Rails to Trails & Balloons to Boards

06.05.20191166

Notice the photo above. It is interesting, but doesn’t necessarily have any special meaning. Well, lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Origin of Inspiration, and figured that 1166 must mean something to someone. Well, as it turns out, it does. Not only is it the year that Henry II of England enacted the Assize of Clarendon, reforming English law and defined the legal duties of sheriffs, but it is also a German longboard (skateboard) company. 1166 gets it’s moniker from the former East Berlin district where it all started.

So, I got looking at longboards. Being that everything is interesting to me, I just found myself delving into the world of long distance longboarding.

I had a cheap skateboard when I was 12 in 1989. I remember that it was orange and black and said, “El Loro Malo”, which is, The Bad Fox, on the underside. I was never any good, and I was woefully unable to do an ollie, the foundational trick to skateboarding. My skating career ended when I attempted a Bomb Drop from a two foot retaining wall and snapped the board in half.

That was very close to exactly 30 years ago.

Now, with my newfound interest in the world of wheeled boards, I think not of tricks or flying, but of distance. Long distance.

I fancy myself a runner and have, by the grace of God run ten marathons. I prefer solitude and have largely abandoned organized races in favor of my own solo, self-supported efforts.

Well, as it turns out, there is a small but growing movement of longboarders going on 100+ mile skates. There are several high profile events around the world, and one of them,  a 188 mile race on a paved rails to trail path, runs between Atlanta, and very close to my home. This is an event that is attended by skaters from all over the country, and even internationally, and it’s effectively in my own back yard. I even run out there from time to time, having never been aware of the trails alternative usage.

Now, I’m not committing to doing this event, but it intrigues me, and just yesterday, I bought a purpose built board. I’ve connected with a few guys that are into LDP (long distance pushing) and they have been more than helpful in suggesting specific board set ups.

It’s simply staggering to think that it all started with the seemingly random order placement of some balloons at my local supermarket.

Stay curious. You never know what doors it may open.

The Pantheon board below should be arriving to my home within about a week. Thanks for reading, and feel free to connect. As we all live life’s great adventure, we need each other.

Patrick

info@needfree.com

Pantheon Trip

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Memorial

05.27.2019

As I write this, it is Memorial Day.

I work in the retail industry and have witnessed thousands over the last three days purchasing goods to enjoy their long weekend with friends. This year, as with most every year lately, I see social media posts berating those that would wish one a “Happy Memorial Day”. I understand the sentiment. I understand the ease with which we do not remember that Memorial Day is to remember those that lost their lives during war defending our freedom. Perhaps the day isn’t to be celebrated, but, rather, those that did not return home.

Last night, a neighbor was shooting off fireworks just after 9:30 PM. It did make me wonder what their association was between an incendiary display and the remembrance of the dead was. Certainly Independence Day is cause for such activity, but perhaps not so much so on a day that, in my heart is much more austere.

I don’t care, or correct, those that would wish me a Happy Memorial Day. I wish everyone, every day to be good, and it is on Memorial Day that I actively use my imagination to think of those that served and died. Who were they? What did they do for fun? What made them laugh? What music did they enjoy, and what plans did they have?

I am grateful. I am solemn. I will not go out and  buy a mattress because the local bedding store is shouting at me.

I become more pensive, and I think about the kind of life I am leading. Does it honor their sacrifices? Am I doing worthy work? Am I making my community a place of peace and encouragement?

I think so. I’m sincerely trying to.

So for those that fought – at any time, and left loved ones behind. I remember, and I make my own life a living memorial to them by doing what I believe they would have done themselves.

What are you doing here?

04.03.2019   Hey, you’re reading printed text! Thanks for slowing down for just a minute to read this.

Blogs are strange things. For some, they’re a personal journal that only a select handful read, and for others, it’s their…It’s just one of their many platforms to promote themselves, or their product, or agenda, or themselves, or even themselves.

It is with significant hesitation that I press forward with all the social media outlets that Need Free has. But then I remember. It’s not about me. As one is apt to do in one’s life, I asked myself, “What are you doing here?”

I determined that it was quite simple. To start with I wanted to be happy and live a comfortable life with my wife and be at peace. Secondly to that, I just wanted to

Help people. and Be good to them.

