Adventure doesn’t have to be big

Adventure.  Everyone wants more but has no idea where to get it.  We know it’s good for our heart and soul.  And sometimes our legs and lungs.  Yet, it seems, less and less of us are adventuring.

 

Adventure is a huge part of our make up.  We as a human race traveled across mountain ranges just to see what was on the other side.  Risking life and the lives of the ones we love.

 

We hopped on rickety boats and sailed across the world.  We climbed mountains without supplemental oxygen, technical gear, or a stairmaster to train on.

 

So, we know it’s a part of what makes us human.  And yes, people are still going on amazing adventures.  We share their stories on podcasts like the Athlete On Fire show and Instagram feeds are inundated with tons of adventurers sharing their views and their thoughts on their experiences.

 

But, for every modern traveler with 80 thousand followers, how many of us are out there doing our thing?  Finding our adventure?  I don’t know.  But let’s at least make it easier to justify.

 

Adventure doesn’t have to be BIG.  I mean, it can be, but then you may just wait until everything is perfect and that’s just silly.  The best adventures are the ones that are not even close to perfect. A bad day in the woods is a much better memory than an uneventful one.

 

Some ways to think about what an adventure is today:

1. It’s something other people aren’t willing to do.

Going for a run at midnight or 4am in the morning in and of itself is an adventure.  Your senses are heightened. The same route you’d take in the middle of the day is completely different.  Just change one variable of a typical thing and it becomes adventurous.

2. Be willing to go somewhere different (MICRO).

This is a quite literal way of thinking of adventure.

You know what, hundreds of people climb Everest every year.

Thousands visit Machu Picchu.

That little grassy knoll on the side of the road 3 miles from your house though, probably noone has been up there in decades.  Find small ways to go places others aren’t going.

 

A friend and I were up in South Dakota recently.  We didn’t feel like driving to a trail head so we geared up and headed out the lodge and across the street.  We ducked into the woods and started climbing.  Snow fields and brush and downed trees.  We kept hiking and freaking ended up at the top of a ski resort.  Unique, unknown, and adventurous for sure.

3. Be willing to go somewhere different, to you.

So you live in the country, go visit the nearest city and go for a run. Hit up the stairwells of the biggest hotel.  New places are invigorating even if they are a few miles aways.  Same for you city dwellers.  Find dirt, play in it.

4. Get uncomfortable.

Raining out, hit the streets. Snowstorm coming?  Bundle up and get out there.  Being uncomfortable changes the stimulus.  Changed stimulus helps us take the world in in a different way.

 

Now, can you start thinking of adventure differently?  We have hundreds of ideas, and we’ll share more but for now get out there and adventure a little more.

 

Have fun adventure ideas?  Let us know in the comments!


 

The author is the host and founder of Athlete On Fire.  Every once in awhile, he blogs about real stuff and adventures as much as he possibly can in his home state, Colorado.
 Like the idea of training for adventure, check out some of our free Workouts for Adventures.

The case against beautiful things.

You know the term “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Well, this is why we can’t have beautiful things. Anymore.

 

First, beautiful– Of beauty, magnificence, or representing an abstract feeling of good, of love.  Both natural and supernatural.  Both literal and figurative. Almost always subjective.

 

 

Athletes find beauty in effort. In victory and in hindsight, DEFEAT.

 

Runners on a trail eye to eye with a deer or overwhelmed by the sunrise off the canyons or the dew or through their breath.

 

Some think a baby crying for the first time is beautiful.  Nope;)  But, the first time they lock eyes, for sure.  Call you daddy, hell yeah!

 

Are weddings beautiful?  Sometimes. But more beautiful is hot food in a messy kitchen at 10pm when you walk in the door for the millionth time.

 

 

 

Is       death                            beautiful?

 

Unfortunately, kind of.

 

But then. Nothing is ever beautiful again.

 

When I lost my dad last fall I felt nothing but love, and sadness.  Never angry.  And a little time has passed and I get pissed here and there.  You know what really pisses me off though?

 

The beautiful things

 

The sunset

 

                        music that moves and my sons and

 

the trails

 

and the clouds from the airplane and my wife.

 

The early mornings and movies and you know what?

 

 

I can see BEAUTY in everything. I think I always have but damn…

 

                                                              It all sucks.

 

I hate the way it feels and the way it doesn’t make people feel.  I especially hate the way it doesn’t make other people feel.

 

 

And I hate that he isn’t here to share it all.  Or is he?

 

I’ve never noticed so much beauty in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you find beauty too.

 


 

The author is the host and founder of Athlete On Fire.  Every once in awhile, he blogs about real stuff and the thoughts that come quickest. He is also writing this p.s.!

Other Athletes

AOF:191 Defining health, bleeding veggie burgers, branding, and healthy plant based food of course.

Matt Frazier founded No Meat Athlete as a blog to follow his own journey and since has grown it into a loyal and respected brand! He previews his newest project, a cookbook with all plant based menu items. We talk about the potential controversy with plant based products that are meant to feel and taste like […]

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AOF:190 Gold medalist and founder of WheelWod.com on adapting.

Chris Stoutenburg leaned back on a railing when he was 20 years old and fell two stories, landing on his arm on a patch of grass the size of his body.  It was a lucky fall and the beginning of his story on the show. He went on to travel the world and win multiple […]

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AOF:189 Adventure writer and ultrarunner Morgan Tilton.

Morgan Tilton decided to run ultra after ultra one summer after catching the “bug”. She just happens to also be a freelance writer who has written for Backpacker, Outside, and Men’s Journal to name a few.  She shares her creative process and some basic guidelines we should all follow when writing.  She shares her training […]

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Athlete Profiles: 003 “Until I found OCR, I was a bit lost and bored with life.”

Athlete (and we are all athletes) Profiles:

Check out more details about why we do this and even submit your profile HERE.



Name:

Stephen Geppert

 

DOB:

11/14/1972

 

Location:

Columbia, SC

 

What is the best thing about your hometown?

Blue Crabs! (My hometown is Baltimore, MD although I’ve lived in so many different places I don’t really have a true hometown). .

