Tony Hawk 900

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing at age 48, but what I do know is that I won’t be doing this:

At age 31, Tony Hawk pulled off his first 900. As the skateboarding legend’s career has evolved, I can’t help but admire his skill, drive, and perseverance.

It is unlikely that 17 years ago Hawk said “at age 48 I want to be able to do a 900.” But at some point recently he had the thought, “hey, do you think I can still do this?” In my profession I often find myself challenging clients to ask themselves the same question: Hey, do you think I can still do this? I look at my clients ten, twenty, even thirty years into their future. As their trainer I’m challenging them to have measurements in their lives so they can keep their fitness. For example, every year make sure you can do three sets of ten push ups. Or another: always be able to get off the floor using zero or one hand.

Whether a professional athlete’s 900 or an aging adult’s level of fitness, we all need to ask ourselves where we want to be next year, in four years, in 12. Where do we want to be and what will it take to get us there. What did you think about all of Hawk’s falls in the video? I was expecting a couple but not that many! At one point when he swears after a huge fall. Later he takes an extended break between runs. Very quickly we see how difficult this challenge was, how bad he wanted it, and how determined he was to keep picking himself off the half pipe, getting back on the board, and trying again.

Then the video goes to slow motion. And all of the hard work pays off. I won’t be doing a 900 when I’m 48. But I can tell you I have my goals. Do you?


What Do You Think About Race Relations?

I was wrong about Shaun King. About two years ago he was tweeting a lot about race relations and getting very vocal in his belief that racism is not only still a thing but it’s a thing that’s actually getting worse. Mr. Middle Class White Guy (that would be me) considers himself very sympathetic to all races. I know racism exists, I hear comments from certain family and friends, but I didn’t want to hear that things are worse in 2014 than they were in decades past. This week I came across a small piece of evidence that I was correct in feeling race relations were getting better – for the last 14 years, most adults thought race relations are “generally good.” Then Michael Brown was killed. Always the optimist, American had a glimmer of hope and said “we can rise above this” (notice the up-tick); then Freddie Gray was killed. Between those “national” stories Tony Robinson was killed right here in Madison, Wisconsin. Shaun King was right: we have a problem.

Race Relations

Race Relations (source: LA Times)

Why am I writing this today? Because in the last 72 hours, I had two overt and blatant experiences with racism. Interestingly both were in the context of a white woman dating a black man. The first instance bothered me but because of the source didn’t necessarily surprise me. The second really surprised me and it came with an exclamation point when I looked to see a black man within an earshot of this person’s comment. Thankfully before I noticed the black man I had already asked this person “why does [his skin color] matter?”

Two run-ins with racism and then this article telling me that racism is getting worse?! We need to talk about this. We need to help our kids understand racism and fight against any form of it. I have given up on the older generations. By that I mean that I will speak my mind (as I did questioning a racist comment) but I won’t waste my energy trying to convince a racist that they are wrong and are hurting society. Instead I’ll spend my time helping my kids appreciate all people, regardless of their race.

Have you had blatant experiences with racism? Do you talk about it with your kids or in your family?


NBC Strong: Favorite Moment

My new favorite show has been Strong on NBC. The premise is that ten out-of-shape ladies are paired with ten of the top personal trainers in the country. Each episode has two competitions that determine which two teams go to the Elimination Tower; the loser goes home. Todd Durkin is one of the trainers, he’s part of Team Yellow with Brittany. Todd is pretty inspiring. Last December I was in San Diego with Katie on a business trip. I got to visit Fitness Quest 10, Todd’s gym (one of the top 10 gyms in the country). We worked out together and then I got to spend about 30 minutes in his office chatting about the industry and some business ideas I have. I’m very grateful for even a short time from a very busy and successful man.

My absolute favorite moment of Strong thus far happened in episode seven. Let me set it up for you. Todd and Brittney are Team Yellow. But what I haven’t told you is that both of these competitors were on other teams but were eliminated (by team Grey – remember this for later). The show had a twist. They had a competition to let eliminated trainers and trainees earn a spot back on the show. Todd and Brittany won, and they are the new Team Yellow.Durkin

In last week’s medallion challenge, Team Yellow lost and were forced to go to the Elimination Tower. The winners of the medallion challenge chose the Grey Team to go to the Tower because they hadn’t been to (the current version of) the tower. Remember the Grey team? That’s right – they had already sent Todd and Brittany home once. Could they do it a third time?

At the Elimination Tower, the Grey team went first. Wow! They set a new record of 3:24. Nicole from the Purple team says “unless Todd pulls anohter crazy stunt,” Grey team is moving on.”

Spoiler: Todd pulled another crazy stunt.

