Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Center Yourself

I have always been jealous of the type of person that can sit down at night with a cup of coffee or tea and listen to classical music to unwind. I have tried. I appreciate classical music for the talent it took to create it. But it doesn’t speak to me. Why is it that I need Corey Taylor of Slipknot (and Stone Sour) to be screaming expletives with heavy riffs of the guitar in my ear for me to feel a connection to it. I don’t get it. If I’m in the mood I can listen to some Frank Sinatra, but that is as close as I get to calming music, and that is not often. But let me be clear hear, this post isn’t about music.
I have a hard time finding my center. I feel like I am always battling my own internal demons.  I feel like I am filled with self-doubt, anger, guilt, obligation, and the list just goes on and on. Why can’t I find this place of peace. I do have times of peace. When I am with my kids, these are the most precious moments and during these times everything kind of disappears into the background.

But the rest of the time, I don’t know. Sometimes I have the best workouts because I am sticking my middle finger up to my issues and fighting them. Sometimes I feel like I am self sabotaging and doubting myself, which affects my workouts. Maybe this is just my anxiety manifesting itself in crazy ways. I don’t know. It just gets frustrating.

But I am not giving in. I feel like everyday makes me stronger. And I guess I just wanted you, out there, to know that you are not the only ones working through these feelings. It’s ok. Find someone that you can talk to. Find somewhere that gives you some peace. Even if it is just brief moments of it. And don’t ever give up, because you are stronger than you could ever imagine and capable of more than you could ever dream of. I won’t give up. And when I am faced with these moments I am going to keep giving it the big 🖕.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Allow Yourself to Evolve

    It's very funny when I look back at how this all started. This isn't something that just happened in the last couple months, this is a journey that has had many ups and downs over the last 6 years. And it all started with a bike ride. A bike ride on a beach cruiser. Then that turned into riding on a fitness bike and then that led to a 30 mile bike ride to support Testicular Cancer with my sister up in North Jersey that had so many hills I thought I was going to die during the race. Lol.

    Then, on one weird morning around 4:30 am when I couldn't sleep, I just decided that I was going to go for a run. Never in my life had I had the urge to run before that morning. But I put on a pair of cheap sneakers and went outside and ran. And that turned into a couch to 5k program, and then some of the most fun I have ever had doing 5k's and 10k's, Spartan Races, failed attempts at a 50k, and hopefully many more races in the future.

    Fast forward to now. I am back in a very good place. I am even video logging this journey on YouTube!?! Who would of thought. I am running, and I am biking and I am swimming. Wait, what did I just say?  Did I just say that I am swimming? Yep, you heard correctly. Running, biking and SWIMMING. 

    You know how I said in the beginning that long endurance events are what get me most excited. Well, under that umbrella, and a long time desire of mine is to do Triathlons.  But for a long time, I had a huge fear of swimming. Now, I don't mean swimming in the pool with your kids for fun. Or even just a casual swim in the pool. I mean swimming, like 200 yards, 400 yards, a half mile, and so on and so on. Well I finally grew a pair. I started adding swimming into my training as well. Now, it doesn't look pretty. Actually, its down right ugly. But, I am even getting a couple lessons so I can learn how to breathe and not drown.

    What's my point to all of this? Well, there are some people that probably think "how many freaking things is this guy trying to do?" "Why not get good at one thing, before trying to do 3 or 4?" Well, I have a message for those people that is not family friendly so I will keep it to myself, but I am sure you have a good idea what that message is.  

    Allow yourself to evolve, allow yourself to follow and do things that you have a desire to do. Don't hold yourself back because you assume you can't do something. Don't worry about what other people might think.  Allow yourself to dream big and be surprised by what the human body can accomplish when you dedicate yourself to something. Surprise yourself. Allow yourself to get excited about something. And most of all, have fun!

    As always everyone, Stay Healthy, Find your Happy and Seek to Inspire!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


I have come to a realization that self-doubt and fear dictate many of the decisions we make almost everyday. It limits what we are willing to try and do. Like a job that maybe you are desiring but don’t feel that you are qualified enough. Or a goal you set for yourself but end up not going after because you are in fear of failing.