 

Athletic history:

I “accidentally” started running when I was 7 years old because I wanted to do the same fun run my 14 year old brother was doing. It’s kind of a funny story, because my parents thought I was missing until they found me sitting on the curb at the finish line waiting for my brother to catch up so we could cross the line together. After that, I didn’t run again until middle school where I ran track and cross country through high school. I also played baseball until I was 13, when I felt pressure to choose between baseball and running track. I played a lot of intramural sports in college but decided not to run competitively in order to focus on school. After that, I was in and out of fitness. When I was 33, I decided to learn how to play soccer and played in a rec league for several years. It was a humbling and extremely rewarding experience.

 

Current athletic passion:

When I turned 40, I did a local mud run (Project Mud) in Charleston, SC. It didn’t seem too bad, so I signed up for a Spartan Race the following April. I ran the first mile at 5K pace and then failed three obstacles in a row. Needless to say, I got crushed and barely finished! Since then, I’ve been hooked and have been getting a little bit better each year. I was fortunate enough to qualify for and run in this year’s OCR World Championships and recently qualified to run it again in 2017. That was a truly amazing experience.

 

Who or what in the world is inspiring you right now?

Prior to starting with OCR, I was 30 lbs heavier and drank way too often (mostly out of boredom). After three years of mostly focusing on the fitness side of things, I recently completed the 90 day OYNB challenge (mentioned in one of your podcasts). What is inspiring me now is how good I feel both physically and mentally as I’ve gone through this journey and how much better I am as a parent, husband, and business professional.

 

What is your favorite single workout or physical challenge that people can try today?

Aside from trail running, my favorite is to find a local playground with monkey bars and a football goal post. You can do traditional monkey bars, lateral monkey bars, Tyrolean ladders, and pull ups on the monkey bars and Tyrolean traverse, overhead beam traverse, and lateral beam traverses on the goal posts. I usually run back and forth between the monkey bars and goal posts between sets. I also live near a state park, so I like to run through the park and hit all of the nearby playgrounds, trees, etc. to do the same exercises during the run. It’s basically like creating your own obstacle course race in training.

 

Why do you consider yourself an athlete on fire?

When it comes to athletics, I’ve always been pretty competitive, so I have always thought of myself as an athlete. (Even when I was 30 lbs heavier and not taking care of myself, I still had the mental image of myself as an athlete). I am also a bit of an introvert, which I think makes it easy for me to go to an event and stay in that competitive athletic mindset because I find it hard to socialize. That being said, one of the things that I unexpectedly love about the OCR community is the completely welcoming atmosphere shared by everyone who participates, from the super-fit elite racers to the less fit first timers who have never done an event before. I have literally never seen anyone make fun of another person at one of these events, and I believe that if someone did, they would be immediately called out and probably shamed off of the course. Everyone is constantly encouraging everyone else. I think this community truly embodies the notion that everyone is an Athlete, regardless of their physical ability or appearance. If you are on the starting line, you are an athlete. It is very common to see people stopping to share food or help someone else who is struggling. I know I have become a lot more social at these events over the years, and now I always bring extra food to share during a race just in case someone needs it. I would never had thought to do that three years ago when I started.

 

What would you say to someone who hasn’t found their passion in sport or life yet?

Keep looking! You don’t know what you don’t know until you do, so just try as many new things as you can until you find what connects with you. It’s out there somewhere.

Until I found OCR, I was a bit lost and bored with life. Now I wake up every day with a purpose beyond the daily routine. It has driven me to make better positive choices and to try to be a better person in all aspects of my life. It just makes everything better overall.

 

Where are you on your athletic journey? Flicker, Flame, or Fire?

Fire

 

What keeps you up at night?

Getting injured! I have learned a great deal in the past three years about how NOT to train and what NOT to do nutritionally. I ran incorrectly, I ate incorrectly, and I trained incorrectly. As a result, I’ve had IT band syndrome, heat exhaustion, dehydration, “bonking”, and this year a broken 5th metatarsal in my right foot. I am now an avid podcast listener and have completely changed my entire training program based on what I’ve learned. We’ll see how this year goes with my newfound knowledge!

 

What’s your favorite healthy recipe that anyone can try today?

I am not a big cook, so I go for simplicity. One of my favorites is grilled chicken in a small soft taco shell with chopped cilantro and white onions, a pinch of lime, and La Victoria Salsa Brava hot sauce. It is super easy and really good!

 

NOTE FOR Stephen:Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with the Athlete On Fire community. Thanks for sharing the awesome workouts and attitude!  OCR is such a great sport. You are inspiring us as much as we are you! You are definitely an inspiring Athlete On Fire!  

 

Remember. I am, you are, everyone is an athlete on fire!

Listen to some inspiring athletes here!

AOF:191 Defining health, bleeding veggie burgers, branding, and healthy plant based food of course.

Matt Frazier founded No Meat Athlete as a blog to follow his own journey and since has grown it into a loyal and respected brand! He previews his newest project, a cookbook with all plant based menu items. We talk about the potential controversy with plant based products that are meant to feel and taste like […]

Read More

AOF:190 Gold medalist and founder of WheelWod.com on adapting.

Chris Stoutenburg leaned back on a railing when he was 20 years old and fell two stories, landing on his arm on a patch of grass the size of his body.  It was a lucky fall and the beginning of his story on the show. He went on to travel the world and win multiple […]

Read More

AOF:189 Adventure writer and ultrarunner Morgan Tilton.

Morgan Tilton decided to run ultra after ultra one summer after catching the “bug”. She just happens to also be a freelance writer who has written for Backpacker, Outside, and Men’s Journal to name a few.  She shares her creative process and some basic guidelines we should all follow when writing.  She shares her training […]

Read More

AOF:187 Great white sharks, sea lice, and big time open water swimming.

Eliza Cummings is a young athlete who is competing in some of the biggest open water swims in the world.  We learned so much from her and enjoyed the passion she brought on a sport we really haven’t covered. On the show There is repellant for sea lice, larva of jellyfish Painting stripes on your […]

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Athlete Profiles: 002 “In retrospect, I should have been a runner that also played baseball.”

