Vermont 50 and IRONMAN Lake Placid Registration

I really just moved to Florida to get away from the Winters. I knew it would just be a place we would hibernate, make some money, and leave when May came.

I had no idea what would come next. Would we spend the Summers in Coastal Maine? Would we take the camper and go out West and see the National Parks? Would we end up back in CT?

If you asked me last October, the last option was not my favorite. I knew financially it would be the best option, but I was ready to explore. Nothing about going back “home” for more than a few weeks made me excited.

Fast forward 2 months. As I came down from my “Marathon High” I quickly lost any desire to train. My body felt broken, and my head was in a bad place. I would hear about, and see pics of my bro training “Bill” who would soon be attempting MT. EVEREST. He would send me pics of them in the trails, doing hill repeats, etc. For the first time I started to want to be in CT.

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That’s when I started to realize the significance of being surrounded by people who make you want to be a better athlete and person. Something that seemed so normal at home was actually not so normal. I wrote a blog about it, expressing how what we have at MF could NEVER be replaced.

Three months later we were offered an amazing opportunity to come back to CT and stay at a beautiful Lake house. It was all of a sudden a No Brainer. I needed to go back and surround myself with my MF Family…”Yes, we’ll take it!!”

Within hours of stepping off the plane I was at a mission FITNESS bootcamp. I left that night on a high that I hadn’t felt in 6 months. “This was what I need.” I thought. “This is home.”

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Leading up to this point I had taken a month completely off from working out, trying to mend my broken body. I was unable to even stand without immense pain. I had done Yoga 30 days straight in an attempt to be able to begin running again when I got back to CT.

Well, 1 week after my return I had a date to meet Matt (my brother) for a trail run at one of our favorite spots. I was nervous, given my running was nearly non-existent for the past 5 months. I show up to the trailhead and Matt says, “Bill’s coming.” Shit. I’m running with my brother and a man who just came back from climbing Mt. Everest. Any other day I would have been psyched, but I was unconditioned like I’ve never been.

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The run started off manageable. Bill says, “this is a good pace” Matt responds, “yeah, none of us are trying to kill ourselves” Bill was still suffering numbness in his toes from Everest, Matt was battling back and knee pain, and my hip and back were still sub par. We continue to run, holding a casual conversation. Then came the 1.5 mile climb…

Matt all of a sudden took off. My lungs and legs immediately felt the absence of ANY elevation and as we neared the top, I was doing everything I could to not walk. Bill was behind me, and I told him to go ahead. (I wasn’t about to walk with him behind me. Not after what he just did on Everest.)

Unfortunately, he said he was fine and stayed behind me. So I pushed. I wanted to walk. Vomit. Stop! But I kept going. Because Bill was behind me and he just did freaking Everest!!! It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast, but I made it to the top.

After that it’s about 2 miles to the car, mostly downhill. The 3 of us, all hurting from injuries, took off. I want to say we probably averaged a 7 minute mile to the finish. Where the hell did that come from? Here’s what it was..it was 3 like minded people feeding off each other’s energy. Not one word was spoken in those last 4 miles, but no words were needed.

That run was a turning point for me. My soul had reawakened and I was ready to start training again. Not 3 weeks later I text Bill, “I’m thinking of doing Vermont 50. Should I do the 50K or 50 Mile? I don’t feel ready for 50 miler.” His immediate response, “50 miles.  Sign up today” Five minutes later I sent him a screenshot of my registration. I was back!!! Back home and back with people who make me better!

Since that day I have enjoyed my time in CT like I never thought I would. My training has been going great, and I’m loving being back in the trails.  I am also doing some road runs, biking, swimming and strength.  My heart is happy with such a great group of people to train with and I feel so lucky!

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Just last weekend I joined my brother and a bunch of other MFERS to cheer on our peeps who were competing in IRONMAN Lake Placid. I attended this event in 2011 for the first time and it was such a powerful experience for me. I remember standing at the finish line, eyes full of tears and saying, “I’m doing this event”

Years passed and although I continued each year to spectate and be incredibly inspired, I never took the plunge. I watched my brother run the Olympic Oval to the finish, full of pride & happiness, yet still feared making the commitment myself.

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Sometimes the timing just has to be right. Sometimes you just know when it’s your moment. I left this years IRONMAN on such a high. I felt drunk with happiness and inspiration watching our MFers finish, but still went home that Monday with no real thought of signing up.

Then the texts starting pouring in. Many asking if I was going to sign up, and a couple from 2 bad ass chicks (one a close High School friend) saying they had signed up!! With the thought of moving back to Florida in October looming, I suddenly realized that this may be the year. I could work on my swimming in Florida and hopefully stay motivated with the focus of being an IRONMAN while down South.

I reached out to 4 men that I admire deeply. I admire them for how they push limits and do things that many don’t even think is possible. Mt. Everest. A TRIPLE IRONMAN. 100 Mile Trail Races. Each one of them gave me their own bit of advice. Then I hovered over the “Registration” button for a good 30 minutes.

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Then something clicked. These amazing athletes that I have the pleasure of surrounding myself with have shown me that FEAR and our MINDS are what hold us back from so much. Once I get rid of that, I am unstoppable. And this was the first step. 140.6 miles scares the shit out of me. Especially that first 2.4. However, I wasn’t meant to be average or to live an average life. And I’m sure each one of these men will try to explain that the reason they do this “crazy” stuff is because it is the closest to LIVING that you will ever get.

