The people we know

This is my good buddy Sam. He is one of the hardest working human beings I have met in my entire life. As an immigrant from Cuba, in search of better opportunity, Sam has transformed his life and shown anyone who has come in contact with him what it's like to work for what you desire and truly be anything you want if you believe in yourself and just do it. He never forgets to be grateful for what and who he has around him, he stays positive and when it's time to make it happen, he just does it. Such an inspiration to me.

There were mornings, training for my first 50 mile run, I'd wake up and sit at the foot of my bed, with my elbows on my knees and my face in my hands. And in my own self-agony remember that at the dark winter hour of 5:30am, Sam had already been at the gym for a half hour… and it was in those moments of remembering my good buddy, my coworker, my new inspiration, working his ass off for all he wanted, I'd get up, layer up and get out the door.

It's been a blessing to get to know Sam and watch his journey unfold. Tomorrow he steps on stage in Vegas, representing the state of Colorado at USA's. I can't be more stoked for him. He is gonna get up there, strut his stuff and make us proud. No matter the outcome, Sam will remain a massive (pun intended 😉) role model to me in all he's faced, overcome and worked so hard for to get where he is.

A triathlete again.

I did it, friends! I drank a free beer today! Of course at the cost of finishing my first triathlon in Colorado and with that, my first in four years. I struggled through the swim, as always. That whole washing machine effect kills me. Gets the anxiety up and makes actual swimming a bit of a chore. I started at the very back of the pack, which helps with the anxious factor but not so much the catch up game. I got out of the water feeling strong and super excited to jump on my bike and give the wheels their first real good roll for their money.

Though I loved every second of today’s ride, getting off the bike and onto my feet is ALWAYS my favorite part of the tri, regardless of how great the ride was. I have a thing for running when I’m already beat up and man, I love running folks down who’d been kicking my tri shorts in all morning, otherwise…

Today was quite interesting on my feet, surely being my hardest effort since the calf injury, but man, reeling in whoever I could and cheering on the few who had it to sneak by… I was surely back in my glory.

Today’s finish line was SUCH a pleasure. I am looking SO extremely forward to building on this, re-learning some technique, training more and with that, harder… I have such a positive outlook after today’s go and am just so excited.

Boulder is a beautiful place to race, BBSC puts on a great event, Boulder Beer Co. is amazing for sharing their product and the only other thing that made today such a memorable valuable experience that it couldn’t have been without is, of course, the support of my wonderful girlfriend through this incredible journey and the presence of my new good friend and dare I say it, “training partner”, Luke…

Tri Boulder was a success. And gradual as this journey may be, I’m ecstatic to admit, I am a triathlete again. Here’s to another chapter in this ridiculous book I call, My Life.

 

Remembering the way

Four months ago, I finished my first 50 mile run. After a solid couple weeks of recovery I went for a run and tore my calf. It took a long three months before my leg was any kind of runnable again. In that time, I fell apart. I gained nearly 15 pounds. I stayed in more than I went out. I constantly felt sick to my stomach which ultimately, naturally lead to feeling sick to my mind. When I cannot run, I feel trapped. Claustrophobic. Like I’ve got no options. I was depressed to a level I hadn’t seen before. I went and saw a therapist to talk through some things. It was obvious, medication was a must. That’s when I bought my new bike – In 2012, I had suffered something like 6 or so months with a mangled shin and it was triathlon that kept me alive. Getting in the pool and on the bike, staying off me feet but still finding the means to put all of me into something so rewarding. Triathlon taught me what it was like to be so much more than I thought I could be. Taught me there more options than I ever realized. Triathlon taught me how to be more motivated and disciplined than I ever knew. It had me feeling sharp, inspired, ready to work hard, not just in training, but in life. I’ve never been the fastest out there. Nor have I ever intended to be. The only thing I’ve ever wanted out of training and racing is to know I am out there at any given time being the best I can. When I was at a loss, three months ago, I thought back to a time something else saved me, and it happened again. The swims and rides with good friends, ultimately leading to getting my running legs back and then getting to spend more miles with more good friends. The swim and the bike have made their way back into my life and hopefully this time, for good. Tomorrow I will step to the line of my first triathlon in three years, almost to the month. I promise you I will not be the fastest out there tomorrow and that is okay. The reward in being out there will come simply in just being out there doing the best I can. An extremely valuable reminder that sometimes it takes the lowest of lows to help you find your highest highs.IMG_3108.jpg

Failing at blogging: 743, Me: 0 — Back for another try.

