Promises, promises

Posted December 7, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

2016bWho wants to join me in getting a one month jump on the new year by posting your goals now? This approach helps me focus, and making it public holds me accountable. I also publicly celebrate wins and rededicate my efforts to complete goals I fell short on.

In no particular order, here are my top personal goals for 2016:

  • Help my brother Jeff achieve his goal of raising $20,000 for MMRF as he and wife Ramona climb Mount Kilimanjaro on January 24. You can be part of helping him complete this dream by giving $25 or more at this link. There will be a short film created on their trek and I will share it first with all donors.
  • Complete the Death Ride. Last year I finished 80 of the 129 miles and 3 of the 5 mountain passes. I did not train enough or start early enough in the morning to finish it all. I can overcome both of these setbacks in 2016, and I’m looking for training buddies for high altitude training trips in May/June.
  • Achieve excellence in my job. This IS a measurable goal… my manager can give me an “Excellent” rating on my annual review. More than that I’m going to broaden the scope of the internal talk show I produce and host; learn how to edit video with Premiere and After Effects; and leave a positive and memorable impression with all the executives, engineers and communications professionals I serve.
  • Return to regular blogging. Short Stories with a Point has continued to be an outlet for stories that matter in my life and I really appreciate the dialogue with those of you who comment. I’m shifting the direction a bit to include “business” stories that will be included in my next book. Please let me know what you think!

Focus brings consistency, and consistency leads to results. Every big goal I have achieved in the last seven years began with a public promise. What will you promise yourself to do in 2016?

Jeff and Ramona’s donation page

Mountain moving

Posted October 25, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: Motivation

Jeff_Ramona_KilimanjaroYou’ve seen mountains moved for mining, railroads and building houses with a view, but when is the last time a mountain moved you? My brother Jeff had a childhood dream to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and see the sweeping herds on the Serengeti plains. Now he’s going to live that dream, but it’s NOT as a thrill seeker. He’s joining a team of 3 other survivors living with multiple myeloma, oncologists and supporters taking on the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 feet.

On January 18th, 2016, the 15 member team will embark on an 11 day journey to Uhuru Peak in Tanzania, Africa. The team will travel through 5 different ecosystems, face high elevations, low temperatures, and high winds, all in the name of finding a cure! The members of Team Living Proof have each committed to raising $10,000 each to support the life-changing work done by the MMRF, accelerating innovative treatment approaches to extend the lives of patients and find a cure.

You can be part of this adventure too by giving to the cause.

Every dollar helps motivate Jeff and his wife Ramona to conquer this mountain in Africa, as well as the mountain called Multiple Myeloma. As you’ll read in Jeff’s brief story, his cancer has returned. After 5 years of relative remission, he is back on therapeutic doses of chemo, which will make it even harder to get his mind and body ready for this adventure.

The trek will be documented with video interviews, but I already know in my heart what Jeff will say. He will exhibit the same courage and fortitude you have already witnessed in the marathons we have run together. This guy does not quit. The researchers are moving mountains to find a cure, and Jeff moves me… sometimes to tears and sometimes to get my ass in gear to raise money.

Thanks for following our story and helping as much as you can. Just passing along this story online may help bring the specific dollar that finally funds the cure. Wouldn’t that be a moving moment?

Telling it like it is

Posted July 25, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: General

george_sartor2The circle of cyclists was gathered in the Raley’s parking lot. I was answering questions about my ironman training and describing my favorite equipment, like my Garmin heart strap and black compression sleeves supporting my calves. Various friends were offering encouraging words of support until this one guy piped up with a curiously sarcastic…

“Hmm… nice socks.”

That was the day I met George Sartor. He was a very active cyclist in the club and I got to know him over the years as someone who always seemed a little cranky. He pushed people on rides to go faster and didn’t mind a little trash talking.

After the Death Ride a couple of weeks ago, we were all gathered around a campfire sharing stories. George started in with his teasing, and I gave it right back to him with my own brand of humor. When it was time for me to go, he shook my hand and told me he really enjoyed my comedy shows in the past.