I never realized how much self-doubt impacts the decisions I make and the fact that I allow it to limit what I think I am capable of doing. Last year I belonged to a CrossFit box. And truthfully, I really enjoyed it (much to the dismay of my weightlifting and powerlifting friends). And some days I felt like a rockstar, especially the days that were centered more around my strengths. But there were days that I would go on and look at what the programming was and then I would get in my own head about not being able to complete the workout or looking like an idiot because it was a movement I couldn’t do. I allowed these self doubts to poison my thoughts and feelings about the CrossFit experience. And this had nothing to do with the environment or the people. The atmosphere and community in a CrossFit box are as welcoming and friendly as you always here about. My fear of failure crippled me and ultimately caused me to go a different direction.

And the crazy part is, these feelings aren’t about things being too hard or the pain and discomfort that would come from pushing myself. I actually enjoy that discomfort. I have found that for me, especially in group settings, that my biggest fear is failure. I have found my way to work through this in most aspects of my life. But when it comes to my fitness endeavors I still find myself worrying about failing. About setting out to do something and just flat out falling short.

I am working through this and making progress. I am focusing on enjoying the process and not just fixating on the end result. I find that to become overwhelming sometimes and causes me to start doubting myself. And as I continue to fight through those doubts I become surprised by what I am capable of. What any of us are capable of. The mind and body are truly amazing and capable of far more than we give it credit for. We just need to accept that sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. Sometimes we fail, even if we are not willing to quit. And I find that I need to embrace the progress that is made, even in failure.

Till next time. Stay healthy, find your happy and seek to inspire.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Actions and Reactions

As I go through this journey that I am on to be better I am learning a lot. I believe I am learning a lot because I am allowing myself to be open to what the universe has to offer.  I want to be better. I want to be a better version of myself everyday. In order to do that I need to be open to any and everything the world has to offer me. 

I have always struggled with reactions. This has been a personal growth focus of mine for a long time. You are probably saying right now, “What the fuck does he mean that he struggles with reactions?” Well what I mean is I struggle with my own reactions. In the past I have let things that happen to me derail whether or not I have a good day, how I do with my nutrition, how I do with my training, and so on and so on. It has taken me a long time to realize that I can only control my reactions and my actions. I can’t control what the world has in store for me today, tomorrow or a year from now.

If I walk out of my house right now and I have four flat tires. I have the power to dictate how I react to this turn of events. For most people, including myself, walking out to your car to find that it has 4 flat tires would be the perfect ingredient for the making of a pretty shitty day. But it doesn’t have to be. I can make the conscience decision in this moment to do what I need to do to rectify the situation and move on from it. Or I can let it linger and allow it to put me in a pissy mood all day long. I can dictate whether or not I throw a shit fit because I have 4 flat tires or I can just accept the situation that is in front of me and focus on making it better. It is in each of our controls to determine whether or not we have a good day each and every day. Regardless of what happens to us. It is up to each and everyone of us to see the beauty and uniqueness of every single day, regardless of what hand we are dealt that day.

The same goes for our actions. I control what I do today. Do I embrace the day, spend time with my kids, work hard, exercise, eat right, show empathy, help others? I make that decision for myself everyday. We all do. We all have a million excuses on why we can’t do these things. We all have many of opportunities to take the easy way out. But I think if we focus on being mentally stronger and controlling our actions, I mean thoughtfully and deliberately making choices, we are the better for it.

Don’t let the world determine if you have a good day today, don’t let your excuses dictate whether or not you do the right thing today. Make thoughtful and deliberate choices that make your day better and do the same for those around you.

Till next time, Stay Healthy, find your Happy and Seek to inspire.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


There’s a big difference in saying you are going to do something and actually doing it.  I hear it all day long from everyone. Shit, I even do it my self sometimes. But I’m realizing that saying you are going to do something is the same as procrastination. And this journey I’m on is all about being honest, brutally honest, with myself. That’s the only way to find the personal growth I’m seeking. And if I’m being brutally honest, too much fucking procrastination is what got me to where I am today.

