Friday, April 10, 2015

SEEDS

"When we’re standing at the fork in the road, what’s important to grasp is that the road doesn’t matter. Whether the one less traveled or the one well-trodden, there’s no way to really know what kind of journey we’re choosing. Since we’ll never be able to walk that second road and know where it led, we may as well enjoy the one we’re on."  
-James Cartwright, Kinfolk.com   

SEEDS

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Inspiration. I've probably heard it some where before (because it sounds a little too familiar.. or true) but I like to think, "A life without inspiration is not much of a life." Boom, quote it. Live it.

I seem to come across little nuggets from random things I read on the web or hear from a coworker as I'm filling up my water bottle. Maybe it's because my mind is subconsciously seeking inspiration from everyday occurrences. These excerpts need to be shared. So, I'm starting a series called, SEEDS.
I want to plant these, and I hope it grows on you.

"Elegance in objects is everybody’s right, and it shouldn’t cost more than ugliness."   
-MOMA's Paola Antonelli


…and more

This about sums up my last post.
#bebetter #passion  


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More

Broken Again –Pharoahe Monch

It's easy to get complacent. I get it. We rest on our laurels. We get lazy. We're content.

But, can't we all be better? Don't we all want to be better?

Of course. (I hope)

I could really prove that I should be at Nike. I could train better to get faster for my next race. I could watch a few TED talks instead of my favorite show one night here and there. I could reject a free donut at work. I could…  

We say we're young, we say there's time, we say we don't have time, we say we don't have money, we say… 

AJ said "don't talk about it, be about it" or as quoted on our Team Cancer Sucks kits "it's by acts and not ideas that people live." He was all that. He lived a life as full as any one strong (body and mind) individual could, or more than any other person twice his age. And he was only 30.  And he did it all with an attitude that inspired anyone who engaged with him. He won at life.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Open up

I was at church this past Sunday (New Life Church in Vacaville). It's a good church–unpretentious, easy to understand relevant teachings, and they have refreshments :) Although, it's not perfect. But that's understandable. Each person has their opinion and depending how you're feeling at the moment, the songs and sermons will have its respective effect. As they say, to each their own. But… (see last paragraph)

A lot of "life" has happened recently–AJ's passing, relationship conflicts, meeting new friends, etc. As I walked in to the church, I had expectations or hopes that I'd hear some specific message through the opening songs to lift me up. You know, the usual "you are stronger through Me" or "your wishes will be granted if you believe…" I don't remember what the songs were about anymore, but I'm sure it had a positive tone in that vain. But all the while standing with everyone else, feeling the atmosphere of love, inspiration, community… it was just that! I realized at that moment, even before hearing what Pastor Jon had to say, that it wasn't so black or white; that I didn't have to just bank on hearing the "right" words at the "right" moment in order to feel like I got something out of my church experience. It's also the environment and the people I surround myself with that makes the difference in how well I can live my life. It's nothing life changing, but just as tremendous an inspiration to lift oneself up.

Then Pastor Jon started with his sermon. Funny enough, the theme he started out with was something about going to church, and what they do at New Life to benefit the church-goers, such as the baptisms, the refreshments, the community service, and so on. It's like he elaborated more on what was processing in my mind about just being there to experience the love and inspiration. It looks like after all that there was a message for me, right?

Upon leaving church, I was content. And I was left with only one more thought, that others would capitalize on opportunities, big or small, to be uplifted and inspired. And really, does it matter if you're "officially" a part of that religion, that club, or that group when the end-result is all the same? (the obvious answer is no)

"don't talk about it, be about it." –AJ
"i would do anything for love…" –Meatloaf


Thursday, March 5, 2015

AJ

…. my emotions have gone haywire. I can't pick a feeling….

I joined Team in Training (TNT), SF in 2012 to train for my first triathlon, in honor of my mom who passed away several months earlier from fucking cancer. I met so many others through this who understood where I was coming from, and consequently helped me raise my spirits.

One of those people was this guy named AJ Jabonero, one of the mentors. At first sighting, I didn't meet him. I'm kind of shy so I would just see him at all our training sessions and would just acknowledge his attractive humor and endurance in the sport from a distance. I thought, "AJ huh.. seems fun, everybody seems to gravitate towards him… I hope I get to meet him soon.".. "hm, filipino too.. nice!"