It’s funny… I hadn’t seen this warm side of George until I matched his level of trash talking. It’s like he was testing me and I finally earned his respect.

Five days later, George died in a tragic cycling accident.

I attended his memorial service on Tuesday, where several tough guys got up and told tearful stories about George being a bit rough on the outside, but a teddy bear on the inside. He could be abrasive, but he pushed people to perform at their best. He could be blunt, but you always knew where you stood with him. He could be antagonistic, but he was an extremely loyal friend once you got to know him.

My heart goes out to his family, and a college fund has been started for his kids. Please give a few dollars if you can. It will really make a difference.

I’ll take away this lesson from George…  Everyone has something to offer if you give them a chance, and a rough exterior often masks a heart of gold.

We’ll miss you, George. May the wind be forever at your back.

Make the most of it

Posted July 9, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: Motivation

DeathRide2I’m a big talker. Here I sit roughly 30 hours before the start of the Death Ride. Endurance events require a slow build of training and it takes a lot of time… time that got shifted to other life priorities over the last 3 months. Here’s a recent conversation with my friend Paul…

Paul: “David, are you ready for the 129 miles and 5 mountain passes?”

Me: “No.”

Paul: “Are you still going to do it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Paul: “That makes no sense.”

Actually, it makes perfect sense. Even if I do not finish, I will fail in a blaze of glorious effort. In other words, I will make the most of the experience.

Several cycling buddies recently reached out with public and private messages of support when I posted my doubts in Facebook. These people are the same ones I cheered on, coached and supported before and now it is coming back to me. They believe in me, so why shouldn’t I believe in me?

One thing I have learned from past events… if you plan to quit early, your mind will make sure your body follows through on that promise.

So I am planning to do all 5 passes this Saturday. I will handle the cold, the heat, the smell from the forest fire, the 15000 feet of climbing and lack of oxygen. I will settle in and slog it out. My mother taught me never to talk to strangers, but I will be doing that as well. The only thing that can stop me is an injury or mechanical failure.

Here we go, Mr. Goad. Let’s make the most of it.

Think nothing of it

Posted June 28, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: General

chair_river2I was waiting for Evan to arrive for our father and son hiking trip in beautiful Big Sur. I stuck my bare feet back into the chilly water flowing around my weathered Adirondack chair. The hotel puts these chairs right in the middle of the stream for its visitors, and I was wonderfully wedged among the smooth river rocks.

I sipped my Sam Adams and leaned back on the steep angle of the chair back, taking in the leafy branches, tiny white butterflies and slender slice of blue sky. I looked down between my knees at the stack of stones someone had left behind. They were beautifully balanced in a small improbable tower. I reached into the cold water to select one more rock, and summoned my Jenga expertise to carefully place it on top.

I had the frustration and blessing of no cell phone signal at the Big Sur River Inn. I was trusting Evan would make it far enough north before they closed PCH for construction, but I had no way to reach him. Cell phones have made us lazy in preparing Plan A’s and Plan B’s, haven’t they?

I had no connection to the internet, but I strangely did not feel that disconnected. I was being forced to slow down and relax my body and mind. The sound of the water and the gentle breeze rustling through the leaves did not make white noise, it was more like atmospheric music. After swirling through a round of thoughts about family, career and personal goals, I thought about one extraordinary thing that rose above all the rest.


That’s right. I was thinking about nothing. I had heard about this legendary “nothing box,” but I don’t think I had ever really been there before. It was a special place of peace that contained no real thoughts, other than thinking about the fact that I had no thoughts. I was simply thinking about thinking.

As I gazed down the babbling stream, hearing, seeing, speaking no evil, I smiled. This must be what meditation is all about. With my typical daily dose of digital stimulation and verbal gymnastics, it is a state that is not easy for me to reach. But I’ll tell you this… Afterwards I felt refreshed, recharged and recommitted to living my life to its fullest. So I am going to seek out more of these peaceful moments of contentment. And I will think nothing of it.

Where do you find the best nothing in your life?

We’ve got each other

Posted June 11, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: General

Kathleen_Hector_2I was aggravated by the truck that blocked my way in the Prime Nutrition parking lot, and had to go around the long way to get out. Then I recognized the old couple under the shady tree on this hot June day.

