At the time of writing this I was just reflecting on my father's birthday this week prior while playing with my 8-month old son, so I decided to take the appropriate course of examining my athletic and professional history while keeping in mind the huge influence of my father, and what kind of influence I can have on my own and others.
I grew up on Long Island, New York in a middle-class family of 4, complete with a loyal Australian shepherd. My dad owned a bicycle shop called "Bikeworks" in Greenvale. I was always an athletic kid, but too shy to be voluntarily involved with sports, until my parents collectively decided that since I had no desire (read, no skill) in playing an instrument, I had to choose a sport. My athletically-gifted, yet uninspired 12-year-old mind thought that Cross Country would be the easiest sport for me. A sport that involves running mostly straight by yourself certainly is a choice that suited my introverted straight-forward personality. Turns out I was a good runner, and people noticed.
In the summers I rode my bike 12-35 miles with my dad frequently, mostly on my dad's cue rather than mine. We had some wild adventures riding out to Montauk, blowing by the local 'fast' group rides on our tandem, and riding up hills and on roads where others thought not to go. This was my excuse to my coach for not getting in 'base miles' for cross country every season in high school. I started working at my dad's bike shop every summer, a perfect 12.5-mile commute by bicycle, a very envious bicycle commute for a New Yorker.
I started getting into the weight room after every Track and Field practice, which was a natural progression from Cross Country after my cross country coach made it clear I would be completely foolish not to start running middle distance (800m, 1,000m, 400ms). I had developed a great relationship with my high school coach, and helped me to grow as a runner and respected my enthusiasm that I immediately displayed at practices, despite still being very shy. He saw I lead by example, was kind, smart, and fast - and made me captain as a sophomore. I might call him a second father figure.
I got REALLY into lifting weights, and running. I got very competitive and very fast, but was always 2nd or 3rd best in the biggest races. I did pole vault, but barely practiced because our school wasn't set up for it. I was our team's only pole vaulter. I got done with High School and felt burnt out on running, so I decided to get as strong as I could.
I commuted by bicycle and train to Stony Brook University, while coaching track and field at my old high school - largely being uncompetitive or structured in my training. I fell into a rut and decided I needed to change everything up. I moved to Colorado for school and decided to fully embrace bicycling. I joined the CSU Rams Cycling Club and began my collegiate cycling career still very much a gym rat. Collegiate cycling was one of the best things I've ever done and helped me break out of my mold. I made a ton of great relationships and discovered the community side of sport that extends past school and younger-years sports participation. I really fell in love with cycling, speed, and then the velodrome. It was a great mash up of strength, sprints, and endurance - though it has little exposure or support in the US.
Since hanging up my race wheels due to the financial demands of racing and being a fresh graduate, I moved on to coaching CrossFit and a mix of other strength and conditioning group classes and personal training in Colorado. I really grew as a coach while working with Josh Slattery at Old Town Athletic Club & CrossFit. Working with a man who supports his family with his own business and gave me the freedom and mentorship I needed to grow my professional goals continued to nurture the romantic and inspiring relationship I have with the idea of entrepreneurship and small family owned businesses. Much like my dad's bicycle shop, Josh's wife Kristin was heavily involved with the gym, as were their kids.
I came to Portland with my partner Dayna, my 6-month old son, and our 8-year-old daughter. When we moved out here from Colorado, I had a job lined up for an Outside Sales Rep for a sports nutrition distributor. I was stoked because I thought that this could be a career that opened up a lot of opportunities. What I didn't realize was that I would soon hate the job; the hours in the car, the treatment from people who don't want to talk to a salesman, the shadiness and poor quality of so many of the sports nutrition brands on the market. When the company wanted to change my job duties and lower my pay, I decided it would be best if I just left. With Dayna in Lewis and Clark Law School (thus the move to Portland), time to spend with my young son will be a great light in my life right now.
The first week we got to Portland, I dropped into CrossFit503 for a workout and started up conversation with some of the folks. Turns out I got to talking to the owner's partner, and in not too long I was coaching once a week in exchange for membership and access to the gym. Another supportive, flexible small business-owner, Darren has continued to nurture my entrepreneurial desires.
And now, as of finishing this blog post, my mom and dad sit exhausted on new year's day after clearing out the entire bicycle shop, because my dad decided it was finally time to retire. After supporting his family doing what he finds such joy in for 35 years, he can find such a rich feeling of success in rest.
Looking forward, it seems that in order to follow the story line thus far I need to chase what I know and have a huge passion for; the complex and crucial intertwining of food and fitness - and do it on my terms, following my father's steps in running his own business. That is why I am beginning to take my dreams more seriously. I realize now, that they will never be attained if I just sit around and think 'what if?'. This blog is the start of a gathering of resources, and the sharing of ideas to help craft my dreams and share them with you.
This blog will have 3 categories:
1) Rx - This category will be all the info that you'll be interested in for diet, exercise, health, etc. I will simplify research studies for practical application involving diet manipulation, supplements, exercise protocol, health, etc. Beyond the more detailed oriented posts, anything performance related will fill under this category.
2) Enclave building - Anything related to the growth of this organization and the business I hope to build as detailed in 'About'. I want to share what my ideas are with you, because those of you reading this are the people I want to cater to. The Enclave is about helping people and crafting a place that feels ultimately alive and welcoming.
3) Misc. - The infamous misc. for anything related to what I think you really need to know about. Probably a lot involving my adorable family.
Follow me on Twitter, instagram and like our page on Facebook to make sure you keep up to date with the blog.The links are on the top of the main page.