Friday, February 22, 2013

Fuego y Agua - Part Two (Final Chapter)

Post tree chop ;)
After chopping down the tree we were given a bag of coffee beans and told we needed to keep it dry, and that it had the third piece of the medal in it.  We were then led to what became the third aid station which primarily consisted of coconuts.  I drank the milk from two coconuts and scooped some of the meat out.  One of the volunteers refilled my camelbak with electrolyte drink and I wanted to take off back up the volcano.  It was now Jeff, Jason, Dennis and I and just before 5pm.  Out of nowhere Shannon came running towards us toward the final obstacle.  He was literally racing the clock and had been fortunate to come down the right trail.  As he flew towards the tree chop I put on my Camelbak and started back up the volcano.  Although Jason said he would hike with me  I wanted to get a head start because I knew I would be slow.  Hills are not my strength and I was actually really dreading the second ascent of the volcano.  In obstacle races the known is often a lot more difficult than the unknown, and knowing what I already did about the volcano did not fill me with confidence.  Within about a minute Jason had already caught up to me and we hiked up the hill chanting out the colors from the last memorization task: "Black - Green - Yellow, Purple - Red - Blue, Black - Green - Yellow, Purple - Red - Blue, Black - Green - Yellow, Purple - Red - Blue"
Shannon post tree chop
My hiking buddies Jason and Jeff loading up their bags.
It was easy to see that Jason was a much faster hiker than me and I urged him to go ahead.  We were both trying to make a time cutoff and I didn't want to hold him back.  Jason wanted to keep his word to my mom that he would stay with me but I begged him to go ahead.   Eventually Jeff came up the trail and passed me, and a little later Shannon.  I was just really slow. 
Not me but an example of the steep trail. Imagine this in the dark!
When the guys took breaks I was sometimes able to catch them for a minute or two but after about an hour was hiking alone.  It was now totally dark and although I had a good headlamp it was hard to see.  The trail was covered in rocks, vines, and squishy mud sink holes and to say it was slippery and steep would be a complete understatement. 
Finally about 8:30pm?? I came to the intersection I had seen when I had run up the volcano previously.  One way led to the top, and one way led down but this time there were no volunteers to point you in the right direction.  I thought I should take the route to the very top as previously I was directed to take the route I had just ascended but I really didn't know.  The goal was to get to the top of the volcano where we would swim across the lagoon in the middle of the volcano to retrieve an egg which we would then carry on our heads (without breaking it) back down the volcano.  We had been told at the coconut aid station that at the top of the volcano we would also find our final aid station.  
This is none of us but gives a good idea of "the trail"
The "trail leading to the top" was an interesting one as it seemed to take me down 30 or so feet, then send me back up, then send me down another 30 or so feet, then up over and over again.  It felt like I was making no progress towards the top and it felt like I was walking in circles.  Like previous sections of the trail, blue or orange ribbon markers were rarely seen. Finally after about 20 minutes on this roller coaster of a trail I saw two headlamps ahead and was so happy to find Jeff and Jason.  They had paused for a minute and were second guessing that we were on the right trail and I was so happy to be able to catch up.  We decided together that we were on the "right" trail and that there weren't really any other options.  At this point I believe it was at least 9pm and we had been ascending the volcano for 4 hours.  I think they thought it was earlier but I'm pretty sure it was getting late.  We continued on and eventually the trail began heading straight up hill.  At this point I could no longer keep up with the boys and I began to get tired, nervous, and frustrated.  I know they could hear the struggle in my voice and they yelled encouraging words for me and shined their lamps down at me but I just couldn't keep the pace and told them to go ahead.   They asked if I had water and I did and they yelled for me to take a left when I got to the top.  I yelled back for them to send someone after me when they got to the aid station and they said they would.  At this point in my game I wasn't really thinking straight about finishing within the time cutoffs anymore, I think I had been racing for 18 hours, exhaustion and fear were getting the best of me and I just wanted off the mountain. 
Again, not us but pics of the trail.  It was too dark to see us.
As I had been ascending the volcano the wind had been picking up and it had really turned into a true rain forest.  The wind was so loud that the only thing you could hear was the sound of tree branches cracking and I worried one would fall.  There was a thick fog and the rain drops grew larger and larger.  With my headlamp I could only see about 4 feet ahead of me and I actually began to get cold.  I had stayed soaking wet from the combination of swimming and sweat and I now began to understand why we had brought an emergency blanket.  This was a different world up here.  The volcano was pissed! 
I pulled out my emergency blanket and tied it around my shoulders and began to climb in the direction I had last seen the guys.  It was impossible to see anything and I really had no idea where I was going.  I feared taking a wrong step and falling into ? or slipping and sliding down.  I got more scared, colder, and more frustrated and wondered how long it would take for someone to find me if I just stayed put.  Afraid to move I leaned against the side of the hill, shivering, and whimpering.   I began yelling to see if anyone could hear me.  From below came a voice and I swore it was my echo.  I yelled "hello!!!???"  It yelled back "HELLLLLLLLLLOOOO"  I felt the mountain was playing tricks on me.  I finally yelled "This is Corinne, who is there" to test my echo theory and I was surprised to hear Dennis answer back "Where are you???"  "I'm up here!!!!"  I screamed and shined my headlamp down the slope.  I used my hand to make SOS flashes.  I yelled at him to shine his headlamp up at me.   For a few minutes I tried shining my light in all directions in hope we would find each other.  Nothing.  We could hear each other but not see a thing.  Frustration!
This picture was taken during the day but this is a good "jungle" pic.  Walking through this at night in the fog and rain was quite a challenge.
Eventually his voice faded, I continued to shiver, it continued to rain, and I knew I had to move.  I knew if I at least moved down the volcano, whether on a trail or not, I would get warmer.  The fog must have parted for a split second and to my right I saw what looked like a trail going horizontal across the slope. I followed it and within about 10 minutes saw a blue ribbon!   OK, this is good.  I figured this was the 100K trail down the mountain and it might not have been what I was supposed to be on but at least it would get me somewhere.  The "trail" was one of the roughest trails I have ever been on.  Branches leaned across the trail, the base was covered in mud, and there were many times where I had to scoot on my butt or crawl to get under fallen trees.  Surprisingly this section of the trail had more blue ribbons than I had seen on the entire rest of the race.  Every time I began to get worried I would see a blue ribbon.  Had it not been for the blue ribbons I would have never recognised this as a trail and would have never followed its twisting dangerous path down the volcano.  I would later find out this section was nicknamed "The Jungle Gym"!  At one point I found a whistle in the mud and began blowing furiously on it hoping someone would hear me but there was no one to hear. 
Eventually the air became less thick, the rain stopped, and I began to warm up with each step down the mountain.  I knew as long as I was warm and heading down I would be OK.  I hadn't seen the guys for hours now and I continued down the trail alone blowing my whistle every few minutes just in case.  On the steep sections my legs were like Jello and I sat on my feet and slid, grabbing vines to slow me down.  At this point I was tired but my spirits were good.  I was warm again, I was descending from the volcano and I was following blue ribbons.  I had never found the aid station at the top of the mountain, never seen into the volcano where the egg swim obstacle would have been and because of these things as well as the approaching midnight hour the competitive part of my race was completely over. 

