The Walk into the Future blog went back home to Negril, Jamaica over Spring break last week. Decided I wanted to get back down for some sun, fun, rum, and reggae. Mission accomplished.
Spent most of my time relaxing but got some good reading in while making time to break out my snorkel gear. Not much into the tourist activities but enjoy hanging with the locals and seeing the island from their perspective.
Documented this trip with pictures instead of my usual word play:
This was a good trip for me. Love to explore and get great pictures while in Jamaica. Looking at traveling to the Dominican Republic or the Turks and Caicos on my next adventure.
Goals continue to be a huge difference maker as my Walk into the Future extends into the fifth year of existence.
I never make New Year’s Resolution but discovered creating a set of yearly goals allows me to track my progress and see personal and professional growth. This process has been working well for me so no need to adjust it for 2023.
My goals are broken up into several categories to ensure I display a level of depth and growth throughout the year. I don’t make this process overly complicated; it’s worked in the past and don’t see a need to adjust now.
Interestingly, I hit every 2022 goal marker I wrote down except for one. Several friends asked me about my goals in January and I simply stated 2022 went so well that I was going to run back most of the same goals in 2023. Small tweaks but want to continue to move forward with my growth.
I started reading Proverbs daily when I lived in Warner Robins, Georgia. I got the concept when I read a book written by Steven K. Scott: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived. I thought it was a get rich quick book but quickly learned that reading Proverbs provides wisdom in life. I read Proverbs daily before work and look for ways to level that wisdom in my day. My other reading goal is to read one book (minimum) each month. I love learning leadership principles so most of my reading is done to help me grow as a leader. Currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Always looking for new places to explore so I want to visit some new spots this year. My running tourist role has me booked to return to Clearwater, Nashville, and Orlando. My new race destination for 2023 will be the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I’ve been to San Diego before but have never raced that far west—should be a great week for me in San Diego. I will return to Negril, Jamaica this year and want to make it down to the Turks and Caicos as a new adventure. Weekend travel will revolve around Orlando, Melbourne, Jacksonville, and Palm Beach Gardens.
My Authentic Leadership consulting program extends into 2023 with new contracts and clients. My work in this space was a happy addition to my 2022 goals and it looks like it will continue to grow in 2023. I have already signed contracts with two different groups to bring the Authentic Leadership platform to staff members. This side gig allows me to branch out into areas of professional interest for me and hone my organizational development skills. My goal is to consult with additional organizations in this space.
My writing was steady in 2022 but one area I didn’t complete was publishing my Authentic Leadership eBook. This is a carryover from 2022 so I will need to get this done in 2023. Poems, blog posts and LinkedIn articles were writing goals I was able to meet last year. I will continue to progress in 2023 with an eye towards more content on LinkedIn to share the Walk into the Future content with a larger audience.
Well, everyone that reads this blog knows running a full marathon was a highlight for me. It was written down as a 2022 goal and I put the work in to meet that goal. I will continue to lift weights twice a week and get 4 weekly runs in. My long runs will be done on the weekends with 25 – 30 weekly miles. I have a full racing schedule for 2023 and this keeps me motivated to log training miles.
This is a new category I want to explore in 2023. I do a ton at work but need to branch out into the local community and help there as well. The Salvation Army and Treasure Coast Food Bank are two organizations I plan to help this year. I did volunteer work with the Salvation Army in Tallahassee and enjoyed my time with them. Will reach out to both organizations this month to see what I can help them with.
Goals have been huge for my success. What goals do you have for 2023?
“I wouldn’t say running solves problems, but it prevents me from causing them”.
(Funny Running Quotes)
My Walk into the Future allows me to find/adjust my adventures depending on what’s happening in my world.
I spent a lot of 2022 getting myself physically and mentally prepared to tackle a full marathon. One thing I discovered during this process was signing up and completing races was a more enjoyable way to log miles. Example: I used the 2022 OUC Half Marathon as my last long run prior to the full marathon. Not sure other folks do this, but it makes for a more exciting training format for me.
