Escape the CapeĀ 

After three months of training you would think I would feel a little more confident than I did the night before the race. Although part of the extra anxiety came from the fact that I had a championship flag football game that was rescheduled to the night before the race at 8PM! 
The game was awesome, however we ended up being defeated in the end. The contest was so competitive that it came down to the final play. It was a great experience, however; as soon as it ended instead of engaging in the post game festivities I sprinted off the field and headed for Cape May NJ. By the time I went to bed and had a late carb meal my anxiety was almost overwhelming. I tossed and turned the short four hours until the alarm went off at 4:15AM. 
The morning was a blur, not having time to fully prepare my transition bag I raced around the house to get the last minute items (towel, old flip flops etc.). I met my friend at one of the side streets and she jumped in my moms car. My mom and my girlfriend pumped us up as they drove us up to the ferry terminal. 
We ran around setting up our transition areas which were very close together. In a last minute decision my friend decided she really should wear a wet suit the water was under 61 degrees. The problem was she had a surf wet suit that didn’t allow her much range of motion on her strokes. We walked down to the waters edge to see if possibly she could brace it out in just a bathing suit. HELL NO! That shit was colddd. On our way back to join the long line of athletes waiting to board the ferry, a small shop was being set up in the field where they would host the award ceremony. The gentleman said he was with Tri Everything and that he had wet suits for rent. Luckily he had her size in a men’s suit and it fit like a glove. 
Shortly after, in single file, athletes started to board the cape may Lewis ferry. Once aboard the national anthem was sung and last minute announcements made. Once on our easy from the terminal to where the ocean meets the bay, you could feel anxieties rising. The nerves seemed to sway with the waves as Meghan and I trekked up the stairs to the wheel house. We met Captain Dave my stepdad at the enterance and he let us into the restricted area. With a great view I started to relax, I was able to get a fresh cup of coffee and make last minute adjustments to my borrowed wet suit. 
The time in between the Olympic and sprint starts felt like a flash in time. I was extremely thirsty and kept chugging water. We met amazing people that gave us last minute tips. I finished a banana and peanut butter, drank two more cups of water and met Meghan back on the bow of the boat. We waited our turn. Suddenly we were standing at the edge, staring into gray waves. I had no time to even think, all I heard was three, I turned in the air to face where I thought the photographers’ boat was floating. 

Super happy with my “taking the leap” photo.


Once in the water panic set in. I wasn’t ready for my heart to race like that and I flailed around towards where I thought we were suppose to be swimming. I’d be lying if I said my heart rate slowed and I was able to get into a rhythm. The entire swim I was burping up peanut butter and water (never will I do that again before a race). Mentally I didn’t care if I threw up I just wanted to get out of the ocean. I knew the current was strongly pulling us out to the right of the jetty. I powered through setting my strokes to my left and sitting perfectly toward the green buoys. All of a sudden a surfer who was helping navigate the swimmers pulled up alongside of me and told me I don’t have to pass between the buoys, she told me to get to shore the current was too strong. šŸ˜«
I was pissed but just set my eyes on the shore and started to really swim hard. Finally my feet hit the sand and I started stripping my wet suit down. I ran the beach and onto the carpet they had placed over the asphalt. Seeing my girlfriend and my family on the shore gave me an added boost! I sprinted the long .10 to transition and started getting ready for the bike. My running shirt was giving me issues and my number ripped. I struggled at length during a long 7 minute first transition. 

Running down to the mount area I remember feeling in the moment. I just smiled mounted my bike and let the salt air hit my face. The 12 miles on the bike were grueling. I realized within the first three miles that this was my weakest event. I would have to really practice race cycling if I wanted to ever place in a tri. I pedaled along as competitor after competitor passed. Finally in the home stretch I felt pretty good about my chances in the run. 

Happy to finally dismount into transition I quickly grabbed water and headed to the run out sign. I immediately started making up time and passing people because my legs weren’t worn down from the bike. I was flying until we hit the beach part of the run. Not only was the sand rough but people were in single file line and going so slow. I made the decision to use the extra energy and go down to the harder sand and less trafficked area by the waters edge. Almost to the turn around I keep thinking to myself. On the opposite side I saw my friend we threw up a high five, I think we both needed that motivation. I realized I could make up some time on this run and she would only beat me by a little bit. So I stepped it up a notch. Then my back became stiff and my right lower back muscle cramped up. I was just praying to keep running and not have to walk. 