He was one of the faster people on our team, he had the sweetest gear, and the coolest style–not afraid to don the loudest colors. I loved it. I wanted to be friends with this guy! Seriously, at Wildflower 2012 training weekend, I remember just observing his side of the campground with his cool bike, cool tent, and all the fun people hanging around his area thinking, I wish I could hang out there too. (you know, don't get me wrong, I easily could have. I was just too shy, or maybe intimidated? by his coolness and I thought I wasn't cool enough? lol) I don't remember the exact moment of when we formally met, probably months after the season started, but I believe he came up to me (finally) and complimented me on my bike (which wasn't that nice, but it looked nice haha). And that's when he said, "it's not about how fast you are, it's about how good you look out there!" Laughter ensued, and that was the start of a common bond.

As time went on, we'd chat more… about gear, about our background, racing, our relationships, what motivates us… The obvious reason(s) for what motivated him was Izzy and his father. Ultimately, to be a better human being, training and racing to strengthen his body, his mind, and his family/friends (I categorize this in my book as Inspiration). Both stricken with cancer, Izzy the fortunate one to still live and tell about it. She was still a baby then. Now, she's growing to be this charming little lady that wins the hearts of every one she meets, just like her dad.

We would continue to train with TNT heading into 2013. And because he was so motivated by how he'd realized his talents and inspiration with triathlon was legit and by how he can continue to inspire Izzy and others in this same fight against cancer, he came up with his own team… Team Cancer Sucks.
He came up to me at one of the training sessions with TNT and told me about his idea, and that he wanted me to be a part of it. Shut up! me? Not long into his talk about the details of it I had already committed to it in my head because heck, the fact that he wanted me to be on his team?!… um yeah buddy! It was him, me, Louis (his long time friend from college days (right louis?)), Darren (close TNT homie to AJ), and Chris Douglas (a recent friend of a friend, who now is one of AJ's BFFs). We were all friends who loved endurance sports and wanted to share in the same mission of inspiring others in the fight against cancer through endurance sports. Although the "official" org never commenced, the spirit of the Team still lives (and hopefully one day soon, we'll gather again to make some essence of it come to fruition… for you AJ).
Darren, Izzy, AJ w Levi in arms (sorry i cut u off Levi) at FedEx signing 501c docs for TCS
Through 2014, we continued to push for TCS. Despite paperwork issues and time commitment, we were all still able to train together, race together, hang out at parties, and continue to joke about stupid shit guys joke about (imagine it…). In the fall, I told him that I was planning to propose to Joanne some time relatively soon. So he then offered me his assistance via his mom's connection in the SF Jewelry Center to shop for an engagement ring. That's huge AJ! That was early December...

And that was the last time I saw/talked to him till I got a text from my friend Troy (who knows AJ through his sister who knows … something like that. you see, AJ knows everybody) who said "have you talked to AJ lately?" I said not since a couple weeks ago. So, I hit him up… and then I looked on FB (I rarely go on FB)… man. Shot to the heart.

Through all our proceeding texts, his FB posts, and just by how I know how strong his inherent spirit is, I truly believed like he did that this was "just another bump in the road" and "God has great plans" for him. 

….

God STILL truly has great plans for you my brother. I don't know if you really realized how much you impacted my life; how much you are an inspiration to us all. Melissa, Izzy, Levi, and your beloved family and friends are all so lucky to have you in our lives. I'm at a loss of words… I just miss you, and like I was telling Joanne last night after we heard the news, I don't know how to pinpoint my feelings right now except that I feel like I want to do everything I can to show you how much you mean to me. 

I love you baddy. RIP. Say hi to my mom. Please work together to keep making me better.

