severity of what they are feeling.

Get a second opinion, or a third option or hell, even a fourth. If the doctor that’s treating you tells you that since you never ran in high school, getting injured, “was just a matter of time” you need to run far, far away. (Pardon the pun) If they start talking about surgery, run again (unless of course it really is medically necessary). If what they are doing to help you makes your symptoms worse, stop seeing them.

Throughout my injury I saw two orthopedic doctors, one chiropractor, and a physical therapist. It was like a guessing game every time I went.   Not one of them could tell me why I got injured or how to fix it. It was frustrating and made me feel like running was going to be a thing I once did, but would never be able to do again.

Finally after 3 months I found a doctor that pinpointed exactly how I got injured and gave me the tools to fix it. Funny thing, I asked a previous doctor if my injury could be related to the very diagnosis I was given and that’s when she told me that getting inured was just a “matter of time. “ Do not settle for those kinds of answers!

Funny thing is that my injury was not even directly running related. The injuries were actually more attributable to years of sitting on my butt, which led to weak glute muscles!

Lesson learned: Be proactive. If you aren’t getting the treatment you think you need find a different doctor.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t good doctors or therapists it simply means that they aren’t the right doctor to help you.

You will get back into shape.  I was in the best shape of my life when I got injured having just completed the Chicago marathon (my first) and running several personal best half marathons. This little knee thing couldn’t have happened at a worse time.   Find things that you enjoy and will help keep you fit. For me it was a lot of strength training, the rowing machine, and the bike. Of course it’s not the same, as running but it will keep you sane. Every day I would worry about how much fitness I was loosing but being able to do something did keep me semi sane.

It would have been very easy for me to mope around and feel sorry for myself every day, but I choose to try and take the negative and turn it into a positive by making me stronger. Although there were many days that I cried and felt sorry for myself, there were also many days that I didn’t.

Lesson Learned: More than likely an injury will won’t last forever and you’ll be back out there again feeling as fit as you were pre-injury.

Don’t compare yourself to the runner you were before you got injured. This is a difficult one for me and I’m sure many others.   It’s completely unfair and unrealistic to think that I’m just going to be able to go out there and run the half marathon pace I did just three months ago. At this point, I can only come close to my long run pace I was running before I got injured (and believe me I’m winded doing it) but I’m choosing to be ok with the numbers on my Garmin. I’m just excited to be out there again and really that’s all that matters. Lesson Learned: Don’t look back. You are where you are not where you were. Instead look at how much further you can go.

Many of you know about my faith in God but let me tell you there were many moments I doubted Him thought out this ordeal. I was reminded each day how much running gives my life meaning and structure. I always used running as a way to let off steam and deal with stress. Not being able to run was the most stressful thing in my world. Though I worked hard to not let running define who I was God showed me that, that was not in fact the case.

I let running become an idol. So many times I found myself wandering around the house asking God, “when will you take this from me Lord?” “How much longer Lord?” “Why is this happening?” I felt very abandoned and distanced from God. It was hard to find Him during those very low days. God gave me subtle reminders that He was there and that He would never abandon his child. Sometimes it was through the voice of my husband, or a friend, and even my co-workers.

I also found some comfort in a few thoughts too. One of them is that as angry as my knee made me it was very good to me and took me on some incredible journey’s. God also made me recognize how fortunate I was to have two working legs and knees that did allow me to run. Not only did I run but I completed a marathon! Yes, me probably the most unfit person ever for most of my life completed a marathon! Not everyone has the gift of working legs and so many times I took that for granted. He’s pretty darn amazing that way. God loved me too much to leave me where I was. I only needed to find him in the storm.

Waiting On You

“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” – W. Clement Stone

Your dreams and goals are waiting on you to take action. I am convinced that nothing positive happens in life without action – a conscious decision to move forward toward your goals in spite of fear.

Fear intimidates us and it will continue to do so until we decide to step forward and impose our will on life. The thought of failure is often far worse than the actual event.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy

12 years ago – 3 years post military – I had allowed myself to become overweight…really overweight. At the height of the scale, I weighed 235 pounds which was about 50 pounds more than what I should have weighed. I felt terrible…awful. I had stopped exercising but kept overeating for 3 years. Traveling for work, stress, and a love for junk food had taken their toll on my body and my sanity.

One Sunday, I was sitting on the couch and began to really hate what I had allowed to happen. I was more than just miserable, I was downright angry. This would go on for months until one Sunday I decided that I was not going to let this define who I was any longer. I felt like crap and I decided that I didn’t want to feel like crap anymore. It was time to take action, so I did.

“Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.” ~ Vaclav Havel

That Monday I showed up at the local YMCA, signed up for a membership, and committed to myself that this was the beginning of a transformation. That one decision altered the course of my life. I went back the next day, and the next, and the next for months and then years. I started eating better and busting my ass in the gym 5-6 days per week. I took up running, then endurance running. Activity is contagious, unfortunately so is laziness.

Over the next 18 months, I dropped over 60 pounds and found myself in the best shape of my life.Was it easy? Hell no. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I did it and that’s the point. I could have sat on the couch with a bag of chips and a beer and continued to feel sorry for myself…and 18 months later I would have still been fat and miserable.

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Those lazy desires and bad food habits still lurk beneath the surface. Those habits never totally go away, but the more right choices I make, the easier it becomes to win the battle.

Deciding to take action (mostly without the slightest of plans) was the trigger to changing from the person that I loathed, into the person that I knew I could and should be. This wasn’t about image, it was about health, about feeling better, and about setting a better example for my kids.

“I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.” ~ Napoleon Hill

12 years later, I am still with the healthy and fit lifestyle. It has never been about a diet with me, it has always been about a different lifestyle. Action starts the wheel of success turning and good, consistent habits keep it spinning. Whether it’s fitness, business, or relationships, they all require daily action followed by good habits.

So whatever it is that is holding you back, make a choice to take action. Don’t worry about where that choice may lead, just take the step. One step in the right direction could change your life. Believe me.