Author Archives: jfelt

#tiethursday – Feb 13 – Snow Day!

Sorry folks, no #tiethursday this week.

I didn’t even leave the house on Thursday, so I saw no reason to put on a tie. We were in the midst of the biggest winter storm this area has seen in years. Over seven inches in Winston-Salem, NC! Needless to say, our city was essentially shut down and my office was closed for the day.

While I enjoy driving on snow, I don’t enjoy driving on snow whilst other people drive on the snow. And since we never lost power, my wife and I opted to stay home for the day.

We did have some fun though!

What started as a simple path down the yard turned into a full-fledge pseudo-luge course. When my wife looked at the stairs and suggested using those for a starting block, I called the idea unsafe. But then the inner reckless child in my broke through and took over. The walls kept getting higher and the speeds rose through the day.

It’s not often that we get to enjoy snowfall like this in North Carolina, but I think we did the best with what we had.

I’ll have a tie on next week, the early forecasts call for 60 degrees.

#tiethursday – Feb 6 – U-S-A! U-S-A!

Back on track in February! I am here to please the people. In honor of the Olympics, let’s show some American pride!

Oh my gosh, are you fapping to this?I’m bringing back the button-down. Hope you enjoy it.

I’m not sure if it was entirely intentional, but I sported the good ol’ red, white and blue today. Which is fitting, since the 2014 Winter Olympics have officially started.

I often, well sometimes, get doubted about my allegiances in international competitions. Let’s stop that. I’m rooting for the USA. Always have, despite my Canadian heritage.

While proud to be the offspring of two Canadians, and a fan of Canadian things (hockey, beer, being friendly, universal healthcare), I never put Canada above the USA in sports. I was born in the USA and have always lived within its borders, so I consider myself an American first and foremost. The final of the gold medal game in Vancouver was a heartbreaker, and I didn’t take any solace in the fact that my “back-up” team had won. Hopefully those bad memories can be expunged this winter.

So, game on, World! U-S-A! U-S-A!

#tiethursday – Jan 30 – No Pizza?!?!

This is late. You’ll survive. I’m disappointed in how late this is, but better late than never, right?

I’m trying to get this up before the Super Bowl starts. So I have 14 minutes.

Under this is hair. Lots of it.

I purchased this tie from Amazon.com to be one of my Game Day ties. It is supposed to be green and white. Unfortunately, it isn’t. It’s more of a dark teal than green, but from a distance it works. I really like the look, but I’m still not sure what color shirt to wear it with. Any tips?

I’d like to also talk about something I started on this #tiethursday: my 2014 quest to get into the best shape of my life. Part of that is getting down in size. Lean up. Stop carrying so much weight around. If I want to run fast, I need to be lighter. Every extra pound equals four pounds on a running step. So if I’m able to shed the twenty pounds that I plan to land, my impacts will be reduced by eighty pounds. Should be able to go faster, right? And more importantly, my knees and feet will feel less stress and take less wear and tear.

Wednesday night I weighed in at 190. And my most recent 5k time is 24:51. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

Six minutes to spare. Now it’s time to watch the Super Bowl. Go Broncos?

#tiethursday – Jan 23 – Button-Down Crisis

Do you ever find yourself in a “crisis” where you seem to realize you don’t actually know who you are?

Think about it. Do you even know who you are? And when you start to question yourself, do you lose the confidence you used to have in simple decisions? Let me explain.

Someone, somewhere, prints these out and uses them for "inspiration"
I have worn ties with button-down collars multiple times in my life without hesitation (never in a suit, don’t worry). I’d button that sucker up, look in the mirror and feel confident that I would look nice that day.

But this morning, I hesitated. For a good five minutes I pondered whether it truly was appropriate to wear a tie with a button-down collar. And why? It’s not like there’s any fashion expert at my office who would call me out. Why all of a sudden was I questioning my decision making?

I’ve faced this dilemma multiple times as the years of adulthood fly by. I’ve always struggled with having 100% confidence in my decision making when there is no pressing time or safety issue. Imminent disaster ahead with very few ways around it? Bring it on. Choosing a particular decoration for the office conference room? Dear God, let’s form a committee this is entirely too much pressure.

Of course, this button-down/tie dilemma was perfectly timed to go along with our training at work today, which completely validated that I am, indeed, just a tad bit insecure in making decisions. Turns out, I’m so concerned about receiving approval and support, that I often prevent myself from making a decision out of fear for NOT receiving the approval and support.

So maybe, just maybe, I was so concerned about wearing the button-down with the tie because part of me is concerned it will set off a string of comments on this blog where fashion experts criticize my decision. Why? I mean, honestly, why should I care? In addition to the fact that maybe seven people will read this post, this combo passed my eye test, and more importantly my wife’s, so I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

In the end, it turns out there is some debate on the matter, but overall I think it looks nice and work-friendly. And this tie, which was a gift from my brother-in-law, matches well with the shirt pattern. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

#tiethursday – Jan 16 – Rebranding

I know. My first late #tiethursday post. You’ll get over. I had good reason, though.