We had delivered thanksgiving meals to Kathleen and her companion Hector back in Thanksgiving, and she had delivered a message to me too… that even the drug addicts around town needed food and love too.

I pulled over my car and hopped out. “Hey, do you remember me?”

Kathleen smiled from ear to ear. “Of course I do! Who are you?”

“I’m David. We met last November. Are you two getting plenty of cold water and food today?”

Hector leaned up on his elbow and said, “Every little bit helps.”

I always seem to have only big bills in my wallet when I’m feeling compelled to give, so I gave them each a twenty and said “Keep yourself hydrated, it’s hot out here.”

Kathleen asked if she could hug me and I reached out to hug her first. She was thanking me and thanking God in my ear.

Hector reached out to shake my hand and said “Tell me a story.”

I chuckled. “You’re talking to someone with hundreds of stories my friend. Can you narrow it down?”

“Tell me the story of how you found God.”

“Well, how do you know I found God?”

“Because you wouldn’t be here right now if you didn’t.”

I pulled up a patch of grass and told them the story of my first deep spiritual experience at church camp as a teenager. They shared their favorite bible verses and I shared a few of mine. Kathleen shared how she broke her arm falling on some steps, and how frustrating it was not to be able to do everything she wanted to do. Hector comforted her with a hand on her knee as she started to cry.

My tears also started to flow, but I wiped them away so I could be an encourager to her too. “Hang in there Kathleen. Every day brings opportunity.”

She smiled a wide smile at Hector. “Yeah… we don’t have a lot, but we have each other.”

I asked if I could take a picture so I could remember them, and they were thrilled to pose for me. Kathleen touched my arm and told me to come visit anytime.

What an amazing couple of human beings I just spent some quality time with. I believe God put that truck in my way so I would drive by them at a time when they needed it. They reminded me that even if you lose everything you own, you don’t lose your humanity.

And you can still be at peace.

Another lesson re-learned

Posted April 12, 2015 by davidgoad
Categories: General

HalfFinishFirst of all, I am happy that I was able to finish the 70.3 Half Ironman in Napa yesterday. I thank God for having the strength to get through every mile. That being said, I re-learned a lesson I have learned before. To get your goal, you have to put in the work.

I did this same race in 2013 and finished in 7 hours 30 minutes. With the confidence of completing a full Ironman in 2014, I set an aggressive goal to complete the Half in 6 hours 30 minutes this year.

Then I unexpectedly started a new and challenging job within Cisco in November. That and other things made it difficult to fit in all the training I needed to accomplish my time goal. I got in roughly 70% of the miles needed, but I figured that mental fortitude could make up the other 30%.

I struggled a bit in the swim due to the cold water, but still beat my 2014 swim time by 5 minutes. I got on my bike feeling close to hypothermic, but charged ahead anyway. I passed 33 riders in the first half of the bike segment. That’s the game I used to motivate myself… catch the next rider!

This Napa Valley course is beautiful, but has very few flat spots. It’s almost entirely uphill or downhill and I was pushing myself to attack the hills. Just after the halfway point I felt it… a strain in my left calf. I knew it. You see, this is where conditioning makes a difference. I could “will” myself only so much, before my body said “Uh uh, no way!”

So I backed off and went into cruise control to make sure I would be able to finish. I remembered talking to my friend Steve Bertjes when I passed him earlier on the bike. (He was #26.) He said, “This is a beautiful day and I am grateful to be out here. I am just grateful.”

So I decided I would be grateful and have a magnificent day too. I mugged for the photographers, thanked all the volunteers for helping out, and took pictures during my walk breaks. I took a wrong turn on the bike course that added 12 minutes to my time and I just laughed at myself. I even had to outrun a swarm of bees, which I’m sure had formed a giant arrow pointed at my butt just like in the cartoons. I had a great day, and I finished in 8 hours 13 minutes.

Superman gets his powers from the yellow sun. The rest of us need to work at it. I’ll pick another Half Ironman in the future and renew my 6:30 challenge. And I know I will reach the goal… if I put in the miles.


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