Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Newport Liberty Half Marathon

I have never run this race and therefore have no commentary on The Newport Liberty Half Marathon. I do however know someone who ran it this weekend and kicked ass. In a total downpour with puddles everywhere my buddy Greg who is training for his first marathon on November 1st in NYC busted out a 1:30:23 for 91st overall and 12th in his age group. I have been providing my words of wisdom for him the past couple of months but I think I should take some lessons from him. Nice job Greg!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Video from The North Face 50 Miler DC

Top: Matt, his first mile pacing me at my 29.

Bottom: My first time past 31 miles.

video video

Monday, September 21, 2009

The North Face Endurance Challenge DC 50 Miler

Everything about this day was incredible. The weather, the course, the other runners, the volunteers and of course having family and friends there to encourage me and even run with me (photo of Tani with me at the finish).

3:15 am the first of 3 alarm clocks ring. Not sure why I was so paranoid about over sleeping as I am not sure I actually slept I was so excited. I arrived at Algonkian Regional Park around 4:15 a.m. and the buzz was awesome. The weather was perfect, low 50s, Dave Matthews Band was cranked up in the start area, and everyone was milling about with their pre-race routines or hanging with old friends and I am sure meeting new ones. I don't recall much in the way of pre-race announcements just a 2 minute warning, a countdown and at 5am sharp we were off. The course would take us primarily on the Potomac Heritage Trail and through Great Falls Park.

The next 2 hours in the dark (headlamps on and the trails lined with green glow sticks) was fairly calm as everyone settled in to their respective paces. Over the first 5 miles the trail was wide enough where some were side by side in casual conversation but it was mostly quiet. Just footsteps, breathing and the occasional hoot and holler from someone. I was having a conversation with a woman named Cynthia on mile 2 when I saw the first tumble of the day as she snagged her foot on something and went down hard. A few of us helped her up, no blood, all smiles and off she went.

Once we hit the single track it was basically single file for the next 8 miles. Almost as if the group I was in was marching along military style through the early morning darkness at a nice steady pace on the flats and strong walks up the few hills we encountered. When the sun came up with its warm orange glow, I popped out of the woods along the Potomac River with a thin layer of fog floating above it and tall waste high brush on both sides of me. It was a perfect morning!

I arrived at the 3rd aid station (mile 14.8) where the course begins a series of three 7 mile loops through the Great Falls section which had the most technical terrain on the course. Although I walked all the uphills "they" say its runnable which was proven by Michael Wardian (3rd overall) who blew by me on an uphill section around mile 17 (It was his 2nd loop mile 24, unbelievable). Shortly thereafter I came upon Amy Palmiero-Winters (read her story, she is amazing) on an uphill section and walked with her for a minute or 2. Up until this point I had really been pacing myself just hoping not to blow my goal of around 10 hrs. I told her it was my first 50 miler and I don't think she had much sympathy for me. She told me not to cross the finish line disappointed, give it my all and leave everything I have on the course. I took her words to heart and gave it my all beginning at that moment.

Coming into the Great Falls aid station after some incredible views the last mile high above the Potomac, there was Tani with a big smile and what ever gear or food I needed. A quick refill and she encouraged me to keep it up. She motivates me in every race. It was on this 2nd loop around mile 24 I came upon Cynthia again (her mile 17). She was covered in dirt, obviously hitting the ground a few more times since I saw her last earlier in the morning. I walked with her for a bit as she was visibly frustrated and she told me she was OK just tired of falling. After a few words, I hope encouraging ones at that, Cynthia told me to get going and she would be fine.

Approaching Great Falls aid station to begin my third and final loop before heading back to Algonkian was awesome. Tani had amassed a huge group of friends and relatives to come out and they were all cheering me on. On top of that my friend Matt had come down with his family to pace me for the final loop in the Great falls section. Thanks to all of them, Diana, Tom, Jacob, Liam and Evan Willcox, Matt, Cori and Tucker Chmielecki, Andang Poeraatmadja, Iwan Poeraatmadja, Scott Martin (Milos), Yetty Cinta, Teaque, Greg and Dominic Shuey, Samantha, Justin, Jack and Matthew Holohan (we will definitely bring Jared & Kyle next year). After refueling and many high fives Matt and I took off and we had a blast. We took pictures (see Matt around mile 27.5), videos and had a few laughs along the way and just enjoyed the next 7 miles.
A quick side note on refueling. Each aid station was well stocked with a variety of drinks and food. My total consumption from when I woke up until the finish was 2 packs of oatmeal, approx. 400 ounces (water/Gatorade), 10 hammer gels, 8 bananas, 1/2 cantaloupe, 3 bags of potato chips, 1/2 potato, 1 orange and a couple hand fulls of gummi bears. I also shared a burrito with Tani at the finish. I burned approximately 6,000 calories during the race. (If you are wondering what ultra marathon runners eat for breakfast the morning after a 50 miles race, I have no idea, but my post race day breakfast is to the right)

After leaving Great Falls for the final time, the cheers from everyone faded quickly. As I exited this section of the park it was back to the solitude of the single track only this time I was basically alone. Over the next 3 hours I would pass or be passed by a total of maybe 5 people (some running the 50k others 50m). Several times by the same person. There was a bit of a back and for between me and eventual 3rd place women's finisher Jimena Barrera. She passed me for the final time with about 6 or 7 miles to go. I just realized as I am writing this, its the 2nd time she did this to me. She also passed me with about 5 miles to go at the Bear Mountain 50k where she finished 4th back in May (great job).

