How many times have I fallen?

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Behind me lay 39 years of bad decisions and broken promises.  Well, not all the decisions were bad but there have been a lot of bad decisions and a lot of broken promises.

It is really only in the past 12 years that I have gotten my act together.  And, I slowly have begun to turn into the man that I wanted to be.  I want to be the man that my daughter thinks I am.  That is how I live my life.  I live my life with purpose and direction.  Always doing the right thing, making the responsible choice.  Doing not what I want to do but doing what I think is the right example of Jordan.

Now that I sit here in front of my computer I think what did I do that was so wrong? And I find myself wondering if I should list it all?  Should I bare my soul?  Are my friends and family really ready to know the real me?  The side of myself that only I know?  The fact is I am not ready to self incriminate myself and I am sad that I can’t truly open up to anyone.  But let’s make a vague list…Here it goes:

I have lied, cheated, stole, I abused substances, sat idle when I should have screamed out no! and screamed with the crowd when I should have shut up, I over indulged, I was greedy, I wasn’t a good brother to my fellow man, I followed orders and often only saw in black and white when I should have seen the grays.  You get the idea…

I told you the list was going to be vague but have faith that I know what I did right and what I did wrong. And, to be honest making that list was more for my benefit and it was difficult in it’s own way.

I used to say things like I am having a morale dilemma but I no longer say that.  In fact I never have morale dilemmas  any more because if you always do what is right there is no dilemma.  It sounds simple but it isn’t.  In fact it is hard.  But one thing is for sure doing the right thing isn’t easy and it wont make you popular but it will ensure I keep Jordan’s respect and it helps me actually be the man she thinks I am.

A friend of mine once said to me “The true measure of a man isn’t how many times he falls, but how many times he gets back up.”  I wonder if he realizes the impact that had on me?  I think that was about 9 years ago and I still remember it and use those words to live by.  Not only do I live by it but I tell it to friends in tough times and I have even said it to my own daughter as she faces challenges of her own.

I used to run with music for motivation.  I got motivation from lots of sources.

When Eminem says:

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment,
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”

How about when Eminem says:

Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out – am I high? Perhaps
I’ma rip this shit till my bone collapse.

I also got motivated by 50 cent rapping:

Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top
And I’m gonna shine homie until my heart stop

I listened to everything to get motivation.  Obviously as shown above I listened to rap.  But I also loved Punk Rock like Social Distortion and the Ramones.  How about Some phenomenal Rock and Roll the way only Bruce Springsteen can reach you?  I also listened to Evercleer, The Foo Fighters, and Metallica.  I think you get the idea.

I used to do my long run to the entire Joshua Tree Album.  Which by the way I think may be one of the very best albums ever!  It is a bold statement I know but yeah, I said it!  Anyway, my long runs have gotten longer and now one album just doesn’t cover it anymore.

But A few months ago I stopped running with music.  It was a challenge.  it was then I realized the music was a crutch for me.  Now, I am not saying it is a crutch for everyone but for me it was.  I think at that point in my life I was running because I felt I had to.  Now I run for me. I go for long slow runs I run the roads, the beach, clay paths, and wooded trails.  I have begun to realize I enjoy my runs so much more when I can hear my breath and my foot striking the ground.  I listen to the sounds of people, dogs barking, cars driving by, wild boar (pretty scary) in the woods. My mind wonders in all directions. Sometimes I can’t stop singing Donna summers songs and it drives me crazy! Sometimes I think about the future and the present.  The tough runs are when I think of the past and what I have done and what I should have done… That is when I ask for forgiveness. I keep running on and I know I will go on tomorrow I will get back up and run again.

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let’s make a diference

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As most of you know I am almost 40.  YIKES!  I’ll be 40 next year and I have thought I need to make this year count…but how?  What will I do?  I can’t sit idle and wait for something to happen.  I will have to make it happen.  but where is my opportunity?  Let me tell you opportunities are everywhere.  We just have to push past our comfort zones.

