family

How to do it all (?)

I'm coming to grips with the fact that you can't do it all. Yes, I've identified those things that are essential to me and bring me the most joy and reward and make the most time for them, but there are still so many other things I want to do! How does one do it all? This isn't something I have an answer for, but I think, for me, laying out everything either already on my plate, or that I want to add to my plate, will help me just feel more grounded. Here is my list:

  • Work/Career growth
  • Study for the GMAT
  • Apply to business school/get my MBA
  • Start a podcast
  • Go on more dates
  • Work on self exploration with a therapist (just started!)
  • Go to chiropractor regularly and do rehab/prehab exercises
  • Take a Project Management class
  • Learn to dance hip hop
  • Workout
  • Do triathlons
  • Do obstacle/adventure races
  • Travel
  • Practice for Improv group 1
  • Shows for Improv group 1
  • Practice for Improv group 2
  • Shows for Improv group 2
  • Networking
  • Go to more business/professional development events outside of work
  • Keep great friendships
  • Maintain my social life (where it doesn't overlap with other items on this list--like simply going out or concerts, etc.)
  • See more live music
  • Sleep MORE
  • Write more for myself
  • Writing articles for other websites
  • Finding and training new personal training clients
  • Practice mindfulness/meditation; possibly in a class setting
  • Go to gymnastics
  • Go to Crossfit
  • Play more basketball
  • Start playing hockey
  • Play in my rec sports leagues
  • Host some mastermind group dinners/friends dinners
  • Go play ultimate frisbee
  • Read more books

I'm sure there are more I can add.

How does one balance it all? Alongside maintaining full focus on getting ahead at work and keeping and growing meaningful relationships with friends and family?

Just throwing it out there--Let me know if you're a life organizer and can help me ; )

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From San Diego to Chicago (and into the Polar Vortex....)

My time in San Diego was not only amazing, but exactly what I needed to do for myself. I have no regrets about leaving my job in Tampa and spending 6 months in San Diego working as a personal trainer, helping launch a business, and making some amazing friends. What I did realize, however, was that a part of me felt like I was treading water--not making progress down my life path. Granted, while every single thing that I  did was, in fact, making progress with my self, internally and externally, I knew that it couldn't last forever. After getting confirmation on Christmas eve, I have taken a new job and moved back across the country, this time to Chicago!

This called for another epic road trip, only this time my dad flew out, helped me pack, and made the trip with me. Literally, everything I own fit in (and on top) of my car. My first reaction to this was "wow, everything I own can fit in my car!" Followed closely by my second reaction "why do I have so much shit??"

Loaded up

After an awesome surprise going-away-get-together with some friends and saying goodbye to my awesome roommate, my dad got everything packed in one day and shoved off: First stop, Vegas!

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We spent the next 3 days basically just hanging out in Henderson, NV, right outside Las Vegas, with my dad's best friend and my Godfather, Scott, whom I've gone and hung out with man times over the past year. It was really nice to just relax, ride some bikes, and enjoy my last moments of warm weather. Scott and I got an epic ride in, riding 43 miles all the way to Boulder City, with 2,300 feet of climbing and getting to see some gorgeous desert scenery.

Rockin the W

It seems that, indeed, my Dad and Scott are actually old dudes. The highlight of the weekend for me was watching them just glued to the TV screen for 3 hours watching Downton Abbey. It was hysterical. I, instead, went down to the strip and tried my luck and some roulette.

After Vegas, we got back on the road and headed for our next stop, which was Grand Junction, Colorado. One of my goals on the trip was to stop at as many random places as possible to commemorate the journey.  The first of those: The giant soda cans in Utah!

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I don't know why they exist, but they're awesome

At the same stop as the cans, we figured it was a good place to get some lunch. Little did we know what some good Utahan cooking consisted of! We checked out a place called "Mom's Diner", a sure classic, right? We lasted about 5 minutes in there... My dad, a guy who just can't be rude, decided to order a scone so that we didn't have to order a meal. It turns out a "scone" means something else in Utah...

It was so. bad.

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He tried to eat it but couldn't stomach it. I hid it some napkins and we snuck out of the restaurant.

Besides it's scones, Utah is absolutely gorgeous!! You almost feel like you're on another planet.  Here are some gratuitous landscape shots:

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That night we arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado. We had left warm weather sometime long ago in Nevada... but we managed to find a great local brewery and get a great dinner. The Ale House had some really nice local brews and great collection of old cans.

Pictures of taking pictures... super meta

Great collection on vintage cans

After our quick sojourn in Grand Junction, we grabbed a great workout and headed on to Denver. This drive was, again, gorgeous. But also incredibly frightening. We hit some bad snow going over Vail Pass, at about 10,000 feet elevation, and were driving on, or in, snow for most of the time.