(Damn I can't wait to train… You'll be the reason why I might win my next race)




Monday, February 16, 2015

AJ. Inspiration

This guy never ceases to light up the room he walks into. And he's going to beat Cancer. I know it.
photo: Tom Davies

Monday, February 9, 2015

Give

It all started a few Sundays ago... Generosity was the theme at church. Giving your time, your talents, your money,... to those who can you use your help. That's how we measure our life.
Then, I watched a film called Living on One Dollar (livingonone.org) which also resonated the same theme in the end of it all–helping others who are much less fortunate than ourselves.
Then, the latest episode of Naruto was about a boy named Menma who lost his memory in battle who lived his life as admirable as any selfless human can be. As he was helped by Naruto to rehabilitate physically, Menma, although showing tremendous acts of selflessness and service to others less fortunate, was unfairly judged because of his involuntary association with terrorists prior to his memory loss. Long story short, his unprejudiced intentions and unwavering acts of service proved to be the ultimate lesson for how we should all live.
So, let's give/share what we have with others. I gotta remember this.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Strong Core

Do everything with a strong core in mind... or, remember that everyone has a core, you just have to take care of it and use it. It's the basis for all other things...

Your family/friends, will get you through the tough times.
Your physical body's core, will help you prevent injuries and will help with other physical activities. (plus, it's sexy)
Your team at work, will help you succeed in whatever project you're working on.
Your car's structural frame, will ensure you're stable and sure-footed on the road.
Cool? Cool.
Japan's Core: The Emperor's family. Thanks for coming out.
Body's Core

Friday, January 30, 2015

You can always get better

Firstly, prayers and honor goes out to my brother-in-law… his father just passed away bc of cancer. It only took about a couple weeks after diagnosis. This is reminiscent of my Mom. So sad.
Also, for my brother from another mother, the charismatic and true inspirer, AJ. He was diagnosed in December and is fighting his heart out to beat this. His daughter did it, so will he.

….

Unless you categorize yourself as complacent or content with everything, we all want to get better or improve any compromising issue in our lives. This sounds like I'm about to give some life lesson. Take it how you want, but I'm just segue-ing into a video I found enlightening about the whole endurance training and racing nutrition issue!… to carb load or not to carb load, sugar spikes good or bad, etc.
Anyway, here it is:



Obviously a plug for Generation UCAN, but consider that a bonus. I've used it and I've felt the difference. The main effect for me was the ability to sustain my energy longer without having to consume all kinds of sugary gels and stuff. (and i've also adversely felt the effects of not consuming UCAN correctly by combining sugary gels and stuff with it. It felt like I just voided the benefits of sustained energy with minimal simple sugar consumption) I'll leave the rest to the video to explain how this is a better system.

Maybe there is a life lesson here…
How can we best endure the challenges we face in life? Do we really think we're good enough? Is it never too late to find new avenues to improve any given situation? Why am I always hungry? Is cocaine really bad? Am I hungry for what else life has to offer? Are donuts good for you? Do I really need glasses?

I digress. Thumbs up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Join me, please


2015 is going to be a good year

It is 2015 and so much has happened already in the past month… I found out a good friend has f- cancer, another Asian plane crashes, two climbers free-climb The Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite, and I've discovered I'm getting married later this year. Yeah, the world turns.

Believe it or not, all these events affect all of our lives. (yes, even the last noted event… because soon, mi lady and I will have created an official bond that represents LOVE–the strongest human power one can possess. And when we possess a stronger sense of that power, we will rule the world) And how do we stay in control and continue progressing forward? Well, I just said it above-love. I'm a rapper.
But it's not easy. Yes, being a rapper. But more so, sustaining the power of love. We've all been there–someone rubs you the wrong way and an argument ensues, your boss neglects your goals to enhance your professional well-being which frustrates your work situation, …we're constantly being tested. But when I do remember to "choose" to react or feel in "love" I have found I am able to stay in control, all stakeholders are at peace, and inevitably, the best happens (whatever that may be). And if I take this a step further, there is ONE entity–I may also describe it as an "essence"–for me and many of us that is undeniable and unwavering, that ultimately grounds me into acting with 'love.' To help describe this point, I've taken an excerpt from spaces of gratitude. The writer of this blog was asked the question:

Question: Who or what means more to you in your life than anyone else and why?
I have a confession to make- it's God. I am not one who talks openly about my spirituality; I know for damn sure that if anyone I know were to read that answer, they would be surprised. But the truth is, even though it's not popular, even though people may misconstrue my faith with those who have rigid and radical fundamental religious beliefs, the fact is, there is an energy in this world that we cannot yet explain. Call it God, call it energy, call it love, call it whatever you need to call it so you can somehow make sense of it for you- but it is there. I have felt its presence in my lowest moments, been transformed by it when unexplainable things all come together perfectly for an unexpected beautiful synchronicity, and I have seen it as I've watched dying patients transition to somewhere else. Even quantum physicists are studying how to explain these energy phenomenon, and though others may ridicule this seemingly blind faith, for me, it is this knowing presence and peace that makes me fearless.
So find that entity for you that allows you to act with love. And once you do, it won't necessarily be automatic or easy all the time, but at least you are moving in the right direction.