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I have always wanted to be a philanthropist.  How great would it be to help people achieve their dreams and goals.  I still haven’t decided exactly how to do it. But, in the next 12 months I will be doing something that matters.  Something good and peaceful.  Maybe I’ll help people exercise or develop a diet plan or do free bike fittings, Help a kid get in shape.  Show someone why I love running and maybe they will fall in love with running as well.

A friend of mine recently shared something with me about doing one good deed a day.  I was all psyched to do it and then for some reason I just never started.  However, on Sunday I was out and I was going past the local high school and I saw some trash on the ground so I picked it up and threw it away in the custodians golf cart trash can.  He was shocked that someone would doing something like that.  Then I realized I can do little things everyday.  it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.  So, on Sunday I was at the place I pretty much hate the most in the world …Wal Mart.  The place was a mad house as everyone was prepping for the Hurricane to come and get us.  As I drove through the parking lot I let a person cross the street and thought gosh that was easy. Then I let some one into traffic so they could get out of that crazy place.  That was two of my good deeds.  Today I was out on the trails on the range and I noticed a lot of people think it is okay to walk in the woods and just throw their beer cans and styrofoam cups along the trail. I started picking up trash as I went.  By the time I got back to my car my hands were full.  Heck, I even picked up a hub cap that was hanging on a tree.  The hubcap thing really aggravated me. If a person had the energy to hang it on a tree wouldn’t you think they had the energy to properly dispose of it?  So anyway,  I was just not satisfied with picking up trash.  Because that is something I would normally do any how. I wanted todo something bigger.  I took a way home that I don’t normally take home and I saw a woman waiving from the side of the road.  She had run out of gas.  I took her and her friend to there home so they could get a gas can and drive back to their truck.  Then it dawned on me Opportunities are every where.  We just need to open our eyes and make the world a nicer place.  I also suppose it couldn’t hurt my Karma.  So I am going to make a point of doing something good everyday.  Maybe sometimes Ill do more than others but I am going to try.

What are you going to do?

 

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I have a dream

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I have started running with out music.  It wasn’t easy to make that transition for me.  In fact it was torturous at one point.  But, now I have come to enjoy the sound of my own breathing , hearing my feet striking the ground and the gravel shifting under me.  I found before that running with music I was listening to music while I ran.  Now that I run in silence it is truly therapeutic.  My mind is allowed to wander.  Sometimes I start thinking right away and before you know it I have completed my course and I have no memory of where I ran or what I even thought of.  All I know is I am sweaty, hot and tired.  And I feel great!  Other times I run and I can hear my own voice and it says thing like “oh look a bird, just make it up this hill, don’t forget to pump your arms, stand up straight, pick up your feet, halfway done, catch that runner in the distance, uh oh here come s a pretty girl don’t let her see you struggling, look there is the finish line, good job, be proud of yourself, puke in the grass not on your new shoes!”

Running gives me a chance to think and dream.  Some of my runs are cathartic and they are emotionally draining.  I have even had to stop in the middle of runs and take a break because emotionally it was just to much for me.  The first time I broke down on a run I was in the desert and I was running on a treadmill.  I was running in front of a mirror just watching my legs going back and fourth and listening to my music.  I can still hear the song in my head clear as day and I started thinking about Jordan.  I started to think about her watching me run towards her and the smile on her face.  It was over whelming.  not in a bad way but it made me sad to be so far from her.   I actually started crying on the treadmill in the gym.  I wiped the tears away and just kept running.  No one there even noticed.  Everyone else was just running listening to music. I suppose we were all like hamsters on the wheel wishing we were somewhere else.

Running gives me the time and freedom to dream about who I want to be, what I wish for Jordan and how I would like the entire world to work.

Actually,  I have lots of dreams.  And I am not talking man I woke up and had a crazy dream.  I mean I have a dream of how I want to live or how I want the world to be.  I would love to have the world be a “better’ place for all of us.  But, my dream is to be part of the catalyst that truly makes the world a better place.  For instance the lottery (power ball to be exact) was about 340 million last week.  I went in to buy a ticket so I could have a shot at making some of my dreams happen.  The girl behind the counter said “340 million dollars thats almost too much money.  What would you do with it all?” and I said something like “I don’t know but I sure could open a lot of homeless shelters.”  She seemed so shocked that I would say something like that.  Obviously, she doesn’t know me very well. Of course I would also help all my family and friends financially and have a big party.  I am sure I would travel but all in all I would want to make a difference.