An example is like me saying “I’m training for a half marathon”. Hell, that could mean anything. That could mean that I’m training to do a half marathon in 2022. But, when I say “I’m training for a half marathon and I signed up for the one in Philadelphia on 9/19/2020” there is something far more finite about that. And it forces my brain to operate differently. Now that means that I am focused on having a good training plan, stretching, food plan etc... But it also holds me accountable because I made a commitment. I made a commitment with my wallet. I made a commitment to myself with a deadline. I made a commitment to my family because of the time I will be sacrificing to prepare for this race.

This is something that I have learned about myself. I need to be thrown into the fire. I operate better that way.  When I look in the mirror I need to be able to say to myself, you are doing this shit on this specific date. Because I know myself, I will put the work in. But there needs to be that thing waiting there for me to work towards. 

So, sometimes the world works in mysterious ways. I’m on this serious journey towards personal growth, betterment and just trying to being mentally tougher. And on my long drives to and from stores across the three states that I now cover for work I have been listening to audio books. Last week I start listening to this book by David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me. And I don’t think I could have found a book that is more perfect for me to listen to than this one at this point in my life. I will start by saying that this dude is one hard mother fucker. But, the things he talks about in his book to help himself experience growth and break through barriers has opened my mind.

Now I’m not going to go into a full book review, but there are a couple things that he talked about in the book that I’m implementing in my personal life. One specifically, called the accountability mirror. This means getting in front of the mirror everyday and being brutally honest with yourself. Now, this sounds easy, but it’s not. We live in this world where everything is sugar coated for us. We’re not fat, we just need to lose a little weight. The reason we didn’t get that promotion is because they favored the other person vying for the job, not because we didn’t put the necessary work in to get it. Do you see what I’m saying? People are uncomfortable having honest conversations. And people don’t want to hear honest feedback.

My goal in every aspect of my life is to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Push myself past physical and mental boundaries that my internal governor has set for me. I challenge you all to do the same.

Till next time, Stay healthy, find your happy and seek to inspire.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Inspiration and Accountability

I love the atmosphere at races. Road races, trail races, bike races, GORUCK challenges, etc... There is just something about everyone being out together to do the same thing. And that is challenging themselves. And what is even cooler is that success is going to be different for every person that is there. For some it will be how fast they go, can they set a new PB (personal best), or it will be just finishing the race, regardless of time. It is a truly inspirational environment to be in. And that is why I think I am so obsessed with doing them and using races as my goal. Because of this, throughout the blog I am going to sprinkle random pictures from different races I have done in the past.

Some of my best memories and most enjoyable times have been at races. Now I’m not including the birth of my children or my wedding day into the equation. I’m just saying, I look back at all of the races I have done and I have great memories of those races. Whether I performed well or not. I can’t wait for COVID 19 to go away and for the race world to open again.
But now, we will get into the title. Accountability and Inspiration. Now for some, these two words may not go together. But for me, they are inseparable. Finding the things that inspire me help to keep me accountable. Such as. . .races. Having that inspiration in my back pocket helps me stay on track or get back on track if I had a rough day. If I let that one bad day spiral into a bad week, bad month or a bad year it will prevent me from doing the things that inspire me. Kind of like my current predicament. But, we are going to move on from the negative and start looking forward at the positive.

So this blog, is something that is here to keep myself accountable but also inspires me. I will be blogging throughout this whole process. It doesn’t matter if I get back to old form 3 months from now or if it takes me 3 years. I will keep this going. There is a couple reasons for this.

1. I will put myself on blast if I screw up in order to keep myself accountable. (More on this in a few)

2. I will share my highs and lows. Hopefully there will be people that can relate to me and maybe it will help them through some of their own struggles.

3. I will share what is working and not working for me. Again, hopefully helping other people.

4. And finally, I will share my goals and successes with all of you. Maybe it will inspire someone. Maybe it won’t. But I was inspired by someone, so I owe it to someone out there to try and inspire them.

