A new day, a new opportunity.
A new opportunity to do something you never thought you’d do in your lifetime.
While taking a spin class a few weeks back, the instructor was talking about New Year’s resolutions and how “it’s not about the size of your waist, but rather, it’s about the size of your heart!” Not going to lie, the guy had me in my zone. But then, something punched me in my gut. I sat there on my bike (peddling my ass off of course) and I thought to myself… why does it take so many people nearly an entire year to all of a sudden get inspired to take control of their life again?
I decided right then that this year is going to be different—that I’m not going to wait around anymore “to get back on the bike”.
Life’s too short to wait for your waistline to get smaller. Life’s too short to wait for the things you want in your life. And it’s definitely too short to wait around for your dreams to come true.
Because if you wait, they’ll likely never happen. And the last thing I want in my life is, well, nothing to happen.
We only get one shot and it’s why I’m going to work on treating every day I have—for the rest of my life—like a New Year.
And it’s part of the reason I’ve decided to sign up for my first major run ever—the Ojai Marathon on May 29th, 2016!
I mean, I’ve always wanted to test how much gas I got in my tank, but 26.2 miles!
Are you f’in kidding me?
It’s real people and I’m going to give it every little ounce of Swiggum energy I got.
For context, my dad used to run a mile in 4 minutes 27 seconds. I’ve played competitive sports my entire life, and I ran my last half-marathon in 1 hour 35 minutes—so I can compete. But 26.2 miles is a whole different beast.
And now that my entry is in, my AirBnB is booked, and I’ve tricked my mind into enduring a never-ending run of torture, I’ve decided to raise the bar even higher.
To run it in under 3 hours and 30 minutes—that’s an 8 minute mile pace.
Furthermore, with a feat much taller than me, I’ve decided I need more to hold me accountable so I keep training.
That’s why I’m dedicating this run to my Uncle Jimbo (James Rack) who’s been battling Parkinson’s for nearly 20 years of his life, to my mom and dad who’ve given me the world, and to my family, friends and anyone else out there who’s fighting against a life-altering disease.
At this very moment, I’m aware of how fortunate I am and how fragile life really is. And that the kind of pain I’m going to experience during the race will never even come close to the hardship one faces when fighting for his or her life.
That’s why this race against time is going to be for them.
And for me—it’s not, as you may think, going to be a race against time. But rather, each step is going to be a constant reminder that we need to make the most of every moment we have.
That’s why I’m treating every day like a New Year.
“A puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king.” – Sinatra
That’s my Uncle Jimbo and he’s been an integral part in painting the man I’ve become.
I grew up building things with him: bird houses, ponds, zen gardens, kit sailboats, kayaks, forts, CO2-powered pinewood derby cars, and many other creative projects.
He’s taught me how to paint (well kind of); how to love adventure and the great outdoors; how to not f*ck things up when they’re good; how to be kind to even the littlest creatures on this planet; how to keep my inner-child alive; how to let my imagination fly wild; how to laugh louder than yesterday, and arguably the most important lesson of all—to be able to see and create things when it appears to many—that there’s nothing.
He’s the ultimate spiritual warrior.
And I owe him a lot.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Ali
Unfortunately, my Uncle Jimbo was diagnosed with Parkinson’s many years back and I’ve watched it try to knock him out over and over again. Yet—he continues to show the world he’s a champion. When I was little, he used to pick me up by his bicep and tell me that he was tough as steel.
He wasn’t lying.
Last March, I was fortunate enough to be able stay with Jim on the island of Kauai for 10 days. He went to school there some 50 years ago with his two brothers and that led to him escaping the frozen winters of Wisconsin ever since. (I don’t blame him!)
During our time together, we stayed in a little beach hut, woke up with the warmth of the sun and the songs of Kauai, started our day with some stretching and meditation, and then moved on to our favorite little cafe to keep the day rolling.
After a nice cup of hot joe, some sweets (you’ll always find some in his pocket), a little work on the interwebs, and a few casual conversations with some beautiful wahines (the ladies love him), we’d head out to explore the inspiration of the island.
We’d snorkel, kayak, beachcomb, eat Papaya off the trees, visit friends, smell the plumerias, play the Uke, paint, laugh, joke, talk life, golf, and drink beers sitting out in the Taro fields amongst one of the most beautiful backdrops my eyes have ever seen.
They are days I’ll never forget and I still dream about how I can make them happen more often.
They were just so… full of life.
One more wave.
One day, as we were sitting on the beach in Hanalei bay, Jim says “Let’s go for a bodysurf”. I replied, “Jim, you sure?” He looked at me as if I was crazy. I was in Hawaii nearly 10 years earlier surfing waves with him and here we are at it again.
Before you know it, Jim is diving through the waves like a torpedo. We ride a few party waves together, and after about 20 minutes, I say, “Alright Jim, we should probably go take a rest”. As we start to head back to the shore, he turns around to me with a smile and says…”Just one more wave”. So we go back out for another ride. And another. And another.
I had to pretty much pull him out of the ocean that day.
It was one of those moments I’ll cherish forever.
Never give up.
Ever since he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he’s had this intensely competitive mentality to never give up on living his life of adventure and fun—and he really hasn’t.
But the disease is starting to slow him down.
There are times you can tell he’s not really with you. His short-term memory is starting to fade away. And his legs have been burning like hell.
