Thursday, December 24, 2009

Life is all about the Journey

Here I sit on my couch December 23rd, sick and listening to Christmas music to lift my spirits. As of today I have officially been unemployed for 50 days, wow time has really passed in the blink of an eye. I can't believe so much has happened in this short life of mine especially over the past few years.
After receiving notice of my soon to be unemployment I realized it would be a perfect chance to take a back seat and evaluate my life. Have I accomplished what I set out to do, what did I set out to do? Was I fulfilling my destiny or was I just another person to fill up this chaotic world we live in? What is my purpose and where am I to leave my mark before I die?

All of these things have ran through my head at some point in time over the last 50 days while I have had the chance to think open and freely without pressures. One thing that I have realized is that I am not exactly an introverted personality, I knew of this before but after looking back over 4 years of my life was spent sitting at a desk with limited contact to people. Friends, acquaintances and family members all have commented that I need to do something that I am passionate about as well as something were I have personal interaction.
Those 4 years of my life I was looking for an outlet to use this passion of mine in several areas. From coaching, to working part time retail and etc, it was just an outlet away from the desk. I have been able to spend much more time recently soaking up life with loved one's, something that I wouldn't have done before. While fighting inner struggles by myself these people have been at my side in one way or another and helped me through this JOURNEY.
It's incredible how as a fresh face right out of college you want everything right NOW. Maybe its what drives some people to work so hard to achieve certain monetary goals in life. As those years have passed me by, I really began to understand in a better fashion how life works. Patience is absolutely a virtue and things will come i n due time. I am so fortunate to surround myself with outstanding people whom actually genuinely care about me. As I was writing this post, recently named "Runner of the year" Rebecca Thomason was being a saint and dropped off some goodies to help me along while I am sick.

This is just an example of why I believe that I am at a good point in life, job or no job. At some point in life I have made certain decisions to get me where I am today. Going forward I look expand my passions and thrive towards ultimate goals in life that I may have held back on in the past. This journey has been quite amazing so far, especially in my career; high school geometry teacher, research analyst, assistant retail manager, co-founder of an online business, coach, and so much more.

There will be more greatness to come out of me and I plan to leave an everlasting mark in life in the hopes that I can make an impact in this selfish world. One day I will stand at the top of the mountain having conquered all of my fears and look down with a HUGE SMILE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thunder Road motivation

This past weekend I participated in the Thunder Road marathon relay as an official pacer and I had a blast helping someone out while soaking up all of the people cheering. Most of the people who live locally did some part of the Thunder Road event, being the 5k, half marathon, or the full marathon distance.

Every year I always make it a point to be around for this race in some aspect because I think its great how we have such a big event that continues to grow in my own backyard. Several of my friends and running buddies had amazing runs while waking up to below freezing temperatures. I had my duties were aligned, as I planned to meet up with Alice Rogers who was pacing for a debut 3:15 marathon somewhere around 13 miles. My plan before that was to run with Billy Shue who was also running the full but was shooting for a lofty goal of possibly 2:45 but with realistic goals of going sub 2:55 if all else fails.

While jogging between the 7th and 8th mile on the course, I was fortunate enough to see several friends like Paul, Matt, Greg and Brian running very quickly just before I spotted Billy cruising. Jumping in with Billy I could tell he was feeling great and was very confident with his ability to finish very strong. Since I started so early in the race, i decided to cut off around 10 1/4 miles to cheer on everyone else and wait to jump in. I was waiting with Logan and Glenn who were waiting for Mo to come through, who was shooting for sub 3:10 as her debut.

Watching all of these people pushing hard was great and made me feel amazing just being able to have the ability to run no matter what pace it is. I eventually jumped in and chatted with Alice who was making the marathon look like a breeze. My roommate Glenn had the duties to ride his bike with the boom box on it for tunes next to the runners for awhile to provide encouragement, but had technical difficulties with having extremely cold hands and had to retire early. Going around Charlotte I got to see all of the different crowds as well as different DJ's blasting music. Inside I was bouncing to the music whether it was 80's, rock or rap music, with a big grin.

