One Word Resolution

I can’t remember how I came across this website and idea months ago but I made sure to save it for this time of year.

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The smart thing for me would have been to get started on it right away and not delay making the life changes I want to make. I think you’re more likely to succeed with resolutions if you start them early because if it’s a change you really want to make, you wouldn’t postpone it. Well I’m now making a conscious effort to live by the word I have chosen.

The concept is very simple. Choose one word to live by for the next year.

Instead of creating a laundry list of things you want to change, you only pick “one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live your life. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.”

The website has a whole bunch of suggestions but to help you get your mind deliberating on a word to choose, I’ll name a few…

Open. Adventurous. Listen. Present. Brave. Love. Focus. Generous. Determined. Healthy. Confident. Relax. Learn. Smile. Balanced.

The word I have decided on is Social.

Most weeks, I spend about 6 nights by myself. I don’t feel lonely at all, I enjoy the company of myself and spend a lot of time reading and writing. I also love spending time with friends too. I think the main problem is that I don’t put much effort into setting things up or asking to hang out. I wait for others ask.

And I’d like to be more social with my family. I have never considered my family close. Growing up, the dinner table was more silent than anything. We never really opened up about personal things either. My hopes is that being my social will bring me closer to my family.

Wanting to be more social should be easy given that the world is connected 24/7 with endless avenues.

Saying and doing are two different things. I need to have a plan. Here’s what I have in mind. Any suggestions for me are welcome.

1. Call my parents at least once a week. Every Sunday evening I will give them a call.
2. Hang out with friends at least 2 nights a week. I will be more initiative in asking friends to do something.
3. Call, text or email at least one person every day. There are many days, even many days in a row, that I don’t hear from or reach out to someone.

These should help me get started and I’m sure more opportunities will bloom from these. A tip for anyone would be to write your word down on a small piece of paper and tape it to your mirror. That way each morning you are reminded of what you want to do. If anyone wants to join in on the fun, we can exchange email addresses and start a more intimate relationship beyond this blog.

How would you like to live this coming year? What change do you want to make? What word are you going with?

Offered. Accepted. Then…

I was told that I would hear back on Monday about the newspaper job. I spent the day constantly refreshing my email and checking my phone to see if I missed their call. It wasn’t until I was eating dinner, which is early because I think my stomach hasn’t left east coast time, that I got an email saying that the day was very hectic for them and I should hear back no later than Wednesday.

Tuesday. Nothing.

Today I decided I was going to spend the day in my way and not wait for the call.

The skies were clear when the sun broke the horizon. I checked my weather app to see what the temperature was outside. 17. A degree cooler than yesterday. I waited a little longer in bed for it to warm up before I took off on my run. I watched a few motivation videos to amp me up to get out the door. Checked the weather again. 16. Nice, might as well just go for it!

Had an awesome run. It might have been colder but with the sun out, compared to a grey gloomy day yesterday, it felt 10 degrees warmer. Still I had ice chucks form on my beard. I made it a priority to go buy a headband at the sports store on Main Street.

One thing I miss about Atlanta, is that there are ample amount of running specialty stores. And I worked for one. I had access to want I needed on top of getting a big discount.

The sports store here is all encompassing. It’s pretty crammed with everything they carry in such a small space. Guns, knives, skis, western attire, hiking boots and on and on and on. To the point that they have a lot but not many options within categories. So finding what I had in mind was difficult. I was about to give up when I came across a Headgator.

Never heard of one before. I’ve heard of gators for shoes and have seen people wear them during the ultras I’ve done. But this Headgator looks sweet. It functions as a headband, neck warmer, hood, hat and as a mask. This might just be a life saver for me!

Anyways, the day rolls on and I start to think the job slipped from my hands.

The call comes during the afternoon, while I’m watching the movie Splash. The job is offered. I accept it. Then I felt hesitant.

I didn’t feel any type of happiness when the phone disconnected.

The hours are 8-5 and yeah it might be a different work flow since it’s a writing job, but I can’t forget that two and a half years ago I quit the corporate lifestyle. Sitting at a desk all day wasn’t my idea of satisfaction or fulfillment. I was only at the job for a year and I couldn’t stand it. I could not for the life of me understand how people spent their entire lives at a desk job.

My reluctance also stems from the fact that I don’t want to have to sacrifice any part of my passion. What if I can’t run as much? Or have time to do core, stretching, Insanity? Or even time to do my own personal writing?

It’s also digging up the nightmare that ignited my decision to not conform to the social norm. What if I become too comfortable at the job and then time slips by. I wake up one day and realize that I haven’t done anything that I wanted to do in life.

