Saturday, December 24, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #28 Maintaining Through The Holidays? Yeah Right!

The holiday season is in full swing, and as always the hot topic besides how many days in a row retail stores can stay open, is how is one suppose to maintain a balance of fitness with all the eating and drinking. The typical answer is exactly the same as the rest of the year, but that is boring.

My opinion on this one is you don't. It is just too much damn fun to celebrate with family and friends. Get out there and do the best you can to off set all those nasty but joyous calories ingested through your  favorite holiday desserts and beverages. Just don't beat yourself up over it. I use this time of year as an excuse to let loose and get it all out--actually to get it all in:). Additionally I think its a great time to allow your body to recover from a tough year.

I may put on a pound or two, I may lose a couple steps in my running pace, but So What!!!

It is 100% worth it to me. I am going to enjoy this holiday season with my family and friends and not regret it for one moment.  However you choose to enjoy the holidays, my family and I wish you all the best and are looking forward to sharing our experiences with you in the coming year.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Always Listen To Your Doctor???

I need to let off a little steam here.  I made a very poor decision a few weeks back and have been debating about this post for nearly 2 weeks. I would never tell anyone not to listen to their doctor but I have often wondered if I may know better on occasion where my own condition is concerned.  I went to have my ankle looked at a couple weeks ago to make sure I had not done any real damage at Javelina. As I suspected the doctor found nothing. I have been going to the same orthopedic group for years. I have been there for knee, foot, ankle and IT diagnosis and have always had great care but for some idiotic reason decided to try this new guy. I was intrigued by the fact that he is an athlete himself and promotes that heavily (marathons, triathlons).

During our visit he made what I thought to be an odd assessment. He told me that I severely over pronate.  I was sitting on the table when he broke the news and other than 2 or 3 hops on my right foot he had not seen me touch the ground let alone walk or run. In my mind I was thinking "what on earth makes you think that and how the hell did you come up with this interesting conclusion".  What I actually said was "I have had my stride analyzed several times and have never been told that I over pronate and am in fact neutral".  Is it possible that things could have changed I wondered?  The doctor seemed to think it was obvious.  He said I should get an orthodic called Powerstep. I bought them and tried them because doctors know best.  Right?


I even had confirmation from my wife who looked at me like I was crazy when I showed up at home with these things and shared the story. After my first run I sent him an email explaining all of the things I was concerned about from the arch, foot position and ankle discomfort. He suggested I keep at it, allowing the orthodics to break in. So I kept at it for the next week running minimal mileage. I never ran more than 9 miles and began to experience what I would describe as significant knee pain at the base of my right patella. It was not constant but up hill/stairs, down hill/stairs, during the act of standing up or sitting down and even pushing my chair back at my desk would send sharp twinges through my knee.

Bye Bye orthodics and guess what?  No more pain.  Just had a great week of pain free running. Returned the orthodics too, as they come with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

I will continue to listen to my doctor's medical advice but I think I will follow my own advise and instincts where running is concerned.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Running is My Drano!

Yesterday during my first run over 10 miles since Javelina, I was telling my friend David how much I missed being out there.  Not because of how running makes me feel in the moment, but because running brings a certain freedom to the rest of my day.  During the past few weeks I decided to take some time off so I could recover mentally and physically from a long year. Although my planned recovery was not comprised of complete abstinence, I thought significant rest would help me feel more focused in mind and ready in body. Au contraire! It's as if my veins are clogged with negative energy, numbing my synapse to the point where everything is in slow motion. I have been battling laziness, lack of motivation and confidence, crankiness, and blurred focus.

I have decided that running is actually my Drano! For normal clogs just a half bottle is required (short run). For major clogs use the entire bottle (long run). Fifteen to thirty minutes after pouring in the required amount flush thoroughly with warm water (shower).


Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Running" The Common Denominator

I have had a couple of hours to reflect on my run today. On the surface, just another 9 miles at Rockefeller State Park on a beautiful December morning. I have run every inch of every trail here many times over. So why write about today? Because today I ran with about 15 people I have never met before.

I met this guy Mark a couple of weeks ago through a mutual friend. Mark was telling her about his plan to run his first ultra this coming April and she suggested we meet.  So we emailed a couple of times and had lunch. It turns out Mark is a member (founding member I believe) of the NEW RO RUNNERS, a local running club based out of New Rochelle, New York with about 130 members. They organize runs every Saturday and Sunday around Westchester County. In addition they race together and yes socialize together. I recall mark telling me how running has brought them all together not only in running but community. Their slogan happens to be "Changing the shape of the community - one mile at a time".

What brought these people together in the first place? Women and Men of different races, religions, ages and running abilities all hanging out for one simple reason...they love to run.  It's that simple.  The reality is if not for running most of these people may never have met let alone get together. It is unfortunate, but often the things that make us all so interesting are the differences that keep us apart. The awesome thing is many of us have running in common and that alone has the power to break down many barriers and bring so many wonderful people together.

Thank you Mark for inviting me to join you all today. Always nice to meet so many new people. Running has done so much for me and meeting new and interesting people is certainly at the top of the list.

Get out there and run with someone you don't know soon. You may be surprised at what you find.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #27 Gym Locker Rooms Are Public

I often find myself shaking my head at the things people do in the locker room. Many seem to be going about their business as if it were their own personal space. After my run-in with a man who thought the sauna was built for him to warm his clothes and dry off after a shower, I thought I would share some of the other actions I consider rude, awkward, disgusting or just hysterical. If you have not guessed, it is my opinion that none of these activities belong in places we share with others. I also asked Tani to confirm, deny or add to my list for the ladies.

  1. Do not drop your pants or towel 2 inches or even 2 feet from my face.
  2. The sauna is not your walk-in closet, changing room or dryer. It is a place for most of us to relax (maybe stretch) and that's it. Do not dry your clothes, bathing suits or body in the sauna. Do not sit next to me naked and please, please do not stretch naked in front of me.
  3. Do not sit on the benches bare assed.
  4. If you are talking to anyone, wear a towel. I actually think we should all where a towel at all times unless in the shower.
  5. Don't wipe your boogers on the wall.
  6. If I am blocking your locker just say excuse me and give me a chance to move out of your way.  Don't just push your way past or lean over me.  Especially if you are naked.
  7. Do not blow dry your junk. I actually saw some dude put one leg up on the counter and blow dry his world.  Seriously???
  1. Please do not apply or insert feminine products while sitting in front of your locker.....go to the bathroom!!
  2. Don't stare.....
  3. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 from above apply.  Boogers on the wall?  Really, that's just gross.  Thank goodness I have never witnessed number 7 in the Women's locker room!
If anyone has other eyewitness accounts of rude, funny, awkward or down right disgusting locker room acts please share and I will certainly add to the list.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is Failure?

