Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dates for your diary :)

Apart from running races I also run Forward 2 Success, a Coaching/Training/Mentoring business concentrating on Intentional Living, Purposeful and Contributory Business models and Critical Thinking.

It is about showing a way of Life, Work & Business where what we do allows us to have a life while making a living. And to do so in a way that we contribute to make other people's lives better by what we do. Turning what we do from a Profit Driven to a Purpose Driven Economy.

I have been working on this for some time now and while it will stay a fluent process I am ready to engage in spreading the message through Speaking Engagements, Seminars, Workshops, Training, Writing a Book and appearing where ever I get invited :)

I hope you don't mind me using this Blog as my first salvo in that direction. Here's the list as it stands for the months of April to June 2016. More details on my Social Media on a very regular basis. (I'm free on other dates in case you want someone with a new and different message to speak at your event). Also if you want any of these in your location throughout Ireland just let me know!!

Organised by Forward 2 Success and friends:

April 17th Sunday, Absolute Hotel, Limerick. 'Do more of What You Love' Workshop. 10am-4.30pm. Guest speakers to be announced shortly! ONLY€49!!

April 23rd Saturday, Rivercourt Business Centre, Cornmarket Square, Limerick. F2S Open Afternoon. 2-6.30pm. Available 4 x 1 hour Coaching Sessions on your Life, Fitness, Career, Business at 50% discount of €50 each. Email patrickmercie66@hotmail.com to book a place.

April 30th Saturday, Rivercourt Business Centre, Cornmarket Square, Limerick. F2S Open Afternoon. 2-6.30pm. Available 4 x 1 hour Coaching Sessions on your Life, Fitness, Career, Business at 50% discount of €50 each. Email patrickmercie66@hotmail.com to book a place.

May 7th Saturday in Co-operation with John Madigan from Reflections Counselling - New Thinking New Life. We have this on in Limerick (venue announced very very shortly).

May 22nd Sunday. 2-6pm In a Dead End Job? Hate what you work at? Want to Look forward to Mondays again? Find your Ideal Job Workshop. (Venue and details to be announced shortly)!

June 19th Sunday. 10am-5pm Workshop of your Choice!! Vox pop to be run shortly and the subject with most votes gets the workshop!!!!

That's it for the moment. Running wise I have a bit of a niggle for the moment! Trying to run through it as that most often works for me. Have Marathon number 40 coming up this Saturday in a new location, Listowel County Kerry!! Woohoo, bring it on!

Miles with Smiles,

Patrick xxx

Friday, 25 March 2016

Reflection on happiness!

We indeed all cherish happiness. However the current understanding of happiness is
derived from the idealistic thoughts of material possession, limitless wealth and power over
Instead all happiness is by origin internal. And as with so many real things it is
counterintuitive from the outside and intuitive from the inside as it finds its true expression in
intentional living through an unintentional state of mind.
Whilst the former idealistic portrayal of happiness situates itself continuously in the future
and can therefore not be reached, the latter form is in the present and can only be reached
by those who forsake both the past and the future as their main sources of a happier live!
Miles with Smiles, Patte xxxxx 

Monday, 21 March 2016

It's mental I tell ya, mental!

'That's mental', was the response when I got introduced to someone last week with the words 'He's doing 20 to 25 Marathons this year to get past the 50 Marathon mark before he turns 51.'

There was a time not to long ago that I used to go mental on the inside when people responded that way to something I know they could do too if they loved doing it and found joy in it.

I know and firmly believe that everyone has their own thing they could do equivalent to 25 Marathons a year. Be it in sports, arts, medicine, business, charity work or whatever field they want to.

And I know that often the only thing stopping them is a lack of self belief. The doubts are stronger than the belief and it is easier to settle and not to try.

So yes, I agree. It's mental!!

Exercising your mind and taking care of your mental health is as essential as physical training or taking care of your body.

Right, I'm off. I'm going Mental. Are you coming with me??

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxx

Friday, 18 March 2016

A tip on becoming powerful beyond measure!

I took parts of a piece that Marianne Williamson wrote and what some people might remember from the film 'Coach Carter':
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ......... Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. ........... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I always found the idea that I am powerful beyond measure a scary thought. To me it meant I was underperforming continuously and I could not see how I could reach that limitless potential. How are we meant to know what we can achieve if we don't know in advance what it is we can actually do.

