Greetings From…

Today I am proud to have released new music for the first time in years that speaks volumes of where my heart and mind are at. These songs are a collection of nostalgic feelings with the one off hokey joke here or there. I’ve attempted to take it back and represent myself, once again, with the sound that taught me what loving music was all about. The art designed by a great buddy of mine, Adam Cutrone, is an homage to a place that put me on the map not just a kid with a dream, but a lost boy with a home. Though hesitant, I’m learning to admit that my days in this place and time are likely numbered, but out here, in Neverland, I’ll continue referencing these happy thoughts as a means to fly high and continue on knowing that home is there as I left it and will always be.

Listen to the music

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It’s been some time

I bailed on wordpress for a while to cheat with squarespace. Turns out I don’t like paying $10/mo for something I can’t even stay consistent with.

I was just home in New Jersey for 2 weeks. Ran a couple 5k’s. Spent quality time with friends and family. Since I’ve gotten back I’ve had the urge to try some new stuff. Getting over a calf strain, but getting back on the trails tonight. Here’s to new direction.

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Glorious winter life

I’m just go ahead and interrupt your current feed of nonsense (Blink 182 break up/Bust of an east coast winter storm) to mention something right quick.

I’m not bragging. I’m not talking training. I’m not going any further than just straight up confessing that I’ve been in Colorado for 9 months. The amount of time in which I could have gotten prego and popped one out.

Over the last two days, I had possibly the most enjoyable moments I’ve had since moving to Colorado.

70+ degrees in January. Runs in shorts and teeshirts. New places with good friends and close friends visiting from home. Long overdue and strictly desired time with the girlfriend in the Colorado sun (she glows when the sun is strong). Photos of the sun illuminating my life. Miles on miles on my legs, heart and mind. The run group keeping me grinding and the idea that going back to work tomorrow after my best two days in this state is actually pleasurable. I get to regroup with the folks that, these days, are likely to know me best, because when I’ve been gone for more than a lunch break they know to ask me what I’ve been up to… Not in the casual sense, but because they know I may not be an artist, but I’ll surely do the best I can to, with words, paint only the picture most deserving to tell the story of just what I’ve laid my eyes on over the last couple days. They know I’m not here because I have to be but because I’ve done everything possible in my life to be sure this is where I’d end up.

I’ve said it a million times, and I’m cruising toward my billionth…

With all my heart, I love where I live. There is just so much desire here… So much LIFE. I can only wish you all get to feel something like this at some point. This is a photo I took from a run yesterday through one of the most brilliant landscapes I’ve been blessed to view locally yet.

IMG_4196As if I don’t stress it enough: get outside and see what this planet has to offer. There is FAR too much to miss. A sunset. A sunrise. A crashing wave or a snow capped mountain. Maybe just the neighborhood pup trotting by on it’s first walk out doors or the fawn on it’s first chance to graze on your local trail. Get outdoors and understand what it’s about.

It’s life enriching.

Just live the life you’re looking for.

i took today for granted. i woke up and ran with a good buddy at a park i don’t get to often. the effort was fun. we talked about work, running, life, inspiration and passion.

i headed down to soopers and grocery shopped in my muddy running tights.

i headed home and got productive. cooked, cleaned and laundered.

i prepped myself mentally and physically for some more miles and then went to share just a short, but long, four and a half miles with some of the most reliable people you could ask for in life when it comes to a “lift me up”…

the climb was awesome, the snow was glorious; it fueled me with this feeling of invulnerability. nothing was stopping me, but anyone could join.

something about today felt like such an average day, but when i looked back at the end, i realized how much it wasn’t, and how unordinary my life actually is. i work, like every one (or mostly everyone) and i focus my time, otherwise, on complete and total quality of living. the reason today felt so standard was because i refuse to live by any OTHER standard than the one that focuses on one very specific detail: QUALITY OF LIFE.

put yourself in the place you need to be to do, every day, just the things you care to.

live simple and prosper.

Proudest moments, you ask?

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My journal asks me questions; I typically ignore them. Tonight’s question was, “What is your proudest moment?”

I couldn’t resist…

Being I don’t have a picture of me turning back a half mile into the race – gasping at the wall of my own teammates less than 20 meters behind me, knowing Kevin was only 100 ahead – I figured, this one works. A display of what the day’s… YEAR’S… HIGH SCHOOL CAREER’S worth of work had accomplished. Our (school’s) first ever Central New Jersey Group II Championship. We worked hard and performed.

I can think of at least 100 other moments in life I could consider a particularly ‘proud’ instance. But this one stands out. This one was lived with others that understood what kind of work it took the rest of us to get there.

Running has so many meanings to me.

