(Edited by Brad Minus) The Decision My 3 years of running experience started with multiple injuries including a couple of ankle fractures. However, I still managed to complete a marathon, a 50K and...
NYC Marathon 2015: The Why
My Why – PKD
The human brain is an advanced computer that controls many different systems. The body is like a room full of servers each independently managing a different system with one major system, the brain, as the master controller for all of them.
When the master controller has a difficult task to undergo, the systems will cluster together in order to complete the task as efficiently as possible. If one of the systems begin to fail, it doesn’t mean the task will not be accomplished it just means another system will take over the lack of work. The work may not be handled as efficiently, but nonetheless, it will be completed.
Only when the master controller issues a command to stop will the other systems desist what they are programmed to do. The question would be “Why did the Master Controller issue the command?”
This long analogy comes right down to a quote I use all the time. Internally, and with my client athletes. “The mind will quit 100 times before the body does.” Every excuse will come to mind while an athlete may be suffering, but it is the reason “why” they are challenging themselves that will override the mind’s command to stop.
My 15th Marathon was the 2015 New York City Marathon, and my “Why” was tested.
In 2014, at the completion of the New York City Marathon, I said to myself, “Self, I am really happy I did it. It was a tough race, in tough conditions (sub-40 degree temperature with 33 mph winds), but we did it. It may not have been the time we wanted, but scratch the largest marathon in the world off the list. I will probably not do this one again.”
My reasoning was the logistics of the race.
First, it is located in New York City. That just says a lot of $$$ is going to be spent.
2) Getting around the big apple in a timely manner is difficult for someone not living there.
3) I have a lot of friends that live in the city and I want to see them, which means, more travel, meals and more $$$ spent.
4) The race doesn’t start until 9:50 which at 4 hours means 1:50 which is after the usual 12 pm checkout time. Again, more $$$.
5) In order to pack the corrals with 50,000 runners, it is required to be in the runner villages close to 3 hours early, and in sub-40 degree weather for someone from Florida is somewhat uncomfortable.
6) After leaving the finish line when the legs are burning and everything is getting stiff, it is another mile to get to checked bags and then another half mile to get out of the park where there are no cabs. Then another 5 block walk to the subway.
Other than that the race is amazing.
This year, the reasons above meant nothing to me, because I ran this race not for me, but as a member of Team Tampa PKD for Erika Bragan, Jennifer Thomas and all of the other people affected by Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
In 2009, Scott offered me a chance to run the Chicago Marathon for the Polycystic Kidney Disease. At the time we were both in a boot camp class at a Lifestyle Family Fitness. He mentioned it to a few others as well, so I brought up the idea of a team concept, where we could organize events to raise awareness and funds for PKD and then split up the money so everyone could reach their goal. it actually worked for the 10 of us that competed that year, as we raised around $26,000 for the PKD Foundation.
In 2011, we resurrected the team and signed on twenty-two members and raised over $56,000 for the foundation. Again in 2013 we had just Five members and raised over 25,000 that year as well.
This year, we again signed five members. Scott, Rich, Myself, Kevin, and Karen. we raised over $25,000 again, but this year we also accomplished something else. Over the last few years, Erika’s kidney functions were reduced to less than 5% apiece. A normal human being can survive on 5% of one, but with PKD it is inevitable that the kidneys will fail.
Erika had already been put on the donor list for over a year, but it had yet to pan out, so we added not only raising as much financial assistance for the foundation but finding a donor for Erika as well.
For over a year, Erika has been in pain, not sleeping and basically been in a state of misery. Scott has recounted this for me numerous times, so when he said that it was time to start thinking about a transplant, I immediately asked him for the details to get tested. I wanted to help any way I could and if it meant giving up a kidney so be it.
The Bragan’s waited to see if being on the donor list would pan out, but as Erika’s kidney functions continued to deteriorate, family and friends stepped up to be tested as donors.
I was tested as a kidney donor, with the preliminary tests proving positive, meaning I was a match.
However, the secondary tests diagnosed protein in my urine which is common in endurance athletes. Unfortunately, for the medical staff, it is a risk for kidney stones which have a small probability to clog my ureter and if that was the case now, I would have another kidney to fall back on. If I donated one, it could be fatal.
I was heartbroken when I found out, but I understood the reasons.
On July 10, my friend and Team Tampa PKD teammate, Rich O’Dea was on a blind date at the Imagine Dragons concert. While getting to know each other Rich made mention of Team Tampa PKD, the marathon and Erika. At first, it seemed a nonchalant question when she asked how to get tested, so Rich took as her just being nice, but even after she ended up returning to a long relationship, she still communicated with Rich she wanted to get tested.
Her preliminary tests proved she was a match, and the secondary tests proved she was healthy enough to donate, so on Friday, Oct 23, the Tampa General Hospital Transplant committee approved the living donor kidney transplant from Jennifer Thomas to Erika Bragan, and scheduled the surgery for the 18th of November.
