I started thinking back to 10 years ago when I first began running. I had entered the JFK 50 mile ultra marathon. A girl who I had been somewhat dating began to show me just how kind and caring she truly was. She was having a rough day, week, month, and started telling me I wouldn't finish the 50. She knew the human body and studied it and I didn't have what it took to complete it. She practically guaranteed I would quit. She really hated me after I finished it, and then 6 more years in a row after that one.
The stories are endless. If I have a really good run or race, I am critiqued or criticized for training too hard or not racing faster. Just recently, on May 25-26th, I ran The Sole Challenge 24 Hour race. The day before, I had found out I had a possible torn rotator cuff. Even though I was in considerable pain I managed to run 63.427 miles, never once thinking about quitting. I gave it my all, and yet there were a few people that made subtle little remarks to try to bring me down. I guess they do it to make themselves feel better, or at least better than me.
We have all dealt with people like this. They put you down for running, or the way you raise your kids. They make you feel as if you are inferior to them, and that you could not live in their shadow. Another prime example for you. I just landed a major shoe sponsorship. This is major and huge news for me. It proves I am worth something to someone-or some company. I have been lucky like this a few times. Yet when I tell a certain person, or people, they make it seem like it is no big deal. That it happens all the time. Just so you know, it doesn't happen all the time. If it did, everyone would be sponsored.
As I look at my little (almost) 4 year old daughter, or my 8 month old daughter, or even my wife, I know I need to be a positive influence. It is a work in progress. That is why I have changed my attitude on my social media web pages. And although I was quite smart at times, and even an instigator, I never ever put someone down when they gave their best. That is why I have turned a "new leaf" as of late. It's time to steer clear of those who wish to put me down only to bring themselves up. Only positiveness will I hear.
Like from my wife, Jerri. There are times when she knows I shanked a run or that I had a cruddy race. Yet she is the first one there to tell me how great I did. She is there to bring my spirits up because she knows how hard I am on myself when I don't run up to my own standards. While not sucking up entirely, she will let me know I could have done better. But she is very proud of me because I went out and tried, that I gave it my best, and that's all one can do.
The best person I can use for a positive example is my friend, Brian Boyle. Here's a guy that died 8 times, went through complete hell for years, and is now a true inspiration for thousands and thousands of people around the world. I had the honor of pacing him in the late stages of the JFK 50 mile ultra a few years ago. Instead of falling apart and throwing in the towel, Brian rose to the occasion and dropped some seriously good miles...all while smiling and talking with me. In all the times I have spoken with Brian, not once has he ever been negative. He is just someone people want to be around. Quite frankly, he is the coolest person I have ever met. I can honestly say I have never met a person that wants YOU to succeed as much he does. Just an incredible gift that God has given us.
There's also Bobby, a friend I met on Facebook. He is a very talented runner and could smash me in a race of any distance. Yet he loves running so much and interacting with other runners that time doesn't matter. What matters is going hard and having fun. Learning what it takes to be the best person you can be...inside and out. To just hang out and talk running.
There's Junkie and Doc. Junkie holds the World Record for most marathon wins. Doc has posted something like 15:27:56 for a 100 miler. These two men are way out of my league when it comes to running, but don't tell them that. Both have talked to me and gave me tips, with Junkie helping me in other ways. Both are incredible ambassadors for the sport of running, and incredible people in general.
There's true friends like Todd B, Kristy, Laurie D, Hope, Amber, Josh B. And new friends made through running like Leigh, Jackie, Hidi, Jonathan. Jeremy Sexton, Mike M and their families. Martie S and her awesome husband Michael. New SKORA teammates like Kyle D, Kyle K, Mike W, Tyler, Evelin...ALL very positive people that I love interacting with. Also Nicklaus Combs, another guy that pumps positive vibes.
I have rid myself of some negative people and will continue to do so until I only have positive people around me. It's time to be who I should have been years ago. It's time to promote my sponsors with pure energy in public and behind the scenes. It's time to be the Dad and Husband my wife and children deserve.
So if you talk to me and you feel like putting me down is the best way to make yourself feel better, that will be the last time we interact. And remember....