Category Archives: challenge

Let’s talk about setting goals…..

Well here we are, 21 days into February as I write this and I just got home from the gym.  I am sad to be honest, really sad to see that the gym numbers have already dropped off significantly.  For the first few weeks of January it’s tough finding a parking spot up front, you may need to walk a little bit further to get into the gym god forbid.  You may not be able to get on your favorite piece of equipment, you may need to wait a minute to use something.

Here’s the thing though, we all started somewhere.  We all had our first days at the gym and yes maybe it wasn’t in January but we all started somewhere.  I absolutely hate the negativity surrounding New Years Resolutions but we’ve already talked about that.  Tonight I want to talk about something different, one of the main reasons that people do not stick to their resolutions or diets…..Setting goals.  This is the most important concept you need to master in order to be successful in ANYTHING.  Not just losing weight or exercising more.

There is a specific system to use when it comes to setting goals and I am going to break it down here for you tonight.  You may have used this before or you may have used another system that worked well for you in the past.  This is not 100% the absolute golden rule for setting goals.  This is a technique that works and if used will work for you.  That being said there could be another system that works for you as well, I invite you to share some other systems in the comments so that readers may give them a try!

Here we go, let’s get into it! The acronym is S.M.A.R.T. and we are going to take a look at each item individually and really break it down.

 

S-Specific- This is the one where most people go wrong right off the bat.  If you make a goal that is too broad you are increasing your chances of dropping out right from the start.  A goal that is too broad would be something like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better” or “I want to start running”.  These goals are not specific enough. You are leaving things up in the air and stacking the odds against yourself!  Instead, when creating a specific goal, give yourself more details.  “I want to go to the gym three times per week” or “I want to lose 6 inches off of my waist”.  These goals are much more specific, they are set in stone, black and white, no grey area and you can measure them. This brings us to the next point! (See what I did there, I think I might be getting the hang of this writing thing!)

M-Measurable, or meaningful- As mentioned above, the latter of the two sets of goals are things that are black and white and you can measure them.  If you look at the first set of goals, “I want to lost weight” or the “I want to look better”, you can not accurately measure those.  “But Ian I can get on the scale and it will show that I am losing weight”.  Ah yes my friend you are correct, but how much weight do you want to lose? What happen when you have a plateau? What happens if you only lose 1 pound that week and you want to lose 5 per week?  “I want to look better”.  Again, how do you accurately measure “looking better” to yourself?  With a selfie pic in the mirror? That sounds wildly acceptable for a measurement in progress….HAH! Make goals that you can clearly measure and are meaningful to you.  Don’t waste your time pulling something out of thin air and thinking it’s going to work.

A-Attainable or Achievable– Now this is where things get a little tricky, but please allow me to explain.  You want to make your goal attainable, you don’t want it to be too far out of reach.  You also do not want to sandbag your goal, it should be something that makes you step out of your comfort zone.  For example, saying you are going to loose 5 pounds a week for the next 10 weeks before your wedding.  Not achievable. “But Ian what about extreme weight loss, what about this person who did it?” blah blah blah.  Yes it has been done, however, IF you make it to that goal, yes IF, it will not last.  You WILL relapse and it will not end well.  A healthy goal would be to loose 2-3 pounds per week.  Another example would be, “I want to run a marathon in 15 weeks”, but you haven’t run a mile in 2 years.  Again yes it is possible, anything is possible, however thats a very far reaching goal.  Bottom line is, you need to have self awareness here and know what is going to push you a little but not too much.  Just know you can always adapt your goal!  They are goals, they are not written in stone, if you don’t achieve it, you learn what you are able to do in the set amount of time.

R- Realistic- Realistic and attainable can be interchangeable depending on how you view it.  Realistic can mean that it’s not too far out of reach. For example you want to qualify for World Championships in your first ever crack at a triathlon. This would be an unrealistic goal based on the fact that you have not yet completed a race.  There are situations and circumstance associated with racing that you cannot recreated in training.  You can always do you best to prepare but there is always a chance something can come up on race day.  It can also mean realistic in your resources.  For example if you have a goal to participate in an Ironman but you work 80 hours a week and have 3 kids and a significant other at home, an ironman may not be a realistic goal at this point in your life.  Taking that much time away from your family or job may lead to other things suffering which could lead to dropping the goal.  Be realistic with your resources such as your time, your equipment, your ability or your knowledge.

T-Time based- Last but not least, your goal needs to be time based.  You need to give yourself a time line of when this goal will be completed by.  There isn’t any other way to put it.  You simply can’t say well I want to drop 50 pounds.  Without that time frame, if there is a week where you stay the same there may be a chance of dropping out.  With a time line, you can track and keep yourself accountable.  The time frame ensures you will get it done and it keeps you honest.  Think of when your boss gives you a project at work or you have a project at school.  With a time line you can sit down, break it into small manageable chunks and get it done.  Some times you may even get it done early!  If that happens it’s ok, you get some time to plan your next goal and reconsider either your time frame or how challenging you make your goal.

One last thought to keep you motivated or on track is consider a reverse bet.  If you have a friend or a few friends who are all working on goals, create a reverse bet with them to hold each other accountable.  A reverse bet is simple, you have your goals and your friend has theirs.  You set the time line and then you set the consequences if you do not achieve said goal.  The consequences should be something that would absolutely make you cringe.  This is a great way to hold each other accountable, get friends and family involved and stay on track.

If you set a goal for New Years and you have dropped off, DON’T wait until next year to make a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  Make your S.M.A.R.T. goal tomorrow.  The best time to start was yesterday and the second best time to start is now.

If you have a technique for setting goals that has been successful for you please share it below in the comments section! If you need any further help or just want to bounce some ideas off of someone please use my social links below and hit me up in the DM’s.  I really love hearing from you guys!

 

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

 

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Don’t Take Nutrition Advice from 150lbs Pro Athlete

Well here we are friends, through the holidays, probably ate to many cookies and not trying to get back on track. No? Just me? Well lucky you!  For me I probably had one to many sweets, ok maybe 5 too many and a few too many beers.  I like beer and donuts, it could be worse.  Post a wonderful run of bronchitis I am not back on track and finding myself carrying around a little extra.  Did this all happen over the holidays? Absolutely not, it was due to my own mistake or course of mistakes that made me sit down and really think about what I was doing.

