A very warm welcome to new and existing readers. As we see Covid-19 restrictions slowly being lifted, there is a new sense of hope and excitement building. By no means has this quarantine been easy for any of us but I for one look to maintain an upbeat nature and I encourage you to get on board.
I do find myself getting agitated when I am sat being idle but tend to knock that on the head and find my feet pretty quickly. This past week was no different. The Michigan weather continued to be up and down. One day 60 degrees and sun, the next 30’s and snow. Thankfully, I am in the running groove and have been slowly building myself up. Prior to Saturday, I only ventured out during tolerable weather. I have used colder days to rest. I didn’t fancy getting outside with the cold and rain and so focus shifted to the treadmill.
I had it in my mind that I desperately wanted to run a half marathon when I stepped onto the treadmill. It felt great to be running for the third day in a row and had already ran a 5k outside the day before. My goal was to run three days in a row and I was going to accomplish that small achievable goal. The first half of the run felt great and I was feeling good through 8.4 miles. Perhaps being unfit, I had to walk from that point to the 9-mile mark. I then ran another mile, taking me to the 10-mile mark. During that mile the machine had cut out at 99 minutes. I had an average mile pace of around 10 minutes which was steady. From 10-13.1 miles I continued to run and walk and ended up completing 13.1 miles in 2 hours, 20 mins and 44 seconds. I had completed my first half marathon distance.
Good for me you might think, and yes, I would have to agree. However, the reason for this weekly blog isn’t about making myself feel good. In fact, I almost felt the complete opposite. In my eyes, I failed to a certain extent. My target was to run a half marathon. In the back of my mind, I had failed. First off, I ran on a treadmill – a much flatter and forgiving surface. Next, I chose to avoid the cold and the rain. I only really ran to the 8.4-mile mark before having to walk. Finally, my time was perhaps less than desirable. I HAD FAILED! This story had a familiar ring to it. I was accustomed to failure and I knew it.
Was it possible that my life to date has also been shrouded with failure? The answer is yes. As a young boy I dominated local football (soccer) but never got early recognition with professional clubs. I had to endure seeing many talented players and early developers get picked into youth academies at top clubs ahead of me. My goal was to play for England. My whole world evolved around this dream. I would come home from playing a game on a weekend and interview myself in the bathtub. I would look forward to watching Match of the Day (a highlight show of the days top flight action) at 10:30pm on a Saturday night and remain hopeful that midweek European games went into extra time just so I could stay up later than my usual bed time. I endured and I learned my trade from a young age. I ate, slept and dreamt football (soccer). In addition and through many hours spent practicing and training on my own, away from organized team activity, I was presented an opportunity to try out at Yeovil Town. I succeeded and at the age of 16, I finally had my first opportunity to be a part of a professional set up. Fast forward through some of my proudest playing experiences, my goal was to play for England. Over the next 5 years, I would find myself in many situations. Years of hard work led me to the United States and afforded me the opportunity to represent Great Britain in both Thailand (2007) and Serbia (2009) in the World University Games, the third biggest sporting event in the world next to the Olympic Games and the Asian Games. Do not despair, I will be sure to fill you in on other experiences later on in these blogs.
Let’s revise the above. I compared my run to my life to date. Both stories in my mind deemed to be a failure. I do not regret, nor look back and wish I had done things differently. It was at 8.4 miles when I decided to walk. Thoughts in my head told me stop, you can’t go on, you already ran a 5k the day before, surely this will satisfy the cardio activity for one day? No! The treadmill cut out at 99 minutes, perhaps this was the opportune moment to pack it in? No! I made a decision that I would finish 13.1 miles one way or another. It took me 2 hours, 20 minutes and 44 seconds to complete my first half marathon. I was beat. As a youth player, I was overlooked on many occasions and deemed not good enough. Through good support and a self belief, I kept on pushing, I never gave up!