At this point I kinda lost track of time and I can't remember exact details but I'm guessing sometime after midnight I saw lights!  House lights!  I felt saved!  I knew my mother must be worrying about me but at this point I knew I would be 100% OK.  I could get to one of the houses and ask for help.  I continued down the trail and it cooperated with me becoming less and less steep and then I saw more lights!  Head lights!  I yelled "Hello,  Its Corinne"  and I heard a familiar voice!  Adam yelled back at me.  Adam and Bryce (sorry if I messed up your name my mind was fuzzy) had headed up the trail to look for me!  I was so happy and jumped at both of them giving them huge hugs and thanking them for coming to get me!   This was now the second time Adam had come to my rescue and to him I will be forever thankful.  He first helped me at World's Toughest Mudder 2011 after my wetsuit had frozen into a solid pancake and now he had completed the race himself and hiked back up to get me.
Adam - the most selfliss, caring person I have ever met.
Completed his 70K of the race, drank Tona's and had the energy
to do at least another 10K between looking for me and coming
back down :)
I had been "found" and the word was radio'd in.  I told them to let my mom know I was OK and that she didn't have to wait, I imagined she too must be exhausted.  Dennis was still missing and I was the last person who had heard from him so I tried as best I could to describe where that had been.  Bryce continued up the mountain to look for Dennis and Adam and I headed down.  
Although I had seen the lights and met with Adam and Bryce the race "end" was still so much farther away than I had imagined.  Adam assured me that it was close but I think he was just being nice.  We hiked for at least another hour and a half down hill until we finally came to a road where we met up with a guide (sorry my mind isn't working), waited about 15 minutes and were picked up and taken to "monkey island". 
There I saw my mom for the first time in about 23 hours!  She was so happy to see me and I was so happy to be done.  I re-united with Shannon and Jason, sat my butt down, and drank a cold coca cola.  The search for Dennis was still on and rumors came in that he may have turned around and headed down the mountain after I saw him, and eventually he was found at a cafe.

