U2.0 A Two Point Zero, USA Initiative

The biggest news in Ranger Smash history is about to unfold. . . As many of you know, long before my Ranger Smash endeavors/ ideas I was introduced to the world of Multi-sport through an organization called Sua Sponte Elite Race Team (SSERT). This team of Ranger-misfits was crucial to my entrance into triathlon because I was horrendously new to the sport and overwhelmingly isolated. Well, myself and 3 fellow SSERT brothers have recently been selected to participate in a National campaign for PTSD  and Veteran suicide prevention and awareness. This campaign has been dubbed U2.0. 
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Through an incredible partnership with Two Point Zero, USA , Ray Asante and Lynn Perrando ,and many others, this small team and our Ranger story’s will be featured in Triathlete Magazine. The magnitude of this opportunity to represent these brands, this team, and Rangers in general could not be emphasized enough. I am humbled to my core, just to play a part in all of this. Please check out the PDF attached here: U2.0 INITIATIVE to learn more and stay tuned because there is much more to come from all of this.

We want this to be a National campaign with far reaching effects to those whom it may benefit. So please pass this along to your friends and  by all means follow along as we take on this exciting new journey together!
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BROKEN

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If I ever had a theme throughout life it would be: “BROKEN”. Injuries are debilitating, frustrating,
and can be expensive. I loathe what “fruit” injuries generally produce. However, injuries can act as a well deserved or much needed break. In some cases injury is the only form of communication that a certain few can understand: I can’t do that because it hurts/broke. As a stubborn athlete I know this to be absolutely true.

 

My tenacity helps me achieve my goals and makes me a serious competitor no matter what sport. It does have its draw backs though and injury is usually my sign that my tenacity has gotten the best of me. I very nearly broke my back in an obstacle run in 2014, for NO reason, and I learned that day that I’m not smart enough for Obstacle Course Racing. I am reminded every day of that mistake: a thorn in my side.

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2015 I wasn’t injured per-se, but the recovery after my 100 mile attempt was brutal and extensive. I learned, despite the small success I had, that 34-40 miles weekly is not enough to prepare for the rigors of a 100 mile race no matter how “tough” you may think you are. 

 

2016 was another brutal lesson learned. Evidently swimming 36 miles is also a challenge which you should NOT underestimate. My right rotator-cuff gave up on me 10 miles in and my left was nearly as destroyed by the time the EMT pulled me, unwillingly and ever so painfully, from the water just 4 miles from the finish. If losing the use of my arms wasn’t humiliating enough, not finishing a race I planned on winning, and the hypothermia and hot/cold flashes and fever that followed the night after the race was one of the most humbling events of my life. I do not think I could have sunk any lower that night. I was legitimately at rock bottom, and I hope I never revisit that place in life, again. It was humbling for sure, but I almost didn’t survive that transition. It was the first time I felt useless in the water, and I even remember telling myself that I Iphone dec 2016 169.JPGwould never swim again. 

 

My recovery after this incident was not graceful either. I moved to Wyoming a few months after it all.  I lost all motivation in life in general, and I even lost the few sponsors that I had early that year to boot.

 

I had hoped for a fresh start when I moved into the mountains and sought solace in the solitude that only they afford, but I was disappointed again. I still struggled to find motivation to get back on my feet. Then just as I was finally coming around and embracing the phenomenal running resources at my finger tips: mountains and trails unceasing. I came crashing down again.iphone2016 2645.JPG

 

Literally, I fell down a mountain frantically searching for my son that was snowboarding for the first time and went down the wrong “run” his first trip down the mountain and subsequently separated from me.  My son was fine, but in my angst I made some terrible decisions and fell pretty hard and tore my meniscus in the process.

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These last three seasons, back to back, have been tremendously difficult and disparaging to say the least. However, with pain and discomfort comes growth. I have grown tremendously from it all and my hunger for endurance remains. I am not certain what my future holds as an athlete, but I refuse to let a few challenges dilute my athletic potential.

