support YOUR troops

friends are cool, right? at least in your opinion. they could be total geeks, but if you get along great with geeks...then you think they're cool. chances are they think your cool, too. you've heard it before: "friendship is a two way road." well you know what happens on two way crashes, road kill, potholes, broke down cars, slow farm tractors, getting pulled over by the cops...bad things can happen. bare with me here, i promise i'm getting to what i believe to be a "cool point."

lately (mostly since i started this blog) i've noticed how good i feel when people actual make an effort to let me know that they support what i do by giving me words of affirmation. "hey tony, good job on that run." "wow look great." "tony, your blog is the best thing i've read since the Bible." "dude..tony...i want to be you." ('s not quite like that, but you get what i'm saying.) and of course when someone would tell me i'm doing a good job or doing something cool before i'd always feel good, but lately it's been different. not sure why, but it has. maybe that's what changes when you turn 25?

all i'm saying is that it's awesome when someone who you may know well, or barely know at all, goes out of their way to say good job to you for something you're doing. i think to myself, "you didn't have to say that to me...why did you say that? you obviously actually mean it, right?" i believe the answer to be "yes" in majority of cases. if someone were to come up to you and say "good job" or "keep up the good work" and later you find out they were just being facetious you should slap them in the head (don't really do that, maybe the infamous stink eye will suffice.)

so go and support your troops. all of your friends and loved ones who are doing something that's worth a "good job" or an "attaboy" (i guess "attaperson" would be more p.c. these days) deserve to hear it! the coolest part about doing something good for someone else is the feeling you get from it. it's scientifically proven that chemicals are released in your body that give you a good feeling after doing something good. that's actually true...not just me being obnoxious. ask emily, she's a psychology major. maybe even a cooler thing than that (it's a tie between this and the first cool thing) is that the person who receives the verbal support will be more apt to tell someone else they know that they're doing a great job at something because they know how boss it felt to hear it from you. and then they'll tell 10 friends, and they'll tell 10 friends, and they'll tell 10 friends, and they'll tell 10 friends, and they'll tell 10 friends...... should still support our troops, too. you, the soldiers. they are awesome and don't receive enough credit for what they do.


ok...what now?

warning: this post involves running and i might mention Jesus (just to warn people who don't like to hear/read about those things...which i think is sad, but that's just my opinion.)

anyway...the 1/2 marathon is done. praise Jesus! hey look...i just mentioned the two things i warned you about in the first two sentences. ironic. seriously though...the 1/2 was hard. i guess it was as hard as i expected it to be though. after all...i ran 13.1 miles in 1:53:54 (i'm going to try not to feel like i'm bragging about that. it's also quite humbling to know that the dude who won this race did it in a little over an hour.) but in a nutshell, the race went well.

the wait before a race always sucks. i get antsy and i just want to RUN! but finally we got going and i was feeling pretty good, keeping a good pace throughout the run until about mile 9. during my training, when i ran the 13.1 miles, this was about the exact same spot where i started feeling 'it' ('it', for me, is when your mind gets a second wind and catches your body off-guard and begins to convince you to stop running.) now, i took water at mile 7, so i figured i wasn't dehydrated and was just being a baby. well, 9 going into 10 finally went by and then came 11. stupid mile 11. that's when i started feeling the hills and the humidity (along with 'it' of course.) i took some more water around this time and then went into a hill...and then it happened...i was walking. i was so mad at myself. i told myself before the race that i would not walk. i distinctly remember telling myself that i would NOT was right after i said i was going to overdo it (hmmm? i was foolish). you don't go to a 1/2 marathon (or any road race for that matter) to walk. unfortunately, this race, i did. i took a couple of 10 second walk breaks and then got going again. i finally made it over the last big hill and saw the crowd by the finish line. the best part was at the end of the route we finished around the track at the high school. it felt kind of cool running around the track and to finish in front of a crowd. i ran the track as hard as i could and finished strong. although i was frustrated for a few hours after the race about walking, i told myself that these things i even beat my goal by over a minute, so i technically had NOTHING to complain about. but sometimes i'm a complainer. it was also a pride thing...i'll be honest. but to every problem there is a solution, right? isn't there? well, my solution was/is to train myself better so i can pace myself so that i'll never walk again during a race. my dad has this little saying he likes that i've grown quite fond of as well, "i hate to run, but i love to finish." that sums it up for me.

