My First Awakening
In 2006, I experienced a near death accident, which resulted in a titanium femur and hip. Doctors told me I’d be lucky to walk, let alone keep my leg. Intuitively I knew otherwise. The shards of bone went back together flawlessly and I gradually, over the course of year, relearned how to walk and eventually run again.
The running was frustrating at first, as I was constantly chasing overuse injury after overuse injury. Get one thing under control, then another thing would go. It wasn’t until I went barefoot, that my body began to remember how to run again and on top of that faster than I ever had before.
This was an important puzzle piece I needed for mindful running, for when you take off your shoes and walk or run barefoot, you can’t help but focus on the present moment. And you can’t help but notice new minute sensations your body begins to experience. Suddenly, you’re no longer just a spectator; you’re now one with your surroundings. It’s hard to explain without sounding hokey – you just have to try it out for yourself. The great thing is once you learn this, you never lose it – like learning to ride a bicycle.
My wife, then fiancé, Jessica Lee was so inspired by my story she felt we had to share it with the world. And that’s exactly what we did.
Jessica refuses to hand off the baton. Fortunately, we’ve learned how to work better as a team since the wedding. 🙂
On the Road and in Print
In 2010 we self-published “Barefoot Running” and spent 6 months touring the country and other parts of the world, holding talks and clinics. It was such a success that in 2011 Three Rivers Press, a division of then, Random House, re-released “Barefoot Running” and published “Barefoot Walking” in 2012. Our core message has always been the same – be in the present moment, be grateful for every moment and embrace every moment.
A Second Awakening
I’d been combining mindful practices with movement since I was a teenager – they just didn’t call it being mindful back then. At 13, I can recall racing against the clock, where I quickly learned if I quieted my mind, I rode faster. Within my first year of racing, I began beating out adult cyclists, and eventually winning.
Later on, I remember sitting at the starting line of a bicycle race, visualizing myself over and over again breaking away at the dangerous last steep turn of the race. Once I actually reached that point in the race, I did exactly what I had envisioned – and with confidence while my competitors fell back, probably amazed at my audacity.
Fast forward 30 years. It wasn’t until my most recent accident (crossing a creek), in which I shattered my other femur and hip that all the pieces finally came together. Here I was again back on a journey of healing. This time the healing journey began the moment I hit the creek bed. Immediately I started repeating my mantra of “Light and Love,” one of many that I share with mindful runners. It literally saved my life, as it kept my body from going into shock.
My Calling to be a Messenger
Since my teen years, I’ve fine-tuned these techniques and share them wherever I can, through my newsletter, workshops, retreats and online Mindful Running Training Program. I’ve also interviewed dozens and dozens of experts from all fields, from sports medicine docs to podiatrists to chiropractors to psychologists to anthropologists to yoga teachers to spiritual gurus.
I’m so passionate about Mindful Running and how it can transform lives, I’ve worked hard to accumulate a wealth of information and best practices. If you’re interested in a one-stop shop for mindfulness and running, for starters I highly recommend you subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t already.
Who is Mindful Running for?
Mindful Running is for everyone. I’m serious. We were all born to run. And we were all wired to be able to quiet our minds when we run. Studies show our brainwaves actually change after certain durations of running. For most of us, we simply forgot how to run mindfully.
Mindful Running is for those who want to quiet their minds. The ones who want to fine-tune their focus while fine-tuning their bodies. The ones who want to take care of their bodies in a kind, gentle, easy and good manner. The ones who want greater health and fitness the injuries that often come with running. The ones who want to gift their spirits with joy, compassion and wonderment. The ones who want to reacquaint themselves with their inner voices and higher-selves. And the ones who want to take the peace and fulfillment they discover in mindful running back to all aspects of their lives.
72 Random Things About Me
- I was born in 1970 in Massachusetts.
- I used to have a go cart shaped like herbi when I was a child.
- In a parent-teacher conference, my 1st grade teacher declared I was the worst student she’d ever had in class.
- In 2nd grade, I jumped out of a school window and ran home after the fire alarm went off.
- My handwriting was so horrendous that I learned to type at age 10 on a manual typewriter. (Keep in mind, this was 1980.)
- In middle school, I ran to and from school to avoid bullies on the school bus.
- In 8th grade I wrote a 64-page typed paper on arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries with predictions that came true over the next 10 to 20 years.
- I went to a private Catholic high school until one day a teacher tried to tell us women only had one purpose. I quit that day and went back to public schooling.
- The first mile of my first cross-country race was under 5 minutes… unfortunately I hadn’t learned how to pace myself and I came in last.
- I once owned 17 bicycles and each had a name.
- In high school, I bought a heavy department store steel bicycle for “resistance” training one year and rode it straight through a New England winter until the welds gave out.
- I’ve had 10 knee operations on my left knee. No ACL, but I can still run!
- When I was 12, unbeknownst to my parents, I bicycled over 100 miles and crossed 3 state borders solo from my hometown in Danvers, MA to Maine.
