PAT FELLOWS

I view things through my eyes mostly.

Tomorrow the Green Grass

46690881-grassThe average life expectancy of the American Male is 78 years. 28470 days. Each year these days slip away in massive chunks like a real time reverse longevity mudslide. I realized today (11/20/16) that I didn’t turn off the pilot light on the fireplace from last winter. 9 months gone in a flash.

It would be easy to point out the “every day is a gift” but this is tired and overdone. I’m more concerned with the waiting around. This notion that things will get better after a calendar year flips over.

In Baton Rouge, LA and the nation as a whole, one could say that things have been challenging in 2016. It’s true, a lot of struggles and a lot of challenges, not to mention a country divided. But really, what happens on December 31st, that resets any of this?

Over and over I hear, “2016 is cursed,” “Ugh, I can’t wait for 2016 to be over.” or “2016 has been the worst.” What makes Saturday December, 31st any different from Sunday November 20th? What magic are we expecting to Happen on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 that can’t happen tomorrow?

I understand the notion of a New Year and a reset, but you control the ability to start over every day. What’s a step in the right direction to right your struggles? One step, one new day, one new attitude.

There’s a band called the Jayhawks that wrote an album called Tomorrow the Green Grass. If I’m honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to it. That being said, the title is something I say to folks a lot because to me it encompasses the opportunity to start new every day.

Quit waiting around for 2016 to end.
Tomorrow, the green grass.

H+HF,
PF

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Floods, Demo, Fevers and Ironman

Back in March or so when I decided to toe the line with my mom at IMFL, my only option was to do a charity slot.  I had done it before for another race and wasn’t concerned about raising the money or the time to train.  Little did I know what the summer would entail.
Without rehashing the whole summer in Baton Rouge, needless to say.  Things didn’t go as planned.  July was as tumultuous a time in my 25+ years in Baton Rouge.  Then here comes August.
All this is to say that there were multiple weeks off from training and raising funds for the IM Foundation, while an awesome charity, seemed hollow considering what was going on in our city.
After an 8 day stint of fever virus in September, by October 1st, I was resigned to not racing.  It all seemed too much.  I emailed my coach, said I was done and went about my day.
For a week or so, I was in a funk.  I felt like a fraud internally.  “Practice what you preach.  DBAP.  Quitters are losers.  DOERS>SAYERS.”  All sorts fun things and more that I say out loud  every day were banging around inside my head.  The biggest one however, was “When else will you have the opportunity to race IM with you mom?”  So I heeded them.  Regardless of the outcomes, I am going to race.  To do that I have $1750 to raise in a couple weeks.  Per the usual, I am up against it.
If you feel so compelled to make a donation.  The link is below.
Appreciate you.
H+HF,
PF
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CELTIC STAGE 5: August 14th, 2016

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It was Thursday, August 11th, when the usual afternoon South Louisiana rains began to fall in and around our home town of Baton Rouge.  By Sunday morning, 25-30 inches of rain, more than has fallen in four years in Los Angeles had inundated the area thanks to a low pressure system that pulled in tropical moisture and dumped for hours and hours.  This caused a flash flood that covered nearly 60% of East Baton Rouge Parish and 90% of Denham Springs with up to 10 ft of water. I was 120 miles away in sunny South Mississippi, where perhaps 1-2 inches fell.

Jonathan Dziuba and I were in Mississippi wrapping up 3 days of planning for our inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon.  At around 1 pm on Saturday the 13th, we figured out that interstates were flooded and that we couldn’t likely get home.  We stayed one more night, and then on Sunday drove through New Orleans and beat the I-10 closure that essentially locked off all exits. 

We went home, changed and started gathering up our kids, and a plan to go get all the old Louisiana Marathon T-shirts and go drop them off at shelters.  We figured it would take a couple hours.  We were wrong.  After our first stop at a small shelter, we headed to Celtic Studios, a movie soundstage in the center of the city.  They were accepting donations so we headed there.


I had seen a post from Patrick Mulhearn, Executive Director of Celtic saying that they had 500-1000 people at the shelter and only 2 toilets.  2.  Juba got on the horn and got our friends at Workbox in motion.  Pulling in we saw a half dozen or so port o let’s heading in.  We felt good to have helped, thought we’d drop our T’s and head on.  That wasn’t to be.

