Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting and Staying Motivated in 2012

Below is my second posting for the ACHA blog, which was published today.

As the holiday season winds down, many people spend this time of year reflecting on the past 12 months, taking stock of both the good and bad in their lives, and thinking about how they want to improve themselves throughout the coming year. Oftentimes, people like to think of the start of a new year as a chance to hit the reset button, to put the challenges of the old year behind them, and to embrace the promise of new beginnings. As clich├ęd as that may sound, I suppose I’m no different.

I’ve gone though my own share of health-related challenges this year, and I’m looking forward to putting those behind me as much as possible. But the reality is inescapable: for those of us with CHD, the journey is ongoing. There is no magic reset button that can erase all of our past year’s challenges and struggles and just allow us to start the new year with a completely clean slate.

But we can start 2012 with a new outlook and make a resolution to do everything in our power to always make the best of our situation, whatever it may be. For me personally, I find it easier to stay motivated and positive when I’m connected to a mission and pursuing a vision that’s larger than myself (perhaps that’s why I decided to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector). As an avid cyclist, I feel like I recently found the perfect thing that will keep me even more motivated than normal throughout 2012 and—hopefully—beyond.

The Ironheart Racing Team was created as a way for everyday endurance athletes to raise awareness for healthy heart living and congenital heart disease. About two weeks ago, I contacted David Watkins, the founder of Ironheart and a former ACHA board member, to express my interest in joining the team. Through a few emails and a great initial phone conversation, we talked about ways for me to get even more involved than just becoming a member of the team. David is actually in the process of expanding the Ironheart Racing Team to include five separate divisions, including one focused specifically on cycling. He explained that cycling is going to be a big part of the organization’s growth and that he’s looking for people to help him drive that effort forward. While our conversations have just been preliminary so far, I’m quite excited about what the coming year has in store.

So as 2011 comes to a close and we prepare to welcome 2012, I hope that everyone who reads this blog post is able to find the inspiration and motivation they need to make 2012 their best year yet! You certainly don’t have to be an endurance athlete to make that happen, nor does congenital heart disease have to be your driving force. But I am a strong believer that people can best pursue happiness and success by pursuing their passions. It’s your own life to live, and I hope you chose to live it the best way that you can.

Here’s to a safe, happy, and heart healthy New Year!


  1. Hi Ken,

    I read your post on the ACHA blog and I'm shocked that no one has commented on your post!! I posted this comment there and thought I'd pot it on your personal blog, as well.

    I clicked on Ironheart Racing Team link and watched the video there. What inspiration!!! I bawled my head off.

    Then, when I got home, I walked 2 miles in the pouring rain and planned the three half marathons I'm going to do this year. And I pondered what is it that motives CHDers to engage in endurance activities. I've done 6 half marathons and 2 marathons in the past six years. My particular CHD limits me to only being able to walk long distances. I just don't have the capacity for running, but maybe with some future tweaking to all that ails me, I'll be able to some day!!

    Your post is just what I needed after not doing any significant exercise since my last marathon in October 2010. My finish time discouraged me and then a VO2 max test that put my capacity at that of an 70-something year old non-athletic woman (I'm 46), had me so down in the dumps I couldn't take it. But after watching that video, I feel like it just doesn't matter when I finish or how I feel, just as long as I JUST DO IT!!

    I'd love to be a member of Ironheart Racing, but you don't seem to have any slow categories for CHDers like me who can't run or swim. Have you thought about creating an endurance walking category to motivate other CHDers who would like to engage in endurance activities, but who can't run? I think that would be great.

    Happy New Year. Thanks for helping motivate me into a more active 2012.



  2. Hi Tina, thanks for your great comment and questions. I passed your message along to Dave Watkins, founder of the Ironheart Racing Team. He posted a response on the ACHA blog post:

    I'm glad to know that my post was motivational for you. Looking forward to you getting involved with Ironheart in 2012!