My Brother.

It’s Friday night and I’m at mission FITNESS, grinding it out on the spin bike. 30 minutes until my client arrives and until people start pouring through the door for happy hour bootcamp.

I know my brother is in the main room because I hear the inspiring words of Connor Mcgregor echo through the gym. My thoughts shift to him out there. He has been here for a solid hour prepping for his class, and I have a sudden urge to go out there and give him a hug. So I do it. And I don’t let go for awhile.

Here’s the thing, there’s only a few people that know what this man has been through in his life. The constant battles he fights as this world tries to continuously knock him down. You don’t see what he has persevered through in the business. You just see the amazing product, the phenomenal trainers, and you may think that his life is pretty easy.

Well, it’s not easy. However, Matt will be the first to tell you he has an incredible life. He has a wife that sticks by his side and supports his every goal and passion. He has 2 beautiful girls that fill every moment of every day with purpose. He has a business that he believes in and loves. He has hundreds of clients that not only work their ass off for his mission, but support and promote it as if it were their own.

He has all this and he will be the first to say he is a fortunate man. You will NEVER hear him complain about the curve balls that have been thrown at him in life and in business. In fact, I have to pry the bad shit out of him.

The things he rises above are enough to make me lose sleep at night. If they happened to me directly I would have probably checked out months ago. I guess it’s the shit you go through as a business owner, the things that weed out the weak ones.

Just 24 hours after Matt told me the latest “slap in the face”… one so messed up I wonder how he will keep chugging, I see this picture on Facebook.  The Miclette kids were in at 6am, as they have done for so many years. Their father, Larry, writes, “After 3 years Matt finally gets his turn on the swing.”

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I think to myself, this is why this man is a leader. This is why he WILL BE by far the most successful man in this industry. Because no matter what he has been dealt he moves forward and keeps his head and heart on his mission. He never loses sight of why he does what he does, and continues to make people around him better.

While Matt seems to take the punches for us all, I hope that every MFER continues to stand by his side. I would fight like hell for this man, not just because he is my brother, but because he is one of the few ligit good people doing what he does for the right reason.

Matt is more than a good athlete. He is more than a good business man. A good husband, brother, son, and father. Matt is an amazing human and role model.

People always say that Matt is so lucky to have such a great group of trainers. Ironically, I hear this about another business owner and person I admire greatly, Bill Driggs. Some things have no luck involved. Some things happen because you set a certain standard.  When you are special like Matt and Bill, people want to be around you.  When you lead by example, you will certainly attract people who want to be involved with such greatness.  This is what Matt and Bill have done.

Thank you for setting such a high standard for me, Matt. As an athlete, a business woman, and as a person. You continue to amaze me with your perseverance, and I can say with so much certainty that there is no one else in the game like you!!

Summer Solstice 5.5 Mile Trail Race

Photo Courtesy of Hartford marathon Foundation

Photo Courtesy of Hartford marathon Foundation

Not long ago I mentioned to someone that I follow a local runners blog.  Right away she responded, “I’m sorry, but to me she is way too self-absorbed.  Get over yourself”  I have learned to let people judge without feeling the need to defend, however, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this what people think about me when I write my blogs?”  Maybe.  Probably.  But as I drove out of the parking lot of Gay City State Park on Sunday, after racing the 5.5 mile Summer Solstice Trail Race, I thought, “I need to get my thoughts out there.  I need to blog this.”

So, why do I blog my experiences?  For a few reasons.  One,  I love to write.   Whenever thoughts overwhelm my head I write them down.  More often than not it is in my personal journal, however, when I think it is a topic others may benefit from I put it out on the world-wide web.  I know there have been so many times I have read others blogs and thought, “so, I am NOT the only other person who feels this, thinks this, etc.”  So, here are my thoughts about Sunday’s race.