By the time my mom and I got back to the hotel it was 5:15am and we were pooped but I was happy.  The next morning came too quick with an 8am knock on the door followed by a 9am ferry ride.  Walking out of the hotel I was so tired I couldn't even speak and when I tried only tears came.  They were not tears of fear or embarrassment or shame this time though.  They were happy tired tears. 
Finishers Pak and Johnson
Only two people finished the race in the 20 hour cutoff and I wasn't one of them.  I eventually learned that there was not an aid station at the top of the volcano and that the volunteers who had been up there were told no one else was coming and had left much before I got there.  In the night I had been searching for a top that wasn't there, for a lagoon I couldn't see, for a mystery egg obstacle and for aid that had shut down hours before.  In the end it was frustrating but really didn't matter.  Although I only received three pieces of my medal which spelled out "I - DID - FAIL" I do not feel I failed.  I was on my feet for nearly 24 hours.  I had moments of meltdown but never gave up.  Counting all my "lost" mileage I probably had covered 50 miles and ascended and descended the volcano twice.  In the end my only injuries were scrapes and bruises.  I had carried a chicken, chopped down a tree, swam across the lake.  I was proud of what I had done.
  "I - DID - NOT -FAIL"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fuego Y Agua....Part 1

The Fuego Y Agua "Survival Race" is the hardest, most dangerous, most unforgettable race I have done to date.  This race is hard to write about because some of the moments were so unreal I feel I don't have adequate words to describe them.  The thing is I can't stop reliving the moments in my head, I have to get it out, and people want to know the stories.  I know every athlete out there had a different experience.  Some got lost a lot, some got lost a little, some never gave up, some pushed their bodies to exhaustion, many were pulled and missed cut offs, most did not finish, only 2 did.  This is how the race went for me. 

Our hotel was pretty lovely :) 

My alarm went off at 3am and almost immediately the race day adrenaline started.  I dressed, assembled my camelback, pinned on my number, ate a couple plantains and headed to the starting line.  I stood and talked to others as the pre race jitters and excitement grew.  We took pictures, looking so clean and unbroken, with no idea of what would come.  The survival runners were called to the start before the other runners and we were given a puzzle to memorize.  We had to memorize the colors of the blocks (not the name of the color that was written) in order to get aid at the next aid station. 

Once each of us had a chance to look at the puzzle we were told to get in line to get a chicken.  What???? A chicken!!  My mind started working and I pulled out two of my buffs and used them to wrap my chicken in.  I have actually never carried a chicken before but thought if you kept them covered they seemed to stay calmer (and at least that way she couldn't peck at me).  38 of us lined up at the start, chickens in hand, and we were off.  Off on a dark road which led to a dusty trail and seemed to wind through the backyards of some houses.  I held my little chicken like a football and seemed to be making good time.  The chicken was hot and we both seemed to be sweating. 

After about 4 miles we came to some police standing near a truck which I thought must be the first aid station....Nope!  The police took my chicken and handcuffed me with zip tie handcuffs then sent me off for another 4ish miles.  Running with the handcuffs was not extremely difficult but was a tiny bit impractical and scary.  I couldn't grab any of my food or items in my bag, and I dreaded the possibility of tripping on one of the many rocks on the trail. 

