There is always enough time!

One might say writing a book can steal you away, in more than one way. I might agree. At the same time I feel a bit of me as been missing. I often feel that I am most “here” when I am writing in both my blog and my book. AND making time to read. Which makes less time for wasting on things like (social media browsing, magazines, TV, etc, etc).

So, I am back. The blog is back. Watch for posts on all sorts of things such as such as great recipes, great “finds” (apparel, shoes, the next best training tool), training exercises, what I’m up to in my crazy adventurous life, great books, etc.

You might ask where I’ve been? On a bit of an adventure… I have been writing my book (what a blessing that is and continues to be). I continue to learn so much as I write and I grow as a person with each word and sentence. But it is not an easy process and with growth comes growing pains. There have been a few.

IMG_6935I also took a tumble. OK, crash on my bike in July, which led to the end of my cycling. I suffered a pretty serious concussion and a broken rib. That is my 6th concussion and can not risk another. Bikes are being sold and will continue my athletic lifestyle with running and swimming. While it is hard to know that I won’t ever bike again, I know that God has a better plan for me. I am doing what he wants me to do.

So with that … I’m back, the blog is back. I am writing, reading. Learning with the help and guidance of those around me to take time for me. Finding peace in the peaceful, something we all need to do a bit more of.

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Extreme Peaks, Deep Valleys

Having a reconstructed spine could easily redefine the definition of “peaks and valleys”. The journey started in July of 2000, and it has been quite a journey and not without huge accomplishments and times I wish I could erase from memory forever.

One must ask why try? Why go out there and continue to be so active? Because that is what makes me feel alive and happy, when so many times I have felt so much physical pain and agony. By being active and not allowing the injuries and adversities take control of me, I have overcome them.

But at the same time I have to make both sacrifices and modifications on a daily basis and sometimes almost instantaneously .. There might be a “training plan” but it is ONLY a blue print that we loosely follow and are changing frequently. We (myself, Coach Frank Sole, PT Dave , Dr. Porter, etc) never know what the day will bring, sometimes don’t know until I start the workout. So we have to remain flexible. When I feel great, that day we might take advantage of the blessing of feeling better than usual. Every day is a blessing for I know that it could have been much different, but I very much appreciate those days that I feel especially good. On days that the body doesn’t want to cooperate, sometimes I have to realize that I just have to shut it down and live to fight another day. Those days are very hard emotionally. But I look to my faith in God for strength and courage and hope that I can inspire others and show that with faith and perseverance we can accomplish great things.

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So many ask and wonder what’s next? That’s something that I finally have come to terms with….  I DON’T KNOW!

Ask me yesterday and I would have told you what I had planned for the weekend.. a birthday run Fri, 5K Sat, and 8 miler Sunday… I would have said what I had planned for later this Summer and Fall.

NOW after yet another “reminder” of my reconstructed fused spine… I just don’t know and I won’t know. I will take it week to week. I might do this and that but I just can’t plan to far in advance because I just don’t know what my body is going to give me. I don’t want to disappoint friends by not being there on birthday runs, or being there for 5K’s BUT I have to take care of MY body and do what is best for long term performance success.

I am so grateful and blessed with all I do have and the ability I do have to continue to do what I love with all I have been through and could never have done it without the team I’ve had. Hugs to you all.

So that’s the extreme peaks and deep valleys of living with a reconstructed spine. I am forever blessed  and thank God every day for the many angels and guardian angels in my life. 🙂

Pay Attention, Don’t Be Stupid!

I no longer ask, I am begging you to please pay attention. Drivers. PLEASE watch out for cyclists. Put your cell phones down, don’t reach for that “necessity” in your car, please keep your eye on the road!

Cyclist’s PLEASE just assume drivers are not watching out for you. You can’t assume ANYTHING. Today another friend was hit and banged up pretty bad.

While I pray and am so grateful that it is not any worse than it is. I am ANGRY! I am so incredibly over hearing about my friends and their friends being hit, hurt, and KILLED by motorists … This SHIT HAS TO STOP.