We’ve all heard it right? That famous phrase that at times infuriates us enough to even harm a small puppy….wait for it……

“Oh you do triathlons, you must be able to eat WHATEVER you want!”

Well let me be the first to say, no, no I cannot eat whatever I want.  This also leads me to my next point, do not and I repeat DO NOT EVER FOR ANY REASON take nutrition advice from a professional triathlete that weights 150 lbs soaking wet, possibly even holding a brick. 
Awhile back I read an article from a very famous, pretty quick, triathlete.  You may or may not know him.  Mr. Andy Potts. You haven’t? What do you live under an effin rock?!
Now listen, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that everything in the article was bad, nor do I have anything against Andy.  From what I can gather through social media he is an awesome down to earth guy and he is wicked smart when it comes to this sport.  He did however give me just the amount of ammo that I needed to just go off the deep end.  He stated that “if you want a bowl of ice cream, have a bowl of ice cream.”  Now granted for him, he could probably have a bowl of ice cream every night if he wanted and still not gain a pound.  I am no professional in nutrition by any means, but I can gather that Andy Potts logs a little time training.  Maybe, I mean I am not sure, but I just have a hunch that he probably trains twice a day most days.  He is also focusing on the half and full distance race, so he’s burning a few calories here and there.  Still I do not think that this was the point of his article.  I think he was simply implying that you can treat yourself every once and awhile.
For someone like me however, I was looking for any and every excuse to eat whatever I wanted.  I have NEVER been able to do this before, why did I think I could do it now? Oh that’s right because I was a triathlete! I could eat whatever I wanted! WRONG!  This was when I realized that my mood, energy and everything else had decreased significantly.  What was going on?! I was blaming everything I could, when deep down inside, I really knew what I needed to do.  Cut out a few sweets and add a little more greens.
So now here I sit, back on track and focusing on next year.  Do I eat ice cream and donuts still? Yes as a matter of fact I do, but only on as what coach Dave calls it an “earned day”.  Just because I swam doesn’t mean I get a donut, just because I did a long ride doesn’t mean I get a cheeseburger from Five Guys EVERY time. You’re not an effing dog, don’t reward yourself with food!
Do I blame this fully on Andy Potts and him telling me to eat ice cream if I wanted it? Yes, he’s an ahole and I’ll never root for him again.  No absolutely not, he didn’t hold me down and make me eat the ice cream.  I was looking for affirmation that what I was doing was ok and I found it in that article.  That little thing between your ears is crazy powerful.  If you are looking for something, you will in fact find it sooner or later.
My advice to you? Get MyFitnessPal, track your calories and be smart about it.  Your food is your fuel and it will either help you or hurt you.  There are so many articles, blogs and posts out there for you to read and do with it what you may.  My best piece of advice is don’t take everyting for 100% truth, any idiot can sign up for a blog, look at me ;).  And lastly, track your calories and do not over eat.  If you can “afford” some extra go for it, if not you better earn it!
All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself


I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Escape The Cape 2015

Hello all you beautiful people! I am currently sitting in the airport on a 4hr delay thanks to Spirit (never again) but thats another story for another time.

In just two short days I will be toeing the line of my first 70.3!! Challenge Atlantic City half is on sunday and I am a ball of nerves/excitement.

The race season does not begin there however, it began two weekends ago at the Escape The Cape triathlon down in Cape May NJ.  Many of you may have heard of this iconic race where the start is from the back of a ferry boat! Its pretty sweet, a little scary and a ton of fun all at the same time!

I was wondering how this race would go because I have been training a lot different that before.  For one I had a plan, normally I would just swim bike and run three days a week and rest one but it wasn’t really structured.  The other thing was that I was training for a half and that was WAY different than training for short course racing.

The morning started a little rough with a down pour.  I was in transition and I remember saying to myself this sucks and I started letting it get to me and I stopped. I knew I couldn’t let myself get that negative on race morning so I just embraced it.  Unfortunately we had about a 30min delay getting out of the terminal.  When it comes to the swim I made two key mistakes again this year.  Mistake number 1 bring more food.  I had breakfast at 4:15 and then one cliff bar 4 hours later.  For me that isn’t enough. Number two get off the boat early. Once the international athletes start jumping I need to be down low on the dock and ready to go (more on that later). Either way, amazingly fun way to start a race and you honestly cannot beat it!

Now for the bike…..eh is my feeling on my performance here and it is mostly due to rain and crowds. Because I was in the back of the pack on the boat, most people were out on the bike course along with the international athletes.  On top of this the course was wet. I am not a risk taker on the bike, its just not my style. I race, I push but I will always reach for my break going into a turn and there were people who didn’t want to do that.  I remember this guy specifically who would pass me on the outside at every turn and then I would get him on the flat.  Coming into one of the final turns he took it way too high, lost control, crossed into the on coming cyclists and then into the guardrail he went.  Just not cool and that made me hold back on the bike a bit more than I wanted to.

On to the run and I’ll be honest with all of you about this run course because I love you….It SUCKS!  There are two sand runs for the sprint course and I am not talking nice flat hard sand runs, NO! soft sand, high dune, full suck runs.  I was holding a good pace on the flats but those sand runs just punished me.  I could remember looking down at my watch and just thinking man this isn’t gonna cut it today.  The owner of my company has a house right along the run course though and it was super rad to hear him yelling out there.  I could remember hit the turn and heading back and thinking I couldn’t let him see the struggle! Pull it together!!  I got back on to the road and I knew I had 800 meters to go and I just dropped it and went for it.  I almost collapsed after crossing the line and that’s how it should be.

Once I handed in my chip and got some water and settled it was time to hit the results tent…..Well it was time for someone else to hit the results tent.  For whatever reason I like the element of surprise so I have someone check it for me and let me know if I need to stay for awards or not.  I knew I had to stay but I had no idea where I stacked up against my field.