It was now near 6am and the sun was coming up.  I ran down a trail and came to the "third obstacle" and saw some of the other racers for the first time since the start.  They stood next to a gigantic pile of sticks and each was assembling their own pile.  My handcuffs were clipped and I was told to make a 40lb pile of sticks.  Some of the sticks were very light and it took me 3 attempts to get my weight to 40.  My first pile was 15 (so off!!), next pile was 24, and my final weight was 40.9lbs.  I'm guessing my pile consisted of about 15-20 sticks that I had each tied individually then wrapped the entire pile with my paracord.  I tied the knots very securely and took great care to make a tight bundle.  I then took my thicker piece of cord and threaded it through the paracord wrap, leaving two ends out which acted as backpack straps.  I leaned back on my pile, strapped it to my back and started down the trail. 
This is Johson - The eventual winner of the Fuego y Agua race carrying his pile of logs. 

I hiked with my pile of sticks for at least an hour and what I later found out was 5 miles.  The trail wound through a creek bed and dirt road, through banana farms, and peoples backyards.  I tucked my buff's under each "backpack strap" for some extra padding and found a child's sweater on the side of the road that I jammed between my back and the pile.  Despite these "comforts", this was no easy task.  Pieces of the pile dug into my kidneys, shoulders, and back.  The sun blazed.  Each mile seemed like the longest mile ever until I came to a familiar site - the oasis!

Morgan has a flawless climb up the tree!
I rounded a turn and came to the oasis that just yesterday my mother, Leslie, and her mother had swam at.  I had seen something suspicious in the trees when we were there previously but I didn't know what it was.  Leslie said... "your going to like this one... its right up your ally!"  A tree climb!  I was excited!  As I refilled my water and ate a few snacks I heard people cheer as Morgan McKay made it up the tree and then Pak.  I walked down and there was the same things I had seen the day before.  About 30 feet up were green bands wrapped around a piece of wood and dangling from the trees.  I was told we had to climb up the tree and grab a green band which was a bracelet.  I thought I could do this but to be honest had never climbed up a coconut tree before and this wasn't just a simple climb.  The trees did not lean over the beautiful crystal clear water of the oasis, or over soft brush... instead they leaned over a concrete slab with two wooden spiked posts and many wooden chairs.  A fall would mean at best a broken bone, if you landed wrong you could snap your back, impale yourself on the posts, crack your head... any number of these things WOULD have happened if someone fell.  For my climber friends who know me they know I am extremely afraid of climbing without spotters/ropes/and crash pads and have never solo'd this high in my life.  I was scared but had a plan.  I knew I had to move fast as Morgan had just completed the climb and we were girls 1 and 2.  I grabbed my 1/2 inch cord and made a semi prusic hitch around one of the trees.  I tried to use it to inch my way but but it was so hard, and I literally just inched my way up.  I had no grip on my feet and everything was so slippery.  I might have made it about 6 feet up when I knew it wasn't going to happen and I slid down.  My feet and inner thighs were now bleeding and chaffed.  The frustration began!  The volunteer recommended I try a different tree with a branch about 15 feet up so I did.  Again, sheer terror and frustration.  I did make it up to the branch but was so exhausted and terrified when I grabbed it I couldn't pull myself up.  I started hyperventilating and totally freaking out.  All I could see was the concrete below me and I was so scared.  I slid down the tree and had worked myself into tears.  Tears of pain, frustration, fear, embarrassment, shame.  More and more people came to the obstacle and the clock ticked.  I lost any lead or advantage I had had.  Many people climbed up the tree successfully and I became more and more frustrated why I couldn't.  Dan asked me if this was going to end my race.  "No!" I whimpered.  I apologize for anyone who saw me this way, for anyone I was rude to or yelled at, for not being able to pull it together at this moment but I was BROKEN.  Finally someone climbed a "different" tree that did not have any bracelets on it but was near enough to reach the bracelets.  This tree was half the diameter of the other trees and leaned backwards and I knew I could climb it.  I composed myself and climbed up the tree with relative ease.  Finally!  after a one hour panic and complete meltdown I had my confidence back.  I grabbed my bag and raced down a mile or two till the next obstacle.

