Wednesday, 13 April 2011 17:13

How I Got Started In Triathlon

This morning I ran a nice easy 6 miler with Greg (@tri2live on Twitter) and with an hour on our hands we talked about life.  I met Greg via Twitter about 3 months ago and he has been my swim training partner this entire time and today we took to the road to run.  During the run I asked him how he got started in triathlon and I can't tell you how hard I laughed.  His story and my story are similar in regards to our beginnings. My story began in 2009 with a sprint tri in Grapevine, TX.  I knew what a triathlon was based on having seen these incredible athletes in Kona.  I have a delusional mind when it comes to this type of stuff and said to myself I could race Kona.  No clue that you had to qualify, that you run through lava fields that in the end Kona is for the best of the best. After I signed up for my first sprint Tri, it was time to train.  Training consisted of going to the gym and swimming my 300 yards and getting out.  Getting on a stationary bike and riding for 12 miles according to the screen and then running a 5k on the treadmill.  Nothing involved intervals, hill work, sprints and why would it as I was an athlete who knew best.  Oh by the way, I ate whatever I wanted. Race day came and I swam and swam and swam and swam.  To the point that I was gassed after 200 yards.  Thankfully this was a pool swim and I was capable of walking those last 50 yards.  I even heard my wife yell to me that I was going to get disqualified for walking in the water.  I thought to myself....good then this disaster and quite humbling experience would be over. I got out of the water and ran to transition and grabbed my bike and off I went.  I loved it.  The bike was great, even the climbs (or so they seemed for that first triathlon.)  I could feel the wind in my hair.  I could feel myself starting to get absorbed in the sport.  Transition to the run and I was on cloud 9.  Running was my one discipline that I could excel at.  I was running past people and smiling the whole time.  This was turning out to be a great day.  I raced toward the finish line and told Karen how much I loved her as I was about to finish. I remember all the people there cheering on family members.  I remember all the volunteers.  I remember being a bada** for completing a triathlon and that 50 yards of walking in the pool was a distant memory.  At that point though I wasn't sure if I was going to continue with this triathlon thing as my first marathon was coming up. After my marathon was over I knew that I wanted to get back to triathlon because I did have that sour taste in my mouth from walking the pool.  I picked out a handful of races and decided that the US Open Toyota Championships in October was going to be my A race but attacking Grapevine again was my real agenda. I saw a Facebook post by a friend that discussed going to see the athletes at Ironman California and right at that moment I signed up for 70.3 IMCA in 2011.  I then hired Coach C and the rest as they say is history. Triathlon has become my lifestyle.  It is not just a sport anymore.  It is how I live in that I have chosen to be active and I have chosen to eat healthy.  I have decided that triathlon was going to help me help others....and that is the name of the game called life.  It has stopped being about my accomplishments and more about how I can help others achieve their dreams. Today's run has led to discussions of traveling to Austin to get hill training in and not just for 70.3 Austin or the CapTexTri but in reality to help Greg get his legs ready for his Ironman (follow him on Twitter and ask him which event he is racing.) The beauty of this sport (and all endurance sports) is the sense of community that you are surrounded by.  People you have never met in person are happy for you when you succeed.  They are there to lend a helping hand when you are down.  They are there to push and pull you to places you have never been. I am humbled to be amongst the group of blogger/endurance athletes that I am surrounded by and it reminds me everyday to pay it forward and help that next person get in that water and walk the last 50 yards of a pool swim because there are greater things on the horizon.

Published in Race
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 13:02

It's A Lonely Road.....

It's A Lonely Road…..

by Jason Bahamundi

It's a lonely road filled with detours and pessimists to derail your progress

It's a lonely road at 4am running by the light of the moon on your own

It's a lonely road when all you can see is your breath and hear the crunch of gravel under your feet

It's a lonely road of sacrifice and humility

It's a lonely road of doubt and guilt

It's a lonely road…..

