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Real Talk with Salty Anchor Fitness

Other than being a running fanatic, I am the owner/operator of Salty Anchor Fitness… my personal training business.  In this line of work I see all sorts of highs and lows.  Everything from tears of sadness to the look of a child on Christmas morning.  I’m not gonna lie, it is rough watching people get upset with themselves.  Life isn’t easy folks…. process that and deal with it.  If goals weren’t difficult to obtain, it wouldn’t be worth it! So deal with it.  So perhaps I will start by telling you this…. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

If you can get that through your head, things won’t be as tough.  Take that lousy self-doubt and fucking throw it away.  It isn’t needed.  On top of that…. Be willing to put in the work!!  There are no quick fixes.  Even surgeries aren’t quick fixes, yet people are all about hopping on that band wagon.  So what is the secret?!  Just fucking believe in yourself!!  End the excuses and take control of your life through hard work and dedication.  People with no arms and legs do obstacle course races, and you are gonna bitch to me about push ups?!

Do yourself another favor…. Take the word “CAN’T” and replace it with “TRY”… Take the word “QUIT” and replace it with “CONQUER“.  The only person holding you back from your goals and dreams is you.  So take a positive approach.

Be the bigger person too.  Quit hating on people because they can do things you can’t.  Work on you, fuck everyone else.  There are many different body types.  I was never meant to be ginormous like power lifters.  Do I cry about it? Hell no.  I am strong, functionally fit… and love me some running.  Play to your strengths.  Everyone has different skill set to bring to the table.  Your skill set might inspire others, so work on you and be humble about it.

Also…. eating right is a pain sometimes.  That is a fact.  No one is perfect.  Find the nutrition plan that is right for you and do your best to stick with it.  Again, nothing happens overnight.  You must be vigilant in your endeavors.  Weight loss, if that is your goal, should be slow and steady.  Don’t be that douche that wants to drop 45 lbs in two weeks.  That is insane! The only way you are dropping that much weight that fast is to quit eating all together and go on a diet consisting of only water and cocaine!  Doesn’t sound too healthy does it?!  So be proud of your progress, even if it is slow.  The long journey is more rewarding…. remember that.

I know this may sound like a lecture, and it certainly isn’t meant that way.  Just real talk.  To be honest, I believe in everyone… even the ones that don’t believe in themselves.  I love my job.  I love helping people.  Think of a world without self-doubt.  A world where people were truly held accountable for their own actions, instead of blaming others.  You can be in that world.  Life is what you make it, so stay dedicated and positive.  Embrace the struggle.  Be that inspiration to others with relentless forward progress.  Why you ask?!?! Because….. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

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First 100 Miler, First DNF, Lesson Learned

Would I rather be writing a race report explaining the thrill of getting my first 100 miler buckle? Of course! Just isn’t in the cards.  So today I come to you with a tale of defeat and lessons learned….

So let’s readers digest the race: Beast of Burden 100 miler.  Chose it due to lack of hills, which I knew would be mundane to me.  I love hills.  They keep me in check.  After 25 miles I had to DNF.  My first official DNF.  It was and is more heart breaking than ever imagined, yet seems a little necessary.  Ultimately… It has made my resolve stronger, but we will get to that.

What happened? My knee happened.  My right knee to be exact.  The same one that has proven to be problem worthy for many years.  Around mile 24 it just gave out.  I knew my race was over.  Even had visions of never running again.  After being seen by a sports doctor, physical therapist, physicians assistant, getting x-rays, and an mri…. turns out my running career will remain ongoing.  No fractures… yippie!  No rips or tears… woohoo!  Just not enough rest… uh oh.

That’s right… rookie mistake.  It’s all on me.  Totally my fault.  Did I need to learn this lesson on the 100 miler stage? No, but it happened all the same.  You see… two weeks before the Beast of Burden, I ran 62 miles (the furthest I’ve ever ran).  In just under two days after I ran 20 miles.  Too much, too soon.  Some people could have done that with no problems what so ever.  I, however, had been training like an animal and should have known better…. especially with a knee that is prone to giving me problems.  Lesson learned.  Some times learning the hard way is the only way for it to really sink in.  At least I was smart enough to drop out when I did and can run another day.  It is my therapy…. I need it.  Fellow runners would understand, while non runners roll their eyes.  Everyone has their outlet…. running is mine.  Separating mind and body is a big deal.  My mind always tells me I’m good to run.  Doesn’t make it right.  So again, lesson learned.