Adam (HERO!!!) carries his log down the beach

Our next obstacle was a log carry.  Three of us reached the logs together and the volunteer picked out which logs we would carry.  The carry was on the beach and we were given the option to carry, roll, or float the log in the water until the next check point.  I had a 4 foot by 1 foot log and chose to carry it on my shoulders.  This seemed to be a good strategy and I made quick time down the beach. (2 miles?)
I dumped the log and was told to start digging under a blue flag.  I was looking for a bucket that was supposedly 5 feet down and had a medal in it to grab.  I dug for what seemed like 20 minutes and was never ending.  With each scoop of sand I pulled out of my hole the wind blew in what seemed like tons more.  The sides of my hole started collapsing and It was frustrating and physically difficult.  I flung sand everywhere and used my long saw/knife to poke down and find the bucket.  Finally the white edge was revealed and I reached in and grabbed my medal.  I covered the bucket back up and looked up for my next task, accidentally leaving my knife in the sand in the excitement.
Survival runners Morgan and Dennis Dig for their buckets

The next task was a swim/walk along the island carrying a white sack full of plastic bottles.  The sack wasn't heavy and did float so was relatively helpful.  The final destination for this portion was about 1.5 miles away.  The lake was very rough and the wind was making waves and white caps. I am not a great swimmer so I decided to walk along the rocky shore.  The rocky shore was slippery and I bashed my knees and shins many times.  At a few points the brush got too thick to walk on the shore and I headed out to the water.  The water was murky and hidden below were large volcanic rocks.  The waves tumbled me against the rocks, bashing my knees more and throwing off my prescription glasses.  The water was refreshing but exhausting and treacherous.  I feared the rumored fresh water bull sharks seeking out my bloody knees and visions of "jaws" ran through my mind.  This part of the race was very isolated.  I could no longer see any other competitors or volunteers.  There were no boats watching for safety, no one watching at all.  Finally I reached the dock point and climbed out.  I believe I ran about a half a mile until where I came across the second aid station.  I could barely remember the colors I had seen hours before and almost didn't choose the right combo.  Thank goodness I did as I was able to enjoy watermelon, pretzels and refill my water.  A nice Nicaraguan woman rubbed some lotion on my battered legs and the next part was explained to me.  I was told we were going to start the first ascent of the volcano and that I would need to be careful and not "bonk" so I ate a salt tab.  Oh, and before I left I had to take a bamboo pole up the mountain with me.  Great I thought!  A walking pole will really be helpful.  NOT exactly a walking pole.  I was led to the pile of poles and chose one of the smaller diameter ones - probably 4 inches diameter, 20 feet long, and at least 35lbs.  Well then....I'll just hike my pole up a few miles of the volcano.  No problem...except that the front kept bumping into rocks, getting stuck in branches, the back was dragging on the ground, and my shoulders were now pretty raw and sore from the logs and sticks I had carried earlier. 

I carried my pole up the mountain for about 30-45 minutes until I came to one of the largest groups of spectators I had seen all day.  Someone yelled at me "Your mom is up there"  and I was so happy.  She had trekked to Nicaragua to see me do this crazy thing and I hadn't been fast enough to catch up to her tour group yet.  She came down the mountain with her trekking poles and her "Barbwire 4 Breakfast" shirt and gave me a big hug!  It was instant energy!  I was so happy and amazed she had trekked miles up the trail just to see me.  I was then told to use my bamboo pole to climb into a rather large tree and retrieve a bracelet.  Jeff and Jason helped hold my pole steady and I easily got to the bracelet!  It felt so good to finally show what my climbing skills were!  I wasn't done with my pole yet though and lugged it another 1/8th mile up the mountain to the next tree obstacle.  This one was more difficult.  Here I would have to lean the pole up into a tree, climb up, get a bracelet, then pull the pole up with me and balance it across to another tree about 8 feet away, climb across the pole and get a second bracelet.  It took me a few tries to get my pole up the first tree but after that this was relatively easy for me.  The descent was the hardest part and sliding down the tree further chaffed my inner legs but I had completed two obstacles with relative ease and was done with my bamboo pole. 

