Sunday, November 30, 2008

Team INOV-8

I seriously cannot remember the last time I went an entire week without running at all.

Miles for the week= zero!

Even after the 100-miler I ran a couple miles about five or six days after the event. Since Philly Marathon last Sunday I have been able to totally relax, catch up a little, and the timing was ideal with the Thanksgiving break. With a couple of trips to the hot tub, steam room, sauna and pool combined with the holiday nourishment I have been feeling really good the last couple of days. We took a nice trip to New Haven, Connecticut and on the way back to Ithaca I received some exciting news. Team INOV-8 manager Mark Lundblad messaged me inviting me to be a part of their running team for 2009. I accepted! I feel blessed to be a part of such a great group of runners. I am also anxious to try out some more of their quality trail running products.

That said...I have my eyes on a few exciting races for the upcoming year and will post a tentative calendar when it solidifies a little more.

Erica and I had tickets to spend a month in Thailand (mid Dec. to mid Jan.) but decided to make a last minute cancellation today due to the political turmoil taking place in Bangkok right now. Booooo! However, I think we will try to find another destination here shortly to escape to in between semesters.

Also, I just got a book titled "Why We Run" by Bernd Heinrich that looks like an excellent read.

Time to get back to school work. I hope to finish the semester the same way I have finished the last couple of good shape without killing myself!

Finals here I come!

Quote of the week: "A rest is as good as a run" ~Harland Bigelow (Team in Training running coach)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Philadelphia Marathon

I had a great week leading up the marathon and was lucky enough to have very hospitable friends Brian O. and Hollie K. put me up in their father's home just 30 minutes from the starting line in Philly and to drive me both ways from Ithaca. Thank you both so much!

Miles for the week: 47

Monday= Rest
Tuesday=easy 4 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Wednesday= 9.5 miles total (4 miles @ 5:51/mi. pace) around SUNY Cortland campus
Thursday= Rest
Friday= easy 5 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Saturday= easy 2.5 miles in Philly around Hollie's dad's neighborhood
Sunday= 26.2 miles in the awesome city of Philadelphia!

Despite my lengthy race season I felt very well rested for this race and knew Philly was notorious for being a fast course and Boston qualifier. I also knew it was going to be a frigid day but training for Boston the last two winters in Ithaca, NY has prepared me for days like Sunday.

I arrived at the starting line with about four layers of "throw away" clothes on that consisted of flannel pajama pants, sweat pants, and old sweatshirts. It was a cold morning but the sun was shining. I lined up at the very front and chatted briefly with Michael Wardian and a few others and it was a really nice feeling to actually "toe the starting line". This is the first time I have been able to get right up there but I knew once the race started that I would fall back a little and run my race.

We took off and made our way around downtown and I settled into a nice relaxed but quick pace. I saw Brian, Hollie, and Jess at about 10K and then laughed when I passed a fraternity house full of students screaming, playing music, and drinking beer at 8 am on a Sunday slurring words of encouragement in my face! It was indeed a fast course but not as flat as I had imagined. I mean it was nothing and actually kind of nice to break up the monotony. I reached the half marathon point in 1:21 and was feeling really good. As I headed out for the second half of the race I put in some nice surges and felt very strong. However, if I hear the "Rocky" song one more time I might just lose it!

Miles 17-20 I started to notice some normal fatigue setting in but ate some bananas, gels and drank lots of Gatorade. Right around mile 20 the lead woman passed me. I said to her, "take it home". At this point we were at a section where you could see runners coming at you on a long out and back section. I saw Laurie Cuomo from Ithaca and another friend of Hollie's Lauren, who was running her first marathon. I exchanged brief hello's but was really focused on maintaining my pace.

Without purpose at mile 23 I put in another surge and consequently came up beside the first place woman again. This time I said, "5K to go...let's do it" and I passed her. Moments later she passed me again and this time when she passed she said, "go, go, go, go". This was too funny because I ended up going by one more time as I was really pumping my arms and working hard this last little bit of the race. Finally, at about mile 25.8 or so I saw Brian and Hollie yelling at me and all of the sudden the woman was right next to me running stride for stride. At this point the crowd was going absolutely crazy, lined a few people deep on both sides. We both picked up the pace and were racing at exactly the same pace. It was so crazy! We turned the corner and could see the finish line about 20 yards out and I accidentally bumped her with my elbow. This threw me off and she scurried into the finish. I completely slowed down and let her have her glory for 1st place woman...she really deserved it! I finished in 2:44:05

Afterwards, she came up to me and gave me a hug. I found out that it was her first marathon and that she was from Ukraine. After I hugged her I said to this guy next to me, "wow that was intense...did you see that?" I explained what happened and when the man looked up at me I realized that it was Bart Yasso! He congratulated me and kind of laughed. I was very happy with the way I ran in Philly and my all around experience. I made my way through the chute, grabbed my medal, got a quick massage, ate some food and changed. Of course I had to make my way over to the infamous Rocky statue for a picture. What a fun weekend and what a way to wrap up the year!... PR!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kicked Asphalt!

That was the slogan used at The Philadelphia Marathon this past weekend and it proved to be true as I ran a solid race finishing in 2:44:05. I will post a little more detailed race report shortly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I just received confirmation from Western NY Ultra Series coordinator Tom Perry that I have been selected for the 2008 award. This was one of the many goals I set early this year and am honored to be at the top of the list. It has been such a great running season, not only because of my strong performances, but even more the great friends that I have made and the camaraderie that goes along with ultra running. I want to thank all the race directors for their tireless motivation to make these events happen and also to all the volunteers. Us runners would not be able to do it without you give yourselves a pat on the back too!

