A Triathlon. A Friendship. A Fight to a Cure…

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes…

It’s a lesson many of us learned this week under the wings of two very special 8 year olds. One named Lizzy. One named Rosalie aka Rosie as some call her.

Being that I am a PE Coach at Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, I have the fortune to serve as a coach towards both of these young ladies. As a coach, we are always learning new things from the kids, but little did I know the lesson these two could teach so many of us from simply competing in a Triathlon… A lesson of Friendship. A lesson of HEART. A lesson of Life…

A quick rewind, Lizzy’s inspiration to compete in a triathlon came after 2 years of watching myself and friends compete in the Ironman New Orleans. Her mom, Katie, also played a huge roll in supporting us and her daughter throughout this process. After she led myself and my buddy Garrett through the finish line this past April, she was determined to compete in her own Triathlon. That same day, she had the tri picked out…

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Lizzy leading myself and Garrett through the finish line at the Ironman New Orleans.
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Done!

Wild Thing Triathlon –  July 26, 2016

250 yd swim –  .5 Mile run – 3 Mile bike

None of us could ever imagine how special this day would end up being…

Let me remind you, Lizzy is 8…Probably didn’t even know what a triathlon was until a few years ago, and now she’s just successfully completed her very own. This little girl has guts.

Even better, Lizzy decides on her own she wants to participate in the triathlon for MindSetGo, which from my standpoint, is unbelievably awesome. She and her mom, Katie, adopt the “Think Positive. Live Positive.” motto. Then, Lizzy far exceeds each of our expectations by what she does next…

Lizzy learns of an illness in which one of her friends has, becomes curious to learn more, and takes it in her own hands to dedicate her first Triathlon for her friend, Rosie…

Again, this is an 8 year old, making these thoughtful decisions on her own.

Starting to pick up on the inspiration Lizzy has been to us?

Good. Because it gets better…

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Lizzy ready to go after she picked up her Race shirt and number!

Now, if I had to briefly describe Rosie to you, I’d tell you she is full of life. Her social skills as an 8 year old are far greater than most. If Rosie is in the room, it’s more than likely you know it, simply because she has probably gone out of her way to tell you hello. She will look you in the eye, talk to you about anything and everything, including her pet frog, Princess Fiona. She has an incredible enthusiasm in her step, and loves to stay on the move. She’s also extremely sincere and very sensible to those around her…There’s just something about Rosalie that’s rather compelling…

That’s the healthy side of Rosie, the real Rosie. Unfortunately, it’s a side hindered by an illness labeled as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, also known as JRA.

For those unaware (like myself), JRA is the most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 17. Roughly 1 child in every 1,000 develops JRA, an estimated 300,000 children who are diagnosed. JRA causes constant joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Some children will experience these symptoms for only months, while others will experience it for the rest of their lives. Fluctuations of symptoms, where the JRA gets worse and flares up or it gets better and goes into remission are fairly typical, but vary from child to child. Rosie has been battling JRA for 6 years now, and is still battling today.

It can cause further complications such as growth problems and eye inflammation to the extremity of loss of vision, and treatments are focused on controlling pain, improving function, and preventing joint damage. JRA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues, which is unknown why this even happens. JRA is also now more formally known as JIA, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Either way, it sucks.

On the surface, a child with JRA can seem normal, yet internally, there is a world of pain hindering even the easiest daily activities. But the affects JRA has on Rosie has become much more apparent due to her recent loss of hair. She still has that enthusiasm about life, yet her pain can almost be felt a little more outwardly. The thing about Rosie is she knows nothing more than to keep going, to keep fighting. It’s in her blood. It’s who she is. She’s an absolute warrior.

Curious to know a little more about JRA and how it affects Rosie, I reached out to Rosie’s mom, Ms. Brandi, who was so extremely open to share the battle in which Rosie has been facing sine she was just 2 years old…The more I learned about Rosie, the more I could sense her ability to inspire those around her. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and Rosie is living proof of this.

So, before we continue on, let’s take a moment to learn Rosie’s story and her journey with JRA in hopes to simply help spread awareness and educate others on Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis….

Rosalie’s journey began when she twisted her knee at Tumble Bus at the age of 2. The swelling never subsided after a month, which led to Rosalie being diagnosed with JRA just a few months after her 2nd Birthday. Blood work later showed she was susceptible to JRA at any point in her life and anything could have activated it. Rosie then began taking anti-inflammatories  along with other steroids to get the inflammation under control. Eventually, Rosie went into medical remission, and she began to slowly be weaned off the drugs. Unfortunately, just a few months later, the inflammation returned, and this time it was in her ankles and wrists. Because of this, Rosalie had to begin taking steroids again.

By the time she was 4, Rosie was on a number of steroids, one of which is even used in chemotherapy. Through continuous and ongoing blood work to closely monitor her organs, it was discovered inflammation was present in her body. Due to this, Rosie also has to be administered weekly shots at home…Side note, she is terrified of needles, and rightfully so, yet she has to face this fear each and every week… This week, Rosie already had her shots on Monday night.