It's a lonely road until race evening when it's you and the butterflies

It's a lonely road until race morning when it's you and your goals

It's a lonely road until the start gun goes off and the adrenaline rushes in

It's a lonely road until the finish line is in sight

It's a lonely road until you look back and realize you had all you ever needed with you every step of the way

It's a lonely road…..

 
Published in Race
Monday, 07 March 2011 13:02

Discipline

When I first started training I was told by friends and family that I was an inspiration and that I motivated them.  I can barely think of one person that followed in my footsteps and joined me along this path because Karen was already there. Recently my sister started to make good on her words but nobody else.  Sure others would start but they would stop for a multitude of reasons. Today I get emails, Facebook messages, Tweets that go something like this: Dude, you are crazy with your training.  Why, again, are you getting up so early?  Why do you make me feel like I'm lazy.  The list goes on and on and I thought about that on Saturday February 26th while doing a 1 hour and 50 minutes Zone 2 run. The answer came down to one word:  discipline.  I was inspired by Bid Daddy Diesel's post about aspiring and how he used that one word to define and tell a story. I wanted to try to come up with one word to define and tell my story.  That one word is discipline. Now when somebody asks me a question I can give them a one word descriptive answer:  discipline.
  • Why do you get up so early?  I am disciplined.
  • How can you maintain a vegetarian diet?  I am disciplined.
  • Why are you not drinking tonight?  I am disciplined.
  • What is with all this swimming, biking, running?  I am disciplined.
I decided to look up the definition of the word.  The definition even has the word training in it:   dis·ci·pline   [dis-uh-plin] noun, verb, -plined, -plin·ing. –noun
  1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
  2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
  3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
  4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
  5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
  6. a set or system of rules and regulations.
  7. Ecclesiastical . the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
  8. an instrument of punishment, especially a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.
  9. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.
–verb (used with object)
  1. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
  2. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
  3. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
I am disciplined to get up at 3:30am everyday and drink a glass of water first then a small breakfast then a 1 hour workout.  I am disciplined to have only skipped a handful on workouts in the past year.  I am disciplined enough to know that when coach wants Zone 2 I run in Zone 2 and don't push it. I am proud of who I am and what I represent.  I am proud to say that this is my lifestyle and don't feel guilty because others interpret it as being crazy because I am not.  

I AM DISCIPLINED.

