YOU are an IRONMAN

YOU are an IRONMAN

I was told it would be life changing. That it would be one of the best days of my life. With each day that passes post race, I can honestly say they may have been right.

This race holds so many memories, thoughts, emotions, and lessons for me. Warning: this is a long one.

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PRERACE:
About 10 years ago a sat on the couch with my husband watching the IRONMAN Kona championship on TV.  I knew of traithlons, but was unfamiliar with an IRONMAN. I will never forget him explaining it to me, “They swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles then run 26.2”

We then had a ligit argument, me telling him he had it wrong. There’s no way possible a human can do all of that continuously. At the time I was working as a banker, getting into hiking and just starting to get into 5ks. (My goal at the time was a 5k under 24 minutes)  I was a collegiate athlete, but after college got a little lost in life, struggling to find my place when my whole life (basketball) was done.

Fast forward a few years. I find myself in Lake Placid watching my first IRONMAN. As I said in my last blog entry, I was overwhelmed with emotion and awe of the event. I cried most of the day, as I watched THOUSANDS of athletes complete 140.6 miles. They seemed no different than me, some even 70+ years old.

This was when we had just started mission FITNESS and I was starting to get my fire back as an athlete. I had left the banking world, luckily snapping out of it & realizing this was not me, this was not my destiny. I would not be a 9-5 corporate zombie I was becoming, comfortable with being comfortable…I was meant to be more than that.

So, I sat at that finish line 7 years ago and vowed to myself I would do this event.

However, as the years passed I realized my extreme love for the woods and the mountains and I ended up doing a few ultra marathons (50k/50 mile trail runs) all while never missing but one year of IRONMAN Lake Placid.

While in Placid I would bike the course (one loop) but get into the Adirondacks as much as possible. While the excitement of the triathlon buzzed around town, I found my true bliss deep in the mountains away from the craziness.

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Then race day came. An energy no one can hide from. At 630am you are all-in, fully vested in every athlete in that race. Mike Reilly begins to get the crowd into it from the jump, and from that point forward the day is forever a part of you. Whether you are 8 or 80 years old, a triathlete or out of shape, this event makes it hard to walk away from without part of you wanting to one day be on that course.

So, 10 years after I passionately argued that 140.6 miles was not humanly possible, I began my journey to prove myself wrong. To up the anti even more, at our MF goal setting party I wrote down a lofty “stretch goal”…to complete it under 12 hours.

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As the reality of life, 2 jobs, and training for this race set in, I slowly started to shift my goal. I opted to not buy a new TRI bike, and use my old road bike instead. I refused to put THOUSANDS of dollars into this sport, just to be faster.

This was hard for me, being so competitive,  but it was truly against everything Erik and I are trying to do in our lives. Buy less, live more. Minimize, minimize. This proved to be very difficult in the triathlon world. I will say one of the hardest things for me in this process was all of the “stuff”. I hate it.  I hate that the person next to me can buy a more expensive bike & $2000 wheels and beat me by an hour because of it. I missed running in the trails when the ONLY way to beat someone was to outwork them. End of rant. Sorry.

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So, as my training ramped up and my decision was made to not buy speed, I decided the 12 hour goal was going to be very tough and developed a plan B:

1.) Enjoy the race and LOOK like you’re enjoying it.

2.) Finish happy and healthy & able to watch the midnight finish.

RACE DAY:

As the race approached my level of stress and anxiety dissipated a little. I think I kind of let go of the uncontrollables & knew what would happen, would happen.

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However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t  worried. The thought of the swim would immediately break me down, to the point just a few days prior I had a ligit emotional breakdown thinking of the swim….Full blown sobbing, my brother and Erik reassuring me I would be fine.

*I had to add this because I think for some odd reason people think I’m unlike them. I have the same fears, nerves,  etc. This was truly a race I was 100% uncomfortable with.  (I should add here that I went into this race with only 4 total triathlons under my belt in 7 years. All sprint tris. Nothing more. This was truly unchartered territory for me. I felt lost, confused, nervous, and truly scared.)

