general

What’s Holding You Back?

fearI know my answer: fear. Pretty simple. I hate admitting that and saying it out loud, but it’s real. As I look forward to another day, another month, another year, the one thing I want focus on is accepting my fear and moving beyond it. I want to continue to work on letting go of the phantoms of things that haven’t been because of my fear—fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of doing too much, fear of doing too little, fear of not being the husband or dad I want to be, fear of not being the man I want to be…so. many. fears. They’re not debilitating fears, but everywhere in my life I can see the remnants of decisions based on fear.

I’m ready to move beyond it.

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running

Time to Set a New Goal

It’s time for my monthly running update. By now, minimalist running for me is pretty much old news. 2013 was all about discovery and transition. Done. In my last running post, I discussed how I’d like to be faster in 2014 and I set a goal of averaging 7’45″/mi over 4+mi. Well, one month into the new year with 8 runs down, I broke that goal today: 7’43″/mi over 4.31 mi.

Now I just need to maintain that. I have to say, I feel it. As I’ve pushed my speed over the last few runs, my left hamstring—which I tore 5 or 6 yeas ago doing wind sprints—has been acting up. My strategy of resting at least two days between runs has pretty much taken care of that, but I’ll need to keep an eye on it. I’ve also noticed some stiffness and a few sore spots in my lower calves and achilles, but those also dissipate after a couple days’ rest and I’m able to get back out and run.

My goal has never been distance. Sure, getting at least 4 miles in each time is nice, and I might push for 5 this year, but ultimately I like speed. I’m going to keep pushing for consistency and speed and just see where I end up by December.

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general

Writing the Reality I Want

Photo by Jonathan Kim

Photo by Jonathan Kim

Writing has become one of my “go-to” tools for getting through life. Up until last year, I didn’t really journal much. I often came to this blog or my family blog to work through a situation, thoughts, or feelings on certain topics—as a way to think through the act of writing and to put it out there for feedback—but I never wrote privately to work through my more personal struggles. Let’s just say I’m a late-bloomer.

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running

Carrying “Toe Shoe” Momentum Into 2014

I took my first minimalist run of 2014 today. The air’s been so shitty here in Fresno—we get the smog from LA and The Bay, and since this is a valley, it just hangs here—so it’s been literally too nasty to go outside. But today it cleared and I carried on (4.3 mi, 8’06″/mi).

2013 was all about transitioning from my Nike+ Free shoes to the Vibram 5-fingers (a.k.a. minimalist running). A year ago, my knee hurt so bad that I couldn’t run at all, and walking was painful. So I began the transition to losing the shoes and learning some more natural (and hopefully less painful) running mechanics. To say it was a rough road is a bit of an understatement. You can read all about it, but basically I had small injuries and muscle pulls in my calves and achilles for the first half of the year, up until July, where I finally started to gain some traction.

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Riding the #Nerdlution into 2014

ready_setI’m in sort of an after-Thanksgiving reflective state and it’s interesting how focusing on gratitude seems to get many of us in such a state. Maybe being thoughtful about what we’re grateful for leads us to take stock in what’s important to us in general, where we’re at in our lives, and where we want to go. Maybe being around (or not being around) family reminds us of our place in the world, our relationships, and pushes us to consider what really matters to us.

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running

Almost Back: Persevering With Minimalist Running

10_6_13It’s been almost two months since my last update on transitioning to minimalist running and I’m still at it. In fact, after hitting a sort of stride in July, I’ve basically been free of injury, increased my number of runs per month, my mileage, and have actually improved my average time per mile. I’m even faster now, on average, than I was running with “normal” shoes. As with most things though, the numbers can be a little deceiving.

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working out loud

Out of My Cage for Personal and Professional Growth

f2fI love working from home. Yes, it has taken some time to figure out and define boundaries with the other occupants of my “office,” especially the three shorter ones, but I’ve gotten better at shutting doors and using my noise-canceling headphones without feeling cold or neglectful. And, of course, you can’t beat the dress code.

That being said, I’ve discovered that while I often feel more productive at home than in the “real” office, there are times I miss the face-to-face interactions that being in a traditional office affords. My work teams have been doing much more video conferencing via Google Hangouts, but it’s not quite the same.

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working out loud

Working Out Loud

working_out_loudAt the National Writing Project I’m the manager of much of NWP’s presence on the interwebs, and I’ve recently had the privilege and opportunity to work with teachers from around the country who are helping to create, facilitate, and implement some of our summer initiatives. This is the Summer of Making and Connecting and besides getting to observe some pretty amazing work around the country, it’s been refreshing to take a new look at what I do professionally.

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general

Expectations: Pre-Meditated What?

expectations

Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.

I have come to learn that this is simply true. And although I’ve accepted this as true, it’s amazing how often I still fall prey to this old habit of creating and holding onto expectations. Part of my work with acceptance and gratitude has helped me improve how I look at and deal with life, and another big piece of “project self-betterment” is trying to eliminate those damned expectations.

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Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (A Review)

Not knowing exactly what to write, I wanted to write a review to remind myself of the key points in this book and share something that is likely not on most people’s radars. Much of this book can’t be summarized or fully captured in a blog post, but I think the quote below gives you an idea of what you’ll find in here. The basic premise is that we need to fully accept what it means to be human, taking our “bad” with the good, and facing this fact—embracing our humanness—is an act of being a warrior. And actually it teaches to not think of things as “good” or “bad” in our nature, but merely as a state of being what we are. Once we can accept this, then we can begin to move forward in “uplifting our lives.”

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness towards themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or we find it depressing and burdensome. People threaten to commit suicide because they aren’t getting what they think they deserve out of life. They blackmail others with the threat of suicide, saying that they will kill themselves if certain things don’t change. Certainly we should take our lives seriously, but that doesn’t mean driving ourselves to the brink of disaster by complaining about our problems or holding a grudge against the world. We have to accept personal responsibility for uplifting our lives.

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