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.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Two Weeks Until Western States - So Many Emotions!

Western States 100 Start Line - It All Starts Here


Two weeks to go before Western States and the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and I'm not sure how I feel. A whole mixture of feelings have definitely surfaced this past week:

I feel excited. The wait is almost over. It's been over 6 months since I was selected in the Western States lottery and the anticipation was killing me. It's time to get the party started!

I feel relieved. The hard work is over. Six months of hard, SMART training and I'm in perhaps the best shape of my life. And that includes my competitive years as a triathlete (the 1990s). I got one week of taper in this week and I've got all sorts of energy in the pool, on the bike, and definitely on the run.

I feel confident. The training definitely paid off and I know that it will reflect in my racing during the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. My weight is down close to my 175 pound goal and 20+ pounds of weight loss should definitely make a significant change for the better in each of these races.

Vermont 100 Start - 2nd leg of the Slam


I feel anxious. Anyone who undertakes four 100 mile ultras within 10 weeks is bound to feel that way. Even though I've trained well, there is still a huge unknown factor there that might rear its ugly head. I'm hoping that I can fix any problem that arises on the fly.

I feel fear. I've challenged myself and I have DNF'ed (Did Not Finish) in several races because I've taken gambles, but this will be a huge departure from that as I do not want to DNF in any of these races. It means I have to play it very conservative in each race. With Western States and Vermont, I don't think that will be a major issue, but Leadville might be a big issue, because the course demands that I take a more aggressive approach right from the start to make the aggressive 30 hour cutoff in the high altitude, thin atmosphere.

The Leadville 100 Start - High Altitude and Aggressive Cutoff Time Makes This a Very Difficult Race to Complete


I feel comforted. I've made friends with many ultrarunners who share the same philosophy as I do in both NY and NJ. Some of these friends I've made are also helping me to crew some of these races, and I've had promises from many athletes that they will make the trip to Utah (Wasatch Front 100) to see me and (hopefully) another person in the area finish the Slam. The ultrarunners in the area are of such high caliber that they have actually pushed me tremendously in training to be more like them, and that's a great asset to have.

"100 Miles of Heaven and Hell" - The Wasatch Front 100 Start - The Last and The Most Difficult Course of The Slam!


So it's time to do this. Although, if I should succeed, I would only be the 4th New Yorker ever to complete the Slam, hopefully I can be the first Staten Islander to do so. It's going to be one emotional roller coaster, but hopefully at the end of all this, in September, I'll be up there at Homestead, the Wasatch Front 100 finish line, with a trophy in hand.

P.S. My bib# for the Western States race on June 29 will be #340. You can follow my progress at this website... http://www.ultralive.net/ws100/webcast.php

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