Monday, October 1, 2012

To blog or not to blog (I stole that!)

It's been a looong time since I've sat here and typed on this specific tab of my screen.  And it's interesting why I'm doing it.  I'm lazy and haven't blogged.  I have a client who is fat and was supposed to be training with me this morning but isn't answering his phone.  So I've decided to use his half hour to peck and hunt and get started back.

On the surface there's very little difference between me not writing here and him not showing up at the gym or eating what he's supposed to eat so he can reach his health and fitness goals.  We are both being lazy.  The difference is my decision to not do what I say I was going to do doesn't really affect anyone else.  My laziness has an impact on me only.  In his case though there's a lot more of a trickle down effect. 

I'm a firm believer in the observation "the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree."  And in his case I'm convinced that his son is going to be fat like him as well.  Actually make that fatter than him.  Having said that I'm planning on being far less politically correct with my observations about people and their habits than I have in the past.  I know I'm going to piss a lot of people off when I say "nope, you can't eat that" or "that's going to kill you."  But I can't think of any other way to get my point across. 

A recent report said that by 2030 more than 50% of the population will be obese.  If that's the case then another 40% will be overweight.  That's a terrifying prospect.  And from what I can see there's nothing being done about it!  Nothing!  So I'm going to do my small part. 

And right now that means making oatmeal for the family for breakfast.  Thank you Tom for paying me to write!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

It's time for me to step outside my comfort zone...

I won't bore you with the details but I had a huge epiphany recently.  I came to the conclusion that I have a horrible perception/belief in/of myself.  It's not apparent to most people I don't think.  But it's something I battle with constantly.  And because I'm of the belief that the 'apple doesn't fall too far from the tree' observation about humans, I've got to find a way to overcome my issues.  Because if I don't then I can only expect my sons to be no different than their father. 

It was pointed out to me that I only see the negative aspect of people or situations.  And my instinct is to fight that assertion, even though I know it's in fact very accurate.  It's a trait I inherited from my mum.  And something I battle on a daily basis.  But realize that it doesn't actually have to be a battle of any kind.  I've been blessed with other genes or character traits and can quite easily take on those rather than the ones I currently choose.  Because I do think it's a choice I'm making.  Even though I know the outcome of that choice is going to be negative.

So, here we go.  Heading down a path that frightens the crap out of me.  And this I promise you and myself is the truth.  I believe in the observation of Marianne Williamson.  So I'm going to sign off with her classic observation that is usually credited to Nelson Mandela.  I don't think either of them care who gets credit to be honest...

…“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the race was a perfect metaphor for life...

To say that the triathlon was a challenge would be an understatement.  The swim was fine - if you like that kind of thing!  Which means the swim portion of a tri is my least favorite.  The bike was okay.  It was an incredibly hilly course that could have been fun if I'd practiced more on hills than I had - duh! 

The run on the other that's a different story!  It was brutal!  The only race that I can remember being as challenging was the Adirondack Marathon.  Which makes sense.  You're running in a mountain range.  I could never have imagined such consistently rolling steep hills in south Georgia.  To show you how hard it was, I rarely run a 10k portion of a triathlon in over 60 minutes.  I can usually eke out a 10 minute mile pace.  On Sunday I finished in 1:15 and and change.  That's how demanding it was.

I spent as much time walking up the hills as I did shuffling down them!  And all the time all I could think about was writing this blog!  Okay, that's a stretch.  I was thinking about the chapter of my book, 'This too Shall Pass.'  I'm convinced that we are always on a journey of some kind that has a beginning a middle and an end.  And no matter how much you believe it's never going to end, it always, always does.  The crappy relationship will end.  The horrible boss will leave one day.  The fat belly you've got will be gone one day.  Of course the caveat to those observations is that although the journey you're on may just end by itself but to ensure that it does YOU have to make the right decisions and take the right actions.

The big difference between the race and life was the fact that I was afforded the opportunity to see the beginning, middle and end of each hill I encountered.  And knew exactly what I had to do to get to the top of said hill.  And knew what the potential outcomes of my actions would be immediately.  If I keep my legs turning over I'll make it to the top of this hill which will go down until I reach the bottom of the next hill I have to climb...until I cross the finish line.  Or, I can quit.  Stop moving towards the finish line.  And have someone drive out on the course and pick me up.  Those were my only options.

