Rugged Individualist. Certified USA Triathlon Coach & NASM Personal Trainer, Men's Self Improvement Coach. President of Go Farther Sports. National Ranked Triathlete & 100 Mile Grand Slam Ultrarunner, 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, November 11, 2015

200 Miles. WTF?!

What the heck am I thinking?

So far I've run 8 races of 100 miles or more. 7 of them are official 100 milers, and one of the races was a 72 hour one in which I ran 161 miles.

I can remember three of those 100 mile races where I was either coming in limping or walking pretty badly towards the finish line.

The 72 hour race? That was at Three Days at the Fair, where I had problem after problem keeping going after 100 miles. My feet swelled up so much that I had to run in regular sports sandals for the last 30 miles of the race. And it took me well over 6 weeks to recover from that race.

Now comes a slew of 200 mile races. And most of these are in the mountains. Oh boy...

For years it was just the Tor des Geants in the Italian Alps for a number of years This was the premier survival race of this distance.

Now we have three mountain 200s in the United States, the Bigfoot 200, the Tahoe 200 and the Colorado 200.

Here is Trail Whippass and Ultimate Badass Ultrarunner Conrado Bermudez at the finish line of the Bigfoot 200, along with RD and "Sadist" Candice Burt, who also puts on the Tahoe 200 race. Not sure how he is smiling after this crazy race...

And there are probably more to come!

I can just picture myself limping badly at 100 miles...heck, I've done that several times already. But the kicker is that I'M ONLY HALFWAY THERE!

The reason why I'm talking about these 200 milers is that I've already had nightmares about them. And why am I thinking about these races?

Because I'm probably thinking about doing one.

As a matter of fact, if I don't get into Western States this year, I've already made my choice of doing one next September. If I do actually get selected into this race, the nightmares will continue.

Just put me in a straitjacket right now or this might happen to me...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Would I do the Grand Slam of Running Again If Picked for Western States?

In a word...yes.

Now why would I want to suffer again through four more 100 mile races in 10 weeks, especially including what will most certainly be a nightmarish run at Leadville?

Good question. I really cannot answer that.

Maybe because it is so darned tough to do that I want to take up that challenge again? Maybe I would be one of the only few that actually finished more than one? Maybe it's because of this trophy that I earned when I finished it in 2013?

I only have about a 4% chance of getting into Western States anyway, so I'm making other plans for next year. But, a slim possibility is still a possibility, right? :-D

Friday, June 5, 2015

Towpath Run - Advice For Those going the Distance Tomorrow - Good Luck!


We have at least 35 people going the full 34.6 mile distance tomorrow at the RVRR Towpath Training Run. That is incredible how many people are attempting the ultra distance these days. There are a lot of people going ultra for the first time tomorrow. I wish you all the best of luck, but I leave you with some suggestions for tomorrow...

1) Your last full meal should be lunch, or a very early dinner, around 3PM at the latest. The main reason is that you want to make sure all that food that you eat passes through your system completely and is evacuated from your body in time for the event tomorrow. It's not a nice feeling to still have all that food in your gut when you run long tomorrow, so get that last meal done early tonight.

2) Your last full meal should NOT be full of carbs. Rather, it should be a healthy mix of protein, fat, and a little carbs. Suggestions would be grilled chicken with broccoli rabe (which I will be eating today), or for the vegetarian, an omelete (or frittata) with vegetables in it. Vegans can get by with a salad with tofu and nuts the day before the race.

3) The early last meal doesn't mean you should starve the rest of today and into tomorrow. Make sure you can snack a little so that you stay sated while keeping light with your diet. Fruit, dried fruit, and nuts (no peanuts) would be ideal for tonight. Also, drink a lot of water. The temps will be mild, but it is predicted to hit 80 degrees tomorrow, so there is a bit of warmth there.

4) Tomorrow morning, you should stay light with your diet. I know some people can get by with a bagel, but can be a bit heavy on some people right before a run. Dried fruit or nuts would be ideal. I usually keep those on hand as I dress up and drive over to the start of the run. Also keep water on hand, of course.

5) Make sure you have something with you so that you can carry water and food while running. The aid stations are pretty much stocked well, but you still want to make sure you have nutrition and water on demand when you need it the most. A Camelbak, Nathan, or other hydration pack is ideal. A fuel belt also will work here too. At least carry one bottle of water with you at all times on the run.

