What’s Next?

What’s Next?

You may have remembered me saying on Facebook or on this blog that I was ready to be “normal” for a while.  Sleep past 6am every once in a while.  Workout once a day for an hour.  Skip a day of working out if it didn’t fit into the schedule.  Play lots of golf.

Why? Well, for the last 3 years I have had “key” races on my calendar that I worked hard for.

2015 the 50 Mile Championships at Cayuga.

2016 Vermont 50 where I trained for the win.

2017 IRONMAN Lake Placid.

This meant lots of early morning wake ups.  It meant saying no to a lot of social events and dialing in nutrition and sleep for maximum performance.  It was lonely and it was tough.  It brought blood, and LOTS of sweat and tears.  It made me question what the hell I was doing and broke me down physically, mentally and spiritually.

So, why did I do it?  Why?  Because when I look up at those three races listed and I think about those days….June 1, 2015….September 25, 2016 and July 24, 2017…..I can’t stop the tears from streaming down my face.  Those three days…and the thousands of hours that got me to those finish lines…taught me more about myself then ANYTHING ever will.  The amount of joy I felt in those 29 total hours of racing cannot be described.  The pride I felt at the end of each of those races were worth every ounce of pain I endured.

blog5However, after IRONMAN I thought that maybe it was time to take a year off.  For the first few weeks it worked well.  “So, this is what it feels like to be a regular person?”  However, it quickly became old.  I kept trying to convince myself that this is what I needed to do.  I needed to give my body a rest.  I needed to not have the stress of training for something.  I listened to those around me, “take some time off…stop doing this to yourself.”  Yes…this is what I needed.

One thing…I was lying to myself and I knew it.  What I need to do is keep pushing myself EVERY DAY and EVERY YEAR to be a better me.  And waking up late(r), doing casual workouts, etc IS NOT WORKING!


I don’t regret these last few months.  I learned a lot during them and also gained a perspective that will serve me in my career as a coach and personal trainer.  I learned that mental toughness is a habit.  It is a muscle that needs to be trained the same way any other muscle group has to be trained.  It becomes so EASY to give up during a workout when giving up is an option.  It becomes so easy to start eating shitty food when it won’t affect your performance.  It becomes easy to become MENTALLY WEAK and start to convince yourself that this life is okay.

When you aren’t stretching, growing, and training for something bigger than you, you lose a certain “something”.  I KNOW THAT NOW.  These last few months have taught me that.  The only way you know what I am talking about is if you have been through it.  I have realized long ago that you can NEVER explain to people why you would want to “run for 50 miles” or “do these crazy things”.  It is hard to understand until you have done it.

blog3Being on the other side of it right now, when 3 miles on a treadmill feels like an eternity….I can understand why people think it is impossible.  I can understand why people think it is stupid and crazy.  I am there now.  I understand.  But I don’t like it.

However, what I have going for me is I’ve seen the other side.  I know I have it in me to push through this funk that I am in and get back to the other side.  I know I am capable of 50, 100, 200 mile races even though 3 miles feels SO. DAMN. HARD. right now.  I KNOW I need to get back to spending time with those who are stretching their limits and living a life of passion.  Those that are literally CHANGING PEOPLES LIVES by what they are doing on a day to day basis.  I realize that by distancing myself from them it made it easier to think, “this life is okay.  It’s okay to just live this life that may not challenge you.”

blog4Ha!  Nope, that’s not me.  It physically hurts me to not be that person right now.  I know deep in my soul I was born to be the person I am when I am training for these events that I once thought were impossible.  I know I am a better wife, daughter, sister, friend and person when I am that person.

It has been something I have known for awhile, but it has been easy to bury it down because I’ve been so busy and not able to spend much time with those who inspire me.  Then last week happened.

blogIt started with a mission FITNESS meeting.  A sat there and looked around at my coworkers who are so freaking inspiring.  Each one of them makes me want to be better in one area of my life.  The are all working every day to be the best version of themselves, and it is so special to be a part of.  Toward the end of our meeting, Matt took time to thank Kim as we celebrated her 4 year anniversary at mission.  Anyone who knows Kim knows what she has done for mission.  It is incredible.