There’s only one way to find out. And maybe I’m just thinking like a pessimist.

Is this normal to be thinking like this? Should I listen to this voice or is it just fear that my imagination is creating?

Frozen

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Found this today and felt it valuable to share.

I had one of my coldest runs today. It was 18 when I stepped out the door. My first run this season in my running tights and I doubled gloved it.

Almost immediately, the moisture from my breathing froze on the facial hair above my upper lip. As time passed, it was getting harder just to wiggle my face. By the time I was halfway, the sweat dripping from my eyes was starting to freeze on my eye lashes. Ice built up on my gloves which made it feel like sandpaper when I would try to wipe my eyes. I pushed the last few miles to get back quicker to warmth yet I loved every minute of the run.

When I walked in the door, I went straight to the mirror. I looked like I spent the night outside face first in a few inches of snow. People probably thought I was insane but I’ll think of it as dedication. It took a few minutes to pull the ice cubes that formed on my beard and even longer to get my ears to stop hurting. Something I really need is a head band to wear since this is just the beginning of my winter season.

Anyone have any tips for running in frigid temps?

Why 100 miles?

This morning Competitor.com posted a video asking the simple question, why run 100 miles, to a handful of ultrarunners.

Watch it here

My name is not recognizable and I don’t have a stout ultra résumé as the ones in the video, but I thought I would take a stab at the question.

Once I found my form and got into shape, experiencing the euphoric sensations and peace of mind that came during longer runs that were long enough to allow for these feelings to arise, I felt the desire to want to run all day. If running were easy and the pains weren’t part of the process, I would run for hours each day. It sounds a little romanticized, but I found something that I wish I could do all day.

To piggyback on what some of the runners said in the video, and I can only speak from only doing one 100 miler, but it boils life down to the most simple form. I think of myself as a minimalist and this goes hand in hand with my lifestyle. Late in a 100 mile race, all you think about is forward motion. Getting to the next point, drinking water and eating enough to get to the next point. For me, the moments I let my mind wonder, I fell apart and lost touch with what I was doing.

And it’s also about pushing my body to it’s limits. And this is a relative statement. A 5K to someone who has never exercised, is 100 miles to them. It pushes them to their limits that they never thought was possible. 100 miles is so physically and mentally taxing, for me, that I didn’t know if I could go any further at certain points and at other times felt on top of the world. It is such a roller coaster of human emotions in 24 hours, give or take a few hours depending on who you are.

I think life is about finding your passion and going all out with it. Running is my passion and I believe it taps deep into my core being. It brings out the best in me and it takes me to my potential, physically and mentally. Running gives my life purpose and pushing myself to run 100 miles is how I find my true capabilities and my true self.

The Waiting Game

As of Thursday at noon, I submitted two stories that I worked on this week for the local newspaper here. Monday morning I went in to meet the head editor and she assigned me two pieces to work on. She gave me a sheet up paper that had all I needed to get started. Who to contact with phone numbers and questions to ask.

The idea is that depending on how well they are written, they will be published in the newspaper and a decision will be made to hire me.

The first of the two stories I worked on was an incredible one. I called the person that was listed on my outlined sheet and we talked for close to an hour. She helped publish a book with an old man in town, that is based on memoirs that the man’s older brother wrote in the early 1900s.

After I spoke with her, I did my best to write a story on it and emailed it to the editor. About an hour later she had a few suggestions for me to work on and also introduced the idea of me meeting the man in person to get a better report.

So we set up a meeting that afternoon at a local church. This guy is 90 years old and back in 1986 (four years after his brother’s death. And before I was even born) his brother’s wife gave him a stack up papers that amounted to memoirs that were written early in his brother’s life. Well he’s basically been sitting on them for years and somewhat recently decided to get them published.

What I found fascinating was that, the sheet that I was given in the beginning with my lead for the story. Whoever put it together for me didn’t really know who wrote the book, how it came about and what it was about. For me not really knowing any historical background of where I’m living, I felt like I uncovered a hidden gem of this story that took place at the turn of the twentieth century. And the old man gave me his incredible history lesson of this area, spitting out names and occurrences like it all happened yesterday for him.

For my first assignment, this was really cool. I completely rewrote this one and felt like I turned what was probably a solid 4 for my first draft into a 9 or 10. This was the better of the two stories and I feel that if either of them get published, it’s this one.

The other one, I wrote about the cross country ski trails just outside of town. I spoke with the head of the Nordic ski club here and he gave me the run down of all the places that the club maintains. This one, in my opinion, is up in the air. I think it was better than the first draft of the other story, but definitely not as great as my final submission.