4) Eat more real food than energy gels and bars. You will be running this at a relaxed pace. A relaxed pace means that your stomach has the ability to digest foods, more than in a marathon or shorter distance run. And real food is much more superior than the energy food. Trust me on this! Real food meaning fruit, nuts, bananas, and beef jerky for the hardcore ultrarunners. Try to stay conservative on candies such as Twizzlers, Gummy Bears, and M&Ms; the sugars can cause an insulin crash, something you don't want happening to you during a long run.

5) Eat early and often. Even if you're not hungry on the opening miles of the run, have something literally at your fingertips to nibble on. If you wait until hunger strikes, it might already be too late to catch back up with your nutrition.

6) Lastly, have fun. Make sure you socialize with people in your group the entire time. We're social animals, and talking makes the miles go extremely quickly!

I wish you the best of luck tomorrow and I'll see you all at Johnson Park and the finish line!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yes, I still swim!

A lot of my friends nowadays see me as an ultrarunner. But what most don't know is that I actually did come from a swimming background.

I chose the swim team when I entered high school. At Msgr. Farrell. High School.

It was a good team that I was on. We used to win a lot of matches against other high schools. The only team we couldn't really beat was Chaminade High School in Long Island.

When I entered varsity at the latter part of freshman year, my coach immediately put me into the distance events, the 200 meter and the 500 meter freestyle. Looked like he knew I took to distance better than speed. Little did he know what kind of distances I was going to be capable of!

I received Most Improved Swimmer in both my Junior and Senor years of high school and qualified for the Nationals in the 500 meter at Villanova College, in which I did well.

Unfortunately, the college that I went to didn't have a swim team, so I kept it up on my own while studying at college. In sophomore year is when I actually started running on a competitive basis, going into a couple of local 5Ks.

It's in my senior year of college that I discovered a local triathlon and decided to take it up. This was 1990, and I finished pretty well in my age group. I took to it so well that I took up the half Ironman race in 1992 (finished 2nd in my age group around 4:30), did the NYC Marathon in 1995, and finally my first Ironman in Canada in 1996.

It was really not until around 2002 before I actually did my first ultra. That's a long story in itself how I got to know of ultras, and one I'll write up soon here.

But I still do my swims and rides religiously, even though the bulk of my races are now ultras. The swimming and cycling were a critical part of why I successfully completed the Grand Slam of Ultras in 2013, and I continue swimming and cycling right up until today. It factors so well into my UTMB training.

One of the culminations of my ultra distance obsession and my triathlon background is the marriage between the two...basically an Ultra Triathlon. Yes, these are triathlons longer than the Ironman distance and usually go on for several days. Those races will be part of my goals for the near future...and you might see some news here about entering a particular event in 2016. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The UTMB Trip and European Flights (UTMB Planning Part 1)

Putting together the UTMB trip has gotten pretty time consuming. But it's pretty exciting in the process.

First, I have to figure how to get there the cheapest way. Then find the accommodations in the cities there. Then I have to figure the way to transport around the cities and get those reserved. And lastly, but definitely not least, I have to pick up the mandatory gear for the race (and some of that isn't cheap at all!).

First thing that we did was get the accommodation at Chamonix. One of the people in our UTMB took care of that the day we won the lottery since accommodations there would be taken immediately by the 2000+ people who also won the lottery.

One of our group landed a beautiful chalet like this right in the center of town! And only $225 for 6 nights. Wow.

So that was taken care of immediately. The next thing was how to get there. Everyone in the group will have their own travel itinerary in getting there and in getting home. A couple will be going through Iceland, and others will be staying in Milan for several days before getting to Chamonix.

I basically spent about 3 weeks "massaging" the various flights to Europe and watching some patterns emerge. The trick to traveling cheaply in Europe is to find the cheapest gateway cities at that time and fly into those, even if those gateway cities aren't close to your final destination. One you get your foot into Europe, the travel within the Eurozone is very, very cheap.

It also pays to have some flexibility as well. Whatever gateway city was the cheapest, I  was going to spend several days there exploring it. Heck, why not! Chances are that I've never seen the city before, right? :-)

Looking at the direct flights to Geneva, I found that the cheapest airfare was a little under $1000 by Aeroflot, and that had me going through Moscow on the way to Geneva. I'm sure Moscow is a nice place to visit, but it is extremely out of the way and I think I can do better on the airfare.