   
Published in Train
It was a few weeks ago that I was emailing with Jeff, BDD and Patrick about my frustration with my bike speed. Each one of them was incredible and generous with their words and time, but one email has stood out for me. It was a bit of advice that I have carried with me for bike training but also in the water and on the run as well. BDD's email to me was three simple words. EMBRACE THE PAIN. He was referring to being on the trainer but as I said I use this for swimming and running as well. I have been embracing the pain and seen incredible improvements in all three phases of triathlon. It has truly been a mantra that I carry with me on all training sessions whether it is a 15 minute run after a 2 hour ride or a swim set of 3x500 (:30 RI) Negative Split. Saturday I EMBRACED THE PAIN....THEN LOOKED BACK AND SMILED.  My coach had a 14 mile run at a pace of 7:55/mile. Typically this is not a problem. The week prior I did a 13.1 mile training session in under 7:55/mile on the treadmill. I knew I could do 14 at this pace. The weather was perfect as it was around 60* with no clouds. I set out and started slowly to get truly warmed up and start hitting my splits. The first split was 7:51 and I thought to myself alright here we go. From that point on my legs felt like concrete. That was until I hit the Dolly Parton's. If you have read my posts you will remember the Dolly's were where I fell apart a bit during the White Rock Marathon on December 5th. Since then when I run White Rock I attack these hills as a way to tell them...not this time. I have owned them since that date and on Saturday it was no different. I crushed them as I went through them at paces of 7:44 and 7:36. I thought I was on Cloud 9. After those two miles I suddenly felt like I was standing in place. I would see times in the 8:00+/mile range. I would pick up the pace but it never lasted long. I even went so far as to say I am stopping. But then I thought about each of you and what I owed you. I owed you my best and whatever my best was at that point. I thought about Beth (SUAR) turning the corner in her recovery from injury and how I could not stop running. I EMBRACED THE PAIN and kept on going. My last two miles were 8:36 and 8:28. I cursed myself the entire way to the car. I was unrelenting in my opinion of my effort. How could you go so slow? How did it get to the point of being so hard? Why didn't my legs react when my mind was ready since it is usually the other way around?  What went wrong? I got to the car and refused to look at my Garmin. I thought to myself you did the 14 miles. Look at the course and fist-pump like Tiger and say to the course you thought you had me but I still beat you. I did just that and started smiling. I just ran 14 miles....period! Nothing else needed to be said. I DID IT! 14 in the books and not once did I walk. It was very slow at the end but I did it. I then smiled and asked myself what was your time?  My final pace was 7:58/mile. On what was the hardest day I have had in this one year of training I was still right there. I was :42 away from hitting my coach's time. I then jumped up and down and smiled and allowed the sun to shine on my face. I EMBRACED THE PAIN....LOOKED BACK....AND SMILED On my worst day I was still pretty darn good and that is my lesson for you on Motivational Monday. Even on your worst day you are good...make that GREAT! You are awesome and you are an inspiration. You are a motivator. Nothing can stop you. People don't dream of doing what you are doing and remember that. You will embrace the pain then look back and smile knowing that for this brief moment in time you got stronger physically. You got stronger mentally. Now there is no other training session or race that you will put yourself through that will be harder. You CAN do it. KEEP SMILING, STAY HEALTHY AND HUNGRY
Published in Race
Monday, 07 February 2011 17:00

Will your legacy equal greatness?

You have all seen or heard the question:  Will the kid you were be proud of the adult you are?  You may have even have asked yourself that question when trying to determine which road to take when you get to that fork in the road of life. [caption id="attachment_603" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Greatest - Muhammad Ali"][/caption] I thought about this last night while watching the Super Bowl.  You had two quarterbacks that are very good (I reserve using the term great until their careers are over and can be compared to the greats) trying to define their legacy.  They were reaching for that ultimate goal of being a Super Bowl winning quarterback.  It is an odd situation that the quarterback typically gets all the praise and blame but that is the football society in which we live. Will Aaron Rodgers' legacy be one based on the fact that he was a Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XLV?  Will it be that he was the 24th pick in a draft behind the likes of Alex Smith and became a Super Bowl champ.  Or that he led a team from the wildcard through the playoffs on the road and won the championship.  How will his legacy be defined?  Is he great?  Will he be considered great? How about Ben?  The fact that he was trying to win his 3rd Super Bowl in 6 years alone should put him in the conversation of great but his off the field antics may preclude that from happening.  He has won in pressure situations and led his team to championships before.  He too led his team through the playoffs on the road and won a Super Bowl.  He threw a perfect pass to win the Championship just two years ago.  What is his legacy?  Again, defined by winning on the field or poor decisions off of it? I, personally, like to answer this question every year.  Every year it changes because each time I ask it I move the point of reference.  In my 20's I asked about my legacy when I was a kid and being proud.  Now in my mid-30's the questions isn't just would the kid be proud but what about the teenager and mid-20's adult.  Are they proud of the decisions I have made and the legacy I am building. I tend to be my harshist critic.  I tend to believe that I can always do more.  That I expect more out of myself.  And so there are somedays that I think I could have been better, but then I think who could I have been better for?  The stranger staring at me on the treadmill as I push it  to 9.4.  Or could I have been better for my wife and step-son. I want to define my greatness and not have somebody define it for me and this is why I push and push and push.  I don't let up.  I want my family to say when I am gone....he gave us his all.  I want my friends to say to each other....he was a person who expected so much out of himself and thus we had to work harder to keep up with him.  I want to be great, but I want to be great by my definition.  Outside influences will not define me.....I will define me. I am a husband and step-father.  I am a triathlete.  I am a marathoner.  I am a marketing leader.  I am accomplished.  I am educated. I am.....