Decided to tackle the 2023 Bridge Busters 5k in Fort Pierce for the third time. My first attempt occurred in 2021 when we were coming out of the COVID-19 era when races were being postponed. I did not know much about this race prior, but it was enjoyable even though I had to make it up and over the Seaway Drive bridge twice to complete the 5k. This concept was daunting back in 2021 but does not generate doubts for me now—guess my running program has matured. LOL.
This is a smaller race and attracts around 150 local runners. The host organization uses the registration fees to donate to local education programs. The money goes to a good cause, and I get a chance to test my endurance—everyone wins in this scenario.
Selected this as my first post full marathon run because it is a hometown race, and most of the course is on Seaway Drive which I train on quite a bit—minus the bridges.
The weather was cool at the start, so this was an ideal way to launch into the 5k.
I did not have a set finish time in mind when the race started but wanted to run a better time than last year if possible. The double bridge crossing makes this a bit daunting considering the inclines we face going up and over. The downhill portion is always easier, but you must maintain a controlled pace on the first pass to ensure there’s something left in the tank for the last mile of the race.
This was an improvement of 45 seconds over my 2022 race time. Not bad considering I completed the full marathon less than 4 weeks prior. Happy with my recovery from the marathon and excited to get back out running again.
Not sure how fast 2023 will be for my racing times but happy with my first race of the year. Looking forward to getting more miles and races in this year.
What are you looking forward to in 2023?
“Runner’s logic: I’m tired. I think I’ll got for a run”.
“If you are on the treadmill next to me, the answer is yes…we are racing”.
My Walk into the Future allows me to experiment with multiple forms of exercise with running being my focus for the past 4 years. Weightlifting was my primary form of exercise prior to starting my Walk into the Future. Decided to adjust and make running the focal point and mix in other forms of exercise to supplement.
I went from lifting weights 5 days and running 2 days to a complete flip. I currently run 4 days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday) and lift weights around my running schedule. I recently joined Planet Fitness to ensure I had a good mix of weightlifting options. Invested in an exercise bike back in 2021 so I could continue to get cardio in even when the weather is bad.
Fun fact: I got a free 3-day pass to LA Fitness in September of 2020 that never expired. My paper pass finally got so worn downed that it stopped working two years later. Hence, my joining Planet Fitness because it’s only $9.99 a month—I love a deal! 😊
2022 saw me increase my exercise volume and my total steps for the year. The following stats come directly from my Fitbit 2022 Year in Review:
Total Exercise Days: 257
Top Exercise: Run
Total Steps: 5,101,022
Total Miles: 2,551
Best Step Month: November
Best Step Day: December 11, 2022
Average Hours of Sleep: 8.2 hours
I increased my total steps by 400,000+ for the year and total mileage by 350+. Again, these numbers account for every time I exercised: bike, run, treadmill, walk.
I’m concentrating on ensuring I get the proper amount of sleep and plan to continue to positive progress in 2023.
I’m on pace for 125+ training miles in January and will continue to log miles as I prepare for additional half marathons this year.
2023 will be busy with training, racing and Walking into the Future!
“If only opening a Vitamin Water could be classified as working out”.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.
(Lawrence J. Peter)
I start each year by creating a set of goals for myself to ensure I continue to Walk into the Future.
Past years I created a goal to run a set number of miles during the year (example: 1,000 miles) but decided to eliminate this practice and concentrate on run quality instead of quantity.
My 2022 run goals centered around 3 quality runs weekly without the shadow of a set number of miles as the goal. I always found myself singularly focused on the end number instead of the impact each run had towards my goal and fitness level. Mentally I was always chasing a number I made up in January and that was not always a fun activity.
Fast forward and the 1,312 training miles I completed in 2022 is the most yearly mileage I have ever completed. Launching my full marathon training program in July helped me clock miles but I was well on my way toward a mileage personal record (PR). The marathon training process highlighted I needed to add training sessions and mileage to fully embrace the run challenge of a full marathon.
I routinely ran 3 days a week prior to my marathon training program and needed a 4th day to continue to build my mileage base. I also needed to create a true run plan to identify the targeted mileage for each session.