That’s it. I don’t have a cause. I’m not trying to end a scourge. I’m not banging the drum of anything. I simply want to encourage you in whatever you’re doing. Maybe it’s just getting through the day. Maybe you do want to change the world. Either way, if I can help, or offer a word of encouragement that’s what I’ll do. Additionally, as we pursue the improbably ourselves, we hope to serve as an inspiration, or perhaps as a cautionary tale to avoid some of our mistakes.

So…Less than “What” are we doing here, is “How” are we doing it?

Just a note here. I will frequently use “I” and ‘We” interchangeably. My wife and I started Need Free. She is my biggest supporter, encourager, and inspiration. I am the engine in the vehicle, but she’s the gas in the tank.

We have outlets. That may not be the right term for it, but that’s what I call them.

We have YouTube, Twitter, Facebook – several Facebooks, Instagram, and this blog. You know, all the biggies.

At this point, I still really am trying to avoid the gimmicks and all the things that people are using to promote their stuff. It just seems so on the nose and distastefully self…self everything. It’s “ME” wrapped up in a pretty package in the name of some kind of benefit for you. No hate. It’s just that way I taste it.

So, we’ll just continue to produce content. The photos, blogs, link, and videos. It is incredible important to me that all of it be a value to you. You. I’m pretty good at it in my personal and professional life, but the rules of social media are different behind your device’s screen. If it comes across as self-promoting or self-serving, it’s out.

So let’s wrap this up. It’s hard, even for me, to read seemingly never ending blog posts.

This past week, I made a shift in my thinking. I decided that instead of trying to craft regular episode’s of Runway, (Need Free’s podcast turned web series), I’ll post not only those, but more frequent shorter, check-ins, longer occasional specials, as well as featured music and videos, longform content, and curated videos.

Thanks for reading along with me. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing where all this goes.

I hope you have a great day. Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.

info@needfree or poweredbygenerosity.com

Patrick

 

And We’re Back

03.12.2019   Sorry about that. Just as last year’s running trailed off, so did these blog posts. However, we’re back. To be honest, our dinosaur of a computer was making most PC based social media very difficult. Now, with a new slick and quick laptop, I’m able to get things going much more consistently. It’s scary how many pages, sites and apps have user names and passwords that old systems remember for us. Fortunately, just about everything has been migrated over and all systems are go.

So…Need Free and everything we’re doing is for you. All the encouragement. All the inspiration. It’s March and I feel like I’m off to a bit of a late start. But it’s March. It’s the name of a month. Nothing else. This year I’ll be very focused on bringing you much more visible and consistent content across all of out social media outlets and letting you in behind the scenes. So stay tuned! Tell a friend!

Talk to us at info@needfree.com

Have a great day!

Patrick

(What I’m listening to: Phosphorescent, “New Birth in New England”)

Five and Gone

I really didn’t mean for it to happen, it just did. I had a great summer of running and somehow one recovery week turned into five. I think I enjoyed it too much and just let time slip away from me. As I write this, I’m listening to YouTube music videos after getting home from work at 11 this evening, but I can still feel the ache in my legs from a slow and uncomfortable two mile…(et-hem)…run. You could call it that. I did run.  Exactly one mile, and then I jogged/walked home. Somewhere in November, my endurance and strength went the way of the buffalo.

I mention this for two reasons. Firstly, this blog lets you look over my shoulder at the canvas on which I plan all of Need Free’s happenings. Secondly, and most importantly, it is to encourage you. I was looking out the kitchen window this morning having just deposited my coffee mug into the sink. I got up rather late at 5:00, and sat in the office simply sipping and silently pondering the what’s and whys of it all. Once again I reached the conclusion that all my human efforts are to somehow embetter the lives of my family, friends, and all the rest that fall less traditionally into either of those categories.

I have what seems like several dozen ideas swirling around at any given time. Everything I see and hear is a profound source of inspiration if I choose to see it. I think everyone has a little different reason for doing what they do, but my wife and I started Need Free to meet needs in a simple way, but what has happened is that we’ve begun using a broad spectrum of social media to encourage and inspire. And it’s just the beginning. You are cordially invited to stick around and see how it all unfolds. We’ll need you, and we’re always looking for ways to cheer you on as well.

That is all. Have a great day!

