Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Today is, and always will be, a great day.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Total Cliche

So really a marathon isn't about the destination. Hell, you usually end up right where you began so it has to be about the journey. And if you stop along the way because you're tired of the trip then you have failed. No matter how beautiful the sight or happy something makes you, you should always keep going. Actually looking for the hurt to continue because you know the reward is great at the end. There is no cliche ending in the real world. It's about the journey not the nice story that has a predictable ending.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The man I'll be

Someday has become an interesting concept for me. It lies out there beckoning but it never arrives. It just lies out there in the future happily taking on all my ideas, hopes, and dreams. But I never get, or have, to actually meet it.
All I've ever wanted, was to love you and somewhere deep inside me I still do. But it's time I stop believe that you're ever going to change. That man out in the future; that man who lives in someday is the man I love.
Someday I'll be the man I want to be
The man who is stable and dependable.
The man who sets goals and achieves them.
The man who desires more the love of small things than love as a thing.
Someday I'll travel the world by myself and write my stories.
Someday I'll maintain a stable emotional state and stop the roller coaster in my mind.
The man I will be is amazing! Perfect in every way that matters to everyone in my life that matters.
I took her by the arm and said don't leave me. Just give me time I'll be the man you've needed.
The time remaining to do this is running short. The runway ahead is growing short and the space behind is long and littered with debris from the man I don't want to be.
If you wait around awhile I'll make you fall for me.
That man who lives out there, the foreshadow of who I am today, will give you exactly what you need. He can sweep you off your feet with his words. He is charming and endearing. He will walk the world for you and never miss a step. He seeks challenges and methodically beats them down until the mountain they appeared to be is nothing but a molehill. He lives just beyond my reach and I've only touched him during a few momentary affairs when I was broken and off track and had nothing and nowhere to go. I lived those moments like real life dreams. I floated over this life and become the things I wanted to be because the chains of fear, anxiety, responsibility, had been broken if for only a moment. Eventually I woke from the dream and put my chains on again though. Feeling guilty for having taken them off. During those times I was that man. I was someday.
Thanks for listening

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A thought

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor E. Frankl

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wind, trees, change

Things do not change; we change. Thoreau.

Standing in the woods today as the wind blew strong against the trees, some alive and some already dead but still pushing back against each blow, I couldn't help but think how our brains, or at least mine, are afloat on a wind of thoughts that blow in both good and horrible thoughts. I supposed the great question for today was whether to let ourselves go where that mental wind blows or to stand strong against the gale and remain firm in our position like the trees. 
The past is firmly fixed like the trees. Memories are there. Unchangeable in fact. Miles run are miles in the book. Yes, it can wear with time and become blurry, but in the truest terms of fact, what happened is written in time. My brain sometimes blows against them and tries to move good ones into painful ones and painful ones into obscurity and I suppose that's similar to living trees that provide shade and protection and the dead trees that only take up space and provide nothing of value. 

The future, or our plans, are by nature unfixed. We see our goals ahead of us and we chase them with a passion built in the present. But when we catch them we are sometimes not who we were when we began the chase and the goal ahead becomes fluid. So no matter how solidly we paint the picture of the future it can never be anything but unknown. And that can be scary if we let our minds blow that way. 

I have intentionally refused to write about my Boston qualification because I don't know what to feel about it. This goal, so amazing and glamorous that I would chase it for 10 years, became less than monumental less than a day after it was realized. When it was the future, a plan, a goal, I had a picture of how it would be to achieve it. I'd train hard and throw myself into it with the full support of the people I loved and who loved me. That sublime scene, painted on the canvas of my mind for years, was me finally throwing my full weight into pushing that stone up and over the hill, standing on top, glowing like the Oklahoma sunrise, feeling a self worth previously unbeknownst to me. I'd be that guy I always dreamed of becoming. It wasn't so much achieving it that would give me that feeling as much as putting in the work needed to achieve it. 
Crossing the line seeing the clock read 3 hours and 14 minutes felt so good. For a moment. Then I looked around and the first thing I noticed was how different the scene was in reality compared to how it had hung on the wall of my mind for all those years. The things that I lost, and the things I found, on the way to achieving it played heavily on my mind and I cried sobbing, uncontrollable tears of joy and pain. It took me a long time to pull myself together at that finish line. I'm honestly not sure I actually did pull everything together. I left so many things on that course and in those final inches. They fell out of me uncontrollably and I couldn't gather them all back into my heart because they scattered once they were free. And now I still struggle, wondering if I should have held them firm inside me against the winds of change or is it OK that they blew away? My future became my past, being now for only a few moments, and now neither seem recognizable to me. 
Truth is, I now feel very little about accomplishing the goal. It just doesn't hold the consequence I supposed it would. It just happened. My feelings about it now are that I'd like to run it again, not to achieve a goal but because it felt so damn good running that like I did!  A conservative runner by nature, normally putting in conservative miles early with the hope of saving my energy for the later miles, in this race I rejected that old way and put my cards on the table in the first mile. Fuck it, I told myself, if you're going to do this you have to run each mile as if it's the final mile of the race and each mile split is the goal time. Throwing myself across the buzzing of my watch like the final 100 meters. It was a mental game and a fight against the fear that resides in the next mile. There was no next mile. Only this mile I was running. I might fall off the pace but that was in the future and couldn't be considered. I ran this mile. And then the following mile. There was no future because it was unknown and full of fear for me. Then couldn't exist in the now; there wasn't room. The miles gone by were fixed and done and there was no future. It was the most free my soul has ever been.