He and Brittany finished the Tower in 3:20 and the celebration began. What a win! I was shocked because they were behind by 11 seconds the entire run. Then came the moment. Team Yellow made it’s way off the tower and were standing next to the Grey team as Gabby had to say goodbye. It starts at 38:10 if you want to watch. She asked Grey team how they’re feeling and Wes, the trainer said, “We left it all out there and Todd…”. Pause. Pause. Wes is crying. He can’t finish his sentence. He collects himself. “Todd, you’re an inspiration, dude.”


A grown man fighting back tears, blown away by the inspiration of another man. I’m trying to do it justice but do yourself a favor and watch the segment.

That’s why I love sports.


teaching technology

For the past two years I developed a plant health care program at H&H Arborists. It has a certain level of complexity and organization to it (what good programs don’t!). Additionally it increases our efficiency while minimizing mistakes in the field. This week I trained a co-worker on my workflow for the plant health care program. Josh picked it up right away and was not only eager to learn but also went looking for ways to improve it. He immediately recognized why I used apps and the workflows that I did. Earlier this week I presented a new social media strategy at Pinnacle Health + Fitness. It was easy for me, was well received, and we’re seeing progress already. Yesterday one manager had already drafted his first few blog posts. This morning the owner took steps to implement his department into the strategy. 

I love coaching. I’ve become the resident expert in both of these situations and it’s easy to apply my skills and ideas to improve our business. Technology is often the common thread in my workflows. I spend a lot of time in tech and when I can apply it to business, it hardly feels like work. I’m constantly asking the question “how can we do this most efficiently.” With the plant health care, I had to think ahead to when I wouldn’t be with the company anymore. Could I put together a system that an average non-tech person could take it over? Could I create a system that minimized mistakes even with multiple employees involved? Could I create a system that would scale from $40,000 in sales or $400,000 in sales? 

Each time I build a product, strategy or even a simple workflow I gain experience for the next project that will end up on my desk. Sometimes I have to sacrifice time on the front end just to gain experience to get the project out the door. I learn from what went well and what could improve so that I’m more versatile when the next problem presents itself.


30 for Sam (Days 8,9,10 of 30)

I need to remind myself that the challenge was to do something physical for 30-whatever. Mine was run 30 days straight, and I added the blog reading and reflection. I will keep it going but I fell off the later part this weekend. I still got the miles in Prune which I’ll record today. But reading and reflecting, I’m behind. 

January 22, 2016


2 miles


God, help us celebrate small victories. Last Friday I started this little journey and I appreciate the reflection. Help Sam and Jenny celebrate the small victories, the small battles so that they can win the war. 

January 23, 2016


2 miles


God, the weather today was beautiful and it makes me think of those spring runs. The warmer air, the memories of the seasons bring joy to my heart. I pray that little victories and small blessings from you will spur me on to better runs and spur Sam on to continue his fight and muster up perseverance every single day. 

January 24, 2016


2 miles


God, it’s time to move past the first season of this challenge. The routine has worked, I’ve ran every day but 2 miles isn’t enough any more. Give us all strength to see when we need to take our efforts to the next level. Give us the vision and ability to push our limits grow stronger each season. 


30 for Sam (day 7 of 30)

Day 7 of 30
As I was saying yesterday, people in this world are hurting. One of the friends I mentioned was saying he drives past houses on his way home and knows each one has a story and probably a struggle; maybe others know about it, but most likely not to the full extent. I said to my friend that I’m going to be as active as possible in his and the other situations. In the past I would’ve said I’d pray, but the reality is if I prayed once it was quick and less sincere than I’d like to admit, and there wouldn’t be much (if any) follow up. Not anymore. 

Katie and I watched a cheesy movie on New Year’s Eve: War Room. One of the main characters is an old Christian lady who inverted a closet into a prayer room where she can go to battle with the Lord, fighting the evil in this world. Lots of cheesy parts to the movie but that approach to prayer really struck a nerve with me. 

I told my friend that I would pray for him and that he would be included in my prayer journal. While I am all digital and as paperless as I can be, I will always keep a notebook close. The front part is for day-to-day thoughts and planning; the back is for my prayers. I’ve never kept a prayer journal but from all the success stories I’ve heard, the time is now to get mine established. Sam’s in there. So are the other two friends. 


2+ miles through Oregon. Weather felt great, didn’t want to stop but today (Thursday) was my Friday since I have the kids most of the tomorrow. 

from the blog

Nice strangers (who end up sending food?!) are the best. 

YAY for good people with kind hearts spreading the love.


God, strengthen and use me to encourage my friends when they need me. Keep me humble so as to be used by You and for You, not of my own efforts and abilities but through the Spirit inside me.


