The Mikey Reed Story: Overcoming Obstacles Interview Exclusive


I met Mikey the day of the Pennsylvania Spartan Race which took place around July of 2012. What took place that day is still etched in my mind as a group of friends and I struggled the entire race but one member of the group really stood out.  Here is his story.

Before I met you, Travis told your story about what happened to you as a little kid before we supposed to run the Spartan Race, can you elaborate and describe the side effects of what occurred?

Basically, when I was younger I was victim to a freak accident. I was accidentally hit in the neck with a golf club which later caused me to have a massive stroke. The impact crushed my carotid artery and paralyzed my right side. Most doctors would’ve given up on me at the time except for one who didn’t think I’d just sit in a vegetative state. I had to learn how to walk, talk and basically do everything over again. It took YEARS of progress and various forms of therapy to get me back to normal everyday living; if you want to call it that. I still have a few lingering ailments I’ll have with me permanently.


Bryan: Before we did the Spartan race together, we were walking around the site, I could tell that Mikey still walked with a limp which as you will find out later, he doesn’t notice. There were several people who walked by and were flabbergasted that Mikey was running the race.

Often times, when something drastic happens to individuals they can become depressed or feel out-of-place, how were you able to cope with that as you act like the happiest person in the world? (Mikey had a smile on his face the entire time I was in his presence.)

I wouldn’t exactly say I’m the “happiest” person in the world but I try not to let things get to me. There have been plenty of times in the past & (even here and there now) where I did get down on myself knowing what I was dealing with was something I can’t fix or make go away but I learned to understand that hell is what you make it. That phrase is even tatted down my right leg as a reminder. It basically stands for making the most out of any bad situation thrown your way and that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. I utilize music, staying active & surrounding myself with good down to Earth people to keep that happy vibe flowing. The way I see it, if you put in hard work, play harder, stay positive & try to keep the world smiling, it will smile back down on you.

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Describe the races that you have done in the past, and can you let me know the feeling that occurred when you crossed the finish line?

Why did you decide to sign up for them? (I decided to sign up for them to prove other people wrong but what happen is that they made me a better person every single time!)

Well the first race I had ever done was called Warrior Dash. I agreed to do it with my two best friends (who are a set of brothers) Eric & Garrett. The race was held on 10-10-10 at 10 AM. With that unique date & time, I knew I had to be a part of it. It was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my adult life. Not just physically but mentally the bond the 3 of us took from that day can never be broken or be understood by anyone else but us.

At the time, adventure races/mud runs were really in their infancy and not as extremely popular as they are now which was great because I feel like we caught the train right on time and before the majority of the population did. The two of them inspired me to get into better shape & that I COULD do this. The race was roughly the size of a 5K; just with various obstacles, water & mud thrown into the mix. At that time, 3 miles was a mountain of a distance in my eyes and had no idea that I would later laugh at that.

A little over a month after that experience, the three of us went to Englishtown, NJ for the toughest physical challenge I could ever imagine, Tough Mudder. It was a cold 30 degree on a November morning and the course was sadistic, cruel & unforgiving I loved every second of it. After the Dash, Garrett opened my eyes to Tough Mudder but I was totally against it after reading what was waiting for us. As opposed to a 3 mile course, it was a 14 mile trek that made the obstacles I faced before look like child’s play. One day though, I did the right thing by manning up & said “yeah, I’ll do it!” Since then, I haven’t looked back. To this day I’ve completed 3 Tough Mudders, 2 Warrior Dashes & 2 Spartan Races with a few 5K running events sprinkled in between. I would have never imagined putting myself in competitions or challenges that involved a massive amount of running but once you harness the proper mental grit, anything truly is possible. Writer’s note: What’s funny is that Mikey and I both did the Tough Mudder along with the Spartan Races, we both agreed that the Spartan Race PA which was a sprint (3 miles plus) was tougher than the Tough Mudder.

Describe the challenges you have faced – career and social if any.

That’s an easy one. To be honest, one of the lingering effects is daily pain. I have early arthritis & other permanent damage in and around my right foot and even though I don’t notice it all the time, others do. For years, I’ve fielded the questions “Did you hurt yourself?” or “Why are you limping?” Fact of the matter is, I don’t even realize it half the time but when I walk, it becomes slightly noticeable to others. I never really go into detail when asked; I just kind of brush it off. My darkest days were in junior high school & the first half of high school. The kids were just straight up mean & not very nice to me because (at the time) I wore a brace and had those difficulties a lot more visible to the naked eye. Even some I had grown up with and went through grade school with me that already knew my situation but went along with the crowd because it was apparently the “cool” thing to do. I’m not saying everyone was so callous but there were a good bunch that were understanding and mature but they were definitely with me in the minority. Some of them, I’m blessed to still have around in my life as those others have just faded away into obscurity.

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Bryan: It was a great day pushing each other at the Spartan Race. I am forever grateful that I met you.

Lessons Learned:

  • When you think you are going through a tough time, there may be others going through a lot worse. Keep pushing on. Never give up, trust me you won’t believe how much you can push yourself through.
  • Surround yourself with positive friends, they will only make you reach for the sky every time. Thank guys, you know who you are. Eric and Garrett, thanks for pushing Mike. You have made an impact on not only Mike’s life but others who will read this. I am glad that I met you guys as well.
  • Realize that the biggest opponent is not the race, not the competition, not the guy next to you but the biggest opponent is YOU. Beat it every day and don’t let it talk your way out of things.
  • Mikey and I could have easily let our DISABILITIES stop us but we didn’t. We simply removed the saying from our dictionary.

Readers, if you have any questions for Mikey or myself, please email me at and we will make sure to answer your questions. If you know of anybody that needs inspiration, please share this on your Facebook wall, email it, tweet it, Google+ or print it out if you remember how to. We decided to do this to help just one person today and if we achieve that, then we have done the best we can do. Mikey and I are also looking for motivational speaking engagements, if you know of any where we would make an impact at, please email me at the above address. Thanks again to Mikey for sharing his story!

If anybody else has a story to share, please let me know!

Until next time,

BA is OUT.

mikey tough mudder


How to tackle your fear

Sprint as fast as you can. Don’t think, just do. Get low, get dirty, get angry and get motivated.

So many people that I get to know eventually find out that I did a marathon. The response that I always hear in some form is “oh my god, I can’t believe you did one!! I have always wanted to do one but I can’t.”

I am telling you that you can. If you look in the record books, there is a guy who was 400+ pounds that did in over eight hours.

Here are the steps:

Challenge yourself
Sign up
Pay for it
Show up
Never give up
Then don’t stop talking about it after you completed your goal because it was ONE of the best moments in your life.

Don’t fear the fear. If you want that job promotion or a new girlfriend or a house of your dreams. Go after it, don’t defeat yourself before it happens and keep trying.

Talent isn’t everything, it is your heart and effort that is.

Tackle that fear,


Mental Toughness, Motivation and Day 5 of eating CLEAN

My parent's pantry!

It is day five of eating clean. What a roller coaster ride! I can’t believe how hard it has been! The funny thing is all I had to do was eliminate sugars – which I found to be really hard by the way since I love my coffee with about four sugar packets and a quarter cup of cream in the morning. I had to eliminate Peanut butter as well, whelp! This guy here eats about a jar a week. It has been a key ingredient of my diet for my whole life, I believe in the sixth grade I was up to three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day; Thanks Mom! I also had to eliminate Alcohol, and grains from my diet as well. While my diet has been tough, I am already noticing the difference. I have dropped about three pounds and I am starting to notice that my love handles are starting to shrink. I really didn’t want to post that but I made it a goal to be more truthful this year. What I am noticing during this key five day period that this diet has been a case of mental toughness and boy, have I grown from the past year and half with my mental toughness due to my weight loss, Spartan races, marathons and doing CrossFit. I absolutely love food – I was taught to eat everything off of my plate for dinner before I could do anything and if I didn’t, I got a scolding from Dad and occasionally my lovely crazy grandmother. It was tough growing up from a family where food is certainly a way of expressing love and on top of that, food was not to be wasted! On top of that I dated an Italian girl for about seven years and yes we ate a lot of pasta, so not having it right now on top of exercising almost twice a day has been hard! I also think I have a relationship with food, I think I can acknowledge that and I think a lot of other people who are heavier can attest to that as well!