It was one of the longest rides of my life.  For 30 minutes I sat on the cold hard steel bed of a white pick up truck, crammed in under two soaking wet sleeping bags with six other runners who for their own reasons had chosen to be there too. I sat there in silent pain listening to each of them explain their various reasons to each other, the rain, the cold, getting lost, there is no way I could have finished and so on. No reason is less valid to each individual. We must justify our choices to ourselves so we can move on. This however was not a conversation I found myself willing or interested in participating in. My decision was made and I would have to live with that. What was consuming my thoughts at this moment were how many people I may have let down, including myself.

Just 8 hours earlier I was shuffling my way toward completion of my 5th loop at the Javelina Jundred (mile 77) when I had one of those moments that keeps me coming back. I had been struggling most of the day and night when for a brief moment the pain had subsided enough that I began to run. Not with grace or speed but I was running. I had made it through many rough hours and for the first time since lap one I was certain I was going to finish the 101.4 miles I had set out to complete. During this short burst of tolerable motion I began to feel that love of brutally painful bliss. It is possible to be miserable yet wonderfully alive at the same time and that is where I was at that moment.

About 90 minutes later I slowly entered the start finish area again. I reached my gear around 11:30 pm, more than 17 hours from the start of my adventure and the reality of my situation was becoming apparent. The physical pain in my right ankle and shin was extreme as my body began to scream at me in anger. The mental decision before me was even worse and I was not prepared to give in, hoping that if I continued to follow my own advice of just one more step I would eventually fight through this somehow. As quickly as I could I prepared for the next 15.4 miles which I was now assuming would take me about 5 hours. I had been warned of a severe rain storm approaching which in these chilly temperatures can be brutal when one is not moving fast enough to generate any heat. I was ready and put on all my requisite gear of misery and crawled off into the unknown. This was the first time I have ever felt nervous about what lie ahead.

My plan at this point was to walk as well as I could to each aid station. Sit down there for a few minutes to rest my leg and take in a little nutrition. I was definitely feeling weak in my mind at this point and I wanted to be sure I took my time and thought through everything as not to make any poor decisions one way or the other. When I reached the first aid station 3 miles later it was raining hard. I was not bothered by it much and would have preferred to keep moving to stay warm but wanted to stick to the plan I had made. This may have been the big mistake but who the hell knows. As I sat there it felt as though my ankle was expanding and becoming rigid under my sock and gator. I needed to move although it would do no good.

I pushed myself back out into the freezing rain with the trail now a sluggish mess of sandy mush and invisible puddles in the dark. With every step my nerves sent an unpleasant message to my brain.  As if it were saying "If you take another step I can promise you are not going to like it". Oh yeah! Well fuck you I screamed back and I began to run. Only to be laughed at hysterically by my body which as it quietly suggested I should just lie down in the mud and quit. Of course I did not lay down but it did seem inviting on several occasions.

Several kind runners and pacers stopped to see if I was ok or needed anything during the next couple of hours, and that is what was so frustrating. I was walking as if I was catatonic, but I was not.  I was lucid, just unable to move forward with much purpose.  The effort was everything to me, the appearance was weak.

When I arrived at the next aid station now 4 miles after the last I asked for the time and was told it was 3:30. It took me 4 hours to travel 7 miles and with each step I was moving slower, with greater effort and an increased awareness of the pain. I sat again as planned only this time I knew I needed to sit for a while to see how I would feel over the next hour or so and try to make a rational, safe and smart decisions. They had a truck leaving about 20 minutes later and I declined this invite. People came and went over the next couple of hours. I was jealous, envious and angry. How and why was this happening to me. All I wanted was to keep going and finish. As I sat, my leg continued to swell and change color and I knew continuing on was not the smart choice for me. Self pitty now showed up as my hopes of finishing were now stolen from me (by my choice of course). As I barely made it to the truck under my own power, about 30 feet my fear of failure became reality.

So that's it.  Now what? What will my children think? What will my wife think? My family, friends, co-workers and all the others who have supported me, what would they think? At that moment I was not sure but I cared, a lot. At that moment I felt I had failed.

Now a couple of days later I have had time to think about it. Not justify but think and decipher. So I asked myself, what is failure? The dictionary says "lack of success". What is success? The dictionary says "the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors."

Many would say this was a failure because I did not complete the race.  If that is your definition you are correct.  Others would say I showed up and gave 100% and that is success. You too would be correct by your definition.

Well in my eyes this endeavor ended with prosperity and favor.  My family, friends and supporters have shown me that they are with me no matter what choices I made and are behind me 100%. Not just for the purpose of running and completing miles, but for what it means to so many of us who want to push limits, do more, find cures and live it like it's your last. So thanks to you all for everything.

With that, no matter what you do give all you got.  By the way, I am still not over it but some day:)

Just in case you wanted to see it! Guess which one was angry.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

JJ100 Going Back For More

In just a few short hours I will be heading back to Fountain Hills, Arizona for my 2nd running of the Javelina Jundred.  This was one of the most rewarding events I have ever completed, having suffered like never before at that time in 2010 and managing to finish. Last year's post "Down for the count at the Javelina Jundred" details the experience as I recalled it.

As always I look forward to sharing this experience with anyone who will listen, upon my return. If you want to follow the event they do have a live ultra cast with video and status of each runner. My wife and I will also try to post updates if possible on our Catskill 155 for MMRF Facebook Page.

Hope everyone else has an exciting weekend too.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making Choices! Follow up

In a recent post about making choices I hovered around the cop-out of making excuses and stated that we all have the same 24 hours in a day.  It's what we choose to do with our time that counts. Well as usual during my runs I got to thinking.  This past Saturday as I was running through the cool black predawn air, I began thinking about what I said. I began to wonder exactly how much time I spend running and cross training. Do I really spend that much time preparing for the runs I choose to do? I know I get up early, but I began to break it down.

Assume I run 2,200 miles averaging ten minute miles and cross train for 80 hours by the time this calendar year is complete.  That would be a total of 22,000 minutes or about 367 hours running. Combined with an estimated 80 hours of cross training the total is 447 hours of training and racing.  Just shy of 19 days which is approximately 5.1% of my time over the course of the year.  Even if we calculate this based on the 18 or 19 hours a day I am actually awake the percentage would only rise to about 7%.

My point is that as much time as we think it takes to achieve our goals, it's really not that much. If you decide to spend 1 hour per day, just 3 days per week, it only adds up to 6.5 days or less than 1.8% of your total time.

Whether you like to read, run, ride, meditate, volunteer or grow a 100% less than 5% of the time seems possible no?