Looking at the map provided by Google on flights to Europe on that particular day I found then that the Scandinavian cities were a heck of a lot cheaper than a flight to Geneva!

Even today, Stockholm is a lot cheaper to get to from the USA than Geneva ($735 compared to $1022).

Getting to Stockholm was quite cheap! I figure I stay there for several days, then take a commuter flight to Geneva on the day it was the cheapest...which turned out to be August 25, the day we check into our apartments in Chamonix. That flight only cost me $100 exactly for a round trip! I made sure that both flights lined up nicely on the way back to the USA too. The total cost for both flights was $835, much better than $1022!

And I get to see Stockholm for several days. I think it's a win-win situation. :-)

Using AirBnB, I also landed a nice place for 3 nights at Stockholm for only $150. With another $120 for a place in Geneva after UTMB and I've secured 2 weeks in Europe with airfare and lodging for a little over $1300. Not bad!

I can definitely use what I saved for the mandatory gear that we need to carry for UTMB, and I will address that here in 1-2 weeks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 Rocky Raccoon Race Report - Scattered Thoughts

Start of the Race - January 31

All revved up for the 2015 Rocky Raccoon 100! From left to right;  Otto, Sky (crewing only), Jackie, Kenneth (crewing only), Heather, and me.


4:30AM - Alarm goes off, and I'm up. Tent is a bit cold as I yank on my clothes. What is it, around 40 degrees out? It's predicted to be around 60 as a high for today, so let's go with the shorts. How about the top? Go with long sleeve for at least the first lap of the race (20 miles), then maybe switch to a short sleeve shirt.

Oh crap, I forgot to put on the lube. Where's that damn Bag Balm? Of course, it's in the bottom of the backpack where it's hard to reach. Nice planning Pete!

No problem, let's get this on my feet, my crotch, and other problem areas so that I am golden for the race! Just make sure the Bag Balm is easily accessible in my drop bag, just in case I need it again. I'll place it on the top this time. Great!

4:45AM - All dressed up for the first lap. Place some tights on and a light jacket to keep covered until almost race time. The tent was actually easy to pack this time, thank God. I've had some difficulty in the past. Maybe this is a good sign!

5:00AM - An hour before race start, and I'm ready to walk the quarter mile or so to the start. I'm pretty much ahead of schedule here. Another good sign? Walk it very easy; I'm going to be on my feet all day, so try not to tire myself walking over there.

5:15AM - Lots of people gathering already. They're probably people coming in from outside the park looking for the closest parking space. I have no issues with that; I rented no car! OK, looking for a place to put my drop bag...oh this is great!!! I'm bib #220 and my designated space is right up front! Yet ANOTHER good sign? Shhh...don't think about it. Concentrate on the race.

The race...this is the flattest course that I've ever done. There's a danger there. Flat means it's easy to go out real hard. Flat also means it's easy to run continuously without breaks. Hilly courses are easy to take a break on...when you encounter an uphill section, walk it! Not so here. Must build in breaks for this race. How about 8 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking? Sounds good. I'll do that.

5:30AM - Yeah, I'm having a bagel. I'm normally paleo, but race day is where any diet gets dropped. Easy strategy here is to go with what I crave. So I'm craving a bagel. I'm eating it!

5:45AM - One last chance to go to the bathroom. I pick the shortest line at the Porta-Johns...but nobody is coming out in my section. Uh, hello guys? Did you fall in? Ah, 1 guy got out. Get the business done with 8 minutes to go before race start. Get to the drop bag quickly! Doff the long tights and the jacket, pack them in quickly, and get to that start.

5:59AM - Where to place myself in this group of runners. It's 100 miles, I'm not going to the front. I honestly need to be held back on the first lap. I'll stay in the middle. Wish Otto, Jackie, Heather, Lauren luck before the start.

Gathering at the start!

First Lap (0-20 miles)

6:00AM - And GO!!! Head out with the pack in the middle of night. Headlamp is on, watching for roots. I remember somebody telling me that he turned his ankle about 2 years ago in this race in the first 5 miles of the race. I do NOT want that to happen to me. Just stay careful this first loop. Don't race it at all.