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A crossroad…

Down time can be more productive to some than others. So, I implore you to make the most of yours, heaven forbid. Also, be open, willing, and receptive to growing while at the bottom of the abyss that is rehabilitation.

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Behold, you’re finite

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Enjoy the journey and find yourself in the process!

Most importantly, learn and be cognizant of your limitations. Above all, be realistic. This is an area I fail in miserably but it is imperative to your success and ability to manage a consistent training program.  Remember, train right, train smart, train forever.

 

 

 

Honor Swim: Swimming In The Wake of a Hero’s Sacrifice

 

I first heard about the Honor swim and Officer Lester in a FaceBook group, of all places: Sua Sponte Elite Race Team (S.S.E.R.T.). S.S.E.R.T. is a group of current and has been- scrolled Army Rangers most of which are reliving their glory days through a mid-life crisis called triathlon, and other multi-sport/endurance themed competitions. Day to day conversation in this private group borders upon motivation and crass harassment. To be honest, most discussions are reminiscent of, over the line, locker-room banter. Most of which would cause the average man to openly weep, or at the very least blush. Yet these Rangers seem to find it endlessly motivating. As one might guess, being involved in a group of 100 plus Army Rangers, standing out amongst heroes would seem to be a bit of an undertaking. Whether active duty, retired, or otherwise, these men are trained to do bad things to bad people in austere environments. However, as any good Ranger knows, we love a good challenge. Not to mention there are lots of people in this world doing great things for selfless reasons, but when I found out about what  Olin, AKA: Mark, Lester was trying to do purely out of love for his fallen brothers I knew I had to be involved even if I was just a spectator. It was clear to see that something amazing was brewing. Officer Lester posted in SSERT back in June of 2015, from my best recollection. As soon as I saw what he was up to I messaged him immediately. Although he did acknowledge me, he kept this strange Ranger’s request to be involved at arm’s length, I suppose for good reason. As time went on, I persisted and just like a naïve prom date he finally conceded.

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Photo credit: Honor Swim

He asked for a brief bio to show the rest of his teammates before he made the official decision to include the strange Ranger from afar in his extremely personal and heartwarming dream. The rest they say is history, and I was committed to supporting Lester’s dream team as a dedicated Rescue Swimmer.

Two years of planning were falling into place as May 18th closed in upon us. Personally, my responsibilities were of relatively low burden. I essentially was a glorified cheer leader with a front row seat to watch, what would be, my most humbling event of 2016. Being a triathlete, ultra marathoner and ultra- swimmer my training/preparation did not differ much from the usual.

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Photo credit: Shackelford, Kelly

My biggest obstacle was navigating the 1200 miles between my home in Oklahoma and Lake Norman in North Carolina. I didn’t even have to bother with lodging as Mark had reached out to a friend who selflessly arranged a suite, not just a room but a two bedroom suite with a full kitchen, for my family of 6. Although this kindness seemed eerily familiar, we would not know how close this kind woman, I only knew as Yvette, and I actually were until after the event had ended and I was back in Oklahoma. Lester on the other hand, I can only imagine, was left organizing a logistical nightmare: 34 miles of open water, 6 swimmers, 4 dedicated support boats and their crew, coastguard support, News crews and other media, family obligations, not to mention actually raising scholarship money for his fallen brother’s children. I truly cannot fathom what he and his SWAT team members went through in preparation for this selfless act physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Late in the morning May 18th I found myself standing awkwardly in a parking lot at the Blythe Landing marina of Lake Norman. I eagerly waited to meet a team, none of whom I have ever personally met before. There were boats being put in the

Photo credit: Honor Swim

Photo credit: Honor Swim

water, for which I assumed could only be my new teammates? I mean seriously who gets on a pontoon boat at 11:00 am on a Wednesday? Evidently several people in North Carolina. At one point, in an effort to make my introduction less awkward, one of the boats putting in was having some difficulty docking, so I hustled over to give them a hand. As it turns out, this boat had nothing to do with our team and the man I helped was just as confused as I seemed to be, with my aggressive eagerness to help a stranger. Finally I saw a group of people conjugating, two of which had paramedic shirts on… “Surely these are my boys” I thought to myself. I mean seriously how many

SWAT medics can you find in a random marina? The reality of the Honor Swim was beginning to set in. As we waited for our boats and crews, media began to show up to prepare for the pre-launch interview.  Mark was clearly stressed by this point, showing up just in time to juggle the news crews, boat crews and the like. The time to board the boats was incipient.