Yet, this last Christmas he still continued to be—the zen master, the explorer, the jokester, the laugher, the captain, the raconteur, the ladies’ man, and the artist—he’s always been.
I may never truly know what it’s like to battle against such a horrible disease. But if I do, my Uncle Jimmy has showed me the mentality I need to ride just one more wave. If he can battle Parkinson’s, beat cancer, and make it through the Vietnam War, I have no choice but to embrace the good pain my body can endure while it still can.
Like Sinatra says and Jimbo often likes to sing…
“That’s life (that’s life), I tell you I can’t deny it
I thought of quitting, baby, but my heart just ain’t gonna buy it
And if I didn’t think it was worth one single try
I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race
I’m running this marathon for my Uncle Jimbo and anyone else out there who’s fighting against Parkinson’s or any life-altering disease.
Again, they’re the ones fighting for their life.
I’m just the one running for it.
How you can help me cross the finish line faster.
On top of running my first marathon ever, I’ve decided to do my first fundraising campaign to hold me even more accountable. The donations will be made in my Uncle Jimmy’s name and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the National Parkinson Foundation. The money will help the foundation continue to provide support and education to people with Parkinson’s and to further research for a potential cure.
My goal is to raise $500 and it comes with a catch. The more money raised, the faster I’m going to run on race day!
Here’s two simple ways you can help people with Parkinson’s disease and me run faster:
- Click here to donate whatever amount you can afford (link expired)
- Share this fundraiser link with anyone who may want to help (link expired)
Consider it your good deed for the day :).
Furthermore, I’m going to constantly update my training log below every week so you know I’m not cheating!
Thanks for all your love and support in advance, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me here.
Final Marathon Time
- 5/29/16: 26.2 miles in 3 hrs and 36 minutes (8:15 pace)
Money Raised for the National Parkinson’s Foundation
Again, thanks to everyone who donated to my fundraiser! It means the world to me and to anyone who is fighting against Parkinson’s disease.
My training updates.
- 5/23/16: 2.15 miles (10:00 pace)
- 5/21/16: 9.2 miles (8:06 pace)
- 5/14/16: 19.2 miles (8:40 pace)
- 5/12/16: 6 miles (6:55 pace)
- 5/10/16: 1 hr basketball
- 5/8/16: 3 mile hike
- 5/7/16: 12 mile hike
- 5/3/16: 1 hr basketball
- 4/30/16: 16.5 miles (9:33 pace)
- 4/26/16: 1 hr basketball
- 4/23/16: 15.25 miles (8:48 pace)
- 4/21/16: 6.1 miles (7:11 pace)
- 4/19/16: 1 hr basketball
- 4/17/16: 3 mile hike
- 4/16/16: 14.13 miles (9:39 pace)
- 4/12/16: 1 hr basketball
- 4/9/16: Skied Mammoth Mountain
- 4/7/16: 3.3 miles (6:42 pace)
- 4/5/16: 1 hr basketball
- 4/3/16: 10.01 miles (7:42 pace)
- 4/2/16: 1 hr SUP
- 3/30/16: 1 hr basketball
- 3/29/16: 2.64 miles (6:46 pace)
- 3/26/16: 1.5 hrs basketball
- 3/18/16: Skied Copper Mountain
- 3/12/16: 4.5 mile hike
- 3/10/16: 5.25 miles (8:20 pace)
- 3/8/16: 2.62 miles (6:38 pace)
- 3/6/16: 8.17 miles (7:34 pace)
- 3/4/16: 4.55 mile trail run (8:58 pace)
- 3/2/16: 4.12 miles (6:52 pace)
- 2/28/16: 9.7 miles (8:00 pace)
- 2/27/16: 1.5 hour surf sesh
- 2/24/16: 3.2 miles (6:37 pace)
- 2/23/16: 2.62 miles (7:04 pace)
- 2/21/16: 3.38 miles (7:42 pace)
- 2/18/16: 3.2 miles (7:22 pace)
- 2/16/16: 3.03 miles (7:41 pace)
- 2/13/16: 8.29 miles (7:25 pace)
- 2/11/16: SaMo stairs (5 times)
- 2/9/16: 5.08 miles (7:20 pace)
- 2/6/16: 8.2 miles (7:20 pace)
- 2/5/16: 3 miles (watch died)
- 2/3/16: 2.59 miles (7:00 pace)
- 1/31/16: 5.9 miles (7:44 pace)
- 1/30/16: 3.5 miles (7:20 pace)
- 1/26/16: 2.5 miles (6:46 pace)
- 1/25/16: 4 miles
- 1/24:16: 3 mile hike + 5 mile run
- 1/23/16: Santa Monica stairs (6 times)
- 1/22/16: 3 miles
- 1/20/16: Santa Monica stairs (5 times)
- 1/18/16: 2 miles
- 1/17/16: 2 mile trail run
- 1/16/16: 4 miles
- 1/15/16: 3 miles
- 1/13/16: 3 miles
- 1/12/16: 200 situps—100 pushups
- 1/11/16: Santa Monica stairs (5 times)
- 1/10/16: 3 mile trail run
- 1/9/16: 18 mile mountain bike ride
- 1/7/16: 1 hr spin class
- 1/5/16: 1 hr spin class
- 1/3/16: 2 mile trail run
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