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, September 3, 2013

Wasatch 100 Unfamiliarilty, Park City, and Swimmer Diane Nyad's Success

 Of the four Grand Slam races, the Wasatch Front 100 has been the most unknown to me.

Getting into Western States has been my goal for years, and even though I never saw the course before I raced it, knew where most of the challenges are on the course.

I was very familiar of  "The Wilderness", "The Canyons", and the trails near Auburn.

The Vermont course I did twice before this year.

The Leadville course I knew, up to mile 46 when I couldn't make the cutoff time 2 years ago. I knew the sections, and how tough the course was overall from first-hand experience.

Wasatch? Never familiar at all with it.

Oh, I knew of the race, but it was never really on my radar until I signed up for the Slam.

I know it's hilly. Very hilly. But where the major challenges are in the race I haven't the foggiest notion at all.

I got all the charts and the aid station info that I need. And despite the attempts to memorize the course (no, I won't be carrying papers with the course map on me during the race, I never look at them anyway), I will be basically going into this race blindly.

That's OK, my strategy still applies. If I encounter a hill, walk it, if the course goes downhill, run it, eat well at each aid station, and just keep moving. That should be enough to get me to the finish successfully.

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Utah, just like Colorado, is such a great state for fitness enthusiasts. If I actually lived here, I think I would regularly get lost in the mountains for days at a time.

Park City is a nice city to reside in. At 7000 feet, I can get some acclimatizing done before moving back down to Salt Lake City (4000 feet) the night before the race.

Park City is a great ski town. I somehow regret not knowing how to ski when I was younger. I still don't know where they put the brakes on those things when I strap them on.

Just like Frisco in Colorado, Park City has free buses to get people around, which is very convenient.

And just like Frisco, Park City caters to the fitness enthusiasts by having numerous trails to bike and run in. I really never have to worry about traffic here when I run.

Maybe a move out west is in the cards? Hmmm...

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Diane Nyad, a 64 year old swimmer, successfully swam the crossing between Cuba and Florida.

This was her fifth attempt.

She has just proven to everyone that one should NEVER give up. In this case, every time she failed, it just strengthened her resolve to do it again, and again, and again, until she finally did it.

Nobody should be afraid of failure. It's not the end of the world if one fails. It's what one does with failure that is very important. In most cases, giving up is perhaps the worst thing to do.

On the other hand, to get back up off the ground and try again is the best way to cope with failure. To put in the hard work and go for it again is the best way to go. To take failure, turn it into a constructive learning experience, and use that as a platform to succeed is the only way to turn failure into success.

From one ultra-endurance athlete to another, I congratulate her not just on her successful swim, but her dogged determination to keep at it until she succeeded.

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