Saturday, June 18, 2016

Build a new endurance pack - the path less traveled

Why begin this journey? Believe me, I've asked this question of myself a number of times over the last few years. From the day I first started toying with the idea of developing my own endurance pack to the day just recently when I actually signed a contract with a product developer to formally begin the project, "why" has been the most frequently asked question. 
There are great packs in the market. Large organizations with scores of product developers are tasked each year to provide awesome products to the masses of endurance athletes. Why take that on?
It's still a good question. 
Answer? Because I can? Because I see value in my product? Because I hope it fills a void/need in the market? Because I can make money? All reason, but none really capture the essence of why. Yes, they all contribute to it. But the "why" really comes down to the fact that I see it as the path less traveled. I see it as my challenge. Ever since the idea came into my head I've felt that this is my next challenge. I've tried to disregard the idea. I have a full time job that I love and is very busy. I have a family, and the Feed Your Crazy brand to build. Why take this on? Maybe the God (the universe, higher power, earth's energy - depending on who you are) feels that I can learn from this challenge. Regardless of the degree of success that comes from this project, I believe good will come of it. And ignoring it would be tantamount to ignoring a prompting, missing an opportunity to improve myself. For every time I've tried to burry it I've had an experience bringing the idea back onto my plate. I'm dense, but not stupid. It's a journey I need to take on.
So here it is. I'm taking on the challenge of designing, manufacturing, and launching a new endurance pack line. Runners beware. Cyclists watch out. Hikers / speed hikers keep your eyes open. Our journey down the path less traveled may result in something pretty cool. I'm not promising all things to all people. And our beginnings will be humble. I I'm not taking this on with big financial backers and their resources. I'm using grass roots to get the product developer. Some of my own money to get it started and likely using something like Kickstarter to get the first batch funded. Social sharing is appreciated :) 
So where are we today? I've spent two years talking about it. I've shared the idea with dozens of athletes, runners, cyclists, hikers (mostly under NDA). Paranoid idea guy? Yes. I have pages of notes, drawings, and a head full of what we launch with, and what follows after. We have a product developer with experience in the market and understanding the critical elements of fabric, construction, and design. Paired with my own experience and the combined experience of my close associates who will be checking out the product at every stage of design and beta testing I believe we have the critical eyes to turn a dream into reality. 
Why write the blog? 
Because it isn't just about the pack. As I've already said - the universe teaches us lessons in everything we do. And I want to share my journey, my struggles, my frustrations, dreams, successes and ideas with anyone interested. 
Disclaimers? None. I won't be sharing the specific details of the pack until it is ready to launch. Don't want to give away my competitive advantage. But I will be sharing the process and everything that comes with it. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the experiences, and how your own journey is similar / dissimilar - regardless of the struggle you are facing. 
Why share through Feed Your Crazy? Because the project does not have its own brand yet. Will it be a FYC product? Or have its own brand? We'll decide. But mostly this is feeding my crazy. It drives me, motivates me and excites me. It's part of who we are. 
Let's get started
We'd love the help sharing the blog, the brand and our journey. Struggled to build something from scratch in the past? You know what we are talking about. Let's chat about it. 
All our best. 
Feed Your Crazy - because life is about more...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How do I find my crazy?

I keep telling people. Feed your crazy. Quite often I get the questions “What is Feed Your Crazy”, “What does that mean?”. So I’ve spent considerable time trying to distill that down, and make is an easy answer. My experience is some people just get it. Some people need to hear it explained. And some people don’t ever really understand it and despite my best efforts stand there looking at me like I’m, well, crazy.

But recently I got a new question. “How do I find my crazy?”
Now that’s a good question. Because finding your crazy can be a life altering experience. Not to say that it will change everything about your life, but understanding how you challenge yourself, recharge, etc can make life a better experience. And that’s really the point I guess. Life isn’t about just getting by, being comfortable, or gliding through. Life is a knockdown, drag out, push you to your limits and more kind of an experience. And you need to make time to recharge yourself in order to present your best face when overcoming challenges you may experience.
Feed Your Crazy may mean slightly different things to people. So here’s my stab at it. Sometimes my words may be clumsy, and imperfect. My examples may not resonate with everyone. So listen to the spirit of what I am trying to say. Please don’t like so much of popular media, get hung up on every little contradiction, nuance, or extraneous variable. In some instances I’m trying to explain what the sun feels like on a cool morning. “Warm” doesn’t really cut it. So I have to get creative.
I ran for several years before  “Feed Your Crazy” became a thing. But the benefits were noticeable right off the bat. If you are looking for your “crazy” – consider these factors.

