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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rocky Raccoon Thoughts

In one week, I'll be ready to embark in my first 100 mile run of 2015, the Rocky Raccoon Ultra.

The beautiful finisher's belt buckle of Rocky Raccoon, with the lone star of Texas prominent in its design.

Believe it or not, aside from the Three Days at the Fair last year (that was a looped 72 hour course), this would actually be my first flat 100 mile course I will ever undertake. With Vermont, Leadville, Wasatch, and Western States finishes and an attempt of Burning River (yeah, that race is deceptively hilly), this is a true flat course.

I'm not sure how my body would respond.

Plus my training hasn't really gone as planned. The winter really took care of that. I've had some real horrible long runs leading up to this, cut short by the cold.

I'm much better in the heat than in the cold.

So, how will I perform in a mid-winter race that is totally flat? I don't know.

My goal is to get under 24 hours. I think that's still attainable. Will it happen? Well, we shall see.

Whatever time I finish, I will be qualified for Western States again, so that is a plus.


Thoughts from the Farther Side

Most of the people that I'll be romming with at Chamonix, France at UTMB have already purchased airline tickets. I'm waiting until after the Texas trip before I purchase mine.
Chamonix is beautiful in pictures. It's probably much better up close and personal also!

One of the cheapest flights right now is IcelandAir, with a stop through Reykjavik. When I was looking at airfare prices, when I plugged in my itinerary, a pop-up box appeared asking me whether to make a day trip of the change-over there.

I find it quite intriguing!

I'm not sure if I'll ever be in Iceland, especially since I'm adverse to this cold, but they do have hot springs there, and I'm sure it would hit the spot after a race like UTMB to soak in those springs over there.
Wow, this looks surreal. Maybe I'll go to Iceland on the way back from Europe.

It's an option I'll definitely weigh.

I'm most likely be partnering up with Karen B. She's a fantastic person; it'll be good to jet around Europe with her. I think she's receptive to this Iceland thing also.

Any way, there will be more on the trip after I'm done with Texas. One race at a time, right? :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Huge Lottery Win...UTMB!!!

Last week, I found, much to my joy, that I'll be headed to France this August to toe the line of Europe's most prestigious race, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc!

About 2000 people toe the line at UTMB every year.

What's even better is that 2 other people will be running this race, as well as another friend who will run the shorter TDS version of the event. With three other people coming (one who will be part of the medical team over there), we're 7 strong going to Europe!
It's going to be a great trip.
The Alps are amazing in pictures. I cannot wait to see them in real life!
We have already gotten a chateau only a couple of blocks from the start line in Chamonix for the entire week. All I need to do is plan for the several days before and after that week. I'm currently thinking Paris beforehand, and Geneva afterwards. I'll have to check the airfares and plan accordingly. Stay tuned!

Thoughts from the Farther Side...

I've been overly sensitive to the cold this winter. I just feel cold everywhere, even inside. I always have to fight the urge to get under the bed sheets and stay there until April.

The winter's cold has affected my training...a lot...this season. I wanted to do well in Rocky Raccoon next week, but I'll now only settle for a 24 hour finish...and qualifying for the Western States lottery again in December.

If it was possible to move to the surface of the sun, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Ahhh...home sweet home!

I'm still giddy about the UTMB thing though. Makes me feel like a kid again!

I'll be posting my 2015 schedule on this blog in a couple of days. It's going to be epic!
Stay warm my friends.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lotteries and Possibilities for 2015

Time to start seeing what my 2015 racing season is going to look like!

Tomorrow is the Hardrock 100 lottery. With 2 tickets in the draw, I have a 2.5% chance of winning a spot in Hardrock next year. I have mixed feelings either way this shakes out. If I fail to get in, I can save my money for other races, like the USA Triathlon Nationals. If I do get in, however, I'll definitely accept the coveted spot in one of the toughest footraces in the world.

The other lottery that I'm in, the UTMB, doesn't draw until February. With that lottery I have a very good shot of getting in. Second year participants usually enjoy a more than 50% chance at getting in. I'm seriously wanting to get into this race next year.

So this leaves 4 possibilities on how the season shakes out.

1) I win both Hardrock and UTMB.

If by some miracle I get into both UTMB and UTMB next year, my season is set. Those are the races I'll be gunning for next year. My budget my be a bit stressed on this, but I think I can stretch the money far in case of this possibility.

2) I win Hardrock but not UTMB.

I would definitely focus on Hardrock, but I will need all 8 points to get into UTMB the following year. Rocky Raccoon will supply 3. If I complete Hardrock that would give me 4, but Hardrock is so tough that there's a good possibility that I won't finish the race, so I'll need another 3 or 4 point 100 miler to cover this race. Maybe Javelina would help here. The remaining 1-2 points can be made in any 50 mile race, North Face would be ideal here.

3) I don't win Hardrock but win UTMB.

I'll need a Hardrock Qualifier race in order to continue accumulating tickets for the Hardrock lottery. I'm currently lookint at Cruel Jewel 100 in May to cover that.

4) I don't win either lottery.

The worst of all scenarios, I'll have to get both 8 points AND complete a Hardrock qualifier. I might have to go out west and try for Bighorn or The Bear 100. That would give me the qualifier for the next Hardrock lottery and give me 4 points towards UTMB. With Rocky Raccoon, that would give me 7 points, and all I would need is a 1 point race to give me 8 for UTMB.