Alice and I made it through the city passing person after person who went out just a bit to quick, and realized their was only 10k to go and she was actually in 4th place. Eventually due to a great race plan, we were rolling up the other women on the course except Mo who took the lead for good at 20 miles. Eventually taking over 3rd place, with the 2nd place woman way in the distance, Alice dug deep to catch up to her just before the end and narrowly miss 2nd place by 2 seconds! This reminds me of my pacing group last year, Logan shooting for the sub 3:10 goal while his 2 other teammates thinking the same thing. It all came down to the last straightaway and all 3 of these guys dug with everything they had to finish mere seconds apart over 26.2 miles, HOW EXCITING!

All in All I am just pumped to see that some good friends ran amazing and everyone seemed to be VERY pleased with their result no matter what. After getting home I wrapped up my 20th mile for the day with strides in the grass and felt amazing....this leads me to the title, "Thunder Road Motivation". As of right now I will be competing in a marathon come 2010. NYC is about 95% and I am about 85% confident I may train for the Shamrock Marathon come March. This makes for a very busy schedule for me come March/April...All of these races I am expecting new PR's while hoping for an injury free winter.

February 6th(my b-day) Tybee Half
February 13th- cupids cup 5k
March- Shamrock Marathon, Cooper River Bridge run, and MAP triathlon.
April- Boston Marathon(pacing logan)/ Duathlon Nationals.

Congrats to everyone who ran and I want to give shout outs to those I saw in person! (I hope I got everyone I saw)

Theoden Janes: 3:42
Chris Page: 3:12
Dianne Allen: 3:47
Paul Mainwaring: 2:38 (3rd overall)
Billy Shue: 2:44 (5th overall)
Mo Campbell: 3:04 (1st female overall)
Alice Rogers: 3:14 (3rd female overall)
Matt Jaskot: 1:17 - half
Jordan Kinnley: 2:29 (overall winner)
Brian McMahon: 1:15 (5th overall)half
Jefferson Waugh: 2:57
Paul Gonzales: 3:12
Jocelyn Sikora: 1:29 (3rd female overall) half
Amelia Slagle: 1:28 (2nd female overall) half
John Cristiano: 3:23
Lauren Tilton: 22:08 (5th female overall) 5k

So Marathon for real this time? I have nearly 3 months to train for it! Need to figure out a goal time

update soon!

I plan to update this post tonight finally! I missed a couple days and pics from the trip to colorado but i will hit the ground running tonight...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Flight Anxiety

(this post was actually written while in flight last week)

Right now i am at 34,000ft in the air in route to Denver, Co and their are clear skies! Flying over Tennessee was great, I could see everything in its beautiful entirety; lakes, rivers, and mountains.

Just months ago I could not bare to fly on any plane no matter the distance. After 9/11, I was a basically in panic mode while flying and it was just ridiculous at the time. My mother and one of my ex girlfriends at the time were so frightened to fly that after awhile both of them seemed to wear me down with the thought. I flew into Pennsylvania years ago with two friends who had never flown before and I was the experienced one by far, but I was scared. My friends were just casually talking and playing cards while I was gripping the seat with ultimate fear of death.

I have been on a plane maybe 200 times and here I was frightened. Flying from Boston in 2007 I was so stressed I tried to keep a conversation going with anyone around me, to keep my self pre-occupied, while getting under the skin of those just trying to relax on the flight. I was exhausted so much but the thought of sleeping wasn't even possible, so it just made matters worse. Recently I had a little break through with flying when I flew into and from Atlanta this year. I actually had a nice time enjoying the views out the window and read a little bit.

If I am to leave this earth it will be with God's grace and there is nothing that I can do about it. How many people suffer from flight anxiety out there? I am surprised more people don't flip out on planes but I guess those people don't even attempt to fly. Today's flight was great, it was super smooth, I got to read some of my book, write some goals down in the short term and even watch a little "24" from season 1.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Colorado: Day 5 "Diligent Focus"

Today was mostly an uneventful day comparative to the last 4 days, the highlight of my day was buying a new book at the “Boulder Bookstore” where I had the most amazing Carmel Latte’(I think it was my first actually).