It has to be physically challenging. Huge caveat, this is different for everyone. I’m an ultra runner. Feed Your Crazy’s cofounder – Ricki is a kickboxing and fitness instructor, and knows how to hit the gym harder than just about anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s safe to say that we are both a little extreme. And not everyone has to do what we do. The challenge can come in the form of the time spent, the effort made, or the sacrifice made to simply get out and do it. Researchers have been trying to explain the connection between “wellness” and getting out and getting exercise. It’s chemical, it’s hormonal, its …. Well, you get the point. There are 101 reasons why exercise is good for you. I get a physical and mental thrill thinking about setting out before sunrise and spending 8-10 hours grinding across the mountains. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it is painful, and sometimes I question why I’m there. But when I finish, I feel that same overwhelming sense of accomplishment. The very same sense of accomplishment that someone may feel closing a big business deal, building something, or launching a business. But I personally feel that the chemical, hormonal, humans systems thank us when we are physically active. Combine that with the rush you get from accomplishing something. Bang! Happiness points. Wellness points. Satisfaction points. And I’m not advocating for an ever expanding increase in training, mileage, or anything else. I can run a 100 mile race. But some days, I feel accomplished by simply getting out for that 3 mile run. It’s enough to get my systems going, and mentally allow me to say that I set a priority of getting my training in, and I got it.
It has to allow you to grow. Physically, spiritually, mentally. Growth fuels the fire. Growth starts right up front. When you take on something new you have to learn new skills, new understanding, build muscle, coordination, etc. And growth is often painful. Difficult, and at times disheartening. Why the heck am I advocating it? Because complacency, comfort, offers individuals very little. It offers you safety. You don’t risk failure, you don’t risk pain. But at the same time, if you don’t push yourself, you risk never growing. You risk never succeeding. You risk never accomplishing anything. Complacency and comfort is a growing portion of our population. We want ease. We want to simply get by and not have to stress. But physical sciences show muscles grow under stress. When we take on something new, we get better at it. The task doesn’t change. We grow, develop, evolve, so that we can handle it. I remember my first 8 mile run. I was ecstatic! I just ran 8 miles, it was unreal. I hurt for 3 days. Now 8 miles is just something that I do. And that allows me to enjoy it, use that time for mental relaxation, thinking, enjoying my surroundings, and go new places. One of the reasons I love trail running is because I can get to a trailhead after work, get to a local summit and back to my car before dark. I can see places that you can only get to if you are a back country backpacker. And I can do it in a day, but that’s not to say that it is easy.

When you finish it, you can be physically exhausted, strained to the breaking point, but you are recharged mentally. Ok folks. Here is the real kicker. There are a lot of people who train, work out, and tackle physical challenges. What is the difference between someone who feeds their crazy vs just training? When you finish a workout, you are exhausted. Physically because you just trained, but mentally because you didn’t like it, didn’t find joy in it, didn’t enjoy the challenge of it, and had to force yourself to do it. These people consume their willpower and happiness just trying to get their workout in.  When you feed your crazy you find yourself smiling at the challenge, laughing at the pain, and accepting that it may suck at times, but when you are finished you’re just itching to high five someone because you just rocked it. You come back from the challenge recharged and invigorated. Sometimes a workout is just that, a workout. But the goal, the evolution is to come to understand that the physical effort, the challenge is an evolution that you will come to appreciate because of what it gives you.

