Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Day, New Hope

Yesterday we said goodbye to Anita. Today, as she would want, we are looking forward to each new day, because every day is a day filled with hope. "Anita, we love you and we are going to honor your memory by continuing to push our limits, while raising awareness and funding for cancer research."
In that spirit, Tani and I are continuing our journey as we head to Great Falls, VA to run. We have much history, filled with wonderful memories at this race.  It was the first place our boys ran a race and the first time I ran a 50 miler.
This will now be my 4th year running the 50 miler at TNF's Endurance Challenge, DC. More importantly, it will be the first time the love of my life runs her first half marathon. Tani has run the 5k in 2010, the 10k in 2011 and now she is going to rock the half.
5k just 4 months after our daughter Isla was born.
10k just one year later
Tani supports our entire family in every way and I can't wait to support her this Sunday. I am already so proud.

Peace and Have A Great Day!

Monday, May 28, 2012

This Afternoon I Ran.....

I could hardly see my laces through my tears
I could hardly tie my shoes with my numb fingers
I could hardly feel the road beneath my feet
I could hardly breath
I could completely feel my heart sobbing through my chest
This Afternoon I Ran......
For the first time
In Memory of Anita

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Amazing!!!

Feeling awful at 8,200 feet on the North Rim!
I am going to be blunt. What my friend Matt accomplished this past Saturday was absolutely incredible. Here is why. Never before had Matt attempted anything like this. In fact, he had never run more than a half marathon and that was back in October 2011. Is he athletic? Sure he is, but to do what he did takes a lot more than pure athleticism. You gotta have guts and heart.  It is what we have inside that makes us want to get up when we think we can't and keep going. As you can see in the photo to the left, no matter how athletic you are, you will suffer.   In this photo we were only half way, sitting at over 8,200 feet at the top of the North Rim after climbing about 4,500 feet over 6 or 7 miles. Matt struggled and admitted he had never felt this drained and nauseous, battling sheer exhaustion and dehydration.

Several months ago I told him of my plans to run the Grand Canyon, Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim, about 48 miles, with serious elevation change through the heat of one of the most beautiful and potentially unforgiving environments that exist (self supported of course). Matt never hesitated and said he wanted in. Never missing a beat Matt immediately got to training. He trained hard and blew passed the marathon distance and right into ultras completing several back to back runs of more than 30 miles. He was prepared and I know he never expected to feel as crappy as he did. In a way, I am glad. Not that he felt poorly, but that he got up and kept going so that he could feel what it is like to move past, well past all perceived limits. He ran, got his ass kicked and then fought back to complete what I am certain is one of the greatest running experiences in the world. I know this will change his life positively as similar experiences have done for me.

I have been running, relatively intensely now for several years. I have run and crewed in some of the most incredible places and met many wonderful and inspiring people. I have been inspired by my children, my wife, strangers who never give up, those who fight for their cause.....and now Matt! Totally f'ing amazing. Inspired again. Thanks Matt for having the balls to try and the courage to get up when you thought it was impossible. While this run would have been cool on its own, it is now epic for me.

I am so fortunate, because I am certain that I am going to meet many more inspiring people along the way and I look forward to sharing those experiences.

So here it is, the video recap of our day, 48 miles, 17 hours, 20,000 feet of elevation, lots of laughs, incredible scenery and lasting memories.
Thanks to my wife for her continued support and for putting together this video.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim Preview

Spectacular Don't You Think?
Two months from today I will begin a journey I can only imagine with my wife and close friends at Badwater. I have crewed at this amazing place twice but it will be a first experience for me and my crew.

Two weeks from now I will participate in my 4th consecutive The North Face Endurance Challenge, D.C. 50 miler as my wife runs her first half marathon.

Two days from now I will attempt to run across the Grand Canyon, TWICE. Rim2Rim2Rim as it's known is a round trip crossing, totaling approximately 48 miles, with over 20,000 feet of elevation change and temperatures ranging from mid 30s to mid 90s. This is not a race. It is simply an adventure. I will be running this with my friend Matt. It will be a first for both of us at the Canyon, but more incredibly this will be Matt's first run of this length. In fact, prior to training for this Matt had never run more than 13.1 miles.  He has now trained as hard as anyone I know for a first 50 miler with numerous back to back runs of more than 26 miles (full pack).
Holy Crap!!! I mean, Awesome.
Every year at this time Matt and I are in Vegas for a business convention. A couple years ago we decided to start picking one adventure to try. We have run at Red Rocks Canyon and floated around Lake Mead.  When I told Matt of my plans back in October and asked if he wanted to come along and at least run or hike some of it he looked at me like I was crazy. Not because of what I was doing, but because I suggested he only run some of it. He immediately said he was in for the whole thing. Our friend Preston and another friend Tom Holland were also in but unfortunately both are injured and unable to run.
That's Matt at right looking like my body guard during the Catskill 155
Anyway, I am looking forward to sharing this unique experience with a good friend and then sharing it with whoever will listen.  Many great pictures and stories to follow.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspiration From My Son(s)

Like most fathers, I imagine, my children do many things on many occasions that make me proud. Doing well in school, being respectful and kind and even an occasional goal in a lacrosse or soccer game. Last October, my son Jared decided to do his own solo 30 mile bike ride to raise money for Project Morry. Jared is 12 and he totally rocked it completing the ride with great effort and raising $2,000.

This past Sunday at TNF Endurance Challenge 10k, Bear Mountain I was amazed and inspired by my youngest son Kyle. At 10 years old, Kyle showed us all what it means to stay strong even when not a person on the planet would have given a second thought if he quit.
Tani and Kyle all smiles pre-race
Kyle has run several 5k events prior to this including Bear Mountain last year. They have all gone relatively smooth and I had been by his side every step of the way. This time it was Tani's turn to run with him. I must admit I was jealous although thrilled for Tani to experience the joy of running with our son as he accomplishes something he never had before. Never had I imagined it would be so thrilling.

On your mark, get set, GO!
Looking good at the start.
About 30 minutes in we received the following text photo from Tani. Kyle had taken quite a fall only about 1/2 mile into the race during one of the early technical sections of the course. Tani and Kyle took some time so he could gather himself. Tani asked if he wanted to turn back because he seemed quite upset. Kyle would have none of it.
Still smiling after a nasty fall
He wanted to continue and I know T did a great job of motivating him. There was an aid station around mile 2.5 and Kyle took this opportunity for a little TLC from our local EMS. He received encouragement from so many people Tani said. Everyone told the "little man" to "keep going", and "way to go", "you can do it". Well he did.

Kyle and Tani continued on their journey together and were looking strong for the next couple of miles and then with about a mile to go after settling in to his groove....SMACK! Down again. For all of us who have experienced this we know how quickly these things happen. One moment the blissful feeling of running on a cloud and the next you are eating dirt. Without missing a beat Kyle was up and moving forward. Continued encouragement from Tani and the many runners out on the course now that the half marathon runners had merged for the finish.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the whole family was eagerly awaiting Kyle's return.
Mema and Poppy
Aunt Cheryl who finished the 5k (you rock SIL)
Uncle Rich who came to take a nap
Brother Jared and Sister Isla
And finally with great anticipation, here they come.
The home stretch
It was amazing as they came around the turn you could hear the crowd begin to cheer.  Granted the crowd was cheering for everyone, because that's the way we runners roll, but this was different.  There were so many people at the finish who had passed Kyle and Tani along the way and were now waiting for him to finish and cheer him on. It was loud.
And Kyle responded
Giving it everything he had
Until they finished!!!
Yeah baby we did it. Nothing better! 
Except for this of course.
Kyle may have been the youngest in the field, and was affectionately dubbed "little man" by many runners on the course. In the end we should all hope that our hearts are as big as this little man. My son has brought a whole new light to the efforts I will put forth going forward and I hope his effort inspires you to get out there and give it your all in all that you do.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Return to Bear Mountain

First 50k at Bear Mt. 2009
Last year at this time I decided to take a pass on The North Face 50 Miler at Bear Mountain due to injury. Now less than 24 hours from my return I am psyched to be back on some of my favorite trails and the most challenging 50 miler I have ever run. Bear Mountain is also the site of my first ultra, the 50k back in 2009. So much has happened since then, but one thing that remains the same is how difficult this course is. It is technical and includes over 14,000 feet of elevation change. The rain we have been getting the last few days will not make this adventure any easier.

I will certainly share my experience again this year.  For now, here is the post I wrote after the 2010 race which compared my experience with race winner Geoff Roes.

I am also looking forward to running the 10k at Bear on Sunday with my family. Tani will be out there as she continues her training for her first half marathon in June and our boys Jared and Kyle will be making their first attempt at this distance. My sister-in-law Cheryl will be kicking ass in the 5k.

Hope you all have a great weekend on the trails, roads or wherever else you may be exploring. Peace
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