Breakneck Marathon Race Recap

Let’s go back one year. Exactly one year prior to this race I went to spectate the Traprock 50k as I do every year, intending to cheer on friends as I got a long training run in.

The morning of the race I got a text from a friend saying she had to back out of the 10 miler due to a family emergency and I could take her spot. I had the opportunity to run the race, no charge and decided not to, listing in my head a bunch of reasons. However, as I ran the trails that afternoon I had to face a hard reality.

I wasn’t in my best shape, and I knew ego was playing a bigger part here than I cared to admit. The bottom line is I didn’t know if I could win the race, and if I couldn’t win I didn’t want to race.

This realization hit me hard and as I ran I got very emotional. I watched all of the others racers running with huge smiles, happy to just be running & not consumed with one thing: winning. It was a moment when I simply didn’t like where my running was going.

That night I called my brother and I remember sharing this with him & having a very deep, real conversation.  This was a day of awakening and lead me to take a full year off from racing.

I spent this last year doing a lot of reflecting and growing and I was confident I was ready to race again with a new mindset. I signed up for 3 races, each of them providing a stretch goal that was NOT to win.

1. Breakneck Marathon: many areas of exposure and heights – 2 things that give me SO MUCH ANXIETY.

2. CUT 112: The obvious – running over 100 miles as well as running through the night,  possibly solo.

3. Tahoe 100k: the uncertainty of how my body will respond to altitude.

Training for the Breakneck Marathon was a bit different than any other race I’ve trained for. I don’t usually do such an early race (April 13) so a lot of my earlier training was in the snow and even doing hikes in the White Mountains. I also did treadmill runs (up to 16 miles) and eventually got out on the DIRT trails for long runs. However, a few weeks before the race I got really sick with a chest cold & that kind of screwed up my training.

I figured it was the universes way of reminding me to remember my goals and I kept my stress level low. The week of the race I would regularly forget I even had a race that weekend (in the past it was CONSTANTLY on my mind) I had no game plan as far as nutrition, when in the past it would be written down and planned to a T.

I had planned to go to the race solo, heading up Friday night.  Prior races not having a “crew” and Erik there would ruin my race. Who would restock my water, nutrition, etc. Who would take my clothes as I removed layers? This race was different. I was going to actually eat from aid stations for the first time! I would carry a pack and take care of myself!

I knew my buddy would be there racing with me, but few days prior he text me and said he was no longer going because he had a memorial to attend. I was 100% by myself for this race and that brought me a sense of calm.

Erik loaded my car and made my “bed” in the back of the car and I headed to Hudson area Friday acternoon. I got to the race start area (where I would be spending the night in my car) around 3pm.  I checked in, went into cute little Cold Springs and spent some time window shopping. Again, small things, but to me….big progress. Instead of freaking out about “legs up” at 5pm I was walking around town, and RELAXED!

At this point I still didn’t know what I would do for dinner, a detail usually decided days in advance. I ended up stopping at a grocery store, buying pretzels, and other snacks. I don’t even remember what I did for dinner..I think just snacks…lol.

I read on a bench at the park, staying away from the other racers & the “buzz” that usually surrounds a race. I wanted to stay in my own world, far away from everyone else.

At 7pm I went to my car and I felt so comfortable and content as a read my book laying down in my Subaru.  It started to rain and POURED the rest of the night.

The morning brought with it the same calm and lack of stress I’d experienced so far. It was incredible and almost like I was passing this “test” I had been studying for the last year. The small amount of anxiety I did have was thinking about the scary section of climbing & exposure and slick rock with the rain. Oh, another anxiety moment: The night before I also checked past results & saw the course record was just over 5 hrs with mid pack (where I thought I’d be) finishing in 8 hours.  I suddenly felt very unprepared and mad at myself for mistaking low stress for lack of preparation.

The race started and I put myself a few rows back. I didn’t want to start too far back, as trail runs tend to bottleneck bad once you hit singletrack. I had no idea how many females were ahead of me, and at about mile 8 I passed a couple females on the climb I was scared of.

This section was definitely scary, especially with the slick rock, but I had a guy behind me and I turned to him and said, “your job is to make sure I keep moving forward.” Not long after I slipped and started to fall back and he caught me.  He said “I won’t let you go backwards. We are in this together.” Trail Runners are so incredible. He even waited for me at one point to make sure I was okay. I couldn’t thank him enough.