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My dad, being from upstate New York, did a lot of the snow driving (and also so I could read out loud to him from different training websites about dead-lifting, glute activation, and shoulder rehab...) My favorite moment though was when we hit some bad snow and ice coming down the mountain. Traffic stopped pretty quick and my dad started pumping the brakes but it looked like we might hit the car in front of us. He yells at me "Chuck, I can't stop!" I guess I just don't get that excited, but my, very calm, response was "what the hell do you want me to do about it? Here, turn left." Luckily we got out unscathed.

We finally got into Denver where we spent 2 nights so that I could see a ton of friends I have there. You might recall, but I spent most of summer there a year and half ago and that city and the people had an incredible, life-changing, impact on my life.

The first thing I got to in Denver was meet up with an awesome girl whom I met last year and who still lives in Denver where she is going to school. We met up for dinner... and not only was it amazing to see her  maintaining the personality and liveliness that she had when I saw her last, but at our meal there was no guilt, no shame, no anxiety, nor any destructive thinking. I loved it.

The next day was literally one of the best days I've had in a long time. The first thing I did was head over to the Eating Recovery Center, where I spent the better part of 4 months, and got to sit down with my entire treatment team that I worked with during my time there. They were all doing great and it was fantastic to be able to speak with them all like friends and to let them know that, yes, I of course still have some struggles, but that everything they did for me was amazing and that I am doing great.

After that meeting, I headed up a bit north of Denver and met another, more recent friend of mine, Jeremey, for lunch. Jeremey is a trainer as well, but has recently made the switch to a more digital-publishing based role, although he still writes for sites like Menshealth.com and Greatist.com. We caught up and talked about life, fitness, writing, life goals... all that good stuff.

After that, I headed back to the other site for the ERC and met with a another member of my treatment team. This guy is someone that I can always count on to be there for when I need an ear and also knows how to help. And, usually, that "help" is just being able to say to me, "hey, I don't know what you're going through, I've never been through it myself, but know that I am here for you and I know that you're struggling." I'm hoping to collaborate a bit with in the future on some resources for males dealing with eating disorders.

Finally, I spent some time just walking around Denver before meeting a last set of friends for dinner. This couple recently just had an amazing little boy, and, no joke, he's a cutie.

Baby!

The next morning, after grabbing a workout, we shoved of across the great plains to make our way to Lincoln, Nebraska, where we planned to stay the night. This was the most difficult driving I've ever done! I've never been in wind that strong, and was petrified that the rooftop carrier was going to be blown off the car and that my bikes were going to go flying off the back! Luckily, this didn't happen, but we literally saw 18-wheeler trucks that had been blown over onto their sides from the force of the wind.

Basically a hurricane

This day was full of goofy stops. While I wanted to stop at "Pawnee Park and Recreation Center" and pay homage to one of my favorite shows, it was too dark and out of the way when we got there. However, we did stop and see the biggest ball of stamps in the world!!

Stamps!

After a thrilling morning of stamps, we decided to stop at the one and only Volkswagen Beetle Spider! When we stopped to ask for directions, the guy we talked to asked if I'd seen Cadillac Ranch, to which I was able to say "why yes I have!" (Thank you road trip to San Diego!)

It's poisonous

Once we finally got to Lincoln, we met up with a family friend whom we hadn't seen since we moved from Texas about 14 years ago

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Finally, it was a straight shot into Chicago and another full day of driving. Nothing super exciting happened that day, that I remember, except finding random British and Irish candy in a gas station in Iowa and then driving under this bridge:

Some Bridge

That night we stayed with my... Great aunt(?), my dad's aunt, I believe, who lives a bit outside Chicago and sort of gave us a home-base as we prepared to move me in, plus gave my dad a place to stay. The next morning, of course, it started to snow, to make my move-in experience perfectly "wonderful". As you may not know, I hate being cold and get cold incredibly quickly, so I'm learning the art of "bundling up"! Thank God my mom found my old snow boots from high school and sent them with my dad so that I would have them.

My new place is in a cool neighborhood right outside downtown. The move-in wasn't too hard... just cold

Brr....

But you know cures coldness? Deep Dish pizza!

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We went to Lou Malnati's and it was awesome--although, according to my roommate, and which I whole heartedly agree and wish he'd told us before we ate, the best way to order it is with the sausage crumbled and fully cooked.  Point noted for next time.

And that was it! My walk to work is less than a mile which is great, but bundling up takes me a lot longer in the morning... but it's worth it to be here!