When’s Rosie’s joints are inflammed, it causes stiffness and soreness and sometimes leads her to be immobile. Being as active and on the go as she is, immobile and Rosie are two things that should not be used in the same sentence, yet that is one of the realities that lies with JRA. Rosie loves to dance and was an all star cheerleader, but had to be removed from both of these activities because of the pain it would cause her. Now, Rosie stays active through swimming.

Throughout all the medication changes, as one can imagine, it also takes a toll on Rosie emotionally.

As Ms. Brandi describes it,

“I have walked into her room to see her crying on the floor and she has no idea why but is just scared. It sort of mimics someone detoxing. Essentially that is what her body is doing, detoxing off of meds while adjusting to others.”

Outside of the emotional roller coaster Rosie and her family experience, the steroids also cause Rosie to gain and lose excessive amounts of weight at a time. At times, she even swells up to the point where she is unrecognizable. And because her young body is working so hard to fight off the JRA, there is nothing left to help her fight off something as simple as a common cold or anything else that passes from one person to another. Just 2 years ago, she came down with the flu and was put in the emergency room. Doctors even thought it was meningitis because of how sick she had become. Thankfully, Rosalie was able to fight as she always does and make a full recovery.

It usually takes her twice as long to recover from common illnesses,” says Ms. Brandi.

For me, and probably you also, this wears me out to even think of all the obstacles Rosalie endures through each day, for over 6 years now. She endures through so much, and her ability to face each day head on sure as hell is motivating, but damnit, it’s also exhausting. It exhausts Rosie. It exhausts her family. If you ever have the chance to meet Rosie, you would be baffled at how much energy she can move around with, despite the exhausting affects JRA has on her.

And then there is the hair loss…which gives Rosie the appearance that she is indeed slowed down by something, yet many unaware just how deep her battle dips. What’s causing Rosie to lose her hair is something that has yet to be 100% determined. Blood work and tests are currently being done to explore what the cause of her hair loss may be.

One thing Ms. Brandi said about her daughter that sums up the type of person Rosalie is…

“She rarely complains because she knows that if she tells us she is hurting, then we make her get off of her feet and rest and she doesn’t like to be slowed down.”

As I tried to understand and grasp everything that goes on with Rosie, Ms. Brandi broke it down to me very simply:

“God has great things planned for her and I know that this is part of His plan to shine His light through her.”

To me, from what I’ve learned and have seen from Rosie over the past year as her coach…

She’s a fighter. She’s a motivator. She’s an inspiration. She’s part of a plan, God’s plan, to shed light on others, and that’s exactly what she does each day she is given. She’s all of this and so much more, and she’s only 8 years old.

Now, are you starting to pick up on why Rosie is such an inspiration to those around her?

Good. Because it gets better… 🙂

Here we are today, July 30, 2016.  Lizzy has completed her triathlon. Wait, she didn’t just complete it, she kicked it’s ass.

And guess who was right by her side each step of the way to keep pushing her on…

Yep, you got it…Dressed in her “Fight like a girl” baseball cap, her pink “Keep Calm and Shine On” tank top (which Lizzy and Katie thoughtfully had made for Rosie), one huge smile, and energy enough for all of us, it was none other than Rosalie. There to support her friend, just as her friend was supporting her.

From before the race where the two walked hand in hand to the pool area, from the swim where Rosie literally walked stroke for stroke with Lizzy around the entire pool, to the transition where Rosie greeted Lizzy out the water, to the run where she endlessly cheered Lizzy on, to the bike where she was by her side from the moment Lizzy grabbed her bike to when she took off for the 3 mile ride, to the finish line, where they hugged and smiled and celebrated being there for one another.

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Lizzy and Rosalie walking to the pool before the race hand in hand. 🙂

Lizzy had an entourage with her that day, nearly 20 friends and family members. I’m not lying when I tell you the friendship, the bond, and the will these two girls showed for each other was absolutely awe striking. Excited and proud in our own ways, we were all left speechless by the determination shown by Lizzy and Rosie. It was something none of us were expecting, yet it just made perfect sense when it was all happening.

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We are missing some people, but a majority of Lizzy’s entourage before the race!

Rosalie’s presence had an obvious effect on how hard Lizzy was able to push herself. Being that she is 8 years old, Lizzy accidentally started with the 9 year olds, which meant she would have to run a complete mile as opposed to the half mile we had trained Lizzy for. That didn’t matter to Lizzy one bit. Hell, she didn’t even know she ran a mile until after the race! And she ran it in just over 9 minutes!

Then, to make things even more dramatic, Lizzy leaves for the bike, averages 11mph during her ride, comes blazing across the finish line in which we greet her with tears streaming down her face. No, this wasn’t the Cleveland Cavaliers sob fest they had after they won the NBA Championship. These were tears of pain because Lizzy fell off her bike during the ride. She didn’t quit. She didn’t hesitate. She hopped back on her bike and started pedaling again. Pedaling because she knew her friend was waiting for her at the finish line.