When I found out that Jennifer passed the second round of testing, I was absolutely ecstatic that she would be able to do what I and three other people could not. I am still absolutely overjoyed that Erika will lead a longer more normal life and Scott, Madison and Spencer will continue to have their wonderful wife and mother.
While in an interview with ABC, Jennifer was asked why should give up her kidney for a total stranger. Without skipping a beat, or even taking a breath she said, “Why wouldn’t I? The more important question should be, why is it so shocking that I would.”
I happened to be in the room when she was getting interviewed and I just about fell over. Without trying to sound conceded, or take away any thunder from her, but I felt like Jennifer was someone who actually thought just like me.
Jennifer’s medical bills will be taken care of 100% by the Bragan’s insurance, but the recovery time may cause a little bit of financial hardship.
Of course, Team Tampa PKD is stepping up and hosting an event called Tailgate for a Transplant prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants NFL Football game on November 8th at 1 pm. (If you would like to help, but cannot make it to the tailgate please click here)
This is my “Why”.
What is your ‘why’?
Motivational Monday #1
What does it take to get you out of bed and get your workout on in the morning?
Is it just an alarm clock? Is it the fact you have the opportunity to hit the “Snooze Bar”?
Do you have an issue with getting motivated for your afternoon workout?
Well, here it is; MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY! I will try to give you at least a piece of motivation researched from the net and another from a conquest, challenge, race or accomplishment from someone local from the weekend.
Here we go:
Every Monday, I wake up with a different motivational level. I wish I can tell you that as a coach I wake up and am ready to rock it every day. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the truth.
Sometimes, it depends on the weekend’s workouts whether I rocked them and I was so exhausted I just couldn’t get up, or they were not so spectacular and I let my psyche get the best of me.
It is definitely, very rare that I am not ready to rock early in the morning, but when I am not feeling it, I watch this video. It is pretty popular on YouTube, but it get’s me moving every time. I hope it does the same for you.
Personally, this was an extremely motivating weekend.
I have been training with National Champion Runner, Triathlete and Coach, Jon Noland from Tribal Multisport for about 8 months. Within the “Tribe” we had major victories this weekend.
Jessica Koelsch, Eric Patnode and Megan Murray (pictured in order below), all competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell Am See-Kaprun, Austria.
In order to even compete in this event, athletes have to qualify by finishing in the top of their division in another Ironman 70.3 race. I am in awe of the athletic talent, perseverance and shear physical endurance of these athletes. I am not even mentioning that each one of them are just great people in general with huge hearts.
What is motivating about them? All three have families and day jobs just like the other 99% of athletes across the globe.
The other Tribal Multisport Coach and Pro Triathlete Nick Chase, completed Challenge Penticon in Canada and completely rocked it by finishing the 70.3 in 4:23:14 (Which is ridiculously fast!). I am always thrilled to watch Nick race. He is a dynamic and motivating coach and very fast triathlete.
I hope this provides some value to each and every one of you to strive to be the best you can be every day. Have a great week!
What Motivates YOU?
Featured Friday – Rich O’Dea
It has been a while since my last post. My only excuse is only to say that “life happens” and sometimes I do not get to accomplish as much as I want to in a day, so I end up putting off what I really want to do to accomplish what I need to do. You know, work, train, eat, sleep, train, etc, etc. Nevertheless, let me introduce you to Rich O’Dea.
Speaking of accomplishment, I want to introduce to you a very good friend of mine; Rich O’Dea. His successes in the five years I have known him are nothing short of astonishing. From losing 80 lbs to running and then placing in marathons and Gasparilla Challenges and always going for the PR and most of the time succeeding. Lately, he has been on a quest to help others lose weight, attain their fitness goals and even start to work on their financial goals. He does this by telling the story of his weight loss and showing people how to attain their dreams using Isagenix products. He actually just recently attained the rank of Crystal Director which is a huge indicator of the success he, and the people that he has been helping, are having.
Through my postings, I have mentioned that I am endorsing these products, but it was actually watching Rich transform his body and then backing it up with the research that actually led to my involvement with Isagenix. I digress, this post isn’t about Isagenix, but about Rich.
I have to credit Rich O’Dea with introducing me to the other type of ‘fun’ that is more popular with my elite athlete friends. Rich O’Dea likes to WIN, and he has a drive and persistence rarely seen in any individual when he takes on a challenge. I remember when he had a goal of running a half marathon in 1:45 or better. He had his routine down to the calorie and his workouts down to the second. Every workout and every meal was planned and accomplished and when race time came he finished in 1:36. He refuses to stop and he works out like a champion in order to accomplish his goals.
Ok enough of me boasting about my bud. Let him tell you in his own words.