Everyone knew how important this goal is to me, to complete a 100 miler.  They all blindly supported me.  I felt the love.  Even after having to drop out, I still felt the love.  Lots of people sent me uplifting messages, which I appreciate.  However, I think some were too “puffy cloud and rainbows”.  It wasn’t that they weren’t welcomed…. just that my brain isn’t wired that way.  Enter Bryan Lamb, a fellow Orange Mud Am-badass-ador.  Bryan is a triathlete machine who in my opinion has two voices… complete sarcasm and blunt truth.  Both welcomed, because that is exactly how my brain is wired.  Here is what he told me:

Kevin – It’s absolutely a failure. Realize that. You had a goal, you didn’t meet it. That’s the definition of failure. However, you’re looking at it like a negative thing – and it absolutely isn’t. Our entire lives are up of failures and successes. They both define who we are (and who we will become) just as equally as one another. Use this failure as a building block to a greater success, it’s how you become stronger and it’s something you’ve done thousands upon thousands of times before. There’s nothing negative to it and you’ll be thankful for this moment when you crush your next 100.

Most people might have read that and got upset and defensive.  I didn’t.  Why?… Because he is right! I failed…. plain and simple.  Just cause I failed doesn’t mean I am out of the game though.  I am coming out of this upset a stronger person.  My resolve has been strengthened.  In fact, I’ve taken the doctor recommended time off.  Tomorrow I am hitting the trails for a test run.  My head is back in the game.  I’ve mapped out the road to my next 100 miler.  More importantly, I’ve learned a lesson.  The love of the run is stronger than it ever has been…. and I am overwhelmingly thankful for that.

Remember: everyone loves a good comeback story.

Remember: everyone loves a good comeback story.

Relentless. Forward. Progress.

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Stroehmann Back on my Feet in24 : My First 24 Hour Race

So here are my thoughts and crazy experiences of my very first 24 hour race….

A few months back a fellow Orange Mud Ambadassador put the idea of running this race out into the world.  Always a sucker for a challenge, I jumped at the chance.  Informed my other half and she told me I was crazy.  My response…. “Well you are with me, so….”  To prepare I put in a cubic butt load of long runs and two-a-days.  Did I feel completely ready? No.  Was that the first time I’ve felt unprepared? Hell no… so all systems go!!

The day before the race, we packed the kids in the car and headed to Philadelphia…. Land of the cheese steak and pretzels.  After a 4 hour journey turned into 5, we were checked into the hotel and ready to rock.  Walked the mere one mile down to boat house row (hotel location is important btw) and snagged my race bib and awesome schwag bag.  I’m a sucker for any race that gives you socks.  Let’s be honest runners… socks can be a huge expense.  On the walk back to the hotel we took in some sights and got some amazing food truck grub. Then it was time for sleep… which didn’t go well.  I woke, however, with a sense of adventure.

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I’m not going to lie.  I was nervous as hell! I had never ran a 24 hour before.  I was out of my element.  Heard so many people talking about their strategy.  So many varying ways to run…. I chose to run by feel.  Little did I know, it would help me immensely.  We mulled around waiting what seemed like forever for the race to start.  Then suddenly I found myself at the starting line ready to rock.  Bang!… We were off and running!!

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My mood was high when we started.  Nerves were settled.  All I had to worry about was the wicked heat and humidity we all knew were coming.  Thankfully, I had my Orange Mud Vest Pack on.  Let’s take a look at the race course.  No out and back.  No point to point.  Just an 8.4 mile loop.  Aid stations roughly every two miles…. but you got to run past the Rocky Steps every lap!

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After the first lap I noticed people waning in the rising heat.  I felt like I was flying! Partly cause I kinda was.  I just felt great.  When I wanted a break, I walked.  When I wanted to run, I did just that.  Running by feel was working.  I was gaining ground.  Crushing my fear of lap races, I made a lot of friends along the way.  People were roller coasters of emotion out there.  What a pleasant mix of runners.  Young, old, race snobs, spartan racers, weekend warriors, ultra runners…. every category was accounted for.  After lap 5 the race director had a chat with me.  Told me he was impressed, that I looked strong.  I felt strong!! Each lap was faster than the last.  My 100 mile goal was looking like a walk in the park (no pun intended).