The responsibilities of the crew were as diverse as the team that made them up. There were four dedicated support boats which consisted of a Captain and first mate who were in charge of transporting the rest of us during the entirety of the swim.

Photo credit: Honor Swim

Photo credit: Honor Swim

We had two kayaks, manned by four men who would prove to be crucial during the event, particularly at night. Kayak crews would rotate much like the swimmers and ultimately be responsible for leading/guiding the swimmers and being their closest lifeline/ support in their time of need. The rescue swimmer’s job was to watch tentatively in case that an emergency rescue was needed, an unlikely event, but a role I was proud to fill. Of course there were the swimmers, whose job it was to… well swim. By 3 pm our team was primed and in place at the northern most inlet of Lake Norman, under the bridge of Interstate 40. Officer Lester was first in the lineup followed by officers Greene, Graue, Mckinney Peetz and Rud.

The current from the inlet made for a smashing start. With news helicopters and police choppers hovering above us Lester leaped into the water for what I can only imagine as an emotionally drowning,

Photo credit: Honor Swim

Photo credit: Honor Swim

adrenaline surging roller coaster ride: reminiscent of a “log ride” cresting the big hill before the plunge into the abyss. The swimmers were in and rotating like clockwork. The first six miles flew by. It truly was an amazing start to such an inspiring event. As smooth as it was all progressing, I think we all knew there would be a few obstacles along our way. Surely enough, as the day progressed, the weather conditions diminished and the obstacles began to rear their ugly heads.

 

As the rain fell so did the temperature. It soon became evident that as a rescue swimmer it was going to be a chilly night. With blusterous wind, cold heavy rain, and white caps that appeared like distant mountains, this endeavor was turning into quite the gut check. Not just for the rescue swimmer, or the swimmers involved, but the entire crew. It was a “suck-fest” worthy of Ranger proportions. In my effort to remain ready at a moment’s notice I made a poor decision to remain scantily clad so that I could respond immediately. My uniform for most of the evening would remain my trusty Ranger panties (Google it) and military grade poncho. This would come to bite me later, when the cold air high wind and torrential precipitation, manifested into borderline hypothermia. As an avid open water swimmer, the temptation to seek refuge in the warm waters seemed to become my largest obstacle. So, when dehydration, nausea, and cramping took its toll on one of the swimmers and left a void in the flawless execution of the Honor swim, it was only natural that I couldn’t contain my swimming angst any longer. While I rotated boats keeping an ever watchful eye on the swimmers, I told Lester that if they needed a stand in swimmer I would be happy to step in. I must admit, this was a hugely selfish act on my part. I had been romanticizing about the warm water temperature all day, and to be honest I was freezing my ass off. The 70 degree water temperature seemed like a warm fuzzy blanket compared to the 50 degree air temperature.  I don’t believe there was much hesitation, on anyone’s part, for my proposal. So in 60 minutes my dip in the abyss would become a reality. It is also true that Lester offered a spare wet suit for me to wear, but I was convinced the near “balmy” bathtub water would be of much relief.  So when it came time to leap into the foray in just my Speedo, I was shocked (literally) when my body was submerged in the surprisingly cool water. So with a muttered shout, my leg of the swim was off to a chilling start.