"suffering is optional."

i got that quote from a book i just got done reading, "what i talk about when i talk about running" by haruki murakami. he's run over 24 marathons, a bunch of triathlons, and even dabbled in the ultramarathon area. the dude is a runner to look up to, enough said. in his book he talks about his life as a runner and also a novelist. it's really interesting to me to learn about other people's lives. in a "non-creeper, i'm-truly-interested-in-how-you-live" type of way of course. the biggest thing, and i think the best thing, i learned from his book was this: sometimes you have bad experiences while running. he told quite a few stories about a marathon, or a triathlon, that went horribly wrong but he still learned something from it. i'm the type of guy that struggles when something happens that i felt like i could've controlled. does that make any sense? if i could've done something different to prevent _____ from happening, then why didn't i? that's the type of question i dwell on after i finish my first 1/2 marathon wondering why i had to walk that little bit. well, add this to the "things i've learned so far" list: "Reaching the finish line, never walking, and enjoying the race. These three, in this order, are my goals."


basically, i loved that Murakami said these three goals he has in his book, and it stood out to me. of course when i first read it i applied it to future races i'll be running, but sometimes i like to think a little cheesier and more cliche and applied it to life in general (which is a great mxpx album.) the finish line being my ultimate goal(s) in life...definitely not easy to get to, but ALL possible if i stick with it and keep one foot moving in front of the other. never walking...i learned my lesson on this one. it has an affect on your mind...once you slow down and lose momentum it makes the rest of the "race" even more difficult. the last thing he says is to enjoy the race. for me personally...i might put this at the number one spot. enjoy life...enjoy what you do. anything and everything...enjoy it! why not? you're not here forever. and your loved ones aren't here forever either. "don't get caught in the season of life you're in now...seasons change." i heard that on the radio earlier today. i'm beginning to think the meaning of this post is to overload you (the reader) with cheesiness and lack of orginality. i think my "segway" segway was pretty original though...

oh, and i almost forgot. the title of this post is actually the point of this whole, long, random group of words i call writing. my next goal is of course...a full marathon. i'm going to do it. it's just a matter of when. it reminds me of that question on job applications that reads: "Are you the type of person who looks for more work, without being told what to do, after you complete the task you're working on?"

"one final thought" (you have to say that like andy rooney from 60 minutes..that guy is a nut) my cool dad and hot wife (i'm good at thinking of adjectives) also ran this 1/2 marathon and rocked it to an 11! high 5's to them as well.


things i've learned (so far)

i saw a sign in front of a church the other day: "i've learned two things in life so far, there is a God and i am not Him." i love reading all of the signs out front of church's because most of them are pretty cheesy and easy to laugh at. does that make me a bad person? this one in particular inspired me...and now you're thinking, "cool, he was inspired to do something spiritual." in fact i was, it inspired me to blog.

i started to think of all the things i've learned in life so far. to be honest, i feel like it should be a LOT more, but that's ok. i still have a lot of living to do, God willing. that reminds me...ray lamontagne's new cd "God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise" is amazing! back on track (it is 4:30am you know). i was suppose to go to the gym to lift this morning. i go every monday, wednesday, and friday...i know, i know...i'm such a gym rat. i figured you could tell by my jacked muscles. since i'm doing the half marathon tomorrow, i decided (emily suggested) that i take today off. i was going to be stubborn and go, but once i was up and got moving i soon realized (this is one thing i've learned) that i do need to take it easy today. so this blog is in place of my workout and boy are my fingers tired!