Although my 10 year dream didn't materialize in the way I had envisioned, It taught me to embrace a new way of honoring the present with my best effort and keeping my sail filled with the positive mental wind that's blowing now. Let it push my boat away from the safety of the conservative shore of the past and not to worry about whether it will be there to bring me back. The trees on that shore are dead anyway. Enjoy the breeze in my face and the sun in my hair because that's all there is. 

The reality is that my goal didn't change, I changed.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

The smallest ember of hurt, landing upon the strongest bond can grow. Fed by mis, or no, communication and misunderstanding it turns the bond into fuel and sprouts a flame. Fed by fear the flame erupts into a fire spurring anger and hate until it becomes the funeral pyre of the bond.
This year has wrought so many things that spur our divisions. More anger, more hate, more fear is not the solution to any problem.
We're brothers and sisters in humanity at our core. Whatever ember fell on us this year please remember that all the things that divide us are only shadows cast on our view by the fire that started long ago by a small ember of hurt. You can look beyond the shadows for the bond that's still there if you will only try.
Person to person, race to race, community to community, country to country, it doesn't matter how small the first drop of understanding is that you put on the ember. Every ocean is filled with small drops.
Here's to hoping 2017 is a waterfall.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Just Run

Well folks we're down to it. The Tucson marathon is tomorrow where I'll try to finally qualify for Boston. I've done all the training. I hit every goal and made every run. There's nothing left to do now but run.
It's kinda fitting that I find myself in this position in my running life at this moment in time. I've done all I can do and now all I have left to do is run. No more effort or thought is needed or even could be beneficial. I've reached that point where it's time to stop training and planning and just do. Do what needs to be done and move through this point to the other side. I'll either qualify or I won't but I can't stay here on this side of trying any longer.
I'm surprisingly calm about it.
I'll move through this and see what's on the other side knowing that I can't control most of what happens. I'll put what I have out there for the world to see and find out how my hand plays against the house. This is not at all how I pictured this challenge would play out but if I've learned anything over the last months it's that I shouldn't try to control anything. When I do try it makes things much worse than I could ever imagine. So I'll let the universe play this one out and let things come and go; let people play their part on the stage, and try to enjoy the show. My next scene begins with the marathon tomorrow and the script isn't known to me but I've rehearsed in the best way I know how.

See you on the other side.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A moment

Just a quick note to mark today as special. Tonight my youngest came into my room and asked me to show him how to shave. It's a small thing, but it meant so much to me. I love that boy more than I have capacity to love. He fills up my soul when I think about him. When we connect through these little moments it makes me so happy because, unlike when he was a baby and I could hold him and love him, now we are sharing things like this instead of me just loving him from one side. He can now interact with me in these small ways and give me tiny pieces of his life and memories. I love that.
Thanks for listening

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Accomplishing a goal and the puzzle