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Like almost every race I do, I went into this race thinking I set the bar too high last year and would have a hard topping that performance.  (You can read about that race experience at the blog I wrote for  mission FITNESS, “Who Was Pushing Who”).  I came in 3rd place with a 7:29 pace for 5.5 miles.  For the TRAILS, this was a stellar pace for me.  However, upon checking in I knew one of the top finishers from last year was not competing, since she was working the event.  This was the girl I CHASED last year the whole race and placed 2nd, right ahead of me.

This year was nice because we had A LOT of mission FITNESS people running the race, many of which did my Intro To Trail Running Series.  It was also nice because toeing the start line next to me was my brother, the owner of mission FITNESS.  My childhood hero, my fitness inspiration.  Whenever I do a race knowing he will be at the finish line, it drives me a little harder.  I want him to be proud of me when he sees me finish.

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“Racers ready?” BANG!  We took off.  I found myself at the front, staying with the leaders of the pack for the first half mile, as we ran up the pavement park road that would lead us to the trail head.  Doing a quick pace (6:45ish) up a gradual hill, mixed with the anxiety of the race, left me short of breath as we entered the woods.  As usual, once I hit the single tracks I calmed down a little and settled into my pace.  At about 1.5 miles in while on a double track, I ran along side another runner for a while, who complemented my pace and told me I was in first (I knew this) and he had just passed the 2nd place girl, who was a little behind me.  I felt good.  My stride felt comfortable, and my heart rate was starting to settle.  I had a confident feeling that I may win this race.  However, I kept thinking of the blogs I’ve read….”it is mentally draining to be the one being chased.”  I knew I would have to maintain the lead the whole race, and that would be tough.

On the access trail I opened up my stride, and felt like I was doing a good pace.  I didn’t look back, but just hoped I was opening up the gap between the 2nd place girl and myself.   We detoured around a pond, and took a turn.  As soon as we took the turn, it didn’t feel right.  I didn’t pay attention to the arrow (rookie mistake) because I was just following the guy in front of me.  I panicked.  I stopped dead in my tracks, and as I did about 5 people who were right behind me, including the 2nd place female, passed me.    Urghhh.  This was the start of my mental “breakdown”.

I quickly continued running, and passed her again.  Looking back, should I have held back a little? Maybe.  But I was pissed and charged ahead to get back ahead of her.  So, the race continued with her on my heels.  I could LITERALLY hear her breathing for the next 4 miles.  My legs started to get tired, and as we hit the muddy, swampy areas I was losing my footing easier than I should have.  I was mentally breaking down.  I started to think about the 12 miles I ran that past Wednesday, which shouldn’t have been a factor.  With each hill I fought the urge to just let her pass and let this mental game of being chased end.  I felt like Katniss in the Hunger Games.  I battled with the thought of trying to pull ahead with a mile to go, or easing back and trying to “recover” to give myself enough energy to pass her at the end.  However, I knew a “slower” pace would hurt just as much as my “fast” pace, so I decided:  go as hard as you can for as long as you can, and hopefully that will get you the win.

I have never WON a race, and I wanted this so bad.  I wanted it because I felt I deserved it.  I’ve had the lead the WHOLE race.  I wanted it because I knew all my MFers who ran the 3.3 mile course would be at the finish line.  I wanted to win it for them.  I wanted to see the look on my brothers face when he saw I WAS THE 1ST PLACE FEMALE!!!

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A t mile 5, with 1/2 mile to go the girl who was on my heels the whole race passed me.  I stayed about 5 feet behind her, thinking that upon exiting the woods and hitting the pavement I would sprint to the finish, beating her.  I kept telling myself, maybe she made a push too soon and you will repass her.  We hit the pavement, for the last .2 miles to the finish.  You dream of this moment.  That moment that “something takes over you” and you go harder than you knew you could.  Well, I went as hard as I could, but it wasn’t hard enough.  Nothing “took over” but a downhill finish, making it tough to do anything spectacular.