Life is a little different.  You can't see the top of the hill.  And although intelectually you know it's there, sometimes you give in because it's just too hard.  Meanwhile you might have been a foot from the top!  And seconds later would have been careening downhill with a smile on your face! 

So there you have it.  The race is over.  It was brutal.  Thankfully I could see the top of each hill and keep chugging slowly up the hill.  Now it's time for me to do the same with my life.  Time to get my head down and keep my legs moving.  Because I don't want to have someone drive out on the course and pick me up!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Almost time to get my racing shoes on...

It's the day before race day....and perhaps the last race I'll do for Team in Training, the group that saved my life.  An odd but completely true belief I have.  I'm pretty sure my suicidal tendencies would have got the better of me if I had kept going down the path I was going down.  I think you can only think it's your birthday every day for so many years before something stops functioning!

So tomorrow I'll be competing in the 11 lake Oconee Olympic distance triathlon.  And it's going to be an emotional day for a lot of people.  This is the first time I'll have raised money and competed in a race for someone I know.  Lisa's step dad Joe will soon be undergoing chemo treatment for his pre-leukemia condition - I forget the acronym.  And he's going to be there to watch it.  As well as a whole host of other people.

So I think it's fitting that this be my last event so I can start my very own training program for a group called Pattison's Pacers.  This group raises money for handicapped kids.  Actually we raise money to purchase wheelchairs so we can push handicapped kids outside so they can feel what we're feeling.  The best example of this would be Dick and Ricky Hoyt. 

So, on that note, farewell TNT.  Thank you for all the miles....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slow and Steady....

As it's one of the chapters of my book, and a credo of mine, I guess I'm practicing what I preach by writing on Tuesday morning....only a few days after my last entry.  It's interesting how the urgency of getting my book done got me out of bed early in the morning (like I am right now) but the desire to write here in this blog doesn't have the same impact.

So that got me to thinking.  Which is never a good thing!!  It's blatantly obvious that I'm not very good at getting stuff done - as well as I'd like to think I am.  Unless there's something big and audacious attached to it.  Like writing a book.  Or, in this next case, starting a marathon and half marathon training group to raise money for racing wheelchairs for children with special needs. 

I know me and I know what makes me tick/work/perform/follow through.  And I'm going to stake my reputation on me doing so with this chapter of my life as well as this new one I'm about to embark upon.  It's odd but sometimes you just have to go with what works and not question it.  So, I'm thinking I'll use this part of my life as a platform for more writing that my sons will one day get to read and understand what makes their dad tick!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time to get cracking...

It's been a long time.  But as I say in my book 'this too shall pass' and before you know it you're on to another chapter in your life.  And that's where I am right now.  I think I've been suffering from a little post partum depression - regarding writing that is.  So, the best cure is for me to write.  I'm going to do what I did when I first started my book - slow and steady.  And as I've got a client in 30 minutes followed by a 2 hour brick workout, I'd better get cracking on that one too!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I hate being hypocritical...

It's so strange that I've got such a problem with people being hypocritical when it comes to how the lead their life when I'm exactly the same!  Here I am writing after a hiatus of almost 2 weeks!  What would I say to one of my clients if I was one?  "A good cowboy always remounts!"  And that is the truth.  I know I should have been writing here instead of where I was - not a lot to be honest!  The important thing to take into consideration is that I've got back to the keyboard and I'm typing away.

I'm not going to dwell too long though because son number 2 is refusing to nap so I need to attend to him.  And I have to get a bunch of things completed before this evening when Quinlan is running his first ever organized race...a 100 feet dash!!  We've been practicing at the gym and I think he's up for it..

Okay, time to be a good daddy....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

race season start this week!! today is day...hmm....don't know!

This time last year I was getting ready for the first triathlon of the season...actually make that triathlons...I was a member of 2 relay teams...I swam in the sprint with James (my client who is the poster child for overcoming obstacles - he's a throat cancer survivor who breaths through a hole in his neck) and then did the half marathon for Toby who swam and rode.  This year it's just going to be a half marathon.  Which may be an issue because I haven't run that fat since...let me think...oh yes, last years race!!!