Athlete (and we are all athletes) Profiles:

Check out more details about why we do this and even submit your profile HERE.



Name:

Brian DePersis

 

DOB:

1/26/74

 

Location:

Wyckoff, NJ

 

What is the best thing about your hometown?

The best thing about my town is the proximity to so many great places. I’m only 30 minutes from NYC, an hour or so from upstate NY, an hour or so from a beach, and more.

 

Athletic history:

I was a baseball player, from age 4 until 20. That is all I wanted to do. I ran some cross country and indoor track in high school, simply to stay in shape for baseball. I played every intramural I could growing up, we played pick up sports, went to the park for sand volleyball, everything.

 

Current athletic passion:

I am a runner. In retrospect, instead of being a baseball player that ran when I was growing up, I should have been a runner that also played baseball. I love to compete in races, to be faster and push myself.

 

Who or what in the world is inspiring you right now?

I get a lot of inspiration from my fellow bloggers in the fitness world. Some of the things they are doing is amazing. The focus that a lot of them have is a credit to them. Also, Scott Jones! I have been listening to Scott since his first AOF podcast. I love the connection I have to elites by listening, drawing some knowledge, and some workout/racing tips. Finally, my wife is an inspiration everyday. She is my biggest fan, leading our 4 kids to races, giving me someone to sound off to, and pushing me to do more.

 

What is your favorite single workout or physical challenge that people can try today?

I have two for you. The first, go to the Erin Bersini AOF podcast (#83) and check out her 500 rep workout on the page. It’s awesome, simple, and all you need is a pull up bar and your own body.

My second workout is to take your normal, basic jog distance and make it a progression run. For me, a basic 5 miler becomes a test. After the first mile as a warm up, try to go each mile at 15-20 seconds faster than the last. It’s great for negative split work, running on tired legs, and some mental strength for races. End with a mile cooldown.

 

Why do you consider yourself an athlete on fire?

I consider myself an Athlete On Fire because I like to push myself athletically and I look forward to knowing I am choosing to put in the time and effort needed to accomplish my running/racing goals. In the past, I have been good, not great. I have typically been at a Flame level, with short periods of the Fire level. My challenge for myself for 2017, is to really get after it in my personal, professional, and my running life. I want to be in the Fire, put myself out there.

 

What would you say to someone who hasn’t found their passion in sport or life yet?

It’s never too late. The great thing about the connected way of life we live nowadays, is that you can go online and find a league, a club, a group doing anything. Check out what your friends and family are doing on Facebook, or go to your community webpage. Look for something that sounds fun, nothing else. If you have fun, it will stick. If it feels like work, let it go, you already have one job (at least) right?

 

Where are you on your athletic journey? Flicker, Flame, or Fire?

Flame

 

What keeps you up at night?

Ask my wife, nothing! Once my head hits the pillow I’m out. She says it’s a gift I have! The only thing I want, is for my kids to be happy and healthy!

 

What’s your favorite healthy recipe that anyone can try today?

Since it is cold weather time, here’s a recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal.

When you get back from your long run, try this out for breakfast. Bonus if you live somewhere cold! Sub in different nuts if you like, a specific maple syrup, or raisins, etc. If you make it, send me a picture(@dailyfitjournal) & I will post it. Enjoy!

Pumpkin & Maple Nut Oatmeal

3/4 C Canned Pumpkin
1/2 TSP Salt
1 1/2 C Rolled Oats
1 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 TBSP Pecans, Chopped
2 TBSP Maple Syrup

Combine pumpkin & salt w/3 cups water & boil.
Add oats & Spice.
When mix bubbles, reduce to low heat.
Stir occasionally until oats are cooked/thicken ( 8 min).
Top with nuts and syrup.

362 calories
9G Fat
63G Carbs
11G Fiber

10G Protein

 

NOTE FOR Brian:Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with the Athlete On Fire community. Thanks for being such a loyal follower of Athlete On Fire.  You are inspiring us as much as we are you! You are definitely an inspiring Athlete On Fire!  

Be sure to check out Brian’s blog that covers his journey as an athlete, teacher, and family guy!

 

Remember. I am, you are, everyone is an athlete on fire!

Listen to some inspiring athletes here!

AOF:191 Defining health, bleeding veggie burgers, branding, and healthy plant based food of course.

Matt Frazier founded No Meat Athlete as a blog to follow his own journey and since has grown it into a loyal and respected brand! He previews his newest project, a cookbook with all plant based menu items. We talk about the potential controversy with plant based products that are meant to feel and taste like […]

Read More

AOF:190 Gold medalist and founder of WheelWod.com on adapting.

Chris Stoutenburg leaned back on a railing when he was 20 years old and fell two stories, landing on his arm on a patch of grass the size of his body.  It was a lucky fall and the beginning of his story on the show. He went on to travel the world and win multiple […]

Read More

AOF:189 Adventure writer and ultrarunner Morgan Tilton.

Morgan Tilton decided to run ultra after ultra one summer after catching the “bug”. She just happens to also be a freelance writer who has written for Backpacker, Outside, and Men’s Journal to name a few.  She shares her creative process and some basic guidelines we should all follow when writing.  She shares her training […]

Read More

AOF:187 Great white sharks, sea lice, and big time open water swimming.

Eliza Cummings is a young athlete who is competing in some of the biggest open water swims in the world.  We learned so much from her and enjoyed the passion she brought on a sport we really haven’t covered. On the show There is repellant for sea lice, larva of jellyfish Painting stripes on your […]

Read More

Athlete Profiles: 001 Courgette, head stands, cats, and mountain dreams.

Athlete (and we are all athletes) Profiles:

Check out more details about why we do this and even submit your profile HERE.



Name:

Alice

 

DOB:

12/24/88

 

Location:

London, UK

 

What is the best thing about your hometown?

London has the most amazing restaurants – all different cuisines for all different budgets. Plus it’s full of people that all really throw themselves into things, working long hours and running 10 miles through central London to work, everyone being busy and interesting in their own different ways.

 

Athletic history:

I sailed for Great Britain as a junior and did a lot of ballet. Then at 15 I started prioritising my school work and gave up on everything but studying and then eventually studying and drinking with my friends. I started running for the very first time age 23.

