Tag Archives: goals

step up

My goal is to ____________________________.

Fill in the blank with your goal.

Now tell yourself this as much as you need to:

It’s time. It’s time to step up. I want it and I want it so damn bad. I know it will be tough as hell, but I know that is part of the process. If it wasn’t tough then my goal is too easy. It will be hard and that’s how it should be. The harder, the better I will be on the other side of success. I may fail…many many times. No matter how many times, I will keep working my ass off. Out of failure, lessons learned will be stepping stones towards my ultimate goal. Nothing will stop me. I won’t hit the snooze button because I know the moment I wake up I get to chase my goal, my dream. It will hurt. It will suck. I am ready for that. There may be blood. There will be stinging sweat. I will lose my breath. But when I catch it, I will be a new animal. I am on a fucking mission. I am more than determined. I can be great and I have the greatness in me to achieve whatever I want. I will come out on top no matter what. I’m ready to rise up. There will be times that I feel like quitting. But I can’t. I can’t because this goal…this goal is my life.

“Something deep in the human heart breaks at the thought of a life of mediocrity.” —C.S. Lewis

So, how bad do you want it?…

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The Road to Bryce 100

My next 100 miler is set in stone and will be the Bryce 100 that is run in the middle of June in Bryce Canyon National Park.

It’s an out and back course with over 18,000 feet of gain and loss. Most of that being in the 8,000 ft to 9,000 ft of elevation. The scenery looks amazing for this one. Check out the video below.

I’m super pumped about this one!

As everyone knows, I shot for the stars with last year’s Bighorn 100 and fell way short of my goal. But my greatest success of last year was failing at that race. The lessons I took from that experience have been ingrained in me and have provided, what I feel, a solid stepping stone and foundation to what is to come with future goals.

How I prepare for this race will be an astronomical improvement over one year ago. I feel like I am on the right path to finding out what needs to get done to possibly come out on top for a mountain 100 miler.

I have this intense feeling deep down about the potentiality of this race for me and it only inspires me to run and train to be the best me I can be.

I’m ready and can’t wait for this one.

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Shoot for the Stars

As I was riding in the car back to the starting line after I dropped from my last race, I kept thinking about my favorite TED talk.

It’s with comedian Steve Mazan and he talks about chasing your dreams.

Seriously, watch it. Not only is it funny but it’s deep and inspirational as he shares his story.

I know I have shared quotes from this talk before but they are worth bringing back up.

Someday isn’t on the calendar. Friday, Saturday, Sunday are on there about four times a month. But when it comes to our dreams it’s probably the busiest day of the week.

If you’ve ever chased a dream, you know that it lights a fire in your heart, that whether you reach it or not, it warms everyone around you and everything around you.

We’re all dying. But if you are not chasing your dream, you’re already dead.

Steve talks about re-chasing his dream of getting to perform on Letterman. He gave himself 1 year to fulfill that dream.

Did that happen? Nope.

After 2 years? Nope. 3? No, it took him 5 years to reach his dream goal.

Another thing that stands out in this talk for me, is when he talks about changing the way we view our dreams. Instead of think of them as a noun, a singular point and final product, think of it as a verb, an action, something you do every day.

I was shooting for the stars with this last race. My place goal and time goal was a massive leap to the top. And I fell flat on my face.

Looking back I can see that I was in way over my head given my experience and my current abilities. But I have zero regrets in setting such lofty goals.

Yeah, I didn’t even come close to them and I even didn’t finish the race. But I am so much better off than I would have been if I didn’t have such goals. This has been the most valuable experience and I am only stronger from it.

It’s very easy to get discouraged and to give up on goals in the way society is today. We have become so reliant on instant gratification with all of the advancements in technology, that when we don’t get what we want, we think of our setbacks as failures and not learning lessons.

You only fail if you give up.

I’m not giving up on winning a major 100 mile race.

I was foolish to think that I was going to win this last race. I know that what I went through will only be a stepping stone towards my dream.

Like Steve Mazan, it may take me 5 years. It may even take me even longer. But I won’t give up on the idea of training to win and becoming the best I can be or even living in my dream of spending most of my time everyday running.