They went through the international awards first and then went from oldest to youngest.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I knew in the back of my head I was going to get my time on the stage but I just wanted to know if I was going to get to step on that RedBull podium for top 3! Finally my AG came up and I made my way towards the stage. They started with 5th, not me, then 4th not me and I knew right there I would get to stand on the podium. I took 3rd overall and I was happy.  I wanted to have times closer to 1st and 2nd but I had to tell myself that training for long course is way different than training for the short course. I was satisfied with my times but for my later season short course stuff I really need some speed work and hard runs off the bike if I want that top spot!

For now it is on to Challenge Half in a few days and like I said at the start I am just a ball full of all kinds of emotions.  There are a lot of unknown factors that come with a new distance but I am sure that I followed my plan and it will just be another day at the office on Sunday.  If you are interested in tracking me you can find me on the other social media forms!

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself!

Feeling Off in the Off Season

It’s March and as I sit down to write this my entire town is covered in ice scratch that, we are now covered in 7+ inches of snow.  If you know anything about me, you can only imagine the effect this has taken on me haha.  It is killing me, but March comes in like a lion right? I can only hope so.

So let’s get to it.  It’s the off season.  It gets cold, it gets dark, it gets just down right miserable here on the east coast.  I had a plan to combat this though! I was doing more racing this past season so that I could make a bit of a name for myself and apply for a team this off season.  Going into a new season with a new team, a team that I always dreamed of would give me that “high” to carry me through this off season and get me to the spring ready to rock.  As you may have guessed things did not quite go as planned.  I applied to two teams. I will not put the teams on bast but one straight up denied me and the other “never got my application”.  One of the teams is one that I have had my eye on since I started this sport.  Maybe it’s a sign, maybe it’s not right but nonetheless it was a hinge moment for me.  A moment that made me reconsider a few things and a few different approaches.

As you may know I had a GoFundMe account set up at the end of this summer to help off-set the cost of a new bike.  So I began to focus on that and how I could maximize the amount of support I received from family and friends.  It was absolutely incredibly how supportive people are and I am still, to this day, beside myself and cannot thank everyone enough.

Between the let down of not getting on to two teams again and the training break I took after the Marine Corps Marathon things started to spin out of control.  I ended up loosing interest in my training among other things.  Luckily enough I caught myself and I could right it before things got completely out of control and get back on track!

One day a good friend said to me “Yo man, why don’t you apply to Xterra Wetsuits to be an ambassador.”  I figured hey it couldn’t hurt so I did. I applied to them and heard back pretty quickly and after talking with the East Coast regional manager I was in!  This got my brain working.  I started thinking of brands I use and love and I started reaching out to them.  Some I heard back from and others I did not.  It got me back on track though! I am now an ambassador for Xterra Wetsuits, Delmo Sports Elite Events, and Infinit Nutrition.  All brands that I know, use and love and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  If anyone has any questions or needs help I would be happy to assist in any way that I can.

Now at this point you may be thinking wow, this guy is certainly tooting his own horn here.  Confession time…..not my intention at all! I am using this for two reasons, first, according to a very smart man, Jon Acuff, I had what was called a hinge moment.  Something was going on that I didn’t like and I had to change it.  I had two options, I could really let this get to me and just hang it up.  Say you know what forget it, I don’t have what it takes to make it on these teams so why am I even doing this.  As much as I don’t want to admit it, that thought crossed my mind a time or two.  My other option was to find a better way.  That’s what I did. I took the advice from a friend and I ran with it.  You have the same choice.  It could be with your job, relationships, training, or all of the above.  Whatever it is you may do, sit down, think about it, bring it up to people you trust and really put some thought into it.  I promise things will work out if you put the time in and take the time to figure it out.

As for training, Monday marks the start of a 16-week block leading up to my first 70.3 race in Atlantic City.  I am anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time.  I can’t wait to get things moving and I can’t wait for this season to really get under way.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the support!

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

“You’re insane, I could never do that” Marine Corps Marathon

It’s December 14 and its almost 2 months post my first ever 26.2 journey.  I have been neglecting this post for long enough but there are some reasons behind that.  I have started to structure my “race reports” different and I don’t want them to be a play by play of all the events leading up to the race.  Instead I am attempting to recreate the feelings leading up to, during and after the race.  This race had a lot of feelings behind it so I wanted to get my thoughts together before I put it all down.  Today someone said to me, “I still can’t believe you ran a marathon!” and I thought there was no better time than the present to get things down on the screen.

Let’s start with a few facts before the race, leading up and in training.  I was a complete rookie and I made every mistake possible so I want to get that all out for people to learn from.  Over the summer, after Atlantic City I began ramping up my running.  My first long run was a 13 miler and I decided to make it 13.1 to complete my first half.  This was a different first half because there were no aid stations, no cheering, just me and the rode.  I packed a couple gels and completed the run in under two hours.  I was thrilled.  From there things went down hill.  For about three weeks in a row I pack the SAME amount of gel or maybe one more and ONE water bottle.  I couldn’t figure out why I was hitting a wall every time and couldn’t get through 2 hours of running.

Fast forward and after many phone conversations with seasoned runners I came to terms with the fact that I was under fueling and under hydrating for the demands of marathon training.  I ordered a bag of custom Infinit Nutrition (check it out here) and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  It came and I threw every time goal out the window at this point and my main goal for the day of the marathon was merely to finish.  Leading up to Marine Corps I had one 18 mile long run and one split 20 mile long run.  This will come into play later.  Unfortunately due to time constraints this was all I could push my body to do in order to recover properly for the marathon.

The race was on Sunday and I left the Thursday before for Washington DC.  The expo was friday and I was advised to get in as early as possible and I am glad I did.  I met some amazing people for the first time who had helped me through training and they reassured me that I was ready and I WOULD finish.  Aside from the normal expo shannanigans it was business as usual.  My cousin had just recently moved to the DC area from California and so I got a chance to see him for the first time in probably about 4-5 years.  He is an active duty Marine so it meant a lot to me to see him before the race.  As we were walking back from a late lunch he said something to me that stuck with me for the rest of the weekend.  He looked me dead in the face and said “Listen I know a lot of people have told you a lot of different things about completing this race.  I am not hear to over load you with any new information, I just want you to remember one thing, don’t ever stop moving.  He looked me dead in the eyes and said listen to me DO NOT STOP MOVING!” This resonated with me and I took it very serious.  Little did I know how useful this would become.