 

Current athletic passion:

Ultra running and triathlon – with my first ultramarathon in May next year!

 

Who or what in the world is inspiring you right now?

Pictures of beautiful trails on beautiful mountains just make me want to get out there and run.

 

What is your favorite single workout or physical challenge that people can try today?

I’ve just learnt how to do a headstand and I love it. It is really about core strength and focus on balance. If you can’t do one, give it a try.

 

Why do you consider yourself an athlete on fire?

Because I love it. In just the last few years I have picked up the exercise bug and I genuinely love it all – but especially running. It’s not about how far or fast you go, but whether or not you love it. And I keep telling everyone how brilliant running is and how they should give it a try.

 

What would you say to someone who hasn’t found their passion in sport or life yet?

To keep trying and not to waste time doing stuff they don’t enjoy. If you hate running, that’s fine (I think you’re wrong of course!) but keep trying new things, whether it be exercise-based or art-based or whatever. And if something gives you a bit of a buzz, even if its difficult, keep at it!

 

Where are you on your athletic journey? Flicker, Flame, or Fire?

Flame

 

What keeps you up at night?

My cat licking my face and purring when he decides he wants fed!

 

What’s your favorite healthy recipe that anyone can try today?

Roast veg (whatever you have – but I like sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots) with lentils, chopped up baby tomatoes and lots of parsley. Then topped with courgette dip which is made by shopping up courgettes into a pan, adding in extra virgin olive oil, salt and garlic, and cooking it for 30 mins or so, stirring every few minutes. Its delicious!

 

NOTE FOR ALICE:Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with the Athlete On Fire community. That recipe sounds amazing and the courgette sounds like something new for many athletes! You are definitely an inspiring Athlete On Fire!

 

Remember. I am, you are, everyone is an athlete on fire!

Listen to some inspiring athletes here!

AOF:191 Defining health, bleeding veggie burgers, branding, and healthy plant based food of course.

Matt Frazier founded No Meat Athlete as a blog to follow his own journey and since has grown it into a loyal and respected brand! He previews his newest project, a cookbook with all plant based menu items. We talk about the potential controversy with plant based products that are meant to feel and taste like […]

Read More

AOF:190 Gold medalist and founder of WheelWod.com on adapting.

Chris Stoutenburg leaned back on a railing when he was 20 years old and fell two stories, landing on his arm on a patch of grass the size of his body.  It was a lucky fall and the beginning of his story on the show. He went on to travel the world and win multiple […]

Read More

AOF:189 Adventure writer and ultrarunner Morgan Tilton.

Morgan Tilton decided to run ultra after ultra one summer after catching the “bug”. She just happens to also be a freelance writer who has written for Backpacker, Outside, and Men’s Journal to name a few.  She shares her creative process and some basic guidelines we should all follow when writing.  She shares her training […]

Read More

AOF:187 Great white sharks, sea lice, and big time open water swimming.

Eliza Cummings is a young athlete who is competing in some of the biggest open water swims in the world.  We learned so much from her and enjoyed the passion she brought on a sport we really haven’t covered. On the show There is repellant for sea lice, larva of jellyfish Painting stripes on your […]

Read More

Guys Night:001 3Tread: 3Row: 3Random

When my second kid was born three years ago, I ran out of time.

 

So, I reached out to a few buddies with similar situations and we started working out at 9pm on Tuesday nights. Almost four years later and we are still at it. The workouts are usually pretty tough.  A few of us get competitive and a few of us just get through it.

 

The sweat is always flowing, post beer always cold, and the company always great.

 

I’ll be posting these workouts for you to try.  This one was pretty short and intense to get back at it after 2 months of fairly sedentary living after the passing of my pops.

And for the love of all things good, if you are in Colorado, you gotta join us.  This guy did once last year.


The Workout:  3 SETS (9 minutes/set)

3 minutes on the treadmill at 15% incline and 3.5 mph

3 minutes rowing keeping under 2:10 pace/500m

Then this set in under 3 minutes:

  • 30 feet bear crawl
  • 30 feet crab walk
  • Our weight was 70 lb dumbbell squat press (35lb/hand) Elbows to knees.  10 reps
  • Machine pull downs>> Heaviest you can handle for 10 reps
  • 10 sit ups

 

Note: We did three sets in about 30 minutes.  Light night but felt pretty worked.  We all started at a different station which was decided by the time tested rock….paper…scissors.  1, 2, shoot for the record.

Athlete Profiles

We kind of have this idea.  It is that everyone is an athlete.  We use the podcast to showcase amazing athletes of all levels from all over the world doing amazing things and we want to continue the process here.  How many athletes can we showcase?  We hope 1000’s.

How to be featured?

First of all, being featured isn’t for athletes trying to brag, it is for the readers to gain perspective.  We are all different.  Share a little bit about yourself and it may inspire or give some ideas to others out there.  We are open sourcing what being an athlete look like.

All you have to do is:

  1. Fill out the form below
  2. Send a picture of you doing something you love (posts without pictures are boring) Sent to: athletesonfire (at) gmail (dot) com.

We will get it up in the order we receive.

Do you see anything we missed?  Any questions that would add to the reading experience?  Let us know!

 

Doubling Down: An athlete/entrepreneurs roadmap to truly connecting with people these days.

In late August of 2013, I was driving across Kansas, weary physically and whatever is much worse than weary mentally.  It just hit me.

 

The event my wife Lauren and I started a year ago that had over 2000 people show up in Denver was about to ruin us.  That drive began after the last of 10 events in 10 weeks in 10 cities across the country.

 

Without spending money on marketing, we averaged about 1200 people.  Awesome right?  Well, when we finally dig out of the debt we incurred from this “success” sometime in 2017, at this rate, I’ll share just how awesome those numbers really were.

 

Family lent us money, friends, credit cards did too.  Ouch.  Why wasn’t Lauren in that truck with me?  Oh, she was pregnant with our second son, West.  But I don’t get stressed.  I just push that stuff wayyyyy back.  And I thought on that long drive.