Prior to 2022 I would just go out for a run and then determine how far I wanted to go during that session. Running in 2022 forced me to lay out a detailed weekly training program to identify how far I would run during each session. I know this sounds simple and I’m sure most folks do this, but my running program had structure but needed more focus to get me to the start line for the Palm Beaches marathon. I discovered putting a number on the training session (3 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 8 miles on Thursday, 10 miles on Saturday) made me hit my mile markers each session. Anything less than what I projected left me looking for ways to get my miles in. Weekly mileage numbers were critical to my running success in 2022.
Mile by mile, day by day allowed me to top 1,300 miles in 2022. I’m sure I could have surpassed that number if I put more focus on the mileage for each session prior to July 2022.
My 2023 run goal is to run 4 days weekly (25 – 30 miles total) with one day dedicated to speed work. I am registered for 10 races for 2023 with a combination of 5ks, 10ks and half marathons. I don’t know if I will tackle another full marathon in 2023 or ever but never say never. I will let my weekly running sessions determine how many total miles I run in 2023. Excited to track my progress and growth as I expand my running base and test myself with road work.
What goals do you have for 2023?
FYI: Clocked 127 miles in January 2023! 😊
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.
I did not make this rate go up much but happy to join the folks who have toed the line and completed a full marathon.
I have documented my goal to complete a marathon in 2022 and provided updates on my training progress since July. I selected an 18-week training program to prepare me for the journey. The training plan was precise on when to run and how far to run to build a base to start and complete a marathon—mission accomplished.
Thanks to my friends and family for the encouragement during the training—it meant a lot to get positive shout outs while I was on this journey.
Made my way down to West Palm Beach the day prior to the marathon to get acclimated to the area and attend the Gardens of Life Palm Beaches Marathon EXPO. I was expecting this to be a large venue like the Rock N Roll events, but it was much smaller than I imagined and completely outside. The EXPO was a series of tents in front of the Meyers Amphitheater close to the water. There were only a handful of vendors at the EXPO so not much to browse or purchase. Check-in was simple considering the size of the venue. Got my race bib, t-shirt, goody bag and headed across the street to get food.
Made my way to the ER Bradley’s Saloon which had a funky vibe, great atmosphere and was still serving brunch when I arrived. The World Cup was playing on all the TVs and they had a DJ spinning tunes in the middle of the afternoon. Seems like a great place to hang out when I’m back in West Palm Beach.
Headed back to the hotel to get off my feet, rest and mentally prepare for what was coming in the morning. Got to bed early since I needed to be up around 4:30 am to prepare and make it to the start line for the 6 am race time.
Leveraged my hotel proximity to the start line and used the 1-mile distance as part of my warmup before the race. Yes, I used this distance to run/walk my way to the race start—wanted my legs to be warm for the race.
This race did not have corrals so found a nice spot in the middle of the other runners and waited for the race to start. We got delayed for 10 minutes which had a few folks upset since they were ready to challenge themselves and the course. We never heard why we got delayed but the horn went off and runners surged towards the start/finish line.
I decided the day before to keep my pace as even as possible and focused on mile splits within the 10:30 – 10:50 range. This would allow me to gauge my fitness and mental capacity over the first half of the race to determine what I had left in the tank.
The first few miles went by, and I realized I had a big smile on my face. This was because the months of training, early mornings and sacrifice was being played out in a real marathon. Looking back, I was smiling at this point because we started around 6 am and the sun was still not out—didn’t realize it at the time but the coolness of the morning was going to go away very soon.
Fast forward and I kept the 10:30 – 10:50 pace range through the first 16 miles of the race. I crossed the half marathon (13.1 mile) point at 2:26:32 which may have been too fast, but I felt good. This is where my lack of marathon experience showed. I was able to maintain my run form and kept moving forward with this pace.
The sun came out in full force at the 16-mile mark, and I noticed my pace start to slow. At first it was a gradual slow down then the pace slowed more. I felt great mentally, took water/Gatorade and gels at every station. A lot of folks talk about hitting a wall in the marathon, but I won’t completely say that’s what I did. I never thought about quitting just was upset with myself because my legs did not respond when I wanted them to.
Decided at this point that I didn’t care what the clock said I was finishing this race.
Amazing thing that happens during marathons is you get to see other folks experiencing the same mental struggle, pain, and doubts. We even talked to each other as an impromptu support group to keep moving forward. Even funnier is when you see another runner talking to their legs to keep them going, I didn’t do this because I didn’t think it would work. LOL.