But Bard. How do I find my crazy? I’ll tell you where you won’t find it. On your couch. Or at your computer. Sit up, look around, and try something. Since I run, and I advocate for it (rather obnoxiously at times), I have had several friends start to run. We go through the typical coaching phases of getting them started, building up, and eventually toeing the line of an event. Some friends have stuck with it. Some have run marathons, and said “you know what. That was good. But I’m really more of a half marathon kind of person.” Some have stopped running altogether. And you know what? I think that is a mature approach. If you really don’t feel it. If you aren’t recharged by the physical nature of it, the challenge of it, then you should be doing something else. There are so many excellent options out there. Need a list? Run, ride, mountain bike, walk, hike, crossfit, lift at your local gym, swim, get really crazy and combine sports, triathlon (you know what I’m talking about), tennis, racquetball, adventure races, obstacle races….. you getting the picture.
I can’t tell you what your crazy is. But I can give you the litmus test.
a.       Does it get you up and get you going? The body is designed to move, and regardless of what level helps you, movement is good.
b.      Do you feel challenged? Can you grow? Can you improve? Do you enjoy the fact that you can improve?
c.       Perhaps most important - when you are done. Are you recharged? Not each and every time. But does your involvement in the activity make you a better person, a happy person? When I finish a 10 hour run in the Rocky Mountains, I may be physically shot. But I always come home with a big smile on my face. I feel happier, I feel nicer, I feel better.

Think back to being a kid. Come on, it may be difficult, but those memories are there. Did you enjoy the feeling of running through a field? Did you love the adrenaline of pedaling your bike as fast as you could? Did you love the challenge of climbing that rope? Moving a rock that no one else was strong enough to move? Get out and try some things.

Mentors. Find someone who gets it. Enthusiasm is infectious. Find someone who loves to lift in the gym. Go with them and experience their energy. Does it resonate with you? Ask a runner if they would go running with you. Have them share their experiences with you. Does it kindle something deep down?

Adults don’t get to have simple fun. We look for ever more complex forms of entertainment. But the simplicity of physical movement is rooted so deep down within our souls that something cheers when we face that challenge and risk growth. So start simple. Pick an activity you think you like. Give it a try. If it is tough at first, that's ok. Enjoy the challenge. As you develop do you find yourself looking forward to your time doing that activity? Does it recharge you mentally? Does it help you be a better person? If you find that you struggle to do it, and burn all your resources to force yourself to go do it, keep looking. But don't give up. It's out there. It's waiting. Your crazy.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sponsorship - Introducing Kristi Powell

We'd like to take a moment to introduce Kristi Powell, who was selected to receive the most recent sponsorship. Challenges are a way of life. We've all come to expect that. But it's the ability to rise above challenges and still enjoy the very essence of life that is cause for inspiration. Kristi embodies this inspiring ability. 

FYC: How long have you been running/training?
Christi: I used to run back in the early 90’s however a move from Sunny 70’s California to Hot and Humid Arkansas in 1995 ended that as I could barely stand to be outdoors. I started running a few times since then but never was able to make it a priority until the end of 2011. Going on 3 years now and loving every crazy day that I am running!

FYC: Why did you start?
Christi:I started running quite by accident.  My son (whom has Muscular       Dystrophy) received a Service Dog in 2010 and part of my everyday activity was to walk the dog. One day I discovered she would rather run which led to a short run to the end of the street where I was totally out of breath. Before too long, I wanted to see if I could make it around the block, around the corner, 2 streets over and you get the picture. I downloaded Couch to 5K and took it even further, however the dog didn't make it.  She gave in at 1.5 miles, apparently she wasn't crazy like myself.  Once I was able to run my first 5K, I decided to do a 10K, and this is where I discovered what happens when you’re in last place. A cop car follows you. This inspired me to do better (although my time wasn't that bad, at 1hr 7 min) and I decided I would just train for a Half even if I didn't have a race to enter. My goal at that time was just to see if I could do it and the next year I would run St. Jude.  However I was able to get my training in and by the end of the year I ran my first St. Jude Half. 