The 2008 Western NY Ultra Series final standings are posted at:

After Philly marathon on Sunday I will be taking about a month off from running to let my body and mind heal. As we bring in the New Year I will reflect on 2008 and come up with a new set of goals for 09. Hope to see many of you out on the trails!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Feeling Fit for Philly!

I'm anxious to see part of the "City of Brotherly Love" on foot Sunday November 23, 2008 on the 15th year anniversary of The Philadelphia Marathon. I was able to qualify for the seeded runner program from my Disney half-marathon time early this year (1:15:06). It's kind of a double-edged sword in that I must control myself to not go out too fast with the elites and also the half marathoners. Brian O., Hollie K, (their dog Porter) and myself will head down Friday evening and luckily stay at Hollie's parents house for the weekend. Should be a great weekend!The weather is looking relatively good and the course is supposedly flat and fast. Will I equate the ultra fitness I have into a marathon PR? More will be revealed...

Miles for the week: 50

Monday= Rest
Tuesday= 5 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Wednesday= 9 miles total around SUNY Cortland campus (2-mile warm-up with 5 miles @ 5:52/mi. pace- 2 mile cool down)
Thursday= Rest
Friday= 11 miles from apt. downtown via Cayuga Heights, Remington Rd. up Gun Hill through campus, Forest Home back home.
Saturday= 6 miles in morning behind airport out and back; 6 miles in afternoon on Tri for Y course w/ business park add-on
Sunday= 13 miles on skunk cabbage half marathon course w/ Brian L., Michael W., and Jay H. We threw in a couple mile surges right around a 6:00/mi. pace and a couple 1/2 mile surges at a 5:45/mi. pace

Quote of the week: "If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon." -Czech athlete Emil Zatopek

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mendon Ponds 50K

Time is flying! and the year is quickly coming to an end. We have been blessed with some nice weather for early November in central New York but realize that it's coming soon. Time to break out the tights, gloves, masks and wool socks.

Miles for the week: 63

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 8 miles around SUNY Cortland campus
Wednesday: 9 miles total: 6 X 800 @ 5:03/mi. pace in Cass Park with Nate S., Nate L. and Quinn T. with 5K warm-up and cool-down, jogging and recovering for 1:45 in between repeats

Thursday: 6 miles down Warren Rd. behind airport and back
Friday: easy 4 miles on Tri-for-the Y course
Saturday: 31.5 miles in beautiful Mendon Ponds Park near Rochester, NY
Sunday: easy 4.5 mile shake out run

I made a surprise visit to The Mendon Ponds 50K on Saturday to hopefully wrap up The Western New York Ultra Runner Of The Year Award. I also had a great week leading up to it and felt that taking the time off when I was sick actually benefited me by letting my body rejuvenate and repair. I had an epic 50K and was extremely proud of myself for the way that I ran. I started off fast, settled in to a nice groove and then exploded over the last 20K to break the course record by about 40 seconds. It was a 10K loop run five times which is something I have never experienced before but it was different in that it gave me an opportunity to guage my split times and access my bag/gear etc. if need be (which I did need!).

Lap 1--> 47:07...I built a nice lead

Lap 2--> 46:16...I continued at a fast pace and got stared down by a big 8-point buck in the middle of the woods. I yelled for him to stop looking at me so mean and he reluctantly walked away. I saw him again about 20 minutes later with a couple doe as the course snaked around the forest.

Lap 3--> 49:34...The 10K and 20K runners quickly joined me and it was great to finally have some company. I chatted with Ted T. briefly and then Hugh A. for the rest of the loop which really helped me out by slowing me down a little and breaking up the race. Thanks guys!

Lap 4-->48:03...I pushed hard on this loop knowing that I had a shot at the course record. I was amazed on how strong I felt after 20 something miles.

Lap 5-- 47:47... I dug deeper than I have in a long time and really pushed myself in this race against the ticker. I entered the field where I could see the finish line in the distance. I looked down at my watch and new I had it if I hustled. What a great feeling! I came flying down the hill to the finish capturing the course record by about 40 seconds!

Maybe I was inspired by the whole Obama message of hope and me saying to myself periodically throughout the race, "Yes I can!"

Next up....the last race of the year... The Philadelphia Marathon.

Quote of the week: "Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about." -PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


This past week was not fun! Unfortunately I came down with gastroenteritis (stomach flu) on Monday and didn't completely kick it until like Saturday night. I tried some runs throughout the week but was forced to skip some and even walk momentarily in a couple of the runs that I did try. The timing was not ideal either but I was able to tough it out for most of my classes and school work. I also got the unfortunate news that Watercress Restaurant (my part-time place of employment) will have to close the doors. Ugh!... rough's in the past and time to move on.

Total miles for the week: 40

Monday= Rest
Tuesday= 6 miles around SUNY Cortland campus
Wednesday= 5 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Thursday= Rest
Friday= 12 miles from apt. to Etna and back
Saturday= Rest
Sunday= 13.5 miles on Rec-way trail w/ Katie, Maureen, Dave and Steve in morning; 3.5 miles in afternoon on Virgil's Finger Lakes Trail with Ian, Sherry, and Erica

I'm so glad that I'm feeling much better and thankful for a partner like Erica to take care of me. I definitely could have been hit a lot harder by the illness if I wasn't in such good shape. I've got a couple more tricks up my sleeve for this year and have already made a plan for taking roughly the whole month of December off from running (relatively speaking).

Quote of the week: "Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall."

~Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish writer