The answer is really simple. So simple it took me ages to figure it out. It's about just being me. To the best of my ability. And about being more in the present. To live in the NOW. To yearn to grow constantly. To contribute more.

All simple things. All equally powerful. All allowing me to shine brighter.

Running wise I got over my back to back pretty well and did 4 miles Monday, 10K Tuesday, 7.2 miles Wednesday and 8.35 miles yesterday. I'm planning on 7, 10 & 13 miles for the 3 days of the weekend. Shining brightly. :)

Work wise I wrote my new mission statement to kick start the re-branding exercise and am launching a good few things in April plus have a good few speaking engagements for April too. Shining brightly. :)

What can you do next to start shining brightly????

Have a wonderful day.

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxx

Monday, 14 March 2016

Back to Back Fun - Tralee International Marathon race report.

If there is one overriding personal piece of awareness from the weekend's running it is that I have really learned to live in the moment.

And that living in the moment is empowering, peaceful and engaging.

When you love what you do and engage with it fully in the moment you get to be 'in the flow'. Being 'in the flow' means living more of your potential and unmasking your self imposed limits as liars and cheats. Being 'in the flow' allows for higher level interaction with similarly minded people and achieve together for the benefit of each individual.

These are the lessons. It is what I took from it.

Strange as it may sound there is no euphoria, no massive sense of achievement today. It is not the result that has me spellbound, instead I marvel at the journey of continuous growth and learning. The journey that allows for more and more doing what I love most, leaving less and less room for the other stuff. The journey that is intentional, engaging and in the moment.

It is that awareness which colours my today so vividly I can feel its vibrations in my core. It is those vibrations that rule my thoughts and energise my actions. This is intentional living in action and I am choosing it in all areas of my life and want to inspire and engage others to do the same should they wish to.

Arriving on Thursday evening in Tralee I knew 2 things. 1- I have loved every race in Tralee so far. 2- I was going into the unknown.

I had gotten lots of tips on how to prepare and taken what I thought might suit me. That too is intentional living. Pick what will work for you.

Here's what worked for me.
1- Jog a 5 miler on the day before a race just to get the legs and mind at ease. It is not a recommended action in many people's books but it works for me.
2- Eat what you are used to eating rather than high carb loading and have a breakfast of cereal and tea with toast. This is not what is recommended in most running circles but it works for me.
3- Eat a Full Irish after the race and a Full Meal 3 hours later. You get it by now, it works for me.
4- Between the 2 meals lie on a flat surface with legs raised on a pillow or books or such. Works for me.
5- Soak for 30 minutes in an Epsom salts bath. Works for me.
6- Drink 3 pints of Ale at night between the races. Works! :)

Tralee is beautiful. And Marcus Howlett, Jim McNeice and Vivienne Li know how to organise running events with the runner at the core of what they do. This is not about money, this is all about the love for running as a sport and lifestyle. And it shows. I LOVE coming to Tralee for Run The Kingdom events and will come back to many more.

Friday the 11th of March 9am. At the far side of Tralee's Aquadome for the start of the Marathon Club Ireland Directors Race. About 20 odd souls left at 8am to run the Tralee Marathon Route. Leaving just 5 of us for the 9am start. 26.2 miles ahead of us. Thanks to Vincent Guthrie for organising this and to all who helped that day!! Without you we wouldn't be doing this!

I had made a deal with Paula Wright from our club to run this one together. We have similar pace. Paula also has a wicked sense of humour, is a tower of positivity and a strong runner. We agreed to run at a pace that would see us finish in 4hrs30. The roads were open to traffic so we had to mind ourselves and stay concentrated.

Paula had done 2 Back to Back Weekends in the last 5 or 6 weeks and knew what to expect. I didn't. I learned so much from her on Friday. She kept pulling me back on my pace as I felt good and naturally ran faster than agreed. I have thanked her numerous times since for that wisdom. We had an amazing time running that day in most gorgeous scenery passing through Ardfert, up and down the steep Barrow Hill and running the length of Fenit Pier and back before returning to Tralee the scenic and undulating way.

 At 13 Miles with Paula on Friday! Happy running!