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SWIM START:

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I was very fortunate I had 4 amazing peeps doing this race with me. As I made my way to the water I not only had Erik and Matt with me, but I was joined by my childhood friend, Kyle, and her friend Jolene. We then met up with Drew and Mike, Kyle’s boyfriend and friend. The four of us were able to spend the next 15 minutes together, before the race start.  This was huge. I cannot thank these 4 enough for their support during the race.

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As I started to file into the water I looked to the side and saw Amy (an amazing friend who happens to be a Tri coach)  She looked at me with so much confidence and said, “you’ve got this.”  I believed her. Then I saw Patti, so excited for me all week and all day.  Lastly, my husband Erik was right there on the other side of the fence as I marched forward into that water. I will NEVER forget seeing him with tears in his eyes, as he could only nod at me. He was literally there every step of the way as I approached the scariest race I’ve ever done. As always he knew what it took to get there more than anyone. As always, he was my biggest fan.

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I won’t go into too much detail, but I managed to complete the swim without having a full blown anxiety attack  (my biggest fear) If you saw an aerial I’m pretty sure I zig zagged the whole race.

“Why is no one around me?” – OMG, I’m almost on shore.

“Why am I being attacked by 5 men?” OMG, I’m almost at the boueys.

And so on…

Finally, 1:18 later, I was on my feet and running down the chute. SO. HAPPY!!!!!

BIKE:

I cannot say enough how amazing the volunteers were. As I transitioned to bike they basically did everything for me. Unreal.

I have to say the first 10 miles or so on the bike my hamstrings hurt SO BAD. I began to think, “how the hell will I do this for 112 miles?” Luckily,  that went away at some point 🙂

Soon we would hit the downhill. I was super nervous about this, and I held on for dear life for 8 miles while I got passed by huge men literally doing 50 mph.  By the time I got the bottom my arms were so tired from the stress and hanging on so tight. I passed a couple people on the side of the road who crashed on this downhill. Urgh.

The next stretch was flats where I was told several times prior to the race to hydrate and EAT like crazy. I did, in fact I followed my nutrition plan almost to a T.

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Amy told me to make sure my first loop on the bike I go easy. Super easy.  Take in the scenery, and if you aren’t then slow down. I did this and the few times I did catch myself trying to attack I slowed.

I read the day earlier that the elevation gain in those 112 miles was 13,800 ft. which scared the shit out of me, but I have to say the bike was fine. East Haddam and Glastonbury Hills were amazing training.

The two things I wish I changed on the bike was:

1.) Slowing at each aid station to get water/Gatorade. It was chilly and I wasn’t  sweating which leads to…

2.) I had to stop 4 times on bike to pee. This added a bunch of time to my bike.

If I only stopped at every other aid I would have saved a ton of time plus less peeing.  Oh well.

Final bike time: 6:36

RUN:

This was the moment I envisioned so many times leading up to the race.  Being done with the with the disciplines that I was really worried about (bike fears= flat tire/crash) and on my own 2 feet!!

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As I started the run route I saw all of my family and friends, hugged them, and I couldn’t have been more happy to be feeling good. I thought I consciously SLOWED DOWN because I knew I could go too hard here, but apparently that didn’t work; my first 3 miles were a 7:20 pace. Whoops.

I have to say, at this point I knew I had to do a 3:50 marathon  (based on my fuzzy calculating) to do sub 12 hr race. This was a constant battle in my head to go for it and to forget about it to ensure a healthy finish.

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I felt good, but Bill told me time and time again, “go slow on that first 13 miles. You can easily blow up in the 2nd 13 if you don’t”

I was passing people like crazy, literally hundreds of people on the run. People were cheering for me like I was a rockstar (your bib says your name so everyone calls you by name=awesome) While I occasionally doubted  being able to sustain this pace as I saw others puking, cramping, etc. I truly was confident in myself.

Why???  Because I trained hard. Very hard. I knew I was different than most of them. When my plan said 90 mile ride, I did 90. Not 89. When I saw my car on a run and I still had 15 minutes,  I circled my car for 15 minutes. Thirsty, hurting and just wanting to get in that car….I kept running. Why? BECAUSE OF THIS MOMENT. If I stopped I would be the one puking and cramping. To be elite you have to go the extra mile. You have to do what others won’t. I learned that as a child playing basketball and I NEVER want to lose that quality.

