…and taking names!

fall-of-romeMaintaining the “status quo” is damn near impossible!  We are either moving forward, or we are moving backward.  History is full of examples of failed empire’s attempts to maintain a constant level of control, success, money and health.  All ended up failing and in most cases are no longer around.

IMG_1099For some people, 2013 is the year that they will finally get 0102081146ainto the physical shape that they have always want to be.  For me, 2013 represents the chance to fall prey to complacency.  You see, I am stronger than I have ever been in my life.  Last year I finished two grueling obstacle races.  I have reached a level of fitness that many, otherwise healthy, people might envy.  I very easily could be convinced to slow down and “maintain”, yet I need to keep moving forward.  I never want to go backwards, back to being laid-up in bed, back to a wheelchair.  I want to be there for my wife and kids.  Forward is my only option…

So now I am faced with tackling new challenges and finding new ways to keep my momentum.  With that in mind, I recently ordered a custom road bike.  Even during my serious running days, I was never a biker.  I had a lot of pressure from friends who were into triathlons to get one, but I never gave in.  Right before the accident, I was very close to”biting the bullet”, perhaps if the accident never happened, I would be a triathlete today?

IMG_1575My first goal for 2013 is to ride a century.  A century ride is 100 miles or more within twelve hours.  I plan to do this in June.  I will ride from my parent’s home in Millersburg, PA to Blakeslee, PA in the Poconos, where my parents spend the month.  It is 101 miles door to door with two mountains to climb.  (Yes mom, I am avoiding highways.)

The reason I need to have my century ride out-of-the-way by June is because my bigger goal for 2013, and the reason I will be biking in the first place, starts in July…

Last July I did a Spartan Race.  It was the sprint race, which is normally 3-5 miles. (The one I did ended up being a little longer than 5 miles.)  It was the hardest thing I ever did, and I loved the challenge! You can read about the race here.  The folks at Spartan Race have been super supportive of my need to keep moving forward and my desire to motivate others.  They have published numerous articles about my recovery and about how completing a Spartan Race has been the pinnacle of my recovery to date.  They have been so supportive in fact that on January 17th, they are allowing me to participate in a Spartan Race demo in Time Square, NYC.  We will be showing the world what obstacle racing is all about and discussing it with the media.  Look for a follow-up blog post when I get back.

trifecta-badgeThis year I will again run the PA Spartan Sprint in July.  In August, I will also do the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan, a 8-10 mile race, with more obstacles and craziness!  If I survive that race, then in September, I will run the Spartan Beast in Vermont, a 13+ mile obstacle race from hell.  At least Vermont is nice in late September!  Completing the Spartan Race Trifecta in a single year will be my biggest challenge yet!

Accomplishing these goals will be awesome, but what I am most excited about is the process of preparing to do them.  Over the past five years I have learned that it is better to love the process and not the goal.  When goals are reached, they last only for a moment.  The true beauty lies in going through the process.  That is where the knowledge lies.  In the process you learn about yourself and what you are made of.  The mind fights the body to keep pushing and the body bites back. Every small victory gets you one step closer to recovering…

This year, moving forward is going to be so much fun!



What is a perfect run?

Myrecovery-mymotivation.com has recently married.  It was a small ceremony.  The only people attending besides myself were a web designer, my marketing assistant and a photographer.  Honestly, some people were against the wedding since they are related. (They have the same hosting site. I think that is like being cousins.)  However, the merger went through and myrecovery-mymotivation.com has decided to take her husband’s name.  As of March 12, 2012, my first-born blog has become aPerfectRun.com. (applause) Please know that you can still find her on the world-wide web as myrecovery-mymotivation.com. (Who has time to change all their credit cards, SS #, and grocery store bonus cards while your still in the honeymoon phase?)  But, going forward she asks to be referred too as aPerfectRun.  In case you hadn’t noticed, she has also had some major work done.  Not only does the site have new banners, but the layout and site navigation have changed a lot as well.  The site has always been about the content and not “the flash”, but we did try to make it easier to navigate.