It was a true pleasure to run with my new found friend. We laughed more than you think would be good for 2 people running 26.2 miles on hilly roads. Thanks again Paula for everything, we must do this again. And she kept her word, we came in 4Hrs28.
At the Finish Line on Day 1, 4hr28!

After the race I went through points 2 to 6 in the list mentioned above. That evening I sat down for some food and the 3 pints with 8 other members from the Club. Between them there was over 1,000 Marathons of experience there. Yes over 1,000 marathons. I learned a thing or 2 that evening :) Thanks Collette, Eimear, Brian, Julie, Gerard, Finn, Adolfo and Hugh (I really hope I got you all in)!!

Saturday the 12th of March 9am. We assemble at the same spot with about 300 runners of which at least 100 of them were Marathon Club Ireland members. This would be a great run. I however did not know what to expect. I was running my own race, I had to. For my own mind's sake. Just mind myself around the course in a state of meditation and live in the moment.

To keep a long story a bit shorter (I can tell you more if you want but it'll cost you a pint of Smithwicks), I settled in with Ger Donohoe and John Brady who were pacing 4Hr15 and drifted around that pace for 5 miles, then 10, 15, 20. I was surprising myself. I was 'in the flow'. On the hill at mile 22 I went ahead (I love hills) yet nearly paid for it at Mile 23.5 where I got a wobble. I consumed some jelly beans and that sugar rush sufficed.

While eating them I spotted Paula again. She was about 100 yards behind. It dawned on me how nice it would be to finish together again. We met up and the 4.15 pacers were now 100 yards ahead with 1.5 miles to go. Paula suggested we catch them. I didn't think at that moment we would. Regardless of that we tried and succeeded with 200 yards to go. Result 4.14.25 for Day 2. First Back to Back Marathons done and 14 minutes faster day 2. Ended up 9th in my age category.

 Day 2 Finish line in 4Hr14, thanks Mary Mockett for my favourite picture of the weekend.
Thanks for company on Day 2 to Paula Wright, John Brady, Ger Donohoe and Cathy Quilter. 

That was fun. Must do that again. Running in the moment with great running friends. Living fully engaged doing what I love doing most. Let's do that again!!

What I want to do reflecting on it this Monday is to share the intentional way of living with others and finding ways to contribute to make this world a better place to live in for as many people as possible.

That's what I took from my Back to Back experience. It is about NOW, about OTHERS and about a deep LOVE for what you do.

Next living in the moment Race is on April 2nd in Listowel, Co. Kerry for another Marathon Club Ireland event. If you want to join us you can register for only €20 here: https://endurancecui.active.com/event-reg/select-race?e=12352354&e4q=10421e47-cf33-46b4-8562-3898edfbb9a5&e4p=e4295589-919a-43b8-a974-4e987e93eac6&e4ts=1457952953&e4c=active&e4e=snawe00000000&e4rt=Safetynet&e4h=efb928e41d5fd73ca26373d095963f56

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxxx

Monday, 7 March 2016

There is no place I would rather be ...... MCI UL B2B Marathon weekend.

There is no place I would rather be ....................... than any place where I can do what I love most. The simplicity of living intentionally is both liberating and intense. It is gratitude combined with effort; happiness in unison with contribution.

It is a happier place than that were most people seem to live. It is definitely more rewarding and it allows for the unique blend of selfishness and selflessness as if the twine were meant to be together.

I like travelling to it more and more often as it offers a safe place for everyone where it is OK to be human and where it is OK to be your self. And that brings not only peace, but also joy and unlimited potential.

As it did again this weekend. On Friday a visitor was welcomed to Limerick for the weekend. It was Marathon Club Ireland Back 2 Back Marathon weekend in the gorgeous setting of the University of Limerick.

And Marathon running legend Collette O'Hagan from Dundalk was running her 374th & 375th Marathons. She was just back from completing the 6 Majors having ran Tokyo Marathon the previous weekend. It was such a pleasure to have Collette over. Every time I meet her I become a better person and a better runner. Her knowledge of distance running is very deep.