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Making this trip with dad was amazing and makes realize that I need to spend more time with him and my whole family. It will be great to just a quick, direct flight back to DC to hang out with them.

Thanks for reading!

Grateful

If you follow Twitter, the news, TV, blogs, or any websites then you've by sure gotten the message of what Thanksgiving is about.  Apparently, it's about one, or more, of three things:

  1. How to not overeat, how many calories are in your meal, and how you should eat healthy (and probably not enjoy Thanksgiving very much)
  2. How many calories are in your food and what the best workout will be to burn it all off preemptively
  3. Black Friday sales and what the best deals are.

What happened to being grateful? What happened to not putting so much emphasis on food and our bodies, and instead focusing on spending time with families and friends? What if we all stepped back and thought more about the things in life we take for granted and took a moment to appreciate them?

I am as guilty as everyone else in that I've forgotten this message too, in the past. This year, as last year, I won't be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family, as they are on the other side of the country. It makes me think about how much I wish I could be with them, and appreciate even more the friends I am getting together with who can't be with their families either.

Yes, I plan to also be very grateful to the chef, the turkey, the football players, and the gym for being open in the morning. There's no reason not to be. I just ask that we all take a moment to be thankful for one another as well.

t2vcC

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Ireland Part 1: The West

Early last year I got a weird notification on my phone: "FeerickFamilyReunion2013 is now following you on Twitter." After a couple months thinking that this was just incredibly creative spam, I found out from my parents that a massive Feerick Family reunion was going to be occurring in Ireland in the coming September. I was lucky enough with my change in jobs and the timing of the trip that I would be able to attend with my parents--as well as my cousin, aunt, and step-uncle. After 16 hours of travel and plane flights, we landed in Dublin on a Wednesday afternoon and began our drive westward across Ireland to Westport, a small town where the reunion was being held. The town our family hales from, Ballinrobe, in County Mayo, was about 20 minutes away, but Westport was the nearest town that was big enough to accommodate so many people comfortably.

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The reunion was scheduled to take place from Friday evening till Sunday morning, so we had time to explore the area for a few days beforehand.  I don't think my family has ever truly taken a "relaxing", if you will, vacation. Bright and early Thursday morning, we all piled back in our rental car (a tiny "van", which was a glorified sedan with a third row of seats), and headed to Croagh Patrick, the third tallest mountain in Ireland.

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My old man

Croagh Patrick is the mountain from which St. Patrick (a Catholic Saint) banished all the snakes from Ireland, chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a forty-day fast he was completing during Lent on top of the mountain. The mountain climbs to a height of over 2,100 ft. over a hiking distance of around 4.5 miles.  I was under the impression this was going to be a little hike up a paved path. Turns out it was a treacherously steep climb over rocks and streams, with a final climb over steep, jagged, unstable rocks to the top. The higher we climbed, the colder and windier it got and my cousin and I, two very fit people, mind you, were drenched in sweat by the time we got the top

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At the top of the peak was a spectacular white stone church. I don't know how it was built (I could probably google it), but it must have been incredibly difficult to do. The wind was so strong at the top that we had to keep walking into it so as not to be blown over.

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Cold and sweaty, but we made it!

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As my cousin and I had forged ahead, on the way back down we passed my parents--my dad beaming from ear to ear, loving every minute of it (as he did every moment in Ireland) and my poor mom cursing that she couldn't take another step... yet she kept going and completed the trek! That was probably one of the funniest moments from the trip. Back at the bottom of the mountain, we rejoined with my aunt and uncle, who made in about 400 yards into the trek, realized there was a pub at the base of the climb, and made the smart decision to drink Guinness until the adventurers returned. We collectively agreed that this was the hardest hike any of had ever been on.

Lest we take a day to rest (or just not do strenuous physical activity), Friday's agenda called for a 50km bike ride through the Irish countryside. We picked up our bikes at a shop in town, then were driven miles away and were abandoned dropped off at the start of the Greenway, a path for walkers and bikes that goes along the Western coast of the country.

Picking up our bikes

While these weren't quite the bikes I'm used to riding, they were still fun to ride! They were just your basic hybrid road bike... sort of like a little bit nicer than the bike you probably had when you were 14. They countryside was gorgeous, but the ride itself took quite awhile given the bikes and the terrain, so the pub we stopped at for lunch (and Guinness, obviously) 3/4 of the way through the ride, was a welcome sight!

Sheep... they're everywhere

They see me rollin, they hatin...