Instead of focusing on a single goal, or as my dream as a noun, I have lived in my dream the last half year or so. Instead of wishing I was running or wishing I was out in the mountains while sitting at a desk in a cubicle, I was out training and doing just what I wanted every day.

I am one step closer to my goals. Success is in making progress, and I have done just that.

So whatever your passion and dreams are, shoot for the stars. There will probably be a 99% percent chance you won’t reach your goal the first time around. You’ll just have to pick yourself up, dust off, take the lesson as a blessing in disguise and take on the challenge again.

You’ll be living in your dream if you do and there is no better way to live your life. Because “if you’re not chasing your dream, you’re already dead” right?

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.

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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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Destin 50K 2014

To the East, signs of the sun meeting a new day emerge. A slight band of colors paint the sky. It’s in the mid 40s and I’m shivering in my singlet on the beach. A woman I’ve never met before comes up to me, takes her coat off and puts it around my shoulders. Not sure if she was a volunteer or a family member of a runner, but this gesture was warm and much appreciated.

We had about 5 minutes til race time. The race director is giving course instructions. We go half a mile to the West, then turn around to the start/finish area, then continue East for 15 miles, then back. “Follow the moon for half a mile, then follow the sun. It would be hard to get lost.”

This race is put on to raise awareness and funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. A few minutes before the start, we took a moment of silence to honor those that have lost their lives in battle or training.

With a minute to go, I stand up front at the starting line. I take a few deep breaths and try to focus my mind. The RD did a count down and then we were off.

I led the way to the half mile turn around. Just before we got there, a couple guys passed me. I figured they were just going out too hard.

When we got back to the start/finish area, a mile into the race, a guy came up next to me. This was the guy that won the race last year and set the course record. We both settled into our paces. We had a quick chat. Both of us were aiming to go around 4 hours for the race.

He ran a little ahead of me for a few miles. The two guys that passed me earlier were getting further in the distance. Running on the beach, you can see a long ways down. The guy out front was getting smaller in the distance.

I was following the foot steps of the guy in front of me because there are a lot of areas with loose sand. You’re constantly searching for the hard compact areas. Luckily this year, there was more space with runnable footing. Sometime while the guy was maneuvering close to the water and back further away from the shore, I got a few steps ahead of him.

The aid stations are about 5 miles apart in this race. As we approached the first one, I was feeling fine, had plenty of water in my handheld and was carrying all of my nutrition for the race with me. I decided to pass this stop. I always stop at aid stations in ultras, but for some reason I thought the race would slip from my grips if I did.

The sun was blazing red and was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have seen. It’s impossible to run on the beach with a sunrise like that, and not smile. The day is heating up. It’s going to get in the 60s and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Probably the most perfect day for a beach race.

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Running on, I’m still a touch ahead of the guy that won last year. We start to pass some people that are doing the 50 miler, that started an hour before us. We also start to come to some water crossings. They aren’t deep, but have been in previous years. At first you don’t want to get your feet wet, but when they do, it’s refreshing. The water isn’t too cold. Just cool enough to actually enjoy it until you’re feet dry up.

We get to the next aid station and I stop. I refill my water bottle and splash some on my face. I expected the guy to stop with me, but I looked back and he kept on. I thanked the volunteers and headed out, not wanting to let him gain some ground on me.

Just after this aid station, there is another water crossing. This one was the largest of the race. I charged through this one and probably too aggressively. I had to tell myself to relax when I realized I was running hard afterwards. I wanted to get back to running with him, but I had to relax. He had about a minute on me. I just held the distance very steady for the next 5 miles.

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Approaching the turn around and furthest aid station, the lead runner past me. So far, I was telling myself that he went out way too fast. There was no way he could run that pace the whole time. I was about 5 minutes out from the turn around when he passed me as he was heading back. And he looked fine. No fatigue at all.

Then the 2nd place guy passed. Same thing. He didn’t seem tired at all. I saw the guy in front of me stop at the aid station when I was approaching, but just as I got there, he took off chomping on a mouth full of food. Once again I was feeling great and didn’t need to refuel with anything, so I decided to skip this stop as well to continue the chase.

