Danny, I attended your workshop in Asheville last October shortly after returning from Iraq. I am currently attending command and general staff college in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. I wrote a leadership essay about my ChiRunning experience. Below is the relevant portion:
I hated COL Weiss. I was in constant pain, and I felt humiliated. But I kept running. If for no other reason, I ran to be seen running. I wanted “Ranger Weiss” to know I was at least trying. One of these mornings, I noticed another member of my team, Capt. Nikita Belikov, going into the gym. He went to the gym every morning at the exact same time. I could almost set my watch to it.
Nikita Belikov is a Russian born immigrant who graduated from the Air Force Academy. He was our communications specialist. He reminded me of the Russian boxer “Drago” in the movie Rocky IV. He is smart, disciplined, extremely fit, and everything he does seems effortless. He is a genetic gift to the human race. In fact, he jokes that he is the product of a Soviet genetic experiment. In high school, he was a varsity weight lifter. He became my personal trainer. Six days a week at 5:00 AM, he put me through a Crossfit workout. Then at 6:00 AM, I ran three painful miles. One of the Crossfit workouts had a running segment and I asked Nikita about running. He said, “It looks to me like you are striking your heels too much. You should look into ChiRunning. Just Google it. You’ll see what I’m talking about.” The ChiRunning website promised “Pain-Free, Effortless Running.” I signed up for the newsletter and ordered the training program.
ChiRunning changed everything. My foot and leg injuries actually healed while I was running. I could run several miles every single day with no pain. I lost weight and gained muscle. My mental shift was most astounding. It was a total lie to tell myself that I was genetically incapable. If I can run, and if I can lose weight; what other lies have I been telling myself? What am I capable of? I took up speed reading. I started learning Arabic. I left the Iraqis with two full sized manuals in both English and Arabic which I wrote with my Iraqi counterpart. Now, I am systematically crushing all the “lies” in my life.