I knew I was going to come upon tough times during this race and from 40 to 45 was that time. It got to the point where I was just trying to run 100 feet at a time. I would reward myself with a walking break every 10 minutes or so (although eventually I no longer new the time because my Garmin 405 ran out of juice at mile 43). Once I hit the Sugarland aid station at 45.4 I told myself it would be a better reward to finish faster and I ran, shuffled, hobbled whatever to the end. I am truly amazed how much further you can push yourself when you think you can't take another step.
9hrs and 18min later I had completed this journey with a 32nd place finish overall and more importantly a new appreciation for boundaries. I am not sure what limits there are as I went farther and faster than I ever imagined would be possible. I am not disappointed!

By the way, Cynthia finished 10:28:)


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The North Face Endurance 50 Miler

Today was the day and I finished. I am very excited to have achieved my goal of completing the race and as a bonus I broke 10 hours. Time was 9hrs 18min. We also raised over $11,000 for cancer research. Thanks to all those who supported the cause.

I am looking forward to sharing the experience in detail soon. But right now I am starving:)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Training for The North Face Endurance 50 Miler

This morning was my last training run. Just a few miles along the East River at sunrise with Tani (see photo). A great way to finish off months of hard work. I could not do it with out her support. Thanks babe.

During the past several months I have talked about this race The North Face Endurance 50 Miler and training quite a lot. Usually after people get done telling me how crazy they think I am they become interested in knowing how one trains for such an event. "How often do you run?" or "How far did you go this weekend?" are typical questions. I am not sure how experienced ultra runners do it but here is what I did. Hope it works!

16 week schedule
4 runs per week*
1 cross training day per week
2 rest days (obviously)
Low mileage week 9 miles**
High mileage week 69 miles
Longest run 5 hrs 28 miles
Longest back to back 9 hrs 51 miles
Total cross training approx. 26 hrs
Total mileage 730.3

*1 interval, 1 tempo, 2 long back to back days
**neck flare up :( followed by motorcycle trip to Maine :)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Bowdoinham Chicken Run???

I have no idea what Bowdoinham means but I do know its a beautiful part of the world. Located near the eastern shore of Maine just north of Portland this small community is a cool place to live or visit in my case. Great environment and really cool people.

On top of that, they held a 5k Chicken Run there this past weekend. My brother-in-law who has been living there with his family and active in this community for a number of years recently decided to take up running. I am psyched for him to have participated in and completed this race. WAY TO GO IMAN.

Can't wait to run with you!


Monday, September 14, 2009

21st Annual South Nyack Ten Miler

The South Nyack Ten Miler presented by Rockland County Road Runners was held this past Sunday. I have not participated in this race but Sunday was a beautiful day for a run along the Hudson and my friends Debra, Stephanie and Amy did just that and said it was a blast. Congrats to all them for finishing (1:32, 1:33 and 1:35 respoectively). Awesome!

Looking forward to our next run together at Rockies.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Countdown to North Face 50 Miler

Well thats it....last weekend of training finished. I wish I felt some sense of satisfaction but somehow after all that work I feel unsatisfied or perhaps anxious is a better description. I have felt this prior to the marathons I have done but this is somehow different. The butterflies are constant. I cant wait to get out there. Until then I will just have to sit back and watch the Redskins kick the crap out of the Giants today (thats for my wife:)

Thanks to all those who have supported my fundraising efforts for The Multiple Myeloma Resarch Foundation for whom we have raised nearly $4,000 this year bringing our 3 year total to over $30,000. And in our first year we have also raised nearly $5,000 for Memorial Sloan Kettering's Pancreatic Cancer Fund.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Day New Things: My First Post

First thanks to my wife Tani for coming up with "Just a mile to go.....". And for her technical support, as I have no idea what I am doing.

Today was another great morning at Rockies. As usual I met up with my friend David who introduced me to this great spot for an early morning run. Today however, was a special treat as we met up with Anthony Portera. Tony is a seasoned ultra runner including a recent finish at Badwater and a double, 50 miles followed the next day by a Marathon at the Grand Tetons. It was cool to meet him and I look forward to many more runs. Maybe he can help out with some blog ideas too, you should visit his, its awsome and informative I stole putting all these links in from him, i think its cool.

Anyway, tomorrow morning is my last weekend training run before I head to DC for my second ultra and first 50 Miler at The North Face Endurance Challenge. Can't wait!

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