Category Archives: Personal

Why 2016 is shaping up to be the best year yet!

When one door closes…

Has anyone ever said to you, “everything happens for a reason”? Sometimes you want to immediately throat punch those people, well because at times that is the worst thing to hear, ever! I feel like my life has been “Reason” after another.  Sometimes the reason becomes crystal clear, granted it may not show itself for an unknown time, but when it does, you thank your lucky stars for that fork in the road.

Well it’s March 2016 and already this year been a twisting, winding road. I went from making a grand gesture to get something I thought was what I wanted, to realizing that everything I have ever wanted was right here in front of my nose the whole time.  Once I realized that everything I have ever truly wanted was in front of my face, I grabbed it with my hands and put it in a vice grip.

From Hot Chocolate runs, Valentines Day undie runs, to traveling to Arizona to run a Spartan Race, the adventures alone so far could fill a jar of lifetime worth of memories. Everyday I fall more and more for this woman and strangely enough, she feels the same way. Our wanderlusting has begun and the next chapter is just starting!

So, as I am preparing to embark on our next great adventure, Spring break in another country (okay so Puerto Rico is technically a US territory) I don’t think I have ever been this excited. I get to travel with someone who has totally captivated my heart and my spirit.

Why is this going to be the best year ever? Well, I have finally found someone who actually wants to be with me, shares just about every interest with me and actually wants to run with me, race with me, and adventure with me!

Stay tuned for our crazy adventures!

Letter to my next Girlfriend

Dear Next Girlfriend,

Prelude:

It took me awhile to start writing this, but this post has been on my mind since I had my “Say Anything” moment back in January. I crashed and burned hard. In typical fashion after that happens I start analyzing everything and I do mean everything. From every conversation we have had and arguments to the fun times. I start evaluating what I did wrong and what could I have done better. This process is crazy because I am like a computer processor and I think about what was said in the way of why I am no longer needed or why this person just decided one day that they no longer wanted me in their life. So without further ado…

Dear Next Girlfriend,

I have a confession to make right off the bat, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I know, this may seem crazy but it is true. If you capture my attention and my heart I won’t be afraid to tell you. More than likely though, it will not be some random moment, it will be some epic grand gesture when I tell you about my love. More than likely I will be head over heels for you and you will never know it. I tend to jump in with both feet and reckless abandon.

So that brings me to my first point.  I am a hopeless romantic in every sense of the word. Even though I detest that hallmark holiday they call valentines day, I typically love to go overboard just because I want to spoil my person. I will constantly be looking at you with a smirk on my face, I will tell you how beautiful I think you are, how amazing you are and how glad I am to have you around. This isn’t just a bunch of flub, but I am honest to God sincere.  I am also a very affectionate person, so I will kiss your neck, grab your butt as I walk by and hug a lot. I won’t apologize for this. So if all of that is too much then I am more than likely not your person.

When I get into a relationship I want to know everything about you. Some of the best relationships I have had the other person was the same way. I want to know all the things, from your favorite flower to your favorite book or poem. The more I know, the more I know how to spoil you, how to make you smile and show you how I feel without words. So when I inquire about your shoe size don’t freak out! In return I hope you want to know all about me, my past, my present and my future. Just know I am very guarded about some things in my life and I am not a perfect person. I have secrets, if you ever know about them, then you are one of a handful of people that actually do. Not everyone gets the privilege of knowing the deep dark parts of me. So if you get there, just know you have reached a place which few have and thus what I am trying to stress here is how important to me you must be.

When I let you in, embrace it, understand how special you are and know you have obviously broken down the walls, I have all the feels and you are important to me. With that being said, just know you will become my best friend, I will tell you everything, I will not be able to wait to talk to you to tell you about my day good or bad.  You will know about my business, my problems and I may ask for your advice on solutions. When I get down, depressed or just not feeling it and like a failure, I will hope you actually help me get out of my funk and not use it against me or as an excuse to break up with me. You may not know every detail in my head of why I chose to do certain things in certain ways, but know this, just about everything I do is very calculated and done with purpose. Hell I make lists for my lists, so if you think I am ignoring a problem or not facing it, just ask me.

One thing you need to know if you are going to be my girlfriend is that you need to have thick skin around me. I grew up being teased by my own family about just about everything. I am unfortunately the same way. I joke and have sarcasm like you would not believe. But please know this, if I am teasing you or picking on you…I FREAKING LIKE YOU! Don’t get all mad or pout, dish it back out to me! And for the love of God, don’t hold a grudge for something I said, if I genuinely hurt your feelings, then tell me, I am not an A-hole, I will apologize, because if you are worth it then a great relationship is much more important than who is right or wrong and pride.

Yes I am a sexual creature, I love sex, intimacy and kissing. I also send out a lot of sexual innuendos…pretty much anytime I can. So be prepared, if that turns you off, then I may not be the guy for you.

Speaking of joking and having a good time, you need to know that I am rarely serious. I joke around and live with a very carefree attitude. You might not find that attractive, but I love to travel, experience new things,

I am not into just hooking up, I want substance, I usually only date if I can see some kind of a future.  Granted there are probably exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, I am looking for long term and someone I can see a future with.

I also have a list of criteria that you must pass:

  1. you must love motorcycles
  2. you must love to travel on motorcycles
  3. not get mad when I want to run or workout
  4. know that I love running races, particularly OCR races
  5. must love to adventure
    1. hiking
    2. scuba diving
    3. downhill skiing
    4. dirt bikes or 4-wheeling
    5. rock climbing
    6. generally being active
  6. must want to have a family
    1. yes I want to be a dad, I understand most people I meet usually have children already, I still want my own, just know this.
    2. by saying all of that, I am not saying I need a biological child, I would love to adopt as well.

