Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Mike Bielik, a self-proclaimed “crazy” racer for Team In Training.
Here’s what he had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Great achievements always change if you keep trying new things. At one point, it was finishing my first Century ride. Another time it was finishing an Ironman under my goal time and another was qualifying for Boston. Presently, although I’ve finished four 100-milers, I believe my greatest achievement so far has been finishing the Bear Mt. 50-miler this year 45-minutes faster than my aggressive goal time, while wearing a purple Tutu to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of my friend Kurt who had passed away from cancer about three weeks before the race. I think if I finish the Leadville 100 this year under 25 hours while wearing the Tutu for the same reason, then that may take my top achievement.
How did you achieve it?
I achieved that goal through lots and lots of smart training, but also must have had some divine help. Every time the race got difficult (and it got tough many, many times), I just had to glance down slightly and see my big purple Tutu. This reminded me of all the pain and struggle that Kurt went through. None of what I was going through could come close to what he went through. It also made me think of all of the people that had donated in his memory and had told me of their own friends and family that had recently passed away from cancer, those struggling right now with cancer, and also those that are survivors of cancer. It puts a lot of things in perspective.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I will certainly not claim to be a Saint. Especially when my favorite TV shows are South Park and Family Guy. But life is too short to be angry, mean, and inconsiderate. The positive feedback loop you get from being generous to others is more than worth the effort it takes to be generous and good to your fellow people. It could be that being kind and helpful is the most selfish act one can do!
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Asides from training for ultra-marathons, which has its way of keeping me fit, I try to be more health conscious about the foods I eat (less processed, sugary foods and more fruits, veggies, and nutritionally dense foods) and I also try to be less lazy. I take the stairs more often than not. I’ll walk someplace a few subway stops away rather than take public transportation or a cab. The little things you do add up over the course of the year.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve heard so many different quotes and speeches by many inspiring regular people. The theme is that life is too short to be angry and sad. Don’t take anything for granted and always give everything your best. “Go out there and fail!” is a quote that sticks in my mind from somewhere. Sort of like Gretsky’s “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Finally, one quote from ultra-legend Dr. David Horton, “Don’t be stupid!”
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
My favorite aspect of using Charity Miles is that I can raise money for an incredible cause by doing something I would be doing anyway. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Who do you exercise for, and why?
In some aspects, I exercise for myself. It makes me feel good and helps with leading a healthy lifestyle. When you exercise, you tend to also eat healthier and care more about your own health and well being as well as those around you. And now with the ability to exercise and raise money for charity, I am also exercising to help those in need. And as I mentioned earlier, helping others makes me feel good.