Thursday, May 9, 2019

37 Days

37 Days - until the Bailey Hundo

Years ago I road and raced my bike a lot. I road my bike to work, I road in winter. I raced local XC races, 50 and 100 mile races and endurance races. I had sponsors, yes sponsors. On the bike I tested myself physically and mentally. I believe those rides helped pave the path to where I am right now.

Back on the bike
 I have been riding my bike a lot since returning to Colorado. There is something about being on a bike that just can not be duplicated. Cycling is the tool to experience and develop freedom, fitness, confidence and mental toughness; every ride. It provides the key to what you can achieve, what you can see and how far you can go. Riding a bike will open the door to endless possibilities and adventure every time you through your leg over the top tube.

Sharing the ride
 The most recent open door is sharing cycling with my daughters. I have to thank The Cycle Effect and The Colorado High School Cycling League for this. I have gone from solo rides to sharing long rides, short rides, trips to the desert in March to escape winters grasp even pre-riding race courses with my daughters. Watching their confidence grow as they push harder and go further than they have ever been. Testing mental and physical limits they may not have tested otherwise. It is sobering to see what they are capable of and what they are willing to accomplish as they realize their own potential.

What I am doing about it
This year I am participating in the Bailey Hundo (www.baileyhundo.orgto raise funds to help organizations like the ones below to get kids outside and on bikes.

Trips For Kids - Offers mountain biking opportunities to under served youth and changes lives "two wheels at a time"!

Colorado High School Cycling League - Is an awesome resource for high school students around the state to be exposed to the world of mountain bike racing and developing the racers of tomorrow.

Colorado Mountain Bike Association - Advocating for mountain biking in Colorado and building awesome new trails with volunteers and community members.

The Bailey Hundo is a 100 mile mountain bike race that includes over 60 miles of single track and approximately 10,000 feet of climbing. It will be a monster ride! I have 37 Days of preparation ahead of me. 37 Days to raise money to support these worthy organizations (*Click linke to donate)  and 37 Days to prove to my girls that you can accomplish ANYTHING you set your mind to. It may not be pretty but in the end but I will finish.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Back in Colorado!!
Its been a year, since I have added to "I Don't Run Fast", I just have not felt up to it. What a roller coaster ride it has been: I lost my job in North Carolina, moved to PA (lived with the in laws), looked for work, became a personal trainer, moved back to Colorado, found a place to live, work, new schools.
We have learned to live in the now, through plenty of ups and downs, newness and adjustments. We have enoyed being outside skiing, hiking, biking, and running together. Colorado is full of wildness, endless views, wonderful things and like minded people.  AND we Finally!! Sold our house in NY!!
Enjoy your Independence Day!! ~

Skiing Keystone

First 20 mile ride
Little Mountain Biking
 Hiking 14'ers

Family in Fruita

The 2 of us


Monday, February 27, 2017

Post Ride Coffee Shop... Reflections

I have wasted a tremendous amount of time maybe years focused on what I can NOT control. Wrapped up in myself, missing out, wishing things were different, even angry at the world. It is staggering how quickly my thoughts raced from one topic to another, how much time I wasted trying to sort out what I had no control over. Today, I work diligently to stay in the present. I still have skirmishes with my wondering mind but have learned to say "hey dumb ass, over here, we are dealing with this right now."

In the book "10% Happier" Dan Harris shares his battle with the negative voice in his head and his focus on what he can NOT control and how it effected his life and career as it played out on national TV. Eventually, his narrative goes into great detail about embracing the practice of meditation to control that voice. His book reiterates what I have realized, that being happier is up to you.

I have yet to adopt the practice of daily meditation but have become increasingly fond of post ride coffee shop reflections. Instead of trying so hard to keep up I focus on slowing down, resisting the urge to go, go, go or have everything figured out. Of course, you don't have to do this in a coffee shop.  The idea is to SLOW DOWN and take a minute for yourself even if just over a cup of coffee at home or a bowl of granola on the porch, as in the old Granola Cereal commercial.

I know what you are thinking, "I don't have time for that". We make time for a lot of things being in the moment is typically not one of them. I do believe you will be better off if you choose to make time for some reflection. In my opinion there is no better place to be in the moment than on the seat of a bicycle, the longer the ride the better.  Afterword, stop into your favorite coffee shop for some reflection. Focus on less rush, order "for here" maybe in a mug instead of a to-go cup, then take a few minutes to enjoy the moment. Let yourself relax, watch people, listen, read something, just enjoy being stationary if only temporarily. Reflect on your ride, your day, think positively-how lucky you are to be where you are right at the moment. It certainly isn't going to hurt.

No, I don't spend my days in coffee shops or riding my bike, although it would be nice. I do try to acknowledge how fortunate I am and try to relax a little bit. I try to appreciate the day, the sunrise while on a morning run, a long ride, some time in a coffee shop or a book store, getting my daughters off to school. I still miss stuff and worry more than I should but like Dan Harris I am at least "10% Happier", maybe a little more more.