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Gia would keep me updated on their activities as I ran.  Those lucky ducks went to the zoo while I endured the heat and humidity with ease.  The sun was setting, It was headlamp time.  Awesome…. I love night running…. in Philly…. with unsavory characters (non racers). Let’s just say I had no issue picking the pace up.  About 12 hours in, what I didn’t want to happen… well it happened.  My knee popped something fierce.  The old reminiscent pain I’ve felt before had revisited.  I was torn apart because I knew what it meant…. My race was over.  I had to play the smart runner.  I also had to finish the lap I was on.  So I walked/hobbled 6 miles.  I felt like I let everyone down.  That I had failed.  At the finish line, I let them know I was done.  The race director shook my hand and told me they were impressed with my effort.  Then told me my distance… 62 miles.  62 effin miles! Furthest I’d ever ran!! So it wasn’t a total loss…. Brought a smile to my face.

I learned a lot at this race.  That I run much better by feel.  That it is our struggles that define us.  That unlocking the ability to be a better runner is in your mind.  So I will be back next year to attack this race again.  In fact, just so it is in writing, I’m aiming for 120 miles next year. There was something amazing about 24 hour races.  Sure there are many other runners there….. but you are really competing with yourself, and I love that.

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Huge thanks to the following:

  • all the selfless volunteers that helped out
  • the aid station that was ran by runners…. best by far!
  • everyone who supported and cheered me on in this endeavor
  • My other half, Gia …. without your love and support I have no clue where I would be in life
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Fitness: Conception can be the Devil

I do my best to be light-hearted and fun.  Taking time to enjoy the little things in life … enjoying it as it comes.  I love my job.  Being a personal trainer is a huge privilege, but today something happened that left me perplexed.  Let me explain:

Early in the morning I received a message from a lady I had never met.  She wanted me to train her.  Sounds easy as pie to me, so I set up the initial meeting.   The most important meeting where you discover their goals and start forming a plan to help them get there.  So later in the day she arrived, happy as ever.  She was energetic, soft-spoken, and appeared ready to start the ball rolling.  After introductions I hit her with the most important question: What are your goals?  That is where it got interesting… This happy-go-lucky, yet soft-spoken lady, reached in her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper.  She quickly unfolded it and held it at her side, exclaiming “I wanna look like this!”

It was a picture of a super model.  Ugh.  Her eyes were bursting with excitement and here I was with only the answer she didn’t wanna hear.  She must have seen it in my eyes, cause the excitement had left hers.  A million different starting points ran through my head.  So I began with four simple words…. “Let’s talk about it.”  First and foremost, she didn’t have the body type.  I’m not saying that she couldn’t lose weight.  That is possible.  She wanted weight loss that isn’t healthy.  Not wanting to directly insult her, I left the body type issue for further in the conversation.  Instead, I led off what I knew would be a not fun conversation by asking her if she thought the anorexic/bulimic super model in the picture looked healthy.   Her response in total came out to, “I have to look like this.”  I teach functional fitness.  I help people strengthen themselves, not destroy themselves.  I truly tried.  Gave her many different healthy fitness avenues she could go down.  They weren’t good enough to her though.  In her mind, she had to be super model skinny.  Sadly, I had to let her know I couldn’t work with her.  Boy was she pissed.  She had a few choice words for me and I took them with professionalism.  When she stormed off mumbling, I felt bad.

I felt bad for her.  All her life society has paraded unhealthy models for her to see.  They have warped this poor lady to thinking she has to look like that.  It’s shameful really.  Honestly, I haven’t a clue how women put up with that kind of pressure.  It is bad enough you all have to go through child labor, but to add image issues on top of that?!? My hat goes off to the few that truly understand where they stand, and goals that are achievable.  I was truly perplexed.  I guess conception can be the devil.

I want to leave you with what I believe the secret to functional fitness is.  I mean…. after all this, you need an uplift right??  So here it is:

The secret to good fitness is to wake up every day wanting to be just a little bit better.  Not perfect.  Not leaps and bounds better.  Just a little bit…. because all those bits add up to something great as long as you stay dedicated.  Any goal can be met, within reason.  Positivity is key.  So if you want to entice positive change…. do it! Make today that day! Prove the naysayers wrong and follow your dreams! Believe in yourself!! Cause hey…..

I believe in you!

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Post Ultra Duldrums

Here I am click-clacking on the keyboard instead of run-running like I would like.  So the feeling in a state of worthlessness starts….

I know it is all in my head.

I know I just have to let my legs and feet heal up.

I know I am not invincible…. Even if it felt so at times on the race course.

I know I need rest.

