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.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Six Days Till UTMB. Obligatory Equipment!

Obligatory equipment for #UTMB. Yeah, all this goes into the backpack. Easily, I might add. More soon. 😁


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tuesday's Hodgepodge of Random Coffee Musings





Got a free coffee today. Of course I get the extra large version. I'm bouncing off the walls now. 🙃

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I'm showing off the M-Dot keyring that I got at Ironman Ireland. Even after so many years, it is nice to know that I'm still finishing these races at the tender age of 50. 👴👴👴

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With my pool group this morning at the JCC, there is a couple ready to tackle Ironman Mont Tremblant in less than 3 weeks. One got bruised in a bicycle accident and the other is nursing a hip flexor injury that hinders her running. Yet I know both will eventually finish the race. With a lot of Ironman races under their belts, they battled a lot to finish these races. I'm quite confident they'll finish again.  


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They awarded a young guy 3 million dollars to play a video game. I must be in the wrong profession...

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Why is it that some of these stores have the AC up so much that you can actually see your breath as you walk around? It's ridiculous. I can count the number of times I come into the store ready to order an iced coffee and while waiting in line and shivering, I change my order to a hot coffee, just to keep the blood circulating. It's summer; embrace the heat.

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With all the traveling I'm doing, I just found out that the Midland Mile will happen on a weekend that I'm around (August 18). And I'm considering it. Why?
Part of me is thinking about embracing both ends of the running spectrum. A one mile race and a 100 mile race (UTMB, August 30) within 2 weeks of each other. Interesting. 🤔😁

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Failure. It happens.

Trick is to not give up. You just fell. Without a word, you brush yourself off, get back up, and you try again. But you try without making the same mistakes that led you to failure.

You might fail again. And again. And again. But each time you get back up again and you give it another shot.

But you're learning after each failure. And you're lasting longer after each successive attempt. It's now tougher to get knocked down.

After several tries, you finally succeed!

Never give up. Learn from each failure, get back up, and try again. Trust me; once you succeed you'll gain such a greater appreciation for all the setbacks you sustained beforehand.

It's time to try again!

 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Post Triathlon Monday Coffee Musings


Coffee at Tim Horton's - celebrating my qualifying into 2020 USA Triathlon National Championship


This has been quite an unreal weekend.

The heat was quite deadly. Reasonable people cancelled their runs or races to escape the heat. And I totally understand. If anyone had any doubts being out there this weekend, it was safer not to do it.

Then there were the unreasonable people, like me and other people I know in the race. We're out in the beastly heat trying to finish a triathlon.

Even the water provided no escape. The water temp was 88 degrees eliminating any chance of a wetsuit.

If it was bad here, try running 100 miles in Vermont.

If I heard correctly, less than half the people who started finished the race. Ouch.
To those who decided not to race, you were the sane ones this weekend. In general, if you have any doubts about running races in heat like this, it's better to be safe than sorry. This heat has already killed a good amount of people across the US. You can definitely race on another, hopefully cooler day.

To those who actually toed the starting line, you were quite brave to do so. Even if you didn't finish, you definitely tried your best out there. Again, if there were any doubts out there it's better to call it a day, preserve your health, and give it a go in the future.

To those who actually finished their respective races, I think you better go get your head examined because you're *this* close to being certifiably insane. 🤣 Congrats to you all.

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Final results of the NJ Triathlon are finally posted. Looks like I was 8th out of 82 in the male 50-54 age group. Under the old 10% standard for qualifying for the 2020 National Amateur Championship I would actually have done it! The new 15% standard just makes it a slam dunk!

Finished the NJ State Triathlon in 100 degree heat. And finishing my beer in the process too!


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I had no panic attack whatsoever in the beginning of my swim. I think it's the wetsuit that triggers the panic attack. I think the normally tight fit is maybe initiating some response to a form of claustrophobia. The second I started the race yesterday without the wetsuit I felt such a freedom of movement. I swam hard right off the bat and never let up. My current wetsuit is not overly tight, so I'll have to keep managing it as I normally do.

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Looks like I'm in the market for a tri kit. Yeah I'll most likely be in a triathlon "onesie" for the National Championships in 3 weeks. Please, no pictures. 😛

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I'll most likely swim from the Lyons Pool on Wednesday morning. It's certainly cleaner than the YMCA pool nowadays. The YMCA holds these "summer swim camps" for kids and they get about 50 kids that go in the pool each day. And yes, they literally "go in the pool", if you know what I mean. Which is why the water is bad these days.

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Anyone who is racing next week (Ironman Lake Placid, Escarpment, etc.), you're probably in for a lot better weather than this past weekend. Looks like weather is drier and in the 80s. Good luck with your final tapering.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ramifications of Shortening of the NJ State Triathlon Course Due To Heat


My bib number for this weekend.


Because of the predicted heat this weekend, the NJ State Triathlon as shortened its course from Olympic Distance to a sprint distance, effectively cutting all three disciplines' distances in half.

Someone asked me if the shortening of the course affects the USAT National Championships or rankings, which are some of the goals for this race I'll explain what might or might not happen here:

1) This year's USAT National Champs are not affected in any way. I qualified for the race last year.

2) This is still a USA Triathlon Sanctioned race, so I can still qualify for next year's National Championship with this race. I still have reason to believe I can finish in the top 10 of my age group to qualify. If I don't, I still have two more attempts in my other two triathlons to qualify. Plus there's a chance that I will participate in the St. Petersburg Triathlon in Florida early next year for an additional chance if worse come to worse.
Ramifications

3) USA Triathlon National Rankings. This might be the most affected. I'm trained for longer distances, so this triathlon might be a little bit out of my element and I might lose a bit on the scoring here. I'll just have to put my head down and hammer this out as hard as possible and see where I end up.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

GrayThursday Coffee Musings





I live for this weather!

