My guest today had an accident earlier this year that could have ended his life in an instant.
Since that life-changing moment, he has decided to take life by the horns and live life on his terms.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Jon Ornee and hearing about all of his adventures.
Odd One Out
Jon grew up in a large family and is one of six kids.
Most of his siblings were very talented swimmers and therefore Jon grew up around pools.
Jon swam for two years in high school before deciding that he would rather run.
While in high school Jon competed in cross country and track, but his real love was music.
Music became his main focus throughout college and afterward.
The life of a touring musician was not especially conducive to fitness.
Jon ended up gaining 20 to 25 pounds while performing and traveling.
The one physical activity that Jon gravitated towards during that time was cycling.
Uncommon Defining Moment
Jon had been using an old borrowed bike from his friend to do all of his rides early on.
His defining moment came when he was forced to make a choice.
He only had enough money for either a triathlon bike or a kegerator.
This seemingly simple decision would ultimately change the trajectory of Jon’s life.
Jon chose the bike and as a result, ended up falling in love with triathlons.
The cycling portion of triathlons was his favorite part and Jon began focusing on bigger and bigger goals.
Earlier this year, Jon was training to break the cycling speed record for racing across the state of Michigan.
In order to break the record Jon would have to ride 205 miles in under 9 hours and 12 minutes.
Bike Versus Car
The day of May 16, 2019, will forever be etched into Jon’s mind.
Jon was out for one of many training rides when he was struck by a car.
The accident caused Jon to fly 30 feet into the air.
Luck was on Jon’s side that day because he not only survived the accident, but his injuries could have been much worse.
Jon badly damaged his elbow which required surgery and 6 to 9 weeks of recovery.
That moment on his bike truly made him thankful to be alive and realized he had one life to live.
Though Jon was nervous to begin cycling again he wanted to live life doing the things he loves.
Jon didn’t want to take the “sedentary safe” life.
Drawn To Challenges
Jon loves to train and is drawn to new and unique challenges.
Once Jon recovered fully, he put together a team of cyclists and went on to break the team time trial record across the state.
Jon also had another record in mind before the year was over.
There are two islands near Jon located in Lake Michigan called North and South Manitou Islands.
No one had ever swum the distance between the two islands and Jon wanted to be the first.
Prior to attempting the 7.4-mile swim, the farthest Jon had ever gone was 3.1 miles.
When open water swimming there are no guarantees on weather conditions.
In order to ensure the best conditions possible, Jon had to be ready to attempt the record with short notice.
In an ideal world, Jon would have attempted his cycling record and swimming record with a month in between.
Between his accident and being at the mercy of the weather for the swim, Jon was forced to do the two challenges within 2 days of one another.
Even with the added challenge, Jon was able to successfully complete both goals.
Jon came to realize that the best stories and most memorable moments are often filled with adversity.
After Jon completed the swimming and biking challenge, he naturally wanted to do something involving running.
Jon was inspired by Eliud Kipchoge and his sub-2 marathon challenge for his next goal.
It Took A Village
Jon wanted to do a spin on Eliud’s sub-2 challenge.
His idea was to get a group of runners to take turns running at a sub-2 marathon pace for 26.2 miles around a track.
Jon wanted to showcase to runners and non-runners alike what a truly incredible feat running a sub-2 marathon is.
On the day of the event, Jon had gathered 45 runners to participate.
They each took turns running 200 meters at the prescribed pace and finished at 1:49:32.
Jon’s portion totaled 3.5 miles split up over that time and he was sore the next day.
Anything Is Possible
Jon is constantly coming up with new goals that will both challenge and excite him.
For the upcoming year, Jon wants to do one thing per month that he is proud of.
His accomplishments won’t just be centered around sports.
First up on that list is returning to the music studio to record a song.
Future goals for Jon include swimming across Lake Michigan (relay style) and training for a 100-mile cycling record.
Jon hasn’t let his accident stop him from living his life the way he wants to.
He is still hesitant to ride his bike solo, but he won’t be deterred from accomplishing big things.
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