Photo credit: Honor Swim

Photo credit: Honor Swim

Lester and other swimmers recount the night swimming portion as surreal, and to this I can attest. Despite the rain, the wind, and the waves there is just something words fail to express about the tranquility one can find amidst even the most devastating storm while being submersed in the bowels of Lake Norman. So as it were, we kept swimming, and swimming. Before the sun came up we were beginning to realize just how far ahead of schedule we were finding ourselves. With an anticipated 24 hour finish, the sun wasn’t even up and we had less than 6 miles to go. Because of the news crews and finish line festivities we were forced to pull into a marina to take a tactical pause and wait for the scheduled finish time to approach us. It is worth mentioning that there were just too many moments and memories made during this trip, to mention all of them in a timely manner. As a complete stranger, these men embraced me into their brotherhood. They simultaneously included me in their deeply heartfelt cause to support their fallen brother’s family and to honor their legacy. The relationships that were fostered during these 24 hours are simply awe inspiring.

 

The last few miles, toward the finish, were filled with a cascade of emotion. Looking back on the previous twenty plus hours, it was exciting to think about what was accomplished and the obstacles that were overcome. Although hardly any of this was of any “sacrifice” comparatively, it was truly humbling in nature. For the Officers swimming, I can hardly imagine what they felt. This was a time to be overwhelmed by the legacy of the two brothers that they have lost. A time to think about the families hurled into this violent wake of anguish and heartbreak. It was also time to eagerly anticipate the end of this amazing feat that would honor Officer Sean Clark and Fred Thornton.

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Photo credit: Honor Swim

The finish line was packed with Police, SWAT, and Fire emergency vehicles. Families lined the docks, spectators were everywhere. News crews eagerly waited at the water’s edge. Some of the officer’s families were even picked up in a boat to join us in our final legs. This is no exaggeration; you could hear the sirens, whistles, horns and hollers from over a mile away. This only compounded the emotions running rampant on all that were involved. As we closed in on the finish, all the swimmers entered the water to finish as a team. About 400 meters or so from the water’s edge, the police boat that had been part of our “boater-cade” had picked up Sean Clark’s two sons,

Photo credit: Shackelford, Kelly

Photo credit: Shackelford, Kelly

two thirds of the very reason these officers were swimming in the first place.

Even as an outsider, I was overcome with emotion when I saw these boys leap from the bow of that police boat. Mark and I were to swim with the boys and the rest of the officers were to follow closely behind us, letting the children bring us home. The next few hundred meters are exceptionally difficult to describe. The cheers, whistles, sirens and horns were as deafeningly loud as they were unreal. Even my children could be seen on the docks screaming in support. If you weren’t overwhelmed with emotion, you probably didn’t have a pulse. Two officers sacrificed their lives. Mark had mentioned during a news interview that “two families Gave up their tomorrows” with their husband/father/son. The silver lining here is that an entire community rallied together to support the dream of a man and his team. Together they planned and strategized how to orchestrate this dream: to Honor the lives of Officer Sean Clark(End Of Watch: 4/1/2007)  and SWAT Officer Fred Thornton (EOW: 2/25/2011). The result, however, was not just honor and humility.

Photo credit: Shackelford, Kelly

Photo credit: Shackelford, Kelly

The realization of this man’s dream resulted in much more than a memoriam. His dream realized offered a blinding beacon of hope. Not just for these two families, but hope: for a country divided; for a country lost in a sea of self entitlement and resentment; for a community devastated by the loss of two heroes. A beacon of hope is what my friend created. The outpouring of love from Olin towards these families inspires me to be better and do greater, out of love, not selfishness but true selflessness. We have a saying in Ranger Regiment: “Ranger’s Lead The Way”. Well, the standard has certainly been set. I am proud to call Officer Lester my Ranger buddy, and I am thankful that he let me to join him in swimming in the wake of heroes: the Honor Swim, and allowing me to ride the coat tails of a living legend, and for that I am eternally grateful.

