Monday, August 25, 2014

Help Wanted

Exactly two months from today, I will be running the Ghost Train 100 Mile Trail Race in  memory of Sam Berns. Sam was a wonderful young man from Foxboro Massachusetts who passed away on January 10th. Sam suffered from a rare disease called Progeria – which is a fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging. Sam lived ‘til the ripe old age (at least where Progeria is concerned) of 17.

Sam’s parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, founded the Progeria Research Foundation in 1999 and since that time, PRF has been the driving force behind the Progeria gene discovery and the first-ever Progeria drug treatment. They have taken what was an obscure, ignored disease and have developed a globally recognized treatment in just 13 years – an unheard of timeline in the world of medical research!

I will be raising money for PRF and hopefully awareness about Progeria with every mile I run at Ghost Train.  But, I need your help!  No, I don’t need you to contribute to 100 Miles For Sam (although I wouldn’t be disappointed if you did), what I need instead is your time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Drop Dead Legs

Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner, or later…

When you spend the year pushing your body to the limit, by training for (and racing) ultras, eventually it’s going to push back. And, that’s exactly what happened to me last weekend at the TARC Summer Classic 50m. The race began just fine, but I never really got comfortable. I felt downright awful at around the 12 mile mark, toyed briefly with the idea of just running a 50k and then finally dropped out altogether at mile 20. Logging the first official DNF of my ultra-running career.

At the time, I didn’t really know what was going on out there, I just knew that something wasn’t right. My legs were very heavy and sore from the start. My energy level was low. And, my overall attitude was terrible. Feelings which are normal in the last quarter of a 50 mile race - not the first quarter!


Now, after having reviewed the last 10 weeks of my training log (since my last 50 Mile Race) I know EXACTLY why things went south...       

...Because I am an idiot!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

‘Twill Serve


Robin Williams
died this week. That alone is sad enough, but add to it the fact that he committed suicide and it’s downright tragic. To think that one of the funniest human beings on the planet was so depressed that he couldn’t will himself to go on living is simply unfathomable. Unless, of course, you know anything about depression…


Robin Williams starred in many movies over his illustrious career. But three, in particular, stand out for me.  They don’t stand out because they were good. Or, because they were memorable. Or, because they were funny. They were all those things, and more! No, the reason that these three movies stand out for me is because they were life-altering! They touched me deeply and affected me for years to come!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Full Circle

In July of 2009 I attempted what was, up until that point, the biggest physical and mental challenge of my life – The Pemi Loop. A 31.5 mile run/hike through the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Up and over eight 4000+ mountains with more than 9000 feet of elevation gain. It was my first ever ultra-marathon and I wrote all about it HERE.

5 years later (to the day, surprisingly!), with many miles and a few ultra-marathons under my belt, I decided it was time to give it another shot. So, I headed back to the Pemi, the headwaters of my ultra-running river, to see what I could do    …and the results were rather stunning!

But first, a little history …

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Patience Practice

pa·tient adjective \ˈpā-shənt\ 1: able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with difficult problems or people. 2: done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying.

I
was not very patient at my previous ultramarathon race – The TARC 50m. And I paid for it …dearly. So, I vowed that the next time out, things would be different. As it turns out, The Bear Brook Trail Marathon would be that “next time” and just like at the TARC 50, the weather would be warm and muggy. Perfect conditions for working on practicing patience!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Filling the Void


“Something's missing and I don't know what it is.  No, and I don't know what it is.  At all…”
– John Mayer


Yup, something’s missing from my life. And I don’t know what it is. I do know that I SHOULD feel fulfilled.  I’m healthy.  I’m married.  I have a good job.  And I have four beautiful children.  But somehow, on most days (and even more so now that I’ve reached Mid-Life), I still feel a kind of emptiness inside. A void, if you will. And it scares me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Don't Try This at Home

"Overcoming Fear” was supposed to be title of this Hut Traverse blog entry.

Or at least, that was the working title for the story I was writing in my head at mile 40 of my 50 mile journey. Then the darkness happened - both physical and emotional. And, I realized that fear is a good thing. Fear is healthy. Fear is what keeps us from doing something stupid…

…like climbing a rocky mountain ridge, by yourself, at night, in howling winds, with 40 hours having passed since last you slept…


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Midway Island

As we turn the page on June (and with it the first half of 2014) I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect upon the high/low lites of my year so far...

  • I’ve Logged 1791 miles this year for a weekly average of 68.6. My highest ever to this point in the season.
  • I’ve not lost even one day of Training due to injury. Any off days I’ve taken so far have been by choice.
  • I’ve lost 7 pounds this year, with just 3 more to go to get back 185 - which is where I was this time Last Year.
  • I’ve raised nearly $1500 for Progeria Research through 100 Miles for Sam. Not a bad start.
  • I’ve had more than just a Little Fun with my friends. Thankfully, they are almost as crazy as I am.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

AMC Hut Traverse

In New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest the Appalachian Mountain Club operates a chain of eight High Mountain Huts. They are mainly located along the Appalachian Trail on the highest parts of the range, including the Franconia and Presidential Ridges. The huts are situated roughly 7 miles, or "a day's hike", apart. It's been a traditional challenge since the 1930's for strong AMC "Croo" members to connect all the huts into a single 1-day hike. With roughly 50 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation gain, over extremely rugged terrain, the traverse has also more recently become a fun challenge for hikers looking for something beyond the traditional 18 mile Presidential Traverse or 31 mile Pemi-Loop.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Mountain Interval

Last year at this time, I was just beginning my biggest challenge to date – The Summer of 48. And, although my primary goal for this year has shifted to 100 Miles for Sam, I can still hear the mountains calling me.  So, in this interval between the conclusion of the TARC 50 and the beginning of the build-up for the Ghost Train 100m I’ve chosen to heed their call…

Friday, June 13, 2014

TARC Places

I should have known better …

After almost 18 years of running and racing experience, I know damn well that I have

trouble running in the heat. Throw in some hills (and some stupid decisions) and it’s a down home recipe for disaster. As evidenced two years ago at Boston, last year at Bear Brook and every year at Yankee Homecoming. The TARC 50 was going to be different, however. Why? Because I was approaching this race as a structured training run with friends as I prepared for my first 100 Miler in October. Unfortunately, my competitiveness (and my stupidity) got the better of me and my structured training run turned into a steaming hot mess.

I suspect (and hope) that this story will be amusing to everyone who is not named me…

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Heart Biking

Yup! Believe it or not, I was a biker WAY before I was a runner…

My love affair with biking started 40 years ago when my family moved from a very bike-unfriendly Lawrence, MA and settled in suburban Salem, NH. Back then, I would take my Huffy 3-speed up the street to my friend’s house, or through the woods to an adjoining neighborhood. I beat the crap out of that thing. Doing jumps on built-up plywood ramps and throwing it up (and down) the bulkhead stairs of my cellar.