In conclusion, I encourage all of you to embrace failure. For me, it keeps me coming back for more, it keeps me determined. I had only run a maximum of 6 miles at any one time recently. Even if I had stopped at 8.4 I would have bettered my biggest distance in recent times by 2.4 miles. If I had not set my goal to play for England, would I have represented Great Britain and made it to the U.S? By setting goals, you instantly set yourself aside from the rest. You outweigh mediocre, you force yourself to overcome. For those of you reading, I encourage you to not only set small and achievable goals, but dare to look beyond and set goals way in advance of your current situation. You may never reach your target but you will be that much further ahead of those in a similar situation, be it at work or in life in general. It’s time to use failure as motivation. Society almost demands that if you fail, you are to become a victim, turn around and no longer pursue what it is you set out to find, fall in place and don't disturb the waters. I encourage you to toughen up, you are stronger than what society believes. In times of struggle, perhaps even in quarantine, you may be wavering or second guessing yourselves. Have faith and make use of your available resources. Take time to reevaluate your current strategy and adjust your goals according to your vision. If you can do this, you will do better than most!
become a summit up! mountaineer
We have all been asked the question.....What do you want to be when you grow up?
Some of you may already have an answer, others not so much. This in not cause for concern, however, you run the risk of time passing you by. If you do not know but are actively searching for your purpose, this is a good start.
The summit up! team is looking for two "mountaineers" each year. Candidates will apply through email by submitting a Resume, Cover Letter and Two Personal or professional references. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Applications will be reviewed (May 1st 2020 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT)
2. Successful Applicants will advance to meet interview panel
3. Chosen Mountaineer/s Will be trained and educated in the SUMMIT up! system
4. mountaineer/s will become part of the Summit up! Team for one year
5. upon completion, mountaineers will have the following tools/experience:
If you fail out at the interview, you have two clear paths to go down. You can either feel hard done by and become a victim OR you can do something about it! If you are in school, college/university, or currently employed, we have something for you too! Please check out our Climber Package by clicking the button below:
helping others in our summit up! community
Lisa Olivarez is a native Michigander and a professional artist. Hailing from Waterford, on "the other side of the state", she had a very active and outdoorsy childhood spending most of her time roaming the forest near her home, boating, biking, playing sports, reading, and drawing. These activities led Lisa to hold a deep connection with nature, which is evident in her artwork. She especially loves to paint outside directly from her surroundings, frequently with her group of painting friends from the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan. (paawm.org)
Art and sports were her twin passions in High School, and although she chose not to continue playing in college, sports remained a large part of her life. "There was such a hollow feeling when competitive sports ended for me. However, art remained and is really my constant," says Olivarez. "I'm always creating, always looking for images to paint or draw, always analyzing color and light and shadows." She contented herself with watching her children play sports. "My four kids all played soccer and I enjoyed watching them throughout the years. Actually, My daughter still plays in college. Without the initial encouragement of Dan Bulley, she may never have had that opportunity."
After stints at MSU and the College for Creative Studies, Lisa enrolled in Wayne State University in Detroit where she earned a BFA in studio art. It was a pleasant shock for her to realize that as much as she loved nature, she also loved city life. "Very energizing," she says of her time living in the Cass Corridor. "My apartment was within walking distance of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which was free at the time. I will never forget the first time I walked in. It was fantastic."
During her time in Detroit, she met a group of amazing Christian people who had purposely moved to the inner-city to, build stronger neighborhoods, mentor kids, and help families. They dedicated their lives to the people of Southwest Detroit and changed many lives as a result, hers included. Lisa moved into the neighborhood and started helping too. She still volunteers to teach art in Detroit at the ministry one of those people started 25 years ago. She loves it! "It's very important to give back", she says, "It needs to be a conscious part of everyone's life."
A lifelong learner, her artistic practices continue to grow through study with modern masters, books, and museum visits. She has also been an Artist in Residence for the National Parks Service, in Michigan and on Paros Island in Greece. Her husband, Angel, is very supportive of her endeavors and helped to build her a new studio surrounded by nature and overlooking their little lake. Lisa's art may be seen locally at Earthly Delights at Amy Zane's in downtown Kalamazoo and on her website at lisaolivarez.com
In closing, It is important to keep plugging away. Do not take the easy route and push through sticky situations. You are stronger and you do have the will to persevere! Until next week, Summit Up! You've got this.
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quote for the week
"The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying."
Roy. T Bennett
Dan Bulley has dedicated his life to youth development through his own experiences and living in football/soccer. Having played at professional clubs in England and been on 4 continents, Dan has settled in the U.S and is currently the owner of DBSS (Dan Bulley Soccer School). He carries a bachelors degree in sociology and a masters degree in coaching sports performance. Dan created Summit Up! to motivate and inspire both youth and adults to maximize their potential and to spark a strength of mind when the going gets tough. "The journey to your summit has only just began." Summit Up!