Struggling I looked at all the people that packed the side of bay Ave. They were on every corner, up on the decks of shore houses, and one guy even sprayed athletes with a hose if they wanted to escape the heat. I felt a sense of pride and even if my back was on fire I was going to finish this thing. I had trained so hard and long for this. I had recovered enough from my injury to even be running which was a miracle in itself. Down the home stretch I savored the feelings of pride and happiness. I knew right then that I was hooked. I saw my supportive loved ones right after I finished cheering and screaming. I was so overwhelmed I fell into their embraces tears of joy and happiness fell from my eyes. I had found my inner rekkr. 

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When September comes…

     No not the Green Day song. I officially signed up for my first trail run marathon since my injury. I did this on a whim yesterday after watching the Netflix documentary on the Barkley marathons. I reflected on my love for trail running and the overall freedom it had given me. Signed up for ultrasignups.com and started searching events. I wanted a local run and definitely for it to be on the east coast. 

  

So there I am a participant in the free to run trail races in Massachusetts. I have looked through the previous times clocked by the runners and I am confident I will finish top 25% percentile. That is my goal. 

As most of you know I have been off and on as far as a training plan. I really get a good couple weeks in and then something happens personally and I stop training. With a date glaring at me on the calendar I now have the ultimate motivator. 

I chose to start training yesterday and jump right into a running regiment to increase my pace times. My times are way slower than they have ever been mainly because I haven’t been lifting/running/training consistently. The biggest accomplishment for yesterday was I ran 6 miles and mentally fought through the urge to stop. I stretched a ridiculously amount yesterday and used a tennis ball to massage my calves/hips. 

My phone died so it didn’t track the last mile properly but I think the pace would have been around 11:30 per mile. I wanted to mix in some elevation too so I ran a hilly road. Overall my muscles are sore but nothing flared up as far as my injury.  

Today I will be doing light jog to loosen up my muscles, yoga, and possibly a hike if I get moving fast enough. 

Find your rekkr

50 long long minutesĀ 

As most of you know I haven’t been posting consistently, and which unfortunately means I haven’t been training consistently. I’ve made empty commitments and unfulfilled promises to myself to start and stick to with a slow steady program. This post is more for accountability then to beat down on myself. 

I find that the community on word press and instagram is so supportive and want to thank my followers for their kind words of encouragement and wise advise along this journey. I am proud to say that the first of many long runs was effectively completed this afternoon:


A solid run to get me back in the game! Now I have to admit I struggled through this one. My left hip has been so tight lately and it was flaring up on every step. My right ankle halfway through was sore and nagging me the whole way back. Overall though I felt like I could have gone further/faster and my lungs were totally fine. 

Also I wanted to report that the nifty piece of equipment in the photo above is my new iwatch and I am so pumped to try this sucker out in the pool! āŒšļø


I hope to find more scenic routes to run along in the coming weeks. I found a really fun looking cornfield but had second thoughts about running up and through it, ya know, with all this clown drama going on. 

Rekkrrunner out. 

ļ»æThe first cycling event


I am one of those people that need a legit set in stone event to get me motivated enough to prepare/train. I bought a beautiful black cannondale road bike and signed up for a 66.5 mile bike ride. I practiced inside and did two 20 mile bike rides in preparation, but I still really wasn’t comfortable on the bike. Before I knew it the morning of the ride arrived and I was feeling anxious. I strapped on my gloves, camelbak, and helmet headed down market street in Philly. 

I coasted into the crowd of 3,000 participants and immediately felt empowered by the first few bars of the Rocky soundtrack. I looked at my team which included my mom and dad (divorced, there together to support me, and not cyclists). Finally the crowd began moving forward and we pedaled over the first part of the Ben Franklin Bridge. At 6:30 the sun was already beaming down on us, I realized that the next 66 miles were going to be rough. 

My mom riding on a beach cruiser was flying past seasoned bikers. I struggled to stay in eyeshot, pounding my pedals downward. A helpful tenured cyclist road up along side of us as we all pedaled furiously on an incline. His bike seemed to be floating effortlessly up the hill, “shift down on the inclines, all you want to be doing is pedaling, don’t work your legs to hard on this,” he offered his wisdom. We all began shifting gears trying to figure out what he was talking about. The first 20 miles were extremely difficult, my dad was surrounded by med staff when he couldn’t get up a hill and my girlfriend fell injuring her elbow and knee. Dispite the exhaustion I was feeling in control of my bike for the first time. There was only one down hill where I lost control of the pedals and almost fell.