Be the psychopath

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Year Resolutions meet "Missions"

There are a myriad of resources for self improvement and developing other skills; from becoming a better leader or better listener to improving running efficiency or your mind, your strength, happiness, your telemark turn, shooting accuracy even growing strawberries if that is your thing. These resources are available in every form imaginable; books, magazines, podcast, video, email newsletter, and workshop, to name a few.

My point, if you want to improve at something, you don't have to do it alone. So if you intend to get off the couch and run your first 5K or improve your time management skills, get going. Of course its not as easy as that, is it? Some of these resources claim to have all the answers and they may but what is often left out of the equation is your required contribution. It is no secret we are all searching for the easy route. So we have a tendency to read the book, give it a shot, then as excitement wanes we are on to something else.

In my opinion we are the reason we don't succeed. I know I have been that reason for my failures as well as my successes. We drive our success if we choose. Reality, you are not going to change unless your ready. No mater the resources you have before you. Even when you are ready, you still have to put in the work to achieve whatevr it is you seek.

In the spirit of resolutions, I thought I would share what I have been using to help achieve my fitness goals. Nothing magic here, sorry. What I have done is piece together a training plan using resources available to everyone. I call the plan "Missions" and they change as my goals change. They are really just a fun way to help schieve your goals. My missions actually mirror periodization training which divides your training into manageable blocks, nothing new there.

Missions are set up in 2 to 3 phases depending on the end goal. The first phase is typically a building or rebuilding phase. A strong foundation is the tenet for development of strength, sustainability and avoidance of injury. This phase is most often a 9 week block, the first weeks are a combination of low mileage, strength building, cross training and recovery. As the phase progresses, mileage increases as does intensity of runs and strength work. Patience is the key to success in this phase. Here you are either building toward a goal event or taking a break between events. Variations of this phase are ideal for maintaining a solid foundation during the off season to avoid starting from scratch before every event. That has always plagued me before I adopted missions.

The second phase focuses on specificity of my chosen event and depending on what that is lasts 8-12 weeks. Traditionally the last week of this phase is race week. With phase 1 focused on foundation building this phase allows for a quick increase in millage and the addition of hill repeats, intervals and tempo runs early in the phase. The weeks alternate easy and harder run days with rest days, continued strength and mobility focus with cross training. I do 10 or so minutes of mobility exercises prior to every run. I finish with a 15-20 minute strength cycle of tabata or interval style body weight exercises. I try to keep my rest day a total rest day but find it really hard. Cross training usually replaces an easy run as I often want to just get out on the bike.

I add an additional phase if I have an additional goal beyond the phase 2 goal. Otherwise I drop back into phase 1 until I find something that suits me. Currently I am 3 weeks into a phase 2 cycle preparing for a PR of 1:54:00 or less at the 1/2 marathon distance. Breaking 2 hours has always eluded me and I am determined to crack it. This phase is planned out weekly and includes what I need to achieve my goal. As long as I execute the plan.

My third phase goal is a 140+ mile bike ride, in less than 12 hours, down to DC to visit my sister. My current phase 2 actually includes a lot of cycling because of this goal. Missions have helped my training in a number of ways. One, missions are always in motion, eliminating the typical stop~start nature of many training plans. Two, the planning part is 1/2 the fun. Finding an event or a challenge planning for it and executing the plan is extremely rewarding even if the outcome may not be exactly what was expected. Three, they allow for a big picture evaluation of progress. Finally, I name my missions, often associated with the goal, which gives it substance. My current mission "Mission 17" has as much to do with my planned events as it does with my current situation. Now...... I just have to put in the work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The daily run

We have moved. Not the kind of planned move full of giddy anticipation, excitement and wonder of the next chapter in our lives, but a forced, lost my job and gotta get out of dodge move. This type of move doesn't allow for a pity party or even to be very angry. It requires one quick decision after another. The down and dirty, make it up as you go, whirlwind kind decisions that call for you to move  and move quickly.
Wrought with uncertainty, forced to quickly bend your mind around one small goal after another so progress continues. There are a lot of moving parts; packing, finding boxes, truck rental, truck loading, address changes, finding more boxes, tying up loose ends, celebrating Christmas on the fly, new school registration, truck loading, house cleaning and finding more F*ing boxes.
The process volleyed between stressful, exhausting and nerve wracking in the morning. Then spells of productivity, reflection and more stress in the afternoon. Tears were shed, arguments had, hugs given and goodbyes said. Then finally, driving away from it all.
It is a sad time but a low-grade crisis in the grand scheme of things. If you are capable of rearranging things in your mind and separate the negative, the experience is full of opportunity. I was reminded of a sign on the wall at Newbury Comics in Boston that I always thought funny "All dates can change, so can you." So we have, we had to.
My daily run helped me see the opportunity in the change. It allowed me to close the book on what had been. Running each familiar route one last time encouraged me to be as positive as I could despite the circumstances. Not all at once but slowly, as the miles ticked off. It allowed me to work through the emotions of the situation and to be present so I could get the job done.