So what inspires me. I have some short term, mid term and long term goals. But what really inspires me is ultra marathons. There is something about going out to see how much suffering your body can take. It gives me goosebumps to talk about it. I have never been fast at running distance. I can actually sprint shorter distances pretty well, but that’s a conversation for another day. But, you want to know what I am good at? Even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you. I’m good at taking punishment.  I can withstand a beating with the best of them. Just trudging forward at all costs. This gets me jacked up. But my absence from running the last 2 years has kind of pushed this goal a little further out. So in the meantime I set 2 short term goals for myself. First, run a virtual 5k the third week of June. And then run a trail 10k the third week of July. 

So I am going to close this out with holding myself accountable. Yesterday, May 13, 2020, was a shit day. And my anxiety went sideways on me because I was having such a lousy day. Well, while working through my shit day I made some poor food choices. But, I pulled myself together last night, prepped my lunch for today and got myself back on track. That’s a win in my books ladies and gentlemen. The Tom from the last 2 years would have let that nonsense unravel and turn into a week of poor food decisions. So that is it for today.  Stay healthy, find your happy, and seek  to inspire.

Monday, May 11, 2020

My Unhealthy Relationship

Well, this isn’t easy for me to talk about. Really nothing that I write about has been. But this one has always been a thorn in my side and something that was always difficult for me to deal with. It’s my weight problem.
Now I have always been big. Not tall big, that would just be too easy, but big. I have ranged all different types of big. Ever since I was a child, I have been all different sorts of big. I have been fat. I have been big and strong, but still fat or pudgy. For a brief period I was big and strong and actually built pretty good. But that slipped back to being fat. I have also been fit and a little fat. So as you can see, always a struggle. But I have always been confident in myself for the most part despite my weight struggles. Partially because I have always been strong as an ox so I felt like I had something going for me. And I never allowed it to stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I was always pretty active, played sports and did active things with my friends. 

Now, the real problem here is my relationship with food. I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food. When I was a kid, self control with food was always an issue. As I became an adult self control really became an issue with food. Then when I quit smoking self control was pretty much off the table when it came to food. And to be honest I always struggled on my own with this issue. I never felt comfortable talking to people about it. 

Well, as I said in my previous blog I have struggled the past 2 years. With demons, with running, with food. About 16 months ago I was told that I was borderline type 2 diabetic and also had some high liver enzymes. I was told I needed to change the way I ate. And I didn’t disagree. But the difference this time was that I was going to ask for help. So I did, I talked to the doctor about it. I was told “cut out the grains and the fats, don’t cheat and this is how you will need to eat for the rest of your life”. My mind was blown. I didn’t realize it would just be that easy. Don’t eat fats, breads, pastas, etc... and all my problems would be fixed. Holy shit! This guy must be a genius. Now saying this to someone who clearly likes to eat is like saying to a heroin addict, just stop using heroine and you will be fine.

Now I totally agree that what this Doctor said to me carries some truth. But he couldn’t really be so dumb to believe it would really be that easy. And now I know why I never felt comfortable talking to people about these issues. You get a snarky response and they look at you like your a moron. But I figured hey, why not give it a try. So I did, but it was a struggle and I never really got it right. Plus everyone has their own opinions around you on how you should eat when you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and they make you aware of those opinions. So I circled this drain for a while, but it was doomed to fail. 

As a result of these ups and down and me finally dealing like I’m getting closer to understanding myself better, I have been researching lifestyle changes I can make (I’m not calling it a diet anymore) to help me on my road to better health. About 3 or 4 months ago I landed on a pescatarian lifestyle. Lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and fish. Healthy fats, fiber, nutrient rich food. Now I will talk about this more on another day. I have had my challenges in this transition but have not taken my eye off the long term lifestyle change. And I feel like this is a lifestyle I can maintain and be healthy with. Which is the most important thing. Again, trying to be more self aware and reflective has allowed me to see my issues and come up with a good plan going forward.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

September 2018 was a big shift for me. And it took me a while to look back and understand what really happened. And to be hones, I’m not sure I still know 100% what took place. But let’s start a little further back.

