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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Random Thoughts / I Still Feel Like an Ultra Imposter / Oh, no! Speed Again?

Today is the Winter Solstice. Hmmm, doesn't feel like it. As a matter of fact, it's supposed to go to 70 degrees tomorrow.

No complaints though. Running in shorts on the snowy/icy trails was a blast. Even with the snow and ice I ran a pretty fast 6.5 miles in 59 minutes. The snow and ice are definitely good for balance.

Maybe I should want all this snow and ice at the Watchung 50k next month, my first race of 2014.

As for the rest of 2014, I still do not have concrete plans. The UTMB lottery is September 15. The Tahoe 200 is a possibility. An Iron distance race in Atlantic City is a possibility. Maybe even a quintuple Ironman in the fall.  I don't know how this schedule is going to shake out.

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The Grand Slam finisher's photo made Ultrarunning Magazine:






And of course, my name appears in next year's Grand Slam application:


I'm a tiny mention in there, but I think you'll see it if you click on it.



To be honest, I still feel a bit in awe that I actually finished the Slam. Maybe the phrase, "you are your own worst critic" comes to mind here, but there are some days where I still feel like an outsider looking into the ultra world. Maybe even an imposter, especially sitting with what I think is the most talented and fittest group of athletes I've ever been involved with. I feel like I still have a lot to learn from this sport; I still have a lot of questions and most of those people sitting with me have the answers.

Yes, there is still a lot to learn in the ultra world, like trying to actually excel at the 100 mile distance. Not just finishing but moving up in the standings. What kind of training would it take to do that?

Well, I had a conversation with a friend in the Raritan Valley Road Runners the other day. When asked, "would I do the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning again?", I said sure, but I would definitely try to do better next time. When the topic moved to getting faster for the 100, I answered that I might actually have to go to the track after all and do some faster intervals.

If that is the case, I feel like I'll be going around full circle here. Yeah, track workouts make sense for 5ks, they make sense for half marathons, and even marathons, but 100 milers?

If I want to do well in 100 mile races, the answer is YES!

So now I'm actually contemplating adding track workouts to the routine. The workouts wouldn't involve 400 meter or 800 meter intervals, but longer sessions like the mile or 2 mile intervals. Or longer. Cruise intervals would be the norm here, but it would be definitely faster than the comfortable pace.

It's just interesting how speed creeps up on me, wherever I go. Even at the 100 mile distance, I cannot avoid it.

Maybe I'll finally get rid of the speed element at the 200 mile distance. No? I didn't think so. LOL!




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