So, I kept running. I ran the hills that I was told to walk. I ran, and I continued to feel good. Spectators told me I looked amazing, and I felt amazing….until about mile 16. Things started to shift a little then. I kept running, but my stomach started to turn a little and I could only stomach water.

At this point I was trying to calculate and I knew I could hold a 10 minute mile and still do sub 12.  However, I kept pushing and I was soon out of River Rd and climbing back into town. 3 miles of climbing,  an easy 2 mile out and bike and I was in that oval.

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(At this point I saw Kyle who ran to me with open arms saying, “YOU did it. I’m so proud of you, you’re amazing.” I can’t say enough about this girl. She is just absolutely amazing and to do this race with her was such an unforgettable experience. Her, Drew, Jolene, and Mike are just amazing people and I can’t wait for many more adventures with them!)

I had just passed one of the many amazing signs Matt had made for me, this one saying “you haven’t come this far to only come this far. Finish it.” It had one of my fav pics of me high fiving my Dad as I approached my first overall race win.

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So, that’s what I did. I finished it. I entered that oval the way I spent so much time envisioning. Feeling strong,  with my family and friends on the sideline, with enough time to hug them all and still finish sub 12 hours!

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And to hear those famous words by my dude Mike Reilly,  “Darcy Lucas you are an IRONMAN”

Run time: 3:40

Final Time: 11:50

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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.

“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!!

Every Ending Is A New Beginning

Life has done a 180 (quite literally) in the last few months. This is probably a big reason why I have not been blogging as much as I would have liked. Partly because my time as been limited, but we all know when we really want something we MAKE time for it. So, I would say my lack of blogging has been largely due to: a) not knowing exactly what to write b) mixed emotions making my ability to speak “truth” difficult, as I am not really sure what my truth is.

Never the less, I have been asked several times lately when I was going to put a new blog up…so, alas, here it is. I will try to fill you in on the details of what’s going on in my life to an extent that I am comfortable with sharing. Some thoughts and ideas may not make the World Wide Web yet.

The big picture: we have sold our Connecticut home and have bought a condo in Venice, Fl.  Venice is the town that Erik and I have called our “2nd home” for many years now. Erik’s parents bought a condo there in the late 80’s and we have spent a ton of time there in the last 10 years. We absolutely love it there, and have developed real comfort there. We have our friends, our coffee shop, our ice cream joint, Gunner has a vet, a groomer, etc. I guess it has always felt like home to us, and every year when we take the Venice exit off of Interstate 75 we just both just breath a deep sigh of relief and our mood just changes.

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This past Winter we knew we had to explore other areas and not “settle” with Venice.  While deep down we always saw ourselves living there, we needed to make sure places such as Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Beaufort, etc did not steal our hearts. While each one of these places made a distinct mark on our hearts, there was no place like Venice. The number one factor: the weather. Almost every day of the 2 month stay in Venice was sunny and 75-85 degrees.

Here’s the other thing you need to know: for the last 20 years Erik has been Food and Beverage Manager at a New England golf course. This means working 70+ hour weeks in the Summer, leaving Winters our time to vacation. Well, how many places can we go in the winter? We aren’t big island goers. We aren’t ones to sit on the beach all day. We would much rather go on an adventure. Ride our bikes, hike the mountains, explore small towns, etc. So, we would spend winters in Florida , and many years ago realized that the community we are in is VERY seasonal, with a ton of golf courses. So, we started to think about changing our seasons. What if we worked seasonally in the winter, while still enjoying beautiful weather, and then spend the summers traveling?  Then we can go to places that have been right at our back door for so many years, but we were never able to get the time off to explore. Bar Harbor, White Mountains, Adirondacks, and…the National Parks!!  Now we can go see Crater Lake, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Moab, etc because the summer months will be our time to travel.

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This all seems like it was an overnight transition and a seamless one at that.  Those who are close to me, however, know that this was a multi-year process and a lot of small steps that have lead to one big step. It really is amazing how things have gotten to where they are now, and how organic it kind of feels, while knowing the we have spent so many years planning, making decisions, taking risks, but most importantly: listening to our hearts. Last year we bought a camper and used it to explore the Southern Coast this past winter. Well, it looks like that camper will be getting a lot of use, as we will have summers open now to take it wherever we wish.

