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SPARTATHLON: Life lessons learned from a very long road

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THE CHALLENGE

Spartathlon is an historic 153 mile/246 km foot race from Athens to Sparta.  The genesis of the race was to retrace the footsteps of Pheidippides, a great Athenian messenger.  The story goes that the Persian army was sailing to Greece for war.  The Athenians dispatched their greatest messenger to Sparta to recruit the brave and fierce Spartans to help combat the Persians.  It is said that Pheidippides arrived the very next day.  Hence, the Spartathlon race has been limited to 36 hours - it starts at 7 am on Friday morning (sunrise) and ends at 7 pm on Saturday evening (sunset).  If a Spartathlete can complete the distance in the allotted time, s/he will have completed the distance in the amount of time it took Pheidippides to travel the distance.

One must qualify for Spartathlon and meet time standards like a 10 hour 100k or 21.5 hour 100 mile, or other time standard.  Once a runner qualifies, the runner must apply for admission to the race.  390 people are invited to …

Speaking @ Amazon - lessons learned

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I've learned that people with forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Last week I had the great honor to be asked to speak at Amazon Headquarters in Seattle, Washington.    Amazon is the 4th largest company with a market capitalization of $466 Billion, 341,000+ employees and a 25,000+ employees at its HQ in Seattle.  I was excited, humbled, honored and a little nervous to be speaking at this cutting edge company, at their headquarters.  I did learn some very valuable lessons during this experience, however; and, I'd like to share them in this blog post.
EVERYBODY CAN USE SOME INSPIRATION

Amazon is the quintessential company driving a new type of corporate culture inviting employees to bring their dogs to work, dress is casual, break rooms have corn hole and fooseball games to cultivate a relaxed think-tank atmosphere.  Even with such a great environment for people to work in, the work of work can …

SHARING TIME WITH A LEGEND

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Many times I've wondered what it would be like to meet somebody really famous in the running world.  Well, I had the experience of being with a running legend this past week and felt compelled to share a little bit.  I crewed alongside Valmir Nunes at the Badwater Ultramarathon for a second year.  I was also room mates with Valmir for a second year.

For those of you who are wondering who Valmir is - please Google him now.  A short running resume of Valmir would note that he is a Badwater 135 champion, former Badwater record holder (22 hrs and change), former 100k world record holder (6 hrs and change), 100k world champion, and international ultra-distance stud.

I first met Valmir 2 years ago when I agreed to crew my friend at Badwater.  Somehow, my buddy had gotten the Badwater course record holder to crew him.  I didn't know who Valmir was, and the first time I saw him I wasn't too sure how it world work out for me to share a room with a Brazilian super-model.  Valmir is…

OBEDIENCE - A Faith decision

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Obedience is the road to freedom -C.S. Lewis
The dictionary definition of Obedience is "compliance with an order, law or submission to another's authority".  By this definition, Obedience seems to be in direct conflict with self preservation and the American Dream to amass wealth and belongings for one's self.  In our day to day lives, we pass homeless people on street corners, drive-by wounded animals to die on our highways forgetting about them and their agony seconds after we speed past them, and fail to acknowledge other people with a smile, look or response when they speak to us.  We can become so focused on our own microcosm that we think we are being "obedient" to our own goals.  In fact, we can never be "obedient" to ourselves or our own self interest.  We must stretch beyond ourselves in order to exercise true obedience, and be free.
True obedience can only occur when we suppress our own wants and needs to the wants and needs of another.  …

RUNNING INTO THE DARK: The Jason Romero Story - (Chapter 1)

As many of you know, I've been writing a book for several months. The story is about my journey to find vision, despite losing my eyesight and culminates with a run across America. This is a very ROUGH DRAFT and has not been edited so please forgive typos, grammar and other opportunities.
Enjoy! -Jason

Chapter 1
With every ending is a new beginning - Unkown
It was 2:00 AM and all I hear is my alarm screaming at me.  The song “Shut up and dance” by Walk the Moon is once again blaring in my ear.  I am in a foreign place.  It is a small hotel room with two beds, and the usual desk, lamps and TV.  But where am I?  I am confused for the first couple minutes of waking.  Am I in California, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania?  What state am I waking up in?  This question had wracked my mind for the last 2 months.  Not knowing where I was waking up had become “normal” to me, and was not any cause for anxiety or discontent.  I wasn’t in any of those states.  I was in a Comfort Inn somewhe…

RELENTLESS FORWARD PROGRESS: The only way

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RUN!   IF YOU CAN'T RUN, WALK! IF YOU CAN'T WALK, CRAWL! IF YOU CAN'T CRAWL, GET SOMEBODY TO DRAG YOU! JUST DON'T STOP MOVING FORWARD!

I have a mantra that I live by when competing in long distance running.  I believe in always making Relentless Forward Progress - no matter how good or bad I am feeling, I need to keep moving forward toward my goal.  You can easily draw the parallels to pursuits in personal and professional life.  A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to witness another person making Relentless Forward Progress.  This is the story of what happened.
It was the day before the Colfax Marathon - Denver's only city marathon - and I still had not decided whether to sign up or not.  I logged onto FaceBook to see what cool stuff people were up to that weekend.  A buddy who is a Marathon Maniac (Othman Doblany) was posting pictures of himself with other Denver runners from the marathon expo.  I got the urge to run the marathon.  So, I looked up the race on …

TEAMWORK: It takes a village

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. - Helen Keller
I am always amazed at the ingenuity and communal nature of human beings.  Whether we work like ants to build pyramids, construct railroads across a continent or help a single person take 6 million steps to run across America, there is strength in numbers.
Earlier this week I was asked to speak about how ultra-running and my run across America was really a team effort.  For me it was very easy to deliver this message, because my decade long career at GE had taught me that a team of people can move mountains.  The following are some thoughts to be considered when building and developing teams for longevity.
BUILDING THE TEAM It is art, not science.
1.  Leadership  For teams to function effectively, there must be leadership.  The team will eventually confront challenges and need to make decisions.  Sometimes these decisions can be made by a vote; other times, a leader will need to make the decision for the team.  A leader of …