I'm excited to get the season kicked off though.  But I know I have to get my crap together when it comes to my writing!  When I had to write my book I wrote.  Now that I don't have to write my book I don't.  And it's not a good behavior/habit for me to have.  I love writing, so why don't I?  Because I've let my mechanism for writing slide.  Hmm....sounds very similar to the whole premise of my book doesn't it?  So I think it's time for me to set some writing goals to go along with my racing goals.  But first I'm off to edge the lawn and then take the boys to the Charleston Bed Race...fond memories of college...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now is reckoning 22ish...

I know deep in my heart that the book I've written is good.  Yet my natural inclination is to lean toward the I think it's only appropriate to quote one of my favorite authors who really calls it the way it is...from Marriane Williamson...."Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  I need to sleep on that!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

At last I can spread the word...and it's approximately day 25

Lisa and I were coming back from an amazing weekend getaway celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary when I got confirmation from a chap I hired to format my book 'properly.'  I use the word 'properly' because it's so apropos for the book I wrote.  I spent god knows how many hours writing those 117860 words and ended up thwarted by the formatting of the flipping thing for all of the e-readers available.  So I turned to a pro.  Which is exactly what the book tells unhealthy or overweight readers.  The odds of me getting the formatting done correctly are so small it's just not worth me trying.  Just like someone thinking that joining a gym is the answer to their poor health!  I found money in my budget to have someone who knows what he's doing do it!  Just like the book says about hiring an exercise and nutritional professional...

On that note I'm going to sign off because it's late, I'm knackered and I know I'm going to be spending a lot more time on this screen than I am on my other ones...bring on the followers!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

This has to be day 20 by now...tempus fugit!

I love the saying "the days are long but the years are short."  It's such an accurate way to describe life when you're a parent of 2 small boys, an entrepreneur, work 30 plus hours a week as a personal trainer, a husband, a wanna be gardener, a novelist (best selling novelist in the O'Keefe household), and compete in various road races!

Hence the reason why I've been unable (actually I should say 'have chosen') not to keep up with my blogging.  And I'm torn.  I haven't been blogging because I know nobody reads what I write because very few people go to my site because my book still isn't published...etc. etc.  And that will change soon.  On the other hand the mere act of sitting here and writing makes me feel happy!  So I've got the author(s) of some books saying what I'm doing isn't going to get me where I want to be from a business stand point and other authors on the lines of Eric Fromm or James Allen saying "be who you're supposed to be and you will be rewarded" or words to that effect...hmmm...

Okay then I'll keep writing for a few more minutes until the family wake up.  And I think it's going to be about me!!  And my running.  You (and I know there is no you out there, but I'll stick with myself on this thought) may or may not remember that I tore my knee up last year.  It's probably about 6 months ago now.  I really thought I was done from running.  Seriously.  It was so painful just to walk.  Well, I rehabbed and worked at it and dipped my toe in the water of running etc.  And had my biggest breakthrough yesterday out running with a client.  We did some speed work in between lifting weights and not only was I running the fastest I've run in 10 years I was also doing it on the grass and dirt on the side of the road!  Potholes, lumps, bumps and hills the whole way and I not only survived it I'm feeling great this morning! 

So on that note about me...I'll sign off and get back at it....I'm really optimistic I'll get my book back from the 'expert' I hired to format it for me today...fingers crossed....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 10..I think....parallels in life is the topic...

I'm attempting to write this blog and watch my one year old at the same time....and the observation a good friend once had is that 'multi-tasking is multi-stupid.'  So I've decided to put this task aside for an hour or so and take Liam for a stroll around the's such a better way for me to spend my time...I'll get to this, for want of a better description, less important task in my life later...

Now is later and I'm going to give my best shot at trying to explain how I'm seeing so many parallels in life.  Specifically about becoming the best at something you're trying to achieve.  I've applied myself and have written a book about leading a fit and healthy life.  I'm leading a fit and healthy life.  I'm now in a position to make a living from my hard work and realize that just because I want to be a best selling novelist doesn't mean I'm going to be.  Nor am I going to be a whiz at social media, because I want to be.

No, I'm going to have to work incredibly hard at it and, if I'm lucky will get the results I want.  Which is just the same as someone else wanting to be fit and healthy and expecting that to be the case because they join a gym!  The dilemma that I have is very similar to the one a new member has - "do I do it myself or hire a pro?"  Like most new members I'm going to, because of finances, go on my own to start off with.  With the help of Melissa who I mentioned earlier and the 2 books she suggested I buy.

