A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Go Farther Sports Athletes Bridget and Mitch Conquer the Philadelphia Marathon!

What a weekend we had here at the Philadelphia Marathon. So athletes from the club I represent had a great day out there on the course! Two of the athletes that I personally coached had great days! One qualified for Boston in her first marathon and the other finished his marathon with a 13 minute PR!

Bridget all smiles after her BQ time of 3:29:41! Thanks Yoi (on left) for letting me *steal* this picture.

Bridget is an ultracompetitve and very talented runner. She has shown some excellent runs leading up to the Philadelphia Marathon with a time of 1:34. I knew she had a good shot at 3:30 but with this being her first marathon, I tended to be conservative with her. There were a couple of other issues that I saw that made me tend towards a conservative strategy.

But knowing how she is, and knowing how I was when I was in my 20s, I can't help to think that she can take the bigger gamble and try for the 3:30. So I left the choice to her and hoped for the best.

She did take the gamble and ran away with a 3:29:41, which is a BQ for her! What a great way to run her first ever marathon! This one has a lot of talent here that I think her times can go lower. MUCH LOWER. Now that she has one under her belt, she will definitely do even better the next time!

Mitch embracing his wife at mile 6. Later, he would be pleasantly surprised to see that his son was watching too!

Mitch was very consistent in his training. His old PR was around 4:30, but his training has gone so well that I knew he can beat it...by a lot! Keeping with his plan of running with the 4:20 group in the beginning and choosing when to decide when to pull ahead of them, he picked it up before the half marathon point and kept ahead of them for good, running his way to a 4:17:11 marathon and a new PR by 13 minutes! The best part was that his family was there to watch him and cheer him on. It was a great day for him all around!

There were other friends of the club, and outside the club, who had great days all around. It turned out to be an epic day in the streets of Philadelphia and would love to congratulate them all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Decision is in, Folks!

Politics? Nope, triathlon and running!

I have several athletes doing Ironman for the first time, a couple doing their first ever triathlon, two looking for their first marathon race, and one running her first half marathon.

There are toss-ups as well; one might be looking for an Ironman race after several years off and one thinking of doing a marathon after 10 years.
And the incumbents are doing well too. These are the ones that are improving on their respective marathons, an ultrarunner veteran looking to do well in his race, and some triathletes looking to improve on their seasons.
Some races aren't done yet. I have several who are ready to run the Philadelphia Marathon in 11 days! Good luck to them, hopefully they will seek out a "second term" in 2019. ;-)

And of course yours truly returns to Ironman after 11 years out, seeking out a 10 hour finish. 😁

Ironman Cork, on my 50th Birthday, June 23, 2019!
Looks like the makings of a landslide victory in 2019. There will be a lot of planning in the next couple of weeks to make sure that happens. This will be an exciting time for everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Post NYC Marathon Musings - The Big Race is the Culmination of Hard Work!

The culmination of all the hard work and training is the actual race. Witnessing so many people racing the NYC Marathon yesterday is one of the best days of the year. Many people ran their first marathon ever, some lost a lot of weight and changed their lifestyle to get to that finish line.

All of the positive vibes definitely get the friends of these first-time marathoners off the fence and spur them to register for one of these races. It's great to see people actively looking to change their lifestye...and keep my business brisk.
Still, this is the reward for coaching athletes to the finish line and seeing the happiness on their faces as they finish the grueling distance. What they felt as impossible just two years ago is now reality.

Marathon season isn't over yet! I'll be going to the Philadelphia Marathon in two weeks to watch the same spectacle again. After all these years, I find it never gets boring at all.

See you at Philly in 2 weeks!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Marathon Eve, what to do, what not to do?

This is usually the calm before the storm. You've picked up your bib number, bought some merchandise at the expo, and some nutrition for the race. You've also taken dozens of pictures with friends and soaked in the electric atmosphere at the expo.

Now you're home. And waiting. The pre-race celebration is done. And now, the actual race is looming large. It's almost here. Just one night separating you from the big race.

So what to do? First thing, you'll need to relax. then you'll need to get prepared. So here are some pointers for getting yourself ready for race day tomorrow.

1) Relax. I know life gets in the way. You still might have chores to do at home, or you might still have some work to do. Just do the essentials though, and leave the other stuff for Monday once the race is over.The goal here is to try to keep this day as light as you can so that you don't feel so physically and emotionally drained when you retire for the night. Remember that you need to be as fresh as possible for your race.

2) Know your schedule for tomorrow! What transportation is needed to get to the start line? Will there be a lot of traffic to get to my destination? Please allow at least an hour, just in case of heavy traffic. If you need to be there by 7:30AM, then you better schedule your arrival by 6:30AM. It's better to get in with a lot of time on your hands than try to rush it to your destination minutes before they close it off. The marathon is stressful already; don't put more unneeded stress on top of it.

3) If you have someone supporting you in any way, make sure he or she completely knows your schedule for race day tomorrow. Where to meet up before the race, after the race, what stuff will he/she carry of yours during the race, etc.

4) Get your clothes ready for before, during, and after the race BEFORE you go to sleep tonight. You really don't want to choose which clothes when you wake up early morning while you're under pressure. You'll need to check the weather also to make sure you're taking the appropriate clothes for your race. If the weather calls for 35 degrees and is windy, you'll need to make sure you got extra clothes for before, during, and after the race.

5) Once all of this is done, get to bed early. More often than not you probably won't go to sleep. That's fine, as long as you're lying there relaxing, that is sometimes the best you can do for a big race. Don't take any sleeping aids; if you can't sleep, just keep your eyes closed and relax.

