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, August 27, 2013

Random Thoughts Before Tackling The Last Leg of the Grand Slam

"The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning award is recognition for those who complete four of the oldest 100 mile trail runs in the U.S. The "Slam" consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run all in the same year. The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Award was established in 1986, when Tom Green was the first finisher" - http://www.run100s.com/gs.htm



For the entire Grand Slam, Michael Lebowitz, a noted photographer who is a veteran with ultrarunning, has been capturing our thoughts and essences as we make our rugged way through the Grand Slam races. With just one race left in the Grand Slam, he wants to capture any thoughts that  we encounter as we try to make our date with history at Wasatch in 1.5 weeks. So here goes:

1) One to go...don't f**k this up!

2) These 100 milers are starting to get addicting. Will I go through withdrawal after Wasatch or should I join Ultrarunners Anonymous?

Me: Hi, my name is Peter Priolo, and I am an Ultrarunner.
Ultra Anonymous Group (all together): Hi Pete!

3) Are there any 200 mile races I can do now? I need to get to the next level.

4) I lost more than 9 pounds at Leadville. Maybe if I cut out the water and all the food in this next race, I can lose more than that. Now that would be cool!

5) I broke down and cried after finishing Leadville. I guess there is a little bit of human left in me.

6) I still don't understand those runners who do the same races year after year, especially the local 5k races. There is a whole world out there to explore, and the Grand Slam only scratches the surface!

7) When does the lottery open for Hardrock? For Western States? For UTMB? And what would I do if I win all three of them?

This is Hardrock? Oh man I want to be so there...


8) Who needs toenails anyway?

9) Good looks? Nah, the ladies I like want a guy with the biggest belt buckle!

10) If I date a woman that runs ultras faster than me, I'm doomed!

11) If I do win the Eagle Trophy for finishing the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, how will I get it past the TSA at the airport when going home?

12) After this year, I'm not sure if I can run on the roads again, even in training.

13) I promised myself the rest of the year off when I finished the Slam. So I signed up for a local 6 hour race 2 weeks after Wasatch. Oops...

14) I think I need to swim the English Channel to top the Slam (seriously, it's in the cards).

English Channel Swim. Another thing on my bucket list.


15) My reason for avoiding flat and fast 5k races in favor of big mountainous 100 mile ultras? The 5k races are much more painful.

16) So will I ever settle down and live like the rest of the 99% after the Slam is over? You know, those who support families and work full time? Definitely not! The Slam just confirmed the obvious...that the trail is my real home.

17) After the Slam, people will accuse me of being more arrogant. I'm sorry but they are either interpreting my positive "can do" attitude wrong or they are just being jealous. The latter group I don't associate with anymore; they spend too much time trying to tear other people down than trying to better themselves. If you decide to be a negative person, I have no time for you at all.

18) Will I go back to triathlon again? Of course. The double-deca Ironman (20 times the Ironman distance) is starting to look attractive...



19) Some ultras have much more aggressive standards than others. Leadville is one such race. Of all its faults, the one thing they should never change is their aggressive 30 hour limit. If you don't finish a race like that, please don't cry and call for the race to add more hours to make it easier. It's up to EACH RUNNER to do whatever they have to do to rise to the occasion and figure out a way to get themselves under that 30 hour limit. Believe me, when you do finish, you'll feel better for it.

20) If I wear all my belt buckles at once, would that make me a show off?

21) I don't think I've ever kept a normal sleeping pattern since Western States two months ago. What is this thing called sleep anyway?

22) If I finish along with all of the other Slammers, I could be a part of the largest group of ultrarunners who has ever finished the Slam (22). On top of that, I could be a part of the group who has the most women finishing the Slam (5). I think that's awesome!

23) I'm definitely going to miss the Slam when it's over. The highs and the lows make this such a memorable season. I don't think I'll ever see another season like it again.

Me and fellow Slammers before Vermont. I am glad to be involved with such a talented group of people this year. And I'm sure going to miss the camaraderie when the Slam is over.

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