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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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