Thanks Collette for your stories and sharing your running wisdom.
Saturday at 7.30 we gathered at the University of Limerick Boat House for the first day of the running festival. The sun was shining brightly and it would not leave us for the duration of the race. It felt like the first day of Spring. Race Director Derek Mackessy with the support of Maryse, volunteers, marshalls and the ever present Lindsey and Vincent Guthrie once again offered us what most be the best value for money at any Marathon event in Ireland. Thanks to all.
We ran a 1 mile out and back loop before starting on 5 laps of 5 miles through and around the University of Limerick campus. Seriously, next time you come to Limerick pay a visit to the campus, it is a masterpiece mixing nature and architecture. It has new design buildings, river walks, cafe's, a living bridge and so much more. Definitely worth a visit.
I settled in an easy rhythm talking to IMRA notoriety Brian Byrne and also Paul Comerford who was on his 10th Marathon of the year. I moved on and spotted 3 friends about 300 yards ahead. It took me 2.5 miles to catch up with them :) I joined Michelle Burke (winner of last year's Tralee 40 mile), Shane Dunphy (en route to his 40th marathon) and Aiden Sheridan. Aiden is this year running 52 marathons in 52 weeks in aid of Breast Cancer Ireland. He ran numbers 11 & 12 this weekend. Please visit his FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/52marathonsin52weeks/ 
We stayed together for the next 15 miles until the Finish line also crossing paths regularly with Maighread Ryan. These are real friends, you can run 15 miles with them and have a great laugh and fun with at the same time. Thanks to the 4 of them for a wonderful couple of hours!
From L to R: Maighread Ryan, myself, Shane Dunphy, Aiden Sheridan and Michelle Burke.

So that was number 37 in the bag in wonderful weather. Returned to the scene of pleasure the next morning at 7.30am to help as Marshall and for Food Table Duty on the second day of the festival. The weather was turning and it rained nearly throughout. This did not dampen the spirits too much. And if one or other participant didn't feel 100% there was always a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or a very well meant shout of encouragement.
I ended up running 2 laps of 5 miles with the wonderful Siobhan Dowling who was on her first Back 2 Back Marathons and had lost her running partner through injury early in the race. It was a privilege spending those 10 miles with a new found friend. Congrats to Siobhan on her first B2B. You have a wonderful spirit and willpower to match. You have every reason to be very proud of what you achieved.
When Siobhan came in to complete the race a group of fellow runners had waited in the rain at the Finish line to greet her home. Only people who truly love what they do can bring themselves to stand in continuous rain waiting for a fellow runner to finish after completing a Marathon themselves. I am so grateful to know these people and be part of this magnificent Club.
If you have completed 1 marathon and want to share in this magic, join Marathon Club Ireland. You will thank your self for doing so.
Next for me is Tralee for my own attempt at Back 2 Back marathons this coming Friday and Saturday.
There is no place I would rather be next weekend!!
Miles with Smiles,
Patte xxxxxx


Friday, 4 March 2016

Marathon Club Ireland visits Limerick.

This weekend it's Limerick's turn to host a Marathon Club Ireland event. Tomorrow and Sunday the absolutely gorgeous campus of the University of Limerick will see a lot of brave souls take on Back to Back marathons.

The course consists of a 1 mile loop followed by five 5 mile loops mostly around the campus. So much of this is what I love about running these days. A great course, a great Race Director in Derek Mackessy, lots and lots of running friends, hugs, Jaffa cakes, jelly beans, passion, endurance, laughs and miles with smiles.

Personally I will run my 37th marathon on Saturday and am volunteering on Sunday to help ensure everyone taking part has a great time in our Treaty City! This is what this Club is all about! Friendship without questions. Fun without limits. Unconditionally. One big running family. No wonder the membership is growing each year!

Thanks to those who read, shared and reacted on the blog post with my story yesterday. It was not easy writing it and your reactions were very welcome. Thank you, it strengthens my resolve to make a difference to the way we look at life. Thanks for your continued support in helping me spread the message. Here's a link to yesterday's blog for those who missed it: http://howmanybelgians.blogspot.ie/2016/03/i-was-just-about-kept-alive-several.html

A lot of what I have achieved mentally and physically in the last 2 years is due to my reintroduction to sport. And the people of Marathon Club Ireland played a massive role in that. I remember that and intend to pay it forward in buckets.

That's it for me today! I'm looking forward to today first and then it is MCI time and that's happy time!

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxx

Thursday, 3 March 2016

I was just about kept alive several times and it's time to give back - my story (in short).

It was not really funny growing up. I didn't enjoy my younger years. Not because of a lack of love at home. Or from my family. They kept me alive with their love.

