28 9 / 2014
I was just reading through my posts, and realized there was one thing missing across the board.
He’s been there since the beginning of my running journey and while he hasn’t always taken to the road with me, he’s always been there. Unwavering. Always supporting.
And usually freezing.
He’s picked up where I have slacked off, from tiding up the house to cooking dinner while I pass out on the couch. He’s been patient when I come home from a long run, and can barely get up the stairs.
He’s driven me to start lines, climbed mountains to see me half way, and scooped me up at finish lines. Even though I don’t always see him while I’m scanning the spectator area, I know he’s out there.
And I don’t know how I can ever thank him.
So today, I want to tell everyone about my awesome man. While he thinks I’m nuts for doing what I do, he never doubts that I can achieve what I set my mind to.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
23 9 / 2014
It’s been a few days since the Spartan World Championship Beast in Killington VT, and I’ve been mulling about writing this blog post since when I found myself climbing the first double black diamond run of the day.
I will say this… the Spartan Beast at Killington was most certainly a beast.
It also came at the end of a various active week… that prior weekend I had done the NH Reach The Beach Relay, and two days before I did the Thompson Island 4k. I wasn’t necessarily the most rested, but I felt strong leading up to it.
Strong, but nervous.
I had heard horror stories of previous years Beasts on the mountain, but I am a comfortable hiker and was very comfortable with the advertised 12+ mile distance.
I’m pretty sure that the picture above is the last genuine smile that I had during the 10 hours and 40 minutes that I was on the course. I moved my start time to 8:45, because at the rate I was moving, I would have been pulled from the course if I had started at 10:30. I met a few girls shortly after we ran down the initial downhill and stared straight up the first double black diamond climb. I stayed with that group the whole way. Amanda, Katelyn and Diana - I am confident I wouldn’t have found that finish line without you.
This review isn’t going to be about the obstacles that were up there, or any type of play by play. This race was made to break people.
It was made to make you fail.
While I see why they want to make their World Championship more difficult than the rest, especially for the elite’s competing for a large cash prize, I don’t understand why they continued letting people start up until 1:30PM. Spartan knew that unless all those runners had planned on running elite time, those runners would not complete the course.
To me, that is irresponsible.
To me, that is greed.
It’s one thing to challenge your racers. It’s one thing to push them past their limits, so they emerge beaten and broken but better for it. It’s a whole other thing to set them up for failure.
I’ve done a few Spartan Races, and have loved them for incorporating running with obstacles and motivating people to get off the couch. This particular race, not only would we climb for miles, but there were next to no obstacles on the course - except for those obstacles where you had to carry large amounts of weight up and down the slopes. There is nothing more terrifying than watching someone break their leg when a log rolled down a mountain.
Wait, there actually is. That moment when you feel your foot slide on the slick grass downhill when you are carrying a bucket full of gravel.
When you realized that it could have been you.
Now this run wasn’t all horrible. It brought out the best and the worst in humans. But for right now, I’m going to focus on all the amazing humans I met on the course… from the three girls who adopted me onto their running team, to the guy who told jokes when we were climbing on the trail to the clouds, to everyone who lent a helping hand.
You guys were what made my run amazing.
Without you, I would not have made it to the finish line.
Each and everyone of you restored a little bit of my faith in humanity. We helped each other, we warned each other, we made sure that everyone was going to be ok. That’s something that you don’t quite see every day. Most of the time we bustle by other people without any acknowledgement. We plug ourselves into our phones and look wearily at any stranger who comes into our “personal bubble” and tries to talk with us.
I’m guilty of it too.
So Spartan Beast, thank you for breaking us free of our societal norms of merely existing next to other people. You brought us back to what really mattered… surrounding yourself with good people.
It also brought out the worst. I was elbowed in the face while we had to walk along the river bank by a woman who was a little too competitive. When I fell, and told her we were all moving slow because footing was awful, she told me “Don’t care. Move out of the way. This is a race.”
That’s where she was wrong.
This was a big metaphor for life. Sometime there is a big task ahead of you, that is just totally going to suck. There will be people who will help you up, and there will be a few who are going to try to make you fail. For me, I didn’t need to be the first… I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. And I have no idea why.
I crossed that finish line more bruised, battered and uttering more curse words that I knew I had in me. I was left in awe of what I had accomplished, but sorry and upset for those who were set up to fail. I wanted to go back and help them, but at the same time, all I wanted to do curl up and go to sleep.
I still have mixed feelings about this run. I don’t think I’ll be charging up that mountain again anytime soon… but I’m happy that I was able to tackle this Beast.
24 8 / 2014
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28 7 / 2014
I thought I would be writing a very different race recap.
I had trained hard, put the miles and the cross training in, and it broke my heart and body to see my body rebel against me when I really wanted it to work it’s best.
Friday night was my first marathon… and it was awful.
I had prepared myself for running at night, by sleeping in a little and by taking an afternoon nap. I made sure to eat normally, but not to eat 3 hours before I started running.
We got to the start line about 8pm, an hour before the race started. I got my number, started warming up, and tried to shake off a whole bunch of nerves. When the siren went off at 9 to send us on our way, I was pumped and ready to show everyone what I was capable of.
Lap 1 - 3, felt fantastic. I was on pace, I had finally found my groove, and I had made myself comfortable with the large construction project that was happening on Main Street (half of the side walk and road was closed, so it made that stretch a little like an obstacle course. I saw a few people step on some damp concrete.).
Lap 4, I felt like I had a giant fire ball in my chest. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and when I tried to burp, I automatically felt like I was going to throw up. So I made the decision to stop and walk it off. It was here I met my first set of angels - a group of two guys who were doing the 24 hour ultra. They walked with me, and one of them offered me a few TUMS to try to settle my stomach. They told me that “it doesn’t matter how long it takes, you just need to finish your first one.” This was the first lap that I threw up on.
