Marc Bigbie

It's really not about me…

You Can Be a Rock Star Today

by Marc on October 29, 2013, no comments

RnRI’m standing in the corral before the biggest race of the year in my home town, the Rock n Roll Marathon, huddled among 20,000 other people wearing breathable, plastic clothing, trying to stay warm. With about 5 minutes to go before the start, someone comes on a PA system that’s been pumping music out for a while, and makes some announcements we can barely hear, it probably sounds better up front where the fast runners are. Then it gets quiet and I make out someone singing the national anthem. People stand up and shuffle around, not all know what to do. Some keep talking, some stand at attention, some put their hand over their heart, and some salute. Then it’s over and everyone cheers. Then more chatter on the PA, some clapping from people up front that can actually see the stage beside the start line, and then they all start yelling and cheering, I have no clue what’s going on but I thought I could make out something about “DC,” they must be talking about our wonderful politicians doing such a fine job. A guitar starts playing and a big sign starts flashing over the START line. Everyone is looking around, like when you know something is happening but it hasn’t registered just what that is. Then a familiar voice blasts out “Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive…” It hits everyone at once, “That’s AC/DC!” The sign over the start is now scrolling words;


I think it hadn’t hit everyone yet, but I knew exactly what that meant. AC/DC is jamming at the start line of the marathon and about to send us off with a bang! When it gets to the chorus of the song, lead singer Brian Johnson changed it up to “For those about to RUNNNN! We salute you!!!” The song kept playing on “We RUN at dawn on the front line. Like a bolt right out of the blue…” The sign is flashing again;


Everyone is up bouncing from the rock energy, and trying to stay warm while dressed in skimpy run gear that is meant to keep us cool while running, not warm while standing in the pre-dawn hours in the Fall. Then it comes, “We’re just a battery for hire with a guitar fire, ready and aimed at you. Pick up your balls and load up your cannon, for a twenty-one gun salute!” Everyone is electric, hair is standing on end, goosebumps on top of goosebumps. “For those about to RUN – FIRE!BOOM!!!! Fireworks blast off at the start line and runners take off. “We salute you!! For those about to RUN!!!” BOOM!! More fireworks blast off and they’re getting further down the course. The band is still playing, fireworks are still going off every time a new corral comes up and sends them off on the course. None of us runners can believe it, we were just launched by AC/DC to go run a marathon with fireworks blasting sequentially, all the way down the 1+ mile straightway every time a cannon fires during the song, how freaking awesome was that?!?!

Then the song ends and I hear Michael Jackson in my ear buds, I look around, “yep, still in my neighborhood.”  None of this really happened, because as I write this it’s still almost 2 weeks away from the Rock n Roll Marathon 2013 in Savannah. I’m on one of my last long training runs and all alone on a Sunday evening, I haven’t even had a car pass me, much less seen another runner since I left home. When I look down my heart rate monitor is pegged though, and I still have several more miles to go before I can head home and I didn’t bring any water, I’m also running WAY too fast for the amount of miles I need to go to get home, I can’t hold this pace that long.

What can visualization do for you? It can make you a rock star. Every time “For Those About to Rock” comes on my Pandora station, this is the mental image I have in my mind, for YEARS now. Sometimes I even close my eyes while running, only in safe, straight places obviously, but I’ve played this scenario out over and over, every time it comes on my run channel I created on Pandora. I get the goosebumps, for real, I can see the fireworks going off on the road sides, and every time I end up running faster, what a rush. Don’t believe me? Here’s a tweet I sent two years ago today before my very first marathon, this very same one in Savannah, check the date on the tweet;

That’s how visualization works, just like playing cowboys and Indians as a kid seemed real, except in your mind, and it works. I’ve read about visualization for years in regards to many topics, lifting a weight heavier than you’ve ever lifted, asking the boss for a raise, getting married, really anything that may seem hard and needing extra motivation, you can try to paint yourself a picture of how you see it happening, the best and most optimal way for you, because you may be your only motivator, or maybe you’re embarrassed to tell someone about a fear or that you need help. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life alone. I was an only child and shy, and it always worked out where most of the neighborhood kids were a lot older or younger than me, I was always in between. Heck this is true even today, I have a lot of friends younger and older than I am, but very few my age. Even when I’m running these races I’m in between my “fast” friends who get to start in a corral up front and I can never catch them, but I’m faster than the rest of my friends that have to start behind me and can’t catch me. I spend the whole race in “no man’s land” from standing in a corral alone to running the entire race alone, after spending months of training alone. So self motivation is HUGE in my running world, and visualization has become another tool I use to keep from focusing on the bad things, like pain, hunger, having to pee but not wanting to waste time standing in line behind 10 women at a porta-potty on the side of the race while the clock is ticking.

