An immovable object meets a irresistible force and a big bang occurs. Inertia meets excitement, pessimism runs into optimism and neither remains the same. Change occurs even when , or especially when, we aren’t expecting it. I can be convinced, packed, loaded and heading down a certain path and find that the trail ends abruptly. I can detour around the fifteen foot wall, I can try knock it over, I can try climb over it or I can backtrack and try a different path or backtrack and give up. The only unacceptable option for me is to retreat and give up. As long as I am moving, I am making progress. When I drive, I am opportunistic and often make turns at lights or in congestion so I don’t reduce my momentum. When I am working on a project and hit a snag, I admit to feeling frustration seep in and my ambition seep out. If I am alert, I remind myself that the frustration is an opportunity to learn and that my motivation shouldn’t be hinged to progress but instead to effort. Easy to say, harder to do.
The road forward shouldn’t be a safe straight trajectory. I learn much more when I am disrupted and challenged by unexpected barriers and mysterious options. As a impatient imperfectionist with a serious destination bias, I struggle appreciating the journey. But all that I really have is the next stretch of trail before a turn or dip appears and focusing on a finish line that is out of sight reduces enjoyment, possibilities and growth. A finish line mentality also makes me single-minded and blind to other ways and it seems causes an increase in effort as I miss obvious and hidden signals and shortcuts.
In a race following someone who is slightly faster or more fit can lead to improved times and maybe a personal best but getting caught up in beating other runners creates the wrong focus. I am running on an unknown course this weekend and am reminding myself to be alert for hazards, pay attention to markers, enjoy the snot bubbling elevation changes and enjoy challenging myself in relation to the results I have accomplished in previous runs. It may not be perfect (for sure), it may not be pretty (likely) but it will be positive regardless of how or where I finish ( I recognize that there is a part of me that sees another first place as some other kind of validation and need to keep that ambition tempered.)

If I need a reminder this weekend of the immovable object and irresistible force, there is a great likelihood that we will encounter bears on the route. This past week black bears and grizzlies have been seen enjoying the sunshine in the open meadows and trudging up some of the logging roads. Knowing that there is something dangerous around the next corner or the next will be a strong prompt to stay in the moment and learn something from each step.

My training over the past couple of weeks has focused on proper for and good equipment. Even when I am experimenting with new shoes or an new idea, I need to think about the process and if my posture and carriage is getting the maximum results from all the effort. The difference between success and less than success can come down to a blister or a blistering start. It can be challenged by a desperate need or bias and the idea doesn’t gain roots because it was seeded haphazardly.

Like most of my work and my recreation having a strategic plan can be useless. Knowing my strategic position; some future preferred state and staying pointed in that general direction can allow the race or practice to be interesting, efficient and still leave room for leaps over logs and leaps of logic. In ideation and trail running, iteration is generative. One step builds on the next and attaches itself to the delta of previous changes. One step becomes 1000 becomes 10K and word becomes a phrase becomes a sentence becomes an idea that synthesises to another idea and creates something that has the same grit and dirt of both but smells and feels oddly different than might have been expected.
As I head out early tomorrow morning with some excitement and apprehension I will be reminding myself to be alert for changes, be ready with resources (bear spray and nutrition) and be ready for a lot of unexpected challenges and unexpected opportunities.

Make Today Remarkable by being alert,




I try to learn something new every day. In my areas of interest; religion, urbanization, community development, coaching, running, and sociology I receive blasts, books and blogs from the best and the brightest on a regular basis. I attend workshops and panels to hear from people who are working in the field and I assimilate their experience and expertise with the knowledge and opinions I already hold.

But I learn most by entering into engaged, important conversations with the people I encounter. Family, friends, strangers offer me a wide array of ideas and challenges to chew on. I learn more in the rumination than from another audiobook, tome, or lecture. I realize that my preferred learning style has shifted from asynchronous pull to multi synchronous exchange. I get more from the material when I get to touch it, talk about it and toss it around in my head.



I am attending a running workshop this morning in Calgary that is billed as a panel but the reputation of the facilitator suggests that we are going to be engaged physically and intellectually at each step. I am going to be looking for the best and the brightest to help me understand how to improve my stride and reduce injuries but I am going to be observing how I interact with the message, the medium and the masters.

Make Today Remarkable by Learning Something New,



Are Some Goals Unachievable?

Generally I would say all reasonable goals are achievable but just like the serenity prayer I have a discernment problem.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,The courage to change the things I can,And the wisdom to know the difference.  My problem is that haven’t mastered the wisdom part.im possible

I have been chasing some goals, that I still believe are reasonable but progress towards them has slowed or ceased. For example, I set a goal of running a sub 25 minute 5k. Seems possible even though 2 years ago I was running around 35 minutes and that I am not 61 years old. In the first few months my time fell and my pace went up. I plateaued at 30 minutes for a while and took up some coaching to break the next barrier. I can run under 29 most days and ran 27:35 in an October race but haven’t broke 28 minutes since.

I understand that there are so many circumstances at play – rest, nutrition, elevation, motivation, injury but I am disappointed that the progression hasn’t been on my schedule.

Should I let the disappointment deter me from chasing the goal – I don’t think so because the happiness is actually in the pursuit of stretch goals. (there is another circumstance – should I stretch before or after or both). Maybe what I am learning is that my other goals that I easily achieved were too easy.

How about you? Are you chasing goals that exceed your immediate grasp?

Make Today Remarkable, in the happiness of pursuit,




Health is more than Being Healthy

My training schedule for this week seems a stretch.

40 min x-train
50 min run with 8 * 1min hard 2 min rest in the middle
35 min x-train
65 min run with 6*20 second uphill strides
40 min run or 70 min x-train
Even after today’s cross training, the workload seems like A LOT.
It isn’t that the amount of time or energy seems. It is my head getting in the way saying ” this is too hard, you can’t do. You should just quit”. It is the ‘lizard brain’ according to Seth Godin that is getting in my way.
It happens often. When I am starting a new project, trying to eat healthier, making a commitment the voice in my head says ” Give up”.
That is why I need to focus, at the start,  on getting through the first 6 minutes of running, the first 500 words, the first veggie snack (rather than chocolate) not the destination.  Finishing a hard run or 3000 words is the impetus for the voice and until I make some early strides it can sound like a shrieking child. But if I focus and push forward to a marker, it becomes quiet, until tomorrow. I have never got to a place where the  complaining, nagging, negativity is gone but I have crested a mental divide where the lizard brain gives up more quickly.
Focus today on finding a marker for your mental health.
Make Today Remarkable, by quieting the voice, for a little while.