Thursday, October 31, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles: Talk at Casio G-Shock Store

I had a great time last night at the Casio G-Shock Store in NYC!  Thanks to the many friends and strangers who came out to hear me talk and to Casio for hosting the event.  

My talk was about being adventurous and overcoming obstacles.  I shared lessons learned from the family adventures I’ve taken with my kids in Japan, Iceland and the U.S., like:

-       A kid can do a whole lot more than most adults think.
-       The more time children spend in nature, the more connected they feel to the world around them.
-       The more time children spend in nature, the more they want to protect the wilderness that remains.

I also shared stories about several people who inspire me:
-       Theresa Khayyam, who went blind two years ago at age 45 from a viral infection.  What did she do after going blind?  She decided to become a runner!  She trains with the Achilles International chapter in Nashville, TN.  My sister Becky will guide her in this weekend’s NYC Marathon, Theresa’s first.

-       Charlie Plaskon.  Blind since childhood, he became a marathoner and Ironman triathlete in his 60’s.  I guided him in the NYC Ironman last year when he was 69 years old and have given presentations at schools with him.  My favorite quote of Charlie’s: “No one is interested in your best excuse.  Just find a way.”

-       Evan Ruggiero, who started dancing at age 5.  At age 19, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer).  After a series of chemo treatments, his right leg was amputated.  His dancing career was over, right?  Nope.  Two days after receiving a peg leg, he was turning it into a creative part of his tap dance repertoire.  My 12-year-old son Sho took a tap class with Evan and talked last night about how inspiring it was to learn from him.

-       Dan Berlin, who went blind with macular degeneration in his 30’s.  Did he sit around feeling sorry for himself?  Nope.  He decided to become an endurance athlete.  I guided Dan in the 2011 NYC Marathon, 2012 Colorado Marathon and, last month, the Toughman Half Ironman (swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, run 13.1 miles).  Next year, we plan to run “rim to rim to rim” across the Grand Canyon and back in one day.  That’s around 46 miles and about 23,000 feet of elevation change.  Can a blind guy really do that?  All the naysayers will tell you we’re nuts for trying.  But naysayers told me that an 8-year-old couldn’t cycle the length of Japan (they were wrong), a 6-year-old was too young to pedal over the Rockies (they were wrong), and that a 69-year-old blind man shouldn’t try to do an Ironman (they were wrong).

It turns out that a horrible experience like going blind or losing a leg can also be the catalyst for new areas of growth. 

So, be adventurous.  Take a hard look at the limits you put on yourself and your children.  I suspect that most of those limits are just in your head.

Outside the Casio G-Shock store before the talk (notice the poster)

With Sho and Saya

Casio's Mike Princiotto introducing me

Sho (age 12) talking about running a 1/2 marathon

Saya added her energy to the talk!

The naysayers may so no, but I think he can

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Casio G-Shock Store Event -- You're Invited!

At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, I'll give a talk at the Casio G-Shock store, 454 W Broadway in Soho (NYC).  The event is free and includes refreshments.  Everyone is going to get a goody bag, and someone is going to win a new Pro Trek PRW3000 watch.  

I will tell stories from the family adventures I've taken with my wife and two kids (including our recent 1700-mile bike ride on the Lewis & Clark Trail), share lessons about overcoming obstacles from disabled athletes I've guided in marathons and Ironman triathlons, and offer tips for people running the NYC marathon.  

If you'd like to attend, please RSVP at this link and come on out!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sho's first half marathon at age 12

When I was a kid growing up in Nashville, I started running with my dad.  That’s me between my father and my older brother just before a race in 1978.

Fast forward to today, and I’m the dad running with my son.  My 12-year-old son, Sho, asked me to run with him in his first half marathon, the Paine to Pain trail run in New Rochelle, NY.  We stayed side-by-side for the entire 13.1 miles, and he listened patiently to my advice on running form, breathing, pacing, etc. 

The most unexpected part of the race came when we were stung by hornets!  We picked up our pace through that section and jumped every time we felt the slightest tickle on our skin.  Sho had to walk for parts of the second half, and I worried that he might get discouraged.  But he kept a positive attitude despite the discomfort.  As we were chugging up a steep hill near the end, he turned to me and said, “I’m so glad we decided to do this race!”  It’s a memory I hope he keeps for a long time.  Perhaps 30 years from now, he’ll run side by side with his own kid, telling him stories of the adventures he shared with his dad long ago.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lewis & Clark Trip Party!

What do you do after returning from cycling with your kids for 1,700 miles over two months?  You throw a party!  My wife Eiko organized a celebration of our Lewis & Clark trip that included people from all facets of our lives: old friends, our kids’ classmates and teachers, our work colleagues, exercise partners, etc.  About 50 people showed up.  We gave our supporters a big thank you, and I told the group how lucky I am to have a wife like Eiko who supports and participates in these quirky family adventures. 

We showed pictures taken by Sho (age 12) and Saya (age 6) during the ride, a few of which I’ve included below, along with one of Saya’s funky, motion sickness-inducing videos from the bike saddle that had everyone laughing.  Some people worried that Saya would get bored spending so many hours on a bike each day, but she has an active imagination that can turn even the most boring experience into crazy fun silliness.


Sho's nature pics, which reminded me that the more time kids spend in nature, the more connected they feel and the more they want to protect the wilderness that remains:

Full moon seen from our tent

Columbia River Gorge

Bald eagle nest on the water, near Seaside, Oregon

Saya's pics:
Hello World, it's me

Saya's view from the trailer cycle

Saya's favorite horse of many she saw on this trip

Putting on sunblock on one of many very hot days

Pics from the party:
Sydney Berna and Saya having fun

Sho talking with his tap teacher, Thommie Retter

Telling stories.  Sho was there to keep me honest.