UGH!… REST… I hate that word. I preach it to my clients.  Know it is good for me, but do I have to like it?? Nope. Sure don’t.  yet here I sit with my foot in cold water typing this.  Playing it smart.  It is gonna be a long year after all.  Got a 24 hour race to look forward to.

Well thank you.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings.  Rest = Torture for the mind = Great for the body …. I can live with that.

Happy thoughts people.  Happy thoughts.

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Tailwind Nutrition : helped make a long long day worth it!

I give to you my review of Tailwind Nutrition….

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I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with proper nutrition on long runs.  Knowing something had to be done, and taking advice from some of my well-respected running friends…. I bit the bullet and ordered some Tailwind.  The reviews on their website were stellar, but whose aren’t on their own website.  I do appreciate the fact that http://www.tailwindnutrition.com was easy to navigate.  I ordered two large bags of endurance fuel (lemon and raspberry buzz) and hoped for the best.

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Less than a week later, my package arrived… Less than a week! It is kind of like they knew how incredibly impatient I am. I was impressed.  Inside were my two bags of fuel, a sample stick pack, a sticker, a temporary tattoo, and a hand written note thanking me for the purchase.  There was a problem though … I had a 50 mile race (Cayuga Trails 50) in two days and had never trained with it.  Being an “outside the box” kind of runner, I decided I would go for the gusto.  So I made my own stick packs in ziplock baggies (2 1/2 scoops in each bag) and crossed my fingers.

Race Day:

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For the race I carried two bottles via my Orange Mud Vest Pack 2…. one water and one tailwind.  The water was a back up in case the tailwind turned into a fiasco.  Even my wife thought I was nuts to product test on race day… hence the back up.

It took me a couple hours to dial it in, but wowza….. what a difference it made!!

  • aid station stops were shorter
  • my stomach never once got upset
  • felt hydrated all day
  • affected my running in a positive way

Once I knew what my body wanted to intake, and how often… I was set.  Nutrition was no longer a problem! It was just me and the trails.  Exactly how it should be.  So I recommend Tailwind Nutrition for anyone looking to up their nutrition game.  Hey… it worked for the crazy bearded guy that tried it for the first time at a 50 mile race!!

Here are the nutritional facts off the Raspberry Buzz:

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THANKS AGAIN TAILWIND NUTRITION!!! AWESOME STUFF!!!

ps… my youngest daughter loves her new tattoo!

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My run… My joy

My mind always has operated a mile a minute.  It wasn’t until running found me that I was able to slow down and feel “normal.”  Everyone always has their reasons for running.  They will tell you it changed them in some shape or form…. and they are right! It does just that.  It may have differences from person to person, but it can change lives.  Finds its way into your pores… soaks through your skin… immerses you in it.

Heck, I will be honest with you … I don’t even know why I am typing this.  Could be because I actually have a couple of minutes of free time in my normally packed schedule.  Could be because I have tapering madness going into a race on sunday.  Maybe I just wanted to share what running is to me.  Why I have to keep running longer.  How it changed MY life.  You are about to hear my own take on running, so if you object, please don’t be “butt hurt.”

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To me running helps keep an even keel.  Is it good physically for me… yuppers! The mental aspect tho… it can be even better if you let it! All my best thinking is done while running.  Great life decisions through putting one foot in front of the other.  At the base of it all is this question that haunts me: How far is too far? So everyday I attempt to answer it.

Not one to give up, I quickly went to ultra running.  The people are chill.  Out in nature is always a great place to be.  Every time I lace up my shoes to go out on a run, I get excited like a kid on Christmas morning.  Yet I feel the need to “break” myself.  To push my limits.  Always with a smile tho.  Even through the pain, always smiling.  You don’t see too many short distance runners smiling.  Ultra runners though… always living in the moment.  I love that.  I truly get that.

I am not competitive at all.  I don’t come up with exaggerated race plans.  I wing it.  Take each run or race one step at a time.  I’m not an elite athlete… no record-breaking times here, but I have the upper hand. I have the joy of running.  A joy most spend forever searching for.  I have it always.  That’s what it is all about after all…  Feeling free.  Discovering who you are as a person.  Figuring out life’s everyday problems. Maybe it is just a mind-set.  Maybe I am crazy. I prefer to choose the word enlightened.  I do my best always… but the joy comes first.  Something I hope my kids understand one day.  Something I hope everyone learns one day.

That’s all the babbling I’ve got.  So the next time you go out running… feel the joy.  Let everything go and just be happy.  Immerse yourself in it.  You deserve it!!!

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