FYC: What challenges do you face? What makes it difficult to train?
Christi: Definitely the biggest challenge for me is being a single mother, working a full time job and taking care of son who depends on me for his every basic need. A typical day for me would start at 4 am. I once tried to squeeze two runs a day and would start my first run at 3:15 am, get the kids ready and off to school by 6 am and then myself ready and off to work by 8 am. At 5pm, I would start my second run but only after returning home to change and make sure both kids were settled. Two runs a day left me too tired for my children, so I had to reorganize and cut back on my training just a little. I now only run after work and weekends.

FYC: What/who inspires you?
Christi: It’s simple, my 17 year old son whom has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. At 13 he lost his ability to walk. Every year he continues to lose strength in his entire body and currently is fighting to keep his arm strength so that he can feed himself. He never complains, never cry’s, apologizes all the time to me for asking me to do something for him because he no longer can. He smiles and laughs NON STOP, and has said repeatedly “I love my life!” What he knows, but doesn't let it affect him in any way, is that his disease is fatal as it will eventually take over his heart and respiratory system.  We live in the moment, trust in God and spend each day as crazy as we can!  There have been many times on my run that I feel tired and I just don’t have anything left to give, I think of him and that each and every movement he makes, he gives his 100%, ALL THE TIME! His smile and his attitude is what keeps me going.  I run for him because he can’t!

FYC: Do you have a favorite story about someone calling you crazy for wanting to do this?
Christi: All of us have been told at some point in our running careers that we are “Crazy” just for running a Half/Full or even 5 miles. They say things like “I can’t even run to the mail box and back.” Two years ago I ran on a Horse Track in Paducah, KY for a 10 hour endurance run starting at 7 pm until sunrise. That was my first “Full” with little training. I was told I was beyond crazy for running in circles for 10 Hours, but then I did it again the next year and increased that number to 31.5. Crazy was the word again. When I announced that I wanted to do 50 miles, I was told there was a room available at a local mental health facility for me. I may just take them up on that offer as after this 50, a “soft padded” room with meals provided, will sound wonderful!

FYC: What does Feed Your Crazy Mean to you?
Christi: It means stepping out of your “comfort zone” and to do the “unthinkable” whatever that may be to you. Take a chance, you only live once!

Again we share our best wishes to Kristi in training, in life, and on race day. Every one of you face your own unique challenges and somehow rise above. Keep feeding your crazy, keeping yourself happy, and inspiring others. Hearing your stories, seeing your pictures, inspires us. We hope to keep sharing great stories and helping everyone out there become awesome. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

FYC Sponsorship

A couple different times in my life, when I struggled with one thing or another I looked to my training as a catalyst to get things back on track. Having a goal, something you work for every day, and seeing the progress helps you feel better about everything else in life. I have found that training for an event is extremely therapeutic. Unfortunately, there have been a time or two when I wanted to train for a race. But, due to my current circumstances, I simply couldn't spend the money on a race. I was fortunate. Twice someone else stepped in and helped me feed my crazy. 
Sometimes it takes someone else to help get you motivated and able to train/race. I want Feed Your Crazy to do the same for others. 
With the sale of our Pearl Izumi custom shirts, we announced we would donate a percentage of our sales from those shirts and pay for someone's race. We've never done this, but we hope to keep doing it, and make it bigger. So, let's get started with the first try. 

Nominate yourself, or someone else you know who may need a race. You can email your submissions to

Here are the details we need:
  • Name of individual
  • email we can contact them/you with, if they/you are selected
  • Tell us a little bit of backstory, why a race is important, what are the circumstances you are willing to share? We won't share anything unless the winner allows the story to be shared. 
  • If possible, identify the race they are interested in
Submissions due January 18th
We'll announce the winner of the first FYC sponsorship on January 25th. 