This here, though a couple years into the journey, was still the beginning. To this day, a very big reason I still do it…

A very big reason I still love it.

Enduring the year (perhaps the toughest yet)

364 days ago, I avoided making a New Years resolution and speaking of all the things I’d hope to accomplish in the coming year. Progress was a must and assumed. Instead, I made a statement. The statement was that:

“In 2014, I will endure…”

This past year I lost my amazing and beloved Sadie. The family member of a pup that shared with me, the most glorious years of my life.

I struggled internally with career decisions.

I picked up my things and moved 1,800 miles away from home and all the things and people that mean the world to me.

I watched an incredibly close friend and brother lose a mother that meant more to her family than most people could ever understand. Bless the Gentile family. Some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of calling family.

I got sick to the point I’d lay in bed at night and wonder if “this is it”…

I recovered and showed up at the start line of my first marathon through the magical desert trails of Moab.

I’ve learned to run for hours through the rocky, brilliant trails of Golden, Colorado and let my mind be so free that the only thing to matter is that the earth is still beneath me and my heart is still beating.

I’ve come to terms with the possibility that depression may not be such a far off possibility in my life. Only mentioning it for the first time publicly right now, I vow to continue doing what I do every day, exactly as I want it. This is the life I’ve chosen and it’s the one that makes me happiest. Though it has its hardships, living the life I do makes me feel I’ve got my purpose here that only continues to grow with each and every step of the way.

In 2014, I’m pretty sure I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what life is REALLY about. This coming year, I’ll turn 30. I am nothing short of dead serious when I say I am going to welcome the next decade of my life with a bigger bang and a more incredible explosion than I would have ever planned before.

This past year, I surely did ‘endure’… But honestly I’ve a sort of interesting feeling the ‘enduring’ has just begun.

Happy New Year. May it be healthy and prosperous and spent doing all the things you love the most.

Milestones on the trail

It’s been some time. Figured I was due for a longer winded check in. A social group I follow on Instagram called “Endurance Junkies” posted the thought provoker: “Who raced this weekend, or who had a great work out?! Post in the comments! Let’s hear it!” … Kinda gave me the moment, laying in bed to look back at this past week or more (that I’ve been telling everyone has been my biggest to date) and realize how big it actually was for me. My response in their comments were as follows:

Ran an 8 mile portion of Beaver Brook here in Golden on Saturday morning. Probably some of the most technical, no fault stuff I’ve been on in the immediate area. Great views, plenty of vertical gain, even took a nice spill to add to the story book. Was a great run with some great company; just what I’ve learned living in areas like this of Colorado is all about. This run capped off my biggest trail week to date since moving here in May. It looked something like: 8 days, 55 miles, 2 sunrises, 3 headlamp runs, 1 trip & fall, a collection of new photos, learning experiences that couldn’t be replaced, emotional moments only the trail could provide, my first in person coyote family sighting, and just shy of 10k ft of vertical gain. All while maintaining a 40+ hour work week and a happy, healthy relationship. This land is giving; there’s no place I’d rather be.

During this week, I learned other things like: I can actually listen to music while I run. It fuels me and fills my soul energy which, for me, translates to more energy return on the trail. I moved in a way like I haven’t before with some moving music in my ears. I’ve learned even further to define the difference between what I am doing now and “TRAINING” as I use to… Theoretically, is what I’m doing TRAINING? Of course it is, by definition: the acquisition of knowledgeskills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. But to me, what training use to consist of was repetition. Circles on a track. Watches and times and miniature goals that needed to be calculated and succeeded in order to obtain the believe a specific end goal can be met. Technically speaking, is that what I am doing now? sure, if you must see it that way. However, through my eyes, this life has become something else. These goals have new meaning. Being on the mountain and on the trail. Being part of the wild as it is has brought me to a newer level of understanding as to what training really actually is. While being out there my objective has become blending with my surroundings. Being part of what’s around me. Understanding that I am a guest in this outrageous land I’m only just beginning to understand. I’m learning that by becoming emotionally tied with the ground and the land, by connecting with the wildlife, plant life and all other forms that inhabit this place, metaphysical, spiritual or what have you, I can truly learn and feel what it takes to become part of it. To move through it as if I belong in it. It’s no longer about time or, or distance, it’s simply just about being. By learning to be there and opening myself up, heart, body and mind, I am gaining a connection that will take me down a long, long metaphorical trail in this life time. I am elated to be seeing this the way I’ve begun to and I can only imagine how much more it may end up teaching me throughout this long incredible journey.IMG_2075

Here we go again!