Greetings from Boracay, Philippines

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life happens

I follow this blog called Spaces of Gratitude which is written by this lady accounting her life's experiences and eloquently assigning meaning to them with hopes to inspire her readers and nonetheless, vent. Venting always feels nice. (I started following her because she wrote this inspiring piece about why she started doing triathlons)

Her latest post titled "The Bucket List" ended with a lesson that we should learn to embrace the things in life that aren't necessarily planned, and that there's always a positive that can be taken from any adverse situation. 

There was one particular sentence that resonated with me...

What I wanted to tell her, is that there is a happy life on the other side…that each year will get easier until it becomes a part of your past that you wouldn’t want changed because of the person you become because of it. 

I've been through a lot of crap, whether it's because I occasionally live recklessly or because merely, life happens. Whatever the case, what makes this statement so good is because it is true. Simply put, and we hear it all the time, live with no regrets and shame; accept all of life's moments and understand it's there to only make you a better person than you were before. So, I do. 

And we wonder, how do people know such things? Again, it's life; experiences. Some times living boldly costs us, but I'd rather have it that way than living average.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An ironman

No, not what I've been bragging about the past few weeks. This is actually someone you should really model yourself after.

Dick Bavetta. After 39 years of ref'ing in the NBA, he's retiring. That's 2,635 games… consecutively. Yes, he didn't miss a game. Since 1975 folks. He's 74 years old.

Let me put it in another perspective, he ran up and down the court with elite athletes for 48 minutes a game, up until 74 years of age. (I ref'd some intramural games back in college, and to be able to attempt to make accurate calls while running up and down a court, it's not easy. And I was only 19.) I believe I heard he ran about 6 miles most mornings, wherever he was–at the hotel, at the airport, on vacation– for his own good.

Sometimes we get complacent, lazy–whatever you want to call it–with our work, with our spare time, with our body, with our loved ones... settling and not realizing we could be living better.

Thanks Dick. (and I'm not being sarcastic)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Progress

Two days ago, I completed my first Ironman. What? I know, I can't believe it some times. At some moments post-race I'm so proud and impressed, and sometimes I feel like "eh, it's just another race completed." Whatever the sentiment, I'm happy because I'd like to think I'm better than I was yesterday. What a birthday present.

But let me take you back about one month ago (because I was so busy back then that I kept procrastinating posting in my blog… (poor excuse))… It was an early Sunday morning, driving from my gf's sister's bf's house in Santa Rosa to go for my training bike-ride on the Vineman course. As I was driving up on the 101, all to myself, I began to recognize the landmarks I'd been familiar with going up towards Windsor HS from supporting my cousin and friends doing the half and full Vineman the past three years. And then it started to hit me. Man, I'm actually doing my first ironman distance triathlon in a month. This is crazy. And as I'm going through this monologue, feelings of 'I can't believe I'm doing this/remember why I'm doing this' start to overcome me. It's the combination of true inspiration mixed with awe and a sprinkle of a little bit of "why?! this distance is so long!" And how does this physically look? It's tears. I'm crying because I remember how, why, and when I got started doing triathlons. If you recall, my mom passed away with cancer in October 2011. And ever since then, I have pushed myself to accomplish the tasks I feel really push my life's potential because you never know how long you'll live to see things through and in the end of it all, put it all in honor of my mom. And as a profound jump off from that, it's for all the people in my life that have been affected by diseases that hinder living life fuller than they had imagined, such as my Dad who now has Parkinson's, my friend's parents who have died from cancer, ... I had considered doing tri's for a couple years past because I used to be so intrigued when I'd watch my cousin and friend do theirs, but I had always kept saying, 'i'll wait till i'm done with grad school…' But, like they say, there is no time but now. So I signed up for my first tri (Wildflower Olympic '12) during my last semester in school, and now, about 12+ races of running and triathlons under my belt in two years, I'm signed up to do my first ironman.
So, I'm crying as I'm driving... it's a good thing... i'm so inspired… i'm so pumped!… i become humbled…
Then, already emotional without the aid of something external, one of the songs that really inspires me/gets me hyped up starts playing on the radio, not lying… don't laugh… well, you can laugh… "Firework" by Katy Perry. Aw yeah! It's the uplifting words mixed with the crescendo-ing melody/pitch… ahh.. that really brought the tears out. And then a little chuckle, laughing at myself for having an unmanly sense of motivation.

