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.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #23 Chafe Prevention

Although this is about chafe prevention, I can assure you there is no full proof method to staying completely chafe free 100% of the time.  As I expressed my frustration in a recent post after a vicious attack from the chafe monster, I am baffled.  Once again yesterday, very hot and humid here in the northeast, I was diligent in my anti chafe applications in all the right places.  And guess what?  I was attacked again in all the wrong places.  While I have yet to discover a full proof method, I do think I owe it to those who also find themselves under attack to share what I can.

I believe the most effective method is to apply liberally and often.  I also think it's best to focus on the areas that can be most debilitating (for me its the inner thighs, under the jewels and yes between the cheeks).  Most other areas can be uncomfortable but these 3 spots can become quite painful and even force me to alter my gate.

I have tried a number of different products, including Vaseline, Body Glide, Aquaphor, Sportslick and nipple guards.  I have also heard of people using Desitin and Butt Paste for lubes and simple band-aids for guards.

In closing, the best defense is a relentless offense.  Apply before it begins.  Like most problems that occur, once it starts it's too late.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Badwater Crewing 2011

When I entered Death Valley for the first time in July of 2006 I knew nothing about it other than it was the hottest place on earth.  When I told people I was going on my annual motorcycle trip with friends and we would be riding through Death Valley at that time of year they all asked the same question.  "Why would you want to go there when it is so hot?"  Simple:  If you can experience a place at its most extreme, its best, then why not;  Pamplona - Running of the Bulls, Times Square - New Years, New Orleans - Mardi Gras, The Plain States - Tornado Season, Mt. Everest and yes Death Valley in July (not all for me but I get it).  While I always remembered its beauty, what I recall the most was the heat and the mountains.  I knew it would be hot but I had no idea how hot and I always pictured the desert as a wide open, flat and baron place.  The incredible terrain, color and wildlife provided a lasting impression in my mind.

Sunrise 2010 by Louis Escobar
 Fast forward and I have now experienced Death Valley in July on completely different levels, three times.  Not less memorable, just different.  First on a motorcycle which gave me an incredible sense of freedom as usual with the added flare of Death Valley.  Then I crewed for Tony these past two years and this gave me a different sense of freedom.  Not the "wild and crazy I am in the outdoors running naked" type (ah yes I love visuals), but the "I really want to experience more in my life and know I can" type.

I believe I am capable of translating into words what the crewing experience has once again given me, but I think by now you must see where I am headed so I will refrain from too much of the hokey pokey crap and put it like this.

Heading to Darwin Day 2, 2011
 Take the desert, the hottest desert in the world and invite 90 athletes with varying degrees of athletic talent to run through it, over it, in it.  Then ask them to do that during the hottest time of the year and tell the runners to invite up to 6 of their friends and family to participate as support crew and pacers.  135 miles on foot, climbing 3 mountains in 120+ degree heat within 48 hours with your friends and family.  I'm sorry but Holy Shit, give me more!!!  I spent 5 days in 2010 and in 2011 as a crew member for my friend Tony Portera as he set out on his quest to complete the toughest continuous footrace on the planet, the Badwater Ultramarathon.  While we were successful both years in terms of the race, I am certain that I, along with so many others have taken much more from this than simply a finish.

As a runner you put yourself through certain torture; pain, discomfort and internal struggles.  As a crew member we sacrifice vacations in order to perform menial tasks and often quite nasty ones at that.  We are pacers, nutritionists, drivers, hydrators, mathematicians, blister poppers, psychologists and most importantly motivators and friends to our runners when they need us most.  In the end, we sleep little, stink big and feel a great sense of accomplishment as the friend we have come to help succeeds. I want to convey the following to all those who think we are crazy and even those who don't but are not sure what it's about.  I can assure you this journey is a life changer.  It is filled with friendships old and new, adventure, inspiration, emotion, commitment and so much more.  I have completed 4 one-hundred milers and while I can attest to the new vision these experiences have given me, plain and simple this event is bad ass and just kills it on so many levels.
BW 2011 Finish (Jason, Me, Julia, Tony, Ginette, Alli, Chuck)