There's just something magical about summer. Maybe it's the fun times spent outside. Maybe it's the triathlon season in full force.

Or maybe it's the fact you can just put on shorts, a shirt, and sandals in 1 minute and go outside without putting on extra layers of clothes.

This is perhaps the only time this summer where I stay put and lay low for a while. With a chaotic month of travel coming up next month, I need to take full advantage of this.

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Speaking of which, my second triathlon is coming up this weekend. Luckily it's a local one. I will be trying to gain the podium for the NJ State Triathlon this Sunday.

I spent this morning making final adjustments to my bike; it's race ready.



I wish Toni Ann Alfieri luck in this race also. She did the sprint last year. Now she's going for the Olympic Distance.

One of the members in my club will be competing also. I want to wish Glenn Brinks luck this Sunday.

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Vermont 100 is this weekend also. I have to wish Stephen Bandfield and Janna Michelle luck this weekend. Unfortunately, it's going to be a scorcher there with a chance of T-storms at night. The first aid station is 7 miles into the course; make sure you drink from that station and all the rest along the way. The course does get tougher after Stage Road at mile 31, so make sure you take the extra minutes and be well hydrated before you leave that station.

As for T-storms at night? Hopefully those won't happen. Weathermen can make mistakes, right? I hope they do this weekend.

Good luck!!!

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I want to congratulate Chris Calimano for his Badwater 135 finish. Nice job man.

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FaceApp, data collection, etc. What else is new? That's a reason why Facebook is in slow decline anyway, right?

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Storming Area 51? It's funny how things go viral, right?

Even Vegas is giving odds on what would happen.

It's much ado about nothing folks.

It's awfully easy to indicate you're "going" on FB. It takes literally 2 seconds. People just want to attach themselves to the hot story of the day, that's all. The actual turnout is going to be much less in numbers.

And Area 51 will stay secure.

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Ironman Canada is going to Penticton in 2020. Will I go? It's 50/50. Part of me wants to race in a new area. Plus, it seems like there's a huge crush in pre-registration, so there might not be a chance.

I raced in Penticton from 1996-1999 so it does have a special place in my heart. But I'm not really obligated to go next year anyway. We'll see.

Friday, July 5, 2019

TGIF Summer Coffee Musings

The dark roast coffee is good today. Maybe because I scored myself a free one this morning.


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The Milltown 5K race yesterday was decent. After a "not-so-easy" easy 5 mile run yesterday that still has my legs sore and achy from Ironman, I ran about 75-80% effort to play it safe. I scored a 22:37 which isn't bad. I also hit the podium for the first time in my new age group (50-59), getting 2nd place.
So recovery is finally happening.

My legs are fine today, so I think I'll be ready to resume some hard training starting tomorrow. The strategy now is for short hard workouts for the swim and bike for my 3 triathlons which are Olympic Distance or shorter starting late July, and long trail runs for UTMB at the end of August. And I have to keep my weight down since that will be critical for UTMB.

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I'll be running 12 miles in the Rutgers Eco-Preserve tomorrow, starting at around 7AM.

UTMB suddenly is looming!

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It was nice for Anne S. to acknowledge my birthday with a Guinness beer. I was surprised how large the bottle was. And I was surprised at how I finished it off pretty quickly too. I guess when it's 90 degrees and finished with a 5K run, I can become quite thirsty. 🍺😁
Thanks Anne!

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I hope everyone enjoyed their July 4 celebrations. It actually had been quite lovely last night with the fireworks on Staten Island but was grateful that everything fell silent by 10PM.

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Unlike previous autumn running seasons in which I just stopped racing altogether, I figure I'll be active in local races and stay quite active through the winter. I don't have to put exhaustive ultras or Ironman triathlons on my calendar, but sticking with shorter distance races for maintenance through the off season will help keep my edge and keep my weight down. It might help focus for the 2020 season a bit better too.

That means I'll be fully active with the 50s team in the fall. I might even consider doing that Grand Prix "long distance" 1 miler in August (Midland Mile).
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There was a 70 year old man that is accused of cheating in some marathons, and there seems to be a lot of evidence against him.

And now ABC is reporting that they found him dead in the LA river.

WTH?!

They're not sure what the cause of death is, but suicide isn't ruled out.
I wouldn't be surprised either if it was suicide.

Remember, running is a lifestyle for most of us. We runners do stake our athletic reputations on our past races.

When that reputation is tarnished, the whole world around us could collapse. The runners that we surround ourselves with will look askance at us, and online running forums can turn quite nasty.

TGIF Summer Coffee Musings
It's not a very good situation. As a matter of fact, the constant insults that can be thrown by fellow runners can push anyone over the edge.

A couple of points I make from this. Firstly, it's not worth cheating. It really isn't. If you're honest and wind up not qualifying for Boston, or getting a world record, or even a PR, it's not the end of the world. Plus, it's comforting that all the times you did in races came honestly.

Second, and this goes for all of us, if we do catch a person cheating, it's really best not to insult the runner, whether in person or online. There are efforts nowadays to stop bullying tactics from our children. I think it applies to adults as well.

Although most of us don't understand the reasoning behind cheating in races, it does happen. I am glad they are called out for it, but hopefully we can give these people a little room to atone for it.