As we pulled up, the gravity of the situation became pretty evident.  In Sound Stage 6, there were about 1000 evacuees.  Stage 7 was a whirl with accepting donations, but it was clear that this was just the beginning.  We saw a lot of familiar faces and members of our TLAM team, Damian and Rebecca Burdette, were already deep into things.  We jumped in.

The first goal was helping organize Stage 7.  There were so many donations coming in that it was getting clogged at the entrance a little spreading out and things smoothed out quickly.  Now we were about to begin preparing for more people.  Tons of long time friends were there. Jared Loftus, Merle Francis, Tommy Talley…more than I can remember and name.

Volunteers were in charge.  No Red Cross, no FEMA, no police.  Volunteers.  There was one guy from Homeland Security.  One.  This threatened to become a shit show, and fast.  We did our best to keep moving and keep on point.  After a quick meeting with Homeland Guy, Juba, Damian and I went into race director mode.  Our first task was to stock stage 5 and get it ready for some 300 cots that were on the way from North Louisiana.  We also put a plan together or re-routing some of the supplies that were coming in to go straight to Stage 5.  We took our kids and got after it.

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After 20-30 minutes of prepping for people, we got an unexpected surprise.  More people were evacuating, and all of them were being sent to us.  Juba and I had a quick pow wow.  He and I had the only communication devices and decided we were not giving those up to anyone.  He and I would take tasks and communicate to each other.

The cots never had a chance to get to the studio before hundreds of evacuees did.  We all did our best to maintain order.  Get people blankets and seats when we could as well as talk, give hugs and help any way we could.  We only said it once to each other, but though 10 years removed, the thoughts of the Morial Convention Center and Superdome were in our minds.  We would not let this thing get out of control.  I am happy to say that there was not one incident that I am aware of.

After a couple hours, Jared Loftus and I had a pow wow on how we could utilize the Celtic Wifi system to help people get the word out to someone, anyone, and tell them where they were.  We didn’t know or realize at the time that other shelters were flooding and the OEP’s of several jurisdictions were sending their evacuees to Celtic.  People would show up not knowing where they were nor knowing how to get in touch with anyone.  Jared and I agreed that the system couldn’t handle 2000+ people on one signal at once, so he and Logan Leger got a secure wifi signal set up and then we decided that 4-6 volunteers would go group to group and ask people if they needed to contact someone.  It worked smoothly and we were able to maximize our sparse wifi resources.

As there are so many things that can happen in this situation, I’ll list them bullet style as they are all kind of anecdotal.

  • Early in the day a volunteer brought me to a man in his early 70’s.  He was 3 months post stroke, and had left his wallet on his bed when he was rescued.  I talked to him for 30 mins or so trying to figure out the name of his kids or someone.  I thought that if he could just relax, some of his synapses would connect.  After a bit, we figured out we knew a guy who is one of the owners of a restaurant next door to mine.  We got him to medical to see if they could find out next of kin information from his records.  I checked with the mutual acquaintance later that night and found out we got him home.
  • You need a lot of mundane things to make an operation go smoothly.  Things like folding tables, chairs, wheel chairs, blankets, trash cans, dumpsters and short term plans.  Thanks to Chad Dudley who went to Costco and bought like 30 chairs (perhaps more) and distributed to those that needed.
  • An evacuee who had hip surgery earlier that week was in a bad spot.  They couldn’t get out of their wheel chair onto one of the cots we had because it was too low nor could they sit in their chair due to pain.  These are things you don’t think about.  We got them to our medical area and hopefully they ended up comfortable.
  • A lady walks up to me with 7 Syrian refugees that spoke no English.  We made them comfortable.  3 hours later an Arab family walked in.  We connected the two and they all went to the second families friends home. 
  • I saw no less than 20 mutual restauranteurs who came and set up to bring hot meals to people. 
  • Over and over people came up to me and asked what to do.  Often the answer was, “Please take trash bags and let’s stay ahead of keeping this place clean.”  Not one eye roll, or question. 
  • I have a friend that will go un named who works in the governors office.  At one point as there was no one yet in charge, I texted him and let him know, that “We were making decisions, but I promise we will do our best.”  His vote of confidence was welcomed.
  • Putting on marathons and events in general makes one adept at the same sort of problem solving needed to set up a shelter apparently.
  • I have heard that the powers that be (General Honore etc.) were impressed by how smoothly things were going.  That’ll make you feel good.