In April of 2014 I made a lot of changes. I quit smoking, lost some weight, took up running and was taking control of some things in my life that I felt I needed to be controlled. I was in a good place. I was running 4 or 5 times a week. I had goals and was always working towards those goals. Over the next several years I was running races, taking on new challenges, setting new personal bests and was healthier than I had been in years.

I even took on some new challenges. I started Rucking and did a GoRuck Challenge, I was taking on more responsibility at work while striving to get promoted, and was looking towards some fitness goals that were much more challenging.

But all the while I was working through some of my own demons. I always had issues with anxiety, but when I was smoking I didn’t realize that I used smoking as a way to manage my anxiety. If I felt anxious I would smoke a cigarette and it would calm me down. But after I quit smoking I realized how much I used smoking as a crutch to deal with my anxiety. So I had to find new ways of working and dealing with my anxiety. Unfortunately, I used food to make myself feel better and didn’t even realize it. But a bit more on this later. Even though I was using food as a way to deal with my anxiety, I was still dealing with it, and I wasn’t smoking. So I didn’t really worry about it.

Then fast forward to 2018 and our family was dealt some tough news. My father had cancer. While this was tough, my father was strong willed and determined to beat it. So everyone around him carried that same mentality. And I used these circumstances as an opportunity to raise money for the Cancer Research Institute of New York and strive to take on my largest fitness challenge yet. A 50k.

So I had picked a foundation in CRI to raise money for and I picked a race. The Jim Thorpe Boulder Field 100k and 50k. I had decent training leading up to the race but also learned a lot in the process and especially on race day. But little did I know that this race would be a major turning point for me. 

First, I realized that I have a bit of a control issue. I realized I couldn’t do anything to fix my father’s cancer. So in my head, raising money for someone that was out there trying to come up with a cure was my way of helping the situation. Now I understand we all have a control issue to an extent. But control really is an illusion and this was my way of feeling like I had a little bit of control in the situation.

Second, I didn’t know this race was going to break me. Both physically and mentally. We will start with physically first. So I trained on a lot of trails leading up to this race. But I live in south Jersey and our trails  are packed down pretty trails. This race was all rocky and technical trails that my ankles were not prepared for. But other than that I felt pretty good. Until I rolled my ankle about 12 miles in. I managed to go about 4 more miles until the next aid station. At that point I realized that my ankle wasn’t going to make it another 16 miles and I needed to drop and get a DNF for this race.
Now mentally this messed with me. I had raised close to $2k to donate to CRI and my motivation for this race was for my father who was fighting cancer. And I felt guilty. I felt like I was letting my father down and I felt like I was letting everyone down that donated towards this cause.  And I had no idea how long I would carry this guilt. But I carried it a lot longer than I realized.
This day and this race became a turning point for me. I allowed this failure to pretty much derail most of what I had worked towards over the previous 4 years. I pretty much stopped running and didn’t even realize that it had happened. I really just rucked. Running became non existent. And my relationship with food got worse. Now let’s be clear, I never had a great relationship with food. I used it to make me feel better when I was upset, I used it when I felt anxious, and I even used food to celebrate when I was happy. My relationship with food had become a pretty serious issue.
So now I had health issues coming back, I was gaining weight, and I wasn’t doing something that I truly enjoyed doing. Running. Well this brings me to today. 

By no means have I resolved all of my issues or even repaired them. But, I am aware and that has allowed me to start running again. To start making goals and plans again. It sucks because I feel like I am starting over. But I am trying to take control again, in a healthy way. And I understand now that I can’t fix my anxiety. I can’t fix my relationship with food. And I can’t fix my problem with guilt. But I can be aware of these issues. And I can always be working on them. And I now know that I can’t let my guard down, because I did and completely derailed me.

So here is to new beginnings and reflecting so we don’t make the same mistakes we made in the past. This blog is allowing me to hold myself accountable so I don’t make these same mistakes again.