Upon seeing Lizzy in tears, Rosie, being the sensible person she is, feels Lizzy’s pain and begins to cry out of worry Lizzy had hurt herself. The two girls felt for each other, were there for each other, and thought about each other throughout the triathlon.

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When Rosie saw Lizzy fell and cut her elbow, she became so concerned about her friend. Mamma came to the rescue though!

I promise you, we aren’t making this up.  This was a special moment for us to witness, and for Lizzy and Rosie to experience as friends. It’s heart warming. It’s awe striking. It’s inspiring. It’s real. It’s 2 people, despite their age, showing what it means to push on for someone else. They showed what it means to endure, and they showed what it meant to Keep Calm and Shine On. One inspiring the other, both inspiring us all.

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Cool moment after the race. 🙂

Please keep Rosalie and her family in your prayers. Share this story around, and help to spread awareness and educate others on JRA and the different affects it can have on a child’s life.

Thank you to Ms. Brandi for being so open in helping us to better understand JRA and the affects it has on Rosie. Thank you to Rosie and Lizzy for being such passionate driven people. You girls are simply amazing.

Thank you to Lizzy’s mom, Katie, for being so thoughtful and inspiring her daughter to do the same. You kick serious ass, Katie. Keep going. 🙂

Check out some more pics below, and remember to share this around. 🙂

Thank you for reading. Just as God has a plan for Rosie, He’s got a plan for all of us. Trust it. Go out and Inspire someone today. Be there, show support, encourage, lend a hand, or motivate through action. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you are from, you can inspire. You can make a difference.

Remember, Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes….

How can you inspire?

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One proud MeMe!
Sister Love
Sisterly Love!
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Lizzy’s sister, Ella, and 2 good friends, Tay Tay and Jordan!
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Lizzy and Bops!

 

 

 

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Crossing the Line!

And yesterday, we took the girls out for Chick-fil-a and ended with Ice cream at Tutti-Frutti! Fun time!

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A Triathlon. A Friendship. A Fight to a Cure…

Shout Outs Necessary! – IRONMAN 2016

Wow. Where to start? What a day.

While we are actually in the moment and struggling though the 70.3 miles, there’s actually people out there supporting us. I find that so awesome and so incredible. Like, no one has to come out to cheer anyone on, but they do. So, for people to do that, it’s so cool to me.

I know it’s been super long since I’ve posted on the MindSetGo Blog, but I hope to try to find more time to write and post more often. I’d like to get back into it. There’s so much I should post, I just need to do a better job of doing so.

So, I wanted to take advantage of having a blog to post some IRONMAN pics and say thanks to everyone who supported both me and Garrett. Either by coming out, thinking about us, tracking us, wishing us luck, simply liking a pic that’s posted, asked us about it, complimented us for it, thinks we’re crazy, or whatever other ways one can possibly think of to support us.

Support is support, and at the end of the day, it makes me feel thankful for so many people. We appreciate it, even in the smallest forms. Y’all are great!

So, I’ll post pics and speak (or write) about them. Enjoy checking them out!

Without any further delay, Ironman 2016 Pics, Shout Outs, and Thanks!

First, I have to start with the people who put me here…

Thank you to My Mom and Dad who came out to see me Cross the Line.

My mom was worried about me because apparently, my tracker was a bit delayed (may have been because I was moving so slow) and she thought something went wrong.

In a way, she was correct. Something was wrong….

It was windy as shit!

But hey, that’s what mother’s do, so I understand…Slow and steady mother, slow and steady 🙂

My Dad is my “Bike Mechanic.” Before every ride I take on any bike I’ve ever rode on, he always make sure I’m set. (Except for the one time Jesse picked up the bike from my parent’s in Laplace and brought it to Florida with the wrong pedals on it. It’s ok. Those pedals ended up working just fine. I still blame Jesse to this day for not noticing the wrong pedals 🙂

Seriously though, knowing my dad has approved my bike before each ride really does bring me a serious sense of comfort while I’m riding. He’d do it for anyone too, so thanks for that Dad.

Love y’all both. Even though I don’t always show it, it was great to see y’all there!

 

Next, Big Thanks to Steve, Michelle, Flash, Lauren aka L-Bo, Sally and Charlie (who for some reason weren’t in the pic! I didn’t even realize until I saw the pic they weren’t in it with us.) for catching me and Garrett at mile 4 of the run. Guys, this makes 2 successful races in a row when yall come out. 🙂 So great to see y’all. Sorry to make y’all wait. We were moving as fast as we could…. I promise.

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Love this Pic.

 

 

Next up, Lauren Randazza needs a huge Shout Out! I’m fortunate to know her through Kenner Discovery where we work. This chick is so hard working, she can run circles around me.

