Category Archives for "track and field"

Don’t Forget This Deal on Cyber Monday


The Monday after Thanksgiving has become a big day for shoppers.  Last year, shoppers purchased nearly $2.7 Billion on-line on Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday was created by marketers to lure shoppers like you and me into purchasing on-line.  Shoppers are enticed with “deals”, discounts, and the allure of avoiding the chaos of in-store shopping.

I don’t know about you, but my family has found it much easier to shop on-line.  We get the things we want and need for the holidays without the pressure of the in-store experience.

Since it’s Cyber Monday and I know you are looking for that perfect gift for that special someone, I thought I should remind you of a gift that everyone wants and needs:

My book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field is available on-line at for less than $3.00.  This is the perfect stocking-stuffer or gift for anyone.

Here’s what several reviewers had to say about On Track:

It would be very easy for someone to read the title of this short book and think, “I only watch track every four years during the Olympics…this book isn’t for me.” The author does indeed talk about track and field, mostly at the high school level and in a very light and approachable way. But what this book really does is remind the reader that we all are surrounded in our everyday lives with little things that can help us grow, comfort us, or even kick us in the pants. We just need to be paying attention.

The beauty in this book is the way in which the author sees lessons in the little things, like the way sprinters set up their starting blocks. You do not need to be a fan of track and field to appreciate these observations. I believe that the author is more hoping to arm the reader with a few tools to look for lessons in their own everyday events that are relevant to their lives. Intentional or not, the book certainly did this for me. “On Track” then ties these observations back to recognizable verses of scripture. Much as the author hopes we’ll draw on our own memorable stories in our lives, he provides these memorable scripture passages for us to draw on as well.

I wouldn’t read this book expecting to learn much about track and field. That’s not really the point. This is a great little book to have on hand for those times that you find life getting off track (pun very much intended). It is a quick read that I will be returning to from time to time to get back On Track.  Brian S. Willem

This book is an easy read and well thought out. Jon writes life lessons in parallel with track and field events, he leads us from the starting blocks to the finish line. Whether you know track and field or not, this book is an inspiring work and leaves me wanting to read more and more of Jon’s writing. Bravo for leading the pack on your first book Jon!! Chris Vonada

Such a great read! Jon does a great job relating track and field concepts to our lives in this book. Whether coming out of the starting blocks, overcoming obstacles, or finishing strong, he incorporates stories from his own life and his kids’ lives and connects those with things that we face every day.

As a former hurdler and runner, I could especially identify with his stories and challenges and it took me back to my track days. On Track is a great book for anyone who wants to grow, be stretched, and be encouraged in their role at home, work, and in daily life. I highly recommend it. Great job Jon!  Shawn Washburn

Love that Jon incorporates his faith into his passions in life – into his family, his running, his job. On Track demonstrates how learning good, strong habits and practices are a life learning not just compartmentalized into a sport. Great read for the whole family, and would be great as a small group discussion guide. Good job, Jon! Looking forward to lots more from this new author.  Diane Karchner

Jon takes us on a journey with his love of God and his love of running. There are many lessons of life molding these two loves together. You really get a sense of Jon’s dedication to living life to the fullest and enjoying the gifts God has equipped each of us.  S. Young

Jon offers a tidy little book, a parable if you will, comparing life to running at a track meet. Readers will enjoy sharing the author’s personal experiences and will find the extra boost they are looking for to get their life back on track. An easy, enjoyable and worthwhile read.  Matt Appling

In this book, Jon does a fantastic job of teaching both about track and field (for those who are too familiar) and about life. Several key factors from the starting blocks to the finish line help to show you how to keep your life “On Track”.  Joshua Rivers

Go on-line and order your copy of On Track TODAY.

(If you’d like an autographed copy, reach out to me to discuss details.)

Do you shop on-line?  What’s the best deal you have ever found on-line?

Thanksgiving 2014 – On Track


As I mentioned yesterday, our family Thanksgiving tradition includes tracing our hand prints onto a white tablecloth.  In each of our fingers, we write down something for which we are thankful.  This week, I’m taking time to share something I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.  I’m hoping you’ll contribute to the conversation by leaving something for which you are thankful for each day.

Here is the second thing I’ll be writing down this year:

On Track

On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field is the name of the book I self-published in April this year.  The book was a project in that it helped me learn more about the writing and self-publishing process, but it was more than just a project or experiment.  It truly became something for which I am very proud.