If you read my Do You Set Goals post you saw where goal setting was something I always pictured Dudley Do-Rights doing, but I had learned through running that it worked, and I needed to try it in other parts of my life. Visualization is the same, you’re setting a goal and then visualizing yourself reaching that goal, and every step along the way. You not only say “I want to lose weight/run a marathon/ask someone to marry me” you see yourself doing it. I know plenty of places where I need to do this outside of running, I’m sure you can think of several things you’d like to do but need a little boost in getting there. If you don’t have the support you need, or at least don’t have it at important times like in the middle of a race, YOU may be your only butt kicker. Put yourself in your boss’ office, sitting in the chair, smelling the smells you remember from the last time you were in there, and asking for that raise. See yourself running down that finish line with the crowd cheering, cameras flashing off, knowing it’s all almost over and you’re ready for a bottle of water and to give your family a sweaty hug.

betheball Remember the scene in Caddyshack where Chevy Chase’s character Ty Webb was encouraging Danny to “be the ball,” that’s visualization. He told Danny that there was a “force in the universe that makes things happen, and all you have to do is get in touch with it. Stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” Then he puts on a blindfold and smacks a golf ball across a water hazard and right up on the green within feet of the cup, tapping distance. Of course being Caddyshack then Danny puts on the blindfold and proceeds to plunk his ball right into the water, he wasn’t being the ball, kids will never listen, many adults never learn either…

I’m still waiting on Competitor Group, the company who runs the Rock n Roll marathon series, to get back to me on bringing AC/DC to town, the $1000 offer still stands and I’d even help collect from others, I’m sure it would take more than a grand but I bet I could get more donations from others if it meant having AC/DC blast us off into the morning. Call me Competitor Group!

Have you ever used visualization to do something or motivate yourself to do something? Maybe you’re afraid to do something and would like to try this technique to help calm the nerves and “rehearse” how you want something to happen. Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to share this post on your favorite social channels by picking any, or all, of the buttons below and share with your friends and followers, you never know who you might help “be the ball!”

You Can Run a Marathon, or Anything Else You THINK is Hard

by Marc on October 25, 2013, 8 comments

If you read my How I Lost 20lbs Without Really Trying post, not required reading at this time but please do go check it out if you haven’t, you’d have caught a glimpse of when I decided to run a marathon and how my attitude switched over the 10 months of training I did in preparation for it.

When I first started out in month 1, I could “only” run 3 miles, that’s what I told myself at least. I found a marathon training program that progressively took me up higher in mileage each week, it’s described in the other post, and I presumed this was because it was making you fitter, building endurance, blah blah blah. By month 4-5 though, I was starting to realize that “finishing” was no longer a concern, it was how long it would take me to finish I started thinking about. Something had clicked in my brain to shift my focus, the question of “if” was gone, it was now “how fast.”

I really didn’t start to get a feel for things until several months later when I did my first 14 or 16 mile long run, something again clicked in my head, it began to get “easier” when really things were getting harder and longer. When you get to this distance you’ve passed a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles for you non-runners, and I think that took down another mental barrier. You’re running over 2 hours now, at least I was at my turtle pace. You’re having to do other things like eat and drink during the run, as well as plan how to do that, when to do that, how to carry food and drink, there’s a lot more happening when you get to these distances, but I was still getting more confident even though I was doing more, not just physically but mentally. “What if I screw up and I’m miles from home, I’ll have to let someone know I failed by calling for help or a ride.” What I didn’t realize was that even though the training WAS making me more fit, what it was REALLY doing was slowly training my mind that “You can do it!”

Boiling_Frogs_Pic_-_resizedIt was the hours spent alone on the road, mentally pushing myself slightly farther out on the diving board each time, til I looked back and realized how far I’d out come from the ladder. Just like putting that few percent of your pay into your 401k or the government taxing you “just a little more,” you don’t feel the gradual change, because you’re “only” running 1 more mile further than last week. There’s a famous saying about boiling a frog, why you’d want to I don’t know, but if you throw a frog in boiling water, he’ll jump right out because it’s too hot. However, if you put him in room temperature water and keep turning up the heat slightly, he’ll never notice the change and finally be cooked. That story is almost always used in a negative connotation, but it works both ways, fortunately. By the time you look at your plan and realize “Dang, I’m doing 20 miles tomorrow?” it’s too late because you just did 18 miles two weeks before, and it’s “only” 2 more miles.

dorothyThat’s how running and training works, it gradually talks the body and mind into doing something that it previously thought impossible, when in reality you probably could have done it long ago. Your world shrinks, you no longer get mad when you have to park ALL THE WAY in the back of the parking lot at the mall, when you used to circle the same 4 aisles for 10 minutes hoping to get a spot up front. I look back now and realize that even in the first month, I could have already propelled my body 26.2 miles but at the time that seemed like a crazy long distance, it may as well have been 262 miles, they were both long ways. I would have been slow, I’d have had to have walked a lot of it, but I could have finished it, way back in month 1, my brain just wasn’t convinced, it told me otherwise. Remember at the end of the Wizard of Oz how Glinda tells Dorothy that she always had the power to go back to Kansas, you were probably thinking “WHAT?! Why didn’t you tell me this way back in Munchkinland?” The Scarecrow asks “why didn’t you tell her?” Glinda’s reply “because she wouldn’t have believed me, she had to learn it for herself.” How ticked will you be later on at opportunities you were too afraid to take, ideas you were afraid to risk failing at that someone else has since done? As mad you would have been at Glinda?