I'm pretty confident I'm going to make some pretty good progress right out of the gate because I've got momentum on my side.  Then I'm going to have to make the decision as to whether I can afford to hire a pro to take me to the next level.  I've got a sneaky suspicion that said pro would be recommending I do something more productive with my time than writing this blog that nobody is going to read!  Just like the new member walking 3 miles an hour on the treadmill!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 9....don't you hate the definition of discipline?

For over a year I sat and wrote for anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours almost every day.  If you've read my books you'll see in the second one I offer up an almost daily diatribe of what I did, and quite often, didn't but should have done!  I have to think that I did what I did because there was a clear and precise goal for me - write a book (it ended up being 2 books in one) in a year.  More importantly write a book that is going to help people lead the fit and healthy life their higher power (fill in your own definition here - God, Buddha etc.) planned for them.  Et voila! it's a little different.  I don't have that clear and concise goal.  Now it's vague and ambiguous.  In fact I feel like almost everyone who joins a gym!!  Over the years I've probably conducted more than 5000 initial meetings of new members to a health club, gym, spa etc.  And I bet 4900 of them said "I joined because I want to lose weight and tone up."  Trust me when I say you, whomever you are, will always always always want to lose weight and tone up.  It's a never ending quest.  Like Sisyphus.

So what am I to do?  Well I obviously have to have some clear and concise goals or this writing thing is going to get the better of me and I'm going to find every excuse known to mankind not to do it.  And I'm going to have to keep the definition of discipline squarely in my vision.  Definition, in my world, is "doing what you don't want to do when you don't want to do it."  Which is pretty much exactly how I feel right now.  Its Friday morning and I was up at 5 to get ready to train a client at 6.  I just got back home and will be heading back to the gym for 4 hours in about 10 minutes.  When I get back instead of it being a typical day of lunch, look after my 1 year old, write, do research, market my business, it will be a litany of 'honey-do's' with the family.  Quinlan is out of school for the day and we plan on painting the porch, planting the vegetable and herb garden, the sunflowers, the wildflowers and something else that slips my memory.  In between all of these we promised Quin we'd head to the beach to play for an hour or so.....yikes!

So, I have just done what I didn't want to do when I didn't want to do it...and feel great about my accomplishment. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 8...a great example of Unmarketing

A good friend of ours, Melissa Marro is a genius at social media marketing.  I asked her if she would give me some guidance on how to promote myself, my book and my website and she has been awesome so far.  She suggested I read 2 books.  Unmarketing and the Zen of Social Media.  I uploaded the sample of Unmarketing to my Kindle and read it I'll buy the book itself and get cracking on it in my free time lol..that's a funny time...sometimes I crack myself up!!

What I got from the first part of the book is that no matter the size of your company the thing that is NOT going to get you business is the traditional marketing - cold calling and ads.  The way to sell your product or service is by becoming a 'recognized expert' in your field and getting other people to promote you....and I had a perfect experience of that last night.

Every Wednesday is our swim practice for the triathlon we (me, Lisa, Jeff, Kim and Erin) are doing for Joe and we're hoping to raise $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  If you've read my book you know I really don't like swimming.  It sucks!  But as the race calls for me to swim 1500 meters I think it is prudent for me to go to the pool and practice.  This will be my second time in a month.  The first time was, and I can't believe I'm actually writing this, excellent!  Last night was even better!!!  For one simple reason - Coach Andy.  He is amazing.  Oh, I should also preface these observations with letting you know I've been swimming actively for the last 12 years.  I've done 3 mile ocean swims regularly.  I did the ironman which is a 2.4 mile swim.  So it's not that I'm a novice to this discipline.

So here's my 'aha' moment.  I think Andy is a teacher by trade and is helping coach because his 22 year old son is part of our fundraising group.  If he was a swim coach I would, without him asking me, offer to write or tape a testimonial saying how incredible he is.  I'd say something like "I've been swimming for a looong time and in 2 sessions with Andy am already a better swimmer than I'd ever imagine.  He knows so much and is able to impart that so easily it's truly amazing.  You have to hire him."  Or words to that effect.