To think of the lives she changes each and every day brought tears to my eyes.  Isn’t that what life is about? I am so passionate about the fact that it is our DUTY to make this world a better place by being in it.  My TEAM at MF does that, certainty Kim.  He then said, “I don’t know how you do it.  I wake up at 430am and you already have an inspiring post on MFers on a mission Facebook Group.  You work full time, your a single Mom and in July you are going to do an IRONMAN.  I don’t know how the hell you are going to do this, but I know you will.”

Kim then said with so much certainty, “I WILL”  That’s when I lost it.  See, it isn’t about the IRONMAN.  It is more than that.  Kim will do this IRONMAN and know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  More importantly, she will now take away so many peoples excuse that they “don’t have time”.  By her doing this IRONMAN she knows she is affecting hundreds of peoples lives.  That’s powerful.

Fast forward a week.  I have a new fire under me.  I woke up again and realized it is my duty to inspire others through my actions.  It’s what I chose to do in my career and I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do.  So, my workouts picked up a notch after that.  Wednesday I was on the treadmill, finishing my last half mile at a 7:02 pace.  I was dying.  Then…Kim walks in.

She walks over the treadmill and asks how much longer I have.  I say 1/4 mile.  She says, “well pick it up then.”  Suddenly, my 7:02 became 6:45.  I felt her energy, “that’s it!” 6:20.  “Hell Yeah” as I finished at a 6:02 and I felt amazing.  3 minutes ago I had nothing left.  What changed?


What changed was who I was surrounded by.  I jumped on the bike and talked to Kim for the next 30 minutes.  She listened as I poured my heart out to her after she asked, “what are you training for?”  She didn’t need me to explain why I needed something on the schedule.  She gets it.  And I realized in that moment that this is what I need…this is why I feel my life is so broken right now.

Surround yourself with those who get it and that will push you to your greatness.  I couldn’t be happier to have so many of those people around me…it’s time to start spending more time with them and time to get something on the calendar.


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.


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.”


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

IRONMAN Lake Placid: Spectating is an Endurance Sport

This past weekend I went to Lake Placid for my fourth consecutive year to spectate the IRONMAN event. When I witnessed this event back in 2010 for the first time, it rocked me like no other event ever has. I have always been emotional when it comes to races, but THIS event….forget it. As the athletes bobbed in the water, waiting for the gun to go off to signify the race start, “The Voice” Mike Reilly had me in tears within minutes. “Only YOU know what it took to get here. The early mornings…etc”. I lost it. The rest of the day was no different. It was a day I will never forget, and one that keeps me coming back every year.


This year I was able to experience the weekend with a first timer. A client of  mine who is just starting to get into triathlons and wanted to see what this IRONMAN was all about. it took just 4 hours in the car for her to start to realize what the hype was about. The Adirondack’s serving as a backdrop as they surround the lakes and rivers of this picturesque town. So majestic that they can literally veer you off the road as you are mesmerized by their overwhelming beauty. The thousands of athletes that migrate to this small town, filling the streets of downtown making even the most fit feel out of shape. The inaugural “bike loop” that we do every year, the Saturday before the event. The feeling of camaraderie you feel as you interact with strangers who quickly feel like friends. Then….race day.

I will admit, that while the race start was much safer for the athletes, having them start in waves rather than a mass start made it a lot less dramatic for the spectators.  Selfish, I know.  However, the drama of the swim was still to come.  We decided to stay for the end of the swim, watching the athletes chase down the 2:20 cut-off.  Mike does an awesome job of rallying up the crowd to cheer for the swimmers who are going to cut it CLOSE.  There were 2 athletes who JUST made it, literally within 10 seconds of the cut-off.  Then came the woman who finished about 20 seconds after the cut-off.  She was pulled from the race, and immediately embraced a family member, both of them crying.  The 5 of us girls lost it.  Near sobbed.  Ugly tears.  Welcome to IRONMAN.  It was only 9am.