80-percentWhat is it in your life that you think is too hard for you to do but humans have already done before? I’m not asking you to flap your arms and fly but what is your “marathon?” Think you can’t climb Mt Kilimanjaro, wrong, my friend Dan Hernandez just did it 2 years ago and blogged about it here. Think you can’t come back from financial ruin and be successful and live a good life, wrong, my friend Amanda Tinney declared bankruptcy, lost it all, and then built a website that she sold just 2 years later for $36k, and now she spends her days in Disney blogging about it and hasn’t had a “job” since. Are these miracles? No. Is there some good luck that comes and helps sometimes? Absolutely. Has luck ever come and knocked on someone’s door and said ‘hey, here’s some money, oh by the way, you can run an 8 minute mile and finish a marathon without getting hurt.” Absolutely not. Until you make the decision to get up off the couch and try something, that’s all you’ll ever be, a couch potato. Just like the Woody Allen quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” you’ll never succeed sitting on your tail. No one ever finished a marathon, started a successful business, or climbed a mountain reading about it online.

Tell me what your “marathon” is, or what mountain you’ve already climbed that gave you confidence to do more, you may inspire someone else here. Success breed success, pass it along. 

Confession: I Have a Debilitating Illness

by Marc on October 20, 2013, 5 comments

It’s hard to write about bad things in your life, but I was recently diagnosed with a condition that has passed through at least three generations of my family, from my grandfather, to my dad, and now to me. It’s a paralyzing disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system and can ruin your entire life and even kill you if left untreated.

I’ve actually known there was something “wrong” for some time now, we all have, it’s symptoms were the topic of many family jokes in the past, much like poking fun at grandma for being forgetful when it’s Alzheimer’s causing it. We really didn’t know what it was, but an actual diagnosis of a problem can snap you back to reality from the dream world you try to put yourself in whenever there is a problem, instead of dealing with it.

This hereditary disease is called Analysis Paralysis, and it’s scary because I’ve watched it suck the life out of us all. It’s cost us our lives, money, family, opportunities, it will ruin you if you don’t get help soon enough. Analysis Paralysis, AP, as I’m going to call it now, is the condition where you over analyze everything to the point to where its too hard of a decision to make, so you end up not making one at all and do nothing.

My grandfather was a great man, I have more respect for him than he ever knew, but he was the first of our family with AP that I’m aware of. Just in financial dealings alone, I know of it costing him millions where he had opportunities, and the ability to seize them, but he sat on his hands in fear and uncertainty. He fortunately was lucky enough to prosper, in ‘spite of’ his decisions, instead of ‘because of’ his decisions, but in some ways it was AP that even killed him, it sure made his last few years on earth a living hell. As Forrest Gump said “that’s all I have to say about that.” Miss you Ganky.

gadgetsMy dad and I haven’t been as fortunate in the type of opportunity decisions, or luck, that my granddad had, but AP has had it’s grips on both our lives and I think it has had a more pronounced effect because of that. Take for instance the decision, need, want, whatever, to buy a widget, doesn’t matter if that widget is a $100 gadget or a car. Those afflicted with AP will decide they want the widget, then do research on it, this is where the internet has made it even worse because there is so much info out there from the manufacturers, retailers, users doing product reviews on blogs and video unboxings on YouTube, there isn’t anything you can’t learn about the widget. So you dive in to every minutia of the widget, how much it costs, weighs, how many buttons is has, options, what’s different between it and other models above and below it, other similar brands, where to buy it, there’s just so much you can learn about the widget in our digital information age, you can almost own it without every actually owning it.

What inevitably happens is the $100 widget is no longer good enough, because for just a few dollars more you can upgrade to one with more bells and whistles and weighs 12 grams less, plus it’s metal instead of plastic, so it’s “only” $50 more, then the whole process starts over again, until you find the one that’s titanium instead of steel, and it’s “only” $85 more. Then you find the carbon fiber one by another brand, so you not only have to study the upgraded features from the lower models, but what’s different about everything else, the new company, and where you can buy this model since it’s not carried by the original vendor, oh and it’s “only $115 more than the other. Then you think “Holy crap! This thing is $350!! I can’t spend that much on this widget!” So you start back over trying to pare down the things that you “really don’t need” in the higher tier widget, but you look at that $100 one you started off wanting, even though it’s in your price range and did what you wanted it to, and think “there’s no way I want that piece of crap, it’s made of plastic…” At this point my head is usually about to explode from all the information and attempts to decide which one of the widgets to get, so I close the computer and go run or do something to take my mind off it. Sometimes it’s later that day I look at widgets again, sometimes it’s months or years and now newer models have replaced all the ones you researched so it starts over yet again…

The tough part is when the widget isn’t something tangible, but still something real and actually necessary, like a job, getting fit/losing weight, getting married/divorced, buying a house, having a baby, etc, something that REALLY matters, where a “wrong” decision will stick with you for many years. AP can keep you oppressed in a job you’re only doing to get by until something else “comes along,” with a spouse you don’t love or doesn’t love you, stay 100 pounds overweight for so long that friends and doctors have given up on telling you you’ve got to do something because you waddled in joking about how much you ate on a cruise the week before. This is how AP kills you, because it sucks every bit of LIFE from you. You stay unhappy, you stay at that job or with that spouse, you waste hours and days thinking about it or researching different paths to take, your family suffers because you’re not happy and it becomes infectious so your family isn’t happy, you’re not able to take those vacations because you’re stressed and can’t afford them, and worse, they wouldn’t want to go with you if you did because no one wants to be around you.