I’ll end with this.  There are thousands of great, hard working people that work in government, but some of the trappings of government policy and procedure left me believing that smart people with common sense and a strong desire to help, are just as capable if not more so in the fine art of disaster/emergency management.

Per the usual, DOERS>SAYERS

hugs+hi5s,
PF

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RAAM-Part 1

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I’ve started this 4 times and still don’t think that whatever I will write here can give the adventure of RAAM it’s full justice.  I think I could go back and crew for RAAM 10 more times and nothing would come close to the experience of last week.  Part of that is due to it being the first time, and the rest may be attributed to naivete or just plain stupidity.

In December of last year I reached out to a friend, Robb Finegan, who had taken some time off from work.  I was curious as to how he was doing and really just checking in with him.  Over a quick message session on FB he told me he had been riding a lot and was training for RAAM-Race Across America, a 3000 mile team bike ride from San Diego-Annapolis.  I was intrigued and almost nonchalantly offered to go crew for them if he needed help.  2-3 months before the event, I enlisted my partner in crime Juba, and after not replying to about 600 emails, we were set to fly to San Diego on June, 16th.

THE TEAM//

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Over Thursday and Friday we met up with the folks who would become fast friends over the next 7 days.  I knew 3 of them better than others, but realized quickly we had a team of talented athletes.
COLIN INGRAM-My old Mizuno co worker.  Colin was a fantastic collegiate runner and owner of a luxurious pooper.  His Dartmouth profile says he loves donuts, bleu chees dressing and ran a 3:56.9 1500m
KEITH KELLY-The Irishman.  2000 Cross Country National Champion and 2009 Irish National Champion.  KELROCK was the hammer on this trip.  Super competitive and equally supportive.  Also credited with realizing we’d lost a team member.

KRIS HARTNER-Owner of 2009, 2013 running store of the year,  Naperville Running Co.  Ran a 3:08 in Boston at 42, and has successfully hidden the rest of his running career online.  He was one of the masterminds of the planning of this trip.

MATT HELBIG-Big River Running and Big River Running Events.  15:33 5k.  This whole thing was Matt’s good (bad) idea.  Following a ride in Boulder with Kris Hartner, Matt decided it would be awesome to ride across the country together.  This turned into racing it, which turned into living in a van for a week.

DANIEL GREEHALGH-President, Skinny Raven, Anchorage Alaska.  Skinny Raven Events.  Best hair in the crew, Ironman, lover, fighter, and voice of reason throughout the week.  Brought his twin brother along to crew.

BRIAN LAIDERMAN-Owner Optimal Performance Center.  Chiropractor.  Former collegiate cyclist at Indiana University (Possibly won a bunch of stuff), Ironman.  Convinced 3 young ladies to join 11 men on a cross country trek.  Eternal flame of positivity on trip.  Descends mountains with fearlessness that borders stupidity.

JIM KWASNICKI-Canadian Gentle Giant.  The “KWAZ” just did work.  He wouldn’t tell us much, because the KWAZ just delivers.  Quiet, positive, fun, and mysterious.  He’s like the James Bond of London Ontario.  New Balance bigwig.

ROBB FINEGAN-The HAMMER.  Robb is a forme 2:17 marathoner who spent 18 months training for this race.  He rode every single mile at an all out sprint.  In day 2, he dropped the eventual 4th placed team on a mountain climb and they’d never recover.  Robb is the reason I was here.  He, Juba and I shared many beers at the Running Event over the years.

DAVID GREENHALGH-CREW CHEIF-Daniel’s brother and train man extraordinaire.  He was responsible for putting together the vans, hot wiring shit, and keeping me awake for the next week.  The Great Alaskan Moose.

TRACY GRICE-Architect, Fitness Advocate, Social Media Powerhouse, possible rally car driver.  One of Laiderman’s additions to the crew.  Kept Juba sane and took 1034 pics and videos, chronicling our adventure.

AMANDA KENNY-Triathlete, former gymnast, doer of handstands at every turn.  Had the opportunity to be stuck with 6 guys for a week and never cracked.  Professional Ice chest sleeper.  Van mom to Van 1.

