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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

10 Weeks to The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning - Basically On Track Again

I'm going to give a basic update on what I have been doing the past several weeks for training. Some good and some bad here but overall, I've been maintaining, and even increasing my performance even more. One thing I have to say right now is to thank my lucky stars that we Staten Islanders have a Greenbelt in our backyard to train. Without this, I don't think training for the Grand Slam was even possible.


Let's get the Bad News out of the way first. It's only one, but it's a big one:

1) My father's health. He is OK and strong as an ox, but he was diagnosed with prostate cancer a little more than a month ago. He was due radiation treatments, but they recently found another growth in his bladder, and he was admitted to a hospital for a "routine" procedure to take it out. My father spent about 3 days in the hospital for basic observation, and whatever growth they took out was sent to the lab. We will be nervously waiting results for 2 weeks. Hopefully the results will prove that the tumor is benign.

Since we help each other out in the family, I have basically taken over important aspects of his business and other important functions he does. This has seriously reduced my availability to train at my routine hours and have even sometimes resorted to training in the middle of the night to keep my fitness. Nevertheless, some of the training I had hoped to do was never done.

There also exists the very small possibility that I have to ditch the Grand Slam altogether to keep everything on track, but, as I said above, we all support each other as family and my other brothers can pick things up while I'm away running all those miles.

Now, the Good News:

1) The training hit a rough patch the past couple of weeks, but I'm glad to say that it did not affect my overall fitness at all. I've discovered this past weekend that I can still run very long without tiring much. All that training in the previous weeks do count. And my speed on the trails is WAY up. It is great to know that I can actually do well in shorter races if I want to try. The Staten Island Advance Memorial Day Run might be an option to do, but chances are that I won't to make sure that all of my focus is still on the Grand Slam.

2) There is a chance that I will have a sizeable crew for at least 2 of the races. I won't elaborate now, but if the key people involved have no problem with expenses, then I'm ready to roll!

3) My weight is down today to 177.5 pounds. My overall goal is to toe the line at Leadville at 175 pounds. I only need to drop 2.5 pounds. And I might reach my goal sooner, by toeing the line at Western States! Remember that my official weight at Leadville 2 years ago was 204 pounds. A nearly 30 pound drop between that race and this race is going to be the big difference in whether I finish this race or not!

The past 2 weeks have been also chaotic in terms of my diet. I have never left staying paleo in my diet, but the meals and the time I eat have been very inconsistent. I also thought I overindulged on dark chocolate the past couple of weeks. Basically, I was on a really high fat diet and thought that my weight was going to skyrocket when I finally made it to the scale. For the first time in 2 weeks, I went on the scale today and was pleasantly surprised that my weight was at 177.5 pounds! Which makes for a very interesting analysis...a high fat diet is really not bad for you at all, and supports the argument that it's the processed carbohydrates...aka GRAINS...that are the culprit in obesity and weight gain. That is something that I will really look into in the coming years.

So, that is my overall status. Overall, I say it's not bad at all. The only thing I would like right now is to actually see spring arrive in the Northeast. I did an 8 mile run this morning in 41 degree (F) weather with clothes that I normally use in November. Western States has the potential for a lot of heat, and I need at least a 2 week window to adjust to the heat so that my race goes well. I'm hoping that nature will start cooperating and give up the cold here.

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