The day before I stepped onto the line at the JFK 50 miler I happened to have a conversation with Runner’s World editor Christine Fennessy, which served as a great source of strength during the race. I have had a rough race year – a case of Rhabdomyolysis almost killed me on my second fifty miler, and a sprained ankle pulled me out of my first try at 100 miles. I described to Christine that I was more worried about JFK because of problems I face with panic attacks in the winter; I have problems with climatological triggers of PTSD. Specifically that I have panic attacks in thick cold air when my heart rate increases. My first two short tours occurred in the winter and I have been exposed to combat mostly during the winter. The combination of the cold and elevated heart rate is precisely what combat felt like for me and I tend to have panic attacks on winter runs. (more…)

During our time in the military, each service member feels a sense of duty and belonging toward something bigger than their self. At times, after separation, that feeling can fade away, leaving you with a void. Everyone finds a way to fill that void. Some choose healthy activities, and some end up following a different route.

I was one of the people who ended up following the less healthy route after I left active duty service. A series of unfortunate events occurred shortly after my separation, and I ended up with injuries that forced me to refrain from physical activity for several months. During this time, I did not feel inclined to live a healthy lifestyle, which would enable my recovery. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but I let go of my own health. I did not feel like I was accountable to anything higher than myself, and at that point, I really began to go down a slippery slope. (more…)

This past Sunday on Veteran’s Day, I had the honor and privilege of heading to NYC to join up with Team Rubicon. I had seen a post by Mike Erwin on Facebook asking for volunteers, so I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. I’ve been involved with Team Red, White & Blue since returning from Afghanistan in April. As a member of TRWB, I’ve raised money through various races, participated in group events, and volunteered at various functions. Although still on active duty in the Army, I was looking for a way to serve where I felt like I was directly making a difference. I’ve always enjoyed athletics and competition, but I wanted it to count for something good. TRWB gave me that opportunity; I get to serve those in need, and it gives me the opportunity to use my gifts and talents for something worthwhile. That is why I am involved with TRWB, and that is why I volunteered with Team Rubicon on Veteran’s Day.

Team Rubicon is an organization that recognizes and harnesses the skills of military veterans; offering them a chance to continue their service by helping themselves and empowering those afflicted by disasters. Many veterans desperately want to continue to serve their country and those in need. They just need an organization that gives them purpose, direction, and motivation – something that they had while in the military. Team Rubicon provides just that – reminding veteran’s that you don’t have to wear the uniform to serve your county and make a difference. The beauty of it all is that while Team Rubicon members are serving and helping to save others, they are also saving themselves – being reminded that they have something worthwhile to offer the world and that they are needed in a big way. (more…)