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THICK & THIN

“It all comes down to having passion for something through thick and thin. And believe me, there is a lot of thick, but what you learn is that the bad times – those are the adventure.”  David O. Russell

“WHAT the heck am I doing?” was the thought that crowded out all other thoughts as I trudged up Heartbreak Hill at mile 21 in this year’s Boston Marathon.  I was squarely in the thick and pushing through the pain.

LOVE running? Love restless night’s sleep only to wake up six hours before my race in order to inflict pain on myself.  All that aside, there are several benefits I get as the result of working out that impact my life, especially at work.  Here are just a few:

GRIND – The monotony of hours of training prepares me for what? Endless loop builds character. Difficulty makes me stronger.

QUITTING – Not an option. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  Finish what I start. Push forward regardless. While it might not be “fun” I do not need to suffer. Pain or feeling bad does not mean its all bad.

BE in the MOMENT – It’s not about avoiding the tough times but embracing them.

HILLS “happen” – some are tough to climb and some you fly down on.

HAPPINESS “is” – Secret is to enjoy the ride/journey regardless of how difficult it may seem.  There is no finish line in life.

GRATITUDE is an action word – be grateful and be present for all the feelings and experiences you are fortunate to have in/during the process.

Thank you BOSTON for teaching me about life.  While I missed hitting my goals this time around, the gifts of fitness, emotional and mental strength serve me quite well. Sometimes life, work, relationships, etc. are just like that.

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A Look Back: What I Learned in Boston

As we look back on 2013 one story stands out against all the rest – The bombings in Boston. Every 2013 sports story, or coverage of events in the United States, or the world for that matter, talk about that fateful day in April last year when two brothers placed a couple of backpacks with home made explosives at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Thanks to the BOSTON POLICE RUNNER’s CLUB (BPRC) I got to be there to race in one of the greatest spectacles in sport. For 20 years the BPRC has fielded a team for the marathon as a way to raise monies for a variety of community outreach programs, including Path4Teens. I was grateful for the opportunity and trained hard with the hopes of running the race of my life. Thank each and every one of you who gave ot the cause. Your contribution was fully tax deductible [501(c)3-75-3240064]

The marathon is a 118 year tradition, the oldest annual running event and by far the longest running marathon in the world. The city comes out in droves and each of the seven towns we run in from Hopkington to Boston are in full on celebration mode for Patriot’s day. For Boston 2013 I had one goal – to be under 3:40 (three hours and forty minutes) – for my age, 54, that is what I needed to qualify for the marathon in 2014. I felt strong all 26.2 miles, coming in at 3:38, a personal best by 27 minutes! I was thrilled. Then, less than thirty minutes later, it was total chaos.

LIFE lessons are found in all we do and everything is a mirror. After running my share of marathons I began to see some life and business lessons in the experience. Boston 2013 was no different, especially with the impact of the bombings. THREE come to mind.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” – It takes what it takes to prepare and finish a marathon. A lot can happen over the course of a 26 mile race, and unless you have put in the “foot work” it is easy to get knocked off course and end up falling short of your goal. I put the hard miles in over the course of four months of training and reaped the benefits.

“Your life is none of your business” –  I often run for a cause, such as CHARITYWATER.org or serving the less fortunate in a community (Mazatlan, Mexico and Houston, TX). There are 7 billion of us on planet earth and unless you have learned to fit yourself to be of maximum service to something bigger than yourself, you are missing out. All of us have a part to play in our businesses. We are all connected and who we serve is bigger than our job or our company. This helps tremendously in during the rough times, and there will be rough times.

“Preparedness is not just a word, it is a way of life” –  We never know what each day will bring. The Boston Police department (all municipal services) handled the emergency situation professionally. In fact the police chief actually ran the marathon (the 54 year old ran a 3:34!) and was on the job within the hour of finishing, orchestrating the various municipal services better than Arthur Fiedler could have ever hoped conducting the Boston Pops. MBC has a litany of articles designed to help others get prepared for an unscheduled emergency, be it weather or terror related. “Saving for a rainy day” is not just a cute saying.  It is common sense.

Thanks to all my coaches, mentors, and to the marathon itself for teaching me about life and business. It has made me a better husband/father/person/manager/owner.

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MBC and Path4Teens: Help Us Help Kids at Risk

For 18 years the Boston Police Runner’s Club has provided programs for kids at risk and various community outreach. These programs provide safe and nurturing environments, encouraging inner city youth to make healthy choices and provide alternatives to gangs and acts leading up to incarceration. Path4Teens is one such program.

Path4Teens provides today’s tools for tomorrow’s leaders.  Incorporating personal development and leadership development with an emphasis on community service learning projects, teens discover their gifts and talents. The most significant process is the creation of a mission statement. This becomes the foundation upon which they develop a set of life skills and begin to align their purpose and passion with a promising future. Aggregate data shows a 300% increase in the number of graduations from high school and a 49% increase in API scores from students participating in the Path4Teens program.

Once again, as Mark’s Barrel Company has done in the past, we are asking our customers to join us in supporting a worthy cause. It is easier to teach a child than it is to train an adult. Path4Teens is a program that taps the passion within teenagers by helping them to pursue their purpose. Our goal is simple, we want to raise as much money as possible before the start of the 116th Boston Marathon on April 16! In one week I will be toeing the starting line with some 30,000 men and women runner’s from our planet.  We start in Hopkinton and wind our way through seven cities on our way to downtown Boston 26.2 miles later. Boston is THE premier marathon and one of the oldest events held.  Some 2 million Bostonians will be cheering us on Patriot’s day and helping us get across the finish line.

Having a purpose drives us as adults. Do you recall when you first became aware of your purpose and the impact it had on your life? Running a marathon is just like that. I have run my share and I can tell you it is more meaningful process when I am running for something bigger than myself. In the past with your help MBC has helped build wells in Africa, serve the underprivileged in Mazatlan, Mexico, and provided a safe haven for street kids in Houston.  Sponsor me, $25/mile or more, and help change the life of a teen. Your contribution is fully tax deductible [501(c)3-75-3240064.

Changing our planet for the better is as simple as changing one person at a time. Many teens do not have a sense of their purpose. The POWER of living one’s PURPOSE that is bigger than they are is a foundation for change. Help teens develop a sense of life skills that promote healthy and productive decision-making. Help them identify the core values that drive their behavior and give them a new lease on life.  Thank you for your ongoing support of MBC Inc.!

To donate – Click Here>>> http://www.gofundme.com/irv0w

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