Wait, I feel cold hands! I forgot my gloves! Did I leave it in the Porta-John? I think I did. Oh well, forget them. My hands are cold but not critically so. I'll be fine.

Race time 00:35 - 35 minutes in. So far so good. I think! Wasn't I supposed to run 8 minutes and then walk 2 minutes? What happened to that strategy? Oh yeah, I'm just pinned in with a long group of runners but the pace is really, really easy, so I can wait until there is some open trail before I do that. Ah, first aid station. I'll stop here, get in a cup of water, then off I go. Don't race this lap, don't race this lap...

1:10 - First encounter with the Damnation station. Feeling very good. So there's a loop here before coming back to the same station. How long? More than 6 miles? Ah, I can already understand why people dread this loop in the latter parts of this race. OK, I'm good. Off I go into the loop.

2:20 - Damnation station again. Damnation loop done. Yeah, it's quite long. Picked up several friendly runners during the loop. Two funny guys! I'm pretty much having a great time talking ultras with these guys. They are slowing me down a bit, but that's fine! I'll stick with them **because** they are slowing me down.

3:30 - Almost finished with the first loop. This part is the same out-and-back section in the beginning of the race, and I'm seeing some of the "stallions" racing out on the second loop. Wait! Could it be? Otto?!!! He's more than 2 miles into the second loop, so that means he finished the 1st loop in...3 hours?!!! Oh man, pray you're not going too fast Otto. Oh boy!

3:57 - Finished the first loop. Get to the drop bag, drop out the headlamp and the long sleeve shirt. Put on the short sleeve shirt, and I feel great with it. Temps are in the 50s. A perfect day! Ask Ken who is crewing what Otto's time was for the first loop. 3:05!!! Oh boy. Starting out the second loop at exactly 4 hours. Purposely left the 2 runners I came in with behind; now it's down to business.

Pictures us after 20 miles. Yeah, we're still fresh. Wait until mile 80 though! Going clockwise, that's me, Heather is still smiling after 20, so is Jackie. On the bottom, Yoshiko with Sky as crew. This pic "stolen" from a friend on Facebook. :-)

First Loop Lap Time - 3:57. A decent start to the race.

Second Loop (20-40 miles)

4:30 - All alone on the second loop. Finally established the 8 minutes run, 2 minutes walk routine. Saw Heather and Lauren coming in on that first loop...they are only 2 miles behind me, so they're looking strong for their first 100! Goal here is to still keep the pace easy for the 2nd loop. 8 minutes run, 2 minutes walk. 8 minutes on, 2 minutes walk...

6:30 - Damnation loop done for the second time...damn that loop felt a bit longer, didn't it? Somehow I think that loop is really going to suck the last 2 loops. Starting to have a weird protein and fat craving, so I crack open my stash of cashews at the aid station and chase them down with water. Still feeling great though.

7:15. At the last aid station of the loop. Oh hey, there's Matt and Gene! Crewing for Heather and Lindsay no doubt. The way Lindsay was going, he'll probably finish the race before I complete my third lap. LOL! Take a picture with them, smile! OK, off to complete the second lap.

7:30 - Last 2 miles of the second loop. Oh hey!!! There's Otto again. He's not smiling this time. Didn't I see him at the same place a lap ago? Uh oh, that means...he's slowed somewhat. He's slowed to my pace. Looks like I'm finishing this loop around 4 hours again, so he must have done 4 hours for the 2nd loop.

8:00 - Second lap finished! Looks about the same pace as the first lap. That means I've established a good initial pace. Good! I'm not going to blow up spectacularly. But, as I told Ken, I am definitely not doing another 4 hour loop for loop #3, that is for sure!

Hmmm...will I need a headlamp for this third loop? Let me get my headlamp and pack it with me, just in case I need it.

Second Loop Lap Time - 4:03, Overall time - 8:00. Still holding strong!

Starting 3rd loop of the race, at 41 miles. I'm not smiling anymore.