 

  • Did I enjoy this?  NOPE
  • Was it fun?  NOPE (besides some of the adventure or traveling)
  • Was it profitable? Hell NOPE

 

Ok, no more cross country race series.  We are really good at marketing but doing the jobs of 20 people just wasn’t doing it for us.  Companies like Human Movement are really good event producers, we just seem to be  ignorant idea machines at times. But enough about events.

Tons of people, zero connection

 

Here is the biggest takeaway.  We had thousands of people do our event that summer and I knew none of them.  Connected with zero people. It was sad.

 

On that drive across Kansas I decided to start Athlete On Fire.  I would connect with people around the world. Inspire them. Hopefully teach them.  It was in my wheel house and expertise.

 

I also decided to meet new people in person.  Every other week I would find someone new to have coffee or a beer with.  Entrepreneurs, clients, athletes, all of them.  I wanted to connect.  It worked.  I felt better about my work and learned what others were passionate about.

 

I learned about myself and the fact that in such a lonely world, sometimes, we need to get back to the old way of doing things.

 

I mean, who is feeling a little lonely out there?  Maybe not all the time but in a such a “social” world, it does amaze me that feeling lonely is more prevalent than it used to be, or should be. Really, it’s just a theory.   Based on…

  • Gym goers that never look up to make eye contact and never take their headphones out.
  • Travelers that won’t say a simple “hello” or how are you when sitting an inch or two away.
  • Happy going adventurous social media “sharers” that end up hopelessly depressed or worse.

 

I recently laid out how important it is for me to “DOUBLE DOWN” on people.  I came up with most of it when I got back to Colorado that fall. It can happen in person or online.  I’m sharing this because I hope it will help you look at connecting with people differently.

 

NOTE:  Double Down is a gambling term (I don’t often) when you have the opportunity to put twice as much on the table to win twice as much. In this context, you are putting twice the effort into PEOPLE, not cash.

 

Doubling Down On People: An Outline

Online

A. Reach out and get personal– Don’t wait to be invited to send a message or tell someone what they mean to you, even if you don’t know them. It’s powerful.  Kalli, who has helped with this project for over a year did just that.  Many did when my dad passed a couple months ago.  I’ll never forget the gestures.

 

B.  Schedule calls and emails– Meet someone on Twitter you find interesting? Ask for their email, or a call.  I met Justin Kruse because he reached out with some questions about being a coach.  We were on the phone on a Friday night and have since started a project together (more on this later).

 

C.  Ask how to help– Social media and the online world is the “What can you do for me?” universe.  Ask someone how you can help them.  It’s an awesome feeling even if they don’t find ways you can help.

 

D. Follow Up– We have all dropped the ball on this one but it’s important if you want a real relationship.

 

E. Find ways to take it offline– My default is going for a run or hike.  You’ll figure it out.

In Person: Random Encounters with People

 

A. Be open and flexible, engage– I don’t want to talk for a 4 hour flight anymore than you do but you have to say hi when someone sits next to you, every time.  It’s decent people. 

 

Sometimes, it turns into something way cooler.  On a recent flight I gave my aisle seat on a Southwest Flight, the very last aisle or window seat to an older guy (71) I found out.  Dudes, I’m 6’2” 200. Anyway, I walked away with  his stories. His brother was an elite distance runner in the 60’s. He ran a marathon with a buddy on a bet on random roads with no fuel. He was a civil labor attorney and I have his number for any business consulting I need and I had two other contacts he thought would help me. WHAT? I couldn’t buy that type of connection online.  I was open and flexible.  I engaged.

 

B. Make it about them– Just listen.  I have gotten so much better at this because I interview people and make it about them as much as I can.  People love people who listen to them.  People want to be around people that listen to them.

 

C.  Collect experiences– Life is about experiences and I always look for new ones.  Good conversation is an experience and so is getting out of your comfort zone to engage strangers.  Christian Griffith regularly posts about this engagements with strangers.  It’s inspiring for us to see and valuable to experience.  Check out #liveforaliving

 

D. Be approachable–  On the trail, at the store, airport, church, gym,  and wherever.  Be approachable.  Head up.  Headphones out at least some of the time.  Eye contact.  All of it. Be willing to have people approach you and it is so much easier to find connection.  Most of these things are skills I am currently teaching my 5 and 3 year old.  You can do it.  It’s worth it.

And that’s it.  Simple concepts.  It’s in our DNA to connect with other humans and I promise, it will feel good when you do.

 

Let me know if I missed any way to connect. What has been working for you lately?


Scott Jones founded Athlete On Fire so he could connect with more people, more often.  Sharing that part of the project has seemed important lately!  Feel free to connect with him anytime!

If Everyone is an Athlete; considerations for “everyone” moving towards a new year.

There is something I, we, believe here at Athlete On Fire. The idea that EVERYONE is an athlete.  Bring us your lazy, your overweight, your elite, your depressed and broken, your everyday and fairly normal, your adaptive, and please, bring us the non-believers.  The ones that do not believe that everyone is an athlete because of their own definition and the ones that do not believe because they don’t believe that they could ever be.

If we are all athletes, then, what should we be asking of ourselves.

There are really two parts to this.

  1. How do we want our bodies to serve us?
  2. How do we want our minds to serve us?

As athletes.  No, as people, these are the only resources we truly have.  The third some would argue is our soul but I am of the mind that if we take care of as much of the conscious as we can, the subconscious, or soul, ends up being pretty well taken care of.  I am writing this based on how I try to see things so although my exercise science is fairly sound ( I can refer to text and research), my thoughts on the things we can’t see are simply that, thoughts.  Take ’em or leave ’em.

 

Now for the things we can and should take care of as athletes.

How do we want our bodies to serve us?

This is a question I ask myself when working with and training athletes that pay for guidance.

Okay, this is a runner that wants to PR in the 5k.  She needs to knock off a minute from her time.  She needs to get faster, duh.  How can we prep her body to serve this goal?  Insert training plan and 15 years of experience and a M.S. in the field and boom, we serve that body.

What if you don’t have a specific goal?  