WE HAVE TO TAKE CONTROL …

I pray each day anyone of my friends goes out for a ride … I worry more about my dear friends than even myself.

Coming up on the date of my accident the images play back. Some things never seem to fade. All I can ask is that you never forget that none of us are invincible. We can all be changed forever, life can change in milliseconds.

I was a fortunate one that I survived and am still walking. Some don’t and aren’t. 

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Pay Attention !!!

What Is Will Be

Hi guys, hope everyone is enjoying Summer time. It’s getting warm in AZ, but I don’t mind to much. It’s better than the bitter cold of WI winters.

Been thinking lately about acceptance again. We often try to plan ahead. We lay out a schedule, write it in our planners or set it into our calendars on our phones so that we know what to do each day. Whether it’s work, training, social, racing. We have a plan. Then life happens. Business plans fall through, vacation, we get hurt or sick, loved ones pass away, etc,.

We have to adjust. We have to accept. It forces us to think, reflect, ask questions. Sometimes hard ones and sometimes painful. But also it forces us to grow. We step up to the plate. We leave our comfort zone (we are often forced to whether we want to or not).

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In the last 6 months I have cried many times, been scared, been angry BUT I have also grown to be stronger. I have laughed often, I have had fun in exploring new journeys, and setting new challenging goals for myself. I have learned to sit back and ask questions, to live in the present more and the future less.

We all have adversity, it crops up and some days it feels like it might never go away but it will and your attitude towards it will determine how much you let it overcome you.

While watching Amy Van Dyken as she courageously tackles rehab for her spinal cord injury, her relentless energy and spirit inspires and reminds that we must adapt. We must find a way. There is always a way. Her bravery is incredible and I have no doubt she will do incredible things and accomplish way more than any of us think possible.

It might not be what you had scheduled in the beginning, there will be new chapters and new journeys, accept what it is and what it will be.

… What Is Will Be – Live Life To The Fullest, Have Fun and Have No Regrets

What Does Champion Mean?

Raw effort. Muscles, tendons, ligaments. Lungs working. Heart pumping. Shoes that cover your feet, or go without and run along the ocean or in the soft grass. The rawness of running creates a perfect beauty that makes the movement human’s natural progression.

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The world constantly turns over more need for gadgetry. Sports are evolving into lifestyles where investments the size of mortgages and college tuitions are everywhere. What does it leave us I ask? Where do we stand after it’s over? When the wind blows are you listening to what it is saying or blocking out what you don’t want to hear. Are we living in a state of denial?

 

I question if we have lost the meaning and reason behind our first steps. Why did you take that first run? What was it like the very first time you ever bought a pair of running shoes? Why did you buy them, what inspired you?

 

And that first bike ride. I mean all the way back to that very special day the training wheels were taken off your bike. Do you remember when that trusting parent or friend let go of the broomstick that stuck up from your bike and you rode away to the cheers of everyone behind you. Now that my friends, is natural progression. There was not much concern of how much money your bike cost or what components it housed.

 

And what about that first time you got in the pool? Maybe the first time you made it from one end to the other. And then talked about it for the next week.

 

I am frustrated that so many today have lost the joy and seem to only be looking for the next way to place higher, go faster, win more; and they look outside of their soul. They say, “there has to be something I can find, I can have, I need”.

 

My friends, you need to look inside. That is often the answer.


There is something about running. I often don’t even like referring to it as a sport only because to me it is something more raw and beautiful. You can’t buy shoes to make you run faster, clothes to make you lighter and more aero-dynamic, or something to carry you over hills and mountains. It is just you. You have to confront yourself, face your fears, understand your goals, enjoy every step you take for each step is a wonderful gift, and be blessed that we have so much to explore within ourselves internally and externally, with just using what we have. That my friends is what makes a champion inside and out.

What’s New? Nut Butters, Nathan, and Compression!

So was asked recently what are some of your favorite must haves!!! Ha, the list is long and varied so thought what better place to start writing about them.