So now it's up to me to get other people to say the same of me!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 6...ish!! and a review of the chapter 'compete in something..anything...

I've already lost track regarding what day it is after my first entry.  Which is to be expected when you take all things into consideration.  Which I won't go into right now because as the rest of the title says it's all about competing in something...anything...

Not wanting to be hypocritical as a coach I'm going to detail my race schedule.  I'll start out with one I did the other day.  It was the local St Patty's day 5k.  I ran it last year in about 24 to 25 minutes - I forget the exact time.  I did it this year in 25:12 which may look as if I've slowed but it was substantially better than last year because of 2 things.  First, and most importantly, I ran the last 400 yards with my 4 and a half year old son Quinlan, which as a father is the ultimate reward of life.  Secondly this was my first 'real' race after tearing my knee up.  If you haven't read the second book of '52 steps' you won't know that I was demonstrating how to do a handstand to a teenage client and twisted my knee so badly (a complete fluke injury) I almost passed out from the pain.  It was so bad that at one stage I was worried for my career as a trainer.  I couldn't climb the steps with my 1 year old in my arms.  I struggled to get in and out of the car.  I almost fell over one day trying to play soccer with Quin my knee was so weak.  I envisioned myself being that guy who 'used to race' but couldn't any more.  Thankfully I'm baaack...

And here's what's next - in theory!  The Cooper River Bridge 10k in 2 weeks.  It's always around my birthday and my goal is always to beat my age.  I'll be 53 this year and plan on coming in under 53 minutes and 59 seconds.  I'll struggle to beat last year's time of under 50 minutes.  I'm scheduled to compete in a 100 mile bike ride the day after but I think I'm going to have to drop down to the 50 miler.  We have friends in town and there's going to be a bit of a birthday bash for me so I really don't want to set myself up to either fail or feel miserable afterwards.  We'll see.  Next is a 5k downtown mid April.  Then either a sprint triathlon or one leg of a half ironman triathlon at the end of April.  There's a 10k in May.  Then I'll do one of the James Island Sprint triathlons in May or June.  A big race on my calendar is at the end of June and that's the triathlon we, as a family, are competing in to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the name of Lisa's step dad Joe who is currently undergoing chemo for a precursor to leukemia.

I think that's about it...Oh yes, the Assault on Mount Marion.  That's penciled in there as well...I'll elaboarate about that one at some stage later...meanwhile, it's time to make a healthy breakfast for the family and get cracking on what's going to be a great day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 2...okay I lied - day 3

It's late on day 2 and I'm switching from one tab to another on my laptop as I sit at the kitchen table my eyes at half mast.  To use the great English vernacular I'm 'knackered' 

And it's now day 3 so I suppose I'm already behind where I'd like to be...but then it means I'm following on where I left off on the book!

And said book is now officially available for purchase!!!  Lisa bought one last night and we're still trying to figure out how the heck we can get it uploaded to her Kindle Fire.  Don't you love it when the company you buy it from says "a few simple steps and you'll have your book (or whatever it is they sell) and about 2 hours later you're ready to shoot yourself in the head to put you out of your own misery!

Another tab that I was switching to and from was PayPal.  Which, fingers crossed, is now up and running and I'm going to be able to accept payments - maybe from you!!

Yet another tab that I was switching to and from was Smashwords - that's the company I used to upload my ebook - that may be the way you got to this blog....wouldn't that be a result!

And it's time for me to wrap up this mini missive because I have to head to the gym to workout and then train a couple of clients.  I'm also daddy day care so I have to get Liam ready to head in with me.  If you've ever had a one year old you'll know we're talking a minor adventure...

To be continued...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day one

I've got to get this blog address to my computer programmer so he can add the link to my web site.  So I thought I'd see how it's going to look.  It's been a pain in the rear because...well, just because.  Let's call it user error. 

So it's going to be short and sweet.  I'm trying to figure out what it's going to look like when someone clicks on it.  My intention is to write it in the same way I wrote the second part of my book 52 Simple Steps to a Better Life.  Today is day one.  In theory tomorrow will be day 2.  We shall see!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

starting again!!

I think I lost my first blog so I'm starting a new one...who knows, maybe I'll found my old one with some of those socks from the dryer!!  So it's short and sweet for now...