This was Lauren’s first Ironman, and she crushed it, despite the wind!! She’s been encouraging towards me and helped me to push through the last marathon we ran in. I was hoping to catch her on the course, but she kicked too much ass. Congrats Lauren! Great job.

 

 

Y’all, this next group of people is absolutely amazing. They literally came out to the Ironman and stayed from beginning to end! That’s right, 6:30am – 5:00pm. They were there before the race began. They were there for the start. (They even found a spot to cheer us on for the swim. I actually heard them when I was turning for the last 1/4 of the swim. Now, I will be honest, my goggles didn’t give me the clearest view, but my ears heard them loud and clear cheering us on.) They were there when we got out the swim. They were there when we took off on the worst 56 mile bike I’ve ever imagined. They were there 4 hours later when we returned!

They met us at Mile 6 with Beer and Cookies! Beer and fricken Cookies!

And when they had nothing to eat all day, they were there at the finish line. They were there afterwards. They were there all day!

Huge shout out, Thanks, and much love to some fellow coworkers, better known as friends; Katie Caldarera, her daughter Lizzy, her sister Ashley, and Michelle. Also thanks to Claire and Caitlyn who we also saw at the start! And also, Courtney Millet and friends for meeting us at the Finish Line. 🙂 This was the Support Crew for sure!

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All Day!

If I may, please allow me to say a few good words about each of these people.

If you don’t know Katie, hopefully you know someone in your life just like her. This chick reminds me almost daily what it means to give to others. She will for real do anything for anyone in need, and her heart dips far below the surface of what life has to offer. She appreciates and understands the importance of the small things in life, and she has constantly been a selfless person since we began working together last year. She motivates through her support and she is the President of the Support Crew! She even made it on WDSU News for her enthusiasm! Thanks Katie for everything you offer to me, you show me, and you do for me daily.

**Quick side story about Katie. A few nights before, Kt sends me a text and asks if I need any Gatorade or Snack Bars for the run. My response…

Beer and Cookies.

So, Beer and fresh baked cookies is what we got. So awesome. They were so good! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. **

Next, Lizzy is the one that brought me and G through the Finish Line. She waited the entire day for her moment to cross the line with us, and she did not let us down. Me and G were so relieved to be so close to the finish line, yet we were both laboring so hard until Lizzy ran out in front of us, gave as a tailwind, and led us straight through the finish line. So great! Ohh, and she’s in 2nd grade!

Since the Ironman, Lizzy is now registered for her first Triathlon in June! That’s a true champ. Great job and Thank you Lizzy!

Ashley is Katie’s younger sister, who also works with us at Kenner Discovery. A quick story about Ashley. So, she’s got a bad knee. She said she would try to join us for the run, and when the time came to it, she was down for the challenge. Despite her knee swelling up like a balloon, she still put forth the effort to join us for some run support.

She was a warrior all day and was always sure to remind us that if we went down, she’d be there to save us, and she was true to that. Appreciate that Ashley. 🙂

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Ashley and Lizzy running with us! 

Then there is Michelle. Michelle is a running partner, friend, and coworker at Kenner Discovery as well. This chick joined us for the last 6 miles of our run. She was there for moral support, and helped so much. Appreciate you joining us. It was good to have a fresh pair of legs with us!

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Michelle, Ashley, KT, Claire, Caitlyn, and Lizzy!

 

 

Lastly, I’ve got to give the credit to Garrett O’Hanlin for being crazy enough to join me, even though neither of us had any significant training under our belt. Seriously, the last time we hopped on a bike was at the Brett Robinson Tri in Gulf Shores back in September, so we were in the same boat.

We literally stuck together for the entire 8 hours during this experience. For the swim, we looked out for each other. For the bike, he smoked me, but let me catch up with him at different points throughout the wind torn 56 miles. For the run, step for step, we were together. And finally, me and G crossed the line together.

G, without you, I’m not sure where my mind would have wondered to. That was some good shit. Fun day. Great 70.3 Miles bro. Appreciate You.

Oh, not to mention, that was Garrett’s 1st Ironman. Congrats G. Well Deserved.

Check it out:

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Patiently Waiting to Roll. 
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Out the water. And yep, that’s the Support Crew we are High Fiving!
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We Biking. #NoWhiteFlags #AirForce #TeamRicca
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Yea, I love this pic. You see it though. #KeepRolling 

 

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Get us off these Bikes! About to take off for the 13.1 Mile Run.
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Done. Call it a day. 70.3 

 

Well, that’s all I have from here. Thanks again to everyone for your support. Those that supported us goes far beyond just the ones on this blog, so please make note of that.

My personal testimony is that Support matters. It helps. It makes a difference to people. Take a second to be thankful for those that support you and those you are capable of offering your support to. Challenge yourself to support others. Keep this simple action in mind as you go throughout your day.