Friday, October 28, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #26 The Dreadmill

Whatever the reason, and there are many, most of us will end up on a treadmill at some point. Nothing more exciting than running in place, indoors in front of the TV.  As much we may dread the treadmill (hence dreadmill) I have a number of ideas and practices that help me get through these workouts, and with significant benefit no less.

I understand these first two no nos are aids to help pass the time, but I have found that my way passes the time in an entertaining way too and gets me one hell of a work out.
  1. Don't read. I have never understood how people read and work out. If you are truly working out you can't possibly be able to focus on a book.
  2. Don't watch TV. I know they are there but don't plug in. Once again if you are focusing on a TV show or sporting event I am going to guess you are not focused on your workout. (Not to mention it's probably safer to focus on what you are doing. Ever seen someone go flying off the back of a treadmill. Looks funny as hell but I'll bet it doesn't feel funny).
  3. Nice one! Hope the movie was good.
  4. This is number one for me. Create a work out plan, such as speed intervals or hill repeats to implement during your treadmill run.  At a minimum, make it a tempo run, but I prefer the first two options. This will force you to work hard and keep your mind occupied as you constantly change what you are doing and have many shorter goals as opposed to one long goal of running for an hour on the evil but necessary human spinning wheel.
  5. Crank up the iPod. I put on may favorite tunes to help inspire me to work hard. I often work harder on the treadmill than I do outside. I think I am overcompensating but it works.
Here are a couple of sample workouts I will do.  Of course tailor your speed and incline levels to your level of comfort (or discomfort if you are working hard:).

Speed Option: Typical speed workout with equal intervals in distance and speed. 1 mile warm up. Then do 6 x 1/2 mile repeats at 8.5 to 9 with 1/4 mile easy between each back to 6.5. Finish with a 1 mile cool down at 6.5.

Important note; Anytime I am running "flat" I always have the incline on 1.0 to better simulate the effort of running outside.

Hill Repeats (I typically do these by time):
Option 1 ladders: 10 minute warm up. With speed remaining constant through the repeats at 7.0 or sometimes 7.5 I will run 2 to 3 minute hills with 2 min flat (1.0) between each. I will do the first repeat on a 4 percent incline and then increase each by .5 percent until I hit 7 or 7.5 percent. I will then do an additional 1 or 2 reps at the peak incline to get to 10 total reps (when I am doing the 3 minute reps I do it 8x). 10 minute cool down.

Option 2: After my warm up I will do 5 reps, 5 minutes each with 2.5 minutes flat (1%). Each hill will be on 6% and 7.0 speed. And of course a cool down.

All of the above will yield between 6 and 7 miles and take 1 hour or less. They also kick my ass, I love it.

Peace E

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The C&O Trail

This weekend I was in Arlington, VA for my wife's HS reunion.  As usual when I travel I need to find a place to run. Most of the time when we head down to DC/VA I usually run at Great Falls on the Virginia side. On this trip we were staying about a mile and a half away from the Key Bridge which crosses the Potomac River into Georgetown. When I Googled running places the first thing I saw was the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail. This National Historic Park is 184.5 miles long and the canal was a lifeline for communities and businesses along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, grain and other agricultural products floated down the canal to market.

This seemed interesting and when I looked at the map, I saw that Great Falls was just 15 miles up the trail from Georgetown. I had never run the Maryland side of Great Falls and although I would need to turn around as soon as I got there, it seemed like a great route.  I hit the trail around 7:30am and 32+ miles later I was back in Arlington. I highly recommend the Great Falls section of the trail which had some incredible views and overall was more interesting than the first 13 miles or so to get there. In other words drive to Great Falls. The trail was flat the entire way and those first twelve miles along the canal were boring. The scenery rarely changes and the canal was either filled with stagnant nasty water or empty.

It was however a great run in the end. I always enjoy running through part of our history. I tried to capture the more memorable sites and am happy to share them with you in this slide show. Peace


Thursday, October 20, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #25 Making Choices!

Snooze or get's a choice
All too often I hear people say they just don’t have the time to exercise wether it be a walk, run, ride, swim or whatever your poison is. I always respectfully, although bluntly disagree. I don't mean to sound like a complete a-hole here, I would just prefer and think it's better for all concerned if we just call it what it is. Certainly there are times when work, family and numerous other life realities make it difficult to squeeze in a much needed workout or yoga practice.

Generally speaking however, we all have the same amount of time. My day is 24 hours just like yours. I have a full time job that requires serious commitment, a family with 3 children and yes, I actually have friends I like to hang out with on occasion (some of them even like me). No one person's time is any more valuable than another's. It is simply a question of what we choose to do with it.

Example #1: We all have the same 4 to 6am slot every morning before getting up to go to work. I choose to get up and run. I would love to stay in bed and sleep:) but again I choose not to.

Example #2: Many people are "not morning people" and choose to do their workouts at night after work.  I choose to have a beer on the train ride home, kiss my daughter goodnight when I get there then sit on the couch, eat dinner and drink more beer while I watch TV with my wife.
We are all busy and making choices usually means sacrificing something else. Just say I choose to sleep rather than get up and run.  Or better yet, say...
"I choose to walk, run, ride, swim or go to the gym rather than sleep"
Sounds better and feels better. You can do it if you choose to:)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Catskill 155 Part 3 - The Run

Tani hamming it up pre-run!
7pm, August 11, 2011. All the nerves and pent up energy are immediately released as I began my 155 mile adventure with a few short steps down my friend’s driveway in the small upstate town of Oneonta, NY. Oh shit, I forgot to hug my wife. Yes folks that is right, I hugged every person in that driveway except the one who means the most to me. So I turned around, went back and we embraced. It was funny and emotional at the same time, and I had already made the run longer basically before leaving. With the final hug complete, after months of expectation, my crew, friends and many supporters on-line we were off into the unknown. One of the most beautiful things about running these long distances is precisely that. Not knowing what lies ahead. Even though we may have been through it before it’s never the same. Exhausting, painful and incredibly hard every time, yet different.

Matt and Rich dish out crew's 1st meal
As I wound through the first few local streets and out onto Main Street I had this funny feeling, as though I was in my own little bubble. There were people around, driving, cycling or walking by and they had no idea what was up. Why would they?

My world had been and was consumed by the Catskill 155, while everyone else moved about their daily routine. I began to talk to myself about what lay ahead, and then my crew flew by screaming out the window and honking their horns with excitement. I loved that but they were gone in about 2 seconds and I was alone again with my thoughts.  A sudden reality check that I would have many moments of excitement with significantly longer periods of solitude. I knew it would be like this for most of the next 10 to 12 hours as I had chosen to spend this first night alone while I was coherent and able to run safely through the night. I also thought it would provide a great chance for me to reflect on my life with lucidity during a beautiful starlit night in the country.

Be visible on the road
The first few hours were relatively uneventful. The weather was perfect, in the 50s as the evening chill began to settle in. My crew and I began to work together. They were travelling about 3 miles at a time before I would see them and refill bottles, check on me and so on. As night fell I donned my usual night gear plus a little extra (reflective vest, headlamp, flashing led, and 2 Nathan Reflective Snap Bands). When my buddy Jeff showed up around 10pm or so, he assured me that he could see me shining brightly from afar even with the lamp facing the other way. Great to know that I was visible out there but still, I needed to be alert with traffic flying by late night often at warp speed. Jeff and I had some good laughs for an hour or so as he slowly drove along side me on the other side of the road. Mostly we joked sarcastically about how I should be drinking the whole way and what an idiot I was for doing this.

The night remained perfectly clear, the moon lighting the way and millions of stars blazing through my frosted breath. After Jeff left it was eerily quiet but for the sound of my breathing and footsteps. There was also the occasional coyote in the distance with its howl cascading across the valley. During my previous runs through the night I often wished my wife could be out there too. Not to help me, but to enjoy the moment of struggle and serenity with me. I find the early morning hours to be those when I am at my lowest, but it’s also those hours I find most beautiful. Truly alone to your own thoughts and decisions about what you will do at the toughest moments. I was not struggling as we were only about 20 miles in but I asked Tani to come out with me to enjoy the night sky. We turned off our headlamps for a minute or two to really soak in the night. It would have been nice to go the entire few miles we spent together in the dark but too dangerous. At one point as we were passing by one of many farms a pick up truck flew by heading east as we were and then suddenly made a u-turn to begin heading back our way. We were a little nervous as they slowly approached us until they stopped, and two men staring in disbelief simply said, "Are you shittin me?" We all had a good laugh with nothing else needing to be said. It's not often anyone is seen running down these roads let alone in the middle of the night lit up like christmas trees.

My brother came out with me for about a mile or so as well. This too was a special moment as I am certain it has been some time since my brother has worn a pair of sneakers for the purpose of running. I was hoping this experience would be the beginning of something enlightening for him. Time will tell, but regardless we spent time together throughout this journey that we will both remember forever. As we approached completion of marathon number 1 it was a little after midnight and I was in desperate need of a bathroom. I knew there was a gas station not too far up the road and had thought it may in fact be open all night. Unfortunately I was wrong, but fortunately my crew had gone ahead and convinced the people closing up to let me in. Perhaps they were just curious about what I was doing, but be it curiosity or kindness I was appreciative. They also came out to greet me and I had a chance to chat with a couple of them. One of the women told me she was about to light up a cigarette but decided not to because I was there.  She also said she had been contemplating quitting. I told her that I was a former smoker and remember her saying "You are not even out of breath!" I let her know that when I smoked I could not walk up a flight of stairs without gasping. She seemed encouraged and I really hope she did not smoke that cigarette.

Tony and I nearing mile 50
I spent the remainder of the night alone, enjoying the experience and relishing in my fortune. I am so lucky I thought, to be out here with my friends and family sharing in a one-of-a-kind adventure while working towards a lofty goal for a worthy cause.

Shortly before sunrise around mile 40 Tony decided to come out and join me. I was feeling well but I already had a couple of hot spots brewing on my feet. I have never had blister problems, but had also not run more than 30 miles straight on pavement before. With over a hundred miles to go this was a concern at this early stage. I decided however not to look at my feet at this point and continue on. I was more fearful of sitting than seeing what blisters may be developing. Beware of the chair as they say. We continued until just after sunrise when the first crew shift change was scheduled. Tani and Tony were going to stay with me the entire run, Rich and Cheryl were on the first shift and then Matt, Cori and Sean would rotate with them every 10 or 12 hours. This gave everyone a chance to rest including Tani and Tony who could nap in the car if needed (which it was). While we discussed crew responsibility, shifts and so on prior, I really wanted to stay out of crew decisions as much as possible at this point and focus on my running.

Me and Donna
At this first shift change our good friend Donna also showed up. It was so cool of her to choose to spend her Friday out on the road with us. Coming in from nearby High Falls, NY Donna didn’t miss a beat and jumped right in and started running with me. We spent the next couple of hours together passing by Hunter Mountain and then heading south toward Phoenicia. Phoenicia was a fitting direction for Donna and I as Tani and I introduced Donna and her other half Greg to Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia a couple years ago. Sweet Sue's is a kick ass restaurant for breakfast and lunch and we have been there together many times since. I was looking forward to some Blue Monkey Pancakes, one of their specialties which the crew had promised to get. I wished I could have stomached my favorite, their homemade corned beef hash but that was not possible. The Catskill Region has suffered immensely since Hurricane Irene and while the town of Phoenecia was impacted I have heard they fought back and I look forward to getting up their soon to eat and support.

A Yankee fan keeping me on track
At some point shortly after turning south heading towards Phoenicia, Sean jumped in. I know Sean from work, and a few nights out drinking but I had no idea what to expect from him in the running department. When he heard about crewing for me he said he would love to help out and I just said yes. Simple as that.  When Sean came out to run, I asked him what his level of fitness was and how much running he could do. I know it probably was not the best time to be learning this little bit of information but I felt the experience was more about the people not how far they could run so I never asked.  His response was perfect.  "I am here to do whatever you need me to do".  So we ran, for quite a while and Sean never faltered.

Bodyguards in Phoenicia
Strolling through the little town of Phoenicia was fun as we walked by Sweet Sue's, me and my entourage that is:) with Tani trying to get the crowd going (see photos left and below).  I continued out of town alone as my crew waited for the coveted stack of Blue Monkeys for all of us.  By the way, Blue Monkeys are a gigantic, delicious combo of banana, blueberry and pancake. Matt caught up to me just as I turned the corner onto Route 28 exiting Phoenecia.  We were were running at a good pace now but after a few miles we had to slow up as Tani jumped in with my dose of Blue Monkeys. It was impossible to say no, but I only managed to eat a bite or two (all that longing and waiting for just a couple bites? It was worth it!). It was now about 3 in the afternoon, warming up a bit and I could not stomach solid food.  I had been running for 18 hours and awake for 33 hours.  To put this into context, all the things that typically start to go wrong for me in a 100 mile race were in full swing at this point.  It was so strange to be feeling all of these effects in the middle of the day.  This was where I first became concerned about what lay ahead.  I was not even half way and already I was exhausted, having doubts, and the blisters were a coming.
Tani celebrates Blue Monkey Pancakes
After some time with Tani, we agreed that I would sit down at the next turn for the first time.  As it would turn out this would not be the last, but it was the right move. While sitting on the back of the van simply to rest for a minute, we decided to look at my feet.  There were some hot spots, and it seemed prudent to check on them.  When the shoes came off, the first thing I noticed was how red my feet and ankles were. Fortunately, I had been through this before (that's funny to think I was fortunate to have feet that looked like they had been subjected to some obscure chemical testing). I knew that this was nothing serious but I could see a look of concern in some of my crew's eyes who had not seen this before.  As I marveled at the redness I recall smiling and laughing at how red they were, trying to make light of it.  In addition there was a large hot spot, several inches long on my right arch, a small blister on my 2nd toe left foot and small blisters on the balls of both feet.  All things to keep an eye on, but nothing worth working on right now. I changed into a fresh pair of Drymax Socks and hoped a different pair of shoes would relieve my troubled spots. Cori was now running with me as we turned off the main road and began to make our way around the Ashokan Resevoir.  Although one of the most beautiful sections of the run, it would turn out to be a very rough stretch.

Me and Cori
I know Cori and I  were running at a decent pace, but I was beginning to feel the effects of no sleep.  It was now around 3 or 4pm, approximately 75-80 miles in and I was extremely tired.  Leading up to this run, we had discussed the starting time at nauseum, knowing that starting at night, after being up all day would put me well behind on sleep and at risk sooner than a usual hundred miler (not to mention this was 55 miles further). Typically prior to a 100 mile run, I get a reasonable nights sleep, 5 to 6 hours. I wake up around 4am and begin running at 6 or 7am. This time, I woke up at 6am, spent all morning packing, getting the rental van, loading the van, driving Upstate to the start at which time I chilled at Jeff and Nikki's house but never slept.  When I started running at 7pm I had already been awake for 13 hours.  Usually in 100 milers I would have already covered over 60 miles at that point in the day. Instead I had now been up for about 33 hours and covered about 75, and I felt like it.

Emotional Purge!
After an hour or so with Cori, Sean stepped back in. I was trying my best to stay positive, and he was trying to help but as we hit one rolling hill after another I soon became frustrated as the next turn or milestone never seemed to come. I began to wonder, "What the hell was I thinking?". "155 miles? You're an idiot!".  I want to be clear, I never thought of stopping, I was just extremely frustrated with my situation and it was becoming very difficult for me to rationalize anything.  I was becoming very overwhelmed with what I still needed to do. When the turn I had been waiting for finally came, I sat down on the tailgate put my face in a towel and began to sob uncontrollably.  The only way I can describe this moment is a purging of all doubt.  I just needed to let out all of the frustration that had been building and then start over. So I did. No one said anything to me. A few pats on the back, rubs of encouragement and that was it. This was a perfect reaction from my crew and I attribute this one to my wife who knows me best. I did not see but I can visualize her looking everyone off from saying anything. After a few minutes and a deep breath, up and at em again.

Matt and I getting aid on the go
Matt was now by my side and it felt good to be with my good friend.  I recall us laughing a bit at the situation. We had run into a construction detour which we went through and agreed to meet the crew vehicle on the other side.  Donna had scouted this out earlier and said we could get through on foot so we went for it. As we dove deeper into the construction zone we were joking and imagining if something actually came up we could not get through.  Then we saw the place where the bridge had been.  It was only about 10 feet across but, no bridge. Uh oh.  This would mean about 2 miles back and the added distance of the detour.  I was devastated for about 2 seconds as my heart sank until Matt pointed out a crossing on some rocks to one side of the former bridge. Thank God, because backtracking to the detour would have added about 5 miles and devastated my current mental state.

At our next stop, Donna was back and now Greg had joined her too. Greg, Donna, Tani and I have been close friend for many years and have actually spent many incredible days riding our motorcycles through many beautiful places in this country including the very same roads we were now running together in the Catskills. I had requested some chicken noodle soup a while back and Greg informed me it was waiting across the street.  Although my spirits were very low, I recall the atmosphere amongst the crew and friends being quite good at this time as everyone had gathered in a parking lot as if they were presenting me with the ultimate prize, soup!  Well, I was so excited to have it and as I walked away with my sister-in-law Cheryl I began to take what was sure to be the sip that would get me moving well again. "Holly shit" I said after spitting out my only swig. I was not sure what it was but whatever I tasted was incredibly spicy and not what my stomach could take.  Cheryl went back as I continued ahead.

Eventually Cheryl caught up to me again with the news that the entire crew tasted the soup upon her return and had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently I was the only one whose taste buds sensed any spice and anything other than chicken noodle. Not only was my mind wasted but so was my tongue.

Nap #1
Shortly after the soup incident Greg joined for a short while.  Short because I had finally reached the point where I really felt the exhaustion taking over my entire mind and body.  I was having trouble focusing and decisions were nearly impossible. My feet were killing me, swollen with several blisters and as I sat there with my feet in a bucket of ice I looked up and apologized to everyone, saying "I am so sorry, but I think I need to sleep for a few minutes".  Thankfully they agreed, and rather than pushing me at this moment all worked together to get me set up in a chair for quick nap, not to exceed 15 minutes. This turned out to be the right decision because when I woke up 15 minutes later, I felt refreshed. Not fresh, just better than I had.  I liken a short snooze like this to pulling over at a rest area when you are falling asleep at the wheel.  Just a quick 10 or 15 minutes of rest and you are good to go for several more hours. I was uncertain how long this would last but only one direction to go, forward.
Greg pushing me along
Donna, took off with me again and as we began heading south towards New Paltz we had a discussion about mileage.  I had my watch covered for the last 10 hours or so because it was not helping. It was a constant reminder of how much further we had to go. We had reached the 100 mile mark and high fived.  Still a long way to go but certainly a wonderful milestone.  I asked Greg to spend some time with me after the milestone and about 6 miles later, night was upon us again and we were about to make the turn into New Paltz. The crew was cheering, Cheryl was filming and I heard some very disappointing news.  "100 MILES".  WTF I thought.  "Are you kidding me? I thought we were at 100 miles an hour and a half ago" is what I said. I began to sulk and just continued past the crew without another word. I actually thought this was going to be devastating to my psyche. Some how as Greg and I now continued forward, we laughed and joked at my frustration.
Smiles before losing the crew

Nap #2
Over the next hour or two, I lost my crew in New Paltz, Donna was rear ended in a parking lot and I tried desperately and unsuccessfully to relieve the pressure in the blister under my left foot.  It was under a thick callous and I just could not get to it with the dull scissors I had. Around 12:30 am after spending 15 minutes or so trying to break through to relieve the pressure, Nap number 2 was in order.  We agreed again that I would sleep for no more than 15 minutes but it was clear I needed to get my faculties back in order. Here are two links to videos which may give some insight. Video 1 shows how difficult it was for me to think. I am staring into my medical box looking for something and just can’t focus. I actually remember this moment vividly and despite not being able to focus enough to grab what I needed out of the box I knew exactly what I wanted. Video 2 is shortly after waking from my nap. Although moving, trying to eat and maintain a sense of humor I am not feeling great.

