Episode 1: Running with the Real Forest Gump: How it saved my marriage, business, sanity, and life.

The beginning. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get” (https://youtu.be/uWzrIX5l0vc). #Church

Let me start out by saying, I am not a writer. I am not a blogger. It took me over a week to type this intro. So why in the world would an ex technology dude, turned GC construction business owner (until I recently sold out to my partner) and now unemployed misfit start a blog? I will tell you why…but not yet. First let’s go before the beginning.

Who is JJ anyway? To put it simply – I am a searcher. Nothing special about that, just spent most of my life on a constant discovery mission. Searching for God. Searching for meaning. Searching for love. Searching for “the next big thing”. And I never really expected to unlock Pandora’s box. Or the meaning of life. I just love the search.

Born in Southern Cali, raised in a Boston suburb (#GoPats), and returning to Cali for high school and my feeble attempt to complete college (“you know a lot of people go to college for 7 years…yeah I know, there called doctors” – Tommy Boy, god rest his soul…https://youtu.be/yKA70sI7Kt0), I was constantly looking for something, attention! As a adult I would learn that was nothing more then an attempt to get reassurance from my parents that I was “enough”. More on that later.

#SideBar. First, you will see this pop up from time to time. That is simply a reminder that my ADHD is in full effect and a random thought has taken over my productive self. This #SideBar is brought to you by the makers of Viagra Single Pack. Seriously. Why in the world would anyone need a “single pack” of Viagra. And if you ever watch that commercial the guy slips it in and out of his wallet like he is Dally from the Outsiders slipping a condom in his wallet (1983 baby – great year). But I digress. What was I saying. Oh yeah, Who is JJ.

Hi, I am JJ. I am just a boy, standing in front of a girl, telling her…what the hell am I talking about. Ok, no more blogging after 4 Venti cups of Bucks.

#SideBar. I love Starbucks. I work from Starbucks. I (now) blog from Starbucks. It truly is the greatest place to “be around” people who you don’t have to “be around”. Do you know what I mean? Like, I really don’t like people. Y’all are ok (my 7 subscribers – mostly family members feeling sorry for my pathetic attempt at re-inventing myself). But for the most part – I just don’t like people. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like “polite conversation”. I don’t like “chit chat”. I DO like chaos. Noise. A buzz. And that is why Starbucks is the second greatest place on earth. Disney World obviously being the first.

You know what, let me actually tell you why I started the blog already. Ok? I will go back and forth during the next 51 months and talk more about my destructive patterns. My vastly different career choices. My family. My kids. My addiction and recovery. But the real reason I started this blog was to journal my “search for a greater purpose”.

#SideBar. Ok, obviously my ADHD is on overdrive. There will be much fewer #SideBars in future posts. Actually that is probably not true. But this one is superimportant. I have no “blogging style”. I will most likely start every blog on my iPhone Notes section, until my fingers get tired, email it to myself, and then finish it off. I will almost always start it at a Starbucks. And will definitely have my headphones on so I can avoid the “polite chit chat” and often be blasting the same Spotify Mix I created over a year ago. Currently I am head banging to Master of Puppets #Metallica. People are starring. I think. Maybe not. I am not looking to make this a “career” (I don’t think). I am not going to try and monetize this blog (actually I will). I will not go back and edit (that part is definitely true). And I will probably drive many of my 7 loyal subscribers crazy with my constant spelling errors, run on sentences, grammar errors, etc. Sorry. It is what it is.

Back Story. Over a year ago I weighed 228 pounds (butt naked, after not eating for a day, and eliminating all possible waste and liquids from my body). I was smoking, again, and in overall horrible shape. I was out front playing with my youngest of 4 children (we will get to the baby mamas and other joys of my life soon enough) and I literally got winded shooting the basketball (set on the lowest height). That was it. I started weight watchers the next day. Started walking and then decided “I am going to take up running”. Why? I have no fu*k*ing clue. I hate running. I hate runners with there skinny waists, fit bodies, who literally eat whatever the hell they want and never gain a pound. I hate the idea of treadmills. I basically despised anyone who used running as a form of exercise. But, after starting to see some results with my weight loss, I knew that running could accelerate the process. And I am not what most people would call “patient”. So I decided i was going to run a 5k. Couch to 5K program.

Day 1 – I still hated running. So I wake up one morning and decide, this is the day. This is the day I take on the seemingly daunting task of beginning my running career. I had nothing. If i remember correctly I put on my Vans, shorts, and a fishing shirt (that has become my “must wear attire” – the fishing shirt) and headed out. Leaving the driveway it felt like a scene straight of the movie Rudy. People cheering me on as I took my first steps toward the street (https://youtu.be/ve_1DvNy5Vs) . The air was crisp. Sun was out. Sky was blue…i am actually full of shit. I have no idea what it was like because by the time I got to the top of my street I was so gassed that i literally walked back home, opened up a tub of Hagen Das Chocolate Peanut butter Ice Cream (still my cheat meal of choice) and ate the entire tub. Hey, i deserved it. I just run 1/32 of a mile. What an idiot.

Needless to say, much has changed over the past 14 months. I will talk more about that in the future. But I did end up running my first 5K – The Color Run in San Antonio. Finished in 27 minutes and change. Became addicted to it. Quit smoking. Quit Drinking. Lost over 60 pounds and 6 pant sizes. Started training (self taught i might add) and enter my second race in the good old state of PA. Gobble Wobble baby.

#SideBar. Ok this one is honestly the MOST important. During all this transformation, I decided that i was going to run a 5k in all 50 states before I turned 50. Why in the hell would I set myself up for this insanity. Dunno. But its gonna happen and that is the true purpose of this blog, and maybe my purpose in life.

I finished the Gobble Wobble race in 23 minutes and quite a bit of change (it was really just under 24 minutes but the other way sounds so much cooler). And my running career – and search for a greater purpose in life – began.

My purpose. So, over the next 4 years and 3 months I will be journaling…blogging about my experiences toward this ridiculous goal. I have researched to see if others have entered into this “club of misfit running fools”. But haven’t been able to find anyone. If your out there and I somehow expand past my 7 faithful subscribers, please comment and tell me how the hell you did it. Maybe we could start a club. A movement. Lol. Any sponsors out there – happy to take your money and promote your products and services (ok, shameless plug for myself…hey I am unemployed and need some income people).

I have 2 states down and only 48 to go. TX and PA off the books. Of course running has become a huge part of my life. I am looking at this as possibly the next chapter in my search for a greater purpose. I truly have no idea how I am gonna do it. I have hired a coach, Coach Blue from www.runwiththelab.com (another shameless plug – maybe I will get a free month of coaching services). Added strength training. Meditation. Nutrition. Intermittent Fasting. Prayer. And I am even trying to SLEEP. Yes, SLEEP. Rest is so much more important than I ever realized to increasing performance. I also have a couple of “unofficial pupils” who have asked me to put together a beginners running and strength program as well. So we will see where that takes me.

At the end of the day. I know people hate this phrase, yes I am talking about you Bill O’Reily. I am just looking to chronicle my journey, thru the lens of a runner, who will obviously face adversity, improbable challenges, and endless opportunities to just quit. But I won’t quit #NeverQuit. If there is one thing I have learned about myself over the past 14 months, is that once I set my mind to something, i will break my body, my mind, my spirit to obtain that goal. I want to thank my wife (the girl I was standing in front of not knowing what the hell to say…”I’m sorry?” you have to deal with a nut burger like me), my kids, parents, friends, and coaches for the on-going support. The next chapter is yet to be written. But stay tuned because i am gonna write it, literally and figuratively.

JJ Out!







14 thoughts on “Episode 1: Running with the Real Forest Gump: How it saved my marriage, business, sanity, and life.”

    1. LMJ. Well I am happy to hear this grabbed your attention. Life is a journey and this journey has just begun. Curious to hear more feedback over the weeks and months to come.

  1. Raw, honest, and hilarious! Love how you know yourself and can weave the hardships in with humor. Keep it going Jeff!

    1. AJW. I appreciate your comments. Yes, humor is very healing. It also acts as a mask to real pain. Probably a little of column A abd column B in this case. Stay tuned.

  2. Very inspiring, funny and overall simply JJ. Knowing you for the time that I have you have made impressive changes to your life that most people just refuse to do. I look forward to training with you and reading about your journey.

    1. Thanks JP. Yes, my experience over the past several years has been significant and I have learned to take it one day…moment at a time. Looking forward to expanding your training. You have come a long way yourself man. #LifeIsAMarathon. #NeverQuit.

  3. I’m in. I’ve been a runner before and it was good for my brain and my body. I will need supervision as I tend to overdo everything…which is why I get so big so fast. I’m looking forward to the journey

    1. Tim. We will start slow and steady. Not my typical approach, but it has served me well over the past several years. Looking forward to working with you. #NeverQuit. #JustRun. #RunForestRun

  4. Looking forward to more. It’ll be interesting to hear an honest account of how somebody made so many positive changes in a (relatively) short time.

    #sidebar it’s comforting to see that somebody else’s brain works like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.

    1. Thanks TK. Yes, life is a journey and we are all searching for something. Apparently I am searching for running. Stay tuned.

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