 

At the time this article was written the Honor Swim has raised nearly $50,000 out of their $60,000 goal. If you would like to make an investment in the future of these children go to the Honor Swim’s Gofund me page: https://www.gofundme.com/honorswim

If nothing else be inspired to love, recognize the hope in the selfless sacrifice of others, and live a life worth living, which in reality is a life worth giving.

Big Cedar: The Amphibious Challenge

Big Cedar Endurance Run: The Amphibious Challenge

October 30th, 2015

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As if running one hundred miles wasn’t challenging enough, environmental conditions are often unpredictable, and sometimes even dangerous. As for Big Cedar, conditions were unfortunately both. I was fairly intimidated going into the race as it was my first 100 mile attempt, but I was certain that given my competitive spirit placing in the top ten percent was somewhat of a reality. My 100 mile training cycle was not exactly what I anticipated and also cause for concern. Before the race I felt tired, used, abused and really just ready for off season. Unfortunately these kinds of races are planned months and sometimes years in advance so “not feeling ready” just wasn’t a valid excuse. My team was staged and ready, and I was running this race come hell or high water.

 

In the beginning

                The start line was motivating, with approximately 40 people infected with the same kind of crazy as you— makes for a good day. As with any competition, within minutes of toeing the line the serious competitors/ athletes are easy to find. Out of the gate, things felt good. I had identified a strong runner, someone who had twenty 100 milers under his belt, and decided keeping up withBCER7 him would be a good goal for me. Taking off I felt strong, the top two athletes were going a bit faster than I intended to, personally, but I figured I would hang with them as long as possible. Conditions were not ideal but they weren’t completely miserable. It wasn’t uncomfortably cool, and the moisture in the air created kind of a misting effect. All in all it was a good start to what I had hoped would be a “fun” race.

                Skipping forward to the end of the first twenty five mile  loop . . . pure hell and agony. Once we started, periodic showers made the Texas clay the perfect consistency to absolutely drive you (bat-shit) crazy. At certain points, it felt as if you had at least 15 pounds of mud on each shoe. This mud/clay was absolutely terrible and probably the worst threat to my race that I thought I would encounter. Somewhere towards the end of the first loop, if the mud wasn’t bad enough, a young lady caught me. She seemed to be prancing or at least floating across the top of the mud making her pursuit look effortless. This in conjunction with the mud was a real blow to my morale. At this point I assumed I was in the top 3, and bumped to 4th-5th. Overly concerned with “making the cut off” this young lady seemed determined not to let the mud, or anything else for that matter—including me— get in her way. I would find out later, just how determined she really is.

 

Hope

                After the first loop I was devastated. I had a nagging knee injury from my training cycle that I knew was going to be a factor if the muddy conditions didn’t change. Luckily for me, sort of, conditions

did change in the second loop: the rain came. With more rain the mud stuck less and less. The less the mud stuck to me, and my shoes, the better I felt. In fact, as the water fell things seemed to be getting easier and easier. Even running in shin to knee high water felt like a blessing compared to that god-awful clay trapping you like a man sized sticky—trap. By the end of the second loop my motivation returned, I wasn’t exactly sure where I stood with my competition but I knew they were well aheadBCRER1

of me. At this point I abandoned my ranking and set my sights on finishing this brutal race instead.

 

Leaving the 50 mile check point I felt amazing. More rain made for easier loops and I was really beginning to pick up some momentum. I soon realized that the weather was taking a toll, not just on me, but my competitors as well. It was taking such a toll that I finally realized that it was giving me an advantage! There were several amazing athletes in the race that had tons of experience and were absolutely faster than me in the long run. However, my time in the special operations community has given me an intimate perspective when it comes to stress, fatigue, and poor conditions. I realized at this point I was getting stronger, and it was time to make up for the pottery class from hell in the first loop.

Then the real rain came.