Patrick

Mr. Robot

I interact with a lot of people every day. Every week. It is interesting how obviously people put their best foot forward when it comes to social interactions and especially on social media. Thee’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just easy to forget how many major difficulties most of us are juggling at any given time.

I’m very selective about the media I watch. In general, It needs to inspire, encourage, or else, at least inform me. Even most of the entertainment television I watch does some combination of that.

Ever since cutting cable a couple years ago, my wife and I have been working our way through some really good series on Amazon Prime and Netflix. Most recently, we’ve begun watching Mr. Robot, a show about a brilliant, albeit, troubled young technologist. The show’s creator does a very good job at humanizing someone with whom we would never usually come in contact with. Or, at least that’s what I thought at first. All those people that I work with and around and come in contact with around town have real things going on in a real life that is most often is kept off Facebook and certainly out of polite conversation. But the battle still rages. The depression and addiction continues. The self-loathing and frustration never fully disappear. They hide themselves behind the video games and alcohol, and sleep, and exercise. We, as humans have done a remarkably good job at auto-pharmacology, that is,  self-medication. Without much research, we’ve found what makes us feel better. I’m not here to judge or condemn. The only purpose of this blog post is to just hold up a reminder to reach out and be friendly to someone today. So many people are starving for just a little kindness. The world as a whole can’t provide it. Instead, it must come from individual, intentionally directed at another individual. You many not see the immediate effect it has on someone. They may not even show any sign of appreciation, but even just the smallest random word of compliment or well-wishing can lift a spirit or change a mood. Maybe even your own.

Be well. And have a great day.

 

That Wasn’t So Hard

Often times, one will have an idea. That idea is generally in it’s completed form, and the “how” of exactly what it would take to bring said idea to past, are generally…fuzzy at best.

After nearly ten years of audio podcasting, I’ve got my first video version up on YouTube, and it’s a lot like I had hoped it would be. (You can view it here: https://youtu.be/xG-qg9GABYg) Sure, there have been other videos I’ve posted, but this one is the closest to how the old podcasts have been. And…That wasn’t so hard.

I’m not the most technically adept person out there. But I’ve accumulated a few doodads that I can work with, and they seem to be enough. I’m on several Facebook groups for people doing similar things, and it never ceases to amaze me how much money these people have spent for results that – frankly are underwhelming. I mention this to encourage you to just do what it is you want to do. Start with whatever you have, and just grow as you go. As a matter of fact, some of the most successful people have credited their ability to rise to the top with the limitations they were under at the beginning, and along most of the way. So now, after a few trial runs I think I’ve got the hang of how to do this now, and am ready to get episode 113 off the ground sometime soon.

So stay tuned for much more to come, and have a great day!

Patrick

 

Sorry, Wrong Number

10.24.2018 So you didn’t win the big lottery. Many are disappointed, but how many are actually surprised? I’m certain that countless hours of conversations were had this week about people’s plans on how to spend the nearly one billion dollar cash payout. I overheard several such conversations myself while out shopping, and I had the same conversations with my wife. But here’s the thing…how many of those goals that were set while dreaming of the big prize now have to change? Seriously, while you’re not likely to earn anywhere close to a billion dollars between now and the end of your life, why do your goals need to change? Okay, let’s evaluate this. Your goal to buy a multi-million dollar mega-yacht can’t stay, but why not a smaller boat? Or, was it really your goal to just get out on the water, or to travel, or just to host friends? Keep your goal. Change the how, or more likely, change the specific what. Today, is the time when people will either dejectedly slip back into their ordinary routines, or will take the flame of inspiration that was sparked in the last couple weeks and begin moving in the direction of their dreams. Spend some more time this week and give some thought as to what it was exactly that caused you to identify those now out of reach goals, then just modify them so that you can reach the same end. Everyone wants peace, security, happiness, and friends. None of those things take much money. As a matter of fact, those things can be had with little to no money. So there’s something to think about. Take a look around today at what you have, and realize that you are far more wealthy than the vast majority of our neighbors across the planet. We can still live within our means and give generously to help others find peace, security and happiness, all the while being the best kind of friends.

Here’ an action item. Why not post some things you no longer need on Need Free? It’s fast, free, and easy. You’ll be helping someone in your community, and helping us as well. Not sure about it? How about just stopping by the website and taking a look around.

Thanks for your support, and have a great day!