Saturday came around and I wanted to stop back by the expo to exchange a shirt I bought the day before.  We got of the metro at the exit and before we even got to the top of the escalator I could see the line.  I said to my girlfriend “Thank god we came yesterday!” we turned around and got back on the subway.  It was off to some sight seeing for the day.  So we explored DC and saw all of the sites.  Another key mistake on my part.  At the time I did not realize it but later that day I knew I made a mistake.  We walked EVERYWHERE that day and by the end of the day my legs were tired.  Not to the point of exhaustion but I knew that they were tired.  I knew it was a mistake but I couldn’t change it at that point.  I met with my parents, had a wonderful dinner and it was off to bed.

I woke up the next morning full of nerves.  I tried to eat as much as I could but it was a struggle.  With every bite I felt like I was swallowing a boulder. I dropped of a bottle of nutrition with the facebook crew in the lobby that I would exchange around mile 20(another key point) and it was off to the metro.  The rest of my bottle were in a bag with my family and I would exchange them along the route.  We followed the crowds to the start and it was a long walk through the parking lot. From there it was just a waiting game.  I made my way over to the start and I was overcome with emotion.  It was time, I was about to embark on the hardest journey of my life.  I waited to see my mom and sister before I started because they wanted to send me off.  I saw them and then began walking up to the start line.  I was way in the back of the pack for the start.

Largest flag ever used in a jump!
Here we goooooooo!

A few miles in I had to pee so bad.  I didn’t want to stop but it got to a point where I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fight it anymore.  I found a tree, relieved myself and continue on.  I had one bottle in my pack and an extra bag of Infinit just incase I missed my family for a bottle exchange.  The miles ticked by and I felt good. I got to mile 10 and I had some tummy problems and I got nervous.  I thought man if this is an indication for my day, its going to be a long one.  I tried to sip some nutrition and just stay calm.  Luckily it subsided and I was back on track.  I was not going as fast as I wanted to but I knew I had a long journey.  I saw my family around mile 11 and did the first bottle exchange.  They were incredible and I cannot thank them enough for being a part of this journey.   The last thing I want to say about this point in the race was that I was heading back from one of the turn arounds and the “straggler bus” passed me on the other side of the road.  I remember telling myself this was the first and last time you would see this!

After mile 16 or so we made our way out by the Potomac River.  This was the hardest part of the race for me.  The mental game really began.  I just remember seeing mile 18 and thinking, OK I have 8 more to go, I can do this.  If you remember from earlier, 18 miles was my longest run leading up to this race.  So here began the run walk.  I had a bottle from my family and I knew I just needed to make it to the party at mile 20 to see the Red Felt crew.  I started to really look forward to seeing this party.  I remember hitting 19 and thinking ok, one more mile and I will see them, then it is just a 10k to the finish.  I remember seeing people stopping and stretching out.  I wanted to stop and stretch my calves so bad.  I thought “I could stop just for a minute, what’s it going to hurt?” Then I remembered the conversation with Michael, NO!!! NO STOPPING!!!  I hit mile 20 and I couldn’t find them.  Not anywhere…..this hit me hard. I was mad, I was stunned, I just didn’t know what to do.  It got in my head really bad.

I needed to just continue on and finish my race.  I remember being in the middle of the bridge and thinking for the first time, am I even going to be able to finish this.  From miles 20-23 it was a mental game.  “You can do this” to holy cow, how am I ever going to finish this all in the same breath.  When we got back to Crystal City I dumped the bag of nutrition into my bottle and filled it up with water.  I knew I had this in me.  The energy through this city was like nothing I have ever felt before.  They carried me to mile 25 and my walking at this point was minimal.

I remember getting to mile 24 somewhere and people started saying “just one more mile, you got this!”  To those of you who run, you may be able to related to how I felt at this point.  I wanted to smack these people in the face.  DO NOT tell me I have one more mile when in reality I don’t.  It was a false sense of security for me and I did not like it.  I powered through and looked forward to that mile 25 sign.  I remember passing it and reaching up and smacking it.  We were almost there.  For the last mile of the race, I don’t know where it came from but I ran the entire thing.  There were two things I heard about this race.  One I wasn’t sure of and the other I knew was going to be there.  The first was the magical man with the keg of beer around mile 24 or so, but I never found him =/.  The second was the uphill finish.  I rounded the corner of mile 26 and it was there, starring me in the face.  I knew my family was at the top of that hill and still to this day I don’t even remember feeling it.  I ran up the hill so fast to see my mom and girlfriend there.  This is where the tears started.  I remember approaching that finish line and just bawling like a little kid.  I had done it.  From a 300+ pound couch potato to a marathon runner in just over 2 years of blood sweat and tears.  I crossed the line and just stood there for a minute.  I kissed my hands and just threw them up to the sky and said thank you.

When the Marine put that medal around my neck and saluted me saying “Congratulations Sir!” I could have lost it.  I wanted to hug him but I thought that might be weird so I refrained.  I remember them pushing everyone to keep moving when all I wanted to do was sit down!! I found a curb and sat down for a second.  I just wanted to take it all in.  I took off my shoes and got out my phone so that I could find my family.  Having my phone on me the whole race was key.  I could keep in contact with my family and find them after the race.  I did not use it for music because I didn’t want to kill the battery which was key and I also know that service can be touchy throughout the race so I had an iPod for that.  Smartest 50 bucks I have every spent!

Post race the only thing I wanted to do was drink my chocolate milk and take an ice bath. Luckily my hotel was less and a quarter mile from the finish.  This was HUGE! The last thing you want to try and do is navigate public transportation after such a large race. Unfortunately I guess do to safety concerns you cannot plug the tub in hotels.  So I settled for a shower and my wonderful 2XU compression tights.  I remember receiving a congratulations text from a friend and she offered some words of wisdom.  I was laying in bed when I got this text and all I wanted to do was stay there.  She said “GET UP!!!” another key piece of advice.  I got up and continued moving as bad as it hurt.  I walked and got food and walked around a bit more.  It hurt but I am so thankful that I did it.  Plus it gave me a chance to go out in my new jacket with my new hardware ;).