With all of these amazing changes there are, of course, always some negatives. For one, I am leaving my home. The place I grew up, where my family resides and where I have made memories of a lifetime. I am leaving my job as a personal trainer at a fitness company I co-founded with my brother and that has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life. My clients and the bootcampers at mission FITNESS have made my life so enriched and fuel my energy daily. I can honestly say that I will never find another place like it. Not only because of the incredible staff and clients we have, but because it is a business I put my heart and soul into for many years. It is now my brothers business and to try to excel for something bigger than you…to help him succeed and give my nieces a better life, made me a better trainer. To walk away from this place will be one of the hardest things I will ever do. However, I know a part of me will always be there, and I know I will always find my way back to mission FITNESS even if it is just to take a bootcamp while I’m in the area.

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As I write this and look around at our blank walls and boxes labeled with the few things we decided to keep, I can’t help but get teary eyed. This is the first home Erik and I have ever had. We have been here 13 years and we have grown so much as a couple since we moved in. If these walls could talk….the ups and the downs we have experienced here. Just a few years ago I would have told you that this place was perfect for us and that we would never sell it. But, this past winter the 5 months we spent traveling has changed us. We came back to Connecticut different people and we no longer feel like we fit here. Sometimes you must go away to come back stronger, and not only are we both stronger now, but we are stronger together. I feel a bond to Erik that I have never felt so strong. He is not only my husband but he is my teammate, my partner, my rock. I am so excited for what we have ahead of us. And in the midst of the chaos of these next couple of months I will do my best to stay calm and trust the process. To surrender to what is and have faith that if we keep chasing what pulls our hearts and live our truest selves we will end up in the right place…wherever that may be!

Racing With No Expectations….

….Except Maybe a Win!!

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I went into this weekends race with no idea of where my fitness level was. I have not worn my Garmin for over 6 months and have been running solely by feel. The only way I was able to gauge where I was at was by how I felt on climbs, and by one run with my brother where he stated, “this is a pretty good pace.”

I guess you can say that ditching the Garmin was a strategic move. For one, I feel like by monitoring my pace while running I was in a way holding myself back. I had an “idea” in my head of what my pace “should be” and I feel like I was limiting myself by staying in that zone. What would happen if I just ran by feel? Ran until I couldn’t run any faster without over-exerting myself?  Based my effort on my heart rate. I just felt that this was a better training move for me.

So, while I felt like my fitness level was pretty good going into the Summer Solstice 5.5 mile race, I had no idea what to expect. Was I capable of an 8:00 pace or a 7:00 pace? I honestly didn’t know, but I did have a hunch. I had a feeling that I could trust the fact that EVERY training run was done at maximum effort, and with a clear vision of what I was training for.

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That brings me to the importance of this race.

THE HISTORY:

2012:

41:06/7:29 pace

3rd Female/24th Overall

My first year running this race. I ran the entire race flip flopping 2nd and 3rd place with who I would later learn to be Lisa. Lisa ended up placing 2nd, while a few seconds later I finished for 3rd place. I learned I had done a 7:29 pace, which blew me away. On the trails, that pace seemed extremely fast to me. I was happy!

2013:

41:22/7:32 pace

2nd Female/16th Overall

This is the race that has probably fueled a fire inside me more than any other.  I held on to first place until about the 5 mile mark, when I was passed by the girl who was on my tail the whole race. I remember the exact spot she passed me, and from that day forward every time I run the red trail at Gay City I attack that same hill harder than ever. It is true that for every failure, it brings you a step closer to success. There is a finish line picture of this girl breaking the tape with me about 10 ft behind her, trying like hell to catch her. That picture has been burnt in my head as my motivation for the last 2 years

2014:

38:44/7:03 pace

2nd Female/7th Overall

I wasn’t even sure if I was doing this one.  I was running my first 50 Mile Race just two weeks prior, and I was uncertain how my legs would feel.  However, this was the first year we had partnered up with Hartford Marathon Foundation, where we lead a 6 Week Trail Running Series prepping runners for this race.  So, I wanted to run to represented mission FITNESS and our partnership.  I was surprised with my pace, but unfortunately I knew winning this race was going to be difficult as I got past early by a High School girl wearing an All-State Cross Country shirt. I was happy with my 2nd place finish!