Again, all of your support, big or small, was felt, and we appreciate it. Thanks for reading and checking out our adventure as we Crossed the Line.

I’m Out.

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The feeling when it’s all over…

 

 

 

Shout Outs Necessary! – IRONMAN 2016

MindSetGo Giveaway! Win a Monday Morning Reminder! Details Here…

The Monday Morning Reminder….

For me, they have been a way to express myself and share my thoughts. At the same time, it has also served as an avenue to listen. At times, I gear the MMR towards certain people who have shared certain feelings with me, who I’ve tried my best to listen to and understand…

My thought is that we are seldom alone. We all have different experiences, yes, but through our experiences, we may share similar feelings. If I feel it, maybe someone else can feel it too.  It’s a matter of putting it out there for someone else to feel. Sometimes, we resist from putting it out there.

The Monday Morning Reminder, for me, is one way to put it out there.

What’s a simple way you can put something out there? Whatever it is, go ahead, give it a shot…

MindSetGo’s most persistent posts are the Monday Morning Reminder. As a Thank You to those who follow along with MindSetGo and the Monday Morning Reminders, I wanted to make the MMR a little more tangible.

So, Here’s why and how you can Win a Reminder…

I reached out to 3 people who are passionate about creating, about giving, and about making others happy. I gave them a blank canvas and asked them to pick out, from a list of Monday Morning Reminders, one Reminder they liked.

From There…

I shared my thoughts to give one perspective, but asked each person to create their own piece which I would use as a giveaway. Without any hesitation, each person I approached was quick to lend a hand.

The 3 people that came to mind?

-My sister, Katie Olasin, who is as humble as any person you will ever meet. She will probably stress a little over people knowing she made a Reminder. Not because she is embarrassed, but because she is her own toughest critic. Her art has always amazed me and each time I see a piece of art, I think to myself, “Katie could probably create something like this…” I enjoy her creative mind and am thankful for her time, as she was pregnant with her first boy on the way when she made this. Thank you Sista.

Me and my Sister, Katie.
Me and my Sister, Katie.
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Katie’s Reminder – “Life is Short. Cherish It.”
Full Version of the Reminder on the back.
Full Version of the Reminder on the back.

-My Classroom Partner last year at Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy (KDHSA), Mr. Peter Barntz, who is the Art Teacher. Peter gave up a piece of his classroom to allow it to serve as my “Office.” Peter’s passion for art is unreal. He has an ability to see art in it’s most simplest, broken down form. He has given me such a high appreciation for art and the different forms of art, which he teaches to his students. He’s involved in the Kenner City Arts Council and is an inspirational artist. His style is unique, and you will see that in his “Focus” Reminder. Thanks Peter. You are Appreciated.

Peter Barnitz with his "Focus" Reminder
Peter Barnitz with his “Focus” Reminder
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Think Positive. Focus.
Turn your Reminder over for the Full Version on the back.
Turn your Reminder over for the Full Version on the back.

-An old family friend recently reunited through KDHSA where she is a Prek/K Teacher, Katie Morenc. Katie has gone out of her way to be a friend to me. She will be heard and state her opinion anywhere, at any time, but she is a person whose willingness to help others is great to see.  This is a strong individual, who is probably tearing up from reading this, but has supported me in countless, unexpected ways. Sometimes I’m left speechless at her thoughtfulness. Katie, Thank You.

Katie Morenc with her "Enjoy Your Journey" Reminder.
Katie Morenc with her “Enjoy Your Journey” Reminder.
Think Positive. Enjoy Your Journey.
Think Positive. Enjoy Your Journey.

Full Version.

I’m grateful each of you took the time to create your own Monday Morning Reminder. It means more than you know to have your help. I can only hope you were able to enjoy the process.

Lastly, these Reminders are meant to serve as exactly what the name insists, A Reminder. It’s something to reflect upon when things may seem stagnant or doubt, fear, and other negative emotions come a knockin’. Hopefully it serves good purpose.

How To Win a Reminder?

If you would like to win the reminder for yourself, or maybe use it as a gift for someone else, simply “LIKE” the reminder when it’s posted! Super Easy! For the next 3 Monday Morning Reminders, 1 of these will be posted, so be on the lookout! Share MindSetGo around and give it a Like. It’s Greatly Appreciated.

Winners will be announced on the Wednesday after the reminder has been posted!

Thanks again to everyone who has followed along. I appreciate the support. This is just one little, simple thank you for being a part of MindSetGo.

MMR Giveaway x3

All the Best,

Kyle Olasin

MindSetGo Giveaway! Win a Monday Morning Reminder! Details Here…

Monday Morning Reminder: Remembering Mr. Jay Rink…

“Once you put your mind to something, then you can do it. It’s about having a Positive Attitude, and it’s what you choose. Our attitude is a choice, and it all depends on what you choose. But you have to want to do it. You have to have that desire.”  – Jay Rink

At times, the simplest of things can seemingly affect our attitude, either for better or for worse…While it’s the little things that seemingly bear a small weight, they all add up on the scoreboard in the Game of Life.