The goal here is to have everything ready today so that you can just roll out of bed, get into your clothes, and get out the door without hesitation. If you can do that, you've mentally and physically set yourself up for a great race!

To all those running NYC Marathon tomorrow, good luck! You'll know where to find me on the course! 💪🤠

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Final Marathon Preparation - A Cerebral Approach!

It is the cerebral person that will do well in endurance races.

Well here we are, about 4 days away from the NYC Marathon, and a lot of people are starting to get a bit nervous. I definitely understand. "What will happen to me in this race?" is a good question that comes to mind. Also, "what should be a good starting pace?", and "am I going to die?" are other questions.

The best strategy is pretty simple. Start off with a fast but safe pace for the first couple of miles, and then decide on whether to keep that pace, go faster, or go slower from there.

Wait, that's it? Nothing elaborate about "going at a certain pace for the first half, then going 10 seconds per mile for the next 5 miles, and then at mile 20, I'll pop in a few gels and go another 10 seconds per mile faster, and then at mile 25, I'll sprint to the finish?"

Nope. Let me tell you this one thing. Any plan with that much detail will fail 99% of the time. Trust me. It's never worked for me in my early days and I was forced to make some decisions on the fly just to save my races from utter destruction.
Keep it simple. Decide on a fast pace for the first 2 miles, but keep it on the safe side. Those first two miles will tell you how much energy you initially have in your race. By mile 2, you can definitely make an "on the fly" decision whether to keep your pace or change it faster or slower. At that point you will have received critical information from your body that you wouldn't have gotten right at the start.

A marathon is a pretty long distance for a lot of people. For you, you'll need to make A LOT of decisions from mile 2 all the way till mile 26. That means you'll have to stay alert and stay in tune with your body so that you are alerted when something changes along the way. A quick adjustment to your pace or your nutrition will be critical in deciding whether you have a great race or a mediocre one.

But by keeping your initial plan simple, you allow a lot of flexibility into your strategy, and you're basing the strategy on what energy you have at each moment of your race. Keeping your mind alert and in tune with your body is the winning formula for PRs and BQs in a marathon.

You'll need to think about your nutrition as well as your pacing during the race too. And again, you'll go about it the same way as you do with pace; you'll come prepared with foods that worked well in your training; this is the food you'll initially go with in the beginning stages of the race.

Although you mean well with nutrition, be prepared for the eventuality that a) it might not work right at the start, or b) it will work for a good portion of the race, but will not work in the later portion of the pace. This happens a lot! In either case, don't keep to the plan. You'll need to partake in what the aid stations give you the rest of the way. Again, you'll need to think about what you might need at the aid station to get you through to the end, or just that specific stretch of the race.

Again, you'll need to keep your mind engaged and in tune with your body! In other words, DON'T ZONE OUT! Don't "go on autopilot", "daydream, "sleepwalk", or whatever people call it. Stay alert, stay focused, and more often than not you'll think your way to a very good race.

It's the cerebral way of doing your race, and most often, it is a winning strategy.
Note: I'll be in Brooklyn cheering people on in the NYC Marathon (around miles 11-14), and will try to make it to Central Park to see some friends finish. If you're in this race, let me know and I'll place you in my tracker. If it's not raining I'll be in a black "cowboy" hat (more accurately an Aussie hat) along the course.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Calculating Ironman Goal Times for Ironman Ireland

As a lot of people know I plan to run Ironman Ireland right on my 50th Birthday, June 23, 2019. Keep in mind that I set a PR in the Ironman distance way back in 1996 Ironman Canada with a time of 10:36:37. As a 50 year old, I wish to break this PR that I got during my prime years. So I'll need to get in some pretty smart training and diet decisions before that day.

Anyway, I've ran some calculations for time here. Below are two such calculations. One, the aggressive time, is for qualifying for Ironman Hawaii qualification. The second, less aggressive goal is just to break my PR time. I'll try to keep this short. 

I always swim for 1 hour in Ironman races. Sometimes less, but never more than an hour. T1 and T2 are combined for 10 minutes for both. It can be a long transition so I made it the worst case scenario for transitions.

The bike and the run are the big factors here. I've already proven I can hold 22MPH in a half Ironman race. I know I can go more at that speed. The aggressive goal will reflect a 22MPH time for my bike over 112 miles. The less aggressive goal will be at 21MPH. As for the marathon run, both need to be under 4 hours to get my goals. I say it's quite make-able if the training goes right.

So, I will have my work cut out for me to try to get that aggressive time. This is going to take a lot of core training and a stellar diet to get down to race weight. If all goes well, I know I can hit those marks!

It's going to be fun trying to hit those goals in training! I'm ready for the task. I start my training in earnest on December 10, but my diet and the core training are already starting. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2019 Iron and Tri Training - Switching over to Unprocessed Foods (Paleo)

"Diet Means Everything!"

One of the things I have done this week is switch over to Paleo foods for my Ironman training. I've been looking at my logs from 2013 when I trained for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and found that this was an amazing transformation of my body. I did lose about 25 pounds, got very muscular on it, and felt that I even underwent an "age reversal" on my body! I know.

Paleo basically means "the less processed food, the better." I wouldn't call it a "diet" per se, but more like tweaking my current eating habits to maximize on unprocessed foods. I think this is the key to getting in best triathlon shape as possible and getting my speed back into form. 

Anyway, I'll be popping in from time to time about how things are going with my eating habits. I'm hoping it will be as pleasantly surprising as in 2013. Stay tuned!