Fast forward back to this weekend… I did it. I'm an ironman.

Synopsis: wake up at 345am, eat, swim 2.4 miles, walk a little (i don't know why it was hilarious to see people, including myself, walking during the swim. i actually laughed), eat, drink, 112 miles on the bike in 90-100 degree heat, eat, drink, eat, drink, question your decision-making ability, drink, pour water all over body, start run, wait, can't run, walk, drink, eat, drink, drink, jog, walk, jog, it's still 100 degrees, drink, #2 twice, sprint to finish line a little after 9pm… oy vey. You ask how I did? The competitive person in me would say I didn't come close to my expectation of time. I did it in 14+ hours. I was hoping for about 12-13. But, does that really matter to me now that I think about it? Nope. What really matters to me, and what I came to grips with coming out of T2, is what I had been TRYING to say to myself the weeks leading up to the race–just finish. So that I did. I finished because I know not a lot of people are able or privileged to do the same. I finished because of love–the love and support I receive from friends, family, and all the volunteers and random cheerleaders out on the course. I finished because my mom was in more pain than I was yet I can say she "finished" life in glory.

I walked most of the run. It's okay. As someone hollered to a suffering runner (i.e. walker) behind me, "you're moving forward, that's all that matters." Indeed... in so many ways.

The camera makes me look dark.. oh wait, i am.
(note to self: next race–not in the summer)




Friday, June 20, 2014

Sandbagging and why it can be a good thing

An excerpt from a www.thenorthface.com article written by Ingrid Backstrom about Jim Zellers of The North Face:

A mean trick, perhaps. However, if sandbagees would have been told beforehand exactly how the day was going to go down they never would have left camp — and they never would have experienced the feeling of accomplishing their own personal challenge. The truth is a well-crafted sandbag forces people to look deep inside themselves; it requires every ounce of physical and mental strength, and it results in an adventure that will never be forgotten.

Boom.

I said I wouldn't do it again. But...

I'll get to it...

I promise. So it looks like I haven't written something here in years. I've been busy! (Poor excuse. That's like saying, 'I don't have time to clean the house' 14 days later from when you first thought about it. I call BS.)
So, let's consider this post a start. Quick notes for now…
It was mom (or would've been mom's) and dad's birthday last week.
I did my third half-ironman distance tri. It was about 100 degrees by the time I was running.
I have my first full ironman distance this July 26. Shit.
Joanne's birthday is in two days. I love her.
I'm hungry.
I'm progressing here at TNF.
Going to LA in a few hours. I'm going to eat some great food and see some good people.
Joanne leaving Multnomah Falls
Peaces.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For you, Mom.

Funny how things work out; a.k.a. timing.
Last year I said I was shooting to attempt my first triathlon in 2012. Well, with the passing of my mom a few months ago, I've been given this added push of inspiration to compete in my first tri. no pun intended.

So it begins! My Team in Training Fundraising page

I'm training with Team in Training to raise $2,900 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The race: Avia Wildflower Triathlon on May 6. Olympic distance. (holy ___)

Whoever is reading this, I could really use your help in any way.

This is for my mom. This is for all the cancer patients and their families. This is for inspiration to all of us being the best we could be for ourselves and for others.

My Team in Training Fundraising page

Friday, December 23, 2011

Brian McKnight is my idol.

Cupid
–112

Ever since "One Last Cry" came out, I thought he was the best male R&B singer ever.
Seeing him live finally (my Christmas/congrats on finishing boards gift to Joanne) further validates that.
As Joanne said to him as we greeted him goodbye, "you're amazing!"
Yes.