Running back the other way takes a lot of getting use to. For the first half of the race you’re running with a slant to the right, towards the water. On the second half, the slant is to the left. It can completely throw your rhythm off.

I was in 4th place at the half way point. Feeling relaxed, comfortable and smooth. As the miles ticked off though, 3rd place was started to fade in the distance. I was telling myself the race wasn’t over yet, but was slowly realizing the victory I was shooting for was becoming out of reach. With that, I started to just focus on finishing strong.

I stopped at the mile 20 station to re-up my water. Drenched my head with a couple cups of water this time. One thing I love about this race, is the aid stations are the best stocked I’ve seen at a race. The smell from the bacon and junk food was tempting, but I had to wait until the finish to pig out.

By this point I had passed most of the people in my race going towards the turn around. The miles in the 20 range can be pretty lonely because of that. There are longer stretches of not seeing anyone. And you can see the resort where the race finishes well In the distance. As you tire and want to finish the race, the resort seems to never grow. If you stare and dwell it can be demoralizing.

I just tried to focus on myself, keeping my thoughts internally and occasionally reminding myself to soak in the scenery and to smile.

Connie Gardner, the first female, blew past me around 25 miles in. I was still running well, but could tell my pace was slowing a good bit. She looked great! She just flipped the switch and was burning away. It wasn’t long before she was off into the distance from me too.

I always use GU for my gels but I had been holding onto a few 2nd Surge gels for the last few miles of the race. I wanted to avoid hitting a wall and falling on my face, literally, like my last race. These have 100mg of caffeine and would be the perfect boost for me to keep going. I gulped one down as I was coming up to the last aid station.

I took a little more time at this stop. It was starting to get hot. I took in some water and enjoyed the shade for a minute. When I left I realized my goal of finishing close to 4 hours was well out of the window. I was then hoping for something near 4:30 hours.

My main focus from then in was to finish strong. I trudged on for a few miles when I first got the thought of taking a walk break. I fought so hard in my head to quiet the voice but after a few minutes I caved in. I made it to around mile 27 without walking. But it wasn’t a death march type of walk. I just needed a few seconds to regroup. I counted to 30 and was back running again.

I was getting closer to the finish and finally the resort was appearing closer. But I was still a few miles out. I took a few more very short walk breaks to slow my heart rate which was starting to beat harder the more fatigued I got. I imagine the caffeinated gels were keeping me upright.

I knew I was running very slow. With anywhere from a mile to two miles, I watched the time pass 4:30. So 4:45 was the new target. The 2nd female passed me and I used this as more motivation to get my ass moving. I really didn’t want her to fade away. I did my best to keep behind her. It was a relief to know is be finishing in just a matter of minutes.

I crossed the finish right at 4:47 and in 6th place.

It was a great race. I had a lot to be proud of but a part of me was upset I was nowhere near my goal. I expected to win and believed I would. I was chasing a perfect racing. An end result. But it’s a process. I didn’t get what I wanted, but that’s life right? It takes time to develop. I think my goal was overly ambitious, which I think is great but I need to realize I can’t make giant leaps. It’s the small steps that add up to the big success. This race is a stepping stone.

Enough of the down talk!

My time was about 30 minutes better than last year’s. Almost a minute a mile faster! It was 10 minutes faster than my last 50K. So a new PR! If I compare my time to previous years, I would have been 2nd 3 years ago, 1st 2 years ago and 3rd last year. It all depends on who shows up. Which is one of the great things about this sport because others will push you to your limits. And it was on the sand!

I had a wonderful day. It was an absolute perfect day on the beach, I got to run for hours and I met a bunch of awesome people. I am very proud of my race. I have continuously made improvements recently. I learned a lot from this race and I will carry those lessons with me on my journey.

