Why the heck am I putting myself through this?


Why are you doing this? Why are you putting your body through this?

I get asked these questions quite frequently when people hear that I am constantly hitting the weights in the gym, or out running three to five miles a night to get ready to participate in a Tough Mudder on July 12. Honestly, there are times when I really don’t know why. Not sure what motivates me but I keep on doing it. I’m well past my younger days of athletics and when my body could recuperate much quicker from the muscle soreness, aches, and pains I incurred after training. I guess it’s that I refuse to give up. It’s very easy to give up. I know many people that just let it all go when hitting a certain age and give in to life’s excesses. Even though my body might have a bit of wear and tear on it after all these years something keeps me going. Something just won’t let me quit. Even when I have days lately when I doubt I can do this, and my mind plays games with my confidence, my heart and soul won’t let me give up. It refuses. There is a nagging voice in the back of my mind that urges me to keep going. Even when I’d rather be out bar hopping with friends, hitting a party, or going out to a gut busting dinner. Failure is not an option.

Why am I doing this to myself?


After quite a long time of not particpating in athletics I decided last year to run in a Warrior Dash. Maybe I was just looking for some sort of competition. Maybe I just wanted to prove to myself that this old kid still had something left to give. I had a few months to train for it. I also decided to try and better other people’s lives by running it for charity and raised a good amount for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This one goal kept me going. Failure was not an option, and as I ran the 3.2 mile course and tackled the dozen or so obstacles I thought about quitting a few times, especially after injuring my chest and shoulder pretty bad on one of them. My knees were also a bloody mess. Again, my heart and soul would not let me stop. Not until I crossed that finish line.

Why am I doing this to myself?

My gal’s brother is in the Air Force. Just returned from Afganistan recently. I salute his service. He has done multiple tours over there in a God-foresaken land, as has thousands of others in our military have done since 9-11. These people give their all for our country. Some come back severely injured for life, and others come back giving the ultimate scarifice. When I started to read about Tough Mudder and saw that it was a 10-12 mile run with about 25 obstacles I was intrigued but wary. Could I do this? Why would I want to put my body through this? Then when I saw they are a huge supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and I could run it for that charity I knew I had to. Again, it was another way to give back to those who have already given so much for us. I can’t let these people down. I have seen video of disabled vets participating in Tough Mudder and making it through. Just amazing determination. I have to do this or my soul will never rest.


Why am I doing this to myself?

My dad is a lung cancer suvivor and also served in the Army back in the day. Used to be a big smoker, but had quit. Diagnosed with cancer. For a few years I saw him go through chemo and assorted cancer drug treatments. When he still lived here in NY I would have him stay over at our place in the city and take him to ball games. Sure, we also went out for some beers and wine even though his doctors warned against it while in treatment, but what the heck. It made him happy and didn’t seem to harm anything. He also started exercising and working out. A lot of walking too. After time he gained all his strength back and was diagnosed as cancer free. How can I not do this now after seeing what he went through? If he can beat cancer I have no excuse.

Why am I doing this to myself?

My fiancee’, best friend, love, and life partner Stacey. She is an inspiration to me, strong willed, smart, and a very kind hearted person. She also laughs at my dumb jokes and likes the same toilet humor I do! She has gone through so much over the past few years. Very sick father with heart and leg problems. Her mom just having hip replacement surgery where she has been with her these past two months or so taking care of her while she recovers. Worrying about her brother in Afganistan. All the while trying to recover from major neck surgery and being in constant pain while the bolts and plate in her spine heal. Yet, all of them keep on moving forward and not giving up. Here I am an able bodied person and have no justification to quit. Plus, her mom will smack me in the back of the head if I quit. Hard.


Why am I doing this to myself?

Because I can! Because I must!

I guess I am doing this to myself because I can. I want to give back. I want to succeed. I want to prove to myself that I can still push my body to extreme limits. I want to help make someone’s life a little better. Maybe in my past when I was younger and living a more selfish life as many do I didn’t care. Now I get it. All it takes is a little bit to be inspired, to have heart and soul, to push beyond the normal boundries, and to even be so driven to inpire others. Inspiration is all around us. You just have to look a little harder, and not be afraid of trying. If I fail at least I will go down knowing I tried. True failure is never even trying at all. I might fall, but I will not give up.

A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted this video of pure inspiration. It is honestly a great way to spend six minutes. Turn up the volume. Listen to the words. I am going to watch this every day. If you’re not motivated after watching this then I don’t know what will move you. Thanks for reading and for your time.

