Thursday, February 9, 2017

Onward and Upward



Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.

- Bo Jackson

Fear can either defeat you, or be the greatest motivating force in your life. Two years ago, I crossed a start line knowing in my heart that I would cross the finish line. Seventeen miles into that endeavor I would twist my ankle and suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. It was a difficult pain to endure, and yet not as difficult as the pain of seeing my finish line from aboard a bus. Fast forward 2 years, and today I found myself once again facing the idea of the start line for the 2018 Disney Full Marathon.


Nerves consumed me as I filled out the application, and hesitation came when it was time to push the button that would reveal a page that said congratulations you have been registered. Now comes the part where everyone tells me how tough it is. Now comes the part where everyone says wow you are crazy. But more importantly, now comes the time when I tell you what I have faced in the last two years and what will get me ready to see the fireworks at the start line.

Many of you know that in 2011 I decided that I was going to take on the challenge of running a half marathon. I never intended to do anything but finish, just so that I can say to myself that I did it. It was one of the most important challenges I had given myself up to that point. It was me against myself in a battle of will. Fast forward to 2017 and I am getting ready to suit up for my 7th Half Marathon.

As if running wasn’t challenge enough, I decided to motivate myself by raising funds for Give Kids the World. I wasn’t sure how much we would raise or if anyone would even respond. Today I write this having raised over $7,500 in the last 7 years. It is a cause that has become dear to me and everyone who has followed my journey through the years. The drive and desire I have seen from those kids, shows that the human spirit can triumph over the greatest of foes, as long as you are willing to fight the fight.

I have never been the model of physical fitness, I was always the chubby kid who was content to be a sports enthusiast as opposed to an athlete. As a grown man of 34, I now realize that I must set an example for my son, so that he realizes that anything can happen if you put in the work. I write this to you as a full time employee, part time student, and most importantly a full time dad. It is up to me how long I can be there for my family and that begins with making sure that I am in good health. For this reason I have dedicated myself to lose weight this year, as I train for this race, and get in possibly the best shape of my life.

I am committing to writing a blog as I go through this journey in case anyone is interested in following. I will do my best to keep you up to date with how my weight loss, training, and just about every other aspect of my life is doing. I hope that this journey will be cathartic for me, and I look forward to having you along for the ride. All of this has been a verbose way of saying that I am taking on the 2018 Disney Full Marathon, and this time, the finish line and I will meet!

If you have a dream, a passion, or anything that you have been wanting to do, don’t wait! Take the steps to make your dreams a reality, and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.  Follow along as I become the best version of myself that I can be.

Onward and Upward,
Mike


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Life, Baseball, and the Pursuit of Happiness


This morning began as so many mornings do, with the joy on the face of my son upon seeing that daddy was home since it was the weekend. We went out to the Pumpkin Patch as we do every year, and shortly thereafter I was informed of the passing of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. So many things went through my head this morning as I began piecing together what could have possibly been the cause or necessity for such a senseless tragedy. Upon seeing my father, the first thing I could think to say was, “How could this boy have crossed an ocean to reach freedom, only to be taken by those same waves four years later”?
               
                 This is a story of freedom, a story of a boy whom loved the game that gave him a living, and a story of the fans of a game that can make even the most hardened men cry. Baseball is a game that is passed on from father to son, it is inherited, a birthright. In the day of baseball as a business, there are few who show the passion and love for the sport they play as much as Jose did. This is what we mourn today. We mourn a life cut short, we mourn an ace whom had only scratched the surface, and we mourn having real life seep into the games of our escape.
                
                  Athletes are larger than life, real life super-heroes, and so it is difficult to understand how one can fall. On his fourth and final attempt to leave Cuba, he would be awakened by the call to help one of his fellow passengers that had fallen overboard, this would turn out to be his mother. He learned a language that was foreign and left behind a family that would have to watch from afar as he worked to achieve the life he deserved. The prospect of a multi-million dollar contract was not his greater purpose in playing the game, on a field full of professional men, he was at heart still the boy that knew this was still a game. His smile was infectious and his love of life is evident by the lack of words his fellow players have to explain what happened and the tears flowing down the cheeks of a manager that few knew even had tear ducts. Don Mattingly showed today that he is forever a changed man both for the loss he suffered and for the memories he will forever hold of a rambunctious pitcher, just learning to lead.
               
                  Ultimately the game will move on, with only memories of great things that always were and could have been. For this community, one that he embraced, and one that embraced him in return, this is a sting that will not soon heal. The game of baseball got a lot less fun today, as all over Miami, fathers and sons, grandfathers and grand-kids and the keepers of the game broke the news to each other. Memories of attending games with my father, were met by countless stories of how this game is a bond shared with fathers and Grandfathers, of how on a day like today you wish there was solace in the crack of a bat. But today that pitcher’s mound in Little Havana stood vacant, with the exception of a lone Marlins cap, and the #16. Baseball is bigger than any one man, but to many children he was the game. He was poetry in motion, and he is gone much too soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

To Thine Own Self Be True

It’s been a rough week at work.
The baby didn’t sleep well last night.
The weather has been terrible.


These would all be valid reasons for me to have not run all week, causing this morning’s run to be as close to a disaster as three miles can get. None of those things matter, however, if I’m being honest with myself and honest with all of you it was simply laziness. This week I have been a victim of my own laziness and if that were to continue I would be doomed before my training even began.

The theme of this week’s blog is honesty. It is important that from this moment on, I be honest with myself, and with all of you amazing people that are taking the time to read this and follow my journey.

So here it goes. As of today I am 265 pounds, there is no way that number can stay the same if I am to make it to the finish line. I am committing myself to have that number at 200 by the time the fireworks begin the race. 3-5, the number of miles on average I am running, that number will take care of itself as I follow my training plan. This morning I was on the verge of stopping at 2.5 when I was scheduled to do 3. Who would know I asked myself? Will half a mile really make that big a difference?

With those two questions came the theme this week. The answer to the two questions above are, I would know, and it does make a difference. The race will not be shortened from 26.2 miles to 25.6 because I am tired, that half a mile is the difference between achieving my goals and a long ride on the sweeper bus.

Honesty!

If I were to lie I would only be hurting myself. My legs need the practice to get used to the miles, and my mind needs the practice to be a source of strength when I get tired. Running takes work, running takes considerably more effort when you have never been mistaken for an athlete throughout your life. Make no mistake though, effort will never be my downfall, pride will never keep me from admitting I need support, and I am asking you all to help keep me accountable as I pursue this goal.

I have always lived life by the philosophy that Dreams Come True, and the do. Nonetheless, any dream worth coming true is worth making the sacrifices it takes to make them happen. This is quite possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s hard to admit your shortcomings, but it’s never a smart undertaking to not acknowledge that deficiencies exist.

Honesty!

I may not be the strongest, I may not be the fastest, but the time is now to put the work in, in order that I can look back on July 13, 2014 as the day that I realized just what it is that I’m made of.