So here goes! Tomorrow is the Hardrock lottery, and 2 of these possibilities will be eliminated tomorrow. Which two? I will know in 24 hours.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Runners, don't wait until New Years - Make your resolution now about your diet or you'll regret it.

Every fall, there are always three HUGE days in which diets can fall by the wayside.

Number one is Halloween. This is one holiday where one needs to make sure that the Halloween candy goes to the kids hands and not into your stomach. Make sure that there is only enough candy for the kids so that you have very little extra after the holiday is over. Oh, and if you're one that has kids and received candy. Well, I fear for you. You're going to have to trust in your willpower to not eat all of your kid's candy.

Second is Thanksgiving. This has turned out to be a huge gorge-fest. I've found that getting just a little bit of every dish will work out to be a full meal, and nothing more. This will also help spread out the leftovers for the following week.

The third is Christmas. Now, I'm not talking about just the day, but the ENTIRE MONTH. Everyone I know has at least 2-3 holiday parties that they will be going to, especially running clubs. The food will be plentiful! Willpower needs to come into play here also. Also, the strategy here is *not* to park yourself next to where the food is. That is where the temptation will overcome you. The best thing is to situate yourself in another room, making strategic runs to the food and drink only when necessary. This way you don't wind up eating more than 5000 calories at the party.

There's a reason why most New Year's weight loss resolutions come out at the beginning of each year. It's mainly because people were so out of control with their eating during the holidays that they come into New Year's with a lot of guilt.

Try not to be like them this season. Start your resolution now and hold those regrets.

Monday, December 1, 2014

USA Triathlon Champs, Old School Coaching and Business Philosophy

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I just got an email from USA Triathlon that I have qualified for the 2015 USA Triathlon Nationals in Milwaukee next August 8.

That's great. I'm not sure where it's going to fit into my schedule, with UTMB and Hardrock being possibilities (both lottery draws), but I will pull all stops to try to make this race. It's been years since I've competed for a spot on Team USA. I might as well make the most of this again.

What is interesting is that I've already registered for the Atlantic City International Triathlon on August 9.

And hereis lies the challenge...how to get me, plus the gear to Atlantic City after finishing the race in Milwaukee.

With bike fees the way they are with airlines, it might be possible to use the TriBike Transport, but that will mean having no bike for Atlantic City, since Tribike transports the bike by truck.

Which means it might be possible to revive my old Zipp bike for the AC race. Add this to the myriad of projects on my list!

Not mine, but looks just like it. A little TLC should bring it back to this condition.


Most of the members of the Raritan Valley Road Runners had their best times in the Philly Marathon! Congratulations to them all on such great racing.

That might mean more members coming into the track training program this spring. As a coach, I'm glad to see results as such in races. I always aim to be the best in my field.

My father, who is also self-employed, instilled this "old school" philosophy into me. Basically, if you bust your butt helping out customers, you'll always get repeat customers and the best recommendations of them all, through word-of-mouth.

My father installed carpets in his 40+ year career. His advertising spending for the entire 40+ years? $0

His work was the advertising! He was successful through word-of-mouth and repeat customers. It's the way a true honest business runs. And to see customers happy was the best "payment" of them all.

I hope that I am following in his footsteps with my coaching. It's the only way to run an honest business. I'm glad for his life lessons on this.

Thank you Dad for your business sense!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I am qualified for USA Triathlon Nationals in 2015

Acknowledging that resting is only for the dead, I was in front of my computer doing some coaching work and checking my emails and I came across this little gem:

"Congratulations Peter PRIOLO! You have qualified for the Olympic-Distance race at the 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships on Aug. 8 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after finishing in the top 33 percent in your age group at the Massachusetts State Triathlon 2014"

Due to my strong showing at the Massachussets State Triathlon this past year, I'm now qualified to compete in the USA Triathlon Nationals!

A trip to Milwaukee might be in the future next year for me! I'll have to check my overall schedule and see if it fits. If I do go, I'll be training very hard to make Team USA here. :-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Your Big Race - Always Take a Calculated Risk for a Chance to SHINE!!!

With the Philly Marathon and the JFK 50 coming up, I wish all those doing these races the best of luck.

That being said, you'll need to take a final assessment of yourself and decide how to perform at your best in your race.

It ultimately comes down to whether you play it safe or take a bit of a risk.

My decision? Take the risk!

Yep, you can point out to that slew of DNFs that I have on my record for taking risks. But really, those DNFs were risks that I have taken and failed. I was still glad to take those risks because even with failure, I learned quite a lot about myself with those DNFs.

And if the gamble pays off? You could easily come away with the race of your life!

It hurt, but coming in at a little over 10.5 hours was one of the awards of a lifetime.

By playing it safe, you're basically guaranteed a certain finish time, but you really do not learn much about yourself that way. It's when you push outside your comfort zone; that is where you have the chance at having the race of your life.!

It has to be a calculated risk though; a risk that would give a reasonable chance of success. You cannot go into a marathon hoping to do a 2:30 if your previous best time for the marathon is 4 hours. If the training suggests, however, that you're capable of running 3:30, then that is the perfect amount of risk to take.
So as you decide on your strategy for the Philly Marathon or the JFK50, remember to ALWAYS take a calculated risk. Who knows? This might be the chance that you SHINE out there!