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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Your Endurance Race Guide to Guilt Free Eating this Holiday Season

This is the time of year where we encounter a string of holidays that just derail a lot of people from their noble tasks, a season of holidays that are just focused on the myriad types of gluttony so profound that it takes a steel will to stay on course.



The first challenge is Halloween. It's a good holiday to soften up your will a little for the major league holidays to come. Especially if you have kids or deal with them. With all that candy sitting around, it's not hard to succumb to the temptation of empty calories.

Now we have the second and third challenges coming up...Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ah, holidays dedicated to the gluttony of eating, then spending. With Thanksgiving, isn't it swell to sit down to a 12 course meal with family and friends and just eat to oblivion? But wait, after that, we spend to oblivion soon after as Christmas approaches. What's a decent person to do?

Well, the spending is up to you, but there are ways to balance out that eating part a bit. We have LOTS of endurance races to choose from.

One of the things that I've always liked about the Philadelphia Marathon is its closeness to Thanksgiving. I've done this race 3 times and it was great going into that Thanksgiving dinner knowing that I already burned all those calories ahead of time. It's as guilt free as I can get toward Thanksgiving eating.

The marathon is also a great way to qualify for Boston as the course is very fast. And as tough as Philly is, there are numerous people there that will cheer you on that day. The crowds there in downtown Philly can be quite impressive for that race.

If you're really going to pig out this Thanksgiving, the JFK 50 might be for you. Seriously though, this venerable race in Maryland attracts nearly 1000 people and is the most popular ultramarathon in the US today.

If you don't have the time to travel a bit, there are 2 local races that can help you burn those holiday calories. The inaugural Brooklyn Marathon will be done this Sunday. I believe it will be 8 loops in Prospect Park. Tackling that hill 8 times in one day will definitely help, especially afterwards when you are going for second helping of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. The fee is quite reasonable also.

The course is also certified, so you can try to qualify for Boston on this course.

And for those who are just flat broke from all the gift-giving, there is a race for you also, the Thanksgiving Marathon which is part of the Series of Holiday Marathons. It is a no-frills (Fat Ass) event with no timing, no shirts, and minimal aid. The course isn't certified (you cannot qualify for Boston here), but the course in Van Cortlandt Park is awesome. The race is on Thanksgiving morning. You can do one loop (10k), two loops (half marathon), or 4 loops (marathon). Donations are encouraged, of course, but the race is free to enter.

If you really packed on the calories and want to work those off after Thanksgiving, or if you want to get a head start on burning off those calories before your 50,000 calorie Christmas meal, you can come on down to Willowbrook Park on Staten Island for a Day of Trail races done by NYARA on December 10. You can choose the 5k option, the 10k option, the 25k option, and the 50k option. The 50k burns a cool 5000+ calories, good for about 10 glasses of that potent eggnog at your company's Holiday Party (just don't drink them all at once). The course is quite challenging, but it's a testament to our extensive trail system in the Greenbelt here on Staten Island that we can have an ultramarathon here.

So, there's no excuse for you people to gain weight during the holidays. Pick one of these races and you can eat your way to oblivion, guilt free!

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This Saturday's run will NOT be taking place at Willowbrook Park this week due to the 5k Fall Flat race hosted by NYARA. We will resume running next week at Willowbrook Park at 8AM in preparation for the NYARA trail race on December 10.

We have a definite interest in the Ragnar Relay in New England. I haven't seen what the date is, but I'll post as soon as I research the info on it.

Anyone who wants to become a member of the new SIAC Extreme committee please let me know. This will be the committee that will presume over alternative running such as trail runs, ultramarathons, triathlons, obstacle races, and other challenging races in the area.

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