I just finished reading an ebook, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, you may know him from Gates of Fire, Tides of War, and Last of the Amazons, or a popular movie made from his novel, Legend Of Bagger Vance, The, filmed in and around my hometown of Savannah, GA. In The War of Art he describes this opposing, ever present force called Resistance, that we must overcome in order to truly become who we are supposed to be and do what we are supposed to do, that we aren’t born blank canvases with the ability to “be all that we can be” at anything, but that we are destined to be good at something. We have to overcome Resistance in order to find out what it is we are destined to do. He uses the analogy that anyone with kids, especially multiples or even identical twins constituted of the same genetic material, raised in the same environment, having the same external forces acting on them, yet have completely different personalities, interests and outcomes in life. Our fear feeds this Resistance and keeps us at that comfy job we hate, or with that spouse that doesn’t love us back. It keeps us from writing that book, starting that company, or inventing that new widget for others to research and obsess over.

To overcome Resistance, we must do exactly what it is that we know we should do in finding that passion, instead of putting it off. We must become like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills and killing the imaginary beasts, tearing down the walls of fear that paralyze us from making the decision to begin with. It’s only in finding and doing our passion, that we will ever truly know happiness and the meaning of why we are here. It’s a pretty eye opening book, easy and quick to read. Thanks Amanda.

Me refueling planeI have two analogies in my personal life where someone tried to teach me this. The first was a college professor 20+ years ago when I was a scholarship student in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, NROTC. In our Intro to Naval Science class, when discussing leadership, Lt Gill told us that as officers, we must “Make a decision! Right or wrong, make a decision and live with it. Indecision is just as bad as making the wrong one, so the only way to ever get it right is to do SOMETHING!” When men’s lives are on the line, no decision is just as bad as a wrong decision. Years later my dad and I decided to take up flying and get our private pilot’s license. We ended up at a small airport in Claxton, GA, Fruitcake Capitol of the World, with an older gentleman as an instructor. Being out in the country flying, we had the opportunity to do things we couldn’t have done near a bigger airport in Savannah, like chop the power and letting the plane fly INCREDIBLY close to the ground right after takeoff, when we hadn’t even been training for 10 hours. His instructions were to “fly the damn plane.” Sounds stupidly simple right? Fly the damn plane, isn’t that what we were here for? What he meant was, even though we had read and discussed all kinds of things on the ground like where to fly, how high to fly, what direction to fly, how to talk on the radio, navigation, weather, etc, but if you lose power on takeoff, so low to the ground and moving slow, your sole responsibility is to “fly the damn plane.” This is where the decision to overcome Resistance comes in because even if you’re turning, and really low, you have to make the decision to do something that seems so incredibly stupid to non-pilots, and <10 hour pilots, but you have to lower the nose towards the ground in order to gain whatever airspeed is indicated for that particular plane, each plane has it’s own, and “fly the damn plane.” Failure to lower the nose when you’ve lost power, will result in a stall and you’ll fall like Icarus to the ground wherever you are, uncontrolled and likely not where or how you want to be. Lower it too much and you’ll drop too fast and not have enough time or altitude to make it to a possible field or road nearby. So pushing the nose over to gain the right airspeed gave you the best glide ratio to go the farthest distance and give you the most time to scan and decide the best place to land, no matter how high you were. There is no time to check charts, talk to a tower, make turns to find the “best” place, grab binoculars and check the field to see how soft it is or if there are animals in it, you make the decision and live with it because indecision will get you in a crumpled heap in the tops of south Georgia pine trees.

charlie-sheen-cured-itWhen I was recently diagnosed with AP, it was a smack in the face, like hitting a brick wall. I only hope that it was hard enough to truly wake me up and realize that AP and fear of overcoming Resistance is going to ruin my life unless I do something about it and cure myself, much like Charlie Sheen “cured his drug addiction with his brain.” #Winning! Looking back, there have been so many places that Resistance kept me where I thought I was comfortable, warm and cozy but in an itchy wool blanket because it seemed better than freezing in the cold of taking a chance and finding and following a passion, or buying the right widget instead of wasting so many hours and days only to end up not getting it anyway. How much of your life do you give up on such absurd, useless tripe, much less important decisions. One of my mentors Amanda Tinney, recently wrote a short post about John Lasseter wearing Hawaiian shirts daily. Hawaiian shirts are almost his uniform, because it’s one less decision he has to make every day, and as chief creative officer at Pixar and Disney, he figures there are far more important things he needs to think about each day than what to where. There is almost a parody of this in a past episode of Big Bang Theory, Sheldon uses Dungeons and Dragons dice to make “trivial decisions with the throw of the dice” freeing up his mind to do more important things. It doesn’t always work out for him when the dice never decide to let him go to the bathroom among other things.

