Friday, June 25, 2010

GOT GEAR? Vol. I

I recently read a post on a new blog started by my friend and brother-in-law Iman, called FIT AT FIFTY-THE LAST LEG-WHAT'S IN A NAME?. His thoughtful writing will encourage you to think, speak and challenge yourself mentally and physically and I can guaranty you a few laughs along the way. In this particular post he commented on his original workout gear, old style running shorts and a cotton t-shirt. I immediately began thinking about all the gear I have collected the past few years.

I always thought running was a very minimalist sport. All you need to do is put on your shoes and out the door you go right? In its simplest form yes! However, as I continue to enjoy this ride my desire to learn more and test new boundaries has driven an insatiable appetite for more gear.

First of course you gotta have shoes. I have currently amassed some 25 pairs. Eighteen of them I don't use anymore and I am donating to charity (please let me know if you are aware of one that will come pick up all these old soles, or a drop off in Westchester). I have another 7 pairs of both trail and road shoes in my current rotation.


Next, was a big surprise, even to me. Somehow I have managed to acquire 27 technical shirts (long & short sleeved), 12 pair of running and compression shorts and 3 cold weather running pants. Note, several of the shirts are courtesy of my charity of choice MMRF.

To conclude Vol. I of GOT GEAR? 18 pairs of moisture wicking socks (many courtesy of Drymax), 8 hats (lids & cold weather), 5 pairs of gloves and mittens, 2 cold weather face masks, 1 pair of ankle gaiters and 5 jackets.

When I first look at these photos it seems nuts to me too, but I can point out why I may have acquired any particular item and when I like to wear certain articles.

Next up in GOT GEAR? Vol. II, I will cover the other stuff, including hydration, safety, nutrition, travel/storage and probably numerous miscellaneous toys.

Remember to support a charity and keep enjoying the ride. Peace E

Monday, June 14, 2010

MMRF 5k Race for Research


It's been a while since I ran a 5k, and today I am happy I did. My family and I gathered this past Sunday with many others to run, raise awareness and of course money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It was MMRF's annual 5k run/walk in New Canaan, CT. It was a fun event, and you could feel the love and spirit all around. It really had a great community feel in a beautiful town, and thankfully it was a very successful fundraiser. I believe the announcement said over $350,000 was raised.

Kathy Giusti, Co-Founder and CEO of MMRF spoke briefly before the run as did Ann Curry. I met Kathy briefly last year at the NYC Marathon. I recall her positive energy and genuine excitement watching all the runners, although as you would expect there was a little extra for the MMRF Team Members when they came by. Truly a great leader for this cause. I have never met Ann but it was nice of her to come out and share some positive words.


We also ran into many friends including Alicia O'Neill and Jane Hoffmann who head up the Marathon Program. I have said it before and I will say it again, if you run for the MMRF, Alicia and Jane will provide all the support you need. They are great!
This was also an exciting day for Tani and I as our boys participated in this great event. They followed their first race last week (TNF's Karno's Kids Race 1k) with their first 5k today. We ran together and it was special (actually Isla rolled her way to an impressive finish:). For the record, Jared finished in 32 minutes and Kyle in 39 minutes and most importantly, they say it was fun.

Here are some cool videos of my family running. Great cause and fun memories. And don't forget if you would like to contribute just click on my fundraising page. Peace

video video video

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The North Face Endurance Challenge, DC

Another weekend of running and what a blast. Not only did our sons get to see us run for the first time, they also ran their first race. We went to Virginia for TNF's Endurance Challenge, Washington DC, which has races on Saturday and Sunday ranging from the 1k Karno's Kids Race to a 50 miler.

The alarm clock went off at 3:30 am Saturday so I could get in a quick bowl of oatmeal and take care of any last minute preparation for the 5am start of the 50 miler. A few minutes before 4am I woke up Tani and the boys so we could head to the start. We grabbed Isla, loaded the car and off we went. I was really psyched for the boys to see everything from start to finish. I think they thought the scene was cool at the start and I know they thought it was cool being up at 4 in the morning. Despite all this coolness it was already around 75 degrees at the start. I had been mentally preparing for serious heat, humidity and rain all week. This day would eventually hit around 90 with thick breath taking humidity.


We arrived at the start with less than 10 minutes to spare, I quickly filled my two bottles with my chosen mixture, lubed up, took a few pictures, and before I knew it, the journey began for 200 of us. One of my favorite aspects of ultra events (at least the ones I have been to) is the fact you can show up 10 minutes prior, park a few hundred yards from the start and then someone says "Go". Off into the early morning darkness we went. I love starting my runs when the sun is down because it is so beautiful every morning when the sun comes up. The air and light are crisp and the smells are fresh. The first 15 miles of this course are very runnable with fire roads, some nice single track along the Potomac River on the Potomac Heritage Trail. As I pass through several open fields the sun sharply lights the tall grass and high brush on either side of me. There are a few short but steep climbs and a couple of small stream crossings. I made it through this section in about 2hrs 30 min which was right on my plan.The next section of the course located at Great Falls consists of a loop just under a 7 miles which must be completed three times. I like this part of the course which also includes a section known as the Difficult Run. Not only is it the most technical section (although not very) and has the most elevation (not much), it is so spectator friendly, easy for family and friends to hang out for each loop. Because it is near the falls and main parking lot there are also many people just visiting. They seem to get caught up in the action and cheer runners on at the falls and all along the trails we are all sharing.

I averaged about 1hr 15min for each of the first 2 loops. Then my family was there and I was psyched to see them.


The heat was really starting to get to me and having Tani, Isla, Jared and Kyle there for support got me psyched. So after some quick hellos and freshly filled bottles off I went, as happy as I could be on my last loop before heading back to the Heritage Trail. Unfortunately the joy faded quickly as I hit the first climb coming out of the AS. The struggle was on, stomach issues and the worst chaffing I have ever experienced were coming on strong. I would later say it felt like a bowl of freshly chopped jalapenos was dumped down my shorts. I pushed my way through the 3rd loop in about 1hr 30min, giving back the entire cushion I built up in the first 15 miles. This would mean I would need to run the last 15 just a well as I ran the first. As much as I wished this could happen, today was not going to be my first sub 9hr 50.

So as I have learned rather quickly, ultras are more often than not subject to change. I adjusted my goal, and set my sites on finishing, and doing it under 10hrs. My boys escorted me out of Great Falls running about 1/4 mile with me. This felt really good especially when they told me I could do it and if I pushed I could make it under 9 1/2.

As I battled my way, mentally most of the time, through the last 15 miles I was feeling hot, stomach issues, hungry, blisters, jalapenos which were turning into habernos and somewhat alone. As hard as I think I push myself this was the first time I ever had any serious doubts about finishing. I kept waiting for something to knock me down. (Check out my jacked up foot. If you can see your way through high brush there is nice blister on my 2nd little toe. I thought it best not to photograph the jalepenos.)
I kept pushing and kept standing, I just felt like ass. Although I felt disappointed for a while, the more I think back the better I feel. I pushed through some rough moments and finished. Most of all my family was there as always at the finish and my boys took me home making it all worth it. Cant wait to do it again.
Thankfully I made it under 10 hours because I was able to watch Jared & Kyle run their first race, and run it with Dean Karnazes. His story originally inspired me to start running again back in 2006. My boys kicked butt, had a great time and could not stop talking about running the 5k next year.
We rounded out the weekend the following morning by coming out to support Tani and Diana while they ran the 5k. It was another hot day and Diana and Tani were awesome. D completed her first 5k and T improved here time from Bear Mountain just 4 weeks earlier by 16 minutes.
As much as I love running my events, I feel best watching and supporting Tani and my boys (you too Diana).

I can't wait to see them all run again! It's awesome:)

Peace

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Whole Family Ran

Amazing weekend of fun for us all. As we all know here in the Northeast it was mighty hot. That did not stop me, Tani, Kyle and Jared from participating at The North Face events in Virginia this weekend. Its called The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington, DC but lets give credit where its due. The entire event takes place in Virginia. More details to follow this week but for now:

I ran the 50 miler and finished.

Tani ran the 5k and finished.

Jared & Kyle ran the 1k and finished.

We got to see our family and friends and we all had an amazing time. Special thanks must go to Diana (also ran and finished the 5k) & Tom who once again were great hosts. If you are ever in Virginia you should stay there. They will provide you with shelter, food, all the beer you can drink and if you are lucky, send you home with a nice bottle of scotch.

Peace
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