STILL DEFINING MYSELF

I have a lot of goals and dreams that still need to be accomplished and I hope that you all do as well.  Have you tried to define your legacy to date?  Are you proud of what you have done?  If not, what are you waiting for?  If so, have you created that next level of greatness.

To borrow Jim's saying:

BE GREAT TODAY !!!!!

 

Published in Race
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 08:00

Blood, Sweat and Tears

We have all heard this phrase before but what exactly does it mean.  For each individual it is going to mean something different.  The same way that being competitive means something different to each person.  There is no one definition and I think that we can say the same for a lot of items in life as well as endurance sports. When you train or race you put everything you have into it.  You will push yourself to a level you never thought existed.  Think about a time when you raced a 5k, 15k, half-marathon, marathon or triathlon.  At some point in that race you experienced a point that your mind told you to quit. You persevere and you get to the finish line.  You reflect on the race and think about what could have been done to get through that point where the mind said to quit.  You poured your blood, sweat and tears into that race and you will do it again.  Why?  Because the satisfaction on knowing that you stared your mind down and won.  The knowledge that nothing is impossible.  The sheer emotion of pumping your arms and the elation of jumping up and down when the race is over.  It doesn't matter how hard it was.  It doesn't matter that you almost didn't make it.....what matters is that you DID make it.  That you beat the course and in the process made yourself better as well as those around you. We don't always take stock of those around us when we are training or racing but rest assured there is always somebody watching.  Somebody sizing you up or somebody gaining knowledge.  Somebody getting inspired and motivated to push themselves and have them pour their own blood, sweat and tears into the process and the outcome.  Don't take anything for granted.  Don't EVER feel like it can't be done.  Others are counting on you to spill that tear of blood, that tear of sweat and that tear of emotion. I can't think of anything better than the accomplishment of hitting a goal.  It doesn't have to be endurance sport related either.  You have a big project at work and you hit the deadline despite all the questions you had about getting it done.  The best part of endurance sports is that we learn that what we put into it we will get out of it and we can then apply that to life. You pour your heart and soul into your training for that race day.  Sometimes you clean up and sometimes the course wins.  You may walk away disappointed that you didn't get that time or that you didn't qualify but in the grand scheme of things you poured your blood, sweat and tears into it and there is nothing better than knowing that. Life is hard and sports is a microchosim of that.  You learn that you can tackle even the hardest of projects or training sessions.  You go through the ringer and come out the other side a little battered and bruised with some blood but you come out.  That is the important part.  You finished what you started. There are no shortcuts to success.  It is done through hard work and determination.  It is done on the notion that nothing is guaranteed so take advantage of it TODAY and not tomorrow.  It is done through all the adversity.  No matter how you do it....well JUST DO IT! You can rest tomorrow.  You can relax tomorrow but you know you will not.  You know when the alarm goes off you will wake up and go at it again because that is what you do.  You shed blood, drip sweat and pour tears into your lifestyle.  Embrace it and let the world know that you just did something no matter what that something is.
Published in Train
Friday, 28 January 2011 16:01

Have You Seen The Sun Rise?