things i've learned in life (so far):
1. God does indeed exist
2. love is real (not to be cliche, but i have the best wife)
3. nothing is impossible
4. people CAN be amazing (all people)
5. math is mostly pointless
6. people in indianna drive the worst
7. money is the root of all evil
8. some people have it rough (meaning: i need to try to put myself in someone else's shoes before i think anything about them or where they've been)
9. america is the land of the free and the home of the brave
10. cell phones are the devil
11. music is therapy
12. being healthy is fun
13. working a job you don't want to do is insane
14. i can't grow a beard
15. i do actually like cats
16. "it's not what you know, it's who you know." (thanks mr. sax..the only thing i learned in high school)
17. crying is not just for girls
18. reading is actually enjoyable when you're reading something you WANT to read
19. having two loving parents who love the Lord is awesome
20. riding a wheely on a bike is hard (not impossible...see #3)
21. i can trim my finger nails too short
22. i cannot stand facebook, yet i still use it because "i want to keep in touch"
23. some people will always think they know more than you
24. sledding is a great time
25. even though college debt is awful, i think i might've learned the most about life during these years
26. cars are not toys (most of the time)
27. there are women's jeans and men's jeans for a reason
28. there are people who need my help
29. losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to experience
30. you really do not want to pee into the wind
31. the news on television is negative
32. be continued (i didn't actually learn this, well, i guess i learned that phrase...but you get what i'm saying here.)

please don't assume this is all that i've learned. i don't want you to think that i didn't learn more in life...i just really have to go to work (see #13.) one cool thing i suggest you try is to think of all the things in life you've learned so far. it's actually a really cool experience: it helps you realize you still have a LOT to learn.

"I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."
-Abraham Lincoln (my favorite president...dang, that could've been a great #32)


optimism sucks

being an optimist is tough. let's be honest...being happy/positive is tough to do in a world that is so incredibly messed up. you ever notice that when you're in a good mood/having a good're an optimist? but let's say you've had a crappy day, nothing has gone right...all you want to do is slap an optimist in the face and scream, "be realistic!" right? oh..well for me that's how it is.

best example i can give: a typical sunday - i get to sleep in, i don't have to go the gym to lift, most sundays are an off day of running, so i basically get to be lazy. i wake up as late as possible, shower/get ready, listen to music, go to church, spend quality time with my wife and see some family. life is at an 11, so i'm an optimist. then comes monday...i'm still holding strong to my optimistic thought pattern and still feeling the "sunday high," but i start to have a few pessimistic thoughts and let the little things start to get me. and then on tuesday something happens at your workplace that sets you off and there it went. remember what it was like to be optimistic? me freakin' too.

so, my question is this: why is it SO hard to be an optimist, consistently? is it really because the world sucks? that seems like a cop out. is it really because our lives are so hard? doubt it. i know some people have it rough, so maybe that's legit. but could it be that it's just plain impossible to be optimistic everyday? maybe? does it really matter, tony? not really? why so many questions? i don't know. probably the same reason a kid on a bike came up to me at work today and fired of these brain busters, "what are you doing? why are you just sitting in your truck? what are those cones for? are you going to the pool today?"

ultimately, i just want to figure out how to be an optimist, all the time. i guess i'll still call myself an optimist...but there are plenty of days where i suck at it. does that make me a hypocrite? crap.


"goals are dreams with deadlines"

running is one of my favorite things to do. it's a stress reliever. it helps me get some fresh air. it gives me quality time with God. and to top it off...i burn quite a few calories doing it, which is always a plus.

i started running during my weight loss era and it actually stuck with me. before i got "healthy" my mom always worked out and ran and did that lame stuff, but i never paid any attention to it. then, my dad (who was a bit overweight) started getting into running and really liked it...and ended up losing a lot of weight, too. still, at this point, i wasn't buying it. my infamous saying was, "i only run if i'm being chased." fortunately for me...i rarely got chased, so things worked out pretty well for me as far as running went.

it was one of the best things to happen to me though: mentally, physically, spiritually, even emotionally...running has been a great experience. the hardest part is getting started. it sucks in the beginning. who am i can suck pretty bad once you're in it for awhile, too. it's just like anything else gotta stick to it and keep at it.