I’m thankful for the many people who contributed to my project.  There are too many to list here, but there are a few that deserve special mention.  I’m thankful for John Noonan who graciously lent his design talent to create a book cover that captures the essence of my book.  I’m thankful for Anita Comfort who utilized her English experience to edit my book.  I’m thankful for Matt McWilliams, Rob Shepherd, Diane KarchnerDan Erickson, and Mark Sieverkropp who read my book ahead of time and offered generous endorsements.  I’m thankful for the people who reviewed the book on Amazon.  These people (and many others) contributed to making the book release process as enjoyable as possible.

I’m thankful for the many people who have purchased the book or given it away for others to read.  I wrote this book for me, but I also wrote it for other people.  And I’m honored that people would take time to read my book.

I’m thankful for writing in general.  As I indicated in the introduction to the book, I haven’t always enjoyed writing, but it has become a part of me through the book, through my blog, and through the writing community I have joined in the past several years.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to stretch and express myself in ways I would not typically explore.

I’m thankful for the hope this book project represents for future personal writing dreams.

What is one thing you would put on your thankful list this year?  Why?

Help Wanted: Track & Field Coaches and Cross-Country Coaches


I have a crazy idea, and I need your help.

I am in search of track & field coaches and cross-country coaches who would be (or might be) interested in reading my book.  On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field takes observations from the track and field and uses them to encourage readers to live a life on track.

OnTrack3dCover04132014I believe this book could be valuable for anyone, but I especially think the message will resonate with those close to the track and field.  I would love to send a copy of my book to coaches.  I’m targeting coaches at Christian high schools and colleges, but I would happily send it to any interested coaches – for FREE!

If you a coach any you are interested in reading my book, leave a message in the comments, so we can connect.  If you are not a coach, but you know a coach who would benefit from my book, send me a comment, so we can make it happen.  I’d love to send my book to 50 coaches before the end of the year.  I’m hoping you can help make this happen.

Who was your favorite coach?  When was the last time you received something for FREE?

On Track Kindle Version Deal Starts Today


Today starting at 8AM (Eastern Time), the Kindle version of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is being at a reduced price for a limited time.  The deal will not last long, so you want to act fast.  Here’s the scoop.

Starting at 8AM today (5/20/2014), the Kindle book is available for $0.99.

On Thursday (5/22/2014), the Kindle price will go up to $1.99.

On Saturday (5/24/2014), the Kindle price will go up to $2.99.

And on Monday (5/26/2014), the Kindle price will go back to the regular price of $3.97.

Spread the word to your family and friends.  Help others get a copy of On Track for Kindle at a reduced rate.  Let’s see if we can help others get “On Track!”

Here’s what J.C. Sheridan had to say about On Track:  “Jon gives a fun and encouraging read that relates running to issues we face. Each chapter as questions at the end which gives the reader a chance for personal reflection. This book is worth the read and can be used by an individual or small group.” (as reviewed on

Do you read book’s on Kindle or another digital reader?  Do you prefer digital books or physical books?  What is the last book you read?

My “I Made It Moment”

I listen to the Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast every day with John Lee Dumas.  In each episode, John interviews entrepreneurs from around the world.  He asks them a series of questions to inspire listeners and to help them take the next steps on their entrepreneurial journey.  One of the questions, John always asks his guests is “Have you had an ‘I Made It Moment’ that you can share with Fire Nation?”  (Fire Nation is the phrase he uses to describe his listening community.)

The answers to this question always intrigue me.  Some of the answers are pretty amazing, and many of the answers are quite simple.

Last week, I kind of had my own “I Made It Moment” at my son’s middle school band concert.

If you’ve been reading along recently, you know I recently released my first book:  On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.  It’s been a fun adventure so far.  After three weeks, I think it’s safe to say that this book project won’t be making me rich anytime soon.  But it’s okay.  I’m still extremely happy with the outcome of my first published book.

I haven’t set any major book selling records, but I’ve sold a few copies of the book in paperback and Kindle formats.

On Wednesday night last week before the concert started, I was catching up with a few of the parents sitting around us when one of the parents turned to me with a copy of my book in his hands, and he asked me if I would sign his copy of this book.  This was quite an honor for me.

As a kid, I was a big baseball fan (and sports fan in general).  I collected baseball cards.  I read the sports page of the daily newspaper line by line every day.  I watched sports on television and in person whenever I had the opportunity.  And I even collected a few autographs of baseball players.  I remember going to a Phillies-Cardinals double-header with a man from my church.  We went to the game early, so we could watch batting practice.  During warm-ups for the first game, I went down to the edge of the field and was able to get a few autographs from some of the players.  This was quite an experience for a young fan.

I never imagined that I would be the one giving my autograph someday.  I guess that changed last week when Rick Hansen asked for my autograph.

(Later that night, I had another request to sign four copies of the book.)

Did I really make it?

I know I have a long way to go as an author and writer, but this small moment was a reminder that I am an author.  I made it!

