My First Post of 2015

Hi, all.  I guess this post has been a long time coming.  For those of you who follow along here regularly, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything since, ahem… early November.  Originally, it was due to a bad case of the holiday hustle and bustle.  Between a nightmarishly snowy Thanksgiving drive to Ohio and back, condo issues, friend get-togethers, holiday parties, corporate gatherings, and Christmas shopping, I could hardly find time to breathe – let alone, write.  And then, smack dab in the middle of December, I came down with a nasty cold that knocked me on my a$$ for a while.  I think it was my body’s way of saying “enough already.”

As I started to prepare for my first post of 2015, however, I began to feel a level of uncertainty that hasn’t hit me as hard before.  Suddenly, my inbox was flooded with eerie email names like “Is blogging dead?” and “How I plan to stay sane on the internet in 2015.”

What the heck?

In all honesty, these feelings were not foreign to me.  I wasn’t exactly at the point of claiming that blogging had keeled over in its sleep, but perhaps my voice on this blog was struggling a bit, and still struggling, to stay alive.  As with all complex emotions, this revelation caused me to look inwardly, to reflect on the original purpose for writing in this space.

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I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this blog was born from a break up.  Yes, like many life events, I needed a boy to stomp on my heart to learn about the deepest parts of my self  He and I split in February of 2011 – about 7 months before my first blog post.  It was actually on Valentine’s day; he came home from work, and claimed it was over.  Nice guy, eh?

The break up was a long time coming, but I struggled with the finality of it.  I also struggled with the fact that I had recently accepted a new job, officially changed my address from Ohio to Arlington, VA, and knew close to no one within 200 miles.

This blog was an outlet for me.  It was a way for me to express my thoughts and feelings without a critical or belittling sounding board – something that was all too prevalent in the course of that relationship.  During late nights over ice cream and glasses of red wine, I wrote to clear my head, to unravel complex emotions into simplified words, and to tell fond and sometimes embarrassing stories.

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Similarly, the beginning of this year has been a challenge for me – not much different than the initial days of that 2011 break up except, at this point in time, the critical and belittlingly sounding board is coming from within my own head.  Overwhelmed by professional and personal obligations, I am ashamed by my inability to juggle everything.  It is most disheartening that I am wrestling with the utilization of this space on the internet.  I’m conflicted by the need to remove daily commitments and expectations from my life, and the need to explore the vast landscapes of my mind through writing.

I’ve been wrestling with this conflict for the past four months – until I finally made up my mind.  Despite my hectic schedule and the difficult balances of life, I need to continue to have a place to share my most vulnerable and complex moments – even if 2015 is a year of minimalism for me.

To be clear, I plan for the next eight months to be full of unsubscribing, decompressing, and saying “no” a lot more than saying “yes.”. This means that words will still be posted here and tell stories of love and pain, humor and humility –  but may come sparingly or in small bursts.  I promise to respect the need to outpour my emotions and engage in conversation with this community of readers, but also entertain my need to be quiet at times.

No matter where your life is taking you in 2015, I hope that you’ll forgive my struggle with posting regularly, but most importantly –  I hope that you’ll be along to share your ride.

Review: Spartan Up! + Biggest Giveaway Yet!!

As part of my partnership with Spartan Races, I was provided a free copy of Joe De Sena’s “Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life.”   All expressed opinions are entirely my own.

Tune in to the 2014 Spartan Race World Championship Race, held in Killington, VT on September 20th, broadcast on NBC 11/16 3PM EST!!!

When Spartan Races approached me about reviewing Joe De Sena’s (Founder of Spartan Races) new book, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Admittedly, initially, I was concerned that this book might include an egocentric trip through the mind of a very successful and athletic guy.  A little judge-y, on my part?!

In actuality, however, this book is an inspiring synopsis of how each and every one of us, despite our current physical and mental shape, can “Spartan Up!” and challenge ourselves to face our next obstacle – whatever that might be.  In fact, within the book, Joe repeatedly discusses how he was rejected  by Cornell University three times before he was formally accepted, and graduated from the school.

Throughout the book, there is a common theme of relativity that explains how an obstacle may be more challenging for one person than it is for another.  As Joe says, “By the time I did my first Ironman, I had already completed eight ten-day races, so the Ironman felt like a warm-up to me…. In contrast, if the most strenuous thing I had ever done was walking to and from the supermarket a quarter of a mile away, an Ironman would have posed an unbelievably imposing obstacle.  I was not a natural athlete by any stretch, and I never thought I could do an Ironman when I first heard of one.  But after doing these multiday adventure races, I knew I could.  It all depends on your frame of reference.”

As the book explains, the Spartan Races were born out of a very challenging and military-style Death Race that Joe originally founded with his friend and fellow adventure-enthusiast, Andy Weinberg.  There are varying race lengths, starting from 3-miles to 20+, that include various obstacles and challenges, such as burpees, rope climbs, and greased monkey bars.

In Spartan Up!, Joe explains the purpose behind the race obstacles and how life is full of natural ones.  “In scientific terms, it is the ability to avoid the fight-or-flight response to a situation, to remain calm and able to think clearly.  This quality is borne of the kind of preparation that prevents the individual from getting stressed out by unfamiliar obstacles…. Preparing for the unexpected is easy.  You just need to do the unexpected.  Break out of your routine.  Go for a run at night.  Swim in the open water.  Stop and climb a hill in the distance.  Go farther during that bike ride.”

** Ultimately, Spartan Up! is an easy and motivational read that leaves you wanting to challenge yourself more.  The book contains stories ranging from Olympic athletes to 400-pound individuals taking on the obstacles in front of them – whether that’s a week-long Iditarod race or a walk around the block.  Joe provides an inspiring narrative about how each of us can face life head-on and push ourselves to be better, smarter and stronger individuals, embracing the true embodiment of the Spartan spirit.

We wanted to surround ourselves with people who inspire us.  The people who inspire us the most are those who don’t waver, don’t quit, don’t take shortcuts, and don’t fall short.  Each of us can be one of those people if we choose to be.  Sacrifice time now for more time later. -Andy Weinberg

BIGGEST GIVEAWAY YET – ENTRIES DUE BY MIDNIGHT EST 9/22.

1. Spartan Races is giving away a free cruise to Stirrup Cay, Bahamas!  Win it! Enter here.

cruise

2. Win a free entry to any Spartan Sprint Race.  Enter in the giveaway widget below.  The winner will be announced on Crossroads of the Heart on Friday September 25th!

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3. 10% off any Spartan Race in the continental US.  Use promo code: SPARTANBLOGGER

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