With good spirits from seeing my mom and completing the obstacles I continued the trek up the mountain.  It was long, and grew steeper and more slippery with each step.  About 1 hour in I ran out of water and began to worry.  I began asking anyone I saw for water.  One local gave me a half an orange which I very graciously accepted and a couple tourists gave me about a liter of water.  An hour later I was still hiking and out of water again. 
This climb was insane and never ending.  It was the Vermont beast on steroids.   Finally I came to an intersection of sorts between the 100K race course and the survival run and I was told to head down the hill!  There was no water or aid at this check point and I had now been hiking uphill for at least 3 hours (alone) but I was still happy to be heading downhill.  The downhill was just as slippery as the uphill and I grabbed branches, sticks and rocks and I tried to make up some time.  I moved relatively fast but the downhill took a different route than the one I had came up and seemed to take forever.  The clock was ticking and the 5pm hour was drawing closer.  I knew I had to make it off the mountain and find the next obstacle before 5pm in order to continue with my race.  I saw Johnson and Pak heading up the mountain and Pak told me I was about 2 miles from the bottom.  I soon caught up to Jason and Jeff and we continued to head down together.  Pak had told me our next obstacle (and the last before the cutoff) would be to cut down a tree.  I cringed at the fact that I had left my saw at the sand dig!  Ugggghhh!  Jason and Jeff and I continued on for what seemed much much longer than 2 miles and we came to a village.  At this point we had not seen any other runners come up the way we had come down but we knew there were about 8 more unaccounted for.  I assumed that the tree chop was so difficult that they were all stuck there cutting down trees with pocket knives and I made a plan.  Since I had lost my saw I would buy a knife.  Jeff and Jason ran ahead and I stopped in someones backyard and explained to them in my not perfect Spanish that I needed to buy their large kitchen knife to cut down a tree.  I offered them 200 cordobas which is about the equivalent of $8.  I heard them talking that it would cost them 80 cordobas to buy a new one but they didn't want to sell it to me.  They understood my Spanish perfectly but must have NOT known about the survival run and the obstacles and thought this pale white chick was totally insane!  I begged, begged, begged them to sell if for at least 10 minutes and finally at 300 cordobas a deal was made!  I told them I would return the knife because I assumed the trial came back that way as we had seen Pak and Johnson an hour or so up.  I was so stoked on my purchase and ran down the street after Jason and Jeff with my shiny long knife in my hands. I must have looked like a total maniac as now Jeff and Jason were way ahead of me and I ran alone.  I hit a road and saw them up ahead but the clock now said 4:30 and we had been running for at least 5 miles since we had seen Pak. We began asking anyone we saw where the people were cutting down trees and which way to turn.  The hot afternoon sun burnt us as we were all out of water and we began to get really frustrated and worried that we couldn't make the time cut off.  I ran into Dennis who was also lost and we started walking with 3 tourists who had seen other racers cutting down trees and they led me in the right path.  Jeff and Jason were too far ahead to yell for them but they soon caught up.  At about 4:45 I came to the last obstacle - the tree chop.  I walked proud with the knife I had bought only to be told that we could use an ax!  People weren't stuck cutting down trees with pocket knives as I had thought.  Jason, Jeff, and I were just so off trail that we didn't see anyone going the right way.  Morgan appeared from the trail just as I got there and although she had had a good lead on me she had gotten lost too and we were now there together at the last cut off at the same time!   During the race she had set a blistering pace and I had tried hard to catch up to her after my epic fail on the tree climb.  With this twist of fate, I caught her... but only for a minute.

I was led to a tree with a blue ribbon tied around it and started hacking away at it.  I had never cut down a tree before so my strategy was horrible but the volunteer directed me to make diagonal chops to the trunk.  I was totally exhausted.  My mom and Leslie's Mom Mary were there watching and I wanted to make them proud. I chopped with all my might, taking many breaks in between.  At about 8 minutes before the 5pm cutuff my tree fell and I held up the ax in the air with so much pride!  I had made the cutoff and would be going back up the volcano.........