Dapper-dapper-dapper

You see, on Wednesday my company rebranded itself as The Resource. This has been a work in progress for months, and I’m extremely elated to see it released to the public. Getting the opportunity to be hands-on for a project like this so early in my career has been a blessing and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I originally wanted to find a tie that matched the blue from the logo, but couldn’t find the right one. This tie, which I received from my lovely wife, does contain most of the colors we now call our own. The tie clip does say “Thursday” in case you were wondering.

Check out our new site, let me know what you think.

#tiethursday – Jan 9 – Go Niners

Posting for the 2nd week in a row. This is a sure sign of real commitment.

Look at that dimple.

It’s the start of conference play in basketball tonight for my beloved Charlotte 49ers, and I wanted to show my gameday support with a new tie I received from my sister and her fiancĂ©. The school colors go surprisingly well with the waistcoat, which I think just makes everything classy.

You can purchase this tie for yourself at thetiebar.com and you can catch the Niners in action tonight against UTEP on CBS Sports at 9 PM. Go Niners!

#tiethursday – Jan 2 – Fresh Start

If you’ve ever spent a Thursday with me since late 2011, you’ve probably noticed that I’m wearing a tie. It’s just, one of my things, I guess. It all started because I had a new tie I was excited to wear, but then I realized other people wore ties on Thursday, and it’s a nice juxtaposition to casual Friday. Long story short, I wear a tie on Thursday.

For 2013, I’m going to try and keep a log of it here, since I have a quite a collection of ties by this point. I’ll post a picture of the tie and a few notes.

This is your fetish, isn't it?

I wanted to start the year off with a bow tie, which I typically save for special occasions or celebrations. I consider the beginning of any new year to be a reason to celebrate. It’s time to reflect shortly upon your past and then forge ahead with a new clean slate. This particular tie doesn’t get out much, so I decided to match it with a brand new white shirt. Here’s to 2014 being a great year.

Re-blogging & Post-Marathon Thoughts

Greetings.

If you’re a regular follower of my blog (you’re not), you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t exactly done a great job of consistently posting content in about three years. In that time, a lot has happened. Fortunately for you, I’m not going to bore you with paragraphs about the intricate details of my life. Just believe, as you should, that I accomplished a great many things and generally lived a great life.

I’m writing this post, because frankly, I miss writing. I use to do it often, but then I started caring about things like grammar, commas and what people would say to what they read. Fuck that. Especially the commas.

When 2013 rolled around I had a few goals in mind. One of those was to be “more bold.” As in, stop worrying so much abut what people think and just go out and be a boss. Life is too short to do otherwise. So… I’m writing again (the Canadian in me apologizes if you don’t like my writing – would you like a doughnut?).

I realized upon re-reading posts from my past that even though what I was sharing may not have been entertaining, the posts are extremely important to someone like me who often struggles with recalling memories.

So I’m sitting here, hyped up on Harris Teeter Zero Calorie Cola, and sharing my thoughts on my most recent life event: running in the 38th annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. on October 27.

Before we begin, understand that a part of me will always be disappointed in how things ended up in D.C. that day. I walked away from that finish line frustrated and immediately regretting some of the strategy decisions I had made. For a great many people, finishing a marathon in just over 4 hours and 30 minutes would be a monumental achievement. I try to remind myself of that when I think of my time as a failure. For some perspective, let me take you back a little bit.

I remember the first time I had decided to run a marathon. It was way back in early 2011, and my awesome wife and I were looking for a challenge. We decided to partake in the Mistletoe Half-Marathon. 13.1 miles seemed like a impossible task, but my sister had just run one so it couldn’t be that hard. We diligently trained all year and that winter I finished with a respectable time of 1 hour 47 minutes (looking back, I have no clue how I did that), and decided we’d run in the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. What’s the harm in doubling the distance? How hard could it be?

After a summer of training and preparation, I was ready to take on the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. I had a goal time of 4 hours and all of my training pointed towards that goal being easily attained. My thighs had other plans. At mile 16 every muscle above my knees and below my hips seemingly turned into stone. I jogged, walked and stumbled my way to a 4 hour 35 minutes finish and sought answers. I didn’t cross-train enough. I didn’t pace-train enough. I drank too much water. I drank too much Gatorade. I didn’t drink enough Gatorade. I ran in a pack. I went out too fast. I went out too slow.

Either way, I had lost to Oprah.

I decided the answer had less to do with my actual diet during the race and more to do with my pacing strategy and lack of pace and cross-training.

So 2013 rolls around: I’m going to beat Oprah.