As the day went on, so did our emotional roller coaster.  Cheering for the handicap athletes, the 76-year-old, the 18-year-old,  the first timers, the 106th timers.   The elite professionals, finishing under 9 hours.  The “weekend warriors” finishing in 16 hours.  The married couples, crossing the finish line holding hands.  The Dads that would stop and hug their children before they finish.  The husbands who would kiss their wives at the oval finish.  The father/daughter who we are friends with who crossed the finish line holding each others hands high in the air, finishing a day that they will never forget.  The RAW emotion as the athletes finished.  Some pumping their fists, screaming with joy.  Others overcome with tears of joy.  Some doing cartwheels, while others LITERALLY collapsed over the finish line.  The one man who crossed the line and went right to the side fence, where is wife stood, both of them sobbing as they held each other for no less than 3 minutes.


As I type these words, tears stream down my face.  This event is the platform for what athletics and racing is all about.  Sacrificing and working for months, and even years for this one event, this one day.  An event that has no room for anyone who is just going to “wing it”.  Every single person who dips their toes into that water at 630am has their own journey of how they got there.  While each one is different, the common factor is EVERYONE gave it THEIR best.  The literal BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS that go into training is all for this one race.  Therefore, this day and this event strips every one of their emotions.  When these athletes hit that oval, whether in 9, 12, or 17 hours…they enter it with their hearts on their sleeve.  And they deserve that.  They OWN that oval because they have put the time and effort in to have that privilege.  Us spectators can only cheer and scream, but we wish we could do so much more.  At least I do.  Those tears I cry…they are for you and all you did to hear Mike Reilly say, “YOU are an IRONMAN”

If you have done an IRONMAN, be proud.  If you have no desire to do one, at least do yourself the favor of attending this event.  If anything, you will see what dedication, hard work, and pure emotion looks like.  And if you want to see what a hot mess looks like, come to IMLP next year, I will be the girl with the ugly tears as I watch my brother compete in his first IRONMAN event!


The Mind Game

Today I start the process of Transcendental Meditation.  I am doing it for several reasons.  I won’t go into all of it, but one thing that I am intrigued about more than anything is how the mind works.  I say it all the time, I would love to get my sports psychology degree.  On a daily basis I work with clients and see how much their mind holds them back.  Their physical ability is consistently held back by their mental strength.  If you can learn to control the mind you will go places you never dreamed of…..in fitness and in life.


My brother and I went on a trail run yesterday and had a discussion about this.  We tend to have some of our best convos while running….not a coincidence, the brain and mind function better with exercise.  (How do people live without exercise?!?)  Anyway, I told him about me starting TM, and we went into the mental game of running, and how it is one of the reasons we race.  We talked about some clients that we would expect to finish faster at races.  Why don’t they?  Is it that they are not physically capable?  No.  It is because they are not mentally ready to drive past uncomfortable.  They are stuck in a comfortable zone, and they may even think they are at uncomfortable, but they can go so much harder.

What is uncomfortable?  It is that place that the outsider will look at and think you are “nuts”.  It is the story you don’t tell to the non-athletes because they will never get it.  It is the moment of the NBC viewing of the IRONMAN that most wonder, what kind of person does this?  (I will say, watching the video Sian Welch & Wendy Ingraham – The Crawl – 1997  I think that same thing!)But, when you have done a race or trained and pushed past that moment when you thought you were done and continued to push on….then you get it.  It is the story of life.  It is what makes some successful, while others stay average.  It is pushing past the point that others will never even get to.  In races and in life it is always a matter of hanging on when others have chosen to give up.

So, I hope to get a lot out of my TM.  One thing I hope to do is understand this mind of mine a little more, becasue as hard as I now how and have pushed, I know I am capable of more….we are ALL capable of more.