If you haven’t read my post on setting goals, go do so after you finish this, overcoming Resistance and goal setting go hand in hand with having the best life you can. Choose who and what you want to be, set a goal, make a plan, make a decision, fly the damn plane!

Do you have Analysis Paralysis or show symptoms of it? Better yet, did you have it and have you “cured it with your brain?” #Winning! I’d love to hear about it, and if there’s someone you know that is suffering from AP, please share this post with them, you may save their life.

How to Get a Free Computer by Watching TV

by Marc on October 18, 2013, no comments

Sounds like one of those “Get Rich Quick” schemes where you might have to actually PAY money to be part of some special program or maybe have some invasive box in your house that the NSA is watching. However, I’m not here trying to sell you something, I will make nothing from sharing this with you other than the enjoyment of letting you know about a little program you can use, and it’s real, I do it myself. It’s an app for your phone called Viggle, and you will literally get paid to do something you probably do everyday for too long, watch TV, you don’t even have to keep watching, and as you’ll learn in a moment, you don’t technically have to be in front of your TV at all.

Download the app on your smartphone or tablet, its available for free on both iOS and Android in their respective stores so just go search for “Viggle”, and create an account. If you’re afraid of using your “good” email account, use your “throwdown” Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL (YIKES) or whatever you use to sign up for “questionable” accounts with, but just know that I’ve been a member and used my real account and they don’t spam you.

Viggle Check in The basis is that you “check in” to a show or movie on TV and earn 1 point per minute. When you open the app you’ll see a screen like the one here, just tap the “V,” and it’ll say that it is “Listening to your TV” while big bars move up and down with the sounds, then it will say “Matching” as it’s searching for what show it just heared. Obviously you will have a harder time if you’re in a noisy place like a sports bar or your kids are running around screaming. If it doesn’t pick it up or match then it’ll give you two more opportunities to listen again. This next part is key, if it failed to hear or match the show you were watching, you’ll have the opportunity to search by typing in the name and then selecting the show when it pops up, it’s just that simple. You’ll want to check in to the show right after it starts so you get as many points as possible. What you may have just picked up on is that you can be sitting in your office at work or riding the train without a tv anywhere close by, try to check in 3 times which obviously won’t work, and then search for a show manually and check in, is this something you could do from work, even if you had to do it from the bathroom on break? Viggle doesn’t know where you are and that there is no TV around, you might really be in a crowded sports bar trying to check in to the game. Maybe pick a movie that you saw would be on during the day so it stays checked in for 2-3 hours, or a sporting event. I know this is not the intention Viggle had but it works that way and I’m sure they are aware of it. That’s it, check in and set the phone down, you’re earning points. It can even check in pretty well during commercials.

Next, there are sometimes videos that you can watch, you aren’t forced to, it’s a choice, but you can earn between 5-100 points for them depending on whatever promos Viggle has running at the time. Start one and set the phone down, they’re always short, 10-30 seconds, and you just earned more points than you can watching a show, and it can even happen while you’re watching a show so you’re kind of double dipping.

Viggle bonus showAlso, there are usually bonus shows to check in to, usually during prime time hours each night but sometimes during the day in certain situations like during the Olympics or Sunday football, where they offer +50-100 bonus points for checking in to certain shows. You’ll see them in a slider that you can scroll through and even set reminders so you don’t forget to check in during that time. I’ll mention that you can only earn points for being checked in to 12 hours worth of shows each day, so don’t start checking in to the morning show at 7:00AM and then not be able to check in to shows in the evening when you could be getting bonus points on top of the check in minutes. You have to stay checked in to a bonus point show for at least 10 minutes to get the bonus, so if there are several at 8:00 tonight, you can check in to the first at 8:00, another at 8:10, another at 8:20, and so on. Be sure to check in to the 30 minute shows first because you can check in to the hour long ones later, if it’s past 8:20 and the show is only 30 minutes long, you’re too late. You’ll still get a point for the minutes but no bonus, same after 8:50 if it’s an hour show. If it’s something longer like Monday night football or a movie, wait until later because usually there are fewer 30 minute shows in the 9:00 and 10:00 hour so you don’t have to watch your time so much if you’re trying to maximize points.

Lastly, there are trivia questions for some shows and sporting events where you can actually take an active roll in earning points by answering trivia or selecting a team or player, My Guy, and when they do something good, score a touchdown, make a catch, interception, etc, you’ll get even more points, I think if you max out all 4 quarters of a football game during My Guy you can get 1,000 points, plus the check in bonus, plus a point per minute for watching. Trivia is usually 10-25 points per question, and 5 for getting it wrong even.