Now, it’s time to keep going.  I have more things to do – more blog posts to write – more books to author – and more moments to create.

Have you ever had an “I Made It Moment” that you could share with the Stretched Community?

If I had a book signing event in the near future, would you come to the event for an autograph?

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

Why On Track? Part 2


Yesterday, I shared some of the ideas and events that led to writing my first book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field.

To continue the topic, I’m sharing the introduction to the book today.  I think it provides explains why I wrote On Track, and I think it will also explain why I think you should read it and share it with your friends.

Here goes:

I haven’t always been a runner.

In fact, there were many moments when I utterly despised running.

Somewhere between college and my early thirties, I discovered running, or maybe it discovered me. I began pounding a couple of miles at a time around my neighborhood after I came home from work one night and realized I was starting to develop a bulge around my midsection. My love for food and my slowing metabolism had to be counterbalanced, and running seemed like the natural cure.

Despite running cross country for a season in high school, along with a season of winter track, I was not a confident runner. Now in my thirties, I jogged around my neighborhood trying to go as fast as I could for as long as I could. I ended up running two or three miles, and I was done.

Then a good friend of mine invited me to join him in preparing for a half marathon. This was an utterly crazy idea in my opinion, but somehow he convinced me to join him on a nine-mile training run one Saturday morning. I had never run this far in my life. This nine-mile run flipped a switch in me. I suddenly wanted to run more. I was now looking forward to running the half marathon with my friend.

Writing has been a similar journey for me. I wasn’t a bad writer in high school. In fact, I somehow managed to survive four years of high school honors English. But my first love was always math and science. These two subjects pushed me into the world of engineering.

I wrote several papers in college as a requirement for classes, but writing was not something I considered fun. I graduated and entered the real world of construction and engineering, where I stayed away from long writing assignments unless absolutely necessary.

And then another good friend introduced me to the world of blogging. He helped me set up my first blog, and I was off and running (I mean writing).

Blogging, like running, became a refuge from the demands of work and raising a family. It became a place for me to reflect on life’s stretching moments and to stretch readers. As the years went along and the blog posts began to pile up, I began to receive encouragement and confirmation that my writing was connecting with readers.

My blogging took me down roads I never imagined. I’ve written about life from many different angles. Somewhere along the road my interest in running, my interest in writing, and my faith started to intersect.

This book is the product of this intersection.

This book isn’t just for the runner or athlete. I believe it provides practical life lessons we all can embrace.

If you’re stuck in a rut or need a little guidance in finding your way, I’m hoping this book will help you get On Track!

Let’s get started!

If you have read On Track, I hope you’ll leave a review on Amazon, and let me know what you think right here in the comments.  If you haven’t read the book yet, click the link below to purchase the book at Amazon, or pick up a digital copy for FREE by subscribing to the Stretched Newsletter.


Why On Track?


Since releasing my first book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field, almost two weeks ago, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people about the book.  People at my office have asked me about it.  People at my church ask me about the book.  And people from the other circles of my life have asked me about the book.

It’s fun to share, but it has also been an adjustment as I walk the line of promotion and humility.  I sometimes wonder if this is normal for first time authors.  I want people to know about the book.  I want them to read it.  And I want them to share it with their friends and family.  But I also don’t want to be arrogant, prideful, or cocky.

I have so much to learn about writing, and I truly believe the best is yet to come.

When I share about On Track, I feel compelled to share the story about why I wrote the book in the first place.  I thought it would be healthy for me to share the story here.

I’m an engineer.  Writing a book was not on my radar until the past few years.  I started blogging nearly seven years ago as a place to process life’s stretching experiences.  Early on, I realized my thoughts in the blog could also be a catalyst for helping other people to stretch.  The more I wrote, the more I realized I had something worth sharing.  Readers began to ask me when I was going to write a book.  I put these comments to the side doubting that a book could ever be in my future.  After all, I was an engineer and not a writer.  Somewhere in the past two years, I started to move thoughts of book writing to the forefront.

I started writing On Track a year ago when I wrote several posts about related to the track and field world.  Here are the posts:

I don’t remember the specifics, but one of the Stretched readers (Steve Y) suggested I put together a book based on my observations of the track and field world.  This seemed like an interesting idea, but I didn’t do anything about it for a while.

As many of you know, I have a big heart and passion for short-term missions.  My experiences the past couple of summers propelled me to write a lot about missions on the blog.  As I considered writing a book, a book about short-term missions and developing a mission mindset seemed like the natural direction to follow.