ERIN KALKBRENNER-Multiple National Champion Water skier and professional ski coach.  Triathlete and navigator extraordinaire.  Poor thing had to try and eat vegetarian across the country.  Hot tamales count right?

Jonathan “Juba” Dziuba-Multiple IM finisher, coach, IPA inhaler, RD extraordinaire and partner in crime/shenanigans.  We are always up for an adventure and JUBA told his wife Lindsey, “I think this is something I can’t not do.”  I volunteered him to be co-chief, as is customary in our relationship.

PF-Me.  Dr. Phil in a minivan.  Former running shoe rep, doer and sayer of things, prolific noticer.  Also up for shenanigans at any moment.

CREW

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THURSDAY//FRIDAY
Upon arrival, we got in a van with two of the riders, Jim Kwasnicki and Matt Helbig, and headed to meet up with the rest of the team at one of my best buds, Jason Lewis’ house.  He and his wife Kelly went up an beyond to let the team use their house as both the planning location as well as the receiving hub for the tons of equipment that the team would need to outfit the vans.  No bullshit.  Multiple trailer hitches, 4 bike racks, shoes, food, and everything else you can imagine, rained down upon the Lewis household in the weeks leading up to the event.  They handled it with style and entertained the crew for the two nights leading up to our start time.  This was an especially tall order as once the team and crew found out that we couldn’t drink for the duration of our trip, an exhaustive IPA carbo load ensued.

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On Thursday we figured out that we were painfully low on crew.  We had David Greenhalgh as Crew Cheif, Juba, myself and three lovely ladies that rider Brian Laiderman tricked into coming to help.  Erin Kalkbrenner, Tracy Grice and Amanda Kenney were thrown to the wolves first thing Friday morning.

After a quick run to the beach and a dip in the Pacific, Friday was filled with finishing gearing up the vans, racer check in, a 3 hour crew chief meeting for David and our newly appointed second crew chief, Juba.  He loves this shit so I volunteered him.  We made it through the exhaustive check in process without any issues packed up and went back to JLew’s to drink more beer and get ready for our adventure.

PRE RACE SELFIE OF A SELFIE OF A SELFIE in OCEANSIDE

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SATURDAY//SUNDAY//MONDAY
Juba and I got up early Saturday morning and hit one more quick run and a dip in the ocean as we knew we’d be living in a van for the week and we’d probably be eating hot tamales and beef jerky.  We hit up that plush ass Sheraton Carlsbad breakfast buffet one last time and headed to Oceanside for the start.  This early rise was something I’d pay dearly for on Sunday.

We should have known that the week would be a challenge when we fucked up both where we were supposed to park as well as something else in the first 15 minutes we were there.  The head official was as pleasant as jock itch and jumped our shit for being in the wrong parking lot.  RAAM is the real deal and there are a ton of rules (needed) and penalties are given for all sorts of things.  We almost get one 1 hour before the race starts.  Awesome.

RAAM uses a time trial start with each team going off about a minute or so behind each other.  At 12:37 it was our time to roll.  Van 1 consisting of riders Kris Hartner, Keith Kelly, Colin Ingram, Daniel Greenhalgh and crew Amanda Kenney pulled in behind Dave G and I in the Kia Sedona that would be our home for the next week and we rolled to the start.

The riders took a left at the top of a hill and we were now in full on RAAM navigation mode.  Dave and I had the first 12 hour shift which consisted of leapfrogging the support van every 10 miles or so.  We initially got lost on the first leg, but recovered quickly.  Add to this that RAAM forgot to give our rider the GPS tracker that was to be used for the next 7 days and the first 90 mins was a near cluster fuck.  We got to rider switch one ahead of schedule and things started clicking.

Colin went next and in his first leg he got a flat.  I mentioned already that RAAM was full of rules.  One of these was that if you pulled off the road, your left wheel had to be 5 ft from the outside line.  This means you need 5 ft of shoulder.  Colin got a flat where there wasn’t much of a shoulder and a ton of traffic.  In our haste to get him up and running I pulled about 3ft off the road.  It was like the rules police were following us and the head official stopped to jump our shit less than 2 hours into the event.  Awesome.