The adventures of Mikey Mo(ab) continue. Below is a photo of last night’s celebration with a Moab Brewery Johnny’s IPA and some chinese food. The registration is final. Mom and Dad made Christmas come early this year with the best gift they’ve ever gotten me. On February 14th, 2015, the journey will take me back to the technical, slick rock, sandy desert trails of Moab where I will run 34 miles in the Red Hot 55k.

I’m beside myself excited and can’t wait for the challenge. But now for the bigger challenge, braving these snowy winter trail conditions and sub normal temps here in Golden!!

Here goes another. CHEERS TO TRAILS!

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Some life lessons from a rocky 26.2

Since I crossed that finish line on Saturday afternoon, my mind has been roaring, cluttered with memories of the race, specific instances, and just the overall feeling of what it was like. Reading different personal accounts of friends and acquaintances that were out there that day I can’t help but notice how for some, it was just another run in the desert and others, an eye opening, life changing experience.

In the last few months I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel as though I know a whole lot more about what’s going on inside this head than I did before. I feel content for the first time in a while with what I’ve accomplished and where I am at, but I think one of my biggest lessons is, don’t ride that wave for too long. Use that momentum to ride right into the next big lesson of life.

A couple things I learned by being a part of this incredible run through what some could argue is the most incredible, surreal and unconventionally beautiful places in our country, if not the world are that running 26 miles is something the human body can most definitely do and that it has nothing to do with putting your mind to it as much as it does taking your mind off of it. In certain instances on Saturday, as I scaled slick rock, jumped or hang dropped sometimes heights of 4-6 feet, just to return to my feet and scope the 500-1,000 foot drop just a mere 3 feet away from me and proceed back in stride as if this were all just a standard occurrence, I felt extremely alive. There were moments after the halfway mark I wasn’t even concerned with what the rest of the day had in store because I was too wrapped up in where my next 20 steps were going to send me. It’s not about what’s around the corner, it’s about living the moment and making each and every step count. If you can’t make the best of what’s right in front of you, there’s the daunting idea that “around the corner” may never come. At mile 14, I looked up and what I saw could have broken the spirit of a god. A 1.5+ mile trek straight up a canyon wall gaining a total of something like 1-1.5k vertical feet. Some people eat this kind of trek for breakfast. Others, like myself can count the amount of instances they’ve done something like it on one hand. It wasn’t so much about the task and what kind of physical effort it would take, practically crawling at times, to summit the top of this beastly desert structure as much as it was about the sun boiling down on each of our already saddened bodies. The red rock, brightly blasting its boiling auburn blaze. And of course the stringy conga line of willfully motivated individuals, one by one, inching their way to the top. A reminder that there was no other choice. The only way is UP. Like a mound of ants just doing what they know to do, carrying forward. Looking off the edge, at times, to the canyon floor just being reminded where I’m at and what exactly is happening at the moment. In life, when you truly want something, there most definitely is an amount of effort you can put in to achieve it. Never settle for less than the quality of life you’d expected or deserve.

That day 489 people crossed the finish line. I was the 89th person to do so. Something like 200 or so that did not make it. We all had our moments out there, both personal and shared, horrifying and awakening. Humbled and empowered, I will be setting my sights forward, carrying the momentum of this milestone straight on to the next moment in life when I can open my eyes, look around me and understand just why it is I’m here.

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” – Steve Jobs

-Steve Jobs

That autumn breeze

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Every year, around this time, I put this here. September rolls in and blows a familiar breeze through that unlocks some type of true magic. It becomes inevitable to notice, cross country season has arrived. Cool, quiet mornings, warm, sunny days and of course, brisk, leaf scented autumn nights.

This picture represents me during a time that I strive to return to physically, mentally and spiritually – every year. In this photo, I’m painstruck, in my final steps, ready to collapse with all I had. I felt completely unstoppable. Maybe not the best, or fastest out there. Maybe I didn’t break the tape at the finish line or even be the first from my team to arrive, but there was nothing out there that day that I felt could ever stop me from achieving everything I wanted.

Looking back now, it doesn’t matter so much that we won our school’s first ever central New Jersey State title that day – what matters is how we did it… Together, as a team, with all the heart and soul we had, like nothing else in the world mattered. We put in the work as a team and crossed that finish line as a team. This photo serves me as a reminder of what we can achieve when we work together and truly believe in an end goal and not just the incredible things you can accomplish as a whole, but how whole it will make you feel within yourself.

Yes, it’s cross country season again and you better believe I’m spending as much time out there as my life and body will allow. Perhaps not with the same guys and same team, but as I make new friends and teammates, creating new memories in these new wild places I get to experience.

It’s days like the one in this photo that fuel me and remind me of all that’s possible every single day…

…not just in running, but in life.