|3rd mirror shot in a month|
Jason is equal parts triathlete and dietary crusader. Read the first few sentences of any of his posts and you will immediately realize that he is very knowledgeable and passionate about both. In all honesty, Cook Train Race is what Endurance Athlete Project should have been - a grass roots source of good information delivered without an enterprise minded agenda. Exhibit "A" - One of Jason's posts last week was about a proposal to levy a tax on fast foods in an effort to combat obesity. This led to a very lively debate on the blog. Everybody had an opinion - some wanted to tax the consumer while others wanted to tax the supplier. Many didn't want more taxes - period. Other ideas where thrown into the ring for consideration - there were calls for tax credits for healthy living, subsidies for organic farmers and so many more. It seemed that everyone had an idea on how to solve the problem.
Though most of the opinions were well thought out and presented, I actually think that the correct answer was right there front and center the whole time. Specifically, the best way to fight obesity is through honest and unbiased education, and the best way to distribute that knowledge is through a network of grass roots blogs with no hidden agendas. This network of blogs, by the way, would include Cook Train Eat Race. Idealistic? Maybe. Can the blogs easily reach the masses? Well, no - not yet. But I truly believe things are headed that way, especially for people who really desire the information and know where to look. And that group of "people" is getting bigger and bigger.
Never before has the playing field been as level as it is now with respect to an individual having a real voice in the media. The barriers of entry for creating your own little wellspring of content are non-existent. All you have to do is go out there and stake your claim, and then work it. Jason is well on his way to doing this.
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On a whim I fired off seven questions to Jason about the blog and his motivation. I wanted to get a better idea of what makes him tick. Here are his answers:
Patrick: How much time do you spend working on Cook Train Eat Race?
Jason: Lots. It is a passion of mine and I love spreading the word about a healthy lifestyle and I try to write on the blog so that somebody new to the lifestyle of an endurance athlete is not intimidated. I typically don't post my stats because I am training 15 hours per week and if I saw that as a newbie I would have stopped following thinking they are so far more advanced than I am. I keep it so that a newbie wants to follow and learn. Not always successful but I try.
Patrick: What motivates you to do so?
Jason: I sort of answered that in question #1 but my motivation stems from being a step parent and a husband. I want to be around for all the important dates in life. I lost my father before he was 50 so he didn't see my first marriage, my divorce or my 2nd marriage and those are life changing events that I don't want to miss of my step-son's (although I don't want him to go through a divorce.) I don't want to miss anything important in my wife's life either. I stood at the finish line of her first marathon for over an hour after running my marathon and cried over her accomplishment more than she did as I was hugging her (really suffocating her with that foil blanket they give you.)
Patrick: Where do you want to take Cook Train Eat Race?
Jason: I want Cook Train Eat Race to be the go to site for endurance athletes and those looking to cook healthier meals in their kitchen to share with their families. I have dreams and hopes of writing a book about the life of an age grouper and the ordeal that we go through to be able to compete in marathons and Ironman events while still being involved in a family, hanging out with friends, going to work, etc. It isn't easy but so many of us do it so it proves it is possible. In addition to that I want Cook Train Eat Race to be on the Cooking Channel (notice I did not say Food Network) because CC showcases real cooks who are not celebrities. I believe we have the wrong impression on how to cook because Food Network became so mainstream and all their chefs are cooking with 6 lb blocks of butter. I had a twitter conversation with Jeffrey Saad about The Food Network not having a vegetarian show and I have written them a few times asking for one and get no response. I think it is irresponsible of them to not showcase one show on healthy eating while we have an obesity epidemic in this country. Yes, it is an epidemic.
Patrick: What was your a-ha moment to make changes? Was it radical change or incremental? How "in shape" where you before you made the changes?
Jason: I started my endurance athlete journey in 2007 when my now ex-wife asked me to run a half-marathon. My original reaction was no way am I running. I played football and baseball all my life and you ran a few feet and stopped so running for 13.1 miles was absurd. She convinced me to do it (not why we go divorced by the way) but I fell in love with it and have to thank her for getting me started. Before that training was over I had signed up to run a half-mary in Miami and another in Philadelphia. After Philly I moved to Dallas and put on about 25 lbs as I had no connection to anybody here except for my now wife. Because of her I started to make friends and play softball and from there I started running again, signed up for a marathon and sprint tri in 2009 and the rest is history. As the lbs came down from 175 to my current weight of 142 I felt better, looked better and thought to myself....if I can do this anybody can.
Patrick: Cook Train Eat Race takes the concept of a "blog" a bit farther than most. What was your inspiration/influence to do this?
Jason: I started with Baha703ironman.com and was journaling my journey to Oceanside (CA) 70.3 in April 2011. Around November / December I exchanged emails with Rita Barry of Fitblogger and Blog Genie and decided to change the name and she encouraged me to pick something that I was passionate about and I knew I was not stopping with that one race in California and was dedicating my life to living this way. At that point Cook Train Eat Race was born and because I had to fill slots for Cooking/Eating, Training and Racing I started writing more and more and eventually found my voice. I enjoyed reading other articles about how you should do this or do that and then put my two cents into it and make it a conversation that others could join. I do my best to respond to comments because I think we get the most out of ourselves and others when we are social, which is why I have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Paper.LI account (which I learned from my company Fun City Social Media) in addition to the blog. The blog is my brand and an extension of who I am and I want to share it with the world (narcissistic in a sense but at the same time I want to relay to the masses that there is no time like the present to start living a healthy active lifestyle.)
Patrick: Would you be OK with some competition if Endurance Athlete Project was reborn but took a different tact than you do, which would be for me to be passionate about things but still continuing to perpetuate my jack-assedness?
Jason: I welcome the 'competition' because I learn from those around me. If there is a great idea that pops up on a blog or website I want to use it on mine but put my own spin on it. You have seen the Q&A go around and I think that is a great idea as I get to know the people who write these blogs but I did not do one. What I did was take my post about obesity and create my own Q&A based on questions I was already getting and answered it with one word. It was my own spin and it has drawn quite a few comments and page views. I say you resurrect EAP and lets get more people talking about health and fitness and making changes to their daily lives that will not only benefit them but also society.
Patrick: Do you think it makes sense to re-edit your Marathon Makeover video so that the first frame doesn't show you with your eyes closed?
Jason: Probably, but it also makes me look like I am in deep thought and that I don't just wing all of this stuff. There is a very strong power to perception. Then again people could be perceiving me as...'look at this jack-ass with his eyes closed' I can't control their opinions but I can hope that they read and respect mine and then chime in with theirs to create dialogue.
So there you have it...