I had no idea where I was in the race as far as place, but what I did know is I just slayed many demons after that section. In my mind, the race was complete for me.

Around mile 15 a volunteer told me, “3rd female”. From that point forward I held on to 3rd the rest of the race. I wish I could say I could care less about finishing top 3, but I definitely pushed to keep that position. I’m not even sure if that’s a bad thing. The thoughts I had in my head were pretty healthy, but I still need to keep challenging myself and digging deeper to see where I’m at.

One thing I can say with confidence is that I am in a WAY better place than I was one year ago.  I find so much joy in working on myself and it is scary and frustrating, but also exciting to know that this will never end. This is a journey of a lifetime and I can’t wait to keep growing and learning.

The race was incredibly beautiful, and EXTREMELY hard. It may have been one of the hardest races I have ever done. The trails were so muddy, which made it even harder. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone. There is also a half marathon option. The race director Ian (who also directs the Cayuga 50 another amazing race) is such a good guy. The course was very well marked a d the volunteers were great. Such a positive experience all around.

Here are some pics of the race, but not me 🙂

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Life Isn’t What You See on Instagram

I have always thought about writing this blog, and after sharing my story with a few people and hearing their response, I’ve realized it needs to be written.

Why? One, the few people I’ve told have had a profound reaction. Apparently, hearing my truth has left them with…something..and that’s enough.  Secondly, I think more than ever right now we all have to share our truth.  We have to come together and be there for one another. To be REAL, and understand that we are all human and struggling. We are all battling so much, whether it is visible to those around us or not.

I so deeply believe the phones and social media are destroying humanity.  Yes, there is a lot of amazing things that can be gained from technology and even social media, but it is also hurting us.  We have this idea that everyone’s life is perfect, and in turn our lives are lacking. This isn’t a ground breaking revalation, I realize that.  We have all heard it before, but are we really understanding it? Are we really understanding that what we are watching is a highlight reel, and not someone’s real life?

So much of life is an illusion. We have this idea of what people’s lives are like, which is usually so far off.  The problem with that is we are probably lacking compassion for others when it’s needed because we think, “they don’t need me, their good.”  But are they really? When’s the last time you asked them?

The idea of things not always being the way they are perceived leads me to the point of this blog.  I have told many before, and even posted about it, but I think it needs to be revisited after a couple of recent conversations.  I know that many think that fitness comes easy for me.  That I have spent my whole life fit and I don’t struggle.

Part of that is true.  Fitness has always been a big part of my life.  I was a 3 sport athlete and played basketball in college.  However,  health and wellness has always been a struggle and journey for me.  I was never overweight growing up, and I don’t remember having too many issues around food. However, something happened my Sophomore year in High School (I think it was a passing comment by someone that hinted toward me being overweight.).

Being young and impressionable it must have left a mark. It lead me down a road that I am CERTAIN many of you have been on, especially females. I started a food journal. I cut out pictures of (airbrushed) models in bikinis and taped it to the front. I started tracking my calories. I wrote everything down and became obsessed. The “successful” days were the days I logged in under 1000 calories.  I would literally do jump rope in my basement when I ate 10 grapes.  I probably lost 10 pounds in a couple of months, going from 125 to 115.  I was noticeably skinnier, but not the kind of skinny that would be alarming. Each time I heard I looked like I lost weight it would feed my drive to keep losing weight. It felt like an achievement.

20190408_074250Then I remember my mom sitting me down and telling me if something didn’t change she was taking me to the doctor. I do remember my hair was falling out more, and I was always cold, so I think I wanted to change.  However, when I started to eat again, it caused me EXTREME anxiety.  This was the start of an awful relationship with food that has lasted nearly my whole life.