You see, my teenage growth spurts came later than most others'. And I was a bit of a brainiac. The 2 together meant I got bullied. Not just mentally, physically too.

It got worse when I chose not to do my confirmation at age 12. Because I didn't believe the stories I was told. I was in a Christian Brothers school at the time. And stayed in it until I was 15. Some of the Brothers beat me and tried to make me fail exams. Out of spite. They set up kids from secondary to bully me too. I used to get beaten up on the way home. Because of my choice. Beaten just enough not to show physical marks most of the time. I never really told many people.

Just 1 or 2. And they listened and helped. They kept me alive.

At 15 I went to a non denominational school and joined the Union Youth and things improved a bit. However at that stage I kept mainly to myself and hid my potential. I did that all the way through Uni. And never graduated as a result.

I drank heavily, smoked and abandoned sport for a while. Everything I loved doing was pushed aside for fear of being good at it. I know that now. Then I thought I was weird and weird was not good.

I was still bullied by the same people where I lived though mainly mentally, just the odd time I got a slap. I needed to escape. So I did and ran away. To nowhere. To the streets of Brussels. To anonymity. Alone. To where nobody knew me. I nearly didn't make it out of there.

1 or 2 people knew. And they listened and helped. They kept me alive.

I moved to Ireland after meeting a wonderful woman and had a fantastic first few years. Then the career took over. And I got bullied again. By people more clever than me in getting promotions who hated that I succeeded in making improvements on what they had set up. I got stressed and worried constantly. I started under performing and hiding my potential.

I started drinking heavier again and was still smoking and eating unhealthily. To the outside world everything seemed fine. Job, Marriage, Holidays, Career. That's all there is to life right!!?? Wrong, though I was surrounded by a couple of really nice people, 5 or 6 maybe. They listened, they helped, they kept me alive.

Then one day in my last job, it happened in less than 30 seconds. I vaguely remember blurred vision, dizziness, chest pains, left arm felt numb. I remember thinking I'm having a heart attack at work. I'm a bloke. I walked to the GP. I remember a slight panic in the GP's office and a short while later being told I had suffered a severe stress attack. I got a week compulsory sick leave. I was still Alive.

I was relieved and annoyed at the same time. How did that happen to me? What about next time? Would it be for real then?

On the first day of the leave I picked up the book I got from the training manager of the company, an ex-army officer. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I read it in one go. I loved it. What could I do with this? To make a longish story a bit shorter I found the Irish Lifecoach Institute, got interviewed to go on their 1 year diploma course and got accepted.

After the first module of the course I knew. I was on a journey. It became OK again to be a brainiac. It was OK to be good at things. It was OK to be myself. That kept me alive.

The course changed my life. I started looking at things differently. I became aware of a different view, a paradigm shift in thinking.

In the 8 years since that course I have been on a journey to find my way in becoming more and more of me and less of what everyone expects from me. I have now become as close to fully me as I can and do no longer feel the need to adjust or fit in.

Now that I am completely at peace with myself and who I am, I want to dedicate the rest of my life helping others to find the same. In Relationships, Work, Business, Sports, Arts. In short, in Life.

I was lucky that there was always a few people around to keep me alive. Without them I would not be able to write this because I would not be here anymore.

I need your help to get me in front of as many people as you can. I have a story and a message and I want to share it with as many people as possible through books, seminars, public speaking, coaching, training and mentoring.

Just to tell them It's OK to be yourself. It's OK to make a living AND having a life. It's OK to be you. It's OK to be human and feel sad or angry. It's OK to be human and feel happy and content. It's OK live your life intentionally and the way you want to. It's OK to live a life of contribution rather than success.

Because of this I am able to live an intentional life. Because of this I can run my own business based on making others lives better rather than just doing it for money. Because of this I am aiming to help 5,000 people in 2016, 15,000 in 2017 and 45,000 in 2018 and trebles again from then on.

Because of this I am now back in sport. I have ran 36 marathons since October 2008, number 37 this coming Saturday. I ran 16 of them in 2015 alone and am aiming for 20 to 25 this year. Because it is part of what I love doing and it's good for me so I just keep doing it.

Please help me. Please help me keep more people Alive just like those few did for me. Please help me get in front of more people. Thanks in advance for helping me to save lives!

As always many Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxx