Tag Archives: Matt Costa

I Did It – 13.1!

I vividly remember when I started bootcamp last October and how I felt walking into KnuckleUp gym.  What the hell was I doing here?  I was terrified, but that morning I woke up knowing I had to make a change in my life or my life was going to be spent in poor health and ongoing health related problems due to obesity. 

I’m good at faking it, so I walked into the gym and asked for Matt even though I truly wanted to vomit at this moment!  I didn’t get that morning how much bootcamp would impact me and change me but it has and for the better.  

The moment we headed out for that first run my brain was in shock!  I was gasping for air, the nausea in my stomach and the pain everywhere.  Back to what the hell had I just gotten myself into?  Oh well, I had to keep up and that is what I have done this past year.  

Me with Christine and Katie after my first bootcamp graduation

I have had my up’s and downs – my shin splints sidelined me, my fear sidelined me, my back took me out for two months, then my ankle took me out for another two months and just when I was ready to get back in the game my high blood pressure forced me to sit out another two weeks.

The day I headed back to camp after being gone for over 2 ½ months I told Matt I wanted to join the beginner group because I was coming back from an injury and I wanted to work my way back into bootcamp.  Well, on the first day Matt threw down a challenge for everyone to step out of their comfort zone and to take on a race such as the ½ marathon. 

I was on such a high to finally be back and I headed out that morning pissed.  I took off muttering “doesn’t he know not everyone was built to run 13 miles”, heck I don’t even like running, and we aren’t even going to talk about 26.2!” You can ask my friend Jeanne, I vented most of the run. 

Then a funny thing happened, I started processing all that was said that morning and it hit me.  Why Not?  Its 13.1 miles and it is a great challenge to set for myself.  Granted, I had been back at bootcamp one day but I can conquer this.  So I posted something on my facebook wall and the responses came fast and positive.  By the end of the day I had decided to take the plunge, and set the 7 week goal of training for the half. 

For me, I did feel like I was going back to the beginning.  I had to get my breathing back, I had to find my pace, and I now had an ankle that didn’t always behave on top of the other issues that I tuck to the back of my head when training.   The beginning of the summer, I couldn’t even run a mile!

In the course of my training I had my doubts, I had my fears and then I had moments where I realized that I was on course to succeed.  I was tired all the time in the beginning because all I felt I did was eat, sleep, train and go to work.  On top of that I volunteered on Friday’s to help with Go Far and coach the kids. 

My life has never been this focused on me and I felt guilty.  I was focusing on me and as a mother and a wife, I haven’t always done that.  I am thankful that my husband was on board and in full support of me training and didn’t complain over my early mornings and early bedtimes.  I have been married for 15 years, and I did feel selfish with my time but it meant the world to me to focus on this goal.  Without his help I would not have achieved this goal. 

I also had friends that supported me in several different ways, from facebook support to emails, phone calls, hugs, advice and even friends that took time to train with me for my long runs and also give me extra encouragement.  I am so thankful for the friends I have made in the Outer Banks and I couldn’t have done it without your friendship, Jeanne, Ilona, Theresa and Re and to all my other friends that sent me encouragement.  Thank you!

The week of the race I was a basket case, I cried at everything and was so sensitive to everyone.  I had a nice conversation with my friend Joan who said the most meaningful words to me and they hit homeWe have trained as a team and grown as a team, that day, we are solitary.”  Those words were true during the ½ marathon.

The night before the race I had my husband write my 13 reason’s on my arms for me to focus on at each mile. 

They Were:

1.     For My Health

2.     Strength

3.     Believe

4.     My Family

5.     My Children

6.     Because I Can

7.     Autism

8.     For Life

9.     Cancer Sucks

10.  Charlie

11.  Work thru the Pain

12.  Mike

13.  Me

At each mile I took a moment to focus on my reasons.  During the race some of these would become my mantra and others would just be a moment of reflection. 

The morning of the race I felt great.  I was up at 3:45 and ready to go.  I spent some time applying KT Tape to my back as well as my hip that was strained earlier in the week and of course my ankle.  I chuckled to myself because I felt like I was all ducked taped up and ready to go!

Ilona picked me up a little before 6:00 and we headed to the race.  It felt like the morning flew by and before I knew it we were lining up.  I was so excited that my friend Jeanne came to see me off with a hug and some pictures as well as my friend Mike who was starting in a different corral found me to give me a hug.  I was able to start with quite a few members of my bootcamp family and that made my morning. 

Three Things (Ilona, Re and Me)
The 1/2 Begins
All smiles at mile 6 with my pick me up from my Brindley Beach Family

I felt great for the first 8 miles, when I wasn’t focusing on the reasons I was able to enjoy the people around me and the beauty of the Outer Banks.  I loved that I saw my work family at mile 6!  I enjoyed the ½ marathon.  I loved how much fun the people were having during the run, how much fun the stations were and for the most part I was able to block the pain until right before the bridge. 

When I hit the bridge I had to face my back and butt going through one large cramp after the other.  I tried to walk it off and keep a good walking pace, but I was getting smoked by everyone on the bridge, even a grandma dressed up as a pirate!   I had a great pace going until this moment and this was my wall. 


I worked through the wall, made it off the bridge and spent the rest of the race in my marathon shuffle.  When I hit the Manteo line I took a moment to acknowledge that I just arrived from Nags Head to Manteo on foot! 

Heading into the final stretch of the race, I knew I was going to finish even if it felt the end was never going to arrive.  When I rounded the last corner the first person I saw was Re, then I saw a fellow bootcamper Vicky and then I saw my family.  I was so happy to see my children and husband holding posters for me!  What an incredible feeling to know they waited all morning for me and they were so happy and proud.

Bootcamp Poster – Made by my daughter Caitlin
Ohana means Family, and Family means nobody gets left behind.. or forgotten
Sign My Kids Made

Heading into the finish line my eyes were on my coach, knowing that I had completed what I intended to do.  I finished 13.1 miles and I ran most of the way.  This past Memorial Day I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping for a breather. 

Knowing that Jay was there to give me my medal and a hug meant the world, then to receive two more hugs from my friends Joan and Jessica made for the perfect finish to my race.

I wasn’t the fastest, but for me I took on a challenge and finished what I started.  I am thankful to my coaches and the leaders of Outer Banks Bootcamps along with my family and friends.  This past year has made me a better person, and a much healthier person.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me, but I know for a fact another ½ marathon will be in my future and I will “Own It” in my way on my journey. 


Play Like a Kid

Monday we had Jay and for the record he rocks!  This man will push you beyond your limit, have you playing like a kid, and not thinking about the pain that will be headed your way as soon as you leave boot camp….of course always with a smile on his face!

Jay Bowman

We started our morning with a run to the end of the street by knuckle-up.  I use to loath this street, because I couldn’t even make it half way.  I have even cried on this street more than once and have even wanted to quit.  For the moment, I am happy to be passed that feeling.

At the end of the road there is a little loop like parking area where lunges became the name of the game.  We lunged alone and in pairs.  I am sure that is why my backside hurts quite a bit today!

We then headed down a path to the sound where we did a drill that reminded me of my volleyball days and for others their basketball days!  Sideways steps on both sides, running backwards and then running forwards.  I loved the view when we were facing the sound, and I admit running backwards was fun!  Leave it to Jay to bring out the kid in every one of us!

When we reached the end of the path, we were told to run at about a 7 with a 10 being an all out sprint.  I am all for pushing myself, but I hate when I don’t know where the end is.  The end actually was quite far for a quick pace, started off fast, walked for a second and then went back to a fast pace.  I was a happy girl to see the stop sign!

Run run run run..

We then headed on down Kitty Hawk road for the beach where the Ocean was calling my name.  I am a water child at heart and feel quite comfortable in it.  So on a jog I went, with a water chant in my head.

When we hit the beach, we did crunches, and for me more crunches for everyone else some type of side lunge and more sideways running and then I made a pathetic attempt at jumping jacks.

For some reason my legs were like jelly and I couldn’t move them anymore.  We also had some friendly beach fun racing to marked corners, duck walking and backwards crawling to see which team could reach the other corner first.  Yes, we did get in the water…but not for long!

I have to say the hi-light of my morning was watching the folks from N.E.S.T.  around a hatching turtle nest.  I would have loved to spent the rest of my morning there checking out that adventure, but had to run on back to the gym so I could make it to work on time.




As I sit here with my sore legs and glutes I know I worked hard and also had fun!  Thanks Jay for bringing out the kid in us and for pushing us!  In the morning  I am off to run another round of the  Brindley Beach Lighthouse 5k Series.

I’m Just Not Bad Ass and I’m Okay

Yesterday was quite the day!  My birthday was on Tuesday and I hit the big 42.  Yesterday was Re’s birthday and she had a fitness morning planned.  Her birthday plan was to  take on boot camp, then run a 5k, then bloody mary’s with breakfast, hit the beach and then dinner with friends.  Thank you Re, for letting me share your birthday celebration yesterday!

I know the last time I took on a 5k on a Sunday night, hit boot camp Monday Morning and then headed to a 5k right after that I said I would never do that again.  Well, I was wrong!  Since Re wanted to spend her birthday this way, I jumped on for the adventure even though all through Tuesday I kept saying I was going to skip boot camp, save it for the race and take on boot camp on Thursday.

I decided to take on the challenge in honor of Re’s birthday as well as my own.  Talking to my brother, Nino on Tuesday night he told me I was in the prime of my life, so that was my motto on Wednesday Morning.  I can do this, I am in the prime of my life!

I started Wednesday with my usual 4:30 wake up time and headed to boot camp.  We had Dana and Todd as coaches and they had a fun morning planned which included dragging chunks of wood down the beach with a partner.  For the morning we did not run as far as Monday, which I was grateful for but we did have a challenging morning.

It was another morning of partner training which was fine with me.  The word of the day was “Value”  We dragged the wood down the beach, stopped for a challenging round of abdominal exercises and planking where I valued that I was able to be on the beach and participating in boot camp, then hit the beach again.

At each stop Dana and Todd had exercise set up for us.  Overall, the morning of value was great minus the time in the ocean with the dead fish smell.  Boot camp complete, time to hit the 5k.

I want to give a special shout-out to Deanna “Re’s Daughter” who helped me by taking my kids to camp so that I could run the 5k.  Thank you Deanna!

After a quick shower to rid myself of the dead fish smell, I hit the road to Corolla.  During the drive I choked down a gel, and hydrated with water.  I made it to the race with 10 minutes to spare!

The 5k proved to be quite the challenge.  It was a fast course, but it was hot.  Within the first mile I started the mental chant of “move your feet”, “bloody mary”!  Just after I hit the first mile,  I heard Matt yell to me which was great.

I admit I had to walk a couple of times on this course due to the heat, but for me that morning my goal was to finish.  I didn’t set a new PR as I came in slower than my time from the 4th of July, but I did make it in 42:20, which is a better time than most of the times I have finished with.

To me my finishing picture say’s it all:

What I think I look like finishing
What I really look like!!!

You know the funny thing is I saw the camera, and I tried to smile….just wasn’t in time!

After the race, we headed off to breakfast with bloody marys, beach time with (Re, Ilona, Amanda, Phyllis and Randolph).  I then headed to the other end of the island for a singing concert at my daughters camp and then to swoop in to pick up my youngest son.  I made it home in time to shower and get ready for a girls birthday dinner!

My title comes from conversation at the table last night when Ilona was sharing her thought process on “I’m Just Not Bad Ass and I’m Okay with that”.  I agree with her motto, for me it is not necessary to take on boot camp and a 5k all in one morning.  I was a bad ass yesterday but  I’m just not that bad ass every day!  I will tell you that Re is a bad ass because she will take on the challenge and rock it!  She even set a new PR at the 5k after she had already run a 5k in boot camp!

Now, this does not mean I won’t take on a challenge like this again, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t.  I may not be a bad ass in the department of exercise, but I am a bad ass in other things I do in life!

Thank you to the fantastic evening – Amy, Ilona, Gloria, Dawn, Jeanne and special thanks to Drake and Deanna for the birthday cake.  I had a blast spending my day with friends and an awesome friend and birthday girl!  Thank you to everyone that helped to make this day special.

The girls! Amy, Re, Ilona, Jeanne, Me and Gloria
Dawn, Re and me
Birthday Girls

Welcome to Marathon Express Camp…What!?

Monday Morning I woke up ready to roll for boot camp….until I heard Matt say the words Welcome to Marathon Express Camp.  My first thought was “Oh Hell No!”  but of course it’s boot camp so I wasn’t walking away from that mornings challenge.


Matt had us pair up with a partner and had us sprint to a stop sign, then jog to the next on the longest street in Kitty Hawk.  It was actually a good thing we were partnered up because you can’t give up if you have a teammate with you.  Helen you rocked the morning and I was happy to have you as a partner.  When we finally arrived at our first destination we did 10 crunches which made me want to vomit and then we were sent back to tap the last teammate on the shoulder and give them encouragement.

After we all arrived at the meeting spot Matt gave us some tips on our running style and how we can make things easier.  I know my big thing is picking up my feet, I think I am picking up my feet but truly they are like lead weights and I never get them far off the ground.

After the quick tips we lined up and heading down the road again for Indian Runs.  I can’t say this is my favorite thing to do, but I know that this will help increase endurance and pick up our speed.  When we finally hit the intersection we headed towards the beach….or so we thought!  Let me just say, this was one morning we were praying for the ocean to cool us off.


Matt sent us on down the road with more Indian runs, and I know we lost people to puking.  It was tough and hot.  I know for a fact I would not do this on my own, but when Matt tells you to do something, you do it and believe that you can do it.

After another round of Indian Runs he partnered us up and we had to run arm and arm.  Running beside someone is a challenge, holding onto someone and running is the ultimate test to me.  We ran from stop sign to stop sign and at each stop we did one push up and one crunch with Matt yelling “pick up the pace, we have to get back, we can’t be late.”

I admit by this part of the morning, my mental game was failing me.  The annoying mind was creeping in and saying to me, your hips hurts, your back hurts, your feet hurts…you can quit.  Hate that brain sometimes, I am still looking for the off button in moments like this.

Towards the end with my mental game dragging me down Matt had us do the final push, running in a line your right hand on the shoulder in front of you.  This one is a challenge to me.  You are always either being pushed or pulled while trying to keep up with the group and not step on your teammates.

I admit, I let my mental get to me and I did break away from the group and each time I started straying to far back Matt was yelling at us stragglers to get back in the line and catch the team.  I did catch up, and finished but I would not call it finishing strong.

At the end of camp this morning Matt let us know that we had run a little over 5 miles that morning which was a big deal as I have never run 5 miles.  My cutoff has always been 3 miles.  I left boot camp feeling a mix of emotions about my performance but overall I was proud that I had survived the 5 miles.

I did let the mental game get to me, but that just means that I need to keep working towards overcoming the mental challenge.  When I hit home and pulled off my shoes I discovered that I had at least 3 blisters on each foot, so I am not sure if it is the socks, the shoes or what as I haven’t really had blisters before.

With 5 miles under my belt, I do believe I can do it again!
















Round 4 Here I Come!

My 4th boot camp started this past Monday.  I was so excited the night before I had trouble sleeping…oh ya, that is every night before boot camp!  I recently started a new job and a lot of my co-workers were signing on to take on boot camp.

I am psyched to have an office full of  co-workers joining in the fun.  Now on Monday mornings we can all be high on endorphin’s and body aches.  It will be fun to see the changes headed our way in the next 7 weeks and also accountability with everyone around you working on a give.

I lost a couple of teammates to the more advanced team, but gained some awesome new teammates.  The morning started  with push-ups and then a run to the beach.  I have to say I had a blast on Monday morning, except for the crawling part.  I was relieved to actually have less running on Monday as my hip has been causing me a bit of pain.  I have stretched, iced, applied heat and sent prayers up.  I am sure it is some type of running issue, but I plan to work it out.


The morning also involved a lesson on saving someone in the water, my partner was (the one and only) Matt.  He did a great job saving me but if this was an official save job, Matt might have been doomed with all the waves crashing on him.   I am just lucky I didn’t end up doing a ton of push-ups!

We partnered up a couple of times for sit-ups and digging in the sand.  Digging in the sand was quite fun, felt like a kid again especially when we were instructed to make sure we were hitting our teammate with sand.  This round of boot camp is 7 weeks and I look forward to working on my speed and losing some weight.

At the end of the morning we had a quick pow-wow where Matt was issuing us a challenge to think about taking on the 1/2 marathon or marathon in November.  I think my face say’s it all.

I have to say when I first saw this picture I thought I looked like a drowned rat, then Christine posted it on my wall with the words Skinny!  Thank you Christine – I see the perspective now and it is nice to see the changes I have made!  I can also see the changes my fellow boot campers have made too!

Photo Courtesy of the one and only Christine!

I do have the thought of a 1/2 marathon on my mind, but at this time I am more concerned about swimming a mile with my Olympic Tri Team!  I know I can do it, just need to make the jump.  At the end of this camp, I will let you know what I have decided.  Thanks for sharing my journey with me.