The last 10 miles of the race was just me putting one foot in front of the other and showing the most grit I’ve ever displayed in my life. I set a goal to complete a full marathon and I got it done. Can’t say it was slower than I imagined because it’s the fastest marathon of my life (yes, the first one too) so I’m proud of the effort to make it from start to finish.
Official clock time was 5:48:28 (five hours, forty-eight minutes, and twenty-eight seconds).
I’m going to bask in this accomplishment, take some time off from running and sleep in for a few weeks. My Walk into the Future has a busy 2023 race calendar so will enjoy some downtime before cranking up the training.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you spend your life running up and down the field and never score”.
My 2022 Walk into the Future became focused on completing my first full marathon in December.
The 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon provided me with a new goal and a physical challenge to work towards. The 18-week training program provided me with flexibility with my runs, so I continued to look for ways to make training as exciting as possible. This included signing up for 5ks and half marathons to help me break up the training sessions.
My last long run before the Palm Beaches Marathon was scheduled to be an 8-miler. I graduated from the super long runs (18, 19, 20) a couple weeks earlier but wanted to test my fitness one more time before the marathon.
I signed up for the 2022 Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) half marathon back in December 2021 and decided to fulfill that commitment since I needed the miles. I also enjoy being back in Orlando to see my friends and the culture the Orlando area provides.
Rode over to Orlando the day prior to the race to pick up my race packet at Track Shack. Always love visiting the Track Shack running store since they are a one stop run store where I can pick up running gear and supplements. Started purchasing CBD gems (gels) at Track Shack because they have a huge selection with the best prices. Bib pickup was uneventful—I got there before the big rush and purchased a new running shirt.
Left Track Shack and headed back to Oviedo to check into my hotel. I stay in the same place since I’m a creature of habit and it allows me to spend more time in Oviedo. Headed to my favorite Italian restaurant, Café Panuzzos. Love the food and atmosphere there and always come back when I’m back in town: https://cafepanuzzos.com/
Got back to the hotel to relax and mentally prepare for the race coming up. I was still deciding how I wanted to attack the race from a strategic standpoint—do I go out for a specific time or just clock miles as part of the training plan? Decided to completely test my fitness to see what my training program accomplished.
Made my way downtown the next morning to toe the line for the 9th time for the OUC Half Marathon—guess you can say this is my hometown race now.
Things were going as scheduled until I got downtown Orlando. Normally it is easy to get downtown to park prior to the race. This year the Orlando police changed the traffic patterns and had cars lined up for miles. I finally got out of my normal parking garage line and found a surface lot two blocks down. This put me closer to the start line, but I lost about 45 minutes trying to get parked—never experienced this before.
Made it to the start line in time to hear the national anthem and the starter encouraging runners to have a good race. I was able to get a light stretch in and got into the back of the race corral behind the walkers and parents with strollers. Never been this far back so figured I was in for an experience during the race. Fun fact—I have never passed so many people in a race. I guess starting in the back does have some benefits. 😊
Made my way through the other runners from the back of the pack and started to get comfortable with my pace. Could not go out much faster since I had so many runners to navigate my way through. The weather was great—nice cool central Florida morning so put a smile on my face and then kept pressing forward.
Ran Mile 1 in 10:01 and did not feel pressed even though I had to weave my way through strollers and walkers. Felt good after the first water stop and decided to see if I could run negative splits (faster times) for each mile. Here’s what I got accomplished:
I laughed at myself when I saw my Mile 12 split because I got caught up looking around and sightseeing a bit too much and did not realize I slowed down that much. Had nothing to do with fitness or pain, I simply drifted off looking at Orlando scenario when I should have been bearing down to finish this race. Lesson learned. Completed the OUC Half in 2:12:52 which was my second fastest half of 2022—should have been my fastest but Mile 12 took care of that. LOL.
Crossed the finish line feeling the best I’ve ever felt while running a half marathon. The full marathon training really helped me manage the lactic acid and pain. Felt fresh and ready to run more if it was needed.
I’m ready to tackle the 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon—let’s make it happen! 😊
“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at”.
Decided to trade in my Gatlinburg and Smoky mountains adventures this year for a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, and the Blue Ridge mountains.