Viggle rewardsWhat can you do with all these points? Trade them in on something you want like “Deals” where you may get a percentage off something, there are several right now for 30% off glasses at different optical places, Universal Studios discounted tickets, or Fandango gift cards. There are big items like cruises, car rentals, hotel stays, or Kindles. I personally love the gift cards though, and there are usually several that are worthy of redeeming points for like iTunes, Starbucks, Chilli’s, Lowes, or GAP, but my favorites are Best Buy and the hard one,, which they only carry occasionally. Click that image to the left and you’ll see my rewards history. Am I getting rich and quitting my job doing this? No, but did I make $250 watching tv or maybe not even being near a tv just by checking in to a show and then setting my phone down, absolutely!

The downsides, well the 12 hour limit is a bummer, it wasn’t there in the beginning but I’m sure people were staying checked in nearly 24 hours a day so they changed that rule this year, so you sometimes need to be aware and not check in to things all day and miss nightly bonuses if you care about them. It can sometimes be frustrating to check in to some shows when it fails 3 times and you’re in a perfectly quiet room, then when you search you can’t find the show, this happens a lot if it’s on AMC network for some reason, they just don’t show up in the database, as well as some smaller networks. It also doesn’t work with local shows like news or a locally produced show, though it has on a few occasions worked with my local morning news. I mentioned above that it can sometimes work even during commercials but it has to be a national commercial, not one for your local bank or car dealership. You can even check in to a show that you dvr/Tivo’d but it has to have been on the air in the last 2 weeks, no checking in to the Super Bowl all summer you recorded. There’s also a 6,000 point/day limit, which I’ve NEVER come close to hitting even if I were doing My Guy sports, trivia, and maxing out my 12 hours, so I don’t really care about that one.

That’s it, it really is simple, just sign up and check in to something and start earning. You can be as easy as you like and just check in occasionally, the points will come, or you can go rabid and try to max out points every day. You can see my statement above where there were periods I didn’t do it as much, and others where I was getting $25 certificates every other month or so. Oh yeah, get your spouse to do it as well, my wife and I do it together and she’s earned more than I so double what you see. I used the Best Buy certificates, as well as some others I may do another post on later, to pay half of the price of a brand new MacBook Air that I’m writing on now, that was over $600 between the two, so my computer wasn’t completely “free,” but you can definitely find laptops for less than that. The certificates don’t expire either, we started saving last Christmas and I bought the computer in June when the new ones came out. Next we’re saving for a new tv, ours is getting old and blue pixels are starting to appear scattered all over so we’re hoping it doesn’t die before we rack up some more points to help out in it’s replacement.

Do you have any questions or have you been a Viggler for a while and racked up a bunch of points, let me know below, and be sure to share with your friends that might need a new tv too, just click any of the pretty social media buttons below and share on your favorite network.

Do You Set Goals?

by Marc on October 17, 2013, 7 comments

I never did. Goals were for “special” people who didn’t know what they wanted so they needed someone to tell them, dreamers, and people who liked to tell other people what their goals were and always had one, but never made it to them.

Derek HalpernRecently I came across a video on YouTube that I wasn’t searching for but the title caught my eye over on the right side where YouTube sticks all those “Other/Related” videos that usually aren’t really related to what you were watching, “How to Make $10,000 per Month” by Derek Halpern and I linked to the blog post on his site called Social Triggers. Yeah yeah I know, “there are all kinds of wackos on YouTube promoting ‘Get Rich Quick’ schemes,” but I clicked it anyway, and fortunately that’s not what it was. In it he talks about someone that asked him how to make $10k/month, even though they were making nothing at the time. What he explains is two types of goals, “realistic goals” and “dream goals.” Making $10,000 was the end “dream goal” but in order to get there you needed to set a bunch of smaller in between “realistic goals.” He advised to shoot for making the first $500, and not in even one month, but $500 period. I have a slight disagreement with this because it’s not a SMART goal, but I’ll explain this later. After you make the first $500, do it again, and again until you reach your $10,000/month goal.

Let me get this straight right now, on post two on this site, this is NOT a “running blog!” I have outlets to document my running and be social with other runners, but running has been a big part of my life for several years now and it has given me both time to think (LOTS of time to think when you’re alone for 20 milers) AND to learn about other things that I can relate to running. So don’t go thinking “oh jeeze, there’s Marc blabbing about running. You don’t want to be a runner. I’m good with that, running isn’t for everyone, and as the title of the blog says, this isn’t REALLY about me, you figure that out for yourself, and if I help you one way or the other, you’re welcome.

So hopefully you’ve read my first post “How I Lost 20lbs Without Really Trying,” if not please do,  it’s not required reading for this story so stay right here, but you may have read where I made the decision in January 2011 to run a marathon in November 2011. I was fired up and motivated, I did lots of reading that weekend when I made the decision to do it, looking up “how to train for a marathon” articles and training plans online. There were many different plans that all had the same end result which was running 26.2 miles, but all had different ways to go about getting there. The commonality between them all was they were roughly 16-18 weeks long, they start with a 10 mile “long run” so you need to be able to at least go that far, one run each week is a “long run” while the rest are shorter runs, and they all use a training principal called periodization.