I remember walking back to the metro with Jamee and she told me again for the millionth time how proud she was of me.  She has been there from the first day I met her and I am so thankful for that.  I said to her:

You know, I’ll be honest, it did not go the way I planned.  I did not hit my time goal, but there is one thing I did do and that is complete a marathon.  It is something I swore I would never do, it is something some people say they want to do but don’t and its something some people will never be able to say they did.  No one will ever be able to take that away from me.”  

It is completely true what they say, you will never forget your first and I believe it to this day.  Two months later and I still feel the same amount of joy writing this as I did that day.

If you have skipped all the mumbo jumbo in between and got to this point please just read this paragraph.   Years ago I remember talking to someone and telling them I would NEVER run 26.2 miles just for fun.  On October the 26th I did just that.  Something I thought I could never do in a million years.  If you have something that you have always wanted to do and said you never would, please take my advice an consider doing it.  I promise you that you will not forget it.  It will be the most rewarding thing you have ever felt in your entire life.  It was not an easy journey, it was a fight every day, but god I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I made some key mistakes along the way but it has made me better for the next one.

I thank you all in advance for reading this extremely long and over worded post. I hope you find some motivation or inspiration in this to do something that you have always wanted to.  Lastly I thank everyone for their constant support.  Without you I would Have never been able to complete such an amazing task.  I cannot even begin to list the people but you know exactly who you are.

Next up I have some exciting things that I can’t wait to tell you all about!

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself!

Demons….

Well post Broad Street run things have seemed to take a turn.  My posts are typically about how things went well or how I can at least take something away from them.  Everyone loves reading about people getting better and good news but this news is not good.  After my weekend away for golf I have not gotten in the training that I know I need to be hitting.  I have been making excuses and shying away from challenges.  The most frustrating part is, I have no idea why.

We all have demons, demons that we live with day to day that have come from various experiences.  As athletes we learn to deal with these challenges and face them head on.  For some of us, me included the training helps rid these demons from our lives.  For whatever reasons these demons have made a triumphed return.  They have affected my training and my mood lately.  I don’t train the way I used to and when I do, things seem to go on a downward spiral as the training progresses.

For me it is race week as of today.  In less than seven days I will be taking on my very first olympic distance triathlon in Cape May, NJ.  I have a buddy who always tells me “trust you training and just do what you know how to do.”  This is right but without the training I have nothing to trust and I am starting to get nervous about this race.  I know that I can finish the race, but I am not just a finisher.  I need to earn that medal.  I started this journey because for once I can be competitive in something and run with the “big dogs” so to speak.  I am just hoping that come race day I will be able to hang with the big dogs still.

As far as demons go, these race demons seem to come around for every race.  The doubt of can I do this? Will my body hold up? Do I really have what it takes?  I have goals in mind for myself, just as anyone else does.  For this race however I am not going into it with too many goals.  It is my first race at this distance, I need to see how things go on race day.  I know what I have done in training and I will repeat that on race day.  I have had some physical demons that I have been battling in racing and I am just hoping to work the kinks out and really use race week to chill out and get my mind right.

Mock race of .5mi swim, 15 mi bike 3.1 mi run

As for everything else in life, things are going very well.  Memorial Day weekend has just passed and things were awesome.  I had a great weekend with old friends and made some new ones.  This past weekend the weather was beautiful and I had more awesome times and there are sure to be some great times on the horizon.  Aside from being incredibly busy and not having much time to train for racing things are going spectacular.  I know that when I leave for the race on friday all of these things will be gone with the wind.  Has anyone else experienced things like this?  How do you combat these demons? Just know that you are not alone in this and everyone has demons that they must battle in some way, thats what makes this sport as amazing as it is.

Until next time, thank you as always for reading, sharing and commenting!

All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I do not post on here on a daily basis but you can follow my training and other posts here!

2014 Blue Cross Broad Street Run Race Recap

Good evening all, I hope this finds you well, I apologize in advance for the length of this so settle in!  Things have been super busy with training, working and everything in between.  Most recently I competed in the Blue Cross Broad Street run and I had some big goals for myself(we will get to that).  After the Marine Corps 17.75K run (recap here) I was very nervous going into this run for multiple reasons.  If you did not read the post from that race you should start there first.

Race week came and I was feeling good.  My long runs were good and I did some speed work in between so the running felt good and I felt good about my goals.  Friday rolled around and it was different that the Marine Corps race because I did not have to leave until Sunday.  My goal from that race to this race was to minimize stress.  Unfortunately that goal was killed when I never received my confirmation email that I was supposed to get in order to pick up my packet.  That being said I tried not to sweat it, I found my bib number and had my plan.  Saturday I woke up early and went to handle my shake out stuff.  The run felt good, cadence was where it needed to be and everything went well.  I jumped in the pool for a light swim and then went to work.  My shift felt like it was dragging, I just wanted to get in the car and go!  I finished my last lesson, showered and I was off.

Gotta do shake out selfie!

The drive went well and thank god I did not hit any traffic on the way there.  I got into Philly parked my car and headed for the hotel.  The best part about this race is that when I get there Saturday I park my car and do not have to move it again until Sunday when I leave to go home.  I checked in to the hotel and then it was off to find the convention center.  If you read last years post, you will remember that I am not good at navigating the city so I may have walked in a bit of a circle.  Either way, I found it, got my bib, stopped by the Delmo booth the see Steve and then it was back to the hotel.

Race gear ready to go.

One of the perks of doing this race was that the Phillies offered us BOGO tickets to Saturday nights game.  BOOM! What better way to relax that hit a Phillies game with My boy Jimbo!  So I showered, stuffed my face with pasta, yes I brought my own this time and jumped on the subway(yet another disaster in navigational skills). The game felt like it was dragging on and then we got hit with a HUGE storm and were in a rain delay.  At this point we made a decision to just leave because it was getting late and I had to be up early.  I headed back to my room, set my alarm and called it a night.