I pass through Asheville yearly on my way to Gatlinburg but my only time in the area was for a gas stop and to get snacks. I have several friends who swear by Asheville, so my task was to shake up my annual mountain getaway and see what the Asheville area had to offer.
Happy to report Asheville is exactly how everyone describes it: lots of adventure, shopping, dining, and a bit of a funky, eclectic downtown area.
My first stop in the Asheville area was to the outlet mall. Yes, I drove from Florida to North Carolina and made a run to the outlet mall—sue me. LOL. I am always looking for a deal and there were a few different brands available in Asheville. I made a few rounds to ensure I did not leave any deals here before getting down to business of finding some hiking trails to explore while in the area.
I am very familiar with the hiking available in Gatlinburg since I am a frequent traveler there.
The Asheville area trails took a little more research and time to get to them. Asheville is a much larger area with things a bit more spread out. A quick Google search gave me several options to explore, and I mapped out my hikes to maximize my time in the mountains.
The temperatures were in the 30s during my visit to Asheville, but it was not a major factor for me since I seemed to warm up as I moved my way further up into the mountains.
My first hike was in the Bent Creek portion of the Pisgah National Forest.
The Hardtimes Trailhead was described as an easy to moderate trail so decided to tackle it to warm up to the Blue Ridge mountains. The trail did not have a ton of obstacles (rocks, down trees, etc.) but it goes straight up from the very beginning. The inclines are gradual, but they are inclines. The trail has multiple side trails, but I decided to stay on the main trail and see where it would end up. There were some great views on the way up the mountain and I made a point to get some shots in when I took a break heading up. I made it to the top of this trail after a 3-mile hike and decided to turn around and head back down. Got a chance to see several joggers coming down the trail so this area is popular with runners and folks on mountains bikes.
My next adventure took me to Looking Glass Falls. Everything I read described this water fall as a great place for pictures and feel the power of nature. The waterfall is a short drive from the Hardtimes Trailhead, but it was difficult to park since there were a lot of people trying to experience the waterfall. I had to turn around twice before I could find a place to park and then make the short walk down to view the waterfall. I helped a family and took their picture with the falls in the background and then had them return the favor for me as well. People are friendly in the mountains. Made my way down to the falls to get some shots closer to the water and enjoy the energy of the water coming down the mountain.
My next adventure was to explore downtown Asheville since I heard great things about the area. Again, the temperatures were in the 30s and felt colder once the sun went down. Decided to just explore downtown and get a feel for it and hopefully find some live music.
Turns out Asheville is known more for the arts and food than music. Found a lot of creative places to eat but did not hear music, live or DJ. No worries discovered Highland Brewing and Buxton Chicken Palace within the S&W Market. The chicken sandwich and craft beer were great and there was a small band playing live music. A funky little vibe all around but it was worth the trip downtown.
One of my best friends owns a store in the small town, Black Mountain.
Ventured over on Day 2 to check out the town and get some hiking in over there. Again, Google gave me some hiking options and I headed towards Graybeard Trail for more adventure. The trailhead had a very small parking lot and it was full when I arrived. Parked a bit down the road and made my way onto the bridge that led to the trail. I read about the trail beforehand, but the descriptions did not do this trail justice. It was rocky, scenic, uphill from the start and crossed flowing streams multiple times. Sounds like I’m complaining but I’m not! The views on top rivaled the views I get in the Smoky Mountains and the waterfall at the top was the cherry on top. I wanted to sit up there for a bit longer, but the temperature started to drop once the sun went behind the mountain. Also, didn’t want to get caught in the mountains in the dark so made my way back down to ensure I still had light to guide me.
Made a quick trip to visit my friend’s store before it closed:
Cute little place if you are ever in Black Mountain!
Explored the downtown area a bit and came across the mural of Roberta Flack. I remember her music from the 70s but did not know she was from Black Mountain, North Carolina. Hit a small downtown brewery to experience more local flavor and spend some time with the locals at the Black Mountain Brewing Company. Great spot with a good selection of beers.
Nice trip to the Asheville area and happy I had a chance to explore. Recommend if you are looking for a place for adventure and culture.
FYI, will head back to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains next year. 😊