Periodization Training ChartPeriodization is a technique athletes have used for 50+ years, where they break down a time span, typically a year but olympic athletes may use four years, into smaller cycles of training where each cycle is a building block for the next, and it ends with some goal race, game, or performance. Usually it starts with an endurance phase where you do basic work like running progressively longer but not very fast runs or lift increasing amounts of weight doing very basic compound movements like bench presses and squats that work many muscles at once. There may even be races or games during this phase that even though they are “races,” you treat them as a training event to judge yourself against others at the same time as well as under competitive conditions that can’t be duplicated in training, and winning isn’t the goal, even if it’s nice when it happens. Later they progress to running faster but shorter runs, maybe even sprinting even if it’s for a distance race, or doing isolation moves with weights that target a single muscle but can’t use as much weight. The idea is to slowly make things harder (ie longer, faster, heavier) in order to get better over time, without injury, instead of trying to reach the goal from the beginning by going out and running 26.2 miles every day all year or squatting 500lbs. If your training is all “willy nilly” with no structure, you may get by and you may outperform others because you still trained or because of your natural talent and where you started fitness wise, but you won’t be performing to the best of your ability, which is all I care about.

What Derek was describing is EXACTLY what I had done in order to get to my marathon goal which started out as simply to run 26.2 miles. I had no clue if I could make it, much less how fast I could do it in because I’d only ever run some 5k’s recently, and a few longer distance runs during college in the NROTC unit for PT 20 years before, I was basically like that person that wasn’t making anything, starting at or near zero. The marathon plan I chose was 16 weeks but since I had 10 months to get ready and was starting at 3 miles, it’s the furthest I’d run in recent times, it included a “build up” phase to get me from 3-10 miles before even starting the actual marathon plan. Every 3 weeks I ran further and further, then on the 4th week was a “pullback” week where I still ran but took it a bit easier on pace and much shorter distances. It took 6 weeks just to get to where I’d doubled my run from a 3 miler to 6 miles, then another 11 weeks to get to 10 miles where I was considered ready to finally start my real marathon plan. I was training for training.

In the beginning I went out and focused on those shorter runs that were 3 milers, 4 days each week, heck I’d done that so no biggie and “trainin’ ain’t racin’.” Then came a 4 and eventually a 5, but hey, it’s “only 1 mile further,” then came the 6, “wow, I’d doubled my longest run already.” I was eating the elephant one bite at a time. I tried to forget about 26.2, at the time that still seemed like a “long” distance, I just focused on those shorter runs and anticipated the next one into uncharted territory, even though it was only another mile. By the time I started the real marathon program 16 weeks out, I had already realized that I could make it to 26.2, and my focused changed to how quickly I could do it in. My runs started getting faster, I had more drive and motivation because I no longer worried “can I make it 26.2 miles.” All the worry stopped, and I was still 4 months away from the race, that was a huge relief!

Rock n Roll Savannah finishSo yeah, I did it, and I had set realistic goals in order to get to my dream goal of finishing a marathon. I’m still not sure even now why I had never set goals before, and still don’t when I should be in many parts of my life. I realized that I AM one of those people I described up in the first paragraph, which one isn’t important, but this technique can work for everything in life, whether it’s running a marathon, losing 50 pounds, getting an education, or making $10,000 in a month. I’m trying to refocus my life though and do things with a purpose instead of wandering around hoping they’ll happen. Who knows, maybe I’ll reach that first $500 and be on my way to $10,000.

Do you set realistic goals in your life in order to reach a dream goal or have you never set one and would like to try? Do you have a negative view on people who do set goals like I sort of did? Leave me a comment either way, especially if you’re now motivated to try setting a goal in anything, maybe we can talk about it and motivate each other.

As always, please share on your favorite social mediums by clicking the pretty buttons below. You may help one of your friends get fired up about something they need in their life.

How I Lost 20lbs Without Really Trying

by Marc on October 15, 2013, 6 comments

As a kid I couldn’t gain weight, I was a stick. I could eat a Whopper and fries, maybe some ice cream afterward, and not gain an ounce. Sadly that didn’t hold true after graduating college when PT at the NROTC unit and daily trips to the gym stopped, and a job sitting on my tail in an office with a break room full of junk food people brought in daily, in a part of town surrounded by fast food places started. I “don’t know how it happened,” but one day I woke up and there was a gut.

me in 2004I didn’t really think about it much for many years, I wasn’t HUGE, just had a gut, I still had skinny legs and no butt. Then one day in 2004 it hit me in the shower, I think of things in the shower, I should have a way to record or document my shower ideas, more on that later. I was 34 and felt like I was 64. So I bought a bike, a nice once, like a Tour de France level, carbon fiber, racing bike. I rode it a lot, 20-50 miles/day even. I thought “man, I’m gonna start shedding the pounds soon.” I knew I didn’t put it on overnight so it wouldn’t come off over night. After a few years though, I had only lost a few pounds, and that was yo yo’ing between times of riding and not riding, usually in the winter when it was too cold to ride 20mph in cold air.

