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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Five Key Races for 2012

My schedule has basically been finalized for 2012. It's probably the most interesting compilation of races I've ever put together in a year. But hey, if I'm going to be extreme, well, I think these races would definitely classify...

1) North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Trail Run at Bear Mountain - May 5

After a couple of years of volunteering in this race, this year I will wind up racing it. This will also serve as a qualifier for the Western States lottery for 2013 at the end of this year; I would love to get the qualifying race over with early this year as opposed to last year where I had to scramble to State College in Pennsylvania in October and finish the Tussey Mountainback to qualify.

This race itself is a very tough course so it will definitely serve as a good training run for the Vermont 100 Miler in July.

2) Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim - June 10

I won the lottery and decided to register for this race. I've done it for 3 consecutive years in the 1990s and each year, it was a different adventure (conditions were different). The course assures that one needs to have a good, strong swim stroke to finish this race. I'm glad that I'll be revisiting this race after all these years.

Since this race is the same day as the Eagleman Half Ironman, I will probably go down with a group of triathletes doing that race since both races are in the same general area (about an hour drive apart).

3) Ironman 70.3 Syracuse - June 24

I had a pretty interesting choice in what half-ironman triathlon I would be doing this summer. It was narrowed down to 3 choices, the Bassman Triathlon in May, the Quassy Rev3 on June 2, or Syracuse 70.3. Bassman was the cheapest of the 3 but it would get in the way of the North Face 50, so that was out. Quassy was an intriguing choice and was about to enter this race, but winning the Chespeake Bay Swim lottery changed all that. I do not like the prospect of doing a rough 4.4 mile swim only a week after a half-ironman. It just sounded too risky and possibly even dangerous. The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim was to be respected at all costs and that means starting that race as fresh as possible.

So that leaves Syracuse. Syracuse is fully 4 weeks before the Vermont 100, so I should have no problems recovering. And it is safely after the Chesapeake Swim. So it fits very well into the schedule.

All I have to do is pay the steep $250 fee. I figure a couple of nights of panhandling in the subways should help alleviate that problem... ;-)

4) Vermont 100 - July 21-22

Yes, I'm revisiting this race again. It's such a great course, even the parts I was sleepwalking through at night. I have some personal goals for this race and I hope that I have the opportunity to achieve them. Running 100 miles is just too fantastic an achievement and to try again on this course would be exciting to say the least!

5) Survival of the Shawangunks - September 9

The only time I did this I finished 6th overall ahead of the very respected triathlon pro woman Jan Wanklyn. That was when I was in such great shape. Now, about 12 years later I would love to still challenge those in my age group in this race. This is the only triathlon where my strongest discipline, the swim, comes at the last half of the race, so yeah, I'll be making an all out effort to do my best in this race.

That's it with the races. Oh, there are other, smaller races that I'll be doing as well, but these are the 5 that I'll be gunning for. Two ultras, 2 triathlons, and an open water swim. This is definitely going to be an interesting year.

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The NJ Winter Series is coming up January 21 (Saturday). Carpooling would be the way to go so that we can save on tolls and gas. The race has 3 options, the 5 miler, the 10 miler, and the half marathon, all on trails. Let me know if you're interested in carpooling.

The Cold Feat 10k at Latourette Golf Course is now open for registration. For SIAC let's get a strong showing here and support the Greenbelt Conservancy on this great race. You can register here.

Although registration is not open yet, now is the time to start finding a partner for the High Rock Challenge on April 28. Registration opens in February; I'll let you know when it opens.

I am also calling for people who are interested in doing the Ragnar Relay in Pennsylvania on October 5-6. This is a fantastic way to celebrate your fitness with others on your team as you race 24 hours and 200 miles from Lancaster to Mt. Pocono. This is a ROAD race so any of you speed demons who dash like a bullet over the asphalt are also welcome in this race. If we get the full 12 people everyone will do around 10-20 miles over 3 stretches in the 24 hour period. If interested, let me know IMMEDIATELY so that I can put you on the list.

The SIAC Extreme committee is currently looking at tech shirt designs and will let you know which one we like. Anyone from the club can order these shirts once they are made available. Further details will be out soon.

Tonight I'll be running an easy 4 miles on the trails in the rain. Come down to the flagpole at Willowbrook Park for the run if you can. For those who are tentative on coming, I always promise to stay with people when running at night and I've never broken it, so you can put your mind at rest and come on down.

Saturday I'll be running 8 miles on the Greenbelt White Trail. Same place, flagpole at Willowbrook Park at 8AM in the morning.


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