Exaustion as the clock ticked towards 5pm

Jason and I after we had cut our trees and just slid in before 5pm.

Using my knife I bought to cut open a coconut after we made the cutoff.
I had now been racing for 13 hours but hat happened next was where the true "Survial" part of the run began.....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I’m not the machine I thought I was…

I’m not the machine I thought I was…

Machine, beast, animal. Whatever it is you call someone who trains incredibly hard, someone who won’t give up, someone who seems invincible, this is what I thought I was.
I was a machine. People called me an animal, a beast, and a machine, and I actually began to believe I was unstoppable. I thought I could go and go, I thought I could push my training harder. I thought a few more burpees and pull ups before bed at 1 AM was fine. I believed just one more challenge from yet another Face Book group would not be a problem.

I’d already been blessed with high energy and a brain that could not stop.  Add a little adrenaline and increase the endorphins and you get someone who does not and will not stop.

Friends said, “Slow down, take time to rest.”  Strangers asked, "Do you ever take a break?”  Family suggested, “You might be overdoing it.”  Me? NO!  I was a machine. Machines don’t need to rest. Just add a little fuel and a little oil here and there and machines keep going.

I fueled with veggies, proteins, and coconut water. I oiled with glucosamine, fish oils, vitamins, and six hours of sleep per night. I stretched before and after workouts. I received massage therapy and did yoga.

Besides, what is rest? What is a break?  I interpret rest as what you do in between interval sprints and a break what you do when you’ve hit your maximum number of repetitions with the kettle bell. I tried taking a few days off of not getting the heart rate up there, in return I got cranky, irritable, and restless.

I did not have a coach or a trainer.  I was just going by what felt good to me.” Listen to your body,” people would say. I did, mine said, “Go harder, get stronger, you are a machine.”

And then something went haywire, my machine of a body broke, something popped where it shouldn’t have.  I had a funky twinge in my right knee, it wasn’t painful but extremely uncomfortable. I shook my leg a little, tried walking it out, and decided to work it out on the bike. After 30 minutes of hard riding I thought it felt great…until I got my land legs again. Holy @#$%!!! That knee hurt, and not the good hurt you get from a killer workout.  

How do you fix the human machine? Ice, right? Elevation and compression too, and even a few ibuprofen tablets. By 7:00 PM I would be fine for my track workout of sprints and lunges.  However, by 7:00 PM this machine was agonizing in pain and had the knee propped up on pillows with bags of frozen peas around it. I had taken in the maximum amount of ibuprofen for the day, too .

Two weeks later, this machine is still not fixed, it is still not functioning the way it should. Although I’m not sure exactly what part is broken, and not sure who the right mechanic might be to fix the problem, I do know I am most certainly not the machine I thought I was.  I am now forced to sit on the sidelines, forced to take an unwanted break. I can tell you being forced is not the way to go, I now wish I would have chosen when to rest and recover. The week before the start of a competitive season is not the right time to find out you are not a machine.






Thursday, February 7, 2013

Barb Wire 4 Breakfast Merchandise Now 4 Sale

Barb Wire 4 Breakfast Merchandise Now 4 Sale

Tee shirts ($15) and Stickers ($1) are now for sale. We will have them with us in Phoenix for the AZ Reebok Spartan Sprint and in Miami for the Reebok Spartan Super for starters. You can get your way cool shirt/sticker from Ang, Corinne, or myself at the race in AZ this Saturday/Sunday. I will be in Miami as well.  We can also ship orders, if you’d like to order shirts/stickers please message one of us. Our site will soon reflect a friendly ordering system.

Ang, Corinne and I appreciate all of the support and encouragement we’ve been given from all of you; our awesome fans, friends, and family. We love each and every one of you!  We look forward to bringing you many more epic barb wire items as well as continue with our blogs and stories.

Hope to see you this weekend or at a race very soon.


EXCITING NEWS - T-Shirts and stickers!!!!

We have very exciting news!  We have beautiful "Barbwire 4 Breakfast" Tees and stickers to debut at the Arizona Reebok Spartan Sprint this weekend.  Come talk to Andi, Ang or I and pick yours up !!