Life is the makeup of all the little things, those that affect us both in a positive and negative way. Life is what we sometimes take for granted because it seems that it’s given to us regardless of our outlook, which as we should know, nothing (not even life) is guaranteed.

So, each day you are given a new opportunity, challenge yourself to choose to be positive, to make the best out of your life, regardless of the circumstances. Like Mr. Jay said, put your mind to it and develop that Desire, simply because once you put your mind to something, you can do it. This is one of the simple choices we all have that will add up to make a big difference.

Think Positive. Choose to be Positive. It will make a Difference.

Group Pic. Thumbs up.
We recently raised $4,000 for Mr. Jay Rink with our Fundrasier, A.L.S. for ALS, back in August 2014. Mr. Jay even came out to help deliver over 500 Lunch Meals!

For those unaware, Mr. Jay Rink lost his battle with ALS this past Saturday, June 6. In our mind, Mr. Jay will be remembered for his kind, open spirit, and he will also serve as our reminder that Attitude is indeed a Choice. Mr. Jay was a person who chose to remain positive even though his situation could have stated otherwise. He faced his battle by showing Determination, Focusing on his Family, Inspiring others, and continually Giving Back to others in need.

Thank you to everyone who helped with our effort to Give Back to Mr. Jay. He was very appreciative. Thank you to Mr. Jay Rink, his Family, and to Jay’s Defensive Line for allowing us to get to know Mr. Jay.

Lastly, Keep Rolling, Mr. Jay. Send down that reminder we all need from time to time to Keep Rolling through the game of life, even when we are faced with adversity.

Thank you for reading. Have a Great, Inspired Week.

Monday Morning Reminder: Remembering Mr. Jay Rink…

Cross The Line. An IRONMAN Story told by Jesse Coleman

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If someone would have told me I would be competing in triathlons a year ago, I would have called them crazy. A year later and an IRONMAN 70.3 down, I’m beginning to believe I’m the crazy one.

I started to do light workouts with Kyle and James a little over a year ago when Kyle asked us to do the Brett-Robinson Triathlon in Alabama with him. In all honesty I told him “No” the first few times, until James said he was doing it. It ended up being a really good experience and we all had a good time competing that day.

The group after the Brett Robinson Triathlon.
The group after the Brett Robinson Triathlon.

A couple of months later they are talking about doing the IRONMAN 70.3. Just so you guys know, I really was not trying to do this, but since my two workout partners were doing it, I felt as if I didn’t have a choice. So fast forward to the race…

Us in our
Us in our “Cross the Line” Tanks before the Madness started. As you can see, Everyone was in their own “Zone.”

My heart is racing, adrenaline is flowing, and they send me off. I jumped into the water expecting to have a good swim because this is where we spent most of our time training. Like Mike Tyson said,

“Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

Well, that water punched me square in the mouth. For some reason I couldn’t breath, or even do freestyle for the first half of the swim. This was the first time that doubt entered my mind, and I began to question why I was even putting myself through this. This was my first obstacle I had to overcome. I just kept telling myself to keep going.

Finishing up the 1.2 Mile Swim.
Finishing up the 1.2 Mile Swim.

Then I went on to the bike. 56 miles to be exact. I believe the longest bike ride that I’ve taken before this was around 25 miles, but I knew that I would be able to pull through it for the simple fact I like to ride bikes.

Just Biking...
Just Biking…

The way out was easy because the wind was in our favor, but the way back was a different story. The most challenging part of the bike was the home stretch (7 mile straightaway back in). The wind was directly against us. My speed dropped down to around 11-12 mph.

Reppin' Team Gleason during the Bike. No White Flags.
Reppin’ Team Gleason during the Bike. No White Flags.

At this pace it was going to take us another hour just to get 7 miles. It felt as if I wasn’t going anywhere. I teamed up with this random guy for a few miles during this stretch simply to motivate each other to pull through.

After I get off of my bike my legs are done for. I couldn’t fathom putting my bike down and running 13.1 miles, but I knew that I had to do it. So I took off my biking gear and put on my running gear including my “Cross The Line” shirt. From there I knew I only had one mission, to Cross The Line however I could.

“I’ve always believed that the mind was a powerful thing, but I didn’t quite realize how powerful it truly is.”

Around mile 3, I came across a spectator who saw me struggling and gave me some extra motivation. He said something to me that basically empowered me to finish the race. He started shouting at me,

“The mind will always give up before the body does! Cross the line! Cross the line!”

He was completely right. At that point, I truly realized you can do anything you put your mind to. If you tell yourself to keep going or to stop, that is exactly what you will do. I kept repeating those words for the rest of the run.

At the halfway point of the run, all of the runners turn around and run the 6.5 miles back in. I had in my mind that I would stop and walk it out for a little while right there. As I begin to walk, a 40-year-old woman comes running past me and said to me,

“You’re 22 and the wind is at your back, keep moving!”