Night view from the room.

Sunday morning came fast, but I felt ready.  I woke up, grabbed my breakfast and coffee.  I knew I had to be on the train no later than 6:30 so I was out the door pretty quick.  I arrived at the start with no problems and so then began the waiting game.  I went through some stretching, sucked down one final Powerbar Blend and then got in position.  From this point on I had my headphones in and I was in the zone.  I knew what my goal times were and I was ready to go.

As the corral began to move up I felt the nerves start.  I crossed the start line, jumped to hit the banner and I was off.  The first few miles flew by and I was hitting all my times right on.  I was taking in water at each aid station and checking my watch periodically for cadence and time around each mile.  Somewhere between mile 6-7 something happened that has NEVER happened to me before.  I started to doubt myself.  I looked down at the watch, I was on pace, my cadence was where I wanted it, everything was fine, so what was the problem you ask? I knew I had 3+ miles that I needed to hold that pace for.  Could I continue to hold this? Did I go out too hard? Was I going to make it?  I told myself that I needed to make it to the next aid station and take my gel.  If I could fuel by mile 8 I knew I would see my mom at mile 9 and finish very strong.  I saw the water station so I ripped open my gel, that thing never tasted so good.  I sucked down two race cups of water and it was go time! From 8-9 I got my second wind.  Knowing mom was at mile 9 and would be screaming her lungs out carried me through big time.  I approached mile marker 9 and I did not see her so I kept trucking.  Just as I thought I had missed her I could hear her cow bell and screaming over the music.  I slapped her a high five so hard her hand is probably still red.  Just as with 17.75 the emotions flooded through my body.  These emotions were different though, this was an I AM GOING TO DO IT!! emotional rush.  I gave it everything I had.  I looked down and saw 9.5 miles and gave it everything I had left.  As I crossed the line I jumped up and hit the banner again.  I looked down at my watch to hit stop and look at the time 1:20!!!! ONE HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES!!! I did EXACTLY what I came to do.  My goal time was 1:20 to hold an average of 8:00/mile.  This was a PR for me and not just by a few minutes but it was an 18 minute PR.  Last year I went 1:38 and some change.  I can’t even begin to explain how I felt and how I still feel writing this.  All the hard work, all the dedication, all the workouts, earlier mornings and doubts all paid off in one moment.

I hung around the Navy yard for awhile and saw some amazing people who also did the race.  Unfortunately with over 40,000 runners I did not get to see all the people I wanted to see.  I can’t begin to thank everyone enough.  Mom carried me through that last mile and knowing she was there in such a key spot was killer.  Jimbo came down and had an awesome night with me at the game and really put my mind at ease.  He has been there since day one and been such a huge part of this I can’t thank him enough.  Thank you to Brandon for helping me dialing in my running form and cadence in order to reach this goal.  Thank you to all of my friends and family for the motivational texts and messages the morning of the race and during the race.  Lastly thank you to all of you, my readers and supports, so of whom I have never even met for supporting me in this goal.  Everyone has been amazing and I really can’t thank you enough.

Next up on the schedule is Escape the Cape Olympic distance triathlon in Cape May, New Jersey!  Until next time thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

All for now,
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I do not post on here on a daily basis but you can follow my training and other posts here!

Marine Corps 17.75K race recap

For those of you who know me or have been following for awhile you will know that when I have a plan in my head, it needs to be executed in that way and nothing else.  When things don’t go according to plan, well let’s just say that it doesn’t end so well(foreshadowing…..hmm read on).

That being said I participated in the Marine Corps 17.75k this past Saturday.  Upon completion of this event, you get guaranteed entry into the marathon in October.  Everything is centered around the year 1775 because that was the year in which the Marine Corps was founded.  I got in luckily(race sold out in 9 mins) and I selected this race because I got in through the lottery for Broad Street in May and I did not want to try my luck again for the marathon.  So it was prep time.  I did two long runs and some speed work prior to this weekend and went in feeling really good.