Cleanup from the big one
A couple hours after the 2nd video, the crew shift change was nearly upon us. I had been desperately asking when this moment would occur. I knew they were way behind schedule and the blister on my left foot was severely impeding my progress at this point. Every other step felt as if there was a large, sharp, hot object jabbing the inside of my foot. I recall snapping at Tani earlier, “I don’t give a shit how they do it but they better find a needle and get here soon.” There were a couple of times I snapped during this run and I know there was one of them (I think the other was something about no mustard:). Shortly before Matt, Cori and Sean arrive with the needle, but not knowing where they were, I was once again tried to jam the dull scissors through, under and around the callous to relieve the pressure. It was just impossible. No amount of force would get that scissors through. I was about to put my shoe back on and start walking when they showed up.  Tani took the needle, cleaned it and then while I squeezed the now blood filled impediment she inserted the needle. Slowly it seemed to go in to my foot nearly half its length. I still felt no direct pain but we decided to remove it for fear of going in too far.  As soon as the tip emerged its was a rush of bloody pussy nastiness.  My entire crew and I all let out a simultaneous "OHHHHHH!" and all began laughing. I think we were all amazed at its grossness while elated at the release and hopeful this would make a difference.

Once again, it was time to move. I can't remember but I think it was Tony who continued on with me at this point.  Now somewhere around 4am we made our way through a few more very quiet, small, residential back roads when we emerged upon a more commercial road. The crew had pulled off a mile or so back to gas up, stock up and do whatever they needed when I was overcome with exhaustion, again. The next few minutes seemed endless as all I wanted was to sleep and was having a very hard time thinking about moving forward let alone standing.  When the van showed up I jumped in and said wake me up in 10 or 15 minutes.

I had now struggled to complete about 30 miles in 10 hours.  I did not actually realize how slow I was moving until just now as I am writing this. I knew it had been a long night with lots of walking. I wish I could explain just how tired I was. I have literally fallen asleep on my feet before (Bartram 100 in 2010) but this was way beyond that. It was very hard to focus.  The big picture had long vacated my thoughts at this point. The finish may come but I could not bother thinking about it. Continuing forward progress was my sole focus, one step and simply one moment at a time.  I was hoping that after a long night, just before the sun was coming up that this would be the 10 minute energy nap.  As with the other 2 naps, I did not wake up and simply begin running. I was always stiff, achy and exhausted.  As I began to move forward, this time with Matt at my side I would not say I was outwardly better. I took all the energy I could muster as I began to discuss with myself what lay ahead. Not the 30+ miles of dreaded pavement, as I said that was too much to bare.  What I began to think about was so much more.  Matt and I were starting to slowly jog over some highway, the sun was rising, the cars were buzzing by, and it kind of brought me back to reality in a sense. I had been struggling for so many hours through the endless night that all of my thoughts had become compartmentalized in the "poor me" department. The purple and pink sun rise and whizzing cars jolted me back to that sense of purpose. I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something that might fix them or give them hope. I thought of the 8 years Anita has been fighting, the prostate cancer my father battled and all the stories people have shared with me leading up to this run. I now needed to rely on their strength and courage to get me through this.  I turned up the music, and began to fight for Anita, my father and so many others.  I was also battling with them as I new they were all with me and willing me to finish. The sun was up and we were going to kick some ass.

Running for donuts
The donuts!!!
I began to move well and better yet, consistent. The blister pain in my left foot was no longer a problem. After a few miles with Matt I recall asking if the crew would mind if I ran alone for a while. Apparently I looked well enough to be on my own, so they agreed. I saw them a couple miles later and was feeling really good, relatively speaking of course. I wanted to keep the momentum going and take it while it lasted. When I came up on the crew again after 2 or 3 miles I saw them scrambling as if surprised. Tani later told me that when I came around the corner they could not believe it. I had gone from a walking zombie (maybe 20 minute miles), to averaging around 11 minute pace in just a few short hours and they were not ready for me. I kept this up for a couple hours I would say until we had a little trouble finding a turn. The confusion of the moment drained me instantly and I was almost immediately slogging along again. Within 10 minutes I was sitting, icing my feet, frustrated......and then the unthinkable. Tony handed me a beer. I was like "Are you kidding me?", that is not a good idea. By the way, for those who don't know me well, turning down a beer is not part of my genetic makeup. Plus here I am trying to keep it together and he is offering me alcohol.  He insisted and told me it was a good idea, "Trust Me" as I recall. I took the cup, put it too my lips. OH was one of the most incredible moments of delirious deliciousness I have ever had. Half a glass of ice cold hops and I was ready to run.  Well not exactly, but it did give me a great feeling of comfort. I had been drinking perpetuem, mountain dew and red bull for way too long at that point and this just made me feel good. Up we were and off we went.
During the next few hours things actually went well primarily going with a run walk routine.  Sometimes as little as 30 seconds on 30 off. Other times using utility poles as milestones. When we came out onto Route 17 which would be the home stretch, I should have been salivating at the fact that there was only about 12 or 13 miles to go.  However this was actually the portion of the course I feared most. Not because it would be the most painful, but Route 17 is a busy, often very busy 4-6 lane road with lots of truck traffic and sometimes a very very small shoulder. During preparation for this run I thought about this often and tried to map out safer alternatives. Unfortunately the best option would have added at least 10 miles. Somehow that idea was not all that exciting to me. I was already adding more than 50 miles to my longest run and I just thought that adding another 10 would be a bad idea.

Anyway, here we were and there was no turning back (This video will give you a sense of the road before it got bad). I may have been over sensitive to the situation because of my mental state but I had asked 7 people to come out and be with me. Although the premise is they are there to take care of me, I felt responsible for them too. As we progressed closer to our goal I felt the traffic increasing and I knew the final few miles of this stretch were the worst.  There was a fairly generous shoulder, but cement barricades bordered the road so there was really nowhere to escape if something went wrong. As we approached this section I told my crew, without telling them why that I would run this next section alone. They conceded and all was fine until I turned around and Tony was behind me. I asked "what the hell are you doing here" and replied "we thought someone should be with you".  I appreciated everyone's concern but I just shook my head explaining to Tony what lay ahead.