I actually slept in a bit today and the plan was for Kylee and I to grab some lunch before she had to head into work. She drove ahead to run an errand and I jumped on the bike and made my way towards “illegal pete’s” which is basically qdoba or moe’s but more locally franchised right now. Kylee was running a bit late so I just kind of roamed around the block a bit checking out some stores. When Kylee arrived we jumped in line at “illegal petes” and it was pretty busy the whole time. I got my staple meal, a taco salad, which was excellent.

From their I went into Starbucks with kylee a bit and we got to chat some and I showed her my exciting book I have been trying to read forever. I brought no laptop this trip which would entice me to actually attempt reading “ Common Fire”: leading lives of commitment “. After parting ways with Kylee I made my way to the Boulder Bookstore / CafĂ©’. I wanted a caramel macchiato but they didn’t have it on the list so I tried that awesome Carmel Latte’. After I read a bit I made my way into the bookstore and browsed some books and one caught my eye. “The Richest man who ever lived: King Solomon’s secrets to success, wealth, and happiness." I read some reviews on the back cover and noticed Ruth Graham had some good things to say about this book as well as Jerry Falwell. Anything that concerns Christianity, happiness and success really grabs a hold of me so I went ahead and made the purchase.

I made a couple pit stops on the way back home to pick up a couple things and then I was set to get in a nice long run followed by a “Moonlight Mile” at the CU track. I hit the Boulder path equipped with 2XU race socks as well as my Sugoi arm sleeves just in case it got much colder. Kylee seems to run w/a short sleeve shirt no matter what but I wanted to bring something along to keep me warm, since EVERYONE else in Boulder wears pants and jackets while they run. As well everyone seems to run with a dog, it was amazing as I felt very out of place wearing shorts and not having a dog on most of my runs. I figured people in Boulder would be wearing singlets and would make fun of my light weight jacket ha.

On this run, I started in South Boulder and worked my way down the Boulder path way which travels basically below the city and has stops at every major intersection if you want to bear off. I passed lots of walkers, cyclist, and runners along the way. I was moving at a much better clip than everyone it seemed so I just kept rolling. I ended up outside of the city onto a trail which turned into the mountains with the main road parallel. I ran basically as far as I could until it was too icy to step on, so I took the time to stretch a bit and head back. At this point I was starting to freeze and just wanted to get back soon. I made my way back to the Colorado track at 11.25 miles into my run. It was closed to the public and locked up totally. I was a bit upset but I was also happy that I couldn’t bonk my attempted mile effort at altitude after 11.25 miles and a long week.

Once I got home I showered and thawed out basically in time to hit the road again on the bike. After mapping out my route I made a stop at “FlatIrons Coffee shop” just a couple miles away. I took the time to answer emails, check my flight schedule, make a couple calls, and check my bus route. The last thing I took the opportunity to do was look into tattoo’s, faith and the tree of life. I have wanted another tattoo since high school but just couldn’t find anything that had a real meaning to it for me. I planned to actually get one while in Colorado but things didn’t work out and its not something to rush. After the coffee shop I hit Qdoba’s and then went home to blog it up. Kylee’s roommate Christine was laying on the couch with her dog whom just had a minor surgery that day.

Christine’s alarm managed to go off about 18 times and she never actually got up which was amazing to me honestly. At about 12:30am I got up for some reason and I looked out the window and everything was covered in snow! The morning run is set to be something out of the ordinary for sure!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Colorado Day 4: "What matters the most?"

So last night I got a lot of extra sleep that I am not used to but it was a much needed rest. After running out here a few times, with the runs being pushed pretty hard my body is trying to recover in any fashion it can. I slipped in my ear plugs last night and called it an early night while Kylee went out to hang with some friends.
We hit up the South Boulder Trail today and it was pretty cool. Going out there was an awesome view of the rockies pretty much w/o anything to block the view. My ipod died about 9 minutes into the run which really sucked, but I made it work. I could tell today wasn't going to be a great day so it was just used as an easy recovery day from everything going on. After I set off with a few miles under the belt I heard some high pitched noises off to my right and I see some furry creatures running wild. Apparently they are "Praire dogs", which kind of freaked me out at first.

