Get PHIT #America , The PHIT Act

I usually never discuss politics on my Athletic Forums. Let’s face it,  politics and everyone’s personal view could bring out some strong feelings. There is nothing wrong with owning your opinion but sometimes folks go over board and an ugly side could come out.

But, this time I’m happy to talk about Politics. Why, because of the PHIT Act. What? You haven’t heard about the PHIT Act, The Personal Health Investment Today Act (H.R. 956). Look, I’m not going to get into Health Care wars or who should pay for what.  I am going to discuss Health and Wellness and the fact that we as citizens need to take pro active steps towards a Healthy Life Style for ourselves, our kids and fellow Americans.

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First some background Information:

The PHIT Act (H.R. 956), currently pending legislation in Congress, was introduced in 2009 by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and currently has bi-partisan support. The PHIT Act is legislation that would allow for reimbursement of Physical activity expenses using pre-tax dollars.  In essence, the PHIT Act expands the definition of a medical expense to include qualified physical activities as a form of prevention.  Your contributions to existing pre-tax Medical, Flexible Spending, and reimbursement accounts could be used to pay for physical activity expenses.  Contributions would not increase existing caps on pre tax accounts and contributions are limited to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families annually.

So What does PHIT Cover:

  • Youth Camp and Physical activity fees
  • Membership and dues in a health club
  • Exercise/fitness classes or instruction (personal trainers)
  • Sport league fees (Adult and Youth)
  • Marathon/Triathlon registration fees
  • Sports and Fitness equipment used exclusively for participation in physical exercise/activities

Now, we all hear the excuses Triathlons and Marathon entries are so expensive. Gym Memberships and fitness equipment are expensive. Well guess What..with the PHIT Act YOU now have a chance to stop making excuses and start taking steps towards a healthy life style.

America, Get off the couch, drop the dumb excuses and get PHIT! Reach out to your local leaders and have them help pass the PHIT Act.

To our leaders in Washington, What are you doing to help America get PHIT?

 

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Long Weekends are for… #ConfessionsofanAthlete

I just love long weekends. It’s a great time to take a break from the hustle and relax. In my case I relaxed by getting in some good quality time at the gym.  Here’s a quick recap of my long weekend:

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Saturday kicked off with a 10 mile bike ride followed up by 6.65 mile run in honor of Meg Cross Menzies. Meg was tragically killed by a drunk driver and runners and non runners from across the country dedicated their run/walk/bike to Meg’s memory and family.

Sunday, was a bit crazy.  My legs were dying from Saturday’s training session but I got back out there for 7.1 miles at a comfy and consistent 7:30ish pace.  I was so tired but some how I kept going. I’m crediting my biking for having more endurance. My legs feel tired but have not had that led feeling yet.  Hmm..I wonder?

I followed up my running with some strength training. Here’s where things get crazy…. My bodybuilding friends are always giving me grief for my skinny legs. So after some upper body stuff I threw down some squats. Shut those guys up by squating 4.5 times my body weight x 10 reps. 7 plates (45lb plate) on each side (initial lift started with 180lbs).

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On Monday, my legs were fried.  I hit the treadmill for an easy 3.3 mile recovery run and then I hit the pool.  I swam a mile and took my time.  I have no idea how long it took me….honestly I don’t.  The focus was on form and getting in a full mile.  It was nice to chill and the water helped my body relax.

That was the weekend..hope ya’ll had a great three day weekend as well.

See ya on roads.

This is where it begins

Greatness is found by doing the little things. Greatness is found by not being afraid to fail. Folks I’ve been to hell. I’ve seen the darkness and I’ve been knocked down. Greatness is found by doing the little things. Like getting your ass off that floor. Crawling out of the black hole and finding a way to reach your destination.

Whatever your goal take that fear and transform it into positive energy. Where does your road begin?

Surrender #Confessionsofanathlete

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Moments after crossing the finish line I realized I had failed. You work, and work and work. You put in a 100% and you still can’t get the results you want. To get through that next level..You need to go … Continue reading

I can’t fight this feeling… #confessionofanathlete

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I keep fighting this feeling. Maybe it’s time to stop fighting and start kicking some ass. First #triathlon in February and then it’s time…it’s SHOW TIME!

I’m working on my schedule and the plan is to work, show up and get the job done. Period!!!

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On Any Given Sunday… Confessions of a Runner… The Final Chapter

After crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon I’ve been reflecting on my journey and trying to organize a roller coaster of emotions/thoughts.  This post is not a traditional race recap, but more of a glimpse into my thoughts and emotions. I wish I could say it captures everything…but I’m sure I left a lot out. Regardless here’s the post:

I started my running career in 2010 and have been asked a simple question: Why do you run? Until Sunday afternoon I have struggled to find a proper answer.  There are many reasons, health benefits, freedom, time to de stress but none of these truly answered the question..until the final stretch of Chicago Marathon.

The journey to the finish line took 10 months and 13 days and during that time I trained like a beast.  I have pushed myself to go Further, Faster and Forever.  I have dealt with major let downs which impacted my spirit and made me question why the hell I’m doing this.  I have enjoyed the highs and finding out that I have so much potential.  I have learned to relax and enjoy the ride.  This latter point wasn’t something that I easily found, but man when I did…it made things a lot easier.

