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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thoughts - The Blizzard that Wasn't and the Rocky Raccoon Trip

Just some random thoughts leading into the Rocky Raccoon race...

My flight to Houston on Thursday looks not to be affected by the storm we had on Monday.  It was changed from 7:30AM to 9AM, but that should be fine. I'll put me in Houston by 2PM. I should be safely in the hotel there by 3PM and ready to travel to Huntsville State Park, where the race is, by Friday.

Speaking of the so-called "blizzard", the fact that authorities were quick to shut down the entire city is, I think, a bit ominous. In the past, the city never shut down, even in the wake of historic storms. Now after Hurricane Sandy? I don't know. Would shell-shocked be the description of it?

I don't know, but the travel bans that were imposed in NY and NJ were ominous. While I do understand that stuck cars are problems for road clearing crews, I'm afraid that they might take the next step and impose some sort of curfews for people as well...

...and that would essentially give the government the power to imprison us in our own homes. I wouldn't stand for it.


As it is, I did get a run out there on Tuesday morning, during the peak of the storm, and had no problem with it.

We really didn't get a lot of snow here on Staten Island

I really didn't have a difficult time running in the storm.

I did get some strange stares from road clearing crews out there.

Jumping back to Rocky Raccoon...unlike most of my race strategies, I will not gamble with this one and will just take it conservatively here. My goal? Less than 24 hours. This will also serve to get qualified for the Western States lottery as well. 

The reason why I'm not gambling here is that my training leading into the winter has been sporadic. My performance in my training runs tends to be very erratic when the temps plummet. I'm a summer person; that is when I shine.

The temperature looks to be in the mid-50s for the race, and low 40s at night. I'll take it.

It's better than 20 degrees in NYC!

This trip is a no-frills trip as well. Just get to Texas, do the race, and come back.

The frills will come when I go to Europe for UTMB this August. That is where my money is being spent!

So wish me luck this weekend, and hopefully I'll come back in one piece.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rocky Raccoon Thoughts

In one week, I'll be ready to embark in my first 100 mile run of 2015, the Rocky Raccoon Ultra.

The beautiful finisher's belt buckle of Rocky Raccoon, with the lone star of Texas prominent in its design.

 
Believe it or not, aside from the Three Days at the Fair last year (that was a looped 72 hour course), this would actually be my first flat 100 mile course I will ever undertake. With Vermont, Leadville, Wasatch, and Western States finishes and an attempt of Burning River (yeah, that race is deceptively hilly), this is a true flat course.

I'm not sure how my body would respond.

Plus my training hasn't really gone as planned. The winter really took care of that. I've had some real horrible long runs leading up to this, cut short by the cold.

I'm much better in the heat than in the cold.

So, how will I perform in a mid-winter race that is totally flat? I don't know.

My goal is to get under 24 hours. I think that's still attainable. Will it happen? Well, we shall see.

Whatever time I finish, I will be qualified for Western States again, so that is a plus.

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Thoughts from the Farther Side

Most of the people that I'll be romming with at Chamonix, France at UTMB have already purchased airline tickets. I'm waiting until after the Texas trip before I purchase mine.
 
Chamonix is beautiful in pictures. It's probably much better up close and personal also!
 

One of the cheapest flights right now is IcelandAir, with a stop through Reykjavik. When I was looking at airfare prices, when I plugged in my itinerary, a pop-up box appeared asking me whether to make a day trip of the change-over there.

I find it quite intriguing!

I'm not sure if I'll ever be in Iceland, especially since I'm adverse to this cold, but they do have hot springs there, and I'm sure it would hit the spot after a race like UTMB to soak in those springs over there.
 
Wow, this looks surreal. Maybe I'll go to Iceland on the way back from Europe.
 

It's an option I'll definitely weigh.

I'm most likely be partnering up with Karen B. She's a fantastic person; it'll be good to jet around Europe with her. I think she's receptive to this Iceland thing also.

Any way, there will be more on the trip after I'm done with Texas. One race at a time, right? :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Huge Lottery Win...UTMB!!!

Last week, I found, much to my joy, that I'll be headed to France this August to toe the line of Europe's most prestigious race, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc!

About 2000 people toe the line at UTMB every year.

What's even better is that 2 other people will be running this race, as well as another friend who will run the shorter TDS version of the event. With three other people coming (one who will be part of the medical team over there), we're 7 strong going to Europe!
 
It's going to be a great trip.
 
The Alps are amazing in pictures. I cannot wait to see them in real life!
 
We have already gotten a chateau only a couple of blocks from the start line in Chamonix for the entire week. All I need to do is plan for the several days before and after that week. I'm currently thinking Paris beforehand, and Geneva afterwards. I'll have to check the airfares and plan accordingly. Stay tuned!

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Thoughts from the Farther Side...

I've been overly sensitive to the cold this winter. I just feel cold everywhere, even inside. I always have to fight the urge to get under the bed sheets and stay there until April.

The winter's cold has affected my training...a lot...this season. I wanted to do well in Rocky Raccoon next week, but I'll now only settle for a 24 hour finish...and qualifying for the Western States lottery again in December.

If it was possible to move to the surface of the sun, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Ahhh...home sweet home!


I'm still giddy about the UTMB thing though. Makes me feel like a kid again!

I'll be posting my 2015 schedule on this blog in a couple of days. It's going to be epic!
 
Stay warm my friends.