So by now you are probably thinking I am an odd duck or some anomaly, I can’t possibly be real right? Well I am a God Damn UNICORN! Yes I said it and let me explain further. Besides all of the above mentioned things, I also can do the following:

I clean, I can do laundry to include folding, I can iron clothes, I’m basically handy and above all…I love to cook! Boom I just blew your mind! I know you are asking, why is this even important? Well let me tell you why, because this will explain my need to fix things around the house, make the quality of living better, fold and do your laundry, wash dishes by hand and clean your place.  I’m a helper, I know you can do it, but sometimes if life gets hard, complicated and you fall behind, I am more than happy to help out. That is my nature, it is what I do. If this annoys or aggravates you, then I am sorry in advance.  I have a habit of finding or looking for things that need to be fixed and fixing them or finding ways to make your life just a little bit easier. So just let me or at least let me know if you don’t like my ideas and why, because I am ALWAYS right and I need a good convincing every once and a while.

So I am going to leave you with this little nugget. I am not from Texas originally, I lived in Michigan for 22-years but I have now lived in Texas for almost 23-years. I pretty much consider myself a Texan and more than that, I love living here. I love everything about this state, I am proud to live here and frankly, I don’t ever want to leave.  I got my parents to retire here and life is good.  With that being said, you need to know one thing, if you ever hear me say that I would actually move away from this state, just know that is a pretty serious statement. I mean, like for realz, don’t just take that lightly. You must be a pretty special person for me to say those words, many have tried and failed.

So do you have what it takes to be my next girlfriend? Well you know all about me and my odd quirks, so come on and say hello!

Loves and Crushes and the fear of both

“Love Harder”

In 2015 I made it a goal of mine to love harder. At the time I wasn’t sure what that meant. What does it mean to love harder? I think for me it was to put myself out there and not be afraid to get hurt. I see it often with these stronger willed, independent women who go through life alone and are so afraid to love because they were once “hurt” that they put up these walls and barriers and never really let themselves be happy. I decided I can’t live life that way. After getting divorced and realizing the person I thought was going to be my person, really wasn’t my person, I was crushed. It took some time but I got over it, I met some wonderful people, but I felt then like I was unable to fully give myself over. So when I did meet someone who sparked my interest, I thought why not, live life and love hard.

See I don’t care about getting hurt. I guess we really do all learn from our mistakes and gain valuable life lessons from them. Sometimes it is not very apparent but they are there. One of my favorite quotes from a song is “I’d rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all.”

Love…oh love, it’s that tricky word we are all afraid to say to people for fear of what may come. Is it reciprocated? Rejection? Is the feeling mutual? These are all of the things that go through our minds. Well what do you think? Did I “love hard” in 2015? Well I can honestly say this. I’m in love with three people and I have a crush on three more. I know what you are thinking…that can’t possibly be right or I’m some kind of weirdo. Well I am a weird, but let me explain and no I am not one of those who found my soulmate every three months. Of those three, only one person heard the L-word from me last year. Yes it was a serious relationship with a lot of potential. Unfortunately it fell short of forever, like really, really short. One person I grew to love over time. The last never heard those words from me until it was too late to salvage the relationship.

A small fling that turned to friendship, with whom I remained close with, we talk about relationships and life and cheer each other on. Will that ever lead to anything? Who knows, but right now I love her like a best friend and it doesn’t hurt that she is a hottie too!

So the third person should have heard from me, she should have been told, but like a lot of how things go, I dropped the ball. I’ll take the blame, I boast of wearing my heart on my sleeve and this time I just didn’t let her know before she walked away.

Now you know a little bit about that, but I am sure you are sitting there saying…but tell us more, who are these women? Where are they now? What happened? Are you okay? (Okay so I doubt anyone really wonders if I am okay…ha ha, but it would be nice you jerks)

I bet you are wondering what one has to do to date me, well basically you have to hit me over the head because apparently I am blatantly oblivious when it comes to these things. Seriously, like send me smoke signals if you like me or I just keep moving along. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted in a partner after my divorce. I wanted someone who had all of the interests I do from, scuba diving, snow skiing, and riding motorcycles to running races, OCR and traveling the country or the world for that matter. Yes you have to be adventurous, have a sense of humor and have a thick skin, you see this maybe a character flaw of mine but I was raised in a family where poking, prodding and making fun of each other was par for the course at our family cookouts. Re-telling old stories of our adventures and never letting anyone live down what they did…well, that is how we rolled. I am the same way, so if you fall, crash or do something that I think if funny as hell, no matter how embarrassing, well…EVERYONE MUST KNOW! Some call it picking on, but yes I am very sarcastic and I joke a lot. I mean I joke a lot; I am not serious unless I need to be. Life is too short to have a constant resting bitch face. I want to look old because I have laugh lines from always having a smile on my face. So that is me in a nut shell, so yes I can be picky and this year I basically only gave you the time of day if you met my extensive list of criteria.

So with that being said, at the beginning of 2015 I found myself in a serious relationship, let’s call her Austin. I was told I was “the one” and then I wasn’t. This relationship lasted until around April, it was sad because I was in love and I also loved her daughter. Not being able to continue that relationship was hard, but I understand. I hold no hard feelings and honestly, if she ever asked to sit down and talk and maybe date again, I would be open to it. I doubt that will happen, but never say never right? Without going into too much detail, we basically had a different opinion on the future, moving in together, where to live and stuff like that. So the plug was pulled in order to pursue our life dreams and goals without compromise. So everything has a lesson right? Here is what I learned about this whirlwind romance:

Lesson 1

For as much as I preached about no regrets and living life to the fullest and taking chances, I was selfish on some of the break up sticking points. Mainly over moving, I was stubborn and wanted my way and I realized after the fact I had absolutely no compromise what so ever. I needed to work on that. I’ll admit I was wrong…

Okay well now you know about the one I told. But what about the others? Well on to number two.