On Sunday morning I awoke with a sense of urgency.  For a moment I wasn’t myself I felt like I was floating.  When I arrived at Grant Park I was ready for battle.  I quickly dropped off my gear and began my pre-race ritual (wait in line for the bathroom while doing dynamic stretches, scope the crowd and a light warm up run).  I was probably one of the first runners who entered Corral B. When I entered I had the swagger of Apollo Creed, but the hunger of Rocky.  I kept staring down the road in front of me….this race was about me vs me.

All year my goal was to run a 3 hour and 15 minute marathon (The BQ time for my age group). In reality if I really wanted to run Boston in 2015 I needed to run faster than 3:15 to have a realistic shot.  So as I toed the line the plan was set I was going to run at a 3 hour and 10 minute marathon pace.  All year I have flirted with 3:10 the only question that was unanswered did I have the heart and mental strength to do it.  As soon as the horn went off I positioned myself behind the Nike 3:10 pacers.  I felt we were going slow…but this had more to do with the fact that I like to run really fast in the first couple of miles.  Holding it back and running even splits is something I am not good at. LOL.  But as the race unfolded I was right there running a solid 3:10. At the half way mark I had achieved a personal best; I ran a 1:34:35 half.  The crazy thing, I didn’t feel I was running as fast.  But man was I flying.  I felt comfy and I kept telling myself “Wow dude you belong..you can do this.”

Somewhere between mile 16 and 17 there was an aide station.  The aide stations are pretty crowded and my pace group had no intention on stopping or slowing down.  We flew in and out. But with the traffic and slippery road..I tweaked my left ankle.  I felt ok for the next couple of miles but by the time I got to mile 20 I was hurting. My ankle was screaming and my form was breaking.  I started doing the math and knew I would be close to my goal time. But I didn’t think I could hold the 3:10 pace.  So I made the decision to stay as close as possible.  If I was close..I would  chase the pacers and they would help me get to the finish.  By mile 22 the wheels began to fall off. My hip flexors were on fire. My ankle was killing me and I was having difficulty getting power off my left foot as I took a step.  As my form broke and the pain intensified I started to think “Oh No..not again. Dude you have come so far…” Then somewhere around mile 23 I saw Lorna (Lorna is a local Chicago runner who is simply amazing.  She ran Boston this year and has been such a great support during my journey).  As I made a right turn I was ready to quit. I had nothing left and the body was done.  But Lorna somehow found me and when we made eye contact..she simply gave me a smile and a nod.  The gesture is something I’ve seen before during our fun runs.  On this day it said…IT’S OK..GO FOR IT!

Now the race was no longer about 26.2 miles, but a quick 3.2 mile run.  My plan was to make it to Michigan and go for it. It was really balls to the wall…just get to the finish line strategy.  Man was 3.2 miles the longest and most painful thing I’ve done all year.  My arms were pumping, my mind was screaming my mantra’s and I tried with all my will to propel forward.  The pain was overwhelming.  I really wanted to quit…but I knew I had 2.2 miles to go.  Along the way I heard a couple of cheers..people actually screamed my full name.  That was so cool!!! Plus it gave me a huge boost of confidence.  As I got to the final 1.2 miles I could see Roosevelt. I knew I had nothing left.  Yet I wasn’t freaked out. I started to ask myself what would Emz do…she ran 108.88 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill. Dude you are 800 meters away. Emz would tell you get moving. So as I made a right turn onto Roosevelt I let it all go. I used whatever gas, energy, and effort I had left on that damn bridge.  I felt like a turtle and by the time I made my last turn..I knew what I had just accomplished.  I ran as hard as I could towards the finish line.  For the first time in my life I actually threw my hands up and flashed three fingers. I went Further, Faster and I will forever know the answer to my question.

My goal was to qualify for Boston. I finished in 3 hours, 15 minutes and 48 seconds.  I missed my BQ by :48 seconds.  Yes I was disappointed.  But, as I made my last turn and sprinted for the finish line I said I knew what I had just accomplished.  In 3 hours, 15 minutes and 48 seconds I ran to be Extraordinary.

This post is not intended to brag about my time nor to ask for pity. This post is for all you Average Joe Athletes asking yourself a similar question(s).  Whatever your sport and/or dream you have to dedicate yourself to the journey.  For in the journey is where you will find your answers and have the opportunity to learn who you really are.

A special shout out to my family for allowing me to chase my dreams for the last four years.

A humble THANK YOU to my Further Faster Forever teammates who have been so supportive during this journey. You made me feel like an Elite and words can not express how grateful I am for your support.

Emz, Shannon, Shawn, Heather, Daniela, Lorna and David G. Thank You for the wise words, your positive spirit and support during some tough moments.

What’s next?  :48 seconds…………

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#ConfessionsofaRunner to #OwnChicago

The Journey towards the finish line has always been a battle between me and me.  For 10 months and 13 days I have sacrificed it all. I have reached the depths of hell to find myself and rise to be a better athlete and person.  On Sunday,no matter the outcome…I will   #OwnChicago