Patrick

 

needfree.com

Everything you need…Free

Jackpot

10.22.2018 Many conversations have been recently had about how one would spend the $1.6B winnings in the historical Mega Millions lottery. Certainly, several million dollars would significantly impact someone’s life. However, taking home closer to a billion dollars is practically inconceivable. My initial thought was that I hope the winner is someone who really needs it. But I have changed my mind. I hope the winnings go to someone that will use it to do a world of good in a world with so many unmet needs.

In the meantime, my wife and I will continue to do what we can with what we have, and encourage you to live and give generously. Meet the needs you can, and consider broadening your influence by posting things you no longer need on needfree.com. Someone somewhere needs what you no longer do.

Have a great day!

Patrick

Home Run Challenge 2.0

10.20.2018 This year has been the first in twelve, that I’ve really stepped out and pushed myself to accomplish more challenging runs.

Beginning in January, I started re-developing a solid training base for an eventual marathon. That marathon was run in July was my seventh since 2007.

My plan, as I continue forward, is to run progressively longer and more involved challenges. The first hurdle, was to run a solo, self-supported non-event marathon. I did that out at a local park a few months ago.

Next up, was another marathon distance run out and back from my home three times less than three weeks ago.

Yesterday was significant because I ran 26.2 miles solo, and self-supported, and point to point. I met a neighbor and coworker just down the street and he gave me a ride to the start of my run. Coincidentally, my place of employment is exactly 26 miles from home. Convenient. I drove the route a couple times scouting for shoulder conditions and to see how many places there were to stop to make purchases. Fortunately, and as planned, I didn’t need to stop anywhere.

My last marathon was on October first, with twenty two additional training miles in between. In retrospect, I should have tapered longer to give myself fresher legs. It was a very challenging last five miles.

The gear I took along weighed just at ten pounds with the majority of the weight being from the nearly one gallon of Gatorade, and the hydration backpack and twin bottle carriers themselves. Additional weight consisted of twelve Nature Valley bars, 14 Slim Jim’s, four oranges, four Gatorade energy chews, and some mustard packets.

I began my run just before sunrise and wore my red flashing LED headlight for another hour after daybreak to increase my visibility. The first three or four miles had a rather narrow shoulder and involved stepping into the tall grass frequently to avoid the many morning commuters. The rest of the run was on a gravel shoulder with occasional concrete sidewalk and pavement.

The total run was just over six and a half hours. Given my normal leisurely pace, I think the time was respectable given the extra weight I carried and the general incline the entire route. The Strava app I used kept track of miles and terrain well, but I did manage to somehow pause the app and lost about three miles of run data.

I listened to my own music library, as well as NPR’s Fresh Air and All Songs Considered for the bulk of the run, and then switched to YouTube for saved songs for the last hour and a half. Just a word of note, I’m much more mindful to keep the volume lower than would normally be comfortable. Over the hours, the ears and mind can be easily fatigued from the constant bombardment of noise. Typically, I like to listen to spoken audio to pass the hours, and music when I need a boost of energy. The best of both worlds here are one of my favorite podcasts, The Hawaiian Concert Guide. I’ve been a longtime fan of Polynesian culture and find their music very peaceful and cathartic. The two hour podcast is an easy and enjoyable way to pass the time.

Over the miles, my pace did slow as expected as I fatigued and took more walk breaks. To the best of my recollection, I didn’t stop to walk until around mile 18. Upon returning home, my legs and feet were pretty sore. I usually finish up tired, but not often sore. I attribute it to the hills, extra weight, overall distance, and only eighteen days between marathons. I remembered to trim my toenails before beginning. A sharp edge can easily cause some pain with the 50,000 or so foot strikes. Unfortunately, I must have missed a sharp edge, because I bloodied a toe and didn’t realize it until I removed my socks. The pain had been there all along; I just didn’t recognize what it was.

At seven AM the next morning, I’m sore, as expected, but could still loosen up and go run another ten if I needed to, but will exercise good judgment and recover fully. My next challenge has yet to be planned. With a 100 miler on the horizon, I think a 50K or two should be next. My pacing and training have always been extremely conservative. I could probably push harder, but I like to play the long game and and mental confidence is critically important when it comes to being out on the road or trail for that many hours.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll subscribe to keep up with all the new developments. Please let me know if there’s any way I can hep you live your own great adventure. Have a great day!

Patrick