Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review- FUELED By FIRE

I have  a passion for endurance sports because they have changed my life for the better and I believe this type of physical fitness can change the lives of others. This past year I continued my adventures in endurance sports.

During 2012,I ticked my way through numerous endurance events to include the Louisiana Marathon ( I ran the half ) , the Cowtown (10K), a Spartan race, three triathlons, two WOD for Warriors, a 25 year WOD, and numerous other races. But more important than my accomplishments were the people at these events with me.

I continued my work with Team RWB, and in the process met some amazing people in the running, crossfit, trail running, and triathlon communities. As a husband and father I am very proud that my family is supporting this great organization that focuses on enriching the lives of Veterans.

Team RWB-West Point (Top)
Team RWB Trail Running Camp (Bottom)


WOD for Warriors:July 4th at Crossfit Alexandria (Top)      
Memorial Day at Little Cakes, Alexandria, La (Bottom)

I also joined an amazing  team at the Center for the Advancement of LeaderDevelopment and Organizational Learning ( CALDOL) at West Point, NY. The team works hard so every learning event we execute is a HOMERUN and the impact is a Positive, Inspiring, and Energizing experience for everyone involved.  The team believes that leader development includes physical fitness and continuously explores  challenging approaches to physical fitness covering the full spectrum of endurance sports.


2012 was FUELED by FIRE and that  will carry on in 2013!!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Row Harder, Swim Faster and Hit the Peak

For the last month I have been sidelined with a couple of injuries. One requiring surgery and the other will possibly require surgery but that will be determined at a later date. I read this great article in the New York times about encouraging people toexercise by getting them to find an exercise program they like.  The article cites research by Daniel Kahneman from his book  “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. I am familiar with his research from my research project in graduate school.  In Chapter 35 he talks about his research findings that people remember the peak of an experience and the end of an experience.  The New York Times article applied this to exercise and encourage people to find an exercise that they liked and would remember the peak and end of the exercise.

Since I am currently dealing with injury  I could relate to this. I am 43 years old and have been CRUSHING IT in the Army for the past 25 years as an Infantryman and Armor officer. Other than being wounded in Iraq I have been pretty much injury free. One thing I loved about running is how I felt at the most intense part of the run and at the end of a run after pushing myself hard. Since I am not able to run at the current time or do my regular upper body workouts I have been looking for alternate forms of exercises that gave me the same feeling that running did. 

These injuries have led me to look for alternate forms of exercise that are non-impact but physically challenging, which is the purpose of this post.  There is always a way to exercise even if a person has physical limitations.

I have turned to swimming and rowing.  I have been a triathlete since 1997 so swimming has always been part of my workouts. Lately I have been swimming more frequently and I find that if I swim 1000 meters plus hard for time I achieve the "peak"  feeling I used to have during and after a good run.

 I decided to try our rowing on a Concept 2 as an alternate cardio workout to swimming and as an alternate way to do a strength workout. Rowing between 5000-7000 Meters at 25-26 strokes per minute (SPM) with a focus on the drive also gives me the same intense "peak" feeling I had during and at the end of  a challenging run.  Another rowing workout I enjoy is doing 7 X 1000 meter sprints on the Concept 2 rower with kettle bell swings in between each sprint.

One of the keys to staying physically active when you face physical limitations is finding a form of exercise that you enjoy.

If you are interested in rowing here check out the Concept 2 site for rowing techniques and workouts.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fighting to CRUSH Lou Gehrig's Disease

Last weekend I attended my Newton North High School class reunion.  One of my classmates, Michael Jaillet has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis  (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I talked to Mike that night and he was in good spirits. His good attitude inspired and ENEGRIZED me to take action to support him in his fight. That night I talked to a couple of my classmates and we decided that we wanted to do a fundraiser to support Mike.

Two days later on the way back to West Point I watched a Ted Talk by Julie Bernstein titled “4 Lessons in Creativity”. In the talk she shows a picture of a repaired piece of pottery stating "We can look at those cracks because they tell the story we all live of the cycle of creation and destruction....…picking up the pieces and making something new”. .

Watching this made me think of Mike.  I am sure the news devastated him when he learned he had been diagnosed with ALS. But instead of being defeated he demonstrated resilience, picked up the pieces and created the organization MJ’s Army. The primary mission of an army is to fight and defeat an enemy so in order to support MJ’s Army, my classmates and I are planning the MJ5K in the Newton, MA area this spring area to raise money for Mike’s organization.

I am FIRED UP and doing my part to CRUSH ALS!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Veterans and Trail/Ultra Runners Building Community on the Neuces River

I spent Veterans Day weekend at Camp Eagle along the Neuces River in Texas. Team Red, White, and Blue along with Liza Howard and her team, sponsored a trail running camp. Elites and volunteers from the trail running and ultra marathon community came together to teach, mentor and inspire veterans in the sport of trail running. Prior to this camp I had limited trail-running experience from when I was stationed at FT. Polk, Louisiana and the Spartan race I participated in. I started camp FIRED UP about learning something new, and left on Monday even MORE ENERGIZED than before.  It was an incredible experience.

A total of 80 Veterans/ Active Duty military members came to the camp. All had different experiences, some were wounded veterans/ wounded warriors, some were still on active duty, and some had been out of the service for a while.  Some were in outstanding physical shape, where others were just getting back into making physical fitness a part of the daily routine.

The camp was challenging. Each day there were 2- 3 hours of ability group running and 3 hours of classes. The group runs served to challenge us physically but also connected us with other veterans and members of the trail running community. 

 For one of the clinics my group got to run with Dave James and Katie DeSplinter, both who are ultra-marathoners. Dave recently broke the course record at the Javelina100.  Katie recently won the Ozark100.They both gave great advice to the group during the clinics on running on challenging terrain.

Joe Prusaitis who is a ultra-marathoner, operates Tejas, and a trail running coach, spoke about trail running being stress free and gave this advice “Run like a 10 year ol if you want to run stress free and run better.“

Another ultra-runner who I spent some time with was Matt Hart. He won the Tahoe 100 and also completed the Nolan 14. He completed it in 58 hours. Only a handful of people have completed the Nolan14 in which athletes run 14, 14,000 FT peaks in Colorado. Matt is a great person who shared his experiences and got veterans FIRED UP and inspired about physical fitness

I also got to hang out with Meghan Hicks who writes for I  I shared my story with her and not sure if it registered right away that I really do tick when I run. But after one of the runs she heard me ticking and she made the connection. It was a funny moment.

We were privileged to hear ultra-marathon legend Marshall Ulrich speak. He shared his experiences in overcoming adversity, which several veterans (including myself) could relate to. It was a powerful story and he shared how he turned to physical fitness to overcome and CRUSH the challenges life had thrown at him.

After each day was over veterans, volunteers, and members of the trail running/ ultra-marathon community had a chance to connect and buildrelationships. Sunday after the 5K obstacle course run there was a huge TEXAS sized BBQ which was a great time for all. Everyone was able to socialize and build on the relationships that had been formed the previous two days CRUSHING the trails at Camp Eagle.

The three days at Camp Eagle was an extremely positive experience for me and for the others that attended either as volunteers or as veterans. It was another great example of the POWER of TEAM and EXERCISE.