64 thoughts on “Why the heck am I putting myself through this?”

  1. Proud of your determination and drive. I have seen the Tough Mudder events advertised and thought what an awesome event but I am WAY too out of shape to do anything like that!!! Would love to do something along those lines but on a WHOLE lot smaller scale!!

  2. Awwww…Phil, I love this! I admire your determination—you are an inspiration and I know you’re gonna kill it when you’re there! I wish you the best of luck, my friend, for doing such an admirable thing!

  3. My ability to keep going has been waylaid by injury and I am PISSED. So GLAD to read that you’re keeping going.

    And hoping I make it back *sigh*

  4. Seems as though your life is filled with inspiration. It doesn’t matter where you find it, just that you do.
    I’ve found that no matter what the inspiration, if you add the ability to give to charity into the mix, it makes it all the sweeter.

  5. Hi!
    I found you through MitzeeMee.com and am really happy I did.
    Especially with this particular posting. You have SO many inspirational reasons and you CAN ABSOLUTELY do it!
    Still giggling about your fiance’s mom hitting you in the back of the head…hard.
    Happy Easter!

    1. Hey Patricia!

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting on my little blog!

      I appreciate the kind words and support! Glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, I am scared of her mom. She hits hard. 🙂

  6. Phil! I ALMOST skipped the video, thinking I’d come back to it when I had more time.

    I am so glad I chose to use those six minutes of my morning for affirmation that we set our own boundaries, our own limits, and establish the extent to which we’re willing to pursue our dreams.

    Life wacky lately? Yup. You bet. But, I’ve let the minutes and moments slip by on nonsensical pursuits rather than chase my big picture dreams. Thanks so much for this “brand new day” inspiration.

    BTW, you didn’t mention how I can contribute to your fund raising effort. Wounded Warriors is a stellar, worthy charity at the top of my list. I’ve not YET done as much as I could or should to support them.

    Spill in comments. Give me linky-love to where I can make a contribution toward your endurance run for charity.

    1. Hey Gloria!

      Hope all is well! That video just struck something with me that I watch it every day. We all have our daily pursuits, jobs, and other stuff that takes us off the big picture. Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration.

      Look up top under my picture and click on the Wounded Warrior logo and it will take you to the link. This was an old charity page still up for a few days and I will be switching it to my new event date for July 12. In the meantime you can still use this one. I appreciate any support you can offer. Thanks!

  7. Good for you mate and all the best in July. I’m sure you will have a lot of fun and meet lots of new interesting people there. Coming first is great but what’s more important, is to finish the race you started. Charities need more people like you to forward their cause. I salute you with a nice cool vodka. Well, don’t just stand there reading this, get out there training mate… 🙂

    1. Hey Rum Punch!

      Thanks a lot man! For this one it’s all about just finishing and helping others. That cold beer at the end will taste so good!

  8. Phil, this is so beautifully written! Very inspirational and admirable. Consider yourself blessed for having that nagging voice that won’t let you give up. I salute you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Why do we do it? Because we males are shallow and vain!

    Just joking (well partly). An inspirational post that demonstrates another side to your psyche. In addition to the money-raising for charities, I think another reason for putting our bodies through exercise is that we (usually) feel better afterwards.

    Interesting post.

    1. Hey Gary!

      I guess that is part of it! Another part is that I do feel good after it. Another is that I need to keep training or I’ll be a fat house with all I eat!

  10. Remarkable Phil.. I admire your determination and will to go ahead without Those initiatives. Thanks for sharing the quotes above too. Best regards, Aquileana 🙂

  11. You are going to own this Tough Mudder. Trust me. I’ve done 2. I’m short and stumpy, overweight but determined and I came through 2 of these with minor bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes but a HUGE sense of accomplishment. I have you doubt you are going to kick this Tough Mudder’s ass, Phil!!!

  12. Hey Phil ~ even though I only know you online, I already know you are definitely not a quitter! In fact, I think I contributed to this the first time you mentioned you were doing it again and I paid for the part where you cross the finish line so you better do it! Make us all proud!

  13. Very Inspirational Phil! Congrats on your spirit and determination, and also admiration for those in your family who have made amazing strides to overcome. Good Luck in the continued training.

  14. GO! GO! GO! Great post, my friend. Sounds like you have a lot of inspiration to keep you going and you’ve just given much inspiration to motivate others. Thank you and best of luck with the Tough Mudder!