Rain Rain Go away

                The rain felt like a scene from Forrest Gump. It came from all directions at some point, and portions of the trail that shouldn’t have standing water, did. It was raining so hard that it was difficult to see your hand in front of your face. The next few check points were a bit surreal for me. Shortly after the 50 mile I caught up to my running companion at the start (bib 131), I assume he lost the trail at some point as I found it hard to believe that I would catch him. I was feeling good so I kept going and put distance between him and another female that had been closing in on me also. I was feeling great. I felt so good that as I came into the Truth Corner checkpoint I felt obligated to give them an idea of what my last portion of the trail looked like. So, I crawled my way, ever so dramatically, under the tent on my hands

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and knees. Little did I know, at this point they had “paused” the race. There seemed to be more people huddled under the canopy than normal but having run well over 50 miles my capacity to reason was substantially limited. My teammate/ crew chief (Mike Campbell) informed me that they were holding us there because of flash flooding. This was a valid concern, as I could attest to the poor conditions. What I didn’t realize is that Katie Graff and I were the male and female leaders at this point. Shortly after my arrival they said we could continue on but anything after this point would be done “at our own risk”, fair enough. The lead female: Katie Graff, was eager to head out so I asked her if she cared for me to join her since the conditions seemed pretty dangerous. She consented of course, and we set off on what would seem to be the longest “2.9 miles” in the history of running.

The Flood

Although we were quite aware of the deteriorating conditions, Katie, her pacer, and I were hardly prepared for the next portion of trail ahead of us. There was water EVERYWHERE. Water was in places it shouldn’t have been or, at the very least, places you wouldn’t think was even possible. We found ourselves making water crossings that didn’t exist earlier in the day. When I say crossing water, I mean crossing raging streams caused from the flash flood conditions. Many of which intimidated me, despite being a competitive swimmer and lifeguard with a plethora of water rescues. To be safe we made many crossings with our arms linked together as a team effort. There was one crossing however that seemed and proved to be the most daunting. There was a portion of the trail that had substantial wooden bridge crossing. Unfortunately for us, this bridge was overturned and washed downstream into a giant debris pile. Clearly this water was moving and exceptionally dangerous. Slightly upstream from the debris pile was a tree that reached nearly to the other side. However, my experience with flash floods and debris piles is not one of positivity so I recommended that we try crossing further up steam. Using the log/tree as a safety line before the dangerous debris pile I felt confident that even if I was swept downstream the log would afford me an easy out. What I did not anticipate was the determination of my new best friends. Since it was my idea to cross the raging waters up stream I figured I should be the first one in the water. As I entered the water it was clear that a crossing didn’t look good. I was soon up to my chest in raging flood water. It didn’t take long for me to be swept away, but the stubbornness of my newfound teammates refusing to let me be washed downstream alone, clung to me despite my efforts to let go of them. So, just as soon as I was swept away, the raging waters pulled all three of us in effortlessly. I wasn’t overly concerned at this point because I, like any good Army Ranger, had a backup plan. All three of us reached the log unharmed. I was slightly concerned the log might shift on us so I made no delay in exiting from the water. As I moved I looked to my left to ensure everyone was okay. At this point we were all intact. Then out of nowhere I saw Katie’s hands slip from the top of the log towards the bottom. Panic set in quickly as I was quite aware of the strength of the raging water. I was struggling to function myself, so when I realized she lost her footing I knew things were escalating quickly. On top of being swept downstream, my main concern was the debris pile and my knowledge of undercurrents. As a rescuer I knew it was going to be a very bad day for at least two of us if she was pulled into that debris pile underwater. My greatest fear was almost realized when she was very nearly pulled under the log despite having a hold of me (on her right) and her pacer (on her left). Like a scene from a suspense movie, she was being pulled away from me no matter how hard I pulled back. In my desperation all I seemed to muster was “do not let her go under (water)”, as if that wasn’t obvious enough. Luckily, somehow, Katie and I were able to link elbows and I was able to use my body as leverage instead of brute strength and pull her out. I don’t suppose the image of her face nearly being submerged, will ever escape me. Fortunately we all made it out from the aborted river crossing, and despite my original hesitation to cross an unstable debris pile we finally made it across. We continued our journey for what seemed like 15 miles (in reality it was barely five). In this five mile stretch we encountered numerous water crossing, rain that seemed like it was coming from the ground up, knee high water on every portion of trail and even a mystical lake on top of a hill which seemed to swallow the trail itself. It was a wild ride and it was no surprise when we were just outside the next checkpoint and saw headlamps moving towards us down the trail as volunteers began looking for the two misfits, and pacer, that were still “in the race”. We found out shortly, that the race had been canceled twenty minutes after our exit from the last checkpoint.