There’s always a time of the year I feel slightly more creative and/or more inspired than the rest of the year. This is usually the time of the year I’ll get a blog or website or photo page of some sort back up and running. Well, it’s that time of the year again.

Lot’s of things are going on and I’m just feeling the itch to share. I’ve picked up triathlon again and well, to say the least, it’s been amazing to remember what it’s like to be so humbled by three such self-bettering, physical, mental and all around difficult disciplines. It’s reminding me what it’s like to HAVE to be sharp. Not just able to wake up, daily and sink into the muscle memory of the mundane life-as-we-know-it routine. Running has always been the moments of my life I’ve been the best me. Lately though,  specifically after finishing my first 50 miler, I’ve been realizing, for something that’s become so second nature to be the number one motivator in my life, I had become a little lost. Not bored, or tired of running, just not feeling very PUSHED in my life outside of running to be any better than just “THERE”…

So here it goes. Another shot at triathlon. Perhaps some duathlon. Let’s not forget keeping ultra running in the not so far off subconscious. A chance to document it all, if not for anyone else to follow, just as another way to put down on “paper” what it does to me this time. Because last time, I DO think it made me the best I’d ever seen myself.

Cheers!

Proudest moments, you ask?

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My journal asks me questions; I typically ignore them. Tonight’s question was, “What is your proudest moment?”

I couldn’t resist…

Being I don’t have a picture of me turning back a half mile into the race – gasping at the wall of my own teammates less than 20 meters behind me, knowing Kevin was only 100 ahead – I figured, this one works. A display of what the day’s… YEAR’S… HIGH SCHOOL CAREER’S worth of work had accomplished. Our (school’s) first ever Central New Jersey Group II Championship. We worked hard and performed.

I can think of at least 100 other moments in life I could consider a particularly ‘proud’ instance. But this one stands out. This one was lived with others that understood what kind of work it took the rest of us to get there.

Running has so many meanings to me.

This here, though a couple years into the journey, was still the beginning. To this day, a very big reason I still do it…

A very big reason I still love it.

Milestones on the trail

It’s been some time. Figured I was due for a longer winded check in. A social group I follow on Instagram called “Endurance Junkies” posted the thought provoker: “Who raced this weekend, or who had a great work out?! Post in the comments! Let’s hear it!” … Kinda gave me the moment, laying in bed to look back at this past week or more (that I’ve been telling everyone has been my biggest to date) and realize how big it actually was for me. My response in their comments were as follows:

Ran an 8 mile portion of Beaver Brook here in Golden on Saturday morning. Probably some of the most technical, no fault stuff I’ve been on in the immediate area. Great views, plenty of vertical gain, even took a nice spill to add to the story book. Was a great run with some great company; just what I’ve learned living in areas like this of Colorado is all about. This run capped off my biggest trail week to date since moving here in May. It looked something like: 8 days, 55 miles, 2 sunrises, 3 headlamp runs, 1 trip & fall, a collection of new photos, learning experiences that couldn’t be replaced, emotional moments only the trail could provide, my first in person coyote family sighting, and just shy of 10k ft of vertical gain. All while maintaining a 40+ hour work week and a happy, healthy relationship. This land is giving; there’s no place I’d rather be.

During this week, I learned other things like: I can actually listen to music while I run. It fuels me and fills my soul energy which, for me, translates to more energy return on the trail. I moved in a way like I haven’t before with some moving music in my ears. I’ve learned even further to define the difference between what I am doing now and “TRAINING” as I use to… Theoretically, is what I’m doing TRAINING? Of course it is, by definition: the acquisition of knowledgeskills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. But to me, what training use to consist of was repetition. Circles on a track. Watches and times and miniature goals that needed to be calculated and succeeded in order to obtain the believe a specific end goal can be met. Technically speaking, is that what I am doing now? sure, if you must see it that way. However, through my eyes, this life has become something else. These goals have new meaning. Being on the mountain and on the trail. Being part of the wild as it is has brought me to a newer level of understanding as to what training really actually is. While being out there my objective has become blending with my surroundings. Being part of what’s around me. Understanding that I am a guest in this outrageous land I’m only just beginning to understand. I’m learning that by becoming emotionally tied with the ground and the land, by connecting with the wildlife, plant life and all other forms that inhabit this place, metaphysical, spiritual or what have you, I can truly learn and feel what it takes to become part of it. To move through it as if I belong in it. It’s no longer about time or, or distance, it’s simply just about being. By learning to be there and opening myself up, heart, body and mind, I am gaining a connection that will take me down a long, long metaphorical trail in this life time. I am elated to be seeing this the way I’ve begun to and I can only imagine how much more it may end up teaching me throughout this long incredible journey.IMG_2075

Here we go again!

The adventures of Mikey Mo(ab) continue. Below is a photo of last night’s celebration with a Moab Brewery Johnny’s IPA and some chinese food. The registration is final. Mom and Dad made Christmas come early this year with the best gift they’ve ever gotten me. On February 14th, 2015, the journey will take me back to the technical, slick rock, sandy desert trails of Moab where I will run 34 miles in the Red Hot 55k.

I’m beside myself excited and can’t wait for the challenge. But now for the bigger challenge, braving these snowy winter trail conditions and sub normal temps here in Golden!!

Here goes another. CHEERS TO TRAILS!

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Ending a trend, Believing and Achieving

Take a second to stop, reflect and be sure you’re living the life you should be…

This morning I trampled up Chimney Gulch, a local trail which left me at 5 miles, over all, on this particular run with plenty of vertical gain and enough emotion to spin the earth. The sunrise was brilliant, the whether, cool and to be honest the only thing I could think of the entire trek was all of the people inmy life, if not directly, than not far off, going through pain, suffering and loss right now. 

It seems to be a current trend and it’s one I’m praying ends sooner than later. I’ll be honest, I don’t pray to a God, but when I’m on that mountain, I feel something stronger than anything I’ve ever felt before in my entire life. I get chills, tears, adrenaline. Endorphins, maybe, but the better option, in my head, is that it’s an answer. Some sort of a response, in a physical or emotional form, letting me know that for all those lost or in some form, distressed right now, there is in fact some type of higher power in the universe creating and using energy from those passing on for some kind of good. 

Out there? Perhaps. Overly spiritual? Maybe. But it feels good believing in something. And for those of you I know, slogging through all time lows at the moment, keep your heads up and don’t stop moving forward. My prayers and thoughts are with you all.

And as for me? A little over a month or so ago, I felt like my body was failing. Everything from my head into my toes was struck with more unexplainable pain than I could begin to describe. To be able to get out there, the way that I’ve been over the last few weeks, seeing and doing the things that I have, has filled me with more gratitude and hope than I knew I could feel before.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to do the things you love or to set forth on the journey to conquer your goals. Tomorrow may not be as gracious as today.

Today, at work…

… I helped a couple. Slightly, tightly strung. Two kids, one brand new, one a todd. The brand new one was adorable as all anything and the toddler, old enough to know technology and be interested enough not to care about anything else around him.

We finished up and mom looked at the older of the two and told him it was time to go. His eyes grew wide with fear, like most kids, when being told it’s time to leave my store… The toddler ran back to the table, gripped the iPad with his life, and began to whimper. Mom looked at dad, smirked and said to the boy,

“C’mon! It’s time to go ride your bike…”

The boy froze. His eyebrows jumped while his grip loosened. He dropped the iPad, turned his head toward his mother and yelled,

RIDE BIKE!

Before anyone within eye site of the near emotional breakdown could notice, the boy, darted for the door.

More importantly, he was darting for what was on the other side of the door. Outside. The sun. They sky. The road, the trail and the … yea… “great outdoors.”

I had an amazing day. Perhaps the best at work since I moved to Colorado. Which is saying a lot. This incident – this moment – was hands down one of the most incredible I’ve experienced. If these parents keep it up, this boy is going to grow up to love his life. He’s also going to grow up to appreciate knowing the difference between work, play and – life.

I love Colorado.

 

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