Monday, August 5, 2013

Accidental patriot: hero of my own soul

People call me a hero..  They give me thanks for fighting for our country.  And I appreciate it..  I love our country and I would do it all over again if I could, however, I am a hero not because I saved someone or acted bravely in combat..  I am a hero because I did not let my circumstances dictate who I would become.
I elected to fight because I knew that if I stayed I would have become a no one.
I was not by myself..  I fought for myself with a lot of people that were fighting for themselves as well, together fighting for a greater purpose that at least in my case was not clearly understood. We became accidental patriots. Heroes of our country we might be, but Heroes of our own soul we are without a doubt.
To this day we still fight..  

Friday, July 26, 2013

A skier in the making..

Rise above expectations..  It's what I would say my purpose of my life is.

Growing up in a very humble and ever changing setting could have left me stripped from accomplishing my dreams, and when I realized that, its when I decided to brake free and make a push to become all that I could be.

I joined the United States Marines when I was still 17 years of age.  10 years later I was considered one of the best amongst the best.  

The Marines were my way of life until a motorcycle accident took what I thought was going to be the rest of my life in just a couple of seconds.  It was time to start dreaming again.  Dreaming of becoming a Paralympic cross country skiing athlete..  To rise again.

I was introduced to the sport of cross country skiing just 4 months after the amputation of my right arm due to the injuries I suffered during the accident.  I loved the sport from the first time I struggled to put on my boots on that snowy day in lake placid.  After that introduction skiing camp which was aimed at physical rehabilitation and not so much at racing I knew I wanted to make skiing a huge part of my life, and so I did.

I started to heavily research cross country skiing training and with the help of various coaches and organizations I put on my very first block of intense training.  After my first summer and fall of cross country skiing training I started to compete on my first races alongside able bodied skiers that have been training way longer than I have and even though I was not as fast as I could be, everyone knew I had the heart, and cheered me on and so I kept going.

Later that racing year I started to compete against other Paralympic athetles and I found out that I was in fact a competitor.  I attended nationals in soldier hollow and I was able to put on a solid performance earning me a couple of first place medals within my division.  Due to that performance I was invited to compete in the next stage of competition in a World Cup in Cable Wisconsin.  There I met the top Paralympics cross country skiing athetles in the world..  I gave it my all and came close.. Close enough to earn me a spot in the US national development team.  All in one year and a half..

In my second year of real training, I have chosen to join the Maine Winter Sports Center ranks in northern Maine in order to possibly reach a higher level of skiing and make the US Paralympic team that will be competing in Sochi Russia in less than a year.  Training will be hard, I am up for it.

There is nowhere else to go but to rise..  There has never been another option in my life..  Rise I will.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A month to remember

It's almost crazy to say, but it has been a month since I have been in the most northeastern side of the country training to become a great skier in Maine.

So far I have made very fundamental changes to my skiing technique and I have been feeling a better skier overall, however I am not as strong as I could be so I'm currently working on that.

My motivation and my mental health it's in an all time high.  I think being part of a team has helped me become a better person in so many ways.  The first obvious change is that now I can be part of something greater than just training like crazy and hope to make the Paralympics.  Being part of team has given me a chance to become a part of a community of people that are trying to do the same thing I'm doing and to see how they do it.  My motivation has improved because now I have a bunch of really cool kids around me that look up to me so I must always give them something to strive for and that is not giving up no matter what life throws at you.  I love it.

I have 3 months before I'll have to compete again..  I think being here will propel me to become what I want to be.. A great skier.. Can't wait

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two weeks in Maine

Before I came to Maine I was not really sure what to expect.  Well it has been two weeks since I arrived to this very different and interesting place and all I can say I'm enjoying the ride so far.

Everyday is a new and exciting bundle of new workouts. Some easy some really hard.  A couple of days ago we went "bogging", which consisted of running as hard as you can through marshlands.  It was hard indeed but also incredibly fun.

Yesterday we were part of 7k adventure race which was the Maine version of a spartan race minus the fad and the costly entrance fees.  After jumping through ponds and army crawling through heavily forests I was tired but felt so alive.

The rollerski is also heavily on effect in Maine.  I love how Will, my coach, figure out ways to help me ski faster and more efficiently and so far it's working.  I have had already more technique work than I did all last summer and it feels great because I can feel my body becoming faster while using less energy..  It's a great feeling.

Being part of a team has been great, and the benefits have become apparent.  We ride together to training venues and we feed energy to each other.  I have been learning so much from new roommates about skiing and def about some country living..  Things I did not take part in my past.

Next week is the first Maine camp where a lot of skiers from everywhere will join us and we all will try to become better skiers and people through it.  Needless to say I am very excited!!  

Friday, June 28, 2013


I desire to be the best skier I can be..  And that is just the beginning..
I desire to be the best person I can be..  And that is a change..
I desire to be a good memory to everyone that meets me..  And that is hard to imagine..
I desire to be remembered..  And that is something I'm willing to fight for..
I desire someone to read this and know all this before-hand..  And that is up to them..

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Round two: Enter Maine

As the last season ended with three weeks of non stop racing from Wyoming all the way to California it was time for me to take a vacation and plan my next move.  I asked around to see where would be a good place to resume my training for the start of my second season  and get prepared for the possibility of going to Sochi, and in the mix Maine Winter Sports arose victoriously.

Why Maine?  There's many reasons but the main reason that made sense to me was the opportunity to belong somewhere in the Nordic world where all my questions can be answered and I could train without the question of "am I doing this right?", which last season I found myself asking many times.

Well, after literally a week worth of driving across the country I finally have arrived to this very new land that they call upper Maine.  I arrived and I was very welcomed by my new teammates to the famous farm house in Caribou, I put my stuff down in the room that they had recently painted prior to my arrival and I proceeded to feel comfortable.  The very next day I met all my new coaches and ran a very "hello!! Here's Training!!" 5k race in downtown Caribou.

Now it's been almost a week since I have been here and I'm still getting used to the mechanics of it all but I can already tell its going to be a very hard and fun summer, and I'm totally ready and excited for all of it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Just went through the two most stressful weeks I have had in a long time.. Races, events between them, driving, and the lack of training time and recovery made me a ticking bomb.

I don't know if I can diffuse myself or just explode.. I need some time to find myself and go on with my journey. I know what I should do it's just a matter of executing it.

These are trying times.. I must move on, I must survive.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Life can bring us down sometimes.. That's what everyone says at one point or another.. Today I realized that is not really life that bring us down but it's the things that we fill our lives with that do, not life itself.. As I was getting ready to race, a bunch of 6th graders started cheering for me and my teammates.. I couldn't help it but to go and get them even more excited that they already were.. I took a picture with them and that's when I shared a part of their innocence.. It was very liberating and my mind was completely clear.. See, those kids have not filled their lives with greed, hate, jealousy, or materialism.. They truly want to be there for the experience, the chance to laugh and enjoy themselves.. It felt good to be free of all that.. It's a feeling I will look forward to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Carl Jung wrote "Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity."
As much I want things to appear such as medals and happiness I must be patient and realize that those things can not be accomplished in a couple of weeks. One step at a time, forward, knowing exactly why is it that I am going that way.. That's the formula to success.
Patience, however, can diminish the passion.. If I don't have the mental strength to balance patience with personal achievements then the passion will become stale. I will be patient, but I will be strong every time it is demanded out of me.. Especially if I am the one demand it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As I'm looking at a beautiful lake, reading about the birkebeiner, I can't not help to think about the big picture of all the things that I'm going through.. I should be scared.. I should be buckling at my knees when I see at what I am against.. But I am not.. I am learning, I am evolving, I am becoming what I will be in a couple of years.. I see fear and I laugh and they know I'm coming.. And if they don't know then they are the ones that should be afraid..