 

Although I wasn’t disappointed at the time of the cancellation, having been through watery hell, I was overcome with frustration when I realized Mother Nature had just robbed me of my first 100 mile attempt. Worst yet, there was plenty of race left having been stopped only 65 miles in. So, at that point it really was anyone’s race and we will never know who would have finished in the top 3. All I knew was that the conditions were so poor that it actually gave me the confidence that I would certainly be one of them. It was a great race, and would have been glorious to finish . . . but I suppose there is always next year.

 

 

Big Cedar 100 Endurance Run

Ranger Smash’s premier race is about to take place Friday October 30th at 9:00 AM. If you are interested in tracking my progress like our FB page, just click this link. Our FB page will be updated regularly, and also check out the link below. My progress will be broadcast live via “My Athlete Live” so tell your friends and stay tuned!

www.TrackMyAthleteLive.com/Events

Just look for my event: Big Cedar 100 and then look for my name: Derek Dutton (if the race hasn’t started yet my name will not be available until I turn on my tracking device and start moving).

Train Right Train Smart Train Forever

It’s hard to believe another month has passed by, training tempo is high and the days seem to string together. My 100 mile training cycle is in full swing, and my legs are feeling the pain of transitioning from sprint work to endurance training. My first priority after the sprint at Callaway Gardens was to perform a 10k time trial (which was actually suppose to take place the weekend of Callaway) as a base to my ultra marathon cycle. I was a little disappointed in my performance in the 10k, I am actually calling it two 5k’s back to back because I almost went down as a heat casualty in the middle of them. Minus the heat stroke, my splits were 20:19; 22:45 for a total of 43 minutes and change. Considering I ran a full 10k the day after a toughmudder, with a broken rib, and after I swam a mile, in the time of 42 last season… I was frustrated to say the least. However, a 43 minute 10k/ 20:19 5k was plenty fast enough for my upcoming endurance cycle.

Amidst, all the chaos of sprints, time trials, and introducing myself to the crazy world of cycling, I was somehow talked into competing at another sprint triathlon: Chattahoochee Challenge. The race was held over this last weekend (7/18/15) in downtown Columbus GA. My performance at the race was nothing to shout 11057329_1599993616994177_2259575913540234131_nabout, my body (legs in particular) was clearly fatigued from all the madness. The bicycle portion was the worst part of the race for me, but I had a strong swim, and my run was decent. I was able to sneak onto the age group podium for a 3rd place, and an overall ranking of 22nd. There were some phenomenal athletes out there and they did a wonderful job, I was just there to watch them dominate and enjoy the Georgia heat as I plodded along.

There is a lot brewing here with Ranger Smash; this year is teaming with races and different events. I was invited to participate in a Wounded Warrior Project triathlon clinic held at the National Training Center in Clermont Florida. I am extremely excited and humbled to participate in1524684_1599993640327508_3526928694449966740_n this event.

Although it seems to be a begrudgingly slow pace, I am growing as a triathlete day by day. As I do this, I am excited to no end about next season’s potential. I hope you continue to follow me along this journey. With my 100 mile race looming in the distant future, there are sure to be plenty of shenanigans to keep you entertained. If you would like to keep a closer eye on Ranger Smash please visit us on social media: Twitter @RangerSmash375; Instagram @RangerSmash375; and our Facebook page @RangerSmashExtremeEndurance, where you can interact with us directly.

Thank you for your continued support,

NITWIWDA

 

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