Have you ever cared about someone and though that you could have a great time with them, but for some reason the stars were never aligned, but as time went on you developed feelings? It’s definitely an odd feeling because it isn’t that lustful type of feeling but it also isn’t like loving your sister. So to keep the innocent protected let’s call her Bombshell. So bombshell and I met in 2014 actually and briefly dated for a week or so and unfortunately, life was dictating (at least in my mind) that it wasn’t our time. We lived in different states, she has just quit her job and decided to go to school for a career change, taking a part time job to get by, financially everything was tight for her and she was pretty much committed to be there for about a year. Looking at the big picture, I was probably selfish and I self-ejected thinking that there is no way I could afford to fly out there that often. I kind of felt like a dick and I still feel bad to this day, but I have to say, we stayed friends believe it or not and have continued talking this whole time. We chatted during my relationship, my break ups, during her relationships, her break ups, life’s struggles and we still talk almost every day. So the bond I have with her now, I can honestly say I have a love for her. She is one of the few people I would do anything for and die trying to protect her (yes that is huge in my book if I am willing to take a bullet for you). Will we ever be anything more than pen pals? I am not sure; I am think that if it is meant to be then eventually everything will figure itself out. Until then, I am happy to have someone I can tell my thoughts to, give pep talks to and laugh with (or at sometimes!)

Lesson 2

                What I can take away from this is that again, I need to stop being so selfish.

So now we are down to lucky lady #3. My Sedona. The one I didn’t tell, the one I should have, the one that I let walk away for no other reason than because everything seemed like it was going to be hard. I just had a flash back to bombshell. Except the difference here is that we did do the cross country distance thing for close to 7 months. I know I am an ass, I will admit it. What was I thinking? Well in order to explain this, I need to start at the beginning, how it all started and how hard I have fought back the “feelz”.

Like many of my recent relationships, this one started over chatting and texting. This one actually if you want to get technical, started with “Happy Birthday” (in a Morgan Freeman voice) and a thank you led to small talk which led to 7 months of conversation. When I started talking and getting to know her, it was literally a laugh a minute with this one. One of the best things I think is that we actually went about a month before we ever laid eyes on each other. We didn’t just talk about sex and gibberish, we actually spoke about awesome stuff, and we played 20 questions, 5 at a time. Learning about someone first was a whole new twist on things. But did I think this was going to go anywhere? No, I didn’t…in my head right from the beginning I thought it would just be something fun. The distance thing initially had me worried and thinking everything I thought about the other relationships that started and stopped over the year. Plus I was just feeling the effects of starting to distance myself from one of my crushes. I met crush #3, spent about 5 days together and then everything was slowly fizzling itself out. While I wasn’t totally heartbroken and devastated, I was blue. Then Sedona entered the picture, soothed my soul, made me forget the sadness with long talks, advice on relationships and honestly…why she was better! Ha ha ha!

After a brief meeting in July, we went until September before we physically saw each other again. You know seeing someone basically two times in 3 months…I really had no expectations. At least that is what I kept telling myself. I tried to keep her at arm’s length, my mind tried to think of everything that would keep us apart. I think the most frustrating thing was that once I started getting the feels, I actually got angry that I couldn’t see her more. Being in Hawaii, talking when we could because of the time difference, wishing more than anything she was there to experience this with me, all the romance, sunsets, hiking and of course the race. Life was just throwing curveballs one after the other and I could never hit a damn curveball! Never! In high school they DH’d me because I could not hit the curve and they were tired of me striking out all the damn time.

Back to the story…by now you are wondering, so what does Sedona think of all of this? Come on I know you are, well she definitely had all the feels but we never talked about it. In fact, we never talked about the future, we never talked about what we were doing, and we never talked about being boyfriend/girlfriend. I always thought that was odd, but I didn’t push it because that meant I would have to talk about feelings. Then I slipped into a mini depression and I felt sorry for myself, I felt like a complete failure, everything I touch seems to fall apart at the seams. So of course I projected this outward and the effects of this rippled through the relationship.

On her last visit, one that was supposed to be totally awesome, ended up being a nightmare, ending up with her getting on a plane and walking away, basically ending everything. We had “the talk” as they say about the future and for me I just really wanted to know what we were doing, what was the plan, the long term goals. I was tired of not knowing when we would see each other, I wanted a plan. Part of the depression I experienced had a lot to do with finances and not having the funds to freely go when I wanted. I am a man damn it, I hunt and gather, I should be able to see my woman when I want to. Needless to say, in my opinion, I ended up telling her all of my wants and needs and she said nothing. She basically said she couldn’t give me what I wanted and thought it was best she didn’t waste any more of my time. We ended up talking for about an hour before she had to go to the airport. I quietly held her hand as we walked to the security gate, we said our goodbyes and I cried. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it, most guys will, most guys are too macho, but then again I am definitely not most guys. (I’m a god damned unicorn remember!) Yes I cried over a girl, it was sad, I haven’t cried over any girls recently. Not when I broke up with Austin, no tears were shed there. So this is kind of a big deal to me.

After she left, as I do after every relationship, I over analyze everything and dissect it. Then it hit me, this was possibly the silliest breakup I have ever had. You have two people who are madly in love with each other, who never actually told the other person how they feel, decided to walk away because life threw a roadblock. But a roadblock which is actually easy to overcome. I started thinking about my list of demands…again back to lesson one and being stubborn. What was I thinking? Why am I not trying to be more flexible if in fact this is someone I am in love with? It did not compute in my head.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I had made a huge mistake. I constantly preach about taking chances, not being afraid, just jump feet first into the deep end and guess what…I failed to do any of those things. I failed myself. I knew what I had to do, I had to change this, and I had to fix this.

Unfortunately this is easier said than done, I tried to reverse the damage, but she wasn’t having any of it. The more I dissected our last conversation, all I kept thinking was, I told her what I wanted, but she never said what she wanted. All she said was she couldn’t give me what I wanted and would rather walk away instead of proposing ideas on how to overcome these obstacles. I never did get a straight answer.

So the thinking had begun, I racked my brain and I came to one final conclusion and this is going to be the deciding factor moving forward in all my relationships, nothing really matters, money, living arrangements, moving to what city or state, in the end all that really matters when you love someone is that you are with that person. Sarcastically, I would be happy under a bridge, in a cardboard box if it meant I was with my partner in crime. So I went with that.

I bet you are reading this and wondering why I am putting all this out there for everyone to read, I know I should keep my private affairs private and not show the softer side, the vulnerable side of me, but I honestly do not care. It’s kind of therapeutic for me to write. I have hand written numerous love letters as therapy and never sent them, some of which I look back thinking how pathetic I was. Just when I think the world has ended, someone else walks in who is just a little bit better for me.

So how does this story end? Well with a grand romantic gesture of course! I couldn’t let this non-closure thing happen. It is easy to stop texting, calling, etc when you are 14 hours away. But I refused to believe what I was getting back on text messages. I wanted her to tell me to my face to move on, go away and never come back. (I know a little dramatic, but hey, that is how I roll) The hopeless romantic in me thinks it will end up like one of those movies; you know where you break up, spend time apart and realize you can’t live without the other person and you end up outside the window with a boombox over your head! In my case, I did something just as good.

I couldn’t take the distance, when you talk to someone every day for 7 months, not talking, hearing their voice and seeing their face, makes you do crazy shit. So I jumped in a plane, found out where she was going to be at this conference and SURPRISE! I felt as though worst case scenario, I needed closure for myself. No regrets, not even one single letter!

So what happened? Well, that is another story you will have to stay tuned for.

On one final note, I mentioned I had a few crushes, this is true. But I think it is healthy to have a crush or two. One I actually spent some time with in-between my romances, which is why it was hard to initially fall for Sedona, but she has a ton going on and trying to rein her in was almost impossible. So it is what it was and just another adventure to log in the books. The other two are just as tricky because crush #2 has no clue and lives at a great distance as well. If you noticed the order, then you have noticed that my crush #1 is mentioned last and that is because she is someone I met over a year ago, something about her caught my attention, but she was never interested. I think she is beautiful and it would be cool to get to know her, she actually lives in DFW. Right now I am in the friend zone, which is hilarious, but that is okay, I am a great person and a pretty good handyman!

Would I pursue them if this doesn’t work with Sedona? Possibly, you never know, but probably not since it would mean another long distance thing or putting myself out there and I am not sure my poor heart could take that. But then again, you never know, I might just jump.

 

One Final Lesson:

So what did I take away from all these relationships this year? I need to not focus on the future and what could happen as much as I need to focus on the present and making things happen. I still think breaking up because one person won’t move is one of the craziest experiences I have had, but again I need to stop being so selfish. I get I need to be selfish to a degree, I know what I want for my future, but honestly it doesn’t mean I can’t compromise or at least work on solutions before bailing. I cherish the experiences I had in 2015 and would not trade them for anything, heartache is just another experience which I am glad to work through because I have a ton of memories that were pretty awesome too.

My Name is Travis and I wear my heart on my sleeve!

Who Motivates the Motivator?

I Cried Today

What happens when you trip and fall and land on your face? When you are the motivator, the one everyone turns to for encouragement? Who Motivates you? Yes I cried today and that is okay, because I am human.

Every once and awhile you get to a point where it becomes hard to stay as positive as everything thinks you are all of the time. Sure you can keep posting Motivation Monday posts knowing that others depend on your inspiration and motivation to get their own lives in check. But what happens when you are not motivated? How do you get motivated? Does the exhaustion of trying to constantly motivate others ever wear you down?

I don’t try to be an inspiration or motivational cheerleader to others, honestly I don’t. I started this year documenting my life more and some of the struggles I go through with my running and activities. Somehow it transformed into how I live my life, my free spirited attitude towards everything and my travels. I get emails about how others live vicariously through me and to keep it up. I started posting #MotivationMonday posts on facebook and instagram and relating my sport activities to life experiences and if I can run a stupid race, then you can do whatever it is you need to do in life. The problem I find is that I feel like I am boasting or bragging and saying “hey look at me”, which is the farthest from the thing I want to do.

So I stopped going into detail of my races, I stopped posting deep motivational posts and I went generic if I do them at all. I mean who am I to try and motivate others? I am pretty good at it in person, after all I am a damn good wrestling coach if I do say so myself.

Back to my original question, how do you get motivated when you are supposed to be the one motivating others? Lately I have not been motivated to do much of anything. I stopped working out, stopped running, I barely sleep and I just lay in bed watching TV on my days off.  I know you may think this does not sound like the guy you know, but sometimes you don’t post the bad things on Facebook and other social media, because to me it just looks like a cry for attention. So all you really see are the great, life is good type stuff. But I have a ton of work related items weighing me down, personal life decisions that need to be made and it feels like a new path to take.  Scary stuff for most people and admitting failure is a hard thing to do. So how does one stay positive? I see my peers posting positive motivation stuff, but to me it just comes off as BLAH…I see them post the same type of pictures and the same type of messages and it does not make me want to run through a wall.

I had a surge of energy today, I actually got some motivation from a place I least expected it, but should have known all along. Then like a punch in the gut, I learned that not only did I not know about one friend passing away in May, another closer friend lost a battle to pancreatic cancer and passed in April of this past year. I broke down, I feel like a horrible friend for not paying closer attention and staying in contact. So I snapped back and trying to not be depressed I started writing this blog.

I know what I need to do, I need to get off my ass and get moving. I need to get the mindset that I had during my UltraBeast and 26 mile tail run, that never stop until you are dead mentality. I need to work harder and out work everyone. I need to go for a run and clear my mind because that is where I think the best. I need to stop worrying about failing, bills and what may or may not happen in the future and start taking it one day at a time.

Sometimes it is harder to take your own advice then you may think.  I find comfort in knowing my friend Michelle made the most out her final months in life and chose to live it to the fullest.  I am drawing strength from her.  Her final video I had to share and post below. I miss our lunches and long talks of her and her husband Mr. Wonderful. We shared the love of Harleys and touring the country and how we were going to change the world. She did change the world, she wrote her book, she created an amazing business and her outlook on life is amazing.

I wanted to find how you get motivated when you are the motivator? Well I found it, you take the cue of someone who no matter what they are going through, makes life just a little bit better for others. Rest in Peace my friend, thank you for changing my life for the better. I raise my glass of your elixir of life.

 

I need to go do some handstands and eat some pie!

 

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers

Where have you been Dawg?

Missing my wit and sarcasm?

This blog was started in October 2014 and I have been afraid to publish it. I have constantly been making updates as my life has been changing constantly. I figure it is about time to see behind the curtain and enlighten you on what is going on in my life. Everything is italics will be updates from October 2014 to April 2015.

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October 2014

It’s time to come clean, make some confessions and let you know why I have been so AWOL and sporadic with my blog posts, facebook posts, twitter and other social media channels. Why does anyone care? No one probably does, but it will explain a lot and you will actually get inside the head of where I am and where I am heading.

2014 has been a very soul cleansing, traumatic, and turbulent year. Without getting into specific details about everything I’m going to give you a brief overview of the year. I can honestly say it has been a true test of my character and a test of how much weight one person can carry on their shoulders without breaking down or giving up.

This year I have been going through law suits in my business career, got divorced, parted ways with a woman I loved, my 9 yr old dog will be passing soon from an inoperable tumor and battled depression. However, I also rediscovered my passion for fitness, running mudruns or OCR races, met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I have been able to find positives in my life, I found that I can love again, have confidence in myself I thought I lost and believe I am as awesome as advertised!

DEPRESSION

Let’s start off with my brief bout of depression. At the beginning of the year for close to two months I had a bout of minor depression, I was in not by any means in a suicidal manner, but I did lose my motivation to do anything productive except sit on the couch and play video games. While I strongly believe depression is usually self-manifested and should be self-cured, mine was induced by the stress of financial means, unhappy in my marriage and sad over the disconnect of a loved one. Having to battle several lawsuits over business matters and finding the funds to do so was the key factor. This definitely led to me ruining several relationships and having a bad case of feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, I had a WTF moment one day and got off my ass and did something about it.

What I learned was, if you need money, go make money and if you want someone in your life, just tell them and make it happen. So I did both and everything started to get better.

Love Lost

Not a great start to the year, but hey, there are 12 months right? So I also got divorced this year after 12 years of marriage. I am not going to get into a ton of detail over why or what happened, except that problems over the course of several years were finally too much to live a happy life. So I made the decision to walk away in order to find my happiness. I still hold a fondness for my ex-wife and she is a great person, unfortunately our problems could not be worked out and for all of the issues I had with her, I didn’t help them any by making decisions which affected the inability to live in a happy place. We remain amicable which I hold to be a good thing, I do wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and I hope she is able to find the happiness I couldn’t provide to her any longer.

So I mentioned that I lost a woman that I loved and it was not my ex-wife. Yes I had an affair; I fell in love with this person and had planned on starting a new life with that person. While admitting this will bring out everyone judging me and/or holding disgust and character assassination, I honestly don’t care. If telling the truth for once brings your view of whom I really am to a place where you no longer want to associate yourself with me or not be a friend, then so be it. Without divulging too much information as to this relationship, I just want to say that it started as a frienship, then manifested into more. Why it manifested had a lot to do with what was not being provided at home and realizing that I could have the amazing relationship, friendship and intimate relationship with one person. So we continued to have an affair with understanding we would make the effort to be together. This was ultimately my own undoing, I took too long, I procrastinated and every fear or excuse I had for not doing everything earlier, in the end didn’t really matter. All my fears were just in my mind and I lost a great friendship.

So that sums up pretty much the negative parts of my year, why I have been so quiet over the past few years stems from not having the freedom to be as creative as I wanted without backlash of spending time in doing so. So my personal blog and other social media outlets have been pretty much put on hold.

Love found

Now for the good stuff, so not to come off as this is a woe is me blog, I felt it necessary to give a good back story of the first half of the year. Now I have to admit, going through a divorce and getting dumped by your girlfriend at the same time is pretty emotional, I was emotional for a bit, but then my new family helped me through it. One thing I have always done in my life is try to be fit and exercise. So according to all of the experts, investing in myself and working on making myself a better person is what the doctor ordered. So I reached out to my OCR friends, leaned on them to vent, to cry, and get advice. I have to say I have some amazing new friends who have opened up their lives to me and allowed me to not be alone.

In particular I met a wonderful beautiful woman who listened to my crying, talked me through it, was there for me when I needed a buddy and made sure I was not alone. Then the totally unexpected thing happened, my heart healed, it started beating again, I found passions in everything I always wanted, I saw a brand new life open up in front of my eyes. I will forever be thankful for that person coming into my life and changing my perspective on who I am and what I can be. They say that everything happens for a reason, while there are something’s in life I still question what the “reasons” were, I can honestly say that the reason I got divorced, and dumped by my girlfriend was so that I could meet her. It never would have happened otherwise.

Like a cut you get on your arm, eventually it heals, scabs over and maybe scars. The scar left will always be your story to tell, but once you are fully healed, you have full use of where that injury was. I have determined that the heart is the same way, what you may have thought was broken or damaged beyond repair, may not have been as severe as you imagined. While at the time I was devastated, I have now realized that my heart really was not broken but rather just sad, sad at all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s that were planned. Sad because I was scared to be alone and manage everything without a co-pilot there to help lead the way. Sadness is not as bad as a heart break. While yes I admit I was a mess for a few weeks, what I realized is that at the end of the day, when you have such a high regard for someone and you think that no one will ever measure up, you will be surprised what the universe will throw at you if you are patient enough.