I started brainstorming and creating an outline for this book about missions.  I prayed about it.  I talked about it with my wife and a few close friends.  And I decided to move forward.  I worked diligently on the outline for this book, and I sent it out to a few trusted friends and authors for their feedback.  As the feedback started coming in, I began to realize I was stepping into something pretty big.  I have big ideas for this book, but I didn’t have any experience whatsoever on how to proceed with the project.  Do I pursue a traditional publisher, or do I go down the self-publishing route.  How do I write a book proposal?  How do I handle the cover design?  How do I handle the editing and formatting?  How do I launch this kind of project?  The feedback for this book was terrific and encouraging, but I realized I needed to step back and try something a little smaller first.

And this is when I remembered the suggestion from Steve Y.  I looked back on my old posts, and I started scheming on how I could adjust and add to these posts to create something worth publishing.  In a sense, On Track became a “test” book project.  The book gave me the opportunity to see how self-publishing works.  It also gave me the opportunity to work with a graphic designer and editor.

Initially, I had thoughts of giving the book away for free in an effort to build my mailing list.  After all, this is what the experts on platform development tell you to do.  As I went deeper into the On Track project, it became more than a “test.”  On Track became something I believed had an important message – a message worth sharing.  And so, I decided to release it on Amazon in paperback and eBook for a small price.  (A digital copy of the book is available for FREE when you subscribe to the Stretched Newsletter.)

Since the release of On Track, I’ve been learning a lot about the challenges of “marketing/promoting” a book – especially when you are busy raising a family, working at a demanding job, and living a life that keeps you on the go.

I have so much more to learn, but I’m thankful for the journey so far.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the introduction to the book.  For those who haven’t read On Track yet, I think this will give you another look at why I wrote On Track.

If you have read On Track, I hope you’ll leave a comment on Amazon, and let me know what you think right here in the comments.  If you haven’t read the book yet, click the link below to purchase the book at Amazon, or pick up a digital copy for FREE by subscribing to the Stretched Newsletter.


On Track – From High School to the Track of Life


My high school running career was nothing to write home about.  Honestly, I hated running in high school.  I ran so I could hang out with my friends.  Before every race or meet, you could find me in the locker room bathroom dealing with the effects of a nervous stomach.  Practices were a painful experience as I tried to keep up with my faster teammates.

I have a few very distinct memories from my high school running career.

First, I will always remember the winter track meet at Widener University.  Widener’s indoor track was a tenth of a mile long.  I ran the two mile race which meant I ran twenty laps around the track.  It felt like I was running around the dining room table at my house as I looped around the track.  I don’t know how long it took me to run the race, but I will always remember double lapping one of the runners from another school.  I know it sounds kind of mean now, but there was something comforting about knowing I was the slowest person out there.

I will always remember the winter track double dual meet at Lawrenceville Prep School.  At our high school, you only needed to score in one race to earn your varsity letter.  This meant I had to finish in third place against either one of the other schools.  Again, my coaches scheduled me to run the two mile on this eighth of a mile banked track.  If I remember correctly, our coaches only scheduled two runners from our high school to run the race.  My best friend and much faster runner, Brian, had already run a race or two earlier in the day, so he was not scheduled to run the two mile.  For some reason, I pushed for Brian to run the two mile along with me.  Naturally, he finished ahead of me.  As the race approached the finish, I was pushed out of third place into fourth place.  Finishing fourth meant I missed out on my varsity letter.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be.  I had to settle for a varsity letter in band and in academics.  What can I say?

Finally, I will always remember coming down the home stretch of the Raider Invitational Cross-Country Meet.  This was one of my faster races, and I remember the feeling of floating as I hit my stride about a hundred yards from the finish line.  I don’t think I was one of the “prettiest” runners, but my coach caught a picture of me as I approached the finish line, and the picture makes me look like I knew what I was doing.

These stories didn’t make it into my book, but there are several other stories worth reading in the book.

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

Share a story from your high school sports career in the comments.

On Track Featured Elsewhere


On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field released yesterday!

It was appropriate that I spent part of yesterday at my daughter’s track meet where she lowered her mile PR (personal record) by another seven seconds.  She is doing a great job heading into the final dual meet of the season and the conference championships.

Yesterday was a fun day!

On Track picked up several great reviews on Amazon, and the book has been featured on a few blogs around the blog world.  I hope you’ll check out the posts and drop a comment thanking the bloggers for sharing their space with On Track.  Here are the links to get you started:

Guest Post: On Track over at Millennial Leader

Interview with Jon Stolpe, author of “On Track” over at I’m Just Thinkin’

Track over at Cycleguy’s Spin

Did you order your copy of On Track yet?

Head on over to Amazon today to order your copy!

Here’s where I could really use your help.  Could you share about On Track with your friends?  Maybe post about it on Facebook or Twitter, or find a creative way to let others know about On Track.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

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