Welcome to the new site for Jason Bahamundi and the Life of An Aspiring Triathlete.  You can see that there have been 'some' changes around here.  In the past two months or so I have truly been chasing my passions.  My passion for cooking and my passion for a healthy lifestyle through training and racing.  I decided to put them together and came up with this site.  I did not do this all on my own.  With a lot of help from Rita Barry at Fitblogger and Blog Genie this dream has become a reality.  It is terrific because the post for today was going to be based on the sun rising.  Well the sun rose over me today when Rita sent me an email that said the site was (almost) ready except for a few things.  I could not contain my excitement anymore and decided to launch it and will fix up a page or two along the way.  Thank you Rita. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [caption id="attachment_333" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Pic courtesy of noelkingsley.com"][/caption] As a runner we are often asked: 'Why do you run?' and 'Why do you run so early?' For me the answer is very simple.  I run because it is my time.  It is my time to getaway from the everyday.  It is my time to let my creative juices flow.  It is my time to examine who I am and how I want to be better.  It is my time to dig down deep and push myself to the next level.  It is my time. And during that time I have seen some of the most amazing sunrises.  I have run pre-dawn in cities like New York, Maui, Dallas, Jackson MS, Cozumel, Miami, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Austin, Healdsburg CA, and Charlotte to name a few.  It is the same sun everywhere I have been but it is a different and amazing feeling because each city, town, village is different. I have seen my breathe in Jackson MS in October on a 16 mile run.  I didn't have any idea where I was but as the sun started to rise and my feet met the pavement a warm sensation came over me that can never be replicated.  I felt free at that time.  I had a 7 hour drive back to Dallas ahead of me and at that time it didn't matter.  I was alone with the world and at the same time I was one with the world. I have had sweat pouring off my forehead in Cozumel while running side by side with my wife.  We didn't talk, we just ran.  We didn't have to talk as we knew what the other was feeling.  The sun was beating down on us but to our right was crystal blue waters.  A sight like no other.  Yes, the water in Maui was crystal blue as well but in Maui I had beaches before that water.  I had the smell of pineapple in the air.  Fresh sushi was on tap for lunch and well Maui was different that Cozumel. This is the beauty of running.  The ability to see the world from a different perspective.  Have you ever seen the sun rise?  Have you ever seen the sun rise while running?  How about seeing your city?  You drive through it everyday but have you ever run through it and seen it  from a different perspective?  Have you truly opened up your eyes to your environment. For me this is what running is all about.  It is the Social Studies class they never taugh in school.  They can tell you about the capital of Texas being Austin, but they can't tell you how it feels to run down Congress Ave with the capital building ahead of you and the hundreds of people going to their many destinations. I love running and it is my lifestyle.  It brings me joy and happiness.  It brings out my creative problem solving skills.  It bring out the best in me.

Have you ever seen the sun rise?

Published in Race
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 16:34

Is There A Competitor In You?

Last night, like any other night, I was contemplating life and the meaning behind it and what I could do to change myself to make the people around me better.  I got to thinking about the Biggest  Loser episode and I quickly sent myself an email titled 'Is There A Competitor In You?'  That was the entire email and when I woke up this morning and saw the BlackBerry flashing I looked at the email and on to the pool I went.

I kept thinking about the episode from last night and it dawned on me that I am a competitor.  I compete at just about anything.  I love watching competition and not just for winners and losers, but for the act of pushing yourself to be better.  Better than yourself.  Better than your opponent.  Just better.

I am not a quitter.  I don't know what that word means.  To  me the word quit is worse than any four letter word that George Carlin ever used.  It goes hand in hand with can't.  As Coach C pointed out during mile 20 of the Dallas White Rock Marathon....'THIS IS WHERE WE SAY WE CAN.  THOSE THAT CAN DO AND THOSE THAT CAN'T DROP OUT'  Was she kidding me with those words?  Out came The Fighter and I'm not taking about Marky Mark.  No way was I stopping.  No way was I quitting.  No way, no way, no way!

Do you have a competitor in you?  One who sets goals that are on the edge of your fingertips and will strive and do whatever it takes to get to that goal, grip it and then find the next just out of reach goal?  Are you capable of pushing yourself for one more step?  One more mile?  One more flip turn?  Are you willing to try to get to the next level?  When you set goals are they the ones you know you can achieve or are they the type that you question yourself about repeatedly until you get there?

For me nothing is impossible.  I have had this mindset my whole life.  I have always thought that with work all successes can be achieved and why limit myself.  As an adult you fall into these routines and you begin to accept them, but once you do you realize that there is no getting better and there is just status quo.  Who wants to be status quo?  Don't you want to be better than that even if it is just for yourself?

Competition brings out the best in all.  It brings out the best in you and allows you to see that you can accomplish anything and allows you to push others to be better today than they were yesterday.

As an example of how much I love competition I was once caught watching a double dutch competition on ESPN (maybe it was The Ocho) and yelling at the TV for the girls to go, go, go.  I was caught on the treadmill during the NYC Marathon yelling at Paula Radcliffe to kick it in and go, go, go.  I have been seen running around the house self-high fiving myself because of a great play that the athlete just did not give up on.  Anybody remember Don Beebe chasing down Leon Lett?  Don did not give up and he pushed himself to catch Leon and did.  What do you think that did for his teams morale at that moment (I know they lost, but for a moment everybody thought anything was possible.)

Challenge yourself to be better and you will end up pushing others to be better.  That is the beauty of competition.  As you improve so do others.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 19:07

The Dawn of a New Day (You)

If you read my post from January 1, 2011 you will remember the picture that showed a terrific skyline, the American flag and the words New Year, New Day, New You.  I am holding true to that theory as today was the dawn of a new day again.  The beauty of life is that there is always tomorrow and even when there isn't a tomorrow you life's work will live on with family and friends and thus allow them to savor in the memories of what you brought to life.

As many of you know I have a small business called Marathon Makeover North Dallas and we turn couch potatoes into marathoners.  I bring this up because while that is the national name of the business the LLC was founded under the name Honu Way To Live.  Honu is a Polynesian term for turtle.  I fell in love with the turtle when I was in Hawaii 4 years ago.  They are an incredible animal in that they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders but they don't stop moving.  Do they move at the fastest pace?  No, but they keep moving just like life.  Life will always keep moving.  In a sense it also is how I think of the business of Marathon Makeover.  Honu can be pronounced as Whole New --- so essentially it is a Whole New Way To Live.  Changing people's mindsets about healthy living and getting them involved in this lifestyle and it doesn't only pertain to couch potatoes.  It can be used for seasoned athletes as well.  We can have a tendency to get stuck in routine and need change or a Honu Way To Live.  Maybe it's just through changing what you have for breakfast or changing a workout routine but it will spark creativity and allow you to live.

I am asking you today to make one change to your life.  Big or small it doesn't matter.  Maybe you smile more at strangers or say good morning to a stranger.  Maybe instead of toast and coffee for breakfast you switch to granola and tea.  Make a change and see how that helps your life and then let me know what you did as I love to read these things.

I will leave you with this.  This is a time-lapse of a flower blooming in Hawaii.  It is only 2 minutes long so you have time to watch it, but think about what this flower is going through.  Opening itself up to the world.

Hope you and yours have a  great day today.

Keep Smiling!

Published in Race
Monday, 03 January 2011 19:05

Me Revealed!!!!!

Before we get into today's post I want to inform you that Whitney is hosting the Pay It Forward giveaway at her site.  Go here for the giveaway.  So far the books have traveled from Dallas to Arkansas.  Let's see where they go to next.  Giveaway is until January 9th.
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In the past day I have exchanged emails with fellow bloggers (friends now truth be told) as well as people interested in becoming sponsors of the Marathon Makeover program as well as those interested in joining the program.  It has been a life changing 24 hours.

I am a person who doesn't dream when he sleeps.  I am just too tired after training and running this small business that I believe my creative minds eye is done and I sleep like a log....maybe like a chainsaw ripping through a log if you ask Karen....but a log nonetheless.  But two nights ago I had a dream.  I dreamt that close to 300 people showed up at the kick-off meeting for Marathon Makeover at the Coppell Family YMCA and I litereally shed tears.  I shed tears that 300 people would trust me to help turn their lives around.  To allow me to help them lead a healthier lifestyle.  It was incredible and I was humbled by their confidence in me.  I couldn't put it into words.

Yesterday I had a bike/run brick workout.  My bike wound up at a speed of 18.2 mph and my run at a pace of 8:18/mile.  I was thrilled with my run speed considering my feet felt like I was running with needles because they were so cold and the pounding was causing this feeling.   I was upset mostly with my bike.  I felt like I should be faster.  I questioned myself about what I was doing.  Was I pushing hard enough?  Was my training working?  I had so many questions but was mostly frustrated with my bike speed.  Weather conditions, hills, turns did not mean anything to me.  I turned to three people that I know are much faster on the bike than I am and had their email address.  I turned to Patrick, Jeff and Scott.  Their words were beyond helpful and there is no way I can express my gratitude toward them since it has helped me in my frame of mind when it comes to the bike.  Their help was invaluable.  I also learned that I need to learn a lot more about all of you.  I found out that Jon was a cyclist before he was a triathlete.  I had no clue and I owe Jon an email now as well. This also led me to think about a post that Kristin posted regarding the guy on the treadmill next to her not knowing what she was training for.  There is so much that I need to learn from all of you and I can't wait to do that.  One day at a time.  But the point of all this is that life is so much fun to live.  There are things we can learn everyday if we just open ourselves up to it.  Don't hid in the corner and be afraid of being who you are.  Let yourself out and show the world who you are.  Let it all hang out.

Then to end the night I got an email from Jill that made me smile, tear up and filled me with pride.  Jill and I have 'known' each other for about a month thanks to her Secret Bloggy Santa.  We have exchanged a couple of emails so the extent to her knowledge of me is let's just say minimal.  We haven't broken bread or shared drinks but her email was awesome.  I thought about what I said, and even re-read it, to try to figure out why she would say what she said.  I then realized that I did nothing more than be myself.  The lesson I learned and am trying to share with you is that you need to just be yourself.  Don't try to be the person that you think society wants you to be.  What's the point?  You won't be happy and it won't lead you to your ultimate destination which is happiness.

So here I am revealed:

I am married to a wonderful woman and will celebrate our first anniversary on January 22nd.  I found Karen through the sport of running, online, and fall in love on a daily basis with her.  She is my rock and allows me to be who I am by being who she is.

I have a step-son that when things are bad I look at and take myself back to his age when everything is new, everything is wonderful, there is no stress, there are no responsibilities and you just smile.

I smile everyday and find the silver lining in each and every day.  There is one, just look for it and you won't be disappointed.

I am grateful for what I have accomplished and not what I didn't accomplish.  I don't say things like I ran only 4 miles or I only went 18.2 mph.  18.2 mph may not be what I want but it is faster than some and gives me a goal to strive for.

I love to live life.  I love being around people and saying hello.  When I run I say good morning or good afternoon to everybody.  I answer the phone with a smile and say 'Good Morning this is Jason' or 'Good Afternoon this is Jason' so that the person calling me knows who they are speaking with.  I say Thank You and Please.  I don't use the word can't.

I am a glass is so full it is overflowing into other glasses type of person.  This half-full thing leaves too many chances for something not working out.

I don't live with regrets.  I live with lessons.  I learn from others and teach myself at the same time.

I want to live forever.  I want to see the youth of this world grow up and see their impact on the world.  I want to be around to say that back in 1986 the Mets won the World Series and have some kid ask me what is the World Series.  Life moves on whether we like it or not so savor those memories and share them with others.

I am a simple yet complex person.  I don't need much to make me happy but I'm happiest when I'm doing a lot of different things at the same time.

I kiss my wife good night every night.  I kiss my wife good morning every morning and hug her when I leave the house or she leaves the house.  Life is short and you never know when it will be taken away from you.

I enjoy cooking for my family.  It makes me smile.

Make today the day that you Light the Fire To Desire Greatness and do it Smiling.....you will not regret it.
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