right now emily and i are training for a half-marathon that's on august 21 (12 days 21 hours 22 minutes 39 seconds away.) my dad also made the mistake of saying he'd do it with me, so he got signed up for it as well. when i got serious about running i made it a goal to do a 5K, 10K, a half, and a full marathon. finally, we're at the point in this post where you figure out what it's all about: goals. according to wikipedia (the official online encyclopedia/information know-all of everything that is good and is always 100% accurate) a goal is "a projected state of affairs that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve." i think it's so important for people to have goals in life. it gives you something to work toward. it gives people a purpose. no matter what're striving to reach your goal(s) and nothing can stop you, right? mostly. i'm more of a believer in the saying, "only you can prevent yourself from reaching your goals." but there aren't too many feelings out there better than reaching a goal you've set. maybe during the summer in the middle of the night when you flip over your pillow to the "cool" know what i'm talking about. other than that though...nothing.

so...the challenge is: set a goal. a short term goal or a long term goal. or both! and then, achieve it! if you've just recently achieved a goal...AWESOME!! how'd it feel? that's set another! life is all about setting goals.

was this a really cheesy, wannabe motivational post? sorry.


grace and gratitude

first off...i am not a preacher. believe it or not...i'm not saying i am or pretending to be. recently, i heard a really cool definition of christianity: one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. this pretty much rocked my world when i heard it. it's so...simple? too simple? probably. actually...yes, it is.

i guess i need to mention that i am a Christian. now, before you bail on this blog screaming "Bible thumper," please hear me out. when i say that i am a Christian...i mean i follow Jesus Christ and believe that He died on a cross for me (and you), so that i (and you) can have the amazing gift of eternal life (if we accept it.) i'm not really one to cram the Bible down people's throats, or take Bible tracts to wal-mart and leave them next to the toilet to give someone that's going to hell a good read while they try not to think of the fact that they're sitting on a wal-mart toilet (it's awful, right? i know.) anyway, up until just recently (it's embarassing actually) i was stuck in some idea that flowed through my mind/heart that said that it was enough for me to accept Christ and just live life "the way i'm suppose to" and everything will be cool in the long run (meaning: i'll get into heaven and someday i'd be able to go out for an easy three with Jesus.)

my wife (emily) and i are reading an amazing book called "radical" by a pastor named david platt. in a nutshell...he basically calls us all out on making the Gospel into what we want it to be. it's about taking it back to the basics...the way the Bible is meant to be. it's all about challenging us to feel/hear/speak/want the Gospel according to Jesus. so, one could imagine after diving into this book i've been wanting to be a bit more "radical" with my spirituality. i know it's cheesy, but i believe this book is really awesome!

yesterday in a sermon the pastor was preaching on gratitude. i mean, come one, the first verse he opened with was Ephesians 5:20 which says, "and give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." are you guessing which word was underlined? it wasn't 'thanks' was actually the word 'everything.' easier said than done, right? being thankful for everything? the good and the bad? i thought the bad was from the devil...why would i want to thank that jerk?

the final little thing the pastor told us to write down sealed the deal for me. he said, "when grace flows in, gratitude fills up, and generosity flows out." this right here sums it all up. for me anyway, it means, Jesus dying on a cross for me was a true depiction of grace, then if i work on my gratitude filling up, more generosity will flow out of me. if i "think about my thanks" then i start to gain a new perspective on filled with gratitude for everything...not just the things i think i should be grateful for. see how it's starting to connect with the book emily and i reading? yeah...crazy stuff!

the challenge for me is to be consistent with my gratitude so that it continues to fill up so much i am overflowing with generosity...which will hopefully bring people to Christ. sure, yesterday and most of today it was easy for me to be grateful...but what's going to happen on thursday when i'm tired and have forgotten some of the sermon? am i going to let my perspective change back? i pray that it won't.

"this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
-Psalm 118:24 (niv)