1 hour penalties are given for any of a number of infractions.  No warnings must be given, and you call in 2 days later to see if you received any.  We wouldn’t know for 2 days if this little hiccup would cost us an hour so we had to put it out of our head and keep moving onward.

The first van switch was scheduled for Blythe, CA, where the temperature was supposed to be 110 degrees.  Things fell into a rhythm and the directions got easier as we left the San Diego area.

As we approached the first hotel (I think, as I can’t remember), a decision was made in the follow vehicle for me to ride with Juba and Erin for their first shift.  I figured sleeping 3-4 hours in a bed was the same as doing the same in a van.  FALSE.

Van 2’s first shift started out with a bang, when a rider who will go unmentioned about got the three of us whacked by an oncoming vehicle.  During the hours of 7 p.m. until 9 a.m. all teams had to be on Direct Follow.  This means within 50 ft of the rider at all times, aka “in the headlights”.  This was to be one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done.  Some of the descents were at 40+ mph , in the dark.  I felt we were a pothole away from crushing a rider during all of the Direct Follow periods, which for our van was 10 hours a night at least.

Upon Van 2’s 12-ish hours, I jumped back in with David and following the crew I’d be with for almost the rest.  We headed towards Flagstaff across some hot ass pavement (135 deg readings in the van, and made our way through Flagstaff, AZ threough the Navajo reservation.  This was some sketchy ass riding and roads and we did our damndest to keep the riders safe with drunks everywhere, short shoulders and crazy ass drivers.  I was stoked when we ended up at the hotel for what would be my first sleeping of the trip in Tuba City, AZ (I beleive).  By this time I had been up for roughly 42 hours with a couple or three hours of napping in the mini van, and I was cooked.

I slept 4 or 5 hours and woke up on Monday I think.  Either way, I was amazed that I felt as well as I did.  We immediately got in the van and headed to Colorado to meet up with Van 2 somewhere near Pagosa Springs.  On the way we stopped at 4 Corners Monument which is where Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona all share a corner.  Obligatory selfie of a selfie of a selfies were taken and Kelrock and I ran around all 4 states and we jumped back in the van to meet the other van.

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MONDAY//TUESDAY
We ended up trading off in Pagosa Springs and van 1 would have the honor of climbing the Rockies…in the dark.  We started out with a climb to the Continental Divide and both vans stopped for a pic at Wolf Creek Pass.  Colorado seemed to fly by as we ascended and descended all night.  This proved to also be some of the scariest shit I saw, and got me close to one of my only “losing my shit on someone” moments of the night.

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Following a bike at 45 mph downhill is not an easy thing to do during the day.  At night, it is a flipping nightmare.  As an athlete, I know that when you are in the moment of riding or racing, you can’t see much further outside of what I call the “visor”.  This is the area that falls under the bill of a trucker hat and the athletic/racing mind can’t see any further than what’s outside of it.  After a particular dicey descent, an already frazzled crew may have jumped the shit of a rider who was to be fair, concentrating on the road and not his speed when his headlight fell off…going almost 50.  All parties kissed and made up and continued on into the Colorado night….

To be continued….

 

 

serenity

The Courage to Change the Things I Can

I am not religious.  At all.  I’m not even sure if I believe in God, but that’s for another day.  Needless to say, I am not an avid prayer. I did grow up in a house of  house of addiction and the serenity prayer was said, a lot.  I will admit that when I need a centering, there isn’t much better than those 26 words.

 

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The line that always sticks out to me above is THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN.  I go on ad nauseum about being accountable and honest and the like and even espouse for people to, “Control your Controllables.”  This is like the prayer version of harden the fuck up and do what needs doing.

Currently in this nation, and more specifically in my home city,  shit is going fucking sideways and I don’t have the slightest clue as to what I should personally do about it.

I am not going to get into the ins and outs of the shooting of Alton Sterling here.  The man was killed and the man who killed him likely had a split second he wishes dearly to have back.  It is tragic in every way.

Thursday morning, I went and ran.  The city was eerily quiet.  Like people decided not to drive to work or something.  I set out running, trying to suck in oxygen through the wet rag of humidity that is a Baton Rouge, July and somewhere around mile 2 I had an overall realization that there is nothing in this nation less equal than being a black male.  Black female comes in close second.