Then in Fall 2010 the Rock n Roll Marathon  series announced they were coming to Savannah in November 2011, and in Jan 2011 I decided I would cross an item off my bucket list and enter to run the full 26.2 miles. After seeing people on the Biggest Loser start at 400-500 lbs, and with only 6 months of training and weight loss, complete a marathon, surely I could do it with the little bit of weight I had and 10 months of training. I jumped online and quickly found a training plan that would take me from the 5k’s I’d done a few of, up to being ready for 26.2 miles. I again looked at my training plan and all the hundreds of miles I’d be running and thought “man, I’m gonna start shedding the pounds and be buff stuff by summer.” I did lose a few pounds but not very noticeable, though I did finish my first marathon in a respectable 4:29:32.

I kept running in 2012, though not as much as when training for the marathon, faked my way through a few half marathons, then ran two more full marathons in November 2012 and January 2013, at heavier weights than I did the first one and much slower. I may talk about this later because 2012 was a turning point in my running.

It’s a harsh realization when you learn that the number of calories you burn to run a full 26.2 mile marathon isn’t even enough to burn 1lb since you have to burn, or not eat, 3500 calories to lose 1lb. You burn roughly 100 calories, give or take, per mile, the more you weigh the more you burn/mile. You’d have to run about 35 miles in a week to burn a pound, and there were only a handful of weeks I went that far over the whole 10 months, no wonder people get discouraged when trying to lose weight or going to the gym. We’ve heard the 30 minutes/day, 3 times/week crap our whole lives, that’s not even hardly enough to sweat, much less lose weight. I knew that I needed to fix my diet, I couldn’t outrun a fork!

Then on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a friend that body builds was telling me about a diary/logging app she used called MyFitnessPal where you could log your foods, scan barcodes to enter items, or choose from a vast library of food and restaurant items. You set it up for you, based on your size/weight and activity level. It gives you a target calorie goal for the day, which gets reduced every time you log something you ate, or goes up if you log an activity like a run. What an eye opener when you eat something and realize “CRAP! I’ve got to run to the front of the neighborhood and back just to burn that Coke?” So on April 1 I started logging everything that went in my mouth. WOW, what an eye opener THAT was!

MyFitnessPalI didn’t really try to eat “right” or clean, I just kept at or below my calorie goal while eating the same foods I’d always eaten. I did ban pizza, it is my kryptonite, I can’t stop myself, I crave that acidy flavor of tomato sauce as a good, thin crust. It wasn’t allowed, nor was it even allowed to be mentioned as a possible dinner in our house or when driving around doing the “where do you wanna go? I don’t know, where do YOU want to go?” I did allow it to come back in June but it had to be made at home so we could control the ingredients, plus my wife can make a good red sauce so it satisfied that craving I had. I was never a big drinker but I stopped drinking all alcohol during this time because I didn’t want the useless calories. On days I ran I’d eat a little more since there was a bigger deficit. We stopped eating out a lot too, though that was as much in trying to save money as not eating calories, more here later. We didn’t cook anything special, I just didn’t finish it all up at the end of dinner, many times I’d save it for lunch the next day, but nothing really hard to do. There are typically only 2-3 days each week I don’t run so I try to be aware on those days that I won’t be burning any calories unless I cross train, and on Sundays I do my longest runs so I can usually eat what I want, notice how low Sunday is on the graph to the left here, I did a 20 mile run that day so it looks like I barely ate, the gray bar at the end shows my average that week, I probably wasn’t eating enough then.

me in 2013There were a few days that I was hungry, and there were days I’d go over by a hundred calories here or there, but I didn’t worry about it because the next day I’d go run and finish the day at a 300 calorie deficit. Overall each week I was in a deficit even below my goal of 1.5lbs/week loss and by July 1 I had lost 20lbs pretty easily. I was running throughout while training for a race in late June, but here it is over 3 more months past that and I’ve kept it off. I’ve raised my calorie goal to where I think is about a neutral balance, not gaining or losing. I’ve tweaked my macros, protein/carbohydrate/fat ratios, some in order to make sure I have enough carbs to fuel runs, and enough protein to retain muscle, and enough healthy fats but not too much so I can hopefully lose a tad more belly fat without losing muscle. For the first time in my life I can actually see lines that I think are abs. I wouldn’t call it a six pack, but there are definite lines there, I can see the shadow when the light is just right, or they are just really symmetrical fat rolls!

I’m not downing fitness, by any means, get out there and move doing whatever it is that motivates you, just don’t be discouraged when you don’t lose any weight because you walked two miles a few times each week or rode the bike around the neighborhood. I still run a LOT! I run more in one week than most of you exercise in a year most likely. You lose weight in the kitchen, you get fit in the gym/on the road. I’ll be doing my 4th marathon in a month, you guessed it, the Rock n Roll again, and I WILL be setting a PR, Personal Record this time. How can I not when I’m over 20lbs lighter!


Have you lost weight successfully or are you struggling to do so? Let me know your triumphs, struggles, and if I motivated you or you need motivation, leave me a comment, and be sure to share with your friends that may need some encouragement, just choose your favorite social media button below.