  • Does your body need to look good?
  • Does it need to feel good?
  • Does it need to get you somewhere on foot in the mountains?
  • Does it need to bend and twist and pick up your kids?
  • Does it need to be ready for a Spartan Race?
  • Does it need to be strong?

There is no right answer and as you go through the seasons of your life these needs will change.  It’s important to be honest on how you want your body to serve you.  If you think you want to run 30 miles but you find yourself lifting heavy on a whim, you’re likely to get hurt.

The challenge:

Start to decide how you want your body to serve you for the next 13 months.  Take the whole month of December to really think about it so you don’t default to “look good” and “weight loss” come January.  Find meaning in how you use this gift (our body) we all have and lastly, make sure it lines up with the second thing we ask of ourselves…

How do we want our minds to serve us?

I’d say this is fairly simple.  We should want our minds to serve us as the most positive influencer in the world.  If we can find a way to make what we think our best source of inspiration, motivation, compassion, and love (of ourselves and of others) then we truly don’t need much else.  And no, this isn’t easy but it is a muscle we can train.

A good example. We have a project called Becoming Ultra.  It is all about coaching a couple ultra running first timers in 6 months to their first ultra, usually 50 miles.  We have world class ultra runners coaching them on the show and every season we cover the training of your mind.

There are a few themes:

  • Plan your thoughts when certain things happen.
  • Find a positive mantra
  • Be flexible

If you can plan what you will think about before it happens and make sure that thing is positive then you are ensuring that a default negative thought won’t be allowed to creep in.  Those negatives ones are notorious on 15 hour runs.

If you have a simple one or two word mantra to fall back on it serves a similar function except it is more proactive. You are deciding to think positive things all the time instead of just when it gets tough.

The concept of flexibility is that nothing can really shake you.  My family recently lost my dad.  We weren’t flexible to this idea of loss and it has hurt that much more.  And you probably shouldn’t be flexible when it comes to love but when it comes to the mind of an athlete, realizing that failure and success, pain and suffering, joy and despair, can all come from somewhere different and often unexpectedly.  Be open to rapid change when it comes to your mind and your physical feats.

The Challenge:

Decide how you want your mind to serve you.  If it serves you well, your body will follow.  Yogi Berra had it right when he said…

Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.

What are you going to ask of your body and mind in 2017, for the rest of your life?  Continue to update what you ask of it often.  Good coaches and trainers have the uncanny to ask this of their athletes all the time.  You should be the foremost expert on yourself from now on!


 The last time I saw him he told me I was his best friend. He always did.

Scott Jones, M.S. is the founder of Athlete On Fire.  While sitting on the river bank the days after losing his dad he noticed that the river never stopped and it never would.  So, if that is going to flow no matter what we face in life, let’s get clear about what we have and what we should ask of ourselves.  It inspired this article.  He trains and coaches athletes in Colorado and on the internets.

The Toughest Game

My dad….

is gone.

But life is a game and we are all athletes.  He taught me this.  Let me tell you about the toughest game I ever played.

Pregame

I can trick myself often enough living in Colorado (he lived in West Virginia) to make myself feel like he is still here.  But, he isn’t.  At least not in the same way he was for the first 38 years of my life and for the entire 62 of his.  As of this article, it has been 46 days since we lost him.  I was there that day, that moment (more on that in a bit).
 
At least once a day I grab for my phone to call him.  I don’t grab the phone in denial, which is one of the 5 “stages” of grief (more on that in a bit as well), but as a habit.  I literally talked to the guy every day or at least pretty dang close.  Athletes are habitual creatures and if if this one sticks, I am cool with it because it at the least gets me to stop and think about him.
 
I can write about the man but I wanted to share what the first month and a half has been like and a few things that I never knew would matter but really did in hindsight.

Scouting Report:

  1. I believe in God but I can understand why people don’t.  To me, you either do or you don’t.  I think my dad is in heaven.  I think I will see him again, somehow.  This may frame my grief a bit.
  2. I have a demented sense of humor and can provide more sources than most humans to this fact.  Examples will ruin this heartfelt post immediately.
  3. I believe that everyone is an athlete.  Different levels, yes. But all ages and through all stages of life, it is the founding principle of Athlete On Fire.

First Quarter

I had to come back up the page to add this sentence.  I didn’t know where I would go with this but I think I just needed to write it all down. At least as much of the day as I could.  My goal in starting was to share what grieving has been like so as to help others potentially.  I didn’t have room for this story but I will write about it soon.
 
Before we can grieve in the case of losing someone, we have to lose them.  Guarding and allowing negatives thoughts about the potential outcome is normal, just as it is for athletes competing.  It’s doubt at an outcome.  We can’t let those emotions control us.  It is why I am blindly optimistic about everything because I believe that it ain’t over until it’s over.  Something else my dad taught me.
 
I left my dad and mom’s side to head back to Colorado to see my family after a week of sitting in a hospital while my dad fought against the sepsis that overtook his body.  I went home because he was getting better, I knew when I got back we would be able to talk, even if it was in the hospital for a long recovery.  It was a Wednesday morning.  By Thursday I was back on a plane, driving through the night, to say goodbye.  Okay, the story of the toughest game of my life and then back to grieving.
 

At the gym…

I was home for a day.  Dad was getting better.  This dude could fight.  He beat cancer, had heart surgery, and more ailments than you could imagine.  He needed a kidney and my mom put him through dialysis every other day.  He’s tough.  The day after I got home I got news he was getting stronger and they would extubate him, or take the tube out so he could breath on his own.  The day was full of texts and nothing negative.  I decided I needed to go work with some of my clients.  I am an entrepreneur and the stress of not working is a real thing.  Cash was dwindling.  Anyway, I was sitting at the office in the gym catching up on emails and other stuff with my online biz and my mom called.

 

beeeeeeeepppppppppppppppppp

 

Second Quarter

 

“They were re-intubating him and when they did he went into cardiac arrest.  They did CPR and revived him and we are waiting to hear how he is doing.” My mom told me.
 
I knew. Right then.  My gut, whatever.
 
I knew but I couldn’t allow myself to know.  I am sure my dad did this with his cancer that the doctor told him would take his life in 3 months.  “I know what they are saying but I have bigger plans” thinking.
 