Prairie dogs (Cynomys) are burrowing rodents (not actually dogs) native to the grasslands of North America. The highly social prairie dogs live in large colonies or "towns" – collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres.

On the way back from the turn around point I made it a point to observe the same area again and I see this....

Looking around, I actually kind of have a mini panic attack, all of the dead grass around me were actually praire dogs, they were everywhere, I bet there were 50 of them making all kinds of noise.

After the run was done, we headed back to change and move forward to our hike. The day was beautiful and clear outside, I even hiked half way with a t-shirt on while we were in the sun. It was actually a pretty rigorous hike with a good bit of ice at points. We got to the top and unfortunately their were some "starwars" obsessed college students who wouldn't shut up. Aside from that we got some pretty good pictures of the "20ft natural golden arch".

On the way down Kylee expressed her hesitation about going down because of the ice so I asked to jump up front and led the way down. I kind of like challenges like this because I tend to find pretty good footing and have good balance to avoid falling usually. Kylee was not so lucky as she fell a couple times and even cut her elbow on a rock, stupid ice on the path!

After sitting around the place for awhile I decided I might as well do another shake out run, so I hit the Boulder pathway right outside the door. One of the things that caught my eye was this pretty cool overpass crosswalk that went over the highway and it looked kind of like something being shot into space i thought.

All in all I had a nice easy day of running, 8 easy on a trail then 4.5 miles on the pathway followed by some good stretching and staring at the moonlight reflect on the mountains.

After that run, Kylee and I headed to the "Lazy Dog" which was a local sports bar. I really wanted to watch the Monday night football game because it was set to be a good one. One of my good buddies from a few years ago actually moved to boulder so he came out to meet us with his girlfriend. We had a lot of laughs about Boulder in general as well as going back into the past for a few laughs. Their experience with the local running shop "boulder running co" was the same as mine, lots of inventory but lacking in customer service.

Here are some additional photos from the hike that are pretty good.

Having spent so much time outside today from distractions of life I had time to myself and my thoughts. Colorado is an amazing place, thats for sure, great for being active. The society around here is certainly different than i am used to back home in my little box. One of the things I have observed is that people are greatly spiritual out here but not very religious. So far I have only seen 2 churches while riding/running/driving around the area. In Charlotte there is a church about every mile i think. Without really trying to "think" I realized that I need to be near my loved ones. Everyone has a different circumstance but I feel the need to stick close to my hometown mostly because of my younger siblings. Being around as a big brother who is a good role model is on the top of my list above running some trails in colorado. Family is everything no matter the deal....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Colorado: Day 3 "Mag's and Coors"

This morning I sat out on my journey to run the infamous "Mags" which was made popular greatly because of Chris Lear's book "running with the buffalo's". I awoke at 7am and had a bowl of oatmeal along with a banana while having a few cups of h20. Kylee's roommate Christine volunteered to take me to the justice center parking lot at 7:35am where the "Boulder Performance group" was set to meet at 8am sharp. As we arrived I was anxious to meet some new people and hope they would like me ride along for the journey. After getting dropped off I did some dynamic warm-up stuff and eventually jogged an easy mile before I came back to spot some people in the parking lot. They kindly invited me to join them and carpool to Magnolia Road.

This was a nice group of people, 2 women and 3 men in all, whom several had just run a marathon a few weeks back. After driving for what seemed 15-20 minutes we arrived to the drop off point, what a climb! Everyone set off on the run, I was obviously the only equipped with a camera to capture my run. I started off with dan from ohio who recently got into running and then Gustavo came along and I jumped in with him after a couple miles. My breathing wasn't that bad mostly because the pace was easy, but Gustavo picked it up a bit as we hit some harder climbs and I just upped it a bit with him. He told me in one big gasp that he was stopping at the top of the hill to go back and I told him I would continue onward for more. Check out some of the awesome pictures I got after my return back to the group.

After the run, we rode back down to Boulder and everyone gave me some tips on what to do and where to go. Most of them were the brewery tours, Coors Brewery in Golden, Avery brewery in Boulder and New Belgium in Fort Collins. I wanted to hit about 4-5 more miles after we got back but Kylee was nice enough to go ahead and pick me up so I just cut it short. I was pretty tired after the run honestly, I think mostly because on the way back I was hauling butt, because I realized that everyone else was doing 5-8 miles and I wanted to do the full 15+, so they would be waiting for me. I was pushing the back half pretty much as hard as I could. I got a couple small pit stops to take these pictures.