As we sprinted down the hill I heard a Mom tell her young child, “Look!  Cheer!  That’s the 1st Place Girl!”  It hurt.  I was the 1st place girl in the woods for 5 miles.  Then she stole my thunder for the crowd.  Irrational thoughts, I know.  But, I’m a competitor.  It hurt.  Then the second punch to the gut….they were holding up the banner for her to run through when she finished.  This never even crossed my mind during my daydreams of winning.  Dammit.

I ended up finishing 2 seconds behind her, for a 2nd place finish.  I ended up with a little slower time, a 7:31 pace, but the WET trails mixed with my moment of being turned around may account for this.  This last 24 hours I have had a lot of “what ifs”.  What if I didn’t stop and let her run by.  What if I allowed her to keep the lead for a while?  But, these are all learning experiences.  I am new to this trail race world, and I will take all of these thoughts and images with me while I train for my next races.

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I will dream of that 1st place banner being held for ME, while my brother cheers me on, and I will do what it takes to make those dreams a reality.

“Some wish for it, others work for it”

Intro to Trail Running

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This past weekend I lead the first of the 3 Part Series: Intro to Trail Running at a local State Park.  I was a little anxious about it since it was the first time I have done something like this, and had a full field of 16 runners…many of which had never run on the trails before.  While this was the whole idea of program (hence the name “Intro”) I was a little nervous about how smooth the hour would go.  Looking at the list of participants, I saw a large spread of fitness levels.  I wanted every runner to walk away feeling they got a good workout, but did not want anyone to feel it was nowhere near an “Intro” class.

I solved this issue a few ways.  First, to make sure everyone felt safe and stayed together I had a helper bringing up the rear.  In this case it was my wonderful husband…one point for him!!  Next, I would stop every 1/2 mile to make sure we didn’t create too much space between each runner.  During this time I would do some body weight exercises with the front of the pack until everyone reunited.

The trail run was a total of 2 miles, consisting of mostly single track.  They weren’t too technical, but enough to introduce roots, rocks, streams, bridges and the instability of the trails to the runners.  The run finished at a beautiful pond, where each finisher crossed a bridge over a waterfall, looking ahead to see what awaited them….BURPEESIMG_20130410_145948!

Once everyone was done, we took a nice stroll across the beach, allowing the runners to share stories of the trails!  Everyone seemed in good spirits, which made me happy!  We found our way to a set of picnic tables and did a 10 minute bootcamp style workout beforemaking our way to the paved driveway that lead us back to our cars.  The stability and even terrain of the road probably being a welcomed feeling to some.  Before reaching our cars we stopped for a few more exercises at a large field and then called it a day.

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I recieved some great feedback from the group.  One runner came up to me tonight (someone who has never run before) telling me I inspired her and she went running yesterday with her daughter in the trails!  This was my goal: to get people into the trails that would otherwise not do so.  For many reasons, whether no one to go with, not knowing where to go, or being scared to try it, many people do not run in the trails.  However, I am so passionate about it and therefore so happy to have this opportunity to share my passion with my clients!

This Sunday we are sold out again with 20 runners!

Workout Challenge #2

imageI constantly have clients telling me they never get the same workout as they do when the are working out at the studio. Whether they are on vacation, at home, at college, etc. their workouts just don’t come near the ones with me. I know a lot of this is being in the presence of  a very energetic class, or having me (your personal trainer) not giving you an option to stop. That being said, no matter what I do I will never be able to replicate the exact energy of the mission FITNESS studio.

However, I will give you some challenges you can do and I recommend you find a friend (or group of friends) to do them with.  This will help you push harder and prevent you from stopping when you get “uncomfortable”.  I also would love for you to leave a comment with your time or questions/comments!

Tuesday Challenge

20 Kettlebell Swings (35lbs)

20 Plyo Jumps (20″ high)

20 Shoe Claps

20 Wall Balls (goal height 9 ft using 14lb dynomax ball)

20 Burpees (chest must hit ground)

REST 1 minute & REPEAT for 5 rounds total. 

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