Monday, July 09, 2007

Because It's Hard

"We do not choose to go to the moon because it is easy. We choose to go to the moon because it is hard." - John F. Kennedy

Give Him an "E" for Effort

When I was at the University of Georgia living in the dorm, Stefan Montillot lived across the hall from me. Stefan, who was from Paris, France was a very nice guy who couldn't speak much English - and I really did't speak much French. He kinda resembled a blonde James Dean and was ALWAYS smoking. Everyone in France smokes - right? No bid surprise there, but Stefan was ALWAYS SMOKING. I even found him in the shower smoking...YES WHILE HE WAS SHOWERING HE WAS SMOKING !! While he shaved, he smoked. While he studied, he smoked. While he drank, he smoked.

I always try to be as nice as possible to people new to this country and who may feel a bit of a culture shock, So we would hang out from time to time and struck up a friendship.

Every afternoon I would go for a run across campus that would vary in length from 4 to 8 miles. Every day as I stepped out of my dorm room I would envite the non-athletic, chain smoking Parisian to join me, even though I knew he would NEVER take me up on it. "No thank you, I'll see you when you get back", Stefan would say. This exchange went on every day for months. One day during the hot Georgia spring-time with temps in the 90s and humidity around 90%, I stepped out of my dorm room into Stefan's cloud of smoke and said, "Hey Stefan - I'm going for a run...wanna join me ?" To my shock, Stefan paused a moment, took a drag on his cigarette, and said, "Sure...hang on a second" and crushed out his cig. After months of the open invitation, I was shocked to hear him say YES !

I was wearing nothing but running shorts and running shoes and Stefan was sporting a t-shirt, denim shorts and tennis shoes. Stefan said to me in his heavy French accent as we headed down the stairs, "I don't know how far I can go, but I'll try to keep up with you." I was very impressed that he was actually giving it a shot on what was one of the hottest days we had in weeks.

Well, things started off ok, but about 30 YARDS into my 6 mile run, Stefan started coughing and hacking, but was a trooper and kept shuffling along. I didn't want to ditch the guy and I admired his moxy, so I had to downshifted into what was pretty much a fast-paced walk. About a quarter mile later, Stefan was coughing so uncontrollably, he had to stop...walked about 5 paces and promptly threw up in the bushes. About 3 times he threw up. He appologized and told me to go on without him. I said something to the affect of, "Nope, we'll do it together even if I have to cut the run a little shorter than 6 miles". Stefan's color returned as well as his coughing but that tough little Parisian stuck with it and ground it out.

When we made it back to the dorm - a lot later than I was expecting, but I didn't mind, Stefan thanked me for inviting him. He then collapsed on the bed, in exhaustion.

The next afternoon as I was leaving the dorm on another run, I popped my head in on Stefan and said, "Hey Stefan - I'm going for a run...wanna join me ?". His eyes got as wide as saucers as panic set in. He then cracked a smile and politely declined saying, "No thank you, I'll see you when you get back !".

The point is, Stefan went out and did something he was pretty sure he couldn't complete...but he made the effort. I find that the most difficult thing to do in many situations is to just make the effort...try it. You might just surprise others and yourself.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Freak of Nature...In a Good Way

Dean Karnazes is a truely amazing athelete and amazing inspriation. I would recommend grabbing his book. If what Dean does can't light a fire under you...nobody will.

Recent Achievement: Ran 350 miles non-stop
Biggest Fear: Sleeping in

DEAN KARNAZES RUNS 350 MILES TO SAVE BABY KATALINA: There were definitely some low points along the way- temperatures soared into the 90's and three nights without sleep can be tremendously draining- but The North Face Athlete Dean Karnazes was able to successfully cover 350 miles to help save young Katalina Thang who is awaiting a heart transplant at Stanford Children's Hospital.The effort took him eighty hours and forty-four minutes (80:44) and was extremely challenging. "The thought of contributing to save this young life helped keep me going and made the struggle all the worthwhile," reports Dean.To read more, click Dean Karnazes Gets Set for 350-Mile Solo Run to Save Baby Katalina

About Dean: More than just an accomplished ultra-endurance runner, Dean is a passionate adventure athlete who is as comfortable windsurfing the massive breakers of Northern California as he is running 100 miles through the mountains. This nationally recognized windsurfer and runner is also a competitive snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, and triathlete. His body-pounding feats include running 350 miles in 80 hours & 44 minutes, mountain biking for 24 hours straight, swimming across the San Francisco Bay, running across Death Valley in the middle of summer, running a marathon to the South Pole and winning the Badwater Ultramarathon: The World’s Toughest Footrace.
Career Highlights:
Winner, Badwater Ultramarathon: The World’s Toughest Footrace, 2004
Winner, Arabian Stallion Award, Angel’s Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run, 2003
Winner, Outdoor World Championships, 2000
Nine-time Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Silver Buckle Winner
Ran 350 miles nonstop
Six-time winner of the Saturn Relay ultra division (199 miles nonstop solo)
First and only person to run a marathon to the South Pole in running shoes

(thanks to

Thursday, June 21, 2007


This has nothing to do with the parable of "The Turtle and the Hare"; rather, it has everything to do with making an effort and taking chances.
I was doing an 8 mile run the other day when I came across a turtle crossing the road. He was taking his time and immediately shrank into his shell when he sensed me approaching. I stopped for a minute to observe the li'l guy and realizing that I wasn't a threat to him, he popped his legs out and then slowly stretched his head a neck out and proceeded on his way. This made me realize that in order for the turtle to make his way in the world, he must "stick his neck out". Literally for the turtle, and figuratively for the rest of us.
Take an aspect of your life that you have been wanting to work on and "be a turtle". You can't get anywhere unless you stick your neck out. -MIKE

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Actress Hillary Swank Kicks Off Round-The-World Run
UNITED NATIONS (June 2) - Hilary Swank kicked off a round-the-world run to raise awareness of the world's 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean drinking water. As part of the Blue Planet Run, 20 runners will log 15,200 miles over 95 days. Each participant will run 10 miles at a time. Just before the first runner left the U.N. lawn to set out for Boston, the two-time Academy Award winner said she had taken the "ordinary miracle" of clean drinking water "for granted far too many times." Swank told The Associated Press. "The real heroes are the 20 people who are actually running ... and putting their lives on hold for the 95 days." The runners will cross 16 countries, starting in the U.S. and flying to Ireland, then ferrying to England and France. From France, they will cross Europe and Asia on land, eventually flying from Beijing to Japan before heading back to the United States.