I've always loved being active, a student of health, and loved the outdoors, but never much involvement with competitive sports.
Of course I had the usual dreams of being a ninja, olympic snowboarder, gymnast and pro soccer player, but somehow growing up in Iowa with five siblings and a modest income wasn't the perfect recipe for the big leagues.
I guess it didn't help that when it comes to sports, I've always been good at many, great at none.
I should also mention I use to hate running if it wasn't to a ball or away with the ball… or maybe through a forest with a big stick after my brother.
In the past few years though, something has reignited in me to explore all the movement and play built into human nature. Rock climbing and minimal trail running have become my go to play and form of meditation and enjoying nature.
So much so that I've begun seeking out ultra trail runs (30+ miles) as an excuse to be in nature longer.
Most recently though, in pairing my new love of trail running and climbing with the would-be ninja and gymnast in me, Obstacle Course Racing has really won my fancy!
If you're not familiar, it includes running hills, sometimes mountains, broken up by crawling through mud, under barbed wire, over walls, climbing ropes, carrying heavy stuff, and so on… as fast as you can.
I'll admit, my first couple I was really intimidated and just wanted to finish. But last year, after just a few under my belt and no experience in competitive racing, still not really considering myself a very competitive person, I decided to start competing, pushing beyond my known limits, traveling across the country to races.
I don't race because it's healthy. It's usually not.
When we see a runner or cyclist crossing a finish line and getting that medal, I think our thought process is often something like "wow, that person is ripped and super healthy!" In fact, I've had several people tell me how healthy I seem because I race and how I look.
But fit doesn't equal healthy.
More often than not racing is incredibly hard on the body, and in some ways could even be considered the opposite of healthy.
Even if all form and function is done perfectly (extremely rare) it can be such an incredible beat down and drain of every nutrient and resource the body can throw at it just to avoid collapsing.
Whether a 5k or Ultra, some people's bodies never recover after pushing to the brink,
Lest we forget the first person ever recorded as running a marathon collapsed dead upon arrival (so began the marathon run to commemorate the poor chap).
A 2012 Harvard study showed that 79 percent of regular runners deal with an injury every year.
More than three out of four, every year.
Something needs to change, and the first is probably the automatic equation of fitness with health.
I do race to play. To be challenged, and to grow.
But honestly, I can do all that without racing, so that's not reason enough for me.
However, as I've followed the ever growing body of health and fitness research and witnessed the consequences of injury, chronic inflammation and lifestyle disease time and again in clients, friends, and competitors around me over the years, primarily from the outdated and dangerous training and inadequate nutritional and recovery approaches of both elite and amateur athletes,
I found myself increasingly nagged by the question:
Just because we can, should we?
Just because we can temporarily achieve impressive performance on empty sugar and franken-food nutrition, minimal self-care and recovery, and compensating for or numbing the pain whenever possible, should we?
Is there a better way?
And if there is, how can more people be made aware?
So, in the spring of 2014, I decided to start training for competitive obstacle course racing, the fastest growing sport in the world, motivated to achieve peak performance while demonstrating a better way to live, train, eat and recover for both performance now and quality of life tomorrow (both for us humans and the nature we rely on).
There is a better way to be fit and health than what most of us have settled for.
A way that is more sustaining and promoting of long-term health and enjoyment, of our relationships outside of fitness and of the environment around us, rather than a quick burning flame and destructive path with an ever worsening painful, burnt-out future.
A better way for those of us who just want to keep doing and moving in the ways we love as much as possible until our final breath,
who are determined to keep improving and challenging ourselves,
for those logging hour after miserable hour in the gym or on the pavement, chugging gels, neon sport drinks and the many shapes of sugar, all because some "expert" said it's healthy…
I race for a better way.
1. To bring awareness, and set straight a lot of misinformation from pseudo science.
2. To equip with time-tested practical education, recipes, tips and tools-- from studying centuries of health knowledge new and old of natural remedies, nutrition, therapies, efficient movement and self care.
3. To rediscover and cultivate not just fitness, but Full Human Nature, Full Health, Full You, and Full Life.
4. Because "fitness" doesn't have to mean "no pain, no gain" much-less chronic pain and disease sooner than later, but that is exactly what we are seeing in more and more athletes and at earlier and earlier ages.
5. Because health, healing, and an ability to move in amazing ways is part of human nature, and this world is a playground full of things to rediscover and cultivate that nourish, fuel, and promote the fullest potential of that nature.
To our great detriment, as a culture we've become ever increasingly disconnected and unaware of our full playground. Increasingly inundated with that which deforms, disrupts, starves and inhibits our natural movement, health and healing potential, often under the guise of comfort, convenience and progress.
Just because we can, should we?
I invite you--
Whether you're ready to work with me for uniquely personalized holistic health consulting, training and programming, or just interested in following me personal journey as I experiment and explore my fullest potential human nature for health, healing and movement with nutrition, natural remedies, therapies environment and self care--