We'll read everyone's story, and the team will select the winner. We'll get in touch with the winner, and work with them to pay for the race. The training is up to them :) 

We're new at this, so forgive us if we aren't perfect at it yet. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Success and Failure ... and Repeat

I've been running for enough years to know that nutrition is a huge deal for performance, endurance, etc. And yet, the constant battle of daily life can get in the way. After a summer of success that included running R2R2R and shooting a point of view documentary, Ouray 100, Mid Mountain Marathon, and numerous adventure runs in Rocky Mountain National Park, my body decided to simply shut down. First I thought I was sick. Then I thought I was stressed (probably part of the equation). After more reflection I've realized that I didn't want to let go of what I call 100 mile fitness (another post). So part of my genius thinking and overall error was that I would simply cut calories out of my diet since I wouldn't be training as much. But it didn't take long for the stress, full time job, start up company, kids, etc to overload my underfed systems.
Have you ever run out of gas in your car? The car starts to choke, stutter, so you hit the accelerator a bit harder thinking by opening up the throttle the extra gas will rev the starving engine to life. That's a bit what I felt like. Stuttering, struggling, open the throttle up a bit, train more.
No dice.
I've since been doing a lot of research and talking to the "pros" about nutrition. An interesting article on TNation about metabolic damage has a great explanation why the "eat less, train more" mentality isn't the best.
So i'm swinging the pendulum the other way. Despite wanting to cut a few unwanted pounds that resulted from the crash, i'm upping my calories. My adviser/nutritional coaches are basically adding nearly 1000 calories on top of what I thought was my high end for a normal day.
Here's the problem though. What's normal for us? People who run, crossfit, lift, train, ride every day? We have a skewed perception that what we do really isn't a big deal. When you are used to huge training days, scaling back feels easy, but the reality is you are still stressing your body pretty heavily. Without the right amount/kind of calories, it won't work, or allow you to get into the type of fitness you would want, even scaled back.

Anyone struggle with this? Interested in the result.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Help someone feed their crazy

What is Feed Your Crazy? We've used several tag lines to try and define it. "Redefining Crazy", "Feed Your Crazy and stay sane", "It's good to be a little crazy" ...
The point is, we all have something deep inside us that wants to be moving, doing, acting, and pushing. What that means to you is up to you. We all have different crazies. Some of us run, some of us lift, ride, cross fit, hike, tri ... you get the picture. The focus from training, and doing can help our out of control lives feel a little more in control.

The Back Story
When I was 21 I was the victim of a violent assault. The result was me in the ICU with head and neck trauma as well as a few busted up ribs. Afterwards all sort of doctors tried to help me out, including one well intentioned family practitioner who prescribed me one medication after another to deal with my anxiety, depression, and overall stress from the injury. None of it helped. I remember breaking down, sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor and simply crying. It's a pretty low place to be at a young age with the world in front of you. Then my mom called me, challenged me to train for a half marathon. So I started running. She paid for my shoes, my entry fee, and it didn't take long until I was hooked. As I ran more, I felt less depressed. Less anxious. I started sleeping better, and actually felt human again.

I've been running ever since. People call me crazy. Crazy for running. Crazy for racing. Crazy for training in the dark. Crazy for training in the mountains. Yeah, well. If feeling good, feeling healthy, and happier than ever is crazy ... I'm gonna feed my crazy.

But Why?
But sometimes you can't do it yourself. Sometimes you need someone, like my Mom to step in and help you get there. We'll be taking 10% of the profits from each of the custom Pearl Izumi / Feed Your Crazy tech shirts we sell and putting it into a sponsorship fund. These shirts are preorder only. One time print, and that's it. Access the store above, or just click here ( Then I'm going to ask people for their stories. I want to hear what they are struggling with, what they could accomplish if they had a race, a competition, an event to train for. Because sometimes that's all it takes. A springboard of focus to get life back into the livable range. We'll select one of the stories and pay for that person's event. Send them out to feed their crazy.

 Mens Tank
 Mens T
 Women's Tank
Women's T

Will there be rules? Yes. I'll come up with them as we get closer. Can you nominate someone you know that may need a lift? Yes. How many events will we pay for? As many as we can fund with the money we raise from the shirts. We will be taking orders through December 8th. The shirts should be ready to ship the first week of Feb. They are custom printed, cut, and manufactured by Pearl Izumi (the best gear out there) for us. So good things are worth waiting for right? It'll give your spring training a kick in the pants.

And if it goes well, we'll come up with a new sweet design and do it again next year. So if you can, buy a shirt. Teach people how to feed their crazy. Share our story. Share our Facebook or Instagram posts. Tell us your stories, and most importantly, Feed Your Crazy.