The crew vehicles had already gone ahead so Tony was stuck with me. I was trying to remember how far it was to get to Route 202 which would end this nightmare but I was having a tough time thinking. I was just running. After a couple of miles of hard fought fearful running we ran into one of our crew vehicles that had managed to turn around and come see if we needed anything. I immediately began asking where the road changed.  I run roads all the time but this just felt unsafe to me and I was very concerned for our safety. It was so much worse running it than I ever imagined. I knew it had to be soon but was unsure. No one could clearly tell me when the road became safer. At that point I said I am making an executive decision. "Unless someone can tell me where it becomes safe we are all getting in the car and driving us there." In we went and only about a quarter of a mile down the road, I hopped out to a better situation to run the last 3 or 4 miles with my Tani.

I could really sense the home stretch now but was beginning to experience severe pain in my right heal and had trouble running. I did what I could to bury the pain. I was with the most important person in my life, Tani, just as planned. With just a few miles to go I began to imagine how it would feel to run the last mile with my children and wife, my parents and my crew. I also knew that the approaching finish would bring a never to be felt again moment. I would see all those in my life who mean the most. Any time I needed strength I told myself there is no way I am going to let them down. I also hoped at the moment Anita and I saw each other, she would feel strength, pride and confirmation that so many are with her as she continues her fight. Emotions were beginning to take over and so was the physical pain. I was having a very hard time walking now let alone running. I was starting to limp more severely with each step. Tani was trying to keep me on a solid run 30 second walk 30 second schedule. I finally said with a little over a mile to go, lets walk. At that moment we looked at each other, knowing we were going to finish and embraced. Alone on the road we were able to share a very special moment. We were going to do it. Without her support I never would have considered this attempt. Now with her by my side we were about to finish what we started.
Just A Mile To Go!
The rest of the crew met us with high fives and yes, Just A Mile To Go! We had a few laughs and I would see them 15 minutes later.  Our boys Jared and Kyle showed up escorted by cousins Elysa and Brian to take us home. We then picked up my Mom and Dad along with the crew for the last quarter mile. At this point we could here the cheers from up the road as our friends and family had made their way into the road, nearly stopping traffic waiting for us. So incredible.
Home Stretch w Tani, Jared, Kyle

Me the crew and family

I was greeted by some 50 or 60 family and friends and an emotional hug from Anita. Words can not fully explain the finish, but if you grab a tissue, this video will say it all.  Enjoy

I again thank all those who helped make the Catskill 155 for MMRF possible and supported me in this endeavour for such an important cause. $30,200 raised for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation this year because of all of you.

To all those whose lives have been affected by cancer, you are not alone and there are so many of us out there fighting for and with you in whatever way we can.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Words That Keep Me Going!

I am not big into sayings but I love this one and think of it often when I am struggling!

(Source: A sign from Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #24 Get Some Balls

My first ball!
Post run care is important. Stretching, ice baths, massage and so on. I wish I could get a massage every day, especially from my rock star massage therapist Noelle. Massage therapy however, is expensive and time consuming. So the next best thing is self massage right?

There are a number of tools geared to help make self massage more effective.  These include crazy vibrating things which I think are useless, The Stick and the Foam Roller. I am sure there are others but these are the ones I have used. I find The Stick to have very little impact because it's difficult to get leverage and it has too much flex. The one area I have found some success are on my calves. The Foam Roller works great but on limited areas as well, working best on my quads, hips and IT areas (I think because I can apply the most pressure). I like the black one in the foam roller link because I think the white version is too soft.

Roll me under your feet
Two of my most consistent problem areas are my glutes/sciatic pain and my feet.   What you need to do to massage these areas is...........GET SOME BALLS.  

I recall when running my first marathon, one of my co-workers Jordan, who happened to be a 2:50 marathoner told me to get a tennis ball after experiencing pain in my arches and butt.  I did and found it helped somewhat.  I would roll my feet on the ball or sit on it while at my desk working, or home watching TV.  In fact, I still have the original 2001 tennis ball in a drawer in my desk.  That however is where Penn stays.  I just don't find I can get enough pressure with all the give in my old friend.

Put me under your butt cheek
Now it's all about Rawlings and Titleist.  Roll your feet on a golf ball and you will experience pain pleasure like never before.  Place two baseballs under your butt cheeks while laying on the floor and simply work it out? WOW!!!  I have found this to be the best form of self massage for these areas.  Again, while I think massage therapy with the right therapist is the most reliable alternative, these tricks have helped me with maintenance between sessions.  By the way, Noelle is the one who told be to drop Penn and get some new balls.

Thanks Noelle.  Peace

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Catskill 155 - Part 2 Thoughts From A Friend (Guest Post)

My friend and author of this post, Matt!
A long time ago I took an anthropology class in college. My favorite discussion was about what draws us to watching sports. What excites us about a 70 yard touchdown pass? A grand slam? Those crazy gymnasts in the Olympics? The crazier members of Cirque du Soleil? The underlying answer was that we humans enjoy watching other humans do things that we simply cannot do.

On Mondays I like to drink my morning tea in Eric’s office as we exchange stories of our weekends. My favorite Mondays are after an ultra-marathon when I pepper him with questions about how he felt, how many calories he took in, the terrain, the elevations, when he hit the wall, when it seemed impossible, how it felt to finish etc… I couldn’t hear enough because I was hearing someone I knew very well describe doing something I simply could not do.

One day in late spring Eric asked me if I would be willing to crew for him if he did a “very long solo charity run”. It seemed like a fleeting thought until the next day when he asked me which weekends in August I was free. Within the week the details were pretty much set. A 155 mile run from his buddy Jeff’s house to his parents’ house. The crew was set: me, Cori (my wife), Sean, Rich, Cheryl, Tani and one person I had never met but heard a lot about, Tony, a seasoned utra-nutjob who was the only one on the crew who knew what Eric was going through.

Watching Eric struggle through this was a learning experience like no other. The start was pretty anticlimactic. I kept feeling like it should be bigger than it was. Eric was about to run 155 miles! Shouldn’t there be a news crew? Fireworks? Instead, we all met at Jeff’s house in Oneanta, NY, took a bunch of photos and watched Eric trot off down the driveway to our own loud but meager cheers. Exactly as Eric wanted it. This was his solo journey and it was going to be one hell of a ride.