Many of you probably read that and go, “Yeah, no shit 45 year old white guy.  Tell us some more of your profound realizations.”  This isn’t the first time I’ve thought this, but now I am taking an active “putting yourself in their shoes” approach.  What would I do?  How would I feel?  Can I do anything about it.

As a runner, I say hello to everyone on the road.  This morning, saying hello to the African Americans I ran into seemed hollow, like saying “Hey, I have tons of black friends.” or “See, I’m cool, I said hello to those black guys.”

The web of how we got here is so tangled that I don’t know what string to pull to start making it right, and don’t know that it ever can be “right”, but we all have a duty to try and do something.  To treat people with respect, to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, to do our best to undo the web of racial and social bias this nation finds itself in.  We are all guilty, white on black, black on white, rich on poor, poor on rich and everything in between.

The following won’t undo it, or change it at once, but neither will carrying on with life like nothing is happening.

THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN
These things-
Be honest about the stereotypes I harbor, conciously or otherwise
Give pause when I find myself forming a judgement on no basis other than those stereotypes
Ask why I drew this conclusion
Give benefit of doubt-real or imaginary
Don’t let those biases affect decision making
Do what I can to live right by others

If you pray, pray.
If you don’t, make change.
If neither of those work, then at the least try and have the

WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

hugs+high fives
PF

 

 

Luster-

281315_10151324588609686_217891491_nMost days, most mornings, the profundity of great thought dies with the cracking of my eggs.  Quiet is replaced by chaos and the day has begun.  Are any thoughts these days truly “great”?

Goal setting has, for quite a long time, become mundane for me.  I can’t put my finger on why, other than really, at the end of the day, the doing of the “big things” and the idea of “big ideas” has lost a little of it’s luster.  The “things” and the “ideas” have all been said and done.  But what if the doing and the saying is what drives you?  What do you “do” and “say” next?

It’s funny the things that we find inspiring or the things that will move us.  Just yesterday I watched a clip of a 12 year old, Grace VanderWaal singing an original song on America’s got Talent.  I don’t know if it was inspiring, but it was certainly uplifting to see the girls unbridled joy.  For others, it’s watching someone achieve something physical that they can’t fathom when positioned against their own abilities.  But what does that mean for you, today, tomorrow, and every other overwhelming day?

It means that big is over rated.
It means that the next simple step can be a goal.
It means you need to set both attainable and seemingly unattainable goals, because achieving the former makes the latter seem more possible.
It means you need to see that inspiring is everywhere.
It means that big ideas are usually just little ideas repacked and repurposed.
It means that you are the luster.  Not the goal.

 

Are you better than me?

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“And I think if you’re young and  you’re in that business of dreams, you’re always looking at the guy who’s got just a little bit more than you, and you’re measuring yourself in relation to that. And you always come up the loser.” -Warren Zanes

Warren Zanes played in a band in the 80’s called the Del Fuegos.  They were a rock band.  They wrote some pretty good songs, and I loved them.  After his stint as a rock star Warren almost accidentally went on to get a Phd, serve as VP of the Rock N Roll Hall of fame, and most recently, write a no holds barred biography of Tom Petty.  I am not a Tom Petty fan, but I heard a podcast with Zanes recently and the above quote hit struck me.  (I read the Petty book anyway)

I’m no geologist, but I’m pretty sure it’s our human nature to be competitive.  From a young age we gauge ourselves against others.  Animals puff up their chests, kids bully, we want to win.  It’s perpetuated I imagine by parents to some degree, but even in instances where parents don’t reinforce it, we can’t help but gauge ourselves against others.

It’s the little voice inside of us that won’t let us enjoy accomplishment.  The same voice that tells us we aren’t good enough.  The voice that that sets unrealistic goals.  To be clear, we need the voice, because I think its the same voice that helps us push us outside of our comfort zone.  We just need the voice to clear away the garbage.

There are 1440 minutes in a day.  360 of which we spend asleep.  Spending the remaining 1080 can happen quickly.  Shit, a trip to Walmart can adversely burn 85 of those minutes.  Tack on trips to and from work, meals, running kids around and you’re lucky to dedicate 30-60 a day to yourself.  To burn any of them in want of what the other guy has is a colossal waste of time and is likely holding you back from achieving what you really want to do.