So why the name change?  First, it is a lot shorter and easier to remember.  You should see how many different search titles people have used to try to find my website.  The second reason was to try to link my website with the motivational book I hope to get published.  But why “A Perfect Run”?  As readers of my blog know,  before the accident I was an avid runner.  When the accident happened on December 1, 2007, running, along with a lot of other things I loved, were taken away from me.  I have worked very hard to get back many of the things I lost.  Running was one of them that I was told I might not ever get back again.  On November 1, 2011, contrary to a lot of medical doctor’s original opinions, I ran again.  (Original post here.)  I ran only one mile, at a very slow pace, but I was running.  Since that day I haven’t stopped.  Progress has been very slow.  Pain slows me down.  I can’t run outside when it is cold.  I can’t run very far (about 4 miles) and compared to before the accident, I run at a snail’s pace.  Still, I run.

When I first started running again in November, I ran inside on a treadmill.  After a few weeks, I wanted to go outside to run.  I wanted to get in a few outside runs before I tried to run the Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day.  The course I chose was only two miles, but it was hilly.  I couldn’t finish the run.  I was so saddened by the whole thing that I thought about quitting.  When a friend asked me the next day how my first outdoor run went I told him,”Oh, it was a perfect run.  I couldn’t even complete a freakin’ two mile loop!”  All he said to me was,  “Maybe you need to re-define your idea of perfect.” and just walked away…

I really think the word “perfect” gets thrown around too much.  “The perfect job”, “The prefect kids”, “The perfect spouse”, “The perfect athlete”, “The perfect body”.  Often times we strive for perfection when we can’t even define it.  Even worse, we let others define it for us.  That was my problem.  I was letting my preconceived ideas of what it meant to be a runner take the joy out of running.  I tell people all the time that they should “find joy in the process”, yet as soon as I had the chance to finally do an activity that I had loved so much before the accident, all I could think about was that I will never be able to do it like I had.  A lot of people have told me that they suffer from the same problem.  “Playing basketball at lunch is really starting to not be fun.” a friend at the YMCA told me one day.  “My 40-year-old body can’t keep up with the young guys.”  “When did we become the old guys?” I asked him.  “At least I can still shoot 3-pointers!” he commented as he walked out of the locker room.  I don’t know what would have been worse for me.  Gradually slowing down as I got older or just waking up one day and not being able to even walk?  At least I can say I got faster over the past four years!

As my agent said to me when I started this new project, “Most people won’t think that you would ever have a perfect run again, yet every time you run it is perfect.”  So, I have decided to let you, the reader, define “perfect” for yourself.  After all, my “perfect” and your “perfect” should be different.  I really don’t want to live up to someone else’s definition.  Especially not my wife’s! ;)

The weather is going to be in the 60′s and 70′s all week in Central PA.  This past weekend all I could think about was running.  (I even got some new shoes.)  With the beginning of daylight savings, I thought I would be able to run outside all week.  It wasn’t meant to be…  On Sunday afternoon I bumped the shin of my bad leg into the side of my car door.  The weak skin split right open and blood started forming pools on my garage floor.  Luckily I have my wound doctor’s cell number.  He met me at his office and stitched me back together.  He wrapped my leg in one of those casts that I spent all last summer wearing in hopes that we can get it to stay closed and heal.  For now, only time will tell if this wound becomes a problem or if the surgery I had in October will allow it to heal quickly.  Either way I won’t be running this week.  I felt kind of sorry for myself Monday when I walked outside at noon.  It was a “perfect” day for a run, exactly the kind of day I had waited for all winter.  Actually, the kind of day I waited for since the accident.  I was feeling very angry.  Finally, I decided to take my own advice and I re-defined “perfect”.  I decided to go to the YMCA to lift weights.  I pushed myself harder than I had in months. I was hell-bent on making the rest of my body pay the price for not being able to run…

Let me know what you think of the new website?  I would love to hear some feedback. We have tried to make it even easier to receive updates when I release new posts.  Simply click on the envelope in the upper right hand corner and my website will walk you through it.  Also, please click on the Like and Share buttons for Facebook and Twitter.  I had 14,000+ visitors last year to my site. A lot of that traffic came because so many of you shared it with your friends and family.  There are a lot of exciting things coming up this spring that I can’t wait to share, so look for posts to come a lot quicker now that the new site is finished.

Eagle Rare Life Award

Here is my first video blog post.  It has to do with the Eagle Rare Life Award.  After watching the video, you can check out their site here to get all the details.  Watch the video first!  Let me know your thoughts on the video idea and on the new banner.  The big changes to the blog will becoming in the next two weeks.  Enjoy!