When I was in high school I ran cross country and loved it. I loved running through the woods but it helped that I was pretty good at it too. I could easily run in the 18 minute range for the 3 mile course. Stretching out the legs and feeling the rush of running quickly over the rough terrain made me feel like I was flying. I kept running after high school but somewhere along the way I lost the speed that I used to have back then. It became extremely challenging to run a 5K anywhere near 20 minutes let alone 18. I found that I was OK with my slower pace if I ran longer because accomplishing the longer distances gave me a similar sense of satisfaction as did running fast back in my youth. I suppose that means I was only chasing some sort of self-satisfaction and using running to give it to me buy hey, I was young and could have been chasing it with other things right?
Although I was content with running longer distance in place of running fast, I always kept an internal goal of one day breaking 20 minutes in the 5K. I wasn’t planning to train for a 5K but hoped that my marathon training would allow me to accomplish the 5K goal while seeking a marathon goal. Turns out I may have been right for the first time in my life! Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. ☺
At the Edmond turkey trot on Thanksgiving I ran the 5K in 19:42. This is the fastest time I’ve run for a 5K since I was 18.
Since I haven’t been training for a 5K I didn’t anticipate accomplishing this goal so I didn’t have any stress about the race beforehand. The weather was near perfect running weather although a little cold for my tastes. I, of course, screwed up my watch at the starting line and put it in cycling mode instead of running mode so I only had speed and total time to measure my progress during the race. Since I can’t run and do math at the same time, I gave up looking at it. It wasn’t until I turned the final corner and saw the clock that I realized I was going to break 20 minutes. My heart just about came out of my chest! I had struggled most of the race to keep pace and that pace didn’t seem all that fast but here I was about to accomplish a long-time goal!
It’s funny how uneventful accomplishing a goal can be. When I crossed the finish line my insides were cheering and so excited but on the outside I was just another runner. Although I was completely relieved, excited, happy, and a million other positive emotions, my only thought was how weird it is to have accomplished this goal but to have lost the life that I had when I started thinking about it. It didn't make me sad so much as it frustrated me to think that when I put the goal in my head I had people around me who I motivated me to seek this goal but by the time I actually accomplish it those people are gone. It just seemed like the puzzle wasn’t complete even though I had finally got those last difficult middle pieces to fit. I’d finally fit those pieces that you can’t fit together without putting most of the other pieces in place first and when I stepped back to look at the finished picture I realized I’d lost the corners.
On the positive side, I also realized that I didn’t NEED to have someone there in order to feel good about this accomplishment. I enjoyed the success in my own way and within my own skin. The feelings were all positive and I was able to feel the satisfaction on my own. That’s a big step forward from me and I have to wonder if the changes that brought about this new self-awareness aren’t, at their root, the same changes that led to accomplishing the running goal. I also have a large group of new, wonderful, friends who were there and so excited to know I'd done this thing. They truly cared and made the day wonderful.
You can't expect to keep the world the same forever. Things change, we change, hell the universe is constantly expanding at a phenomenal rate! There's no reason we should ever expect to be in the same space for long. But we set out on long journeys anyway. We take the motivation from the space we're in presently and use it to move forward knowing (or at least finding out) that that space might not be the same when we arrive. Sometimes it hurts a little or a lot, but if we thought about it for more than a second, we'd realize that we wouldn't be adventuring if our hearts wanted to be in the same space. The itch that made us seek something distant, or hard, doesn't really want us to end up in the same space we left.
Thanks for listening

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reinventing I

I’m pessimistic and I doubt myself a lot. There, I said it. I hate that it’s true but I don’t want to live that way anymore so it’s important to say it. While I’m sure my doubts and fears are significantly different from yours, I’m also sure we all have a bit of self-doubt lingering somewhere just beneath the surface. It usually rises to the surface when we are presented with a challenge where our hearts say “Go for it!” but our heads say “Holy crap that looks hard!
Neuroscientists are discovering that our subconscious mind controls a large portion (some say up to 90 %!) of our actions. This subconscious reaction is our brain’s way of giving us quick responses and alleviating our conscious mind of having to make every decision. Our conscious minds require significantly more energy to operate than the subconscious so this is also a way in which this amazingly complex and efficient body of ours conserves energy. Over the course of our lives, our subconscious mind learns from how we react to certain situations and stores this away. Eventually it uses this stored information to automatically react to similar situations without us having to actually process what’s happening. Usually this stored information is negative and our subconscious learns to react in ways to protect us from the experiencing that pain or failure again. The sad reality is that when we reach a certain age we can become more automatic than conscious. We can become a machine, driven more by our past experience, who isn’t actually experiencing the world today as much as reacting to it. 
That’s the reason we are so often afraid to take on new challenges or to push ourselves beyond what’s comfortable. We see something that excites our conscious mind but that’s the moment when that subconscious monster of doubt, grown and cultivated over the years by our bad experiences and failures, takes over and wipes away the dream without us even really knowing it. We are able to get a glimpse through the crack in the door but it’s immediately slammed shut and we remain in our safe room of mental comfort where we can’t experience failure or pain but also can’t grow.
I’m making this sound like our bodies are out to keep us down and hurt us and that’s not the case. This process is the amazing way we stay safe and stay alive. It’s the most fantastic creation on this planet! You have a body that works to keep you alive and safe without much thought on your part. But in its focus on those goals, it can, if we allow it, squelch the rest of our amazing gifts and talents, sacrificing them for safety. 
The great thing is that we can control and/or change our subconscious! It’s still learning, even in my extremely old age. We have the power to take control of our conscious mind when presented with a challenge and cage that monster of self-doubt. We can not only cage him, we can teach him a new automatic response! It’s not easy and he will fight, remember he’s been learning our old ways since we were born, but we can change our automatic, fear based reactions and step up to new things and challenges. All it takes is to become aware of our actions, understand if they are truly coming from our heart or our head, and when possible, follow the heart instead of head. It’ll be scary and we’ll probably fail at new things for a while but that’s OK because where you can fail you can also succeed! You can’t have the brilliant joy of victory without the risk of failure. You’ll also realize that failure really isn’t that bad anyway, your mind just makes it look that way when you let it think about it.
I’ve had a dream of qualifying for the Boston marathon for many years. The qualifying time for me is extremely challenging based on what I normally run so I’ve always put that dream in the category of unachievable. Well now I’m making a run at it. I realized my view of this challenge was based on how I’d performed in the past which was limiting my ability to see how good I could be in the future. I’m fighting that automatic response that says I can’t run that fast and committing myself to the training. I might fail. I might succeed. I know I’ll be better for having taken control of the situation and not let my past define my future. 
Get out there and find out how good you can be too.