Name: Rich O’Dea
Birthdate/Sign: March 5, 1972
Place of Birth: East Chicago, IN
Place growing up: Highland, IN
High School: Bishop Noll Institute
High School sports: N/A – I was not in shape to play sports
College: Benedictine University (f/k/a Illinois Benedictine College)
College Sports: I was a 270lb back up kicker and lineman for all of two weeks of training camp before I realized I was in no condition to make it through the season
Other Sports: Competitive runner
Can you tell us what was the major turning point that started your fitness journey?
I struggled with weight my entire life going all the way back to childhood. I remember my dad telling me I was so heavy as a toddler he threw out his back trying to pick me up. My struggles continued through school and my adult life. The biggest turning point was the passing of my father who was always an athlete. The thought that there was time to get in shape and make him proud caused me to miss that opportunity. I was at one of my heaviest weights when he passed. I made the decision at that time that I was going to never quit no matter what until I found a way to lose weight and become the athlete he always wanted me to be.
You have some great successes and failures within your journey. Will you share a few of them with us?
Despite spending the majority of my life being overweight and in poor health, I did have brief periods in my life where I did lose weight and had some successes, but unfortunately, I resorted back to my unhealthy lifestyle shortly thereafter. For example, in 2009, I was able to overcome the odds and lose significant weight and run my first Marathon (2009 Chicago Marathon) I finished with a sub 4 hour time. A few months later, I ran the Gasparilla Challenge which is 15k and 5k on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday. I finished 7th overall. While I was very excited about my accomplishments, it was short lived. I bounced back from 175lbs back to 225lb within months. I did not lose the weight the proper way and had no plan to maintain my success which ultimately leads to me failing again.
What would say is your latest success and why did it work?
My latest success worked when I made the discovery on why ever diet and work out plan I ever tried in my life were flawed. Life completely changed when I was first introduced to Isagenix earlier this year. I learned it’s not about caloric restriction or working out twice a day as a means of sustainable weight loss and athletic success. Rather it’s about feeding your body quality healthy nutrition while cleansing out the built up toxins in my body. Our diet and environment are full of toxins. We are ingesting man-made food-like products and not food. The typical diet is contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Our air is polluted. Once I started eating as much organic food, grass-fed meats, real food the way nature intended us to eat and incorporate Isagenix products into my daily lifestyle, my life completely changed forever.
If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling you get when you are working out what would it be?
When and why did you start running?
I first tried to run back in the mid-1990s as simply a means to lose weight. It was a struggle. I could not slowly jog more than 5 minutes without stopping for a breather.
What is one thing you love most about competing in road races?
I love the competitiveness of road races. Most of us will never be professional athletes and hear the roar of the crowd as we come out of the tunnel or hit a home run. But for us, this is our sport. There is no greater feeling than standing at the gun with thousands of other runners listening to the National Anthem getting pumped up knowing that my dad is looking down on me and is ready to run the race with me. Gives me chills just thinking about it.
We all have those days when we just do not feel like training. What do you do to get past that feeling and get on with your workout?
We all have those days we don’t have a full tank or have little motivation to get our training in. I am a big fan of running and/or training with others. When you have other people depending on you, you are more likely not to skip that workout. I also don’t think of my runs or workouts at work. Your training should be fun and social. Look forward to seeing your friends and rely on each other to motivate you through your training. Join a running group or take a weekly workout class and you will find yourself looking forward to your workout. And you will make some great new friends along the way.
What would you say is your greatest obstacle you ever overcame?
My greatest obstacle was myself and my lack of knowledge. I always had the desire to be healthy, to lose weight and to be a competitive runner; but I did not know how to do accomplish these goals. I struggled for decades because I was not searching for the answers in the right place and was not surrounding myself with like-minded individuals and groups. I learned that if you want to accomplish a goal, find a handful of others who have accomplished the goal you are striving for. Listen to them and do what they do.
What is your greatest victory?
My greatest victory is to carry on my dad’s legacy of being an athlete. As low as I was when he passed, I made the decision that day that I would not fail. Once you make the decision to not fail, you can only succeed. For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my own skin. I am If I never gain or lose another pound, I am happy just where I am at. For the first time in my life, I am at peace with who I am. Waking up each day, knowing my dad is looking down upon me and is proud of who I have become. There is no greater victory in life for me.
What are your favorite quotes?
“If you are going through hell, keep going” -Winston Churchill
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” – Buddha
“The same wind blows on us all” – Jim Rohn
“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said ‘you never know what you can accomplish until you try'” -Michael Jordan
Want more of Rich??? Hear him speak; Saturday, September 21, 2013, @ 11 am at the Westshore Embassy Suites. He will be accompanied by Lori Harder and Angelike Norrie who are both champion figure competitors and authors. I promise you won’t want to miss it.
(Click for larger image)