- In 1984, I caddied the US Women’s Open golf championship.
- As a kid, I used to be so socially awkward, I once told a girl at a party she had an ugly sweater on.
- I’ve been meditating since high school.
- I had 1 knee operation and 1 sinus surgery done without any aesthetics, just with the power of the mind and meditation.
- I spent 3 years racing against the best cyclist in Europe trying to make it to the Tour de France.
- I got hit by a car while bicycle racing in France. The surgeon pointed at the metal rod he was going to insert into my leg and said, “Don’t worry – made in America.”
- I got hit by a motorcycle while mountain biking in Colorado. When I came to, all I heard was, “I killed him. I can’t believe I killed him.”
- I’ve only been med-evacuated (airlifted) once.
- I find “coincidences” which I like to call synchronicities happening around every corner.
- I once biked 5000 miles across the country in 40 days, unsupported to raise awareness for children and adults with learning disabilities.
- My favorite activity is running or snowshoeing steep hills and ridgelines above tree line.
- I was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD as a child, though these days I now realize much of my cognitive struggles were attributable to a high-sugar, low fat diet.
- My first book is titled, “College Confidence with ADD.”
- When I arrived in Washington DC, I spoke before Congress and rode around in the same Capital Subway car as Hilary Clinton’s. (I got her business card.)
- I have a MBA and a Masters in Computer Information Systems, but these days I have to ask Jessica how to use my smart phone.
- I also have a BS in Political Science and an almost degree in exercise physiology and biomechanics… My college wouldn’t allow me to create my own major.
- My Masters thesis was on orthotic design, ironic since I ended up tossing all foot support out the window – even my shoes.
- I trained at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for cycling and speed skating.
- When I was track cyclist, I used to envy sumo wrestlers how much they could eat. I would try to match them.
- At one point, I weighed 200 lbs… I’m only 5’10”.
- I used to be able to do sets of leg presses, called a hip sled with over 1650 lbs.
- I was a car salesman for a month, until I learned how unethical the dealership was.
- Saw a UFO once over NYC and the Statue of Liberty along with 1 million other people.
- I used to be hypoglycemic until I went sugar-free for a year (not even fruit) and kicked it.
- I’m a big fan of eating a high healthy fat diet, so you’ll find all of my meals includes foods like coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds and of course my staple food – avocados.
- We compost… even the kitty litter.
- These days, I eat predominately raw vegan foods.
- Occasionally, I’ll splurge on a good Mexican meal.
- I always have a soft spot for chocolate.
- I made sauerkraut for the first time this year.
- I’m always experimenting with my “meat suit” (aka body) to see what it’s capable of.
- I’m in the process of strengthening my eyes and I’ve cut my eyeglass prescription in half.
- I LOVE running in extreme climates – Ran at -44 and in death valley-like conditions – just not in the same week.
- I love diving into water in below freezing temperatures and heating up my body through meditation.
- I consider myself the “mule”, so when Jessica and I go out for a run, I pack supplies for her, but none for myself.
- I’m a big fan of vitamin D, sourced the natural way – time spent in the sun and with supplements. (I prefer the company called “pure.”)
- I’m a Virgo with a bunch of planets in Leo.
- I meditate on average 2 hours per day.
- I sun gaze at sunrise and sunset.
- I love comedies, spiritual and animated movies. I can’t bear to watch horror movies or movies with a lot of violence or negativity.
- I learned to swim before I could walk.
- I don’t like to kill anything, even mosquitos… though I make exceptions when it comes to mosquitos for Jessica.
- Before I met Jessica, I was studying Japanese, contemplating moving to Japan to become a monk.
- One of my groomsman told me, “Duuude! You were no where before Jessica came into your life.” And he was spot on.
- I drive a Prius, but there’s talk of upgrading to a Tesla someday.
- Sometimes I get around town on our scooter fondly named “Pepe.”
- Jessica and I got married on 10.10.10 on an organic farm just outside Boulder, CO.
- I have long legs, but a short torso, so when I sit at the dinner table with Jessica, she towers over me.
- If you really get me laughing, I start honking like an elk in heat. Jessica’s really good extorting this laugh from me.
- Then we moved to an earthship in Taos, NM briefly.
- I love all animals, especially our cats, but crazy about dogs.
- I once had a coyote-blue heeler mix, named Pumpkin as a companion for 17 years.
- Pumpkin also had a sister who was a white Brittany service dog, named Sawa.
- Now we live on Maui with two cats named Meow-Meow and Lumi meaning light. (Meow-Meow simply never responded to any other name. )
- I’m longing for a running companion in the form of a canine.
- “My” dogs are always female – “Jessica’s” cats are always male.
- My favorite time to start a run is before sunrise.
- My favorite spot to meditate use to be inside a small meteorite crater in Boulder, CO.
- Sandler literally means “shoe maker.” Funny for the author of Barefoot Running book!