2015:

38:29/7:00 pace

1st Female/9th Overall

As I stated earlier, I had a lot of uncertainty going into this race.  However, I also had some things I was certain about.  I had a realization once back in Connecticut and in the woods that Trail Running is my passion. It is when and where I find complete happiness.  It’s my exercise.  My meditation.  My therapy.  But, more than anything, I am starting to realize that it is something I have a lot of potential at.  Racing and placing 6th among very good competition at the Cayuga 50 Mile National Championships last year made me realize I may be able to compete at a higher level.  Being back in CT made me realize that I want to represent mission FITNESS and make my clients and the Owner (my brother) proud.

To commit to being EXCELLENT at something is scary.  I think I always knew I could be an Elite Trail Runner, but I was never ready to ADMIT it and OWN it.  Once I did that, it meant things would get uncomfortable.  I was no longer in my “safe” AVERAGE zone.  I was stepping into territory that few have the desire (or maybe courage) to enter.  However, after endless hours of listening to motivational videos it became so clear to me that I DO NOT WANT TO KEEP ASKING, “WHAT IF?”

I don’t want to look back and think about what might have been. If I could have been one of those runners I follow on Instagram who get to run for their job.  I don’t want to wonder who I could have motivated at mission FITNESS if I chose to become that runner I dreamt to be.

So, my runs started to have purpose.  As I ran the trails, did hill repeats, etc. I would visualize crossing that finish line at the Summer Solstice Trail Race.  The picture was so clear.  My brother would be there with a big smile, and a high five.  He would hug me after, proud of me for representing mission FITNESS for everything it is.  My runners from the Trail Running Series would congratulate me, knowing they were lead by someone who knows what they’re doing.  What I didn’t know is that my amazing husband and Mom and Dad would also be there. As well as an amazing, inspiring friend (Melissa) who gets this trail running thing more than any other friend…and REALLY gets my history with this race.  It was really a dream finish.

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The vision was so clear for me, that instead of wearing our Trail Running shirts from the clinic (which had an image of trees on the front) I would wear my mission FITNESS tank.  A strategic move so the finish line picture of me breaking the ribbon would advertise the BEST fitness facility in Connecticut:

MISSION FITNESS. 

   DREAM IT.  BELIEVE IT. ACHIEVE IT.

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The Power of Visioning

I have always been someone that needs to put things on paper. I have a journal I’ve been writing in for over 12 years and when you skim through the pages you will consistently see sketches, pictures, charts etc.  How I want my life to be in the future and what is important to me in the present. There have been times where I have taken this to construction paper and magazine clippings and created vision boards. When looking at the vision board I created over five years ago it amazes me how much has already fallen into place. The power of our visions is a hidden “secret” that many have not discovered. This is a shame because it is life changing.

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A vision board I created many years ago

That is why when I heard that Katie from Kindred Spirits was going to be coming to mission FITNESS to do a vision board class, I jumped at the opportunity.  I also invited my close friends and clients hoping for them to see how life changing this can be. This class was above and beyond what most “vision board classes” are. Katie spoke to us from such a deep, passionate place in her heart, and lead us through a guided meditation where we were able to connect with our souls and get out of our own heads. Katie continued to speak to us about the way society has transformed us into a community of people who not only get lost in the rat race of bigger, better, more, BUT people who try to compete over who is busiest. Like it is a badge of honor we wear. “You think you’re busy? Yesterday I picked Jack up from school, went to Jane’s soccer practice, etc etc”. A society of people trying to one up each other with their busy schedules. Yuck!

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When Katie spoke about this I felt a tear run down my face. It felt so good to hear someone voice my exact feelings and frustrations. Sometimes I think I am alone in this world and if I voice what I want in life I will be viewed as “lazy”. Katie got it and I cannot tell you what it did for me. I told her to read the “Story That Changed My Life” on my blog. Of course, she loved it 🙂

Anyway, here is a story that justifies how putting your vision out there into the universe WORKS!!  One thing I put on my board was a book title. I’m not really sure why I chose it, but per Katie’s directions I didn’t overthink it and just cut it out.