Tough love? Yes, but I needed it.

It put into perspective for me that they have all of these 40-65 year olds doing the same thing I’m doing. The craziest part is that they don’t stop. I knew how bad I was hurting, and I am in a 22-year-old body…I could only imagine how their bodies feel.

They weren’t stopping or complaining, so what gives me the right to?

As I get around mile nine, I saw an elderly woman running the opposite way (she had to be around mile 3). As I’m looking at her I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I could tell every step she took was painful, but even she wasn’t walking. She had a jog going that was no faster than an average fast pace walk. I had to stop where I was and watch her pass so that I could look at her calf to see how old she was….

85.

Yep, she was 85 years old, running this race. She could have been part of a relay team, but even if she was, how many 85 year olds do you know that can build up enough motivation to run 13.1 miles? I ended up seeing her again later when she was getting closer to the finish line, and she was still jogging.

The last story that I have from my first IRONMAN 70.3 is about a man who I crossed the finish line with. If I remember right, this guy was 42 years old. As I was coming up on him in the last mile, I noticed this man was hobbling. When I get to him, I realized that he was running with a cramp in his right calf.

His words to me were,

“I couldn’t get it out so I kept running.”

This man willed his way to the finish line. His body was telling him to stop, but his mind wouldn’t let him.

Like I said earlier, I always believed that the mind was a powerful thing, but after the things I saw and experienced during this event, I have a new understanding of what Thinking Positive does.

Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line

Everything in life is about your mindset. I believe that you can truly do whatever you want to do, that is as long as you truly want to do it. There is not an obstacle in this world that can stop you.

Lastly, I would like to Thank You for taking the time to read a little of my story. Thanks to Everyone who reached out with support. It definitely helps to make a difference and helped me Cross The Line.

Until Next Time…..

Ironman New Orleans 70.3.
IRONMAN New Orleans 70.3.

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Cross The Line. An IRONMAN Story told by Jesse Coleman

Why Do Another IRONMAN 70.3…Here’s Why.

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My goals with myself and with MindSetGo are to Give Back, Inspire, and Promote a Positive Mindset. If I’m going to promote these things, I must try my hardest to be an example of these things. I will make mistakes, I will be wrong along the way, I will continue to be challenged in ways I never imagined. Some may support my efforts while others may not…No love lost either way. I understand this. After all, let’s face it, It’s tough to win em all.

In each of the challenging journeys I’ve been on, there has been so much support shown that it’s truly remarkable to think back on. I’ve been motivated by others to try things I would have never seen myself attempting on my own. I believe there’s something special, something that drives us as individuals, when we do things for/with other people.

With that said, I am dedicating each portion of this IRONMAN 70.3 to Support and Represent 3 different causes.

1.2 Mile Swim

The swim portion is dedicated to everyone who has lent a hand and continues to contribute to MindSetGo in one way or another. This is my message to those who wish to explore life on the positive side. Those who want better, those who see more for themselves through future endeavors, myself included.

Coming into this whole MindSetGo deal, I have to continually remind myself of something:

As I grow as an individual, and as those around myself grow, so will MindSetGo. Drastic change in this matter happens over an extended period of time. Over the past couple years MindSetGo has continually shown growth by Giving Back, Inspiring others, and constantly promoting the “Think Positive” motto in life. Without those who have joined along and contributed, we would have very little.

I’m still learning. I’m still growing. I promise, each day that goes by, I’m thinking how to make MindSetGo better. How can I continually involve others in this effort?  What can I do to better relay my vision? Where can I improve?

The more I contemplate these things, the more clear I am beginning to find the direction of MindSetGo. It’s a matter of taking these thoughts and arranging them so others can benefit from what MindSetGo represents. Thank you again for the support and patience throughout this journey.

As for the swim, this year, I am doing something a little different. I’m attempting the swim with no wetsuit. I’ll be in my regular swim suit, like a regular person, because that’s what I am. There is nothing different about me.

I’ll keep my mind clear of negative and focus on keeping my thoughts positive. I’m not quite sure how it will turn out, but I am going to do my best to keep breathing and keep swimming for the entire 1.2 Miles…

I do this to be that example and show one way in which I define what it means to Think Positive. I understand we all have our own thoughts and opinions. We can all look at Thinking Positive however we like, defining it however we like. There is more than one way to define this motto, and that is one of my personal goals as well as a goal with MindSetGo; To define what it means to Think Positive through the life stories of others.

This is part of who I am, part of my story, and I have been given the opportunity to share it with others in hope that it will inspire others to view life through a positive perspective. It’s challenging, yet worth it.

At times I will make mistakes. At times, I will fail. I also know I will learn from my experience. I will try my hardest to stay focused and to be the best I can be.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement along the way.