Sure, it’s easy to say,  “Don’t rate yourself against others.”  But to do it takes deliberate practice to set inward bars.  Creating a way to rate yourself from where you are in the present against where you want to be.  Learning to take credit with ourselves for our accomplishment and not diminishing.  Setting stretch goals and figuring out the next step to get there.

Not a week goes by that I don’t interact with someone who self defeats by gauging themselves against others.  Hell, I will drive my kids down Highland road and look at what others have and wish I had a mansion.  Again, I think it’s natural.  BUT if we don’t recognize it, push it aside and keep going, we all come out losers in the end.

Take some credit today.  Challenge yourself against the you of yesterday.  It’s 7:01 a.m.  959 mins and counting.

It’s all a little much.

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Per the usual, I have fallen off of writing.  This happens to me most of the time for a myriad of reasons, but as of late, it’s been for two specific reasons.  The first is that I have mentally succumbed to what I’ll just define as “life”.  The second is that it’s all becoming a little too much.  I get no less than 3 emails a day from people telling me that I can change it all, just take this coaching program or follow these simple steps.  Passion driven lives, living big, dream chasing. Am I contributing to this content stream?  Fuck, it’s all a lot much.

I won’t bore you with much on the first reason because it can’t come off sounding anything other than unappreciative of the choices I have in life.  New races, good healthy kids, loving wife, opportunity for restaurant expansion, and so on.  If I am honest, if writing suffers because the mental strain of juggling all of these good things, then too damn bad.  Wah wah wah.

The second however is worth noting.  I have for the past 10-15 years done my best to help push people to be their best.  Sometimes for a little income, mostly because that’s what I think you should do.  In the last 6 months I have noticed a non stop barrage of “coaches” and the like entering the market place.  “Am I a part of this?  This all seems douchey.  Am I ‘that guy?’  I’m just going to shut the hell up.”

We find ourselves in an era where everyone is supposed to do what they love.  I mean I am the goddamn poster child for this.  I know for damn sure that I have convinced more than a few people to do exactly that.  Find what you love, figure out if you can make a living at it.  Get out of the corporate world.  Be poor.  Struggle.  Work like a dog.  All this can be yours…AND MORE!!

On most days the “life” I have takes me through a gamut of both activity and emotions.  If “entrepreneurship” is a drug, I imagine it’s like what heroin or cocaine must be like (thankfully I survived the 90’s without meeting those two).  Intense ups, bigger downs, craving the next thing, driving in circles looking for the next fix, wanting desperately for the high of the “thing” you are doing to last longer.  But it all comes with a price.  I just happen to be willing to pay that price.  The climate of “coaching” businesses that I see lately makes me feel a little dirty.  Are people selling a true service or are they just giving a loaded syringe of heroin to an addict?  Am I a part of that?  Maybe so.

What I know is that my little corner of the world is fueled by two things that people seem to desperately need these days.  Brutal honesty and simplicity.  I can come off as a total dick because I tend to tell people what they don’t really want to hear, sometimes when they ask and sometimes unsolicited.   When I write, I am not saying anything new and groundbreaking, I am stripping down what you’ve already been told in a way that hopefully lets you see it clearly so that you can make the decisions you need to move your life forward in a positive way (eventually).

I’m not sure if that’s a “coaching program” or what.  I won’t stop pushing people to believe in themselves and to get outside of what they think is possible.  I can’t not do that.  I know we all need it, and I am hopeful I can give this to those that want it and that my douchiness is always of an honest, tolerable level…likely while wearing a speedo.

I shaved my toes today…here’s why that matters

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I could hear the doubt all the way from Indochina.  I was talking to my coach for the first time in months and I was saying the things I’ve said before…”I will do the work, just give me the workouts and I won’t question them.”  “I’m highly coachable”.

I’ve said it before with limited levels of success.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending where you are sitting, the past contradicts us, calls bullshit and is  unrelenting.  How then, can we make positive change?

Shaved legs are all a part of the game.  If shaved adult men make you uncomfortable, then you may want to stop reading this now…Still with me?  Good.