I trained all summer following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan as diligently as possible. Maybe missed 2-3 runs all summer. I bought a better bike and started cross training. I gave myself plenty of rest days and made sure to keep muscles loose.

The big day arrives and I’m completely relaxed. No rocking pump-up music. No “getting in the zone” moments.

I took the approach that my training had prepared me to easily accomplish my goal and now was the time to relax and enjoy the moment. I wasn’t even nervous. I was in a great mood and nothing was going to stop me. I didn’t care that my back had been hurting for a week, as long as I stayed upright everything was peachy keen. I danced waiting for the start.

After the most spectacular display of skydivers flying American flags I’ll ever see, the Howitzer sounded and the marathon was underway. Everything was going extremely well.

I ran the first 9 miles or so with my father-in-law and training partner, Jim. We ran at a good pace as the crowd loosened up, and kept up a good conversation and were in generally good spirits. However, I noticed that our respective paces had started to differ and I would find myself about 10 feet in front of him if I zoned out for more than a few seconds. This was starting to stress me out, and I had a very strict “No Stress” policy. I was concerned as well that my legs would again lock up if I kept limiting my pace. So I got his permission to break the fellowship, gave him a hearty “Good Luck” and let myself pull away.

I proceeded to follow my attack plan. Run at a comfortable pace. Stay relaxed. Enjoy the scenery. Walk through the water stops. The next ten miles were pretty fantastic. I laughed at the signs (my favorite was “New PR = BJ” that a woman had made for her man in the race) and high-fived the little kids that held their hands out.

Despite the shirt saying "Charlotte" I still got some "Go Irish guy!" cheers...

My mother took this photo. I was feeling fantastic and even stopped to hug my parents.

But mile 20 brought a familiar feeling that I had feared all year. Thighs = Rocks. If you’re an athlete, I’m sure you’ve felt this before. The mind and lungs are willing, but the body is not. I immediately began a new plan of attack hoping to walk out the cramps. It seemed like things were working, the thighs were loosening up and I had some mild success for 2 miles or so. Jim caught up and this inspired me to forget the cramps and rejoin him for the final stretch.

“Hahaha, think again, asshole,” my thighs replied after only half a mile.

This time it was worse. There wasn’t a muscle in my left leg that wasn’t locked and my right leg wasn’t much better. Jim tried to encourage me on but there wasn’t much hope. He went on, as he should, and left me by a tree as I tried to stretch things out.

I have a policy in life, “it could always be worse.” And as I watched people pass me by as I hobbled along for the final miles, I reminded myself of this often. There wasn’t a chance in my mind that I could beat Oprah and I should enjoy the sights and sounds of the finish regardless. I even enjoyed a doughnut along the way.

Of course, in hindsight, maybe I should’ve pushed myself a little bit harder. My official time was 4:30:47. Oprah’s time was 4:29:15. ONE MINUTE AND THIRTY-TWO SECONDS. Over twenty-six miles! That is, literally, less than 4 seconds per mile.

Needless to say, I’m not happy.

Yes, Oprah had a coach with her. Yes, Oprah probably had folks clearing room for her so she didn’t have to deal with crowds. Yes, she probably released bees to cause general mayhem. Yes, it was 1994 and not everybody had a cellphone (they had these things called pagers).

But still, I’m that guy. That guy that couldn’t beat Oprah in a marathon. And that sucks.

My wife and father-in-law? They beat Oprah. Of course, my wife is an Ironman, so she SHOULD beat Oprah. And my father-in-law did an incredible job of pacing himself. They’re awesome. Even if they didn’t beat Oprah they would still be awesome in my book. I can’t help but be jealous of them.

To make matters worse, the official photographers of the marathon captured some fairly depressing photos of me looking defeated. “Look at this loser, he looks ready to die!” is probably what they said as they sorted the photos. I’ve contemplated buying the series and framing them. Just look at this sample:

I may have actually muttered "fuck you guys this shit sucks" towards other runners at this point.

All hope is lost.

I should use that photo for motivation in my training. I’ve got to do better.

So I’m running another marathon. I said that I was done with long distance after this MCM. But I cannot be the guy that lost to Oprah. I haven’t chosen which one I will do, probably not the Marine Corps (even though it is a GREAT race), but I will do one soon. And I WILL beat Oprah. But until then, this is what I picture when I look at my MCM medal:

This is one of my top 50 favorite things on the Internet.

I’m going to recreate this in a victory post a year from now.

I’m Thinking About Doing This Again.

But first, I’ve gotta figure out how I want it to look.

Cooper River Bridge Run, 6.2 Miles in pictures.

The Start (40 minutes later than usual).

1 Mile.

2 Miles.

3 Miles.

4 Miles.

5 Miles.

6 Miles.

Done in 47 minutes.

Too tired to smile, obviously.