Can you see the title: "the untethered soul"

Can you see the title: “the untethered soul”

The next day I went to the Norwich Spa with my girlfriend. (Urgh, my life is so busy. Lol) Anyway, I saw a woman in her robe, walking as she hugged 3 books to her chest. The only one I could see was Echkart Tole “The Power of Now”. A great book. So, I had to ask her what else she was reading. Guess which book was next? “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. In the moment I freaked a little, thinking about how CRAZY it was. However, looking back, it wasn’t crazy at all. That’s how this stuff works. That’s why I always make a clear vision of what I want in life. Because, looking back at my journal entries, my sketches, my vision boards….it’s always been my guide.

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Why I do That Extra Rep

i canAs many of you know, I am a bootcamp instructor and personal trainer. At my classes the fitness levels vary: there are 15 year olds next to 65 year olds.  IRONMANers next to Couch to 5kers.  You get the point.  There are others ways to see differences, however. There’s the ones who push past uncomfortable next to the people who just breeze through class comfortably. The ones who finish an exercise with shaking muscles, heart pumping, hands on knees, nearly ready to puke next to the ones who are holding a comfortable conversation.  The ones who do that last rep with one second left, and those who end with 3 seconds left.  I must say I have an equal respect for both of these categories. I DO understand that we are all there for our own reasons, and I applaud EVERY bootcamper that walks through the door.

My clients may not know I see these things (although many have said they think I have eyes in the back of my head)  but I do!  I found a quote last night that read, “don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get with the work you didnt do”  I love this quote for so many reasons. It relates to SO MANY PEOPLE I know, especially in the fitness world.  So often I hear excuses from people of why they aren’t succeeding to meet their goals, but may not understand what it really takes to get there.  Let me give some examples.

We are so fortunate at mission FITNESS to have instructors that walk the walk.  They are billboards for fitness and hard work.  My brother, the owner, is not naturally fast.  He is not naturally strong and bulky.  He is 5’7, 155 pounds.  However, he is not only finishing 5Ks in the top 5 overall (18:30ish finishes) but also just qualified for Boston Marathon, doing Vermont City Marathon at 3:05.  Just a couple of years ago he was setting WORLD RECORDS for bench pressing, putting up 360 pounds!  None of this came easy.  It came because he did the work.  He did that last rep with one second left.

Then there’s the trainer who is in her 40’s with 4 kids.  She is in ridiculous shape and just finished a recent 5K 4th placecomfortable female overall.  I hear so many other Mom’s say they don’t have enough time.  However, those same Mom’s are at my class for the same hour this trainer is.  Guess which one stops with 3 seconds left and which one does that last rep?  Guess which one walks out of class dripping in sweat with NOTHING left to give while the other walks out feeling great and looking good?

Another trainer is the one I specifically saw and made me think of this blog  After my class the other day I had to go up to her and tell her why I love her.  Why she inspires me.  She ALWAYS does that extra rep.  She NEVER stops if she thinks she won’t get that last burpee in.  She just goes 33 seconds instead of 30 if that’s the case.  She is so physically fit, and this is not because it is easy.  It is because she stays after the class she teaches to do a workout ALONE and STILL finishes the exercise with her hands on her knees breathing hard when NO ONE is watching.  This is what separates one athlete from the next.  This is what brings people to the next level.  This is what inspires me when I want to stop with 2 seconds left.  This is why I DO THE LAST REP!

easyPLEASE, don’t get me wrong…I am 100% ok with someone coming to my class to just get 1 hour of exercise in and staying comfortable during class.  This is better than NOT working out.  I award you for being there.  I love that you are there.  This is about those who complain that they aren’t losing weight, they aren’t losing any time off their 5k, 1/2 marathon, marathon, etc time.  However, they are stopping with 3 seconds left.  These are the ones I think of when I hear “don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do”  Getting to the next level in the fitness world takes a lot of work, dedication and discipline.  I am very fortunate to work with trainers who make me want to be better, stronger, and work harder.  I am also lucky to train MANY people who do the same.  Many of my bootcampers have no idea how much the INSPIRE ME.  Thank you..