Third Loop (40-60 miles)

8:05 - Going back out and feeling well, but the legs are starting to feel a bit heavy. It's time to play the rest of this race smartly. I'll probably be taking more time than usual at each aid station to make sure I get my nutrition in. Still doing the 8 minute run/2 minute walk routine. OK, 2 miles in, I see Heather and Lauren finishing their second lap. Great! They're still holding strong. I wonder where Otto is now? Probably finishing the Damnation Loop and ready to finish lap 3. I didn't like the look of him though, so I hope he's doing OK.

8:40 - Parked myself at the  first aid station with some food. Not much choice here, but the typical aid station faire should get me to Damnation where the food is a bit more varied. I really am craving protein. Although not here, I'm hoping that Damnation will be better.

9:15 - Get to Damnation. What? Kielbasa!!!  Gimme, gimme, gimme! Oh wow, that hit the spot! Now I'm super ready for the Damnation Loop again.

9:45 - This Damnation Loop is getting longer and longer. I swear it! Keep calm Pete, you'll eventually get to the end. Ah, there's the berm. OK, Damnation is only 5 minutes away from that. Another loop done.

10:00 - Finish the Damnation Loop, and arrive back at the Damnation station. Wait, who's calling my name? WTF? Otto, what are you doing sitting in a chair with a heavy blanket over you? Are you done? Aw crap Otto, you must have went out too hard. C'mon Otto, you can do this! I wish Otto well and head out. I hope Otto gets out of that chair and starts running again. Ken and Sky are going to need to be updated when I get back to the start and finish.

11:40 - Last aid station. Is it getting dark? Why it is. Wow, this day went quick! Will I get to the start/finish before nightfall? I don't know. I'm relieved that I placed my headlamp in my pack at the last moment before starting out on this loop. That little piece of mind goes a long way.

12:15 - Aw #$%^! Fell on a couple of roots at the end of the third loop. Bloodied my hand while hitting the ground. Make a fist to stop the bleeding. Keep moving, don't stop! Well, I'll need to stop and get my headlamp. I'm not going to complete this lap without nightfall. Good, the trail is well lit now. Patience Pete. Practice patience. I'm not feeling too well. Just finish this loop; a change of clothes will be waiting for me there.

12:27 -  Finished the loop. It's getting cool. The hand is not bleeding any more. Let's get to the drop bag and take some time to sort things out. I will need a long sleeve shirt. Is a jacket required? I don't think so, I'll do without it. Pack the second headlamp and some batteries. Take a wool cap with me in case my head gets cold. Change of shoes? No, but I'll change the socks. Get the Bag Balm out and relube the feet. Put on the same shoes I started with. OK, time to get up. Ouch that hurts! Aw crap, both my calves are extremely tight. I don't feel good at all. I'm experiencing a huge low point in my race. Luckily, Ken is there to motivate me me forward into the 4th loop. One step, ouch! Another step, ouch! Limp out into the 4th loop...

Third Loop Lap Time - 4:27, Overall Time 12:27 

Fourth Loop (60-80 miles)

12:40 - Limp, limp, limp. This run sucks. Now I have two night time loops on this course. But, I think my calves are starting to loosen up. Looks like I'm actually running a little more normally again. It's not going to look pretty on this lap, but at least I'm moving forward. Wait, are those the girls? I don't know...everyone has their headlamp on now and the light is shielding their faces. I did spend 15 minutes at the start/finish to prepare for the night so it might very well be the girls. Hope they're doing well in any case. The 8 minute/run and 2 minute walk is still holding, but I might have to abandon the strategy and start using the slight climbs for walking breaks instead. I initially placed my wool cap on my head, but it made me feel hot in the humid air, so I have it off and am carrying it in my hands.

13:40 - Damnation Aid Station at the start of the Damnation Loop. The quesadillas were great at the aid station. But I'm not looking forward to doing the Damnation Loop in the dark. Crap, I have to do this...I reluctantly leave the aid station to tackle the loop. It is here I stopped the 8 min/2 min routine in favor of the slight hills. The back end of the loop meanders forever in the dark. Patience Pete. It's not one of my strong points, but I have to practice it.

15:20 - Finally completed the 4th loop. I'm running slower, but I'm still running, and the food is still helping me out. In other words, I'm actually doing quite fine at this late stage of the race. Now, if only I can muster this for the last marathon, I might come away with a decent time in this race. Ah, don't worry about that last loop. Let's get this loop done first!