Here are some stats from my crewing experience this year, most of which are approximate and include runner and crew.
  • 30 gallons of water
  • 100 lbs of ice
  • 75 S-caps
  • 100 Hammer Gels
  • 12 servings Perpetuem
  • 20 servings Heed
  • 3 servings Ultragen
  • 3 lbs of turkey
  • 2 lbs of cheese
  • 2 loaves of bread
  • 6 pbj sandwiches
  • 2 liters Mountain Dew
  • 2 gallons Gatorade
  • 1 liter Gingerale
  • 1 quart OJ
  • 10 Red Bulls
  • 2 Cantaloupes
  • 1 large smoothie
  • 6 ice pops
  • 4 popped blisters
  • 1 tube Sportslick
  • 3 cans sunscreen
  • 15 Tylenol
  • 1 Rattle Snake scare
  • 135 miles by Tony in 39hrs 59min
  • 3 crew members pace about 40 miles each
  • 550 times getting both in and out of the crew vehicle
  • 45 hours no sleep
  • McDonald's and Beer post run
  • 3rd Badwater Buckle for Tony:)
Thanks to:

Tony for trusting me with his life!  And for kicking ass up Whitney so we could buy beer before the store closed.

Jason and Chuck, you guys rocked it and were amazing to crew with.

Ginette, Julia and Alli for putting up with our stink, keeping us well supplied and giving Tony motivation when he needed it most.

All the other Badwater runners, crew, volunteers and staff for making this experience what it is.

And once again, my ever supportive and trusting wife Tani for encouraging me to continue on this amazing journey.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I was hoping this could be a miracle post on EricG's Running Tips, but instead it is a plea for help.  According to Websters, "Chafe is to rub and thereby cause wear or irritation".  According to me it's to create a form of fire that has no definition and can generate enough heat when mixed with water to make me scream like my 17th month old daughter in the shower.  I have tried all different types of clothing and lubricants to fend off the dreaded chafe monster and none seem to be a formidable opponent for humidity and rain as this is the fuel by which the chafe monster thrives.

First let's discuss where cruel and stealthy chafe assaults are likely to occur.  How about everywhere!!!  First the obvious; nipples and inner thighs.  Second and perhaps less obvious but no less painful, your neck, under arms, ankles and this weekend right across my waste as if the chafe were trying to saw me in half.  And last but certainly not least the most cruel and unusual, the butt crack(known as fire butt), under the jewels, on the jewels (known as fire b***s) and my wife was attacked by the chafe recently under her jewels.  Is nothing sacred? 

Only area suitable for public viewing!
During Umstead I was diligent in my preventative maintenance throughout the race and was excited to have come through cleanly.  Only to discover when I got back to the hotel that I had been savagely and precisely targeted under the tag on the back of my shorts.  It was so bad I actually had to peal the tag off as it was literally stuck to my burning skin like glue.  Then this weekend after 2 days of hot, humid and rainy weather I was viciously mauled by an entire family of chafe monsters on the inner, the under the over and so on.  After spending the last 48 hours walking as if I just got off a horse I decided to send out this desperate plea.

So I ask the question, has anyone solved the mystery of the chafe monster?  Where do they come from?  How do we stop them?  Please share your methods for preventing the INVASION OF THE CHAFE MONSTER!

My methods are as follows and work on occasion to varying degrees.
  1. Vaseline or Body Glide in all the right places:  I have had some success however when it gets hot, humid or rains it does not seem to work well at all.
  2. Compression shorts:  These do well to stop the inner thigh assaults but seem to open the door for all other areas below the belt.
  3. Nipple Guards:  Work well but obviously have a limited range.
I hope someone out there has the magic.  Peace
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