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Who Am I? I Am Exercise. - How To Push Yourself Harder in Exercise | Crank101

Who Am I? I Am Exercise.

Running on the beach, Waimanolo, Oahu, Hawaii.
Running in Waimanolo, on the Northeast side of Oahu, Hawaii. Years ago…

Coming up on 49 years young and wondering a lot about something lately. I’ve done many things in my life. I’ve held many jobs and made money so many different ways. I’m on the cusp of either beginning something entirely new, or blowing something up – some current project I’m already doing.

So I’m trying to find my CORE passion. Trying to get a grip on what that is. I like a lot of things, but what is being hammered into my head by some people I look up to online is that in order to find the highest happiness I have to work on something that I love. I have to be working on something anyway to make money, so it should be something that goes along with what I love, and really, WHO I AM.

So the question has been there for a couple of months. Who Am I?

I thought about all the things I like and love to do. Here are some:

  • trail running
  • step climbing
  • biking trails
  • biking roads
  • swimming
  • beach volleyball
  • fishing
  • kayaking
  • herping (looking for reptiles and amphibians)
  • writing
  • videos at my YouTube channel
  • spending time with my daughter
  • thinking, philosophizing
  • helping people overcome problems in their lives
  • helping people overcome business problems
  • helping people with meditation
  • riding the motorbike
  • taking photos and videos
  • reading well-done articles about sports, snakes, entrepreneurship
  • being a positive influence in my daughter’s life
  • being a positive influence in anyone’s life

I think that’s about it for the major things I like. Now, Who Am I? I’m all that. But, can it be distilled down into one thing? Not really. Can it be distilled down into one focus where I could give most of my time and energy for work so I can make a living for the next twenty years or so?

The other day it hit me. I AM Exercise.

That is what I am at heart. I was 7 years old when my mother took me to my first soccer practice and I joined the team. I didn’t stop playing for 11 years. It was a great way to grow up. Running around, sprinting, jogging, practicing… summer soccer camps. I loved all of it. I found that I was rather fast. I found that I could push myself beyond other kids when we were the most tired at practice. I found that I was good at running up hills.

After high school and in the Air Force on Oahu, I worked out to gain mass. I was 155 lbs. and 5′ 11″. I figured if I got bigger, I’d feel even better about myself. I stopped running and worked out with weights to get bigger. At 190 lbs. I compressed a vertebrae in my spine and then got an inguinal hernia to top it off. I stopped lifting. After a few months I was able to play racquetball. I played it like a fiend and became one of the top 5 guys on the base for it within a couple of months.

Once out of the Air Force I took up running. I ran around Ala Moana Park in Waikiki every evening for a few miles. I loved running again.

Then I moved to New York City. I promptly bought a Cannondale road bike (1988) and rode around Central Park often. I commuted to my job in Manhattan from Queens by bike. I had a blast on the bike. I loved riding the bike as much as running.

Then I moved back to my hometown in Pennsylvania to save money for going to college in Florida. I ran a lot. More than I ever have. I ran six miles a day or so and rode the bike a few times a week as well. I started entering bike races, running races, biathlons, and having a blast. I loved to train. I loved to push myself.

I moved to Miami and kept up the running and biking, and added swimming. I was doing 1/2 to a mile in the pool in fast intervals every few days as well as training on the bike and running. I was doing triathlons, biathlons, running races, and bike races. I was in the shape of my life. I probably should have attempted to go ‘pro’ at this time, but felt too scared about how I was going to support myself.

I moved to Tampa and kept up biking and a little running. Swimming stopped. I didn’t race any more. I was happy just exercising for fun. I started beach volleyball and loved it – and made that my passion for a few years (6?). During that same time I also biked a lot with my mountain bike on the road and on the trails. Funny, I never considered running the trails, the bike was so much fun.

In 2002 I moved back to Hawaii. I ran a lot. I biked even more. I ran with the Hash House Harriers. I ran on my own. I ran on the trails for the first time in my life. I loved it!

In 2004 I moved to Thailand. I ran a bit. Then I biked. Then I ran some more. Then I found step climbing. Step climbing fit me well because I love to climb hills. I have strong quads and calves. I love to push myself. It’s like the perfect exercise for me. At least it was for a while. I’ve climbed 1,256 steps over 1,400 times now here in my current hometown. It’s a 280 meter vertical elevation gain. It’s a blast.

Then lately, I found trail running. It is similar to step climbing because I can climb a steep hill to the peak of a small (500m elevation) mountain, but it’s on a trail. I’m surrounded not by sweaty people asking me “are we there yet?” I’m surrounded by wildlife of all sorts. It’s not as simple as stairclimbing. It’s very challenging technically and aerobically (anaerobically too!).

I probably love trail running more than anything I’ve ever done physically because it encompasses so much. I can push myself so many different ways. Besides the physical exertion and pushing harder in intensity and over a longer duration, there is also a need to restrict my diet so I don’t needlessly carry extra weight up the mountains. It’s a very challenging and rewarding activity. Lifestyle.

And this morning as I’m sitting on my chair at the computer, door open to the balcony outside, birds chirping and a tropical rainshower falling…


I’m exercise. I’m fitness. I’m pushing myself.

That’s who I am. That is what I am. That’s what I’ve been since 7 years old when mom took me to meet the soccer team.

That’s what I’ve consistently been more than anything. Many factors in my life have changed over the years. So many. What hasn’t changed is that I’ve kept pushing myself physically over all these years. Actually, when I think about it, mentally I’ve also pushed myself very hard over my adult years.

So now that I know who I am, HOW do I turn that into a career where I can indulge my passion, be what I am, and make enough money to feed my family and pay the bills?

That’s the next phase of this introspection!

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