Some of my other dreams aren’t as grand but to me they are just as significant.  I would take Jordan to tour Greece and to France to run the Paris marathon with her.  Even though I am not much of a drinker  I would try a bottle of Dom Perignon just to see what the big deal is.  I would organize some sort of charity bike ride where I got to ride with Lance Armstrong.  Maybe, I would get my name on the top of the list with Virgin Atlantic to go into space!  

I am very liberal, a bit of a tree hugger and also an idealist.  But sadly, I am a realist and I know with out being independently wealthy I can only make little changes to the world.  For example I can pick up pieces of trash on the side of the road that I see while running.  I will continue to Coach the Cross Country team (at least for this Season) the best I can.  You never know maybe I will have an impact on a child or maybe just set the right example for Jordan along the way.  I suppose I will just have to be satisfied with the little things. 

My list could go on and on.  Some of my dreams I am just not ready to share.  I guess I am just not strong enough to bare my soul like that….Maybe one day.

Anyway, instead of sitting here wishing about my dreams I am going to try and make one of my dreams  come true. 

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My sport has no time outs

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Running is probably the hardest sport I have ever done.  But, what makes it even harder is running with an incurable disease.  In case you’re just tuning in I have Crohn’s disease.  I never really heard much about Crohn’s disease growing up.  And, until recently I have not heard about it in the news or on television, in the paper, or even on the radio.

In case you aren’t aware let me give you a brief overview of Crohn’s disease and what people go through.  I warn you know it is pretty gross but I will do my best to not be too nasty.  Crohn’s disease is an auto immune disorder.  it can affect you anywhere from your mouth to your Anus.    As most of you know when you eat food you chew it up and swallow it.  the food gets broken down in your stomach and turns to a liquid.  From there it it moves into your small intestine and nutrients are absorbed into your body.  the excess moves into you large intestine and then you poop it out.

With me it my Crohn’s disease effects my small intestine.  No two people are affected the same. So for example I can not eat garlic or purple onions (I can eat white onions…) weird huh?  But, another person my be fine eating those foods and not be able to tolerate red meat.  Anyway, since my disease effects my small intestine when food would enter it my body would think something was wrong and it would rush to get that food out of me as fast as possible.  So if you remember it is all liquid at this point.  I would have unbearable cramping and horrendous diarrhea( I warned you it would get gross).  When I was my sickest I was going to the rest room about 20 times per day!  I am 6ft 3″ tall and I dropped down to 159lbs.  I was weak and tired and in so much pain.  Before I was diagnosed I was convinced I was dying.  It was really scary. I was given so much medication, having blood,urine and stool samples taken and no one could figure out what was going on.

When I was finally diagnosed it was a relief.  it was like my death sentence was taken away and I was going to be okay.  I had surgery and 1 meter of my small intestine was removed.  I immediately went into remission and put on 20lbs on in a month.  I now weigh about 195lbs.

So it sounds like things are improving right?  They were but not any more.  Stress is a huge trigger for Crohn’s.  Well, work has been incredibly stressful and I started having more Crohn’s flare ups.  You know what that means right?  More unbearable cramping, more diarrhea and more weight loss.  So, With the pain  and diarrhea I lose weight and muscle and feel bad so bad that I can’t run and I can not relieve my stress.  It really is a vicious cycle.  I have been to the plenty of doctor’s in the past couple of weeks and my Gastrointestinal doctor says to me “Josh, you need to quit your job…It’s Killing you!”I looked at him and said “are you serious?”  He said “yes!”

That brought me to a cross roads in my life…  It made me realize I need to figure out what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy.  And, clearly we all know that my current situation makes me unhappy.  It is time to move on.  Tomorrow I will go to the local tech school and talk to a counselor about learning a trade.  I will live off my GI Bill and Pell Grants and be a student again.

I would rather go broke doing what I want then be miserable and sick doing something I hate.

Let’s close this with one of my favorite Crohn’s running stories.  I was out running and I was at about the 2 mile point of a planned 4 mile run.  I was crossing a small bridge when I felt that familiar rumble. I knew I was going to have to go and I was going to have to go soon.  I knew I couldn’t just drop my short and poop on the bridge so I picked up my pace all while trying to not look like I was clinching my but cheeks together.  I crested the bridge and started down the other side and I said to myself  “let gravity help you pick up the pace” (usually I jog slow but now I was like Forrest…I was running!)  I got to the grass and I saw a sign on the side of the road and I had accepted the fact that Iw as going to have to poop behind the sign (not my proudest moment). But then a block down the street I see a gas station.  and I start sprinting.  I  ran as fast as I could and burst into the convenience store. I looked frantically for the rest room.  but, I could not find it.  The man at the counter was just staring at me so I calmly said “bathroom?”  He just stared at me like he had never seen a man in shorts before.  So I screamed in a panic at the top of my lungs in my best drill instructor voice “BATHROOM!” he stood up straight and pointed and I ran to the back burst into the mens room and went just in time.  I did my thing, cleaned up, washed my hands, and headed out.  And I realized like life things always work out in the end.  And, if things haven’t worked out yet it just isn’t the end.

I walked out of the store ready to start running again, looked at my watch to start the timer , and I realized I never stopped it…After all my sport has no time outs…

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I think it is time to take the road less traveled

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As you know change is on my horizon.  But, change it seems is always on my horizon.  Last night I was feeling introspective and it got me thinking.  How many loves is on supposed to have?  I don’t know for sure but I do know That I have loved several different women and everyone has been loved.

Of course there was my first love.  Our love was passionate and fun and full of adventure.  I learned so much about life, and myself.  But, looking back I realize I was so young.  However, I know I was fortunate to have such a special love in my life.  Then I had love number two.  She was rather different than love number one.  Different physically and mentally.  I was probably still recovering from the heartbreak from my first love.  I was ready for something more and I don’t think I realized how great this new girl was. So, of course I moved on.  Then I met number 3… Talk about passion  Everything we did was fiery.  The talking the hanging out the fighting  you name it there was never a dull moment.  But, she was a bit crazy.  that’s where I learned crazy girls can be fun but also maybe a bit out of my league. Then I met number 4 and she was kind, caring, smart, funny, open minded and we both liked beer.  But, I like cheap beer and she liked good dark beers. I should have known right then and there that I wouldn’t be able to keep a girl like that happy. Along the way I met girl number 5.  She was incredible and as in all cases (there is always one) She is the one who got away.  We clicked instantly!  I remember seeing her for the first time and I was hooked. As soon as I saw here I thought she is the one for me.  We spoke right away and we hit it off from the start.  We were inseparable.  However, our timing couldn’t have been worse.  She moved on and I moved on it was probably one of the most challenging things I ever had to do in my life.  But we always have to move on and in the long run I am glad I did.  I am currently on love number 6 and she is so dear to me.  She tells me she loves me and she she constantly shows me too.  

Looking at this list I have to say I am fortunate to have loved 6 different times.  Of course I have loved my family members but that not what I am thinking of here.  And, as we all know I love Jordan more than anything or anyone in the world.  She is the greatest gift I have ever received in my life and our bond continues to strengthen.

I used to even love my job.  But, know at 39 I wonder did I make the right choices about work?  There is no one to blame but myself and that is a tough pill to swallow sometimes.  My option is to just make a change.  I am actually thinking of quitting work and going back to school full time to learn a trade.  But I worry if that is a huge mistake. I make decent money now and I would be pretty broke if I become a full time student with a part time job.  

But the real question to me is: would I be happier?  A wise man recently said to me… Money isn’t everything but poverty sucks.  

It is funny how my priorities have changed but in a sense have still stayed the same.  

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Changes (all for the better)

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As some of you know my life has been through a lot of changes as of late.  Let see in the past few 5 years I was diagnosed with Crohns disease, Had 1 meter of my small intestine removed, medically retired from the USAF, Moved to Nebraska, moved to Florida, Been through a divorce, dated a handful of (not too many) of women  re-introduced myself to running not to mention trying to raise an incredible young lady.

Now I am still at my job after 4 years.  I am not thrilled with it and I know many people don’t love their job so I try to remember my job does not define me.  I wouldn’t mind it so much but I feel as though the people I work for don’t care about my needs and I am just seen as a number.  Sometimes it is tough to work for the government.  Whenever I want to complain about my job I remember a Drew Carey skit I saw.  It goes like this:

“Oh you hate your job?  Why didn’t you say so?  There is a group for that. Its called everybody! They meet at the bar.”

But, things aren’t all bad.  My daughter is fantastic, My girlfriend is great, I have a nice little apartment with a pool , I live 5 miles from the beach I have some new opportunities on the horizon and I am pretty fit.  And, I don’t always recognize that but when when I seem overwhelmed and I go out for a long run Things always seem to be clear again.  I really needed a long run today so I set my alarm for 4 o’clock and I was psyched to wake up early and get out on the streets.  but I woke up at 6:20am and upon further inspection I set my clock for 4pm by mistake.  Anyway, I went running with Jordan this afternoon and although we walked a lot we talked too.  And that was even better for me than a run.  However, I did set my alarm for 4am for tomorrow morning.  

I’ll let you know how it goes. 

 

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Finding the time.

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You know I feel like my life isn’t being lived to its fullest.  I have all these things I want to do but I can not seem to find the time to squeeze everything in.  How do some people do it?  Sometimes I manage my time really well.  For instance today I went to work, then the gym eventually taking Jordan to physical therapy.  I cam home ate dinner and spent some time with my girlfriend.  It is now 9:15pm.  Should I go out and run?  I really want to but it is still very warm out and I am so tired.  I am not trying to make excuses I am just trying to find balance.  

I suppose I will have to go back to waking up at 4am and getting my runs in.  There are plenty of great things about waking up early and running.  For instance the Florida summers are much easier to handle at 4am. Plus I get home and I have time to go to the breakfast place and have a fantastic breakfast before I start my day.  

Does that make me a morning person?

I remember being a teenager and sleeping all day and not understanding how older people always woke up so early.  When I woke up (even when it was noon) I was so dramatic.  I could barely handle the thought of waking up early.  Now I look forward to waking up early for a morning workouts.  Everything changes in time I suppose.  When I was in high school I could eat all day and have no impact. I used to eat a whole large pizza by myself.  Now if I eat more than two slices I’m sick.  But, I am sure that has something to do with my Crohns disease.  

I feel like this little blurb was all over the place today.  But, it did make me realize it is time for bed (4am comes pretty early).

 

 

   

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Hello world!

This is my first post and I decided I should write about why I started this blog or what I am trying to get out of it.  Sadly, to be honest I don’t know that I can answer both of those questions.

However, Ill give it a shot.  I guess I thought it could be therapeutic to write about my life and some of my experiences. I am thinking that some updates will be long and some will be short.

I remember I started running the Summer I lived with my Dad in Baldwin NY.  I wasn’t sure how old I was until right now and then it came back to me.  I turned 10 that summer.  I learned a lot about myself.  One of my funnier memories was when I went to camp and the counselors had us all sit in a circle and tell about ourselves.  I said ” Hi, I’m Josh and I like everything.” some kid looks at me disgusted and says “you like girls?”  And I remember I almost yelled at at him and replied “YEAH I LIKE GIRLS!”   Ahhh….good times.

I think that summer I also ran my first 1 mile race.  I wasn’t always a runner.  Sometimes I would run and other times I didn’t go out for years.  but now I am back running and it is a huge part of my life

I guess I should save some more for a later time.

 

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.

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