I have been shaving my legs since the late 80’s.  This began with competitive swimming, where at 14-15, the opportunity to have a female shave your legs in a speedo was a temptation too great to pass up.  I took a break from ’89-’00 and then in 2001 came back with a vengeance through cycling and triathlon.  If you have the means, I highly recommend it.  While endurance athletes will give you a ton of different reasons as to why they do so, the reality is that once one is freed from the confines of a furry existence, one realizes that it just feels good and or makes people uncomfortable.  Both are acceptable reasons.

What started with the legs, went to the arms, the chest, etc.  For whatever reason, I never shaved my feet or toes.  Weird, huh?  Then I got superstitious and not shaving my feet and toes became my thing.  I can’t explain the logic, it’s just how it was.

November has been an opportunity to restart for me.  No big reason other than that more DOING needs to be DONE.  The frequently cited Einstein quote about insanity’ s definition being  doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results has been coming home to roost and I need to set a couple things right.  First and foremost, Einstein didn’t fucking say this so please quit crediting him.  He was hella busy coming up with E=mc2 and such, not creating your meme fodder.  Second.  Einstein was correct.  I’ve been doing the same training and working and expecting things to change.  That shit won’t get me anywhere new.

Back to today’s coach’s call.  The reason my coach was immediately doubtful of my intent, is because I’ve said this shit before, had the same results and done nothing different.  I asked for new and or different training focus as I want different results.  My coach, of course, only has my past performances to draw from, and these bring doubt.

This training cycle is going to be different, because my mindset for my life is different.  I have already begun to make some changes.  I am doing what I can to quit the lies/excuses we all make at some level and not repeat the same behaviors and expect different results.  It’s my duty to also carry this through in all aspects of my life.  As a husband.  As a parent.  As a business owner and leader.  As a friend.  As an athlete.

Today, I shaved my toes.

hugs+hf

PF

Why knowing your “why” isn’t good enough for world domination.

10479443_10152868850569686_8477477296711415439_oI am not original.  If anything, I excel at retelling what most of us already know in a concise, punch you in the face for not seeing it sort of a way.  I’d like to think that at least part of the time I am not coming from left field.

I am also an unapologetic Simon Sinek fanboy.  When doing research for a TEDx talk at LSU 3 years ago, I fell upon Sinek’s now famous TEDx talk in which he espouses the idea that people inspire action not through what they do, but rather “why” they do it.  It was inspiring enough for me to wrap my TEDx story in a “why” context.  By the looks of the views, he has done a little better than I…so far.

But what if knowing “why” isn’t enough?  What happens after you’ve decided you know why you do everything in your life, and yet you are still unfulfilled and or unsuccessful at parlaying this into some form of “happier ever after”?

For years I’ve felt like I’ve been driven to make my slice of the world, a healthier, fitter, space.  Through opening healthy restaurants (FRESHJUNKIE), to starting races (The Louisiana Marathon, FRESHJUNKIE Racing), and through coaching nearly 100 different people over the last 3 years, I felt like I have been neck deep in my “why”.  Alas, the Brinks truck has yet to back up to my house and neither Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, or even someone from cable access have called begging me to come on TV.  “WHY”?

The reason is simple.  Knowing your “why” isn’t good enough for world domination.  Now that may not be your goal, and that’s fine,  and knowing your “why” may be plenty for Ted from accounting.  But for people who want to be the best of the best, a “why” is just the start.  How do I amplify my “why” in tangible ways???

I awake everyday questioning.  “Am I where I need to be?”  “Am I doing what I need to?”  “Where is the effing coffee?” “Where am I?” “Where are my pants?”.  Sometimes the questioning can be crippling.  No bullshit.  I sit there and wonder,  “What do I think I am supposed to be doing with this day?”  As anyone who is trying to build there own brand knows, there is no correct answer, and no one dropped off a playbook or manual.  You write it daily.

Along with a why, you gotta have a DO.  EVERY DAY.  The only way out of my hole is always to DO.  Moreover, your DO doesn’t have to be perfect.  Some days I DO the wrong things, but I try to consistently evaluate those things and improve, so that I am spending the most time DOING the things that both move my “why’ forward in the most positive ways.  These days, I am making sure that it moves forward on a secondary level of profitability as well as simply for saying the right things.  Saying is the beginning.  DOING IS THE AMPLIFIER.

DOERS > SAYERS

There are a lot of freaking quotes in this post.  For that, I apologize.

GO DO SOME SHIT!

h+hf

PF

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