But we shall see. I spent the rest of Thursday and all of Friday patiently waiting to hear back. Just as I was leaving to go out to dinner Friday evening, I got an email saying that my stories will be looked over this weekend and I will find out sometime Monday what the final verdict will be…

As I write this, frost is collecting around the frame of my window and the wind is howling. Snow flurries have dusted the town over the past few hours.

The weather this past week has been perfect for running. Everyday I ran I was in shorts and a t-shirt. The rest of the days I spent in my usually attire, flip flops and shorts. Even though I was constantly getting weird looks and people asking what I was thinking. But mid fifties is paradise for me.

Last night’s cold air decided to stick around and inhabit for what looks like the coming week. Today’s run was a battle of fierce head winds, and a biting chill that stung the ears and dried the Vaseline I applied to my lips before leaving. It was a short run but it started to get me accustomed to what a real winter will feel like compared to the Deep South, where I am from.

This lead to a relaxing day in a warm bed spent alternating between reading Twenty-Four Years To Boston by Jim Brennan and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. When I would come to the end of a chapter or a page break my eyes would wonder to the tv I left on with some of my favorite childhood movies playing throughout the day, Stand By Me and The Goonies.

The run today was a much needed recovery run. I took two Insanity classes at the YMCA in town this week. They luckily only offer two a week, otherwise I’m sure my ego would have taken the bait and tried to push myself to doing more. Two was plenty. Surprisingly the most sore muscles are my calves, I guess from all of the plyometrics the instructor had us doing.

And by “us” I mean me and one other guy. That’s small town for you. If you don’t know what Insanity is, just think of it as a really intense core class at a fast pace with barely any rest breaks. The class I am taking is 30 minutes long which I believe is normal.

From the beginning to about halfway in the classes I’ve been in, I thinking I got this. This ain’t too bad. Then by the end, with five minutes to go, I’m sweat drenched, red faced and gasping for air feeling like I can’t make it to the end. By the time I’m home all I want to do is take a shower, which is difficult in itself because your arms are way to tired to life up to shampoo your hair, and then just face plant into my pillow.

Now, as the day and the weekend come to a close, I’m about to open back up the books I was enjoying today. Hoping my work from this week pays off with good news tomorrow.

Here are a few photos I took this weekend:
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Keep The Good, Not The Bad

A support system is vital to your path towards greatness. You have to surround yourself with people that are in your corner. People that support your goals. People that will motivate and that have an interest in what you are doing. People that will help you snap back if you slip and people that will cheer you on no matter what.

But we all have people in our lives that are constant negative influences.

You tell them you want to lose ten pounds, they say “yeah right” and “what will one more cookie do?” They make fun of your salad you order at lunch and roll their eyes when you order a water.

You tell them you want to get your college degree in music performance, they say “get a real degree that will pay the bills” and “what will you even do with that?” They shake their heads when you practice hours on end crafting your skill.

These people need to change and support you. Or get the fuck out of your life!

All they are doing is bringing you down. Yeah sometimes negative comments are fuel for the fire, but think how much more progress could be made with positive stimulation. Maybe they’re jealous because you have the courage to change and want something better for yourself. They just pull you back to stay at their level. You’re above that!

There are two things that need to be done. Ask them to stop and start to encourage you. Or just stop associating with them.

In to the light

(image source: flickr)

Leave them behind and continue on your path.

These people might be friends, family, coworkers or even your “other half.” Sometimes in life you’ll need to detach from these types of people to get what you want.

It’s your life, your dreams, your passions, your goals. Surround yourself by the best team you can create. Keep the good influences, drop the bad ones.

I Can

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Whatever your dreams are, go for them with all of your heart. Completely dive in and go full force. Don’t let fear and doubt slow you down, those will be natural human emotions that you’ll need to push through. Decide on what you really want and go for it. Write it down and never look back. You’ll be a new person just by putting all of your effort into the dream you so deeply desire.

I just wrote my next huge goal down. The odds of me achieving it will be slim. But the first step is believing in yourself, and I do. Odds are I will feel embarrassed for my goal if it’s not achieved. But I’ll know that by going for my goal, I will be at my absolute maximum potential to achieve it. Odds are I will fall flat on my face. But the odds are I will be a completely different person than I am now. And I know by announcing my goal, I come off as a arrogant.

If I do come up short…
At least I will know I am going to give it my all. I will know that there will be nothing else I could of done come race day. I will know that I will be the best me I can be.

My goal…

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