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Choosing hope

This is a personal story about hope.

For most of my adult life, seventeen years to be exact, I couldn't run. If I ran more than a 1/4 mile I'd be in excruciating, limp-inducing sciatic pain for weeks afterward. That was, until very recently.

From age 22 until 39 I modified and managed my lifestyle to avoid pain. I stopped playing the sports I loved and found new ones. Instead of running, I biked. I saw chiropractors, acupuncturists, orthopedic and back surgeons, physical therapists, masseuses of every kind (even Tibetan and Taoist ones). I didn't like the options presented: back surgery at age 28, addictive pain pills, or "live with it." Nothing else worked long term, just short term pain management.

I got by, but for many years I lost hope that I'd ever be able to run again without pain.

Then, in 2019 at a lunch with my friend Jeffrey Stukuls I felt something I hadn't felt in awhile - HOPE that

I could run again. He told me about his journey of going from being a non-runner at 40, to being an ultra-marathoner at 45. He did this with the help of an alternative physical therapy called Muscle Activation Technique

(MAT), and referred me to his team at The Continuum Method. I started working with them in 2019. My first jog in seventeen years was July 2019. I vividly remember how incredible it felt to go fast again (or at least faster than walking), to feel the wind through my hair, and the pounding of feet on hardpack trails.

Fast forward to last weekend: I did something I didn't think I'd ever be able to do again... I completed a 10k run. Not just any 10k, a Spartan 10k! (Which is a 6mi trail run with 25 challenging obstacles peppered throughout.)

It was not easy, and I was tired and sore, but with a smile on my face (see photo). I felt great afterwards, and honestly could have run further (as long as there weren't anymore goddamn monkey bars).

I feel immense gratitude that I kept finding my way back to Hope (capital "H") again and again. And again. And it paid off. [Perhaps you know that feeling, of being in the dark so long, that a sign of light brings tears to your eyes?]

I am forever grateful to Eric Ferguson, Alec and the team at the Continuum for believing that I could actually get here. I'm thankful for the chance conversation with Jeffrey. I'm thankful for my Dad as inspiration who woke up at 4:30am every morning to run six miles, and who continues to be a role model. Thank you to my wife Sophia for watching Theo several mornings a week so I could keep my jogging habit. And shout out to Saurabh Garg for being my Spartan partner, who made this event 4x more fun!

This experience, through almost two decades of pain and adversity, and coming out other side has given me renewed strength, purpose, and compassion. And reminded me if I keep returning to Hope, my struggles can actually lead to a more meaningful life.

Wishing you purpose, connection, and courage on your journey of Hope.


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