9:00 for 9 miles and I was thrilled!
Friday rolled around and it was go time.  I took a half day at school and I was gone.  It felt like the morning dragged on but finally lunch hit and it was time to do my shake out stuff and get on the road.  The race was down in Virginia and I had about a three hour car ride ahead of me.  So I went to the gym, got changed and went outside for my shake out run because it was beautiful.  
Garmin portion of the run.
Then it was back inside for a light 15 min swim and off I went.  I stopped and filled the car with gas, got some soft pretzels to start the carb loading and headed south.  I got to Maryland and just as I was about to get on I-95 south there was an accident, DETOUR…Ok no big deal.  I turned around and found a different route and before I knew it I was off.  I could take a breath and just settle in for a bit, or so I thought…..Somewhere around an hour in I hit traffic.  I thought hmmmm maybe it is just an accident. From there on I was in on and off traffic all the way down 95.  My eta on the GPS just kept going up and up and up.  My three hour ride turned into a six hour journey.  Yes you read that correct SIX HOURS in the car the day before a race.
I arrived at my hotel somewhere around 10pm and I just wanted to find some pasta and go to sleep.  My car ride didn’t go so well, why did I think that was ever going to happen.  All the local places that would have pasta were closed, so Pizza Hut it was…..I put in my order and they told me that I would have it by 11:15…..ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I had to be up at 4 so that I could get to the race site and pick up my packet, I was not about to wait that long to eat.  I got in my car and drove to McDonalds, got food and came back home(more on that decision later). 
After finishing my food I went to bed, I had to put this day and road trip behind me and go to sleep.  Luckily I had a gorgeous hotel room in a brand new and quite hotel so I could get some sleep.  When my alarm went off at 4am it was not the same feeling as any other race day.  Normally I am excited and ready to go, this morning felt a bit different though.  I felt like I was just going through the motions.  I gathered my stuff, mixed up my gel and water and went down to the car.  I knew I had to get on the road because I had a lot to handle yet.  
I arrived at the race site, grabbed my packet and put my bib on.  Unfortunately we were shuttled over to the start because there was no parking right there.  I have a weird superstition that you do not wear your race shirt until you have completed your race.  You get it and you put it in your bag, don’t try it on, don’t wear it to the race until you earn it.   It all stems from nothing new on race morning.  It is a new shirt and you have never run in it before so don’t run in it on race day.  Well I couldn’t take it back to my car because the shuttle wouldn’t have be back in time so I had to have it on me while I ran.  Luckily I could tuck it in the band of my shorts and not wear it.  
Now to the race.  We went through opening ceremonies, national anthem and all that good stuff.  Heard some very inspirational stories of people who were 70+ years old doing the race, some who lost 100+ pounds and who were looking to do the marathon etc.
Snapped this just before I set off.
Now to the run itself.  It was through a beautiful corse in the Prince William County Forest.  The first 2 miles were on a trail and then we turned off onto the road.  As we were approaching the first mile marker I could see the mile marker for the 10th mile at the bottom on a hill.  I thought hmm that’s strange.  As I went on I realized, we were going to climb that hill at the start of the last mile…..As I was running I felt good, didn’t look down at my watch and let it control my race, I was just running.  Things were a little congested through the first mile but then it opened up.  Somewhere around mile 4-5 I felt this pit in my stomach.  Not a pit like I needed to hit the next Porta John or find a tree but one that was saying “Hey dumby you didn’t carb up enough.”  That was when I knew McDonalds the night before had caught up to me.  It was a stupid choice, but it was out of my control.  Had my plan worked out and I made it to my hotel in three hours like I thought, I would have had a nice pasta dinner on my beautifully balcony and enjoyed the sunset.  But instead I watched the sunset from 95 and was forced to make the decision I did.  I hit mile 6 and decided to look at the garmin…I was going slightly slower than I wanted.  I tried to pick my pace up a bit but when I pushed I could feel my stomach saying no.  I sipped my perform and gel combo but it didn’t help much.  I was just trying to survive at this point.  I hit mile 10 and I knew that hill was just around the corner.  As I approached the hill I could hear a guy say to the girl he was running with, “don’t worry this is out last hill!” I was amazed at the number of people who were walking the hills.  I am not sure if it is because of my journey or what but I have always told myself that no matter how slow I run, I will NEVER walk during a race.  Today I did just that, no matter how slow I climbed those hills I did not walk one time and I am very happy about that.  As I conquered this hill I thought about what that guy said, I was done with the hills.  As I rounded the corner though and made it a little further I found myself facing another hill!!  I looked for the same guy as if to say “You son of a gun you lied to me!!” I may have even laughed out loud as I started to climb this hill.  After that I knew that I was in fact done with the hill.  Coming out of the forest I caught a guy and stayed next to him.  I told myself no matter what he was not going to beat me to the finish line.  Well he must have told himself the same thing because it was a foot race to the finish from there on out.
As I was coming down the finish shoot I got chills, this immediate swarm of emotions took over my body.  It was the same rush last year at Broad Street and Atlantic City.  It was a swarm of I did it, I am done, another race, I made it, I can’t believe this…..A million things all at once.  In an instant I thought of every person who made fun of me, every fat joke, and every person who has supported me along the way.  I had a time goal in my head and a placement goal in my head.  My time goal was 1:30, my placement goal was 10th or better for my age group.  Unfortunately neither were reached.  I crossed the finish line at 1:44 on the nose and ended up missing 10th place by 2 mins.  I took 11th, but more importantly I learned a lot from this race.  It’s funny because as I was talking with someone about this race they said “well all you need to do is finish” and yes they were right, the main reason I selected this race was for the entry to the marathon, but it is still a race and I still want to give it my best.  Maybe that is just my mentality.
Garmin report from the race.
Now let me side track for just a moment and comment on something that I was not so thrilled about.  Upon crossing the finish line I grabbed a bottle of water and looked for the voulnteers handing out medals.  I have grown to love race medals.  They are a sign of accomplishment, you get to wear it around after and it shows you did it!  I didn’t see anyone so i got in line to grab more water and some food.  As I went through the line I was still searching for my medal……nothing.  As I exited the tent I found some marines and this is what they were giving out
A chip……REALLY?! I was slightly annoyed and almost offended.  I wanted a medal, I just completed my race, I ran 11 miles, give me a damn medal!  Sorry rant over…..
I learned that sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you need to plan for the worst.  I learned that I need to train for hills a lot more than I did and most importantly I learned or reaffirmed that nutrition can be your best friend and your worst enemy all in the same day.  I will continue to work with my nutrition and practice my hills through workouts.  My next race is the 10 miler in Philadelphia and my time for 10 miles this past weekend way about 5 mins faster than last year there so I am excited to see what happens there.  As for now it is back to my normal training schedule for this season.  For a rather unplanned race I can’t be too upset about the out come.  Not to mention it’s 11 miles and a rather successful 11 miles if I can say so for myself.  I said to a friend last night “I have come a long way and things aren’t going to happen over night” this is very true and it is the one piece of advice I can offer to anyone on a similar journey.  Things take time, it doesn’t happen overnight and there will be setbacks or days where things just don’t go according to plan.  That is my take home message from this race.   
As for now it is another day of recovery and then back to training.  I was tight today but felt surprisingly well considering.  I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone for their support, the countless texts, comments and messages of motivation I received.  You guys rock and I really appreciate it!  Next Up is Broad Street!! Until then……
All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself!

I do not post on here on a daily basis but you can follow my training and other posts here!

Changes…

Changes…everyone goes through them. Sometimes they are wonderful, sometimes they are hard, sometimes they completely turn your life around. The one thing that all changes have in common is that they are inevitable. They will always be there and they will always come at some point or another. Some people experience changes that challenge their faith, some that challenge a relationship. Whatever your change is, it is your fight to fight, you can not compare it to someone else. Everyone has their own battle and it is YOUR battle, don’t compare it to something that someone else is going through.

Change can come at any point and time, it can show up with absolutely no warning and it can be triggered by just about anything. It can feel like your world is crashing down around you, it can feel like there is a giant rain cloud over your head and it just won’t budge! Usually we can’t pin point when this change starts or what sparked it, the events, the people or what have you (like I said, usually) but some times we can.  For me, at the beginning, it felt like I was in a hamster wheel.  I was going and going and going, but wasn’t getting anywhere.  At times I wish I could go back now and just tell the old me, hey keep going, there is a light!  The plateaus, the off weeks, injuries, hard days all consume your head.  Some times it seems like when you’re working so hard towards something, the only thing you can focus on is the bad.  Even if the good far out weighs the bad.