Now as we adjust to our new surroundings my daily run continues to provide solace. I have explored new territory. Discovered new trails and established new routes. It has allowed time for me to realign priorities and goals and strive to move forward. To participate with my families adjustment when they need me. I am not going to lie, this move has been a challenge. In fact it has sucked! But, a challenge made just a little easier with a daily run.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bring on another year!

Many appear relieved to have 2016 behind us. There has been a lot of focus on the tragedies that shook our morality and sense of security this year. The uncertainty of the geo-political climate and the unpredictability of our own political landscape. Focus on how overwhelming and difficult things have been, are and will be in these trying times. The media, periodicals, blogs, social media our own homes seem to perpetuate the negative story. We are bombarded with this negativity then jump right on to the back of the conga line consumed by it, fueling its propagation. Its crazy!! Case and point, the cashier who helped me at Starbucks the other morning responded when I said Happy New Year that "2017 could not get here fast enough," and that she hoped "it would be better than 2016, it had been a shitty year" her co-worker responded "true that." Happy New Year would have been an ideal reply, I thought. I could not help but wonder that the quality of her year is at least partially up to her, isn't it?
I am not saying that these concerns are not valid, some crazy things have happened. Nor am I waving aside any hardship or loss anyone has suffered this year or ever. It just seems that an inordinate amount of time is being spent on the tragedies and the unpredictability of life and not enough time on right now, the good things.
I believe that adventuring into the unknown is part of every journey. Rolling into a new year is the same thing, you can only deal with what is now, this second, minute, hour, this day. There will be challenges, struggles even tragedies, but to assume that is all that is in store for you is "CRAZY." Its inviting the negative story to seep into and flood your reality. Why do that to yourself? I thought of Vivian Greene's quote:

I prefer to dance in the rain. This is exactly why I love to get outside. To run further than I have run, bike further than I have biked, to test myself, force myself to just worry about the next step, the next hill, the next intersection. To see whats around the corner and beyond. To reach the top of a climb, look out as the horizon unfolds in front of me, endless. Just as the possibilities in front of you. Just as the choices you make. I had some shitty things to deal with in 2016 but man I had some wonderful things happen too. You know what? I think 2017 is going to be AWESOME! Yours will be too!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

LET'S ROLL......

I first read Travis Macy's book The Ultra Mindset a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a sport specific "self help" book of sorts, unlike any I have read. The concepts and format make it's content current and quite relevant to every aspect of your life. Mike Welk described the book as "the one book you can read 30 times and always get something out of it." Travis has laid out 8 core mindset principles that when implemented separately or in conjunction with one another will help you be successful in sports, life and business. After I read the book I passed it along to a friend as I often do with such books but never stopped thinking about the concepts. Eventually, I purchased an additional copy reread it and have gone back periodically to review a concept when I felt I needed to. I connected with Travis on LinkedInn, followed him on Twitter and Facebook and frequently watched his YouTube videos. I feel the Ultra Mindset principles parallel my own and made every effort to use them to guide me in life, work and sporting pursuits. With an open mind and self reflection you can use these principles to achieve daily success in every aspect of your life too.
I was ecstatic when I discovered on Travis's FB feed that he was enrolling participants in his Ultra Mindset course for endurance athletes. It asked, "Do you want to optimize your racing, work and life with an Ultra Mindset?" I did and signed up directly.
Without going into much detail of the course itself, it is an active, candid, personal and public self reflection of how or what you have experienced within the realm of the 8 core principles of the Ultra Mindset and how to use those principles successfully, daily. Each week follows a corresponding book chapter, supplementary readings and reflections, a 1 on 1 phone call with Travis and weekly video call with an extraordinary panel of endurance greats including Marshall Ulrich, Dave Mackey, Rebecca Rusch, Krissy Moehl and Jason Schlarb just to name a few. Throughout the 12 week course participants share stories, feeling, experiences in an effort to seek an improved mindset that will generate wellness in life and beyond, IF..... you participate fully. It's like everything else you get out of it what you put into it and if you are willing to put into these principles the rewards are endless and last a lifetime.
An additional perk of the course, are the folks you meet along the way. Their stories and experiences reveal how different and similar some us are. How willing people are to share and support one another based on common experiences and a brief exposure to one another. And because of technology that connection is able to continue and flourish beyond the course, its wonderful.
My mindset has been put to the ultimate test since the courses end. I lost my job recently and I have put into practice every mindset principle time and time again as my families course has been unexpectedly altered. We have railed together to develop plans to keep our heads high, feet on the ground and moving forward when things appear to be stacked against us. No DNF acceptable here.

* Let's be honest the course cost money. So only commit if you are ready and willing to take yourself to the next level. This will take effort and NOT going for a run kind of effort. Not everyone is ready and able to honestly search within themselves to tap into the power of their mind. You wont get anything out of it if you don't commit 100%. Like anything else!