  15. It sounds grueling! Just make sure to recover properly. Our bodies can break down really easily. I look back at playing singles tennis in 100 degree heat and regret it.

    Sounds like a great cause!

    Thanks for bringing this to the party! You know the drill! Have fun and keep your pants on this time! No naked dancing on the tables!

    1. Hey Susie!

      I’ll be sure to hydate and eat right. Training hard for it now. Have over two months to get ready.

      I appreciate you letting me post on your site. You have some great readers who also commented here. Pants? I think they are somewhere on your roof.

    1. Hey Mel!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad to have you over from Susie’s party! I think these events are all around the globe now. Maybe you can try one some day.

  16. Phil, you can do it…..your mind set is so great and will not allow you to do anything but succeed. Tough Mudder is an incredible event and although I am not brave enough to compete myself, I am volunteering at the local TM in October…I am really excited! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!

    1. Hey Julie!

      Much appreciated! So cool that you are volunteering! It’s a great event and they support such a worthy cause – Wounded Warriors – that I am running for.

  17. You’re not a quitter! I’ve very proud of you for doing this for all the reasons above you listed and also just for the challenge to yourself.
    Thats a great motivational video for sure!

  18. Be brave, O Running Warrior! (And may you not become ill, like the people who ran the TM in my area did last year!)

    Swung by from Susie’s Hip, Happenin’ Party. 😀

  19. You my friend are one sexy, strong man!! Why indeed. What an honorable cause Phil! My cousin, Wesley served & was damaged his vehicle going over a mine; two men killed and he survived but was permanently damaged. These men and women are true hero’s who deserve to be honored!! I’d never heard of this… “Tough Mudder” but it sounds amazing! I run 2 miles- 4x a week. I also have an exercise regiment I do & dance! I, like you, push myself to keep in shape. Sometimes I’m happy…sometimes I think I’m crazy! But I still get up and do it everyday! Good luck & know that we’ll be rooting for you! <3 😉

    1. Hey Inion/Mathair!

      Oh my! I am flattered. It is a great cause and happy to be a part of it. Sorry to hear about your cousin. Hope he is doing well.

      Sometimes you just need to push yourself even if tired or just want to sit on the couch and eat pizza! Thanks for the love!

  20. I know you can do it Phil as you’re a person with a strong soul. You can’t succeed in bloggerdom if you weren’t! I totally admire what you’re doing. We’re right behind you mate. Go Phil! Go!!

  21. Phil, this post is so freaking inspirational, thank you so much for sharing this! 😀 I actually want to watch Rocky now, too, lol!

  22. You are inspiring, Phil! Love the positive “can do” attitude. There are so many, many things we can do if we just put our minds (and bodies) into it. Giving up is the easiest thing anyone can do, but the world needs people like you who refuse to take the easy road.

    Good luck with the training and the run. You can do it. Just keep thinking of all of the wonderful people you’ve talked about in this blog and see their smiling faces and warm hearts while you’re doing it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Hey Patricia!

      It’s much appreciated!

      I’l be thinking of you all as I’m training and running it! Can’t wait as it should be lots of fun. Giving up is easy, but we soldier on.

  23. Great post, Phil. Very inspiring and somewhat emotional. I wish you and yours the very best of health and happiness.

    (As a side note – I did donate what I could to you and your cause a while back…when you first mentioned your challenge, I think. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a follow-up post and ask for more. It’s for a great cause after all!)

    And you’re right – you SO can!!

    1. Hey Hazy!

      So glad you enjoyed, and thanks for the kind words.

      I appreciate the donation! I need to update the link as what was donated in the past for this before I moved my event date still counts towards the charity.

  24. Aw Phil, that was a really sweet and inspirational post. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing, but your reasons making 100% more special. Look at you, you big ole softie. I love your heart, Phil. Stacey is a lucky gal. 🙂

    1. Hey Beth!

      Thanks so much. Sometimes I can be serious when needed! I enjoy pushing myself even if I get beat up a bit. So worth it for a good cause.

      I tell Stacey she is lucky and she laughs at me! 😉

  25. What you are doing is most excellent, Phil. Kudos for participating in a Tough Mudder and especially for all of the heart-felt reasons why you keep training. Carry on!

    1. Hey Mary!

      Thank you! I just need to keep motivated and stay in the gym so I can do well. I’m sure in the end it will be well worth it and fun!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!