There were times in the beginning when he looked great and Tony, who was clocking his time religiously, would beg him to slow down. There were times half-way through where he seemed incoherent and broken. And there were times toward the end where you felt like you were watching a train wreck in slow motion. I kept feeling like we were abandoning him every time we drove 2 or 3 miles ahead to the next check point. But then, sometimes much faster than we anticipated, and sometimes much, much slower, we would see his form bobbing up and down in the distance like Sisyphus pushing that damn boulder. That guy just kept going! Despite the blisters, the chaffing, the swollen ankles, the lack of sleep, the lack of mustard (sorry, inside joke) …

It wasn’t until the end that I finally put this all together. Despite all of the memories there were two key moments that stuck with me. The first was when the crew gathered at the 154 mile mark with the same meager cheers that started us off to acknowledge that Eric has “just a mile to go”. The second memory was watching Anita embrace Eric at the finish line. A slight, bald, cancer-ridden woman hugging the smelliest man on earth at that moment. His struggles were nothing compared to what she has gone through. But his struggles were his choice.

From children we were told to never say “can’t”. I am proud to say that there are many things I can do better than some people. But I can’t throw a 70 yard touchdown pass, I can’t hit a 95 mph fastball, I can’t flip off a balance beam, and I can’t run 155 miles straight. But my good friend Eric can. And if my anthropology class is right, I will always be there to marvel at that human in action.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Catskill 155 - Journey For A Cure" Part 1

Me and Anita at the finish
And so the “Journey For A Cure” continues with yet another annual run complete. I have been struggling to translate my thoughts to accurately portray this adventure, which has grown beyond anything I could have imagined.  Not only have we raised over $27,000 this year, we continue to spread the word with articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Journal News, The New York Observer, Bisnow, and an interview on a local radio station in upstate New York. There are also a couple more great publicity opportunities in the works. I am so thankful for all the support and attention as we continue to raise awareness and funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

On just my second run this weekend, since completing the Catskill 155 two weeks ago, I have realized two things.  First, it is highly unlikely I will ever be able to accurately communicate the details of this story. Although I think the video posted previously says it all. Second, there is no way I could have done this with out the incredible support of my family and friends. The Catskill 155 came about quite simply as a charity run with a little twist.  Friends of mine often joke about me running to see them in upstate NY some 140 miles away by car.  We thought it would be funny to actually do that and so it was originally conceived to run from our house to their's. As my wife and I began to go over the logistics and other benefits to changing the direction we decided it best to finish the run closer to NYC.  So there it was, I announced (which is the best way to commit) that I would be running from their house to mine (actually my parents), somewhere between 140 and 160 miles.

After months of discussions regarding everything from the route, timing, pace, nutrition, fundraising, crew, safety and so on, at 7pm on August 11th, the running part of this journey began. Over the next couple of weeks I will post my memories of this extremely difficult challenge, as well as the thoughts and memories of my crew as shared by them, including I believe a guest post from my good friend and crew member Matt.

There are many people to thank:
  • My wife Tani, who is my inspiration and always by my side. Without her support I could not fathom having the courage to conceive taking on such challenges.  
  • My crew, Cheryl, Cori, Matt, Rich, Sean, Tani and Tony.  These seven people supported me in every way before during and after and I will never forget them for it.  I must also give a little honorary crew mention to Jeff who showed up and paced me (although in his car) for a couple hours in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the first night, and Greg and Donna who spent the entire second day out there with us.
  • Drymax Socks for supplying me and my entire crew with the best running sock out there.
  • Alicia and Jane from the MMRF Endurance Program for their relentless support of me, and the hundreds of other runners giving it their all to help find a cure.
  • My parents for their support and hosting the finishing BBQ.
  • All those who follow the Catskill 155 for MMRF Facebook page.  I thought of the many stories, kind words and encouragement often when I was struggling.  You sincerely helped to keep me going.
  • All those who contributed and the many who continue to donate.
  • My children for believing (and convincing me) that I could run around the world if I wanted.
  • And of course, Anita.  She has taught all those who know her that every day is a good day.  Ask her any time how she is doing and even when things are tough she will finish with, "but I am here and its a great day!"
Cheryl, Tani, Me, Cori, Matt, Sean, Rich and Tony.
I want to leave you with these words, as the next will be pieces of this adventure which are only a small part of The Journey.

Tani and I believe that anything is possible. Those who know me well, know I am not preaching, I just prefer to say it like I see it. We have sincerely come to believe that if you commit, work hard and work together the unthinkable can be done. Run a mile, run a marathon, run an ultra-marathon, CURE CANCER. The Catskill 155 was our commitment to the impossible. Tani and I want to do more, push perceived limits, challenge ourselves and hopefully inspire others to challenge themselves. We wanted to do our part and show that together we can set goals no matter how crazy or unattainable they seem, and achieve them. More importantly we wanted this effort to once again raise as much money as possible to help fund the research needed to meaningfully prolong and eventually save the lives of all the heroes in this world who battle cancer every day.

Commit to the impossible! Be thankful to those who make it possible!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Catskill 155 Video

It is going to take me some time to process this recent adventure in our journey to find a cure.  I will certainly share it all with you including thoughts and highlights from my amazing crew.  We completed 155 miles in 45.5 hours.  Until the story is ready I hope you enjoy the video below that my awesome SIL Cheryl put together. Peace

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

155 Miles - Ready or Not

My selfless crew is ready to go and so am I.  Tomorrow afternoon we will all head up to Oneonta, NY to begin what will certainly be an incredible journey for us all.  I look forward to documenting and sharing this experience.

I must thank all those who have donated to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in support of their cause and the efforts of all those making this run possible.  Further donations are of course welcome here.

If you would like to follow along our non-stop 155 mile adventure you can do so at this spot tracker link. Thank you Tony Portera for setting this up.

Secondly if you are on Facebook you can follow along with more detail and photos on our Catskill 155 for MMRF page.  You simply "like it" and you will be kept up to speed as the crew will provide regular updates.

See you on the other side of that door.  Peace

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Opening New Doors - Catskill 155

Anita - A Pillar of Strength
Running ultras has changed my life.  By pushing myself beyond all perceived limits I now enjoy a perspective that so much is possible.  That is why I continue to push, often suffering a little for those who suffer a lot to raise money for cancer research.  I began fundraising to support my friend Anita who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2003.  Although MM has no cure, Anita is thankfully still with us today because of the research funded by The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

During each of the past 4 years I have taken my running to new levels and am proud to say, thanks to the support of so many people we have now raised nearly $68,000 to fund research for treatment and finding a cure for cancer.  In just 11 days I hope to once again open new doors and raise lots of money as I attempt to run 155 miles in less than 2 days.  I am calling this adventure The Catskill 155 for MMRF.  Each hundred miler has been different, but I expect running 155 miles non stop will be beyond the wildest of imaginations.  This will be by far the most difficult challenge I have ever taken on and I am so thankful for all the support.

If you would like to support this cause please go to my Facebook Page and Like It or go to my Fundraising Page and Donate.  Together we can find a cure.

Related Posts with Thumbnails