Also, when I was at the hospital only a few hours earlier the docs had said his heart was too weak for CPR and they would not administer.  That was the rational part of my brain remembering important details.  No matter, I broke down.  In the gym. Five minutes before my client* was to walk in.

 

*my clients are referred to as clients but I have worked with most of them a minimum of 5 years. They are really good, really close friends.

 

So, on cue, she walks in.  On time for once too, what the hell(this is exaggerated for effect).  I was already frantically looking for flights for that night.
 
It was 5pm.  No luck.
 
She asked what I needed and I just said I needed some fresh air so we were going to go for a walk.  I had to text one more friend who could always find flights.  I texted her.  Then, we headed out the door. When we got outside the friend I wrote was standing there putting boxes in her car from the UPS store.  She hadn’t seen the text yet.  Wow.  She hugged me after I told her what was up and she told me to keep my phone close.  I walked for 25 minutes and then headed home. One stop, to grab a bottle of wine, it was Lauren and my ninth anniversary.  The phone rang on the way home and my friend found a flight that left in 90 minutes. Wow.  She(they) took care of the flight.  Really?  I don’t really deserve friends this good.
 
I got home and Lauren and I left the house quickly. I already had a bag packed to go as I was going to mentor at a trail running camp in Texas the next day. Weird.  I was on the plane by 7:15 and the drive was 40 minutes.   I’ll always feel indebted to my friends who found the flight.
 
I sat down and ordered a coke.  Oh yeah, I bought a little Jack Daniels mini when I got the wine.  I don’t really drink much more than beer but it was my dad’s favorite drink when he did drink.  Seemed appropriate. I actually bought the TV service on the plane because I knew a distraction would be nice.  The second I turned it on I saw someone wearing a “DEFWU” shirt.  My dad’s college intramural team name and fantasy football name.  I used it in my college intramural teams too.  WEIRD.  I even took a pic.

 

 

2016-10-06-22-21-09

DEFWU: Don’t Even F With Us.


 
beeeeeeeeppppppppppppppppppppppp
 

Third Quarter

Didn’t sleep. Watched some goofy movie with a lil dude and a big dude. The Rock and Kevin Hart I think. It was just dumb enough to keep me entertained. I only lost it once for about 10 seconds. I wasn’t trying to hold back to be tough, I had lots of travel left and wanted to be focused.  I am an athlete you know.
 
I got to Baltimore at 1:30, in rental car and on my way at 2:00, am. I’d be driving 3.5 hours to Morgantown, WV.  The second I got in the car I knew silence was NOT my friend.  I called a good friend who actually got me started in podcasting (he has a beast show).  He lost his father at a really young age and I was pretty self aware that I didn’t want to make a deal of what I was going through.  Just wanted to hang out.  He was awesome.  I am lucky.  I have at least 15 friends I could have called and they all would have answered. Beyond lucky.  My mom, sis, or uncle called in a few times to check on me. The stress I heard was palpable.  I knew.
 
My friend talked to me for a good 2 hrs.  Then I called the next.  He answered.  We talked for 25 and I found out later that when I clicked over to talk to my uncle again, he passed out…haha.  It was 4:30 in the morning. On to the next friend.  I was moving from friends that would answer because it was too late(west coast) to friends that would answer because it was too early(east coast).  The conversations were great.  My last buddy is a high school hoops coach so it was cool to hear about his upcoming team.  His style of fundamentals and discipline mirror my dad’s coaching mantras. These three friends knew what I needed.  They knew silence was rough and even though they were tired they kept it going. WOW.
 
So I am getting into the city limits and my uncle calls, one last time.
 
Uncle: “Are you close?”
 
Me: “Yep about 8 minutes.”
 
Uncle: “Okay be safe.”
 
Me: “I’m fine, wired.  Hey, I have this theory… My mom and doll (sister) want me to be safe so they aren’t telling me everything.  Just answer… Is he gone?”
 
My uncle(dad’s brother) was standing in the room with my mom, dad, sister, and mom’s brother at the time.
 
Uncle: heavy sigh “yeah”
 
Me: “Love you, see you in a few.”
 
I knew. Really knew.
 
Surreal.
 
bbbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp
 

Fourth Quarter

 
I parked.  I put my headphones in and listened like a player heading into an arena.  That’s what it felt like.   I was honest to God treating this like a big game.  It’s all I knew/know.  A Lumineers song played.
 
The lyrics

“It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference.”

Well, they nailed that one for this moment.
 
Although it’s probably some love lost song.  Appropriate.
 
I went to the restroom. Long night on the road.  I took a picture of myself as the last of me with a living dad.  A living best friend. I don’t know why I did that although I think it is probably somewhat normal which is a stretch for me in most anything.
 

2016-10-07-05-32-02

I was stalling at the hospital. I don’t take many selfies. This was just proof to me that I lived in the same world my dad did, for a little longer.  I had been up for more than 50 hours in a row twice in a week.


 
I walked to the elevator I had used for a good week for his initial hospitalization.  Then I took a video for the same reason.  I hesitate to share this but what the hell.
 

 

Out the elevator….pause.  Take the headphones out.  Turn off phone and store them in coat.  How in the heck am I still self conscious?  My dad taught me this and I think it’s one of my better qualities.
 
Walk through the waiting room.  People sleeping. People staring the ICU waiting room stare.  , Sanitizer my hands and walk through the door and down the hall.  Turn to see him in bed.  My mom sitting by him on his left.  My uncles, both Steves, standing. My sister behind my mom.
 

Timeout

 
Now I am grateful for this game analogy.  I haven’t had any problem writing until now. I’m shaking a bit either from this freezing new gym I am working with athletes out of or because of what I am writing. It doesn’t matter. Ok I’m good.
 

Time in

 
I had never seen my dad’s brother cry.  They are tight as brothers go and I have more happy memories just with those two than you can imagine. They were both really good athletes.   My mom’s brother had turned around and drove all the back a few hours when dad’s health declined.
 
My mom rushed to me and told me he was…..damn, I’m out of timeouts.
 