So back to mental toughness and motivation. It is key that I have a goal and that goal is eating clean for thirty days which will clean my system out of all of the garbage that I have been eating. The motivation that I have is my body is going to look and feel better after the thirty days – hopefully! The diet is based on getting rid of inflammation which in my case, I have a lot of that around my stomach area! Ha-Ha So in terms of mental toughness, when I am coming against forces like my family wanting to order pizza last night because that’s what we do on Friday nights, I suggested to my mom that I have to eat clean and to please let me take her fifty dollars that she would have to spend on pizza and let me cook something healthy! She said yes!  Especially since she doesn’t have to cook which after cooking for five boys for the past twenty years, you can see why! I also saved her about thirty bucks since dinner was around 29 dollars, another plus! On my first day, I turned down a beer from a good friend after helping them with their water heater and if you know me, I NEVER turn down a good beer.

The biggest animal is not eating clean for thirty days but it is fighting yourself, your mind against the temptations that exist. It is easy to say oh well, I can have this, it is just one but what you are really doing is defeating yourself, before you know it, you will be saying well I already had one, what’s one more going to hurt and before you know it, you ate a whole box of cookies or a whole jar of peanut butter! I came home to my parent’s house this weekend due to a business meeting out in West Chester and there was my favorite cake on the table called a babka (a sweet yeast cake) and there are cookies still left over from Christmas! I have yet to touch them and I don’t plan on it. It will be much safer when I get to my bachelor pad that has barely any food in it but for now, I credit CrossFit and all of the races that I have done for improving my mental fitness. Without my mental fitness improving race after race or workout after workout, I wouldn’t be this good right now. Mental fitness is hard to come by and I have taken a lot of hits along the way.  I gave up playing college baseball way too early because I didn’t feel appreciated. I blew up on my diet after college because I was focused on taking care of someone else besides me. It is easy to say yes to the desert placed on your table at family dinners. It is easy to say yes to a beer with a friend because of the instant gratification that happens because of it. Our society is certainly struggling with that concept today with statistics that show more than half of Americans are obese and more than half of marriages end up in divorce. Say yes to something that is hard andit will change your life in the LONG run.

If I were an employer, I would immediately hire me or anybody else that has done races or does CrossFit because it takes an incredible amount of mental strength to complete those and trust me, you want someone that is not going to give up before the work even starts. We live in a world full of anxiety where people are scared to take chances before even taking the first step. Once you beat the negative voice that is talking in your head, everything else suddenly becomes easy! Tell your mind that you are going to accomplish something and the rest will follow. It is important to have goals because having goals will encourage you to stay motivated. Have rewards as well! I am hoping to look better than ever after this thirty days and hopefully if I do, I can implement it into my lifestyle and then have occasional cheat days to treat myself.

Take necessary actions to build up your mental toughness, it will make you stronger as individual and it will attract others around you that are the same which will enable you to be better off for it.  Once you achieve something relatively small, then all of sudden, a domino effect of more positive things keep happening in your life.

Work on your mental toughness by achieving one goal today. Tomorrow, when you wake up work on achieving another goal before the end of the day. Make it a habit.

Well time for me to do my workout of the day, I am going to run a mile as fast as I can which I am aiming for under seven minutes. Not bad for a guy who could barely finish one a year and a half ago.

Have a great weekend and look for my next blog post next weekend where I am going to write about being out of my comfort zone at my first CrossFit competition!

Until next time,



Why I am celebrating today and why the small stuff matters

Today I was scared shitless, today I was scared of failing, I was scared of breaking my neck and yes I was scared of making an ass out of myself.

But today I accomplished something that I NEVER repeat NEVER thought I could do and it was the most amazing feeling ever.

All of my life I have been the BIG guy and could never do anything close to gymnastics, I even got a B in gym for 6th grade for a quarter because I couldn’t climb a rope or do a handstand or do a simple pull-up. I was the best athlete in games in that class but I had earn that B and I was mortified. But today after my workout of the day which I crushed Elizabeth today with a 6:22 at CrossFit York, my trainer Madeline was helping a new friend of mine Carol with her Handstand Push-up and I simply walked over there today with a mindset that today is the day I am going to do something that I couldn’t do in 6th grade. It was also something i never tried again for fear of being embarrassed. I was motivated and scared at the same time which I am coming to find is the best feeling of all now.

After four attempts, I was able to stand on the wall and after a couple others I was able to do a push-up. I never felt so accomplished in my life after that moment. I had slayed the dragon. So in ending my thoughts today, find something that you want to do but scares you immensley and try it anyways. What is the worst that can happened?

The most important thing I can share with you today is to get of all of the negative thoughts in your head right now, I mean why give up before even trying? If it scares you, it is probably worth trying. You never know what you are going to get.