Today I look back at that person who I used to be, before the journey, before the fight, before the change and there are things that I miss.  Some parts of the fight have left me shy, timid or scared in certain situations, new situations.  It takes me time to warm-up in new situations now, whereas before I was always “warm.” I miss that person who could walk in to a room of strangers and be the center of attention thats for sure.  In the today, I would much rather hang on the outside and just watch.  Is it necessarily a bad thing? No, it is just a changes that is the result of the actions of others.  You live and you learn I guess.  I forget birthdays from time to time, I don’t necessarily love going to a packed bar on a saturday night and I would much rather eat pizza and drink a beer with some friends.  Some may think I have become a bad friend or a different friend and I don’t necessarily argue that point.

There are other times where I look at the new person in the mirror and I smile.  When you stand there and look at that person, it is like a canvas.  This canvas has been painted with a beautiful picture.  Just as an artist goes through blood, sweat and tears in order to make the most beautiful work they can, you too make sacrifice in order to have something beautiful as a result.  So when I look at my canvas, my painting in the mirror, I just can’t help but smile.  Whether it be in a new shirt, in a race picture, or just when I am brushing my teeth…I look as an artist admiring their own work.  As the artist, I must say although the work is not complete, I like the way it is coming along.

The only thing better than admiring your own work is when someone else sees it and they can admire it with you.  Most recently this happened to me while at work one morning.  I was in between clients and there was a woman who always has her daughters there.  I have become friendly with her because it feels like she is there nearly as much as I am.  So as I pulled my lunch container out (it is a 6 Pack Bag so EVERYONE comments on it) she said “you know I have been meaning to tell you, you are awesome.  I think that what you have done is awesome, your determination is admirable and you look absolutely amazing.  I have be wanting to tell you this but you are always busy when I am here!”  Man if that doesn’t make you feel good, I don’t know what will.  It feels great when you can look on and admire you own work, or see your results from change.  When someone else can see your work and admire it with you it is a great feeling.

From time to time it feels like this change is causing you so much pain or so much hardship.  It can seem super frustrating or like things are going to break.  Then there are times where change is beautiful.  All change can be helpful and wonderful, it depends on how you want to look at it.  It can be hard to see positives at times, believe me I know.  Surrounding yourself with people who build you up will help aid in changes and things like this, weeding out the bad ones will make it even easier.

As for my training there have been some changes there as well.  I have dialed things back significantly in order to get myself healthy again.  I dropped my yardage in the pool, dropped my running back and completely cut out lifting.  I realized that I wanted too many changes at once and my body was not ready.  Realizing when you are trying to force things is huge and everyone needs to do it.  I am just a few days over a month away from this season first race and it is hard to believe that things are right around the corner.  I am excited for whats to come and I thank you all for your support!

As for today, there is more snow on the ground, things are canceled and schools are closed, I am so far over winter and ready for this season to get on some CHANGE!! It is a rest day for me here and I plan to take full advantage of that!  Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time!

All for now.
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I Do not post on here on a daily basis but you can follow my trainer and other posts here!

Life is moving fast…

Life as you know it can change drastically, either for good or for bad, right in front of your eyes. If you blink or close your eyes for even a second, you could miss it or be completely off guard when you open your eyes. 

Today is August 27th…my birthday has come and gone right in front of my face. Things are speeding up by the month, day, even minute….
I have worked myself out of the rut I was in last week. I am not back to where I was but I am enjoying my workouts once again as opposed to dreading them. My turning point was last Friday. I worked a long week and a long day but I knew I needed to hit the weights because I skipped on Monday. It was hard and there were times where I wanted to quit but I forged on and felt 100 times better when I finished. Maybe I should just listen to my own advice every once and awhile huh?
Since then I’ve jumped in the pool and gone for a run, both of which felt great. My race is literally right around the corner and the anxiety is building by the day. I am excited, without a doubt and I can’t wait to feel as I did on the day of Broad Street. This race will be much different though. It will have its own challenges, just as the run in May. The transitions, the possibility of a windy bike and of course the dreaded open water swim. I have accepted these challenges though and I can’t wait to take them on!
Today I got to school early and there was no one in the gym. My school brings back dreaded memories of middle school, the warm up exercises we were forced to perform, etc. I looked around to survey the gym. I put my bag and cooler down and everything was quiet, I had a minute to myself to reflect and take it all in. I looked over and saw the pull-up bar. Something so small and so simple, yet something that has haunted me for years and years. As I glanced at the pull-up bar again all the memories of Presidential Fitness testing rushed into my immediate memory. The haunting fleeing of classmates laughing at me, the teacher shaking their head in disgust…everything. I glanced at the bar as I started in its direction. I stood under it, gazing up at it haunting me and I said to myself, not today. I jumped up and grabbed onto the bar. I closed my eyes and just hung for a second. Taking it all in and acknowledging the challenge that I was about to accept. I opened my eyes and pulled upward with all me might. Before I knew it, my eyes were level with the bar and then they gradually made their way above the bar….above the challenge. This may seem small, it may seem petty but to me it was so much more. I overcame something that had haunted me for years. In one moment, maybe 10 seconds at length, I summed up and entire year of hard work. It was such a small step and yet such a large one all in the same breath. 
Tonight I go to sleep conquering one  challenge and being prepared for the next. That of which will occur tomorrow when I take on an open water swim. I am anxious, but again, excited to take this on. This attitude is much different than that of before. In previous situations I would run and avoid these challenges at all costs, yet today I find myself taking them head on. This has taken months and months of hard work. It isn’t something that has happened overnight, however this time around, I want it and I will stop at nothing. 
As always I thank everyone for reading, for the continuous support and love that you give me. I wouldn’t be able to do this without any of it. I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend and did something that truly makes them happy. What’s life if you aren’t smiling?  Goodnight world and thank you. 
All for now.  
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself