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Migration

December 7, 2012 1 comment

Howdy y’all!

If there is anyone out there still following me, I’m moving to a new blog and have new plans for blogging!

Find me at http://follownopath.com

Hope to see you there!

Mike

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Watch Out 2012

December 13, 2011 2 comments

Goals for 2012 coming soon. In the mean time . . .

Go get it!

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30 Years, A Retrospective

September 26, 2011 8 comments

Wow, has it really been two months since I posted last?  That’s unacceptable!  Of course, who knows if anyone still reads this, but we’ll go under the assumption that someone somewhere still does 🙂

While the last couple of months have been pretty eventful (not the least of which includes the last year of school, a new relationship, and the premature end of my 2011 race season), something happened on Saturday that will never happen again in my life: I turned 30.

I am an introspective man in general, but turning 30 has definitely had me thinking a lot about the past 10 years of my life.  It has been a crazy decade on many levels, and I gain a greater understanding of what I’ve gone through and what it means every day.  As an attempt to process that a little more, and share a little more of me with y’all, I am going to post over the next few days the top 30 things I’ve learned and 30 things I’ve done/gone through over the past 10 years (maybe at some point I’ll go a little further back and do this for my life 0-10 and 10-20.  Today, we’ll start with the top 30 things I’ve learned.

(DISCLAIMER: these are what I’ve learned, not what I think you should know/learn – please see no. 1)

(DISCLAIMER 2: If I am ripping these off from other places, it’s not intentional and I apologize. It’s because you/they said it and it stuck with me.  I’d give credit if I remembered where I read it.)

30.  Everyone should live overseas for at least a year.

29.  Scuba diving is one of the most humbling experiences.

28.  Life really does speed up the older you get (seriously, am I really 30 already?!)

27.  Letting yourself get out of shape is a horrible, horrible idea.

26.  Getting back in shape is really tough, but gives you a sense of accomplishment like few other things will.

25.  Don’t go looking for trouble.  Enough of it is going to find you without your help.

24.  A couple drinks can be fun, but don’t use them as a way to ignore what’s going on in your life.

23.  Embrace absurdity and awkwardness.  Everyone is weird.  Denying it is just foolishness.

22.  Raise a dog or two.  Man, there is nothing like a dog smiling at you and wagging her tail to make the worst day better.

21.  You, good music, and a motorcycle can make for some of the greatest mornings.

20.  Find hidden activities and events in every city in which you find yourself.  You really learn the personality of the city through them.

19.  Find something so beautiful you can’t breathe.  Whether it’s a Jordanian sunset, a Texas snow, or someone you love, be amazed and thankful you got to see.

18.  Be loud and passionate sometimes.  It’s fun 🙂

17.  Do a triathlon once.  The distance doesn’t matter.  It will change your life.

16.  The same is true for Crossfit.  It will change your life.

15.  When a family member is ill, move back immediately.  Don’t think twice.  Better to be there and nothing be wrong than to not be there and miss out.

14.  Don’t over plan.  Things have a way of changing in an instant (and some over time that we just don’t see).  Adapt with those changes.

13.  Sometimes people you don’t know and have only interacted with online can be as much of a community for you as those you’ve known your whole life.

12.  Read a book that makes you cry at least once a year.

11.  There are fears and there are FEARS.  From little ones like heights to big ones like rejection, they should be confronted and overcome.  It’s an ongoing process.

10.  Go big.  Even if you don’t hit the mark you can get some great stories.

9.  It’s okay to be weak.  No one is strong all the time, and weakness can be the best opportunity to see grace.

8.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  That fear can throttle your future.

7.  From the worst times of life, something beautiful can be born.  They say some things have to fall apart so better things can fall together, and they are right.

6.  Life can be tough, but it’s relative. Isolation just makes it worse.

5.   Be thankful.  Really.  It’s changes everything.

4.  You won’t be able to accept forgiveness unless you forgive yourself.

3.  The same is true for love.

2.  Family isn’t just blood, and trusting, while not easy, is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life (it is frightening though).

1.  I am mostly full of crap. If you get anything from this, it’s divine providence, not because of me 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

The Phoenix

July 19, 2011 2 comments

I grew up loving mythology.  My favorite stories were of the Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes.  I loved learning about the belief systems of the ancients of all cultures.  One of the stories that I particularly loved, and still do, was the story of the phoenix.  You are probably familiar with this story if for no other reason than there was a phoenix in one of the Harry Potter movies.  The phoenix was a bird who lived for a certain life cycle (either 500 or 1000 years) and then, at the end of its life, would burst into flames and be reduced to ash before being reborn from the ashes to live a new life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. Hope for me is that belief that things can be better, that redemption, that resurrection can happen.  Hope is that even when I’m reduced to ashes, something beautiful can be formed from those ashes.

Life is going well for me (with the occasional hiccup – see last week’s Portland race recap) 🙂  In the words of One Republic, “what’s there to complain about?”  One of the quiet realizations that I’ve had over the past 8 months is that I am kind of an optimist.  I wouldn’t have guessed that given the rather fatalistic environment from which I came, but surprisingly enough, I find myself believing the best and hoping for the best.  I was shocked 🙂

I came across a Latin proverb the other day, “dum spiro, spero.” It means “while I breathe, I hope.”  I really connected with that.  It’s that idea that hope is something so integral to me that it’s like breathing.  I don’t stop breathing, even when I have a bad breath.  I don’t stop hoping, even if hope seems lost, even if the world looks like ashes around me.  And hoping isn’t to say that I sit on my hands and hope for something to happen.  Hope is the fuel that makes me bolder.  It’s the engine that drives my dreams and goals.

It’s a hard thing sometimes.  I think it’s a simple thing, but not an easy thing.  Hope by definition can’t see the end.  It’s the belief that what you can’t see isn’t going to defeat you or overwhelm you.  It’s the belief that even from the ashes, something amazing, beautiful, profound, and life changing can arise.  It’s a stubborn thing too.  Hope keeps on even when everything else says to just give up.  It can be a little annoying at times, especially for a pragmatist like me.  My head says to find another course, that the path is blocked, but my heart and my hope won’t let me.  I guess maybe that’s part of why I didn’t quit on my race last weekend.  Maybe there was that fundamental hope and faith that the next mile would be better than the last.  I can look out now from where I am in my life and know that the next chapter can be great.  It will be great.  I know it like I know the sun will rise.  Again, that’s not to say I’m not happy with where I am, but I know that what comes next will be even better.

I can relate to the pain that the phoenix must feel when it’s reduced to ash.  I’ve made no secret of the pain I’ve gone through over the past year or so (and extending beyond that).  That is the past.  The ashes, the pain, the mistakes I’ve made don’t define me.  They aren’t who I am.  The hope is that there is something amazing coming (and in part already here).  From those ashes, anything is possible.

What will come?  I don’t know.  I know it will be beautiful.  I have high hopes 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

Dear Grandpa

May 3, 2011 2 comments

I visited you today.  It’s been so hard to go see you.  It’s a beautiful day outside.  You’d love it.  It’s a “go to a Rangers game” sort of day.  A day pregnant with potential.  I told Chad that today is one of those days where you feel like anything is possible.  It belies the sadness that I can’t help but feel inside because it was three years ago that you heard me say “I love you” for the last time.  It was three years ago that my life changed because you were no longer in it.

I don’t know how to say everything I want to say to you.  I have been truly grieving your loss for the first time since you’ve been gone.  That was why it took me so long to go to your grave side.  I haven’t been angry and I don’t blame anyone – not you, not God, not even life – I just want so badly for it to be different.

Life has been so different from what I thought it would be since you’ve gone.  I lost my way for a while and have been fighting with everything in me to find my way again.  I have asked myself so many times if you would be proud of me or ashamed.  I know the answer even before the question because I know you loved me unconditionally, but the lurking fear that in failing in my marriage I failed you still comes out from time to time.  I just can’t help but wonder what would be different if you were still around.

You were the most important man in my life.  You never tried to be my father, you just loved me and helped me grow.  I loved sitting and watching baseball, basketball, football, golf, bowling . . . watching anything with you.  I loved going to opening day with you every year and sitting at IHOP and talking.  I still smile when I think of you at every baseball game cheering me on and yelling “one time now!”  I hate that the Rangers finally got their act together after you were gone, but smile when I think of how excited you’d have been.

And I know that’s why you aren’t really gone.  I know that the things you taught me and how you loved me are the reasons why even through the hardest time in my life I am finding more strength than I thought I had.

I want to be a man that would make you proud.

I want to be a man like you were.

I know it’s life and it’s the way it works.  I firmly believe that death isn’t the end.  It’s just not the same without you here.

I miss you so much.

This isn’t enough.  Words are too small to encompass what you mean to me.  But they are what I have.  The good in me is because of you.  The pain of losing you is hard, but the strength you helped develop is why the losses I’ve suffered won’t beat me.

Thank you.

Categories: Uncategorized

“Just?!?!”

May 1, 2011 5 comments

I worked the OKC Memorial Marathon Expo for the past couple days, and something kept happening that I can’t help but write about.  And fair warning, this is a bit of a rant with some completely unveiled threats, so if that’s a problem, you probably want to skip this post and come back next week when I’m not quite so aggravated.

I tweeted yesterday “seriously people, you aren’t ‘just’ running a half marathon! You are running an effing half marathon! Own it and be proud!” There seems to be this underlying current in the running community where you have to justify the distance you are doing, especially if it is less than 26.2 miles.  I can’t tell you how many times over the course of Friday and Saturday where people told me they were “just” running the half marathon.  My response each time was, “are you kidding me, you are running 13 miles! There’s no ‘just’ about it!”  Seriously, it really kind of pisses me off that people feel like they are less of a runner because they aren’t running 26.2.  The same goes for 5ks, 10ks, running a mile, or even running to the end of the block!  You are running! You are making a choice that a good majority of our culture says is crazy, stupid, or bad for your knees! You are deciding to live a healthier life!  Don’t feel like you are less because you don’t run a marathon (or run at a slower pace or run/walk)!

I’m serious here. If you feel like that, come here to Dallas and I’ll buy you a beer and then hit you for thinking you are less! 🙂

Now alternatively if you are one of those runners who makes people feel like their distance/pace/strategy isn’t worthy of the label “runner,” come on in here to Dallas and I will punch you as well, but you won’t get a beer.  Seriously, if you are one of those d-bags who belittles others for making the choice to put one foot in front of the other for any distance, I will punch you in the throat and probably won’t buy you a beer (although let’s be honest, I’ll probably pick you up off the floor and get you a drink anyway – that’s just who I am)

There are so many people who throw obstacles in front of us in our journeys, we don’t need judgment/approbation from those with whom we share this amazing bond too.  Be proud of your accomplishments.  Don’t settle and get complacent.  Keep pushing yourself. But be proud of what you’ve done, of the choices you’ve made to live healthier and taking on the challenge of running.  You ran ____ effing miles!  You are a badass in my book!

Rant over. (but some throat punches forthcoming) 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

Wholeness

April 24, 2011 2 comments

I realize that, once again, I have been remiss in my blogging duties.  I wish I had a better reason than school, training, and life getting in the way.  The truth is that when I sit down to write I am tired and, while I have plenty to write about, I have found myself without the right words.  That’s not to say that I don’t have the beginnings of posts nor ideas for others.  I have a nice list of things to write about including reviews for my Avia shoes, my First Endurance products I’ve been using for the past month, as well as race reports for Cowtown, the St. Patty’s Tri, the Rock and Roll Dallas Half, and the Lonestar 70.3.  Needless to say, I will be working on getting those out over the next couple weeks.  The bonus is that I have a final on Thursday that I’m somewhat unprepared for, so blogging will provide a much needed distraction from my studying 🙂

So today is Easter, Resurrection Sunday, or Zombie Jesus Day depending on your proclivities.

I have been reflecting on its meaning with particular interest this year.  The idea of resurrection has a new significance to me given the events of the last year.  It’s a hard thing, seeing something die.  Especially when it is something that was the most important part of your life for a third of your life.  It’s even harder in some regards to truly let go and let it be over.  The promise of new birth, of new beginnings, of resurrection, provides hope though.  The belief that things can be made new, that we can be made whole from our broken-ness, is the glory of Easter.  While looking forward can bring trepidation (and can be a distraction when you let it prevent you from living in the present), the hope and promise of being alive again means that the future is exhilarating as well.

I think it’s safe to say that the past few months have been both the most challenging and the most growing of my life.  A simple look at my tweets over that time shows how up and down they have been.  While some may not enjoy the “whiny” or “negative” tweets, I don’t apologize for them.  I am who I am and I have good and bad days.  I’m not going to be fake, even through twitter.  If I’m sad and am tweeting, you’ll know.

Sorry for the digression.  The point is that where am I now is worlds apart from where I at this point last year.  I was in a walking coma.  I was here, but save for a few small areas in my life, I wasn’t really here.  I was focused on physical health, but ignored mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

The craziest thing about that is that my spirituality, my faith, was and is one of the most important things about me.  I let myself get lost in the pain and darkness that I was experiencing and thought that cutting myself off from my faith would make it easier for me.  It took what is one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever gone through to wake me up, to pull me out of my coma, to bring me back to life.  And in the process of the past few months, I am myself again (or actually more myself since it has forced me to work on many deeper issues in my life/past).  I am, for the first time in a long time, holistically healthy.  I am finding myself whole again.  And it’s translating into every aspect of my life.  My training is going better than ever.  I am content.  I am enjoying life again.  There is still sadness and difficult days, but as a whole I am healing/healthy.  It’s a process of course, but it’s one that no longer seems as onerous as it once did.

I tweeted this morning that the fullness of grace in the resurrection is that sin and death were overcome.  The resurrection shows that there is no place so dark or person so lost that life and love can’t reach them.

So if you are in a darker place or in a broken place or feel like you are dead or dying, I hope for resurrection for you.

I hope for wholeness for you.

For strength.

For life.

Happy Easter 🙂

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