30 for Sam (Day 6 of 30)

Day 6 of 30

My challenge to run for 30 days straight is becoming just that, a challenge. I had the kids longer than usual today and I hadn’t planned well, but I made it work. Out on my run, I appreciate the few minutes I have to hunk about Sam and his battle. If not for #30forSam I would not be thinking about him each day; that’s just reality. In addition to Sam’s story, I had two other friends with very difficult situations share their story with me; literally both were heart-wrenching. People in this world are hurting. 

Tomorrow I’m going to write a little more about my approach this year to these stories. Thanks for reading. I encourage you to pray with me. And let me know if you want to do a 2-mile run with me sometime.


2 miles up and down Thomson lane while kids do homework and chores (might be on to something here…)

from the blog

Jenny has great perspective and wisdom in this post from 1/3/16:

I’ve also been trying to teach myself that this cancer and GVH thing doesn’t follow calendar years, or take breaks for Christmas, or ease up when winter break ends and it’s time to go back to work. It just is. Day by day, little by little, it will get easier but progress takes time. I haven’t quite mastered this serene peace of mind yet, but I am working on it and that will have to be good enough


God, give us our daily bread. That which we need to make it through our day, give us that. All of this is from you, we take nothing of it with us when we leave this earth. You are the provider off all good things and I find strength in You. 


30 for Sam (day 5 of 30)

I made a mistake. I heard part of Sam’s story, that he has Acute Myeloid Leukemia and that he won’t be able to fulfill his tradition of cross-country skiing his age in kilometers this year. He turned 30 on January 15th (last Friday), so his wife Jenny put together a #30forSam challenge. She asked friends and family to do 30 of “something” since Sam couldn’t be outside to continue his tradition. I was hooked.

I decided to do 30 days of running, learn more about his story, and then pray for his situation. The problem is I like to learn linearly, in order; I don’t like to skip ahead. I started back in June of 2015 and I was moving along when Katie (my wife) brought to my attention that other serious health issues are happening and that my blog posts are a little untimely. I made a mistake. Well intentioned, but I didn’t know the whole story.

A few things have happened since my post yesterday. Katie brought my attention to this and so I read ahead, some of the blog posts from this month. This lead me to a post about all the other friends and famly who participated in #30forSam – what a turnout!

Today I just want to say sorry for not knowing more of the story before writing this series of blog posts. I also want to point to all the great work of the afore mentioned #30forSam people – this list blew me away. Congrats to Sam and Jenny for the wonderful community of people you have cheering you on, supporting you in so many ways.

My posts pivot from here, but my commitment is in tact.


Indoor run again during a busy day at work, 2+miles on the Curve, this after a big 50-minute interval workout.

from the blog

Community: friends who spend their own precious time to support a friend, totally inspiring #30forSam participants.




















God, thank you for each person who participated in the 30-of-something challenge. What a turnout, what a story, what an inspiration. Friends and family are special. We need to be well-connected to these people in the good times so that we can walk step for step together during the difficult times.


30 for Sam (Day 4 of 30)

Day 4 of 30
Today I was back at work and so I was able to do my run on the Curve machine in more normal running conditions. Long day at work (writing this after 10pm) means short blog post. 


2+ miles on the curve

from the blog

I read many different parts of the blog today and realized I need to digest more Sam’s story. I was trying to catch up in chronological order and pull my readers with me; I need to fast forward and even pivot my narrative. I’m thankful for Sam and Jenny’s story. 


God, use our stories to tell Your story. 


30 for Sam (day 3 of 30)

Day 3 of 30

Five days into Sam’s 7-day chemo drip last June, his spirits were down. But he and Jenny needed to keep their heads down and keep going. Sam needed three blood transfusions that day, so they started connecting the dots. People were asking how they could help so they put a link at the bottom of the post to give blood.

I wonder if anyone did.

Jenny asked for something else – she asked for pictures to be posted on Facebook, “tag Sam.” In the process, she said, “now I’m really asking a lot.” I don’t know Jenny or her writing, but as I read the post today she seems sincere. “I’m asking a lot, for you guys who are mostly in really good health to donate blood (easy, one hour?) and post pics on Facebook (easier, 20 seconds?). It’s the least we could do as we support Sam from afar.
Today’s high temperature in Oregon, WI was about 3 degrees. The wind chill was south of 10 below zero all day. In my mind, running two miles was the least I could do to support Sam from afar.


2.0 miles to Rome Corners middle school

from the blog

Sam, you’re a gamer!

Last night we celebrated solstice out on the 4th floor patio and played a game of HORSE with the deflated basketball out there. You’ll all be amused to know that he still beat me even though his left arm was hooked up to all his IVs the whole time.


God, keep a competitive spirit in Sam. I don’t know the struggle of chemo but I imagine the physical and the mental aspects are a scary one-two punch. Give Sam the strength to fight.

30 for Sam (day 3 of 30) from Hans Schiefelbein on Vimeo.

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