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So, in the next year I will do another 50 Mile Trail Race and an IRONMAN. Then I will continue to keep doing Races, Adventures, and LIVING. Life is short….Time to start getting uncomfortable.

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“How’s Florida?”

You can’t imagine how many times I’ve been asked, “how’s Florida?”  Every time this question pops up on my phone I stare at it and think, “how should I answer this?”  90% of the time I give a simple response, “It’s beautiful!”  “Gorgeous”. These are not lies. Florida is insanely beautiful. Not only is the weather warm and SUNNY every day, but there is SO MUCH TO DO in the nice weather. Every weekend there’s a different festival, fair, show, parade, etc. Not to mention the breathtaking beaches that are always just a bike ride away. Erik and I find ourselves almost daily asking out loud, “can you believe this is our hometown?”  It is everything I have always wanted. To NEVER BE COLD. That was literally my goal in life. Winters in Connecticut made me miserable. I was constantly cold, which meant I was always miserable. I honestly can’t think of too many things I hate more than being cold.

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So, here I am in paradise. LIVING where people VACATION!!  So, why am I staring at these texts unsure of how to answer them?  Here’s why…..because I am in FLORIDA and mission FITNESS is in CONNECTICUT. And THAT simple fact makes me feel incomplete. Like I left a part of my soul behind. Like there is a big void missing that cannot be replaced. Those of you reading this who are not MFers are probably thinking, “just find a gym there. I’m sure Venice, Fl has gyms.”  And if you are thinking that you clearly have never been to mission FITNESS!

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Let me explain. Yes, MF separates itself easily by the quality of the workouts and the trainers. But what really separates MF from the rest is the attitude there. The culture. The energy. While I am sure I may be able to find a place here (or anywhere) that gives me a good workout, it could never match the workout or overall FEELING I get at MF. That’s because in the last 7 years MF has attracted and maintained clients that feed off each other and will never settle for any workout less than their best. The way we are truly a FAMILY of people who have decided that average isn’t what we are striving for. A group of people who have realized this isn’t just a workout facility. This is a place that we go to when we need that extra motivation to sign up for that next race. Or take that big step in your life. mission FITNESS (watch this video) is a fitness facility that you enter to maybe lose weight or gain strength, but leave wanting to be a better person. There is a reason why every person who has ever left to maybe chase the next Groupon sale ALWAYS comes back.  It’s because while other gyms may have the same kettlebells or TRX bands as us, they could never match the energy.

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MF has separated itself from the rest and that’s because it starts, and has always started, from the top. Matt, the owner (and my brother) has always lead by example. From 5ks to Marathons to IRONMANS he has showed everyone that through hard work and dedication anything is possible. He has showed us that what we do in the fitness area of your life is what we carry over to the rest of our life. This combination has been the reason why MF is not only the fastest growing fitness facility in the area, but in my opinion the best facility….dare I say…anywhere!?!

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When I think of how my heart hurts for my separation from MF I think of the quote, “it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”. While I know MF will NEVER be lost from my life (both mentally and physically) being away from it has made me realize some things. First, I need to be a trainer and work with people like MFers like I need air, water and food. Second, I will NEVER settle for anything less than MF. Which means it’s time for me to start seeing what these Venice people are made of and see if I can get that MF energy going down here!!

Training For Life

I have had a rough couple of months when it comes to my training and diet.  I have been dealing with some aches and pains, which has kept me from running much at all. During the peak of my training, I would have thought this would be heaven. I was wrong.

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About the injury:  I’m not exactly sure what it is. I get an aching, throbbing pain in my lower calf when I run and also after my runs. At first I thought it was Achilles, since that was SO TIGHT and nagging me months back. Then I thought it was plantar fasciitis because my heel would also hurt. Now, I’m thinking Soleus.

Regardless of the injury, the bottom line is that I have not been running. Maybe 8 times in the last 2 months. This obviously means no races have been on the calendar. Hence, no training schedule. What does this all add up to? One unhealthy mindset for this girl.

When I finally got onto the trails a couple weeks ago, my mind became so clear. That kind of clearness that only runners know of. And as most runner/bloggers know, I had a stellar blog post written out in my head. Word for word. It was amazing. Then weeks passed, and it never got put on paper. So, here’s my half hearted, untrained, unedorphined attempt at replicating that post.

When I was training for my 50 miler I spoke a lot about how healthy I felt when it came to my diet. For once I was using food as energy. Eating to live, not living to eat. Food meant fuel. Calories meant energy. I was worried about bringing in ENOUGH calories, instead of counting calories to try to bring in LESS. I was eating whatever I wanted and had the healthiest self image that I’ve ever had.

Now’s when I’ll get real. When I’ll tell you things you may not know. What you see and what I see when it comes to my body is way different. I have always seen myself 10-15lbs heavier than I am. Even when I was really fit and placing top 3 in races, I would tell my husband, “I feel like people must say, ‘I can’t believe that heavy girl runs so fast”.

However, when I crossed the finish line of my 50 miler I felt like I belonged there.  I was fit, trim and healthy.  Now, 6 months later I am battling the thoughts and images that belonged to my old self.  The self I thought I lost on those trails, grinding it out in pursuit of that 50 miler dream.  The diet is no longer a non-issue.  It is back to being a battle.  I workout usually 5+ times a week, but I’m not training for anything, and that’s where I think the issue lies.  No races on the schedule. That’s tough. I need that. I need a goal. I think everyone does.

So, time to figure it out. How do I develop that 50 miler self image and “eating to live” mentality when I am injured and not running? I will guess this will be as tough of a grind as those back to back long runs at Case Mountain!