Lap 5, I felt a little better after the TUMS so I decided to try to run a little. It was more like a waddle, especially when the fast marathon runners flew by me. Not going to lie, that totally broke my spirit a little bit, especially when I knew I had 3 more to go. I got sick about half way through this lap again, and walked the last lap.
Lap 6, Vomit. vomit everywhere. I just wanted to go to bed. By this time, it was 1:30am - which was when I really wanted to finish by. Seeing that time on the clock, and knowing I had not met my time goal really demolished me. Plus, I felt awful. I walked most of this lap, but tried to run the last mile in.
Lap 7 & 8. These two are a blur for me. These were the laps that I met my second angel on, an ultra marathoner from Montreal, that had already run 33 miles. I felt awful, I was walking and he walked with me for a little. He asked if I wanted him to pace me, and I told him that I didn’t wnat to be the reason why he didn’t make his 100 miles or what ever his goal was. I told him about my stomach issues, and that all i wanted to do now was just go home and sleep.
He basically was like “you’ve run 20 miles, and you now want to go and sleep? you got this next 6.2 in the bag. Let’s do this.” About 2 miles into the last 6, I vomited again and told him to just keep going. He didn’t. He told me to keep walking, and that stopping was the WORST thing I could do. I kept apologizing (because I hate vomiting, and vomiting in front of someone is literally the worst thing), and he told me about all his horror stories of vomiting, kidney failure, how he had brain surgery last year and I guess it really put it into perspective for me. Everyone has awful thing happen, you just cant let it stop you.
By the time I was about to finish my last lap, I felt like I was running half awake. My stomach churned, I was shivering and hot at the same time, and all I wanted to do was collapse. I got about half way around the lake when I had to puke again. This time, I basically threw myself on the guard rail and puke over it… and I heard my timing chip snap.
I just wanted to get it done. Ultra runner pacer was talking about something that I don’t even remember, but I remember when we circled the corner on Quanapowitt Parkway and he said “here is your time to shine. Leave it all out here, and go home and sleep.”
And I took off - I saw Blake, and reach out and hugged him before barreling down the timing chute. I looked at my chip and saw that it had snapped in half, and showed it to the guy who was handing out medals.
"Does this mean my last lap won’t get logged?"
"I did 8 laps though…"
"I know… congrats on your marathon."
He handed me a medal - and I just kinda looked at it.
Part of me was happy that I finally accomplished it. Part of me didn’t even want to look at it, because I was so defeated. I didn’t feel like I deserved it. It felt like my training was a waste, because I couldn’t even run like I had planned to.
I finished in 6 hours and 45 minutes - even though officially it only looks like I ran 7 laps in 6 hours and 1 minute.
I’ll be taking a week off for rest - since my stomach still fully hasn’t settled. Then, I’ll be back out hitting the pavement, training for the Marine Corps Marathon… or what I would like to call “my redemption”.
24 7 / 2014
23 7 / 2014
Last year, I had a chance to chat with Brett Maloley about his involvement in Office to Octagon – a nonprofit organization that takes people out of the cubicle and into the octagon in order to raise money and awareness for childhood obesity. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I chatted with Brett again… this time about his newest endeavor – Game Plan. He’s taking on the nutrition space, one challenge at a time.
Q: How did the idea for Game Plan come about?
A: Game Plan was built on the core belief that fitness professionals are better suited to refer nutrition than the guy behind the counter at the vitamin store. The nutritional supplement space in the US is a $25 billion industry that is almost completely de-regulated and sold to a consumer who has very little education on what they are buying. Game Plan exists to change that by educating and empowering fitness professionals to use our technology platform to refer customized Game Plans of our “banned substance free,” all natural products to their clients.
Read the rest of my interview with Brett here: http://www.competeeveryday.com/2014/07/whats-your-game-plan/
27 6 / 2014
This past Wednesday, we had the award ceremony for Healthworks Workplace Warrior Challenge.
I just realized also, that I didn’t update my numbers.
Weight - stayed the same
Body fat - down 1%
Muscle Mass - up 1%
So, nothing too crazy happened number wise for me. A couple members on the team ended up losing 4lbs! I need to find out their secret!!
Well, all in all, we didn’t win the challenge.
Honestly, I don’t know who actually won the challenge, because they didn’t announce it at the “award” ceremony - which, was probably the most lackluster thing that I’ve experienced at Healthworks. I get that the Porter Square club didn’t have the winning team, but we were still ready to get a good workout and celebrate. The workout ended up being a Tabata, but the instructor didn’t quite instruct - but was really being lead by a tape. It was a little too reminiscent of a middle school gym class. After the workout, they quickly brought in some apples, bananas and coconut water, and told us that none of us won the grand prize, and the other official team at the club won the club competition, for having lost the most weight.
But, even though we didn’t win the super awesome prize, I still feel like we are a whole bunch of winners. Why? I made a bunch of friends with some coworkers who I normally wouldn’t have interacted with, without Workplace Warrior Challenge. Also, I learned how to incorporate some amazing classes into my marathon training, in order to add more cross training.
So, yes, I have a membership, and I’m figuring out how to work everything together. I plan on taking two classes regularly, and have Friday be a “swing” cross training day - and maybe taking an after work class then.
My first marathon is coming up in just ONE month.
Cue freakout now.
It’s 8:30PM on a Friday, and I’m here writing, watching Who’s Line is it Anyways and making sure that I get to bed around 9ish, so I can get up at 5:30 to run 18 miles.
The life of someone training for a marathon.