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Fuel Station

That evening sparked the beginning of the true reunion. So far we'd just been doing our own thing, but this evening there was a reception and meet & greet, plus a welcome from some notable figures. Among those who spoke were some key Feerick's who were responsible for organizing everything, as well as the Mayor of Westport and the Governor of Tourism (or something to that effect) for all of Ireland. His speech was lost on me however, as I was more focused on the Mayor and saving him from being bored to death by old (like literally aged) Feerick family members.  He was a young guy himself, and while he enjoyed being mayor, his true passion was photography and he was regarded as one of the best in town.

That being said however, he donned the most baller gold chain I'd ever seen. On it was an engraved the name of each mayor who preceded him in Westport. So, naturally, I managed to talk him into letting me wear it (granted, I have kissed the Blarney Stone which bestows one with Blarney, which is defined: "Blarney is something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humour and flavoured by wit")

A random younger Feerick joined the picutre

 

Ballin'

That concludes the first part of the trip! Coming up next is the Reunion itself (I promise I'll skip any boring parts--there's actually a pretty cool story!) That will be followed by our trip to Galway and closing out in Dublin!

Updates as a Preface

It's been 4 months since I last blogged, and that's not for a lack of things to blog about, as I've certainly been busy.  I actually just got back from a 10-day trip to Ireland where my parents and I went over for a huge Feerick family reunion in our families hometown of Ballinrobe, in county Mayo, on Ireland's western coast. I saw, learned, and did so much when I was over there that I really want to share the experience and am going to break it up into 3 posts--one for each leg of the trip. But before I get into those posts (and because I'm waiting for everyone from our party to send me their pictures...), I wanted to give a quick update on everything that's been going on since I arrived here in San Diego!

I've just passed four months here and am keeping busy with my new jobs. In addition to the job which I moved out here for, I've also gotten back into Personal Training and am working for 24-Hour Fitness at one of the companies biggest and busiest gyms in the country. I am loving being back in the training game and as well as helping others, I'm learning a ton about my own training and have made a lot of adjustments to my programming and goals. With most of my racing done for the year, I'm trying to really put on some muscle and size because... well, why not?

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In the last week of July, my dad, brother, and Godfather (Dad's best friend) took a trip to the Grand Canyon! It was a crazy trip--I thought it was going to be hot desert the whole time, but I was sorely mistaken.  We went to the North rim, which is the north side of the Canyon and sits at about 8,700 feet high. It was cold and we got a daily monsoon, along with a pop-up camper that didn't have any power or water working... but it was a blast hanging out with the guys. My brother wasn't going to come but was able to at the last minute, and that reallllly saved me!  Here are some pictures from the trip:

More of the Canyon

The canyon

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Keeping fit with my little bro

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Camp

Point sublime

Red Rock Canyon

Chillin at camp

Billy-goating (scrambling up rocks)

The camping squad

The last night, we came back early (not at all because I was frozen...) and Stewart (my brother) and I had an awesome time out in Las Vegas

A few weeks later, I did a local olympic distance triathlon with one of my Wattie Ink teammates, James Adams. The race was fun and was all through the grounds of the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center which actually made it a lot more entertaining.  I have a solid race--decent swim, solid bike, and fastest run in my age group, which I'll take being that I hadn't been running much.  After this race, I cut my cardio down just a little bit and have really amped up the strength training.

I also finally got the new tattoo I've been planning for over a year now. This will be my last! A quote my dad has always told me when I am having a hard time is "Anxiety is merely another form of atheism."  I had this translated into Latin and behind the lettering I drew a rose with 5 thorns.  The rose is a family name, Rosemary for my grandma who passed last year, and Rose after my younger sister's middle name. The 5 thorns represent the 5 members of my family.

Down my left ribcage and side

This was right after the tattoo was finished so the skin was still inflamed... but now I'm thinking about shading some red on the rose just like it looks here...

Later in August, I was back in Vegas for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships with over 40 of my Wattie Ink Teammates!  I wasn't racing, just hanging out and cheering for everyone. Our pro athletes in the race did really well! Heather Jackson took second overall and Joe Gambles took third.  It was an amazing weekend hanging out with everyone. The best part was going on a ride with my godfather (who I stayed with) the day before the race. We had been planning to ride together for a while, but this trip we finally got the chance to bike through the hills of Las Vegas together!

Me and teammate Jake Steen

Heather Jackson taking second place

 

Lastly, I went to a Lil Wayne concert, featuring 2 Chainz, and T.I! T.I. has been my favorite rapper since way back in the day before he was mainstream and this was my first time to get to see him. It was a really fun concert and Lil Wayne puts on a wild performance!

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And that brings us to now--or right before the Ireland trip.  I'll post about it as soon as I have all the pictures I want!

Anyone else been to Ireland? If so, what part?

--Chuck