As we made a quick left into the halfway point rest area, I suddenly became aware of off hot I was. I became so nauseous I couldn’t even talk. Unsure of what to do I headed toward the food station, started picking at a half of a bagel and taking shelter from the sun under a tent. My legs were weak and I was beginning to doubt my ability to finish. Somewhere inside my mind I decided that I would beat this course and finish. The bagel helped, I jumped on my bike and started out again. 

40 miles to 58 we were all just going through the motions, trying to keep a decent pace because we knew we were really close to the cut off time. The second to last rest stop was where everything changed for me. My bike on its kick stand I walked over to refuel on watermelon and bananas, then as I looked back my bike was on the ground. This part of jersey had become so windy that the wind literally blew my bike over messing up the brakes and my tire. Racing over to the bike repair tent I begged the kid to fix my bike. He said he could fix the brakes and straighten the wheel enough for me to finish, he went to work quickly. “Wow your tires are low, I’m gonna pump them up, yo your gonna blow by everyone now,” the kid said as he was grabbing the pump. My mom laughed, she was having not trouble and acting as if she was cruising on the boardwalk. “Good I need her to be fast,” she said elbowing me jokingly. I thought the kid was nuts and that he must not have realized I had already biked 58 miles. I got on my bike and my entire world changed. I rode easily up an incline, smiling and in disbelief I rode ahead feeling weightless. So total ROOKIE mistake I had been riding the entire race without air in my tires! 

The rest of the ride was fairly easy for me, we made all the cutoff a and were able to finish the race at the AC Boardwalk together as Team Bingo! Completing my first event was amazing. I feel like I am on the road to recovery and that I may actually be able to do a triathlon. My leg and back were sore but not terrible pain the next morning (which was a miracle to me). 
Betty’s Bikers also known as Team Bingo participated in the American Cancer Society sponsored bike ride Bridge to Beach from Philadelphia PA to Atlantic City NJ 66.5 miles.

This race was dedicted in loving memory to Mom Mom Steel.

Quick updateĀ 

Triathlon training: SWIM DAY ONE 

30 minutes working on technique and form. Just trying to get the meters in tonight. 
I usually post after the workout but tonight is different. I wanted to document my nerves and my anxiety because today is my first day back in the pool in a few weeks and I’m feeling terrified! I keep telling myself just a light easy swim but my heart is pounding out of my chest, palms sweating, and my mind is telling me to go home and eat dinner and screw it. I keep rationalizing how much I love swimming and training… But I think everyone can agree there is a beginning period the first week or two where it takes every ounce of strength to convince your mind you want to drive to the pool and jump in. Once your in a routine you look forward to it and you can enjoy it, but dammit I’m not there yet because I got lazy. 

Well here goes nothing, I’m summoning my inner rekkršŸ˜‰

Steel

Field Guide to Ultra Running

Hal Koener captured my heart last night in this dandy little novel. Ultra-running will always be my first love, and Hal really gets into the nitty gritty of some need to know stuff. Endurance sports are all about mental capacity and some training of course. Reading this sparked that fire in me to get the hell into training mode and do something great. 

I love the part about goal setting. I am a huge believer in goal setting, mainly because I hold myself strictly accountable for those goals I actually lay out. And I am a severely loose cannon if I aimlessly go about my day or week. Once something is in my head it stays there, and Hal through all these tiny dreams that will eventually turn into solid ironed out goals. My first dream that is formulating is another trail marathon that would give me a goal and a long distance run which would set me up for my second dream a ultra run 50k and a 50 miler! Along with my diverse training I want to fit an iron man in there šŸ˜

Ok I know I go crazy with a little motivation, it turns into a wildfire of excitement and dreaming. So I set some training in place and I’m trying to rigourously stay with it as closely as possible.

Week One 

Day One -Monday morning 5am 

2.6 mile stationary bike

800 yard swim .40 mile 

  
My new cap from #lovethepain šŸ™‚ 

I’m lucky I had this on today, because otherwise I don’t think I would have made it. I just saying if I complete this swim I’ll take a sweet picture with my cap. Man, I literally thought for every breath. I still don’t know why my swim workout was so rough but I’m hoping next time in the pool I slide through 800 yards. 

Steel

Find your inner “rekkr”
What motivates you guys during those rough workouts? Those long miles? 

SidelinedĀ 

   
Sorry for the absence I had quite the traumatic week. This little nut decided he was a mountain climber and attemped to climb over the baby gate that blocks the bay windows in my house. I luckily was coming home early to let him out and go back to work when I walked in I was horrified. 

I knew something was really wrong because he was acting lethargic, that’s when I saw his bloody foot. At first I thought it must be a little cut, so I put on his harness and leash and headed out. That’s when his paw stared perfusly bleeding. I went in to panic mode I went into the living room where we keep him and there was blood everywhere. I grabbed a towel wrapped him up and rushed to the animal hospital. 

When the nurses looked at him, their faces said it all as the ran to get the doctor. She delivered the news that he had ripped his claw clean out I was devastated. My poor little guy had really done a number on himself. They bandaged him up and gave me some pain meds and antibiotics for him. 

Unfortunately I missed a couple days of training helping him heal. The one day I attempted to leave him his anxiety was almost at panic attack level. 

Today he is playing and running and happy. He still limps a little but he is much better spirits. His resilience makes me believe even stronger in the bodies ability to heal, even traumatic injuries. I plan to get back into my workout game very soon. 
Steel 
If you are skirmish don’t look below its where I found his little claw. If anyone has this gate in there house with a dog get rid of it!!!!

   
 

Over achieverĀ 

  
This is me and my buddy this morning. The last thing I wanted to do was leave the house and go to the gym. Like most days this little one tugs at my heart strings and makes it near impossible to leave the house. Once I procrastinated for a good two hours I grabbed a advobar and a slam shot and headed out. 

The weather was gorgeous. The sun for the first time in months reached my face, it’s warmth made my mind travel. My thoughts settled into a scene on a day that was similar to today. My feet were pounding the asphalt steadily, there was a crisp salty breeze, and I was happy. I was running. I made a quick right and the impact was soft as I hit the sand in stride. I loved running on the beach, it was by far an instant escape for me. Someone beeped a car horn and I jumped back to reality. 

I made my way to the gym feeling further away from that memory and more into that feeling of dread. I lifted a little and I began to feel better. I threw on my cap and sauntered out to the pool. The day wasn’t flowing like it normally did, all the lanes were occupied and for the first time since attended this gym I had to wait to get in. Maybe it was the previous blissful running memory, the weather, or the waiting but when i finally got the chance to jump in I was anxiously estatic. 

I had a number in my head 7 up and backs  (aka 50yds=one lap). That would put me at 350 yards and then I would do another 7 that would put me right at my goal 700. As I started I felt at ease, the breathing was natural, and I could feel that I was progressively able to hold my breath longer. As I approached the first turn I became disoriented. I kept pushing and got back in rhythm. The swimming became methodical as I was hyper focused on my form. 7 laps, 1o laps, 12 laps and I was gasping a little. A new number popped into my mind all of a sudden 20, 20 laps. I had a new drive and I was slicing through the water. The last lap was fast and when I reached the wall I was exhausted. My lungs were on fire and my body was shaking. I had swam 1,000 yards a goal I had set for next month. I had accomplished it early and the best part was I had kept decent form the entire swim. 

  
^ exhausted right after the swim. 

What was the last goal that you set and crushed? I couldn’t remember the last time I was able to do something like this šŸ˜ guess I found my inner rekkr today!

Rekkr

    

courage

noun
1.the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

I believe it’s possible to be courageous and still have fear. I think that fear defines courage, without it we may not be able to recognize this trait. Often times I’ve found myself holding back during workouts. It wasn’t because of difficulty of routine or my own ability but out of fear.

Tonight I stared fear down jumped in the pool and swam relentlessly. I had that lumming number (1760) in my mind as I was swimming. I had only swam consecutively for 50 yards and then I would break. I thought that if I was ever going to swim a mile 1760yards in a race I would need to seriously work on my endurance. After my first 200 yards I was gasping for air and falling out of form. I found some form of courage and pushed through feeling like I wouldn’t be able to breathe and just kept swimming šŸ˜‰šŸ 

I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! I swam 350 yards consecutively. It was certainly reassuring, made me feel like I would be actually able to race. I know it’s a long way off but this is huge progress. 

So far writing down my workout really is holding me accountable and I’ve done both both scheduled workouts so far. I did do legs today as well before swimming. 

Broken

  

Suffering through this injury has tested my will, my commitment, and my hope. I have been on this journey for three years and it seems I am still so far from where I want to be. Last night I biked a fast 2 miles and pushed myself in weight training. My body reacted negatively and I felt like I was broken. This morning I am rejuvenated not because I feel better but because I’m tapping into that underdog. That will to overcome, that hope to win, that commitment to myself to be better.

My legs are weak, my right arm has really started losing degrees for range of motion, my calves are like jello. I know I need to stretch more and foam roll more and incorporate yoga more. My hips are so tight, same with my IT band. 

Does anyone have any go to stretches, yoga videos, or stability drips for hips?