Once I started eating again, I seemed to gain weight back quickly and put even more weight on than when I started. I think back to what I put my body through back then and I wish I could go back in time.  WOW potato chips. 0 calories! Diet Pepsi. 0 calories! I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter. 0 calories!  So many chemicals, so little nutrients. At this time I also suffered from bulimia, which was also coming from my extreme anxiety. (Oh, how I wish I could go back and hug that 15 year old me.  Tell her everything I know now)

20190408_074551.jpgSo, I was heavier than I’ve ever been, malnourished, currently a three sport All-State/All-Conference athlete, and going on to play basketball at the collegiate level. Not a good situation, but probably SO COMMON. **This is why I’m so passionate about helping young athletes.  If I only knew what I know now and had a healthy diet & fitness program I can’t imagine the athlete I could have been.

20190408_074334Once I graduated from college, the diet yo-yo continued. I lost a bunch of weight for my wedding (mostly stress and working 3 jobs) and then gained some more weight when I started working a desk job.  At that time, even though I was a Health and P.E. Major, I still was naive to what a true healthy lifestyle was.  I still was trying to count calories, eat low/no fat food, but letting my anxiety get the best of me, which would lead to binge eating junk food (I have always had a bad sweet tooth)  It is a vicious cycle and looking back I’m not sure how much self-love was present, if any.  Everything was based on how I looked and what I ate.

20190408_075056Then I left the desk job and started personal training. At that time I dabbled in some 5ks and then eventually a half marathon. I finished that thinking, “who the hell does double this distance?”  Soon, I found myself at the start line of a Marathon.  I never liked running, but I did it because I had to during my athletic career. As an adult I think I did it as a way to stay in shape and to find some sort of athletic competition,  but I still didn’t love it.

Then I learned about ultra marathons. I have always been a woods girl, doing a lot of hiking, mountain biking and a couple of adventure races. I always liked trail running, but it wasn’t until I signed up for my first 50k in 2013 that I started doing a lot of long distance running in the trails.

This was the beginning of my journey toward a healthier relationship with food.  As I started to do ultra marathons and get competitive at them, I started to realize nutrition was a big part of it.  Some even say “it’s a nutrition competition with some running between.”  Running for 5-10 hours straight, you need to be dialed in with calories and nutrition.

IMG_20180320_211841_859Here’s where a mind shift happened with me.  The day before a long run I would eat to PERFORM the best I could the next day. During my run, I would look for food that provided the most calories in the smallest amount of food.  Like…what!?!?  This was the opposite of everything I have been doing for the last 20 years.  For once, I was using food as fuel! It was the first time in a LONG time that I was literally just eating by feel.  I would eat and drink what I wanted, but also with the mindset, “will this work for me or against me in my training.”  It was the BEST I felt in my own body in years.

20190408_194830I’m not going to lie, every winter I tend to fall back into an unhealthy relationship with food.  I battle with seasonal depression and also bad anxiety.  October is always the worst month for me, I’m not sure why.  Lately, my anxiety has been pretty bad and I am still struggling to figure that out. I am SO FAR from where I was, but I also know I have so much room to grow and learn.  I know once warmer weather hits and my training picks up, it will get better, but that’s not good enough. I am still striving to have a healthy relationship with food all the time!

I write this because I know there are others out there who have struggled or may be still struggling with eating disorders and/or anxiety.  It isn’t something that just goes away overnight, and it may be a battle for a lifetime.  Body dysmorphia is also something I struggle with, which is why I always say no to, “do you want to be in the picture?” Unfortunately, when I see myself in pictures it sometimes leads to negative thinking and old (toxic) thoughts “I need to lose 10 lbs.”

Like I said before, we need honesty, love, connection and compassion more than ever these days.  Here’s my truth and I am writing it to let you know you are not alone, things aren’t always what they seem, and to hopefully inspire you to speak your truth.  I am here if you need to talk.

 

 

How’s the Sugar Addiction?

20181020_215934Let’s just start with this so it is very clear: My 3 day fast, my sugar detox, every “diet” I am attempting… has nothing to do with weight loss. It is simply to get healthy again. To kick an addiction that is literally affecting my liver, my skin, my mind and my overall health.

I have a sugar addiction. I believe many of us do. Actually, I KNOW many of us do based on the dozens of you that have come to me since I shared my addiction publicly. I went to a nutritionist I respect and admire deeply who told me that if I do not stop my high sugar/high starch diet it will only get worse.

Based on tests she said my body was in an “autoimmune cascade” with adrenal & serotonin levels very low, joint & liver issues and also positive for Lyme disease.  She also thinks I have a wheat allergy, and if my current high sugar diet doesn’t stop it could lead to other autoimmune diseases like lupus.

That’s when I decided to do my 3 day fast. I wanted to “reset”. Try to give my body some time to heal and possibly my mind some time to rid the addiction.

The Fast:  72 hours of only water and lemon.

This actually was not as bad as you may think. You definitely have lows, but in a way having NO food made it easier to not choose the WRONG food.

I had some low energy moments, but for the most part I felt pretty good. My mind was clearer than usual and I felt more present and focused. The final day (Wednesday) I woke up a little woozy and I had a 6am-730pm day ahead, teaching 5 classes and training 4 clients.

The day ahead was daunting and with a feeling of wooziness to start the day I got a little anxiety and told myself if I can’t push through today I cannot risk missing 9 hours of training. At that moment I gave myself permission to eat something if that’s what it took to make it through the day.

However, after battling anxiety attacks in the past (many years ago I got stomach bug during class and proceeded to get the bug 2 more times that winter,  causing years of anxiety pre class when I feared I would get sick with a class of 20 depending on me. Side note – that sickness, 6 years ago was due to Candida Infection = sugar = common theme in my health)

Anyway, I was able to recognize that a large part of my wooziness was anxiety & I was able to breath through it and proceed with class. One key moment happened after this 6am class,  which I wasn’t even sure I could complete. One of our trainers, Kim, took this class and came up to me after and said, “I don’t know how you’re doing this, but that class was the most on point I have seen you in ages. That was phenomenal and you killed it.”

That comment has stayed with me to this day.

After the 3 day fast I eased back into eating with a salad. I was extremely hopeful at this point that my diet was fixed. Taking away food left me so much more time to work on other parts of me. I read, I meditated, I journaled, I stretched- I felt great.

It was amazing when one sensory was taken (taste) how I seemed to crave the others. I sat in bed at night with my salt lamp on, my essential oils burning, my Into the Mystic Radio playing, my hot water and lemon (heaven..who knew?) and my journal. I felt complete and so happy. Why would I ever go back to this horrible addiction that seemed to shadow all of these other amazing sensories?

Why?  WHY?? Well, I guess because it is an addiction, and addictions pull you back in.  I started with making “fat bombs”. Healthy craving fixes. Coconut oil, cacao powder, Stevia, peanut butter. Something to “take care of my craving if it came on.”  Well, I would eat 10 fat bombs in a day, atleast. To me it felt like an alcoholic being told they could just have one beer. It didn’t work.

**side note: with every detox I get one big takeaway. After this fast I switched mostly to Decaf coffee since my headaches had gone away.  For someone with anxiety, this has been big.**

I don’t know what’s worse about this addiction. Is it the feeling of being OUT OF CONTROL at night, telling yourself to not get up and just make tea, but you end up in a fat bomb comma? Or is it the fact that YOU KNOW that no sugar = clear headed and sugar = brain fog and you STILL DO IT? That feeling of having NO control is what drives me insane. I am so disciplined in every other area of my life, why can’t I get this under control?

Maybe because it’s a real addiction. Maybe because when rats were made addicted to sugar and cocaine then given both as an option they chose sugar. It’s real. It sucks. But, I know I can kick this and I know you can too.

So, what’s next? After doing a bunch of research on different diets it seems as though The Whole30 is the best bet for me.  I need specifics.  Shopping lists, recipes, community, etc.

From the whole30:

“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.”

I am also a fan of the keto diet and will implimant parts of that into my 30 days.  However, I am a little concerned with both these diets as they are largely dependant on meat and I do not eat meat.

This has been a battle in my mind and a conversation my husband and I have had a few times.  I am open to going back to meat, but I would stay very true to my beliefs and continue preaching passionately about the animal cruelty side of meat eating as well as the factory farms and the processed meat causing cancer.

Erik and I are contacting local farms, (some of them are good friends) and find out not only how the animals are treated while they are alive, but more importantly, how they are slaughtered. This is very important to me.

If I do feel like I am not getting enough nutritients without the meat and my body is craving it, I will strongly consider adding very small amounts of meats back into my diet. It has been 6 years now since I have had meat, so this is how serious I am about fixing my health.

I plan to start the Whole30 on Monday and I also have my first doctors appointment in years on Thursday (Collaborative Natural Health…yay!!)

I will keep you posted how this next “reset” goes and I hope you continue to share your obstacles with me as well.  Together, we can do this!!!

I Have an Addiction

I battled with writing this blog, but after a couple conversations last week with my clients, I thought I had to.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that social media is a bit of smoke and mirrors. That you do a good job of highlighting everything you do that is good, but very rarely does it show the bad. The ugly.

So maybe that is why when I explain to my clients that I have a VERY bad addiction to sugar they respond, “no way. Not you. I would have never of guessed that.”

My thought is, “really, you wouldn’t have guessed that?” I guess it’s because it’s just been something I’ve dealt with my whole life.

I seem to have many other areas dialed in. I’ve learned and try to practice transcendental meditation regularly. I spend countless hours listening to motivational videos & podcasts. I’ve read so many books about finding your purpose, the law of attraction and becoming your best self.  I train hard and have had a pretty successful running and racing career.  I’ve eliminated most toxins in my life switching from candles to essential oils & have eliminated all toxic chemicals in my cleaning products, beauty care etc.

I’ve spent the last 6 years vegetarian and eating as clean as possible. However, there is one thing I can’t seem to kick no matter how hard I try….SUGAR!!

It’s not like I’m eating Oreos, Snickers or Captain Crunch. It’s organic cookies, dark chocolate, Lara Bars, Halo Top Ice Cream, etc. However, I feel like my cravings are out of control, especially at night. I feel I have no control of my actions, and that drives me insane.

On top of that, I know it is causing me to feel like shit. It’s hard to explain, and I won’t go too deep into it, I just KNOW that the way I feel is not the real me. Not even close to the best me.  The anxiety. The highs and lows. The pain all over my body – always. The brain fog.

These things aren’t new, they’ve been ongoing symptoms forever. I’ve always known that sugar was likely the culprit, but it’s an addiction…it’s not so easy to JUST. STOP. EATING. IT!!! Which is what I tell myself constantly.

I think sugar is an addiction that so many of us suffer from, and I think many of us have no idea how bad it is affecting us.  It was recently when I started to get really bad eczema that I said “enough is enough!”

This was the physical ‘red flag’ I needed to make a big change. However, soon after mentally I started to make the shift as well.  I started to ask myself, “are you willing to let this one thing get in the way from Optimal Health?”

So, I took the first step. I went and saw my mom’s best friend who is so passionate about nutrition and using food to heal the body. She has been studying & practicing nutrition longer than I’ve probably been alive and after doing biofeedback on me, she looked at me with compassion and said, “we have to kick this sugar my dear.”

She then went into the long list of issues my body is experiencing which are all direct affects from my high sugar/starch diet.

So, I need to make some drastic changes which includes a 30 day sugar detox. I will jumpstart this with a 3 day fast (water only) starting tomorrow.

I won’t go into too many details of my diet because I don’t want anyone to think that what I’m doing is right for them. Every person is unique and you shouldn’t do anything until you see a professional. While my plan may seem drastic to you, it’s personal and it’s being done with professional guidance and lots of my own research and education.

The point of this blog isn’t to tell you to do the same thing I’m doing. It’s for a couple reasons. 1. To hold me accountable: this is an insanely hard task for me. While many were surprised when I told them of my addiction, it’s real and it sucks. It’s a step that needs to be addressed to reach my optimal health and full potential in life.  2. To share my journey with others who also may be suffering from sugar addiction or a poor diet.  I want others to understand how much your diet affects how you feel and your health.  I hope to be a guinea pig for some other people who may be ready to make some changes and start to feel better too.

Wish me luck freinds!!!

Become Uncommon Among The Uncommon

We just went through another major heat wave in Connecticut.  Several days in a row in the mid to upper 90’s with the humidity levels near 100%.  Many who know me, know that this is when I thrive.  On the hottest day of the heat wave I ran for an hour, biked for an hour and did (2) one hour workouts. While many just label me “crazy” for this, a couple of people this week actually asked me what makes me do it.  So, while I ran down Hebron Avenue with the real heat feeling more like 110-120, I thought hard about why I do it.trail 2

Here’s what I came up with.  I truly think that we currently live in a world where people have become soft.  People want quick fixes, they want to be comfortable, and they want things handed to them.  I think many people have become  weak minded and don’t spend enough time “callusing the mind” as David Goggins would say.

*I have to pause here and say this: If you do not workout in the heat I am not automatically calling you weak minded.  That may not be the way you push yourself.  Maybe you do other things that take you out of your “comfort zone”.  Maybe you wake up at 4am to workout or do something else to challenge yourself.  Maybe you go for a run in negative temps in the winter, etc  The key is doing what YOU DON’T WANT TO DO*

trail 1David Goggins talks about the sentence that changed his life and the story hit me hard. He was watching a special on Navy SEALS and the Commanding Officer referred to the SEALS and said, “we live in a life where mediocrity is awarded.  These men detest mediocrity.”   In the same interview Goggins says, “I want to be uncommon among the uncommon.” Those words all hit me hard.  He says, “most people quit at 40%.”

Listening to Goggins speak, many would get defensive.  They would call him crazy because that makes them feel better.  It’s hard to get real with yourself and ask, “am I pushing myself to my limits?  Am I stretching my limits or just meeting my self-imposed limits?”  Mental toughness is a lifestyle.  It’s day-in and day-out hard work to constantly do what you don’t WANT to do…to do what is not COMFORTABLE.  However, the lessons and the growth that happens when you commit to this lifestyle is like nothing else

These are the sentences that make me do what I do.  Running in the heat when 98% of the people would never do it…that’s the way that I try to separate myself from the others. That’s the way I try to become “uncommon among the uncommon”.  When I do 50 mile races I am among uncommon people.  Not too many will do more than a marathon.  However, if I want to stand out among those uncommon people, I have to do what others won’t.  That means finding the hardest hill I can find and not leaving until I do 10 hill repeats.  It means going for a run when 98% of others won’t.

I am not crazy for working out in the hot temps.  I make sure I am safe, because heat exhaustion is real, but I do it because it is what makes me feel good.  I’ve said it so many times before, but I’ll say it again.  I don’t want to be average.  I know I was not put on this earth to be average. So, that’s why I do what I do…I hope it makes just a little sense.

My Sister – The Silent Inspiration

kristie

Couch to 5K Workout done!!!

Some of you may not even know that Matt and I have a sister.  Actually, that’s why I am writing this post, because you need to know about her.  Kristie is the oldest of all of us, and she lives in Windsor Locks. You may have seen her at mission FITNESS taking an occasional class, attending a seminar, or cheering Matt and I on at a race or fundraising event.

Kristie has been open with her journey, so I am sure she doesn’t mind me sharing. Her weight has been an ongoing battle, she has seen highs and lows and has fought weight loss for many years.  Currently, she is on a great track and has recently loss 42 lbs, dropping 5lbs last week.

When she posted that she was doing the C25K (Couch to 5K) app and had a tough time with her last workout, I replied saying to let me know if I can do anything. She wrote back and said, “maybe you can run with me tomorrow” I cannot tell you how happy this made me.  For her to allow me to share this journey with her and to trust me enough to run by her as she tackled a tough run challenge really made me feel good.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for my sister. While she is struggling to lose weight she has a brother and sister who are doing IRONMANS, ultra marathons etc.  However, here’s the thing about my sister, even if she had the desire to do events like these, she probably wouldn’t.

Why?  Because doing endurance events like those above takes a ton of time, and a little bit of selfishness.  Well, maybe a lot of selfishness.  And Kristie is the most unselfish person you will ever meet.  I hope for one second Kristie does not think that me doing an IRONMAN makes me any better than her.  While I was out biking 100 miles on a Sunday morning, she was volunteering at her local church, and teaching CCD classes.  While I spent hours upon hours in the woods alone bettering myself, she is busy being the Girl Scout Leader for her daughter and taking a group of girls into the woods to make THEM better.  While I spend the summer hours in the lake swimming, she is out tutoring those who are having a tough time in school.  While my job as a personal trainer allows me to workout while I get paid, her job is working with children with autism, a job that not many would be able to do with so much love and passion like she does.

So, as I ran the trails Sunday morning right before I was going to meet her, I couldn’t help but think that some may think I am inspiring for what I do.   (Don’t get me wrong, that is a big reason why I do what I do) but, it must be said that my sister – and so many out there just like her – are just as inspiring, if not more.

I saw Kristie pushing herself as she ran up the hill during her C25K app and thought it was no different than me pushing myself at the 5k the day before.  We were both out of breath, nearly puking, wanting to stop…. and neither of us did.  So whether you are doing a 6 minute mile or a 15 minute mile…it doesn’t matter.  If you are giving it all you have and you DO NOT QUIT and keep showing up, YOU ARE INSPIRING.

So Kristie, you will probably never do an IRONMAN because you would never take that much time for yourself… and man, do I honor that.  However, what I hope you continue to realize is 30 minutes to an hour a day you MUST take for yourself and keep doing what you’re doing.  It is the most unselfish thing you can do…because a HEALTHY you is so important for your future and your daughters future.

I am so proud of you and I know that you will keep progressing.  Not only is our family here for you, but I KNOW that the mission FITNESS family is here for you too!!

Keep pushing, keep inspiring.

The Comeback

The Comeback

Two months ago I couldn’t run a 5k at my Marine Corp Marathon pace. I would get on the treadmill and 3 miles felt like hell.  You may remember a blog post I published around this time.

One month ago I ran the loop I’ve done hundreds of times at Case Mountain. I was beyond frustrated when I had to walk two times during a one mile climb on this loop. In the past, I would never need to walk this hill.

I was starting at, what felt like, square one, and it wasn’t easy.  I’ve pushed hard to come back this last month or so. Treadmill runs have been beyond uncomfortable, pushing PAST exhaustion each workout. When I want to quit,  I push harder. I step off the treadmill every time feeling like I may puke.

Will Smith says in one of our motivational videos, “the only thing that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on the treadmill. If we get on the treadmill together, either you’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”  That lines always gets me.

I say this a lot, but people think I’m a natural runner. That they will never run as fast as me because they are not a runner. This makes me crazy. People have no idea what kind of limits they are putting on themselves. Maybe because they truly don’t know what they are capable of.  Or maybe because they are too scared to find out.

But here’s the thing….I’m probably not naturally better than you. Here’s why I’m a good runner. Because throughout my basketball career I was always one of/the best on the team. Not bragging, just telling it how it is. My team and coach depended on me for every win. So when I played in college and we went into TRIPLE overtime in the Conference Championship and I felt like I had NOTHING left….I had to keep pushing. I couldn’t raise my hand to be taken out, because that wasn’t  an option.

During my childhood and young adulthood I developed mental calluses. I became mental strong. I was tough and I brought that into my adulthood.  However, from 20-28 years old I got a little soft. And in these last few months I did as well. Why? Because I stopped practicing and training my mind to be tough.

That’s why I love endurance racing. You develop a mental toughness and discover things about yourself that you NEVER would find out living comfortably. I truly believe that through suffering we find out who we are and what we are made of. Bottom line.

So these last couple of months I’ve worked to get my mental strength back. Tough treadmill workouts and getting back into the trails. I’ve also saturated myself with motivational videos and AMAZING conversations with my brother, the owner of mission FITNESS.

He has recently become a HUGE fan of David Goggins and during our runs and workouts we have spent a lot of time talking about how many of us barely touch what we are capable of. We run from pain and suffering, when it really is what we should be running to.

If you think this is crazy then you are fooling yourself. We ALL have so much inside of us that we need to work out. A lot of us have deep issues that we are running from. We take the easy route because it’s comfortable. Like I said in my last blog, I’ve fully realized that for me, there is no true happiness in that route.

So, today I made a decision to push myself further and harder than I have in awhile.  That 6 mile loop with that tough hill….today I did it three times for a total of 18 miles. I didn’t walk once in all three loops. Partly because I am in better physical shape than I was a month ago…but, more importantly because I have started to build my mental calluses back up.

I killed that run today. It wasn’t easy. My feet killed, my legs hurt, and the last 2 miles I was deep in the hurt locker….and it was the most alive I have felt in 6 months.

Stop running from the pain. Stop running from the suffering. You have NO IDEA what you will learn about and do for yourself by pushing past the barriers you have created for yourself.