So now where to go? It was to be onward to the New Belgium Brewery but Kylee informed me that they were actually closed on sunday and monday of course. Coors was the only one open and it sounded just fine to me. After making a few pit stops around town to shop and grab a good cup of coffee, we made a pit stop at "Full Cycle". It was a local cycling shop that had been in town for 22 years and had a massive inventory. I got a chance to browse through their bikes and speak with some of the salesmen. One of the guys was actually originally from NC so we got to chat about all of the options out in Colorado. He pulled out a bike for me that I loved, simply for the look, it was a new 2010 Felt F95 in bright orange. Pretty sweet place with some cool people working their for sure.

Next stop GOLDEN! Home of the Coors Brewing company. Once we arrived I noticed some pretty cool peaks to the mountains that surrounded the town. I took one before we went in for the tour and another once we left the tour.

Here are a few shots of the tour along the way. It was a lot of fun, learning how they made certain types of brews as well as learning how many different ones they actually made.

After leaving Coors we headed up to the grave of Buffalo Bill which was the lookout point for the area. It was pretty cold up there, in route, Cody called me from Australia a couple times to catch up but service kept cutting off for me unfortunately, sorry Cody! We took some pretty cool pictures while at the top which gave a great shot of the rockies.

It was a fun day with lots of pictures, I wrapped up the evening with Dinner at the Mountain Sun with some of Kylee's friends and then hit the hay pretty early for over 9hrs of sleep! I am starting to get exhausted out here!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cycle City! Colorado: Day 2

Day #2 was not quite as eventful with running into random people but it was exciting anyways. Today was the first day I had a chance to attempt a run at high altitude. I was "warned" by many people about the effects of running at high elevations, so I took that into careful consideration. Kylee and I set off to a trail where I was hoping to get an hour in is possible before she had to head into work. I was equipped with my 2XU calf sleeves along with long sleeves with my TrySports team tee.

The run was great, as Kylee and I started out together and then after she turned around I decided to see if I could finish out a loop and be back before my 1hr mark. I pushed it pretty hard at some points, once I got to a pretty step climb I could certainly tell that I was having some troubles. After taking a few seconds to relax, i got up the climb and was rolling again. It made me feel good to see that i could beat some mountain bikers around the loop somehow.

After the run, we went back to Kylee's place and she prepped and went into work from 1-10pm, which left me lots of time to fill. Her roommate Christine was nice enough to lend me her bike so that I could roam around boulder. It was pretty cool cruising around, minus the fact that I had a backpack on, looking like a high schooler ha-ha. The plan was to stop at a coffee shop and spend time writing my "day 1" blog which I ended up doing at "the cup", a nice local Colorado flavor spot where tons of people filed in.

After the coffee shop stop I had time to roam all around the "Pearl Street Mall' and stop in a few shops. In the process I took a pretty sweet picture...

After checking out the cool and unique shops I had to figure out what i was going to do for dinner. Head back to the townhouse and eat some oatmeal or grab a meal at some local shop. I began to freeze out in the streets and passed "Old Chicago" where I saw college football on the plasma's, easy decision. No TV at Kylee's so i might as well soak up some college football at the bar. My server actually was from South Carolina and we chatted briefly about some local places to check out, I even got to snap a picture of the watering hole.

Finally at the end of evening I rode Christine's bike back in the pitch dark back to my temporary home. It was soooo freaking cold outside, i was shaking! After about 10 minutes on the bike I actually warmed up and enjoyed the ride. It's a great place that has plenty of side walks and is very biker friendly, which makes things easier for me for sure. Upon arriving home I did more research about running "Magnolia Road", the legendary CU Cross Country Sunday morning training run starting at over 8,100ft of altitude. I managed to find a group who said they planned to meet and carpool from the justice center at 8am SHARP! Time for a good nights rest before I try to conquer the beast!

Check out my pad, it actually sleeps pretty well, THANKS KYLEE!!!