56 Mile Bike

The biking portion will be dedicated to Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy. This is my message to everyone at KDHSA:

KDHSA Community,

Allow me to look back for a moment:

Well, since becoming a part of KDHSA through Playworks, I have been welcomed and strongly supported by all of you with my efforts to become a part of the KDHSA Community. Since walking through the doors on Day 1, you all have truly helped to make this experience one that I will always be thankful for. From the Teachers, to the Staff, to the students, to the parents, I can honestly say I enjoy showing up everyday at KDHSA, and that’s mainly because of the people I get to see daily.

You all Go the Extra Mile, or as Dr. Watson would put it, “You’ve gone above and beyond.” I’ve learned that the “KDHSA Way” is one that is open, one that is supportive, and one that generates growth by taking those extra steps to be of assistance to others. It’s about Honor, Endurance, Academic Achievement, Responsibility, and Tolerance, better known as our H.E.A.R.T. tenants.

When I take time to reflect, I realize I was unaware of the positive impact the kids and staff are able to have not only on myself, but on those around them. And quite frankly, I was extremely nervous about taking a step outside my Comfort Zone, as I had previously never worked with children and only stumbled upon this opportunity through a friend.

Fast Forward 9 months to now…all I can say is Thank You. Thank you for Inspiring me and for Motivating me to give my best. Thank you for being so welcoming and so supporting. It has definitely helped for me to grow as a person. I’m sure plenty others can say the same about their experiences here at KDHSA.

As a way to show my appreciation, I asked if I could represent KDHSA and dedicate a portion of the IRONMAN to the School Community. I am extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity to represent Kenner Discovery.

With that said, I am dedicating the bike portion (56 Miles) to the KDHSA Community. I’ll be riding these 56 Miles in my KDHSA Spirit Shirt! You all will be on my mind as each mile passes by, and you will only help to push me to the Finish Line. If only there was a way you could physically come pedal some miles for me, that would be excellent! 🙂

Also, Ms. Lauren Randazza (Prek/K Teacher) is taking on the swim portion. Huge Shout Out to her for taking a step outside her comfort zone and giving this a go! You’ve got this Lauren!

So, come Sunday, just know there are a couple Swamp Owls out there doing as us Swamp Owls are taught to do, “Endure through easy and rigorous tasks” (this one, a little more rigorous), and it’s because of each of you.

Thank you again. We hope to have your support throughout this journey!

Lauren and I would be happy to see any Swamp Owls before, during, or after the race!

13.1 Mile Run

The run portion will be dedicated to Steve Gleason, Team Gleason, and all others battling ALS, including Mr. Jay Rink, who has also been a great source of inspiration and motivation for myself.

This is my message to Steve, Team Gleason, Jay Rink, and all others battling or supporting someone living with ALS:

This will be the last leg, which will most likely bring me the most pain, as my body will be physically worn down at this point. Although I will be physically worn down, I am going to be focusing my mind on staying positive, embracing the pain, and continue to move forward to Cross the Line.

We, as individuals, are defined less by our physical presence and more so of how we think and feel as people. Those with ALS slowly get stripped of their physical ability, leaving their mind to help them push on each day. In essence, I will still maintain my physical ability, but it will be my mind pushing me through these 13.1 Miles.

Steve, Thank you for the opportunity to work alongside of you. The strength you demonstrate on a daily basis gives me a new, overwhelming perspective on how to approach life.  You are an innovator, not just for what you do in regards to ALS, but also in this game we call Life.

I’ve learned from you that we all will face different forms of adversity and tragedy and need to have outside sources of motivation and inspiration to Keep Rolling.

I’ve learned to Explore myself and who I am through acknowledging and identifying my weaknesses, which only help to further define this Life Experience.

I’ve learned there is always a way, no matter the circumstance, to be of assistance and help make the lives of others better. You have to be driven and you have to stay focused.

Side Note: I’ve found a new appreciation for the Cockroach, although they are a creepy creature. (Thanks Steve)

Seeing first hand how Steve handles his situation has given me a such a strong appreciation for who he is as a person. Although the circumstances may seem to be against Steve, he is constantly pushing on, inspiring others and being a positive influence along the way. Steve is caring, he gives each person who wishes to speak with him the time of day, and he is constantly working with others to improve the lives of People with ALS, better known as PALS.

Just as he was on the football field, as he is to the city of New Orleans, and as he has become to people across the world, Steve is a Difference Maker. Thanks for making a difference Steve. You are Awesome, and as you say,  “Awesome Ain’t Easy.”


So, to close it out, next time you may be faced with something that may seem a little beyond your reach, allow the actions of others to motivate you. Keep Rolling through the Game of Life, Keep Exploring who you are, and why you do what it is you do. Challenge yourself to focus on things outside of your own self. Allow these thoughts to motivate and inspire you to further positive action.

Thank you for taking the time to give this a read. It’s truly appreciated.

Have a Great Day!

Why Do Another IRONMAN 70.3…Here’s Why.