17:10 - A couple of miles from finishing the 4th loop. Whoa, I almost tripped on a root I didn't see. Whoops! Almost tripped on another invisible root. What's going on? Aw crap, my headlamp is dimming! I have to stop, take off my pack and fish out the other headlamp. Heck, while I'm stopped, I might as well take out the spare batteries and put them into the dimming headlamp too. Don't worry about time and make sure you do this correctly! OK, both lamps are set. The second lamp is brighter, so I might as well use it for the time being. The batteries don't last as long with this lamp than my primary one, but I'm fine knowing I have another headlamp at the ready.

17:42 - Done with the 4th loop. I'm OK. I'm determined this time to get back out on the last lap quickly. All I do is take in some food and drink at the aid station and off I go. I only spent about 4 minutes there. Atta boy! Let's get this crap...I mean lap done!

Fourth Loop Lap Time - 5:15, Overall Time 17:42

Fifth Loop (80-100 miles)

The sub-24 hour finisher's buckle was within my grasp...if I stay the course on the last lap.

17:50 - OK, my legs are heavy, but I'm still running quite decently at this point. My marbles are still there, I'm still sane. My stomach isn't upset, and I'm still peeing regularly. Hoping I can keep this together in the last 19 miles of this race and I'll finish well under 24 hours! One can hope...

18:30 - Arrive at the first aid station of the last loop. Volunteer asks me, "is this the home stretch for you?" "Yep, it is" with a tired smile on my face. I thanked the volunteers for their job before going off towards Damnation.

I figured I can break this loop down to 3 distinct sections...the run leading up to Damnation Loop, the Damnation Loop itself, and the 7.8 miles after the Damnation Loop. I was obviously focusing on the Damnation Loop, the biggest obstacle between me and the finish.

19:20 - OK, got to Damnation. I only stay for 3 minutes. Heck, the sooner I start this nightmare loop, the sooner I finish. So I set off tired, but determined to get this loop over with.

20:00 - OK, I've made the turn towards the back end of the loop. Keep patient here; eventually you'll come to the berm towards the end. It might feel like forever, but stay patient...stay patient...stay patient. The headlamp is starting to blink a little. Are these batteries dead too? OK, stop, fish out the other headlamp, and wrap it around the neck, just in case.

20:40 - I made it to Damnation Aid Station!!! No more Damnation Loop! There's only 7.8 miles between me and the finish, and those miles aren't half bad! The best part was that I did run most of the loop and am still running pretty well. Some calculations put my finish time at 22:30-22:45 if I do this last bit right!

21:15 - Meandering on the single-track trail with runners going back and forth here. The runners going the other way were going toward the Damnation Station to do their loop. Someone calling my name? Oh hey, it's Lauren!!! On her last loop!!! Kyle was pacing her and he was the one that shouted to me. Go guys! Wait, who's calling my name again. Ken! Pacing Jackie! Jackie was on her last loop also. Nice. Glad they will finish the race.

The headlamp was blinking very badly now. Ah, switch headlamps with the one around my neck and let's go! 

21:40 - Last aid station...I'm running quite well and will only need to run 4 more miles to the finish. One of the volunteers ask, you wrapping this up?" Oh yeah, you won't see me again!!! I thanks the volunteers there for staying up at the wee hours of the morning and off I went to claim my buckle.

22:00 - Running past another runner. "Hey, is this your last loop?", he said. Yep, it is. "I'm right behind you buddy, looks like you'll finish around 22:40." That's what I guessed also. But I'm motoring and I'm not walking at all. The legs are tired, but if I can still run on them, I'm running. No more walking breaks; I'll stop when I'm finished!

22:20 - Wait, do I see the paved road near the lodge? Yeah, I do! This is the last section! Forget about the 22:40, I might have a chance to get under 22:30! I'm running hard now, I turn and see the clock of the finish line. Pump that fist! You did it! Yell across the finish line! 22:28:34! Not a bad time at all. The scorers verify my time and hand me my buckle. Done!

Fifth Loop Lap Time - 4:49, Overall Time 22:28:34

(my last loop was a lot faster than my 4th loop. I was determined to finish the race, and that translated into a pretty fast loop!)

Post race - 5AM on February 1 (30 minutes after finishing)

OOOWWWW! This shower HURTS!!!!...

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.


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!

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.