Sunday, September 23, 2012


So, I am in week one of my new goal to complete an Iron distance race. I am looking for inspiration to shed my weight and become fit.  Basically to be disciplined and motivated.  I see many of the people I know looking to professional triathletes or elite triathletes as inspiration and talking about what great human beings they are.  How do they know this.."well she seemed really nice when she was hocking Newtons...or he took the time to have a picture with me after the seminar his sponsor made him put on.."  Yes..much like Mother Theresa these people should be given sainthood.  However, I just can't derive any inspiration from them.  When a pros biggest problem is his "ethical" dilemma whether to race in the same even that the cheater Lance Armstrong is racing in for charity..I can see we do not have a lot in common.  I also cannot get inspiration from people who overcame the odds to finish the race even though they had to use borrowed race wheels..or God forbid..their training wheels.  If you have more than two hours to train on a daily basis..I really don't have a lot in common with you and personally cannot derive a lot of inspiration.  I personally get much more enjoyment out of having another cyclist say ..Hi!! on your left...then I do from meeting some Kona winner.

Thus who do I see as inspirational?  People who have a lot to overcome..people who deal with life's obstacles everyday.  People who don't own a $5000 tri bike but kick the ass of those who do. (My friends Greg and Doug)

For weight loss I have New Jersey Jen who just had a write up in October's Health Magazine.  She lost over 100 lbs and turned herself into a runner.  Jen is also a wife, mother and documentary filmmaker. Trying everyday to juggle her weight, training and family. You can see her story on her blog here . 

Jen's picture in Health Magazine
And then there is Maine Jen..who also dropped over 100 pounds and is now a serious triathlete and motivator. Jen is also a mother and wife.  She recently got her husband Casey motivated to start training.  In fact, Casey is pretty that he actually has to put up with Jen and works long hours yet is still finding time to train.  Maine Jen is also in Health Magazine in October and had a write up in her local paper.  Here is her write up.. Jen in the paper.

Making the big time
I just reconnected with a friend of mine Patty who I last saw 25 years ago when I worked at Hardees. She is in the middle of a weight loss journey ..losing over 100 pounds with more to go.  She just completed a 5k and is looking at doing a 10k.  How awesome is that?  Again, I can derive motivation from hearing such things and wanting to help out with what little knowledge I have with racing and nutrition.

My wife's cousin Maureen also took it upon herself to take care of herself and become healthier even while raising a family.  And now my wife and her friend Amity are making me look like a slacker by working out everyday rain or shine and finding ways to get workouts in, even if it means my four year old has to pace them on her bike as they run.

I have all of these wonderful examples of perseverance, overcoming odds and keeping a smile on your face no matter what challenges rear their ugly heads.  However, the role models that I derive most of my inspiration from and the one closest to me are my parents.

My father is an immigrant from Denmark who came to this country with his family when he was a child.  He served in the Army during Viet Nam and after getting out of the service became a carpenter and has had his own business from that point on.  My mother and him raised four children who all got their college degrees and I think became pretty good human beings  This despite my mother having a stroke almost 20 years ago at the age of 44,  when I was 25 my brother was 23 and my younger brother and sister were in their early teens.  The stroke left her in a wheel chair, unable to communicate very well with those outside the family and with very painful issues with her extremities.  My father would carry her up and down the stairs of their bi-level house by himself. Obviously the event was physically, emotionally and financially devastating.  Even with this horrific event my mom and dad never complained but looked at the next challenge in life.  They got my younger siblings through high school and then through college.  Then 6 years ago my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and given only a few months to live.  Again..they looked at the challenge and how to overcome it.  Only 3 months later my brother Michael was killed by a drunk driver.  These events left me in a shell. I honestly don't know how Mom and Dad handled it.  However, my Mom and Dad were able to keep moving forward.  Mom is still around..still fighting cancer..even through many trips to the ICU..and surgeries and chemo.  And Dad is still right there with well as taking care of the people in his town that he was elected a trustee of. 

I honestly cannot think of two more inspirational people when it comes to dealing with what life throws at you and not complaining about whether the universe is fair or not.  They are also two of the friendliest people you would meet and my dad is the first person to help a stranger in need.  This is why I have zero tolerance for people who cannot say "good morning" or "on your left".  I learned common decency and respect from my parents and they are still firm believers in it after all that they have been through.

Dad, Mom,Kristine,me and my daughter after Racine 70.3 last year

Thus the long and short of it is that I just need to look at friends and family for my inspiration and how to act.  I think I am also more grounded when I look at their examples.  If you get your inspiration from pro triathletes, celebrities or others you do not know then more power to you.. Different strokes for different folks.

Who do you get your inspiration from?


  1. Wow Scott, yes your family is very inspirational! I think it's the hard stuff that brings a family closer together. I was inspired, or rather in awe, of a young guy in his 20's racing the 5th Avenue Mile. He had been passed by everyone in his heat and was on his own just pushing forward. He was missing his left leg from the hip down and just had 1 crutch. He was no 'parathlete' per se, just a guy running his mile, and he killed it.

    1. Thanks buddy. And what an awesome time on the mile!! I think I am going to put hall of fame and hall of shame on this blog..That mile time will definitely make the "fame" section. (Unfortunately NY style pizza will be on the other page)

  2. Wow Scott -

    How very poignant - I loved reading about your family and how they've (and YOU have overcome so many tough times to persevere in the face of adversity). You definitely have taken some very strong qualities from your family.

    I agree with the importance of common courtesy and being friendly. I'm a door holder, a greeter and I am mindful to express my pleases, appreciation and thank yous. It gets me nuts to see how many have lost this very basic, small part of humanity.

    I also agree that I'd rather look at the guy or gal to my left or right who is juggling a family, work, and living like an average American for inspiration over the guy who does this for a living and has been blessed with natural athletic ability their entire lives. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy watching these folks and there are lessons to be learned and even inspirational moments within a race to be had but generally - I'm with you on this one.

    Finally, I'm honored to be counted in your list of "inspirational" folks. I don't know about all that. But thank you. :)

  3. Thanks Jen. I've said it about a thousand times already..but I count you as one of the people that I met this summer that has influenced me to keep doing triathlon and this blog.

    1. That's so cool - and I count you as one of the people who have inspired me to go for my first Triathlon - going for Olympic distance in ME next August! Wow… I'm thinking between all of us training to do this - AUG '13 is gonna be EPIC!! And now I know how to eat Lobster (won't be making that mistake again! lol)

  4. Scott,

    you've always had a much deeper sense of what's right and wrong and never been tricked or pulled in by the glamor of the sport. we may never find what we think we are looking for, but finding that day in day out inspiration is really what keeps you going. "On your left in the Steelers jersey..."

  5. I'm with you. I get way more inspiration watching co-workers challenge themselves and make progress than anything else. When I get tired I think about the 80 or 90 year old man my wife met that swam 3 miles recently for national race- WOW or how I couldn't walk a mile or swim a lap without heaving back on June 1st. I'm recently turned 44 so reading your blog is motivational now too. I went from huffing walker to sprint tri between June 1 and Sept 22. My time stunk. I was last in. I still don't care given where I was 4 months ago.