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, April 18, 2012

Staten Island Convergence/Perimeter Run this Friday!!!

Even as a local runner, you would figure that would be an easy feat to run around the perimeter of Staten Island, right?

What if I told you that notion was wrong?

Running the Perimeter of Staten Island is 43+ miles! A lot of people, runners included, would have thought of running the perimeter would be lot shorter.

Yet it is doable. Depending on certain roads, running the perimeter of Staten Island is approximately 40-45 miles on foot. For ultramarathon training last year I was able to run the whole thing. I was not exactly a model of freshness when finished, but I'm proud that I did it.

Fast forward to this Friday, April 20. Adam G., a local runner who has the capability of running long distances, will be running the perimeter of Staten Island starting at the intersection of Victory Blvd. and Bay Street at precisely 9AM. The Convergence Run will go counter-clockwise (going toward the ferry first) and proceed all the way around, touching Conference House Park on the southern tip before making its way back to Victory Blvd. Here is the exact map of the route. The map is indicating about 43+ miles for the route.

Adam is looking to get as many runners as possible along this route. If you're looking to get a long run in this week, you can definitely let me know and I'll relay that to Adam. If you're located in one of the other boroughs, the start point is only about 3-4 blocks from the Ferry Terminal. And you can basically finish at any point of the route and have public transportation take you back to the ferry terminal as well. It's strongly advised that you bring a Metro Card and some money with you as we will be frequenting some convenience stores along the way for nourishment and hydration.

The pace will be very slow as well, possibly about 15 minutes per mile pace. This non-aggressive pace should help people get their longest runs of the year in without the fear that they will be left behind. After all, the social aspect of this run will make running the miles enjoyable.

If you do express interest, let me know, either here or through my email: ironpete@aol.com. I can help you with the transportation logistics before and after your run so that you can make it to your start point on time, or get back home without getting lost.

So if you want to run 5 miles, 10, 20, or even the whole darn thing, come on down! We will be glad to have you. Weatherwise, it looks like a nice day for it, so there are no excuses! :-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beating the Rising Bridge Tolls - A Worthy Project

I've gotten way past the point where I'm done complaining about everything.

One of the best things that you can do is put yourself in a position to bypass the system a bit. In almost every situation, it can be done. Sometimes it takes a bit of planning though in order to pull it off. And most of the time, having a good fitness base helps you...a lot.

Such as the case with the tolls on Staten Island. There are definitely a lot of people here complaining about those tolls. They have a point...on every entry point, we have to pay in order to get onto Staten Island. In other words we're basically hostages to both the Port Authority and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in order to get back to our homes.

And in spite of all the complaining in the local media, these two outfits keep on jacking up the tolls. And nothing gets done.

I am way past complaining. It's time to do something.

The project involves getting across a body of water in a boat while carrying a bike, then riding the bike in NJ to my destination.

Both the boat and bike have to be portable. In this case, there are bikes that are foldable and there are boats that do deflate into a bag. You can also get oars for the boat that collapse also.

Basically the plan is this. I inflate the boat on the shore on Staten Island, put my collapsible bike on board. I then row over to the NJ side, then deflate the boat and fold the oars and put them both into a bad that I can carry on my back. Then unfold the bike, and then cycle over to my destination.

Anyway, here is a great example of the kayak bag that I can use while riding on my bike. It's only about $60 and looks pretty durable for carrying around...


The link to the bag is here... http://static.altrec.com/images/shop/multiview/NRS/19942.bck.mv_d.jpg .

The inflatable kayaks that can fit usually are in the range of $500-$1000, which isn't bad at all. There are a list of kayaks that can go into this sack here. The folding oars that they have are also in the range of $60, which is great.

Now for the folding bikes. There are several brands that make good, durable folding bikes there is the Bike Friday brand, the Montague brand, and, if cash strapped, the Citizen brand. All look pretty reasonable to get around on the other side of the river.

Although I would not dare cross the length of the Verrazano Bridge using this method as it is too wide and too tidal to cross, but crossing the narrow Arthur Kill is quite reasonable and might be the way to go.

I might have finally figured out a way to stick my middle finger at the Port Authority. It might take several months for my plan to come to fruition, but hey, they are not going to limit my freedom of movement in this country.

As I stated before, I'm through complaining. I'm fit, I'm active, and I can make this possible.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Is This Speed I'm Seeing? Also: SIAC Xtreme for April

For those of you who don't know what I'm trying to do this year, I'm doing a personal thesis of mine, which is, "Can triathlon training ultimately help me in ultramarathons as well as triathlons?"

The past couple of years, I had been relying on huge running volume with just a smattering of swimming and cycling to boost my ultra-running performance. Although I am experienced in triathlon (been doing them since 1990) I am still pretty much a neophyte in ultramarathons. So I've been experimenting for the best way to train for these events.

After last year's failure at Leadville, a very interesting question came to mind. Would triathlon training actually help in ultras also? Can it possibly be that not altering my old training and sticking with the triathlon approach do the trick? It might be possible.

Triathlon training decreases the weekly running volume a bit but significantly bumps up the weekly swimming and cycling volumes. As a result, my overall training volume is significantly higher than in ultra training.

I've always considered triathlon training to be a very balanced form of training, exercising a lot more muscles than just running alone. And since I'm exercising more muscles, my body will not tire as much. And therefore I can up my training time a significant amount more than just running alone.

Anyway, that's the thesis.

Three months into this thesis, I've seen some very interesting effects pop up. And all were good.

The first was my weight. Yes, I have voluntarily changed my diet to a more primal approach. But still, to lose more than 20 pounds in the first 3 months is a monumental achievement, so I can't really attribute it to the change of diet alone.

The second, which is really wondrous, is that my speed has returned for the large part. Thought to have been lost forever, I've tasted some of this speed in my recent races, first in the Cold Feat 10k and now in the Indian Trails 15k road race.

Last year, I finished this race at around 68 minutes. My goal time for this race was around 64 minutes.

I finished in 62 minutes and 37 seconds, a 6:44 mile pace. This is a significant improvement over last year!

It's a nice thing to see in my training. And I hope I can keep it and even build on it in the coming months.

Of course this doesn't help satisfy my thesis that triathlon training is better to prep for ultras, but I'll definitely find out in my first ultra in May, the North Face Endurance Challenge. And if what I am seeing this spring is any indication, I will hopefully be pleased with the results.

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SIAC Xtreme...April is here!

There are 2 key events that fall within the realm of SIAC Xtreme.

Saturday April 21 is the Scholastic Trail run, put on by SIAC itself. This will be in Willowbrook Park and is a great final prep for the High Rock Challenge. There will be a 5k and a 10k trail option for everyone. Applications will be out soon; once available, I'll post it here.

Saturday April 28 is The High Rock Challenge! People will be parking at the JCC and will be bused to the Greenbelt Recreation Center for the start of the race.

SIAC and the Greenbelt Conservancy have teamed up to provide group trail runs to prepare for the High rock Challenge and have drawn HUGE numbers of runners. For this past weekend we had over 20 runners participate in these runs! We will have these runs this weekend as well, leaving the High Rock Parking lot at 8AM this Saturday, so come on down. These runs are easy paced and we will leave nobody behind.

Here is the itinerary off of the Greenbelt Conservancy's website, for your convenience:

Happy trails! And here's to an exciting and muddy spring on those trails! :-)