She told me he was waiting for me.  That the drugs were keeping him alive.  From that call in the gym until now was 8 hrs.  My sister and mom and uncles waited 8 hrs for me to get there. Knowing.  I love them for that.  She told me I could talk to him.  There were hugs and crying and all that before and after and during and my timeline won’t be exact.  I put my hand through his hair like he did when I was a kid. Like I do with my boys.  I talked to him and don’t remember for how long or mostly what about.
 
I know told him…

  • he was my hero
  • I loved him
  • I would never see him as weak
  • I was proud to be his son
  • Thanks for showing me how to love
  • I hoped I’d be half a man and dad as him

He looked fine. Really. He wasn’t bloated. No tube in his throat anymore.  (I had done CPR on a man on a hike in Colorado who had passed on the mountain with one of my best friends and two others.  He was bloated. That’s what death looked like.)  My dad just looked like he was sleeping.
 

I backed away. Cried.  I looked at my sister and asked if it was weird to take a picture holding his hand.  She assured me that her and my mom had already and I should.
 

The last time I'd ever touch my dad. He was known for big hugs and lots of love.

The last time I’d ever touch my dad. He was known for big hugs and lots of love.

 

The last 100..

My mom asked if I was okay to let him go.  I said yes against every fiber of myself.  She told the nurses.  They would take the drugs off and let it happen.  My mom is a nurse.  She knew the drill it seemed.  So is my dad’s brother.  We all knew the drill I guess at this point.
 
She kissed and held and hugged and talked some more. My sis and I held each other and her, and him.  My uncles were around the foot of the bed I think.
 
My dad is obsessed with numbers, dates, times.  He would have practice at 2:03 and would plan time to the second.  The heart rate on the annoying beeping machine said 100 bpm. All the other vitals were turned off or I just didn’t notice.
 
90
 
I don’t remember what I was thinking
 
77
 
I was literally thinking about the basketball games we would play in the driveway. He would count down and I would shoot the game winner.  Dang I wish I had a ball right now.
 
62
 
Thinking and praying for my mom’s pain. Holding her and my sis tighter. Sometimes too tight.
 
44
 
His heart is actually counting down the last seconds of his life.  Are you effing serious?
 
30
 
I love this man. This family
 
18
 
14
 
10
 
5
 
8
 
Yeah it went up a couple times.  He did NOT want to die.  He would never concede.  EVER.  And this you have to know about him.  He fought for his life every day.  He loved us all too much. He loved life too much.
 
4
 
1

Game Over

 
And I lost right?  We lost.
 
That’s the funny thing.  I mentioned in the first few sentences that I never knew being their to see him like this would be important.  Here is what happened. I don’t know how to explain it.
 
His heart stopped.
 
I saw the second it happened.
 
His face lost it’s color.
 
I KNEW.  
 
But what I felt was LOVE. Overwhelmingly.  I told my mom and sister a hundred times.  “i feel so full of love”
 
And I did.  He won. He filled as many people with love as anyone could. And that’s why it hurts so much.  But, don’t be fooled.  We won this game.
 

Post Game

 
We headed to the holding room to sort out the details. Painstaking stuff like legal crap and all that.  My brother in law, best man at my wedding and I at his, walks in with my nieces.  I squeezed him as tight as I could because I could.
 
A little later we walked into a changed world out the doors of the hospital.  The WVU football field was our first sight. It’s either cruel or beautiful. I choose to believe the latter.
 

This was the first breath of fresh air in the new world our family would live in.

This was the first breath of fresh air in the new world our family would live in.

 

We went back to friends to wait to see the funeral home.
 
They asked if my dad’s remains would fit in a box the size of a brick. We all laughed.
 

The funeral home walls a few hours after. These bricks were memories a life and family was built on. The house goes nowhere no matter what.

The funeral home walls a few hours after. These bricks were memories a life and family was built on. The house goes nowhere no matter what.


 
We left to drive home to my parents place. It’s a 2.5 hour drive.  My uncles went on to their homes far away.  The drive wasn’t real.  Nothing really was.
 
The metaphors were strong this fall day. My dad died on a Friday in the fall. He was a football coach. Who would guide us home?

The metaphors were strong this fall day. My dad died on a Friday in the fall. He was a football coach. Who would guide us home?


 
My mom and I got there first. To their house. They rebuilt it and made the coolest little retirement home on the river in West Virginia you can imagine. Hot tub, big yard, fishing, lots of chilling at the fire pit. All of it hit me there. Ever thing I touched hurt. Every picture I saw hurt even more. I need to ask my mom about this but I felt like a freaking dog getting a smell of everything so he could relax.
 
Except, I was smelling love and it was tearing me up.
 
Jake, BIL, walks in. We all hug and he pours some Jack over ice with a lime. We all agree that is NOT supposed to go down anyones throat.
 
Football is on. Baseball is on. My sister sleeps with my mom. I sit in my dad’s recliner. I drank a big ol glass of JD but it did nothing. I couldn’t sleep because I didn’t want to wake up. I had lost enough big games to know what it would feel like. I wasn’t wrong.
 
Dang I love that guy. I woke up. Made everyone bacon and eggs like he would. Felt mature for the first time in my life and hated it. Felt real pain for the first time in my life and HATED it even more.
 
But I won, we all did. We just have to game plan a little different moving forward and I’ll be damned if I don’t play even harder for the rest of my life.
 
Until he’s counting down for me again.  Up there.
 
It wasn't in vein and it was more real than the air we breath. Their lesson in love is their legacy.

It wasn’t in vein and it was more real than the air we breath. Their lesson in love is their legacy.

 

Authors Note:

This wasn’t easy to write but seemed important. Even if only for me.  I started this to share what I’ve learned about the grieving process as an athlete.  I’ll write that soon enough.  It’s no accident I wrote this the day before Thanksgiving.  I am a grateful dude. Thanks for reading. Today my uncle became a grandfather.  Little boy came into this world as they often do for families in such timely ways. May we all love him!  I love you dad.
 

I have no guilt, no regrets. We did it right. The last time I saw him he told me I was his best friend. He always did.

I have no guilt, no regrets. We did it right. The last time I saw him he told me I was his best friend. He always did.