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Atlanta Allstate 13.1

I don’t want to jump too much back and forth between the present and telling my story. But I am doing some racing this Fall that I wanted to share more presently, as opposed to months down the road. My goal is to catch up all the way til now, to avoid so much jumping around, but that could take awhile. And everyone knows I love running so much that I’m training for a 100 miler, so I’m not spoiling anything…

Last weekend, 10/6/2013, was the Allstate 13.1 in Atlanta. I put this race on my radar late in the Summer and I didn’t know what I would be able to do since I took all of July off from running. I really needed to take a break to rest my body and even my mind after completing my first 50 mile race. Also running during the Summer here in Atlanta is brutal, so I wanted to get out of the humidity and heat. When I picked running back up in late July, I took it super easy. I didn’t want to rush into things. It took me a few weeks to get back into shape, after having rusted legs from my break.

After that initial period, things really started to click for me. Last Summer I did the same thing by taking a whole month off and came back strong. So this time it wasn’t a real surprise. Part of me wanted to just take this Fall easy and not have a goal race in mind. But after some solid running, my race calendar for the end of 2013 quickly filled up. The Allstate half marathon was my first big race since my break I wanted to do great in.

My goal for the race was 1:30. I’m not sure why I even chose that number to be honest. My speed workouts leading up to the race were going very well and my confidence for achieving my goal was high. I knew the course was very hilly though. I did a practice course run that a training group did a few weeks prior to the race. That helped out a lot because I remembered as much as I could, where the hills were. That and I was banking on cool temps race day, so I was ready.

The morning of the race was humid though. I didn’t dwell on that. I was confident in my training. My strategy for the race was to do the first 3-4 miles below my race pace, to get a good warm up and then to settle in.

The gun went off and people made their charge. Pacing, especially during the initial excitement is something I have been working on. I let everyone take off, while I kept my focus. I took an easy pace and focused on relaxing. About a half a mile into the race the 1:35 pace group caught up with me. I didn’t freak out, but I didn’t want to fall even more behind my goal. I stayed with them going passed the first mile marker. A little slower than what I was shooting for, but I was okay with that. I needed to make up a little time though. I spaced myself more and more from that pace group to get on track.

Miles 2, 3 and 4 clicked by. I had settled in perfectly to what I wanted for the first part of the race. I took my first GU and really my only one since I couldn’t really take one down breathing so damn hard later in the race. At this point I started to pick up my pace. I was feeling very solid and even better, comfortable. Each mile marker I was hitting my pace right on time. I was dominating the hills by pumping my arms and passing people one by one.

Things were great but coming up to mile 10, I believe, was brutal. I remembered from the course run, the long massive hill going up past A local high school. I also remembered this was one of the last and definitely the biggest hills of the race. So with that, I charged it and gave it my all. I was spent by the time I got to the top! The course flattened out for a bit just after that but at that point I didn’t think I was going to have a strong finish.

Just at that point there was a large cheering section. A lady yelled “only a 5K left! You’re doing awesome!” That lifted my spirits and I was back in attack mode. I was hurting. My breathing was heavy and my legs had a few twinges that scared hell out of me thinking they might end up being full on cramps. I pushed on and focused on relaxing. I also focused on the fact I was still on pace, my hydration and nutrition hadn’t caused any troubles in my stomach and that I was doing what I love to do. Always focus on the positives, never the negatives. It makes the task at hand so much more easier.

At mile 12, I had a little competition with me. He was the first person since the beginning to pass me. But I didn’t let him. I matched him. We never said a word to each other but we both knew either of us wasn’t going to let up. We pushed the pace. About a half a mile to go, I made my kick. I felt I had some left in the tank. He kept up with me. A quarter of a mile to go, I started to give it my all. I didn’t want to regret leaving some left to look back on, wishing or thinking I could have done better. He couldn’t hang on, it was just me.

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(The final stretch. I swear the entire race I kept solid form! Haha. You can tell in my face I was digging deep.)

I made the final turn and could see the clock. I was going to get my goal and some. There’s something uplifting about a race finish line. Maybe because it’s a visible finish to what you’ve been working on. Or it’s just the fact that you can finally rest at the specific point. Whatever it is I was beyond happy when I crossed it at 1:29:30. An 11 and a half minute PR.

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I feel like a bum for using the proof photos, but I think it’s a bit ridiculous to charge $25 per image.