What tIMG_5259he universe threw at me was someone who had all of the qualities I wanted plus more.  It took me a while to understand that impact of that, but I soon realized that when you do least expect it BAM! you get hit like a freight train. I don’t believe in the rebound relationship, because I think you can either be searching for that person who clicks with you for years, months or weeks, sometimes you have no control when they enter your life. The only thing is, you have to be willing to accept it and not be afraid of it. I am never afraid of it, I know heartbreak sucks and moving on can be difficult, but at the end of the day, I would rather “feel what it’s like to burn, than to feel nothing at all” sorta say. In other words, had I been resistant and hesitant, I would never have experienced half of the things I did. I would be sitting at home or worse yet have no fond memories otherwise. So I allowed myself to experience this person, take it all in and something amazing happened, my heart started beating again, I felt great about myself and in the end I felt ready to love again.

I know what you are going to say, you what? How on earth can you do that? Well, like I said I usually have my heart on my sleeve and when I think someone is so perfect in more ways than just physical, but mentally and also loves the same type of adventures, I ask, how can you not let yourself get absorbed in their essence? I have found that sometimes people enter your life and they maybe a permanent fixture or maybe they were just a stepping stone to get you back on the path you were meant to be on. In this case, while I let myself fall, it was not meant to be anything more than a stepping stone to where I needed to go. I can handle that, while as with most things that come to an end, it is sad to say goodbye, I am sure that just as I found something I wasn’t looking for, I have to believe that there is someone else who will be everything she was plus just a little bit more.

I tell my story to my friends and they all look at me like I am crazy, but I tell them, look, I met my ex-wife and within 3-months we were engaged and that lasted 13 years. It is all about timing, I wasn’t looking for anything back then, I was a single guy dating two other people at the time, but BAM! there it was again. I think as long as you are willing to just go with it, it can be great. Of course I have always been attracted to strong, independent women who feel like they don’t need a man. The trick is showing them it’s okay to let down your walls and let someone in and have them believe you’re not there to take advantage or strip them of their independence. Sometimes easier said than done. So 2-3 months of spending time with someone totally makes it possible to fall in love. It can be the first stages of love or it can be the “I want you forever” kind of love, you never know and you never will unless you just let yourself feel it and go with it and see what happens.

So I am at peace knowing I had another adventure I can tell people about and all of the new experiences I encountered. One funny note, I ate more sushi over the last couple months and actually enjoyed it than I did the past 12 years…true story.

November 2014

Update: that last section was written prior to November. In November of 2014 I met another amazing woman. While attending a race in Texas I was introduced to someone who again changed the course of my life. Sometimes we set our goals both personal and professional, set our course on how to obtain those goals and get after it. Well I honestly had no intention of meeting someone, anyone for that matter. The racing season was wrapping down, the holidays were coming and I was busy mapping out my 2015 initiatives. Then again BAM! just like a Hurricane blowing through, I was caught up in a whirlwind of a romance.

IMG_6703Again this was not planned and certainly unexpected and definitely at times it felt too good to be true. Over the course of the next 4-months the relationship grew, memories were created and this time I did fall in love. For the first time in over 9 months, I told someone I loved them. With my whole heart and soul, I jumped in feet first not even looking at how deep the waters were. Were we a perfect match? Maybe not (but are any couples a perfect match? I’d like to think we were really close though), but it was a breath of fresh air to have someone want to go on adventures together, we ran together, planned racing together, and talked about what the future would hold for us.  One of the best things was that we went snow skiing, my first time in over 20 years. I felt so alive and I had so much fun and I owe it all to this special person. Just like I felt on the slopes, she made me feel again what it was like to be alive.

IMG_6078Sadly, like most things in my life, this too has seemed to run its course. Sometimes you can’t force a square peg into a round hole and you just have to give up. But giving up does not mean that love is lost, I still love her dearly and maybe this just was not the right time for us. I am still head over heels in love and maybe someday there maybe another chapter in our book.

Adventures!

Facebook-cover-tracksSo, with that being said, I have also spent the past few months training harder than I ever had and I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. So I decided to travel and see the country again and meet new people and run races! Here is what I did this fall:

  • Mudtitan in Florida
  • Savage race in Dallas
  • Spartan World Championships in Vermont
  • Spartan Super – Chicago
  • Spartan Sprint – Chicago
  • The Bravest Race – Cancun, Mexico
  • Spartan Super – Sacramento, CA
  • Spartan Sprint – Sacramento, CA
  • Spartan Beast – Glen Rose, TX
  • Spartan Sprint – Glen Rose, TX

What a great couple of months! I had such a good time and now I am looking forward to the new year of racing and new races!

So that is pretty much me in a nutshell.  That wraps up 2014 and I promise moving forward to write more about the important stuff and leave the other stuff behind me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Goals

Ringing in the New!

my-goalsEvery year we get to this point and the new year resolutions start rolling in.  I have been victim to it before as well, we all commit to doing things that we really have no intentions of working on past the month of January.  So this year I have decided to commit to accomplishing goals for the entire year and then updating said goals every quarter to let you know how I am doing in my struggle to maintain accountability to myself.

So without further ado, here are my 2015 goals:

Updated 4/1/15, Updated 7/1/15

1. Laugh Hard

I want to laugh as hard as possible, laughter is my release, it is what helps me cope with the real world and problems.  I know that if I laugh hard all year, the world will be a better place. So if you know me well, you know I am full of jokes and sarcasm, don’t get all upset, that is just my personality. I am really just a big kid, but I can be serious when I need to be.

QTR 1 Update- I can honestly say that for the first three months of the year I have been laughing so hard it’s crazy. I am loving life right now, I have great friends and special people in my life who keep me smiling on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure you can see through all my pics and it’s not just a happy show on social media, I am one happy lucky guy!

QTR 2 Update- I guess you could say the past three months brought about less laughter. April and May were brutal with injuries, illnesses and heartbreak. However, June snapped me out of it. I mean how could I not smile and laugh in same month as my birthday? New friends and fun times all month definitely have me one happy camper again!

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

2. Love Harder

2014 was such a whirlwind of a year, I learned so much about myself and and what I am looking for in a partner in crime. I didn’t love very hard at all, I know I didn’t give my all in my marriage and thus it ended in divorce. I had another person with whom I loved that I also didn’t give it my all and I spent most of 2014 not loving very much.

So this year I am not going to guard my heart, I am going to give it to you if you deem worthy enough to penetrate my circle. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I only get a few months or a lifetime to love you, I will do it without hesitation. I tend to leap before I look and my favorite quote is:

quote    I would rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all ~ Ron Pope

QTR 1 Update- What a first three months! Well you guessed it, I gave my heart away and fell in love. Definitely was not intended but sometimes you meet someone who makes you feel the warm and fuzzies and you can’t help but fall in love with them. No idea what the future holds, it is definitely hard being in a long distance relationship (4hrs away), along with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I through my heart out there and I am happier than ever!

QTR 2 Update- I am not sure what is actually funnier, the fact that I last updated this on April Fool’s Day or that the following day is when I was dumped by the woman I was in love with? Anyway, yes the last three months have definitely been different than expected. I would say there was not a lot of love out there for the first couple of months (APR/MAY) but again June is another story.

I know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I jump right in, but sometimes moving on is harder than expected and just when you think you are, you are not. But I have met some amazing people the past few months and sometimes someone you lean on and talk to can become someone to help you get over that hump. Am I saying I am in love again? No not that, but I am always open to the possibility and there might be someone who I would definitely like to spend more time with to see where it would go, because that would be such a trill ride.

But I also have made new friends who I also enjoy spending time with, do I love them, yes and no, some people are easier to love at a friendship level than others. I have been able to reestablish old friendships that went to the wayside and now I have incredible bonds with them and I also made amends with old friends who I may have hurt in the past. So yes, on the friend front I was able to love more than previously.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

3. More Handstands

So I started doing handstands last fall and it totally spiraled into me doing them everywhere I go. So instead of your normal “I am here at destination X, you will see me hand-standing at destination X! My goal is to not only handstand in some cool places, but also when I am not traveling post at least once a week. #HeWhoStandsOnHands #Handstands2015

QTR 1 Update- I started out so good! I think I got the first 5 or 6 weeks in a row of various handstands. I am sure there are also a few I didn’t post, but I was there on a weekly basis. So chalk this up to a failure, I was only good on 50% of the goal.  Time to get back to standing on my hands! (it should be noted that I did injure my back in Feb and handstands were tricky)

QTR 2 Update- One of the few things I have managed to do! Handstands Across America started in April, continued in May and now I am going to get them all! Birthday week provided a ton of handstands, so I definitely made up for the lack of them the first few months.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

4. Walk on Hands

So my old college buddy says to me “that’s cute, you can stand on your hands, how about you walk on them!”, so #ChallengeAccepted! I can already go a couple of feet, but I really want to work on my form and get this down, so I can me a circus trick at parties!

QTR 1 Update- So nothing to report here, I never even really practiced much. I definitely need to work on this more.

QTR 2 Update- I started working on this, not as much as I should but I can walk a few feet. It’s not the prettiest thing ever, but I am getting there.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

5. Learn to Play Guitar

I have never been able to play an instrument, well I take that back, I did play the piano for about a year as a kid, I can’t read music very well so I ended writing what the notes were on all of the sheet music so I could play it. Well I have forgotten everything, but I would love to be able to play this acoustic guitar I have. It would be so cool to just be able to sit down and play whatever.  Since I love to sing, it would just be campfire cool!

QTR 1 Update- Nothing to report here either, I never even looked into what is required to do this.  I guess I will chalk it up to just being to darn busy enjoying all of the other things in life!

QTR 2 Update- Still not started this one, but hey I still have 6-months right? Can anyone teach me? hint hint

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

6. Top 5 in the Spartan Open

I didn’t by any means intend for this to happen but as of January 1st, 2015, I was sitting in 3d place in the WORLD standings. It shocked me, so I know I want to get a couple more trifectas this year so I thought why not just keep racing the opens and try to keep the points up there and go for it!

QTR 1 Update- Unfortunately I have not raced a Spartan Race yet this year, most of my events will be in May/June and Sept. So I fell to 8th place, but that isn’t too bad, first place is still within striking distance and I am only a couple hundred points behind. 

QTR 2 Update- So this goal has shifted dramatically, in fact it isn’t even a goal at all. The open points with Reebok Spartan Race have become a joke simply because most of the people in open heats seem to be dishonest and don’t do burpees. I really find it hard to believe on some of the courses that late afternoon heats with all of the people on the course and the condition of the obstacles, times are turned in faster than the morning times. I’m disgusted with this and I am not even on the Spartan koolaid either. My goals on this have just shifted to running the elite heats to compete with the Masters. I seem to fit in pretty well there.

So I believe I am down to 9th or so in the male open point series overall, but I am only running open when I walk a race or run with others to have fun. No more competitive open runs for me.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

7. Win more age groups in races

The days where I can compete with 20 & 30 years olds are sadly past me, but I think I can compete pretty well with people my own age. So I am challenging myself to get better and win my age groups in what ever race I attempt!

QTR 1 Update- So I have raced 3-races this quarter. I finished in the top 5 overall in the Polar Dash, 2nd in Age Group at the Atlas race, 2nd OA & 1st AG at The Original Mudrun and a big DNF at Battlefrog. I’ll take that, seeing as I took off the month of February.

QTR 2 Update- More racing this quarter, I officially ran 9 races, only 6 were competitively. I have yet to run a race since April where I have not been 100%, which is frustrating since I was primed for great races in Austin for both weekends of the Spartan Race.  I rolled my ankle and have been hobbling through the races since. But here are the results of the races I did, which I am fortunate to be top 10 in every race in the Master’s division. I feel like I am on the cusp of top 3 if I can just stay healthy.

  • Battlefrog Dallas – 7th (masters elite)
  • Vegas Super – 5th (open AG)
  • ATX Super – 5th (open AG)
  • ATX Sprint – 5th (masters elite)
  • OH Sprint – 10th (masters elite)
  • Dallas Stadium Sprint  – 10th (masters elite)

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

8. Take more video

I noticed at the end of the year I hardly took and video. I took a ton of pictures, but when making an end of the year video it comprised mostly of pictures.  So this year I am going to document my travels and quirks more by taking video. Some will be posted on social media, some will not, but watch for more video this year!

QTR 1 Update- I am doing good but not great here.  Took lots of video of various things, but not much personal video or commentary video as I call it.  Most everything is athletic video at this point, I think I need to capture more of my life than just working out or running races.

QTR 2 Update- What a great past couple of months! I have a ton of video and my end of the year video is going to be EPIC! I have everything from having fun to singing to just being silly.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update

9. More travel/adventure with my favorite hobbies

Over the past 13 years, I stopped doing the things I love the most. No single person is to blame, some things were not as important and somethings just got lost in the shuffle of life. I’ve decided that life really is too short to not do the things I grew up doing or the things that really make me happy. Some of these things include riding my motorcycle more, traveling around the country, riding dirt bikes, snow skiing, running races and just hanging with my good friends.

QTR 1 Update- I had a great first three months! I bought a dirt bike and went out riding once so far. I want downhill skiing in Taos, NM and it was one of the best trips of my life. Skiing was so much fun, my company was great and the roadtrip was just EPIC! Traveled to Houston and San Antonio to race and had a blast there too! There were also a couple of other cool things went to ICE, Legoland, and Aliens in Rosewell, NM! I am so looking forward to April and May, I have a ton of adventure planned!

QTR 2 Update- I definitely kept this train going the second three months of the year. I raced in Las Vegas, Ohio and down in Austin, TX. I took a killer road trip to the Ohio race and then spent 5-days in Erie, PA what a blast!

So my original travel plans did go according to plan or with how it was planned, but oh well things happen for a reason. So I went solo and found some new great people to hang out with. So other than racing what did I do?

  • Visited Graceland
  • Sang Karaoke in Nashville
  • Cedar Point in Ohio
  • Sunset on Lake Erie!
  • Indoor Skydiving
  • Adult go-carts
  • ROT Rally – Austin, TX
  • Zero Gravity

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

10. Complete the Iron Butt

added 7/1

One of the things I have wanted to do for the last 15 years or so is complete an Iron Butt ride on my Harley. What is an iron butt you ask? Well it is pretty simple. Ride 1000 miles in 24 hours, document the whole thing with their paperwork, receipt time stamps and photos. Why do this you ask? Well because you can of course! It is also to get a certificate to put on your wall of fame!

QTR 1 Update- N/A

QTR 2 Update- Having just decided I was going get this done on my way home from the ROT Rally, it is still in the planning stages! Stay tuned, but the goal is to do it in July or August.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

11. Write a book

added 7/1

I have wanted to write a book of my travels for about 8 years now. Actually I have two in mind and one is more like a life biography of my travels and the other is cool stuff to see. So with some encouragement, I started this project on 6/1. The goal is to have it completed and out for Christmas, it would be a great gift for any motorcycle traveler!

QTR 1 Update- N/A

QTR 2 Update- Ride one is almost complete, along with all of the graphics which will be used for the book. I am behind schedule, the whole birthday week threw me behind some. Original goal was to be completed by 8/10, but I think I am redoing my timelines and it looks closet to 9/10 now.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

JSM – One year later

It has been one year since my good friend left this world and embarked on his journey into the next.  To say that he has been missed is more than an understatement.  Since the day we all learned of the news of his passing, many of us who were his close friends have been struggling to know why. Although we did know why, we all knew of the demons he was living with and some of the past ones we knew he had fought and already beat.

As I struggled to really know why, to me at least it didn’t seem to make sense.  Just days before his passing, we were making plans for visits, talking about starting companies and chit chatting about life and soon to be had adventures. A year later I still reflect on the why for my own selfish reasons.  I know deep in my heart, Joe is in a much better place and I am sure he is getting everyone around him to have the best imaginable time or he is annoying the hell out of them.

As I re-read my blog from last year, I still get misty eyed.  Some days I cry like a baby and I am not afraid to tell the world.  Joe was my best friend, probably the best friend I have ever had in my short life.  I have a couple friends who I talk to now and again but no one has ever been as close.  I am normally a pretty self sufficient person, a lone wolf to say and making acquaintances is easy, becoming my best friend is a little harder. But this is not about me, just a point that Joe made me open up and experience life and when you were with or around him, you definitely experienced life.  I have not spoken much about this whole experience over the past year, and probably held it in too much.  At least that is what I have been told, but as I mentioned previously Joe was like a brother to me, so writing about him in this manner is very therapeutic for me.

I want to thank everyone who posted a favorite story of Joe on my last blog of him, your stories all seem to have the same theme, and Joe was the life of the party and always made sure everyone around him was having fun or he embarrassed you into having a good time.  That was the true treasure of having Joe as a friend.  As obnoxious as he could be at times, he was all about the fun.  That is how I have chosen to remember my friend, is all about the fun, crazy life and the short time we had together.  I guess you could coin the phrase “Bro-mance” had we thought of it years ago as a way to describe us.

I leave you this year my friend pouring out the Beam (never understood how you acquired that taste), the Crown and the Miller Lite in your honor, two fist bumps to the chest and a point up to you.  I know you are just yelling at me to “Stop wasting that perfectly good alcohol!” but hey, since when did we ever agree? Just know this my friend where ever you are, you are missed.

I created my blog and the following YouTube video to keep him alive for everyone.  I was shocked to see how many of you have Googled and found my blog just searching for Mr. Manning.  I asked many of you to send in your pictures as well so I could add them and I did receive a few, so thank you.  I also found some music over the course of this year that seemed fitting to me and I have re-released the video sorta-say.  I once again hope that you enjoy it and appreciate it and keep the memory of our beloved friend in your heart. Click here to go straight to my YouTube site or click and watch below.