 

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Pocket Fuel 

Let’s start with nut butter!! Always a fan of peanut butter but in the past few years have tried to stay away from peanuts as much as possible. Research has shown that other nuts have increased benefit for your health and now we have so much more to choose from out there, so why stop at peanut butter. But, then I found a product called Pocket Fuel  , Pocket Fuel Naturals was founded in Oregon, by athletes for athletes. To fuel athletes with natural, many are vegan, gluten free, whole real food. There line of nut butters and now cold brew coffee energy shots are amazing. These products have saved me many times before, during, and after workouts. Even first thing in the morning perfect for a treat before a training session on a piece of toast or waffle with a shot of espresso or soy cappuccino.

 

 

IMG_7705Fusion Compression Sleeves

Many ask, do they really work? Won’t I just get hot wearing them. No and no? I am a firm believer in compression sleeves and socks for training and racing. Fusion PWR Tubes compression sleeves are the best on the market without doubt! There have been years of research done to prove the benefit of increased circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles. Sure, you will always get someone who will find something contrary to wearing them, but I choose to wear them for both training and recovery. Usually not both on a given day. If I train in them I will not put them on immediately after for recovery. If I choose not to use them for training that day, I will use them for recovery following the workout. I will often sleep in the socks but never the sleeves as you can get pooling under the ankle of the sleeve band (better to use the socks to sleep in or for driving/flying). I feel Fusion has developed a top of the line compression sleeve, the fit is right on, staying in place and proving graduated compression. They are comfortable when on for extended periods of time and stay nice and cool when training in hot climates such as Arizona. I don’t go anywhere without a pair of compression sleeves or socks when training hard or racing. Thanks Fusion for providing athletes with the very best apparel on the market.

 

 

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Nathan Sports

What doesn’t this company provide us athletes with these days, thanks Nathan! But most importantly Nathan has provided me a way to hold water and hydration for more than a decade of my life. My absolute favorite would be my insulated QuickShot Plus. For me it is the perfect size for most of my runs, and I can often find a spot to refill it. It is insulated so my water stays cool in the Arizona heat. It hits perfectly in my hand and the pocket can easily hit some money, a key, and any other small necessity. I have many other Nathan products that are part of my must haves as well, which will be reviewed soon!!!! Thanks Nathan for providing athletes so many ways to stay hydrated, in addition to a huge assortment of other products to use out playing on the roads and trails.

 

 

 

Having Faith

Faith, having it during the brightest times and keeping it close during the times when you question your courage and strength.

It has been quite a year; bilateral pulmonary embolism and 2 neuro surgeries … but I choose to look forward and not in the rearview mirror.

I have been taught courage, more than I thought I could be taught and more than I thought anyone could have. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. A comfort zone I was completely uncomfortable with and still am. I heard something on Rich Roll’s podcast yesterday that made so much sense to me. At times many endurance athletes find the physical discomfort of their sport much easier to quiet than the emotional discomfort they are facing. That can’t be more true. It is this noise in our heads that forces us to think deeper than we want at times, makes us look at our future and examine our past. It causes us to analyze our relationships and dig deep to discover the type of energy transmitting from those relationships. There is much dialogue but, it is often silent.

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I could never express how blessed I am for the people God has put into my life over the last year. So many friendships that I know will grow and the good times have only begun. Without Faith, I have no doubt I would not be where I am today. The last few weeks have been filled with many hours of soul-searching and decision making. One must ask of themselves what they want to accomplish and what it will take; it is then they must do whatever it takes. I know now, I have the courage and with Christ, all things are possible.

I hope I can help many of you to remember that despite any and all adversity; you must find that inner courage and strength. I know that it is often much more internal than external. Take a walk, get out of the house, read a book, call your best friend. It is NOT going to always be easy. Life is not easy. But don’t be like me and isolate yourself, I am working on not doing so much of that and pretending that I can do all things. Count on those that care for you.

It is how we see the picture and not how it is drawn. See it in a positive light!