Friday, June 26, 2009


Hi folks. Its been 8 days since I scaled the 50 mile ultra mountain and I have been thinking back to that day and trying to wrap my mind around the task and comparing it to my 3 Ironman distance triathlons.

Which was tougher??? I said initially that the 50 miler was more stressful to my body. However, I examined some facts from each discipline and came up with these conclusions.

Ironman distance Triathlon.
1. Longer amount of hours and effort. First one I did was in 16 hours and 45 min...then the next two were in the upper 15 hour range.
2. More areas of the body aching. Back discomfort from the Bike. Knee issues from the marathon segmernt of the triathlon.
3. Psychological Aspect . I was constantly fighting my inner demons during the Ironman races. Will I be fast enough to beat the bike cut off?? Can I deal with the day turning to night and still being out on country roads with only a neon necklace to ward off stray cars. My races were small events compared to the corporate races in the M-Dot format.
4. Nutrition knowledge was less when I did the three Irons. (Most recent one was 2002). I never bonked, but I know I was not properly fueled besides Gatorade and water.

50 Mile Ultra Marathon
1. It was a solo event, so I controlled the run...I was under no pressure to beat anyone or try to stay with any person. I say that was a benefit. Also, having my son run the last 20 with me was a huge benefit.
2. Body issues. I traumatized my tendons to my left ankle at mile 25 or so.. I kept running. Not really smart. Once I got that issue controlled in my mind. (ibprofen helped) I was able to finish. I ran it in 11 hours. 54 minutes.
3. Fitness level was about the same as the Irons, but I felt I had alot in the tank when I finished. I think I can run a 100 miler some day. I am not sure, I could do a double-Ironman.
4. My nutrition was much better. Roctane Gels were used and really helped. PB and J sandwiches were beneficial as were the trail mix and the Coke-Gatorade-Water I constantly used.

Those are some points and I have concluded that the Ironman distance gets a slight edge on which is tougher. Very slight. I also know if I attempted a 50 miler in August when the temps are in the 80's with humidity I would easily vote for the ultra-marathon being tougher.

I am blessed to be healthy enough to be able to. complete 3 Iron distances triathlons in my late 40's and do a 50 mile ultra at age 56. I know I will do a 100 miler some day and I am not done wtih long distance triathlons either. Speaking of 100 milers....good luck to Donald in the Western States 100.

Those are my stories and I am sticking to them.

On a work note. Things will be lots of fun covering the Cavs now that Shaq is on the team. He is a funny guy and he'll keep us on our toes..LOL!!!

Life's a Blast

Friday, June 19, 2009


The 50 mile Birthday ultra run was a smashing success!!! Race Director J.T. is happy and so is the runner himself....J.T.!!!

What day. Its a day later and I have my left foot propped up and its red and swollen. I will have to see a professional about it. More on that.

These things all happened.
1. Nearly arrested
2. Garmin nearly died
3. Ran some mileage on pavement...yuck

Weds night I tested out my new head lamp. Princeton Tec. Turned out the lights and ate pasta with the lamp!!

Thurs slight rain...I headed to North Chagrin Reservation. Had all the supplies and was ready. Started at 3:30am. Plan was to run 2 or 3 mile loops and get to car at Strawberry for supplies..

Got in my first loop and returned to the lot. Whoops!! Ranger there with lights flashing. "May I see your license? Are you aware the park is closed???" I stammered some responses, he checked the license and then...after making me wait 10 minutes issued a warning. Leave the park and do NOT return til 6am. Ohh license tag was one day expired.

So from about 4am till 6am this is what I saw. Ran on Chardon and Chagrin River Road. Headlamp was great for the drivers. They saw me coming. By 6am I was 11 plus miles in and could return to Strawberry and resume on the trails.

Saw Betty and met Becky and they encouraged me. I started free lancing the park and using my Garmin to keep track. Did loops to Squires. I would return every 3 miles are so to load up.

I used tons of water.. 8 GU ROCTANE. (Love that stuff) Trail Mix, 6 ibprofens in a small bag with salt. I would grab a pill and couple pinches of salt when I took a pill. Gatorade was also used.

I played mental games to keep the run fresh. Kept The Bride aware of my progress. She was gonna come by a couple times and and my son Pat planned on getting there to run the final 20 with me.

25 miles in, I felt discomfort just above my left ankle. I thought it was a tendon getting traumatized but I kept running. I was really fighting it but what kept me going was something all endurance athletes rely on to battle through adversity. The inner will to test yourself to the limit!! I had been watching David Goggins videos on YouTube and they inspire. I also thought of the kids who deal with Cerebral Palsy. I have been associated with the Cleveland organization this past year. Last summer, I swam for Team Dawud. (see my sidebar, me in swimcap and Dawud in helmet) I became friends with Kristen who's daughter Julia has CP. I thought of the strength and courage these kids and their families muster up to perform daily tasks is remarkable. I knew running 50 miles would be thought as a big deal by many, but deep down I knew the kids with CP have more toughness and determination that a race filled with ultra pushed on...and on.

The weather remained overcast and somewhat cool. Perfect Day!!!!

Patrick arrived at mile 29 and that was perfect timing. 3 weeks ago, he ran 50k to celebrate his 30th birthday. I was dragging a bit when he got there and we starting running some different trails that he is accustomed too...and after awhile he was getting the lay of the park. Up till about 38 miles I was slowing a little more and fighting the pain in left foot. But by mile 37 I started to really get my rythmn and we were moving very well. 10 minute miles and the pain was more in the back of my mind.

The Bride showed up again at mile 42 and we had cookies..some o.j., which I never had in a race before. It helped. We kept going and I could see the end. Running sections of the park that had roots actually helped, because I was focused on the ground and could feel like I was moving very well. By mile 48 the Garmin was warning me that power was low.. I was obsessed with breaking 12 hours and beating the Garmin to finish. It worked. 11 hours, 54 minutes.

Afterward, I iced my left knee and my left ankle and we headed home. Two strip steaks bit the dust. I ate everything in sight.

This morning I spoke with my doctor who says I just traumatized the foot and to keep it elevated and keep the Aleve coming. If it persists, I will get an ex-ray. He also referred me to an orthapedic professional who is a runner and who would understand why I need to do this and why it is so fulfilling to attack a challenge and not back down and why we always must strive to be our best...every day....every mile.

Life's a blast!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

THE BIG 5--6

Another week of solid training is in the books...
Heres how I broke it down.
Monday, upper body and leg workout..
12 minutes of Rope Skipping high cadence
Tuesday 6 mile trail run...attacking hills..and strong tempo..working on easy gait, but quick turnover...
Wednesday--Same as Monday
Thurs..5 mile trail run running uphill much of the first 1.5 on strong finish to the the rain
Friday Light lifting and Skipping Rope
Today early start to a planned 11 mile trail run. Got underway at morning..but perfect... Heres a couple of pics of what I ran into at North Chagrin Reservation. Got 5.8 miles in before I met up with Andy, Dale, Betty and Dick and Suzanne. I ran another hour with Andy while the others settled into their own paces and trails. I finished with 10.5 miles. Good effort and best part is I am at the stage where my legs are recovering very well from longer runs. For the week, 22 miles, which was a planned down week. Next week, I will ramp up the mileage.
Weight situation. I dropped another pound and thats 13.5 to date. I am close to the weight I am comfortable. week, I hit the big 5--6. So, in keeping with the insanity that is my birthday-fitness challenges..I am pondering a way to bring it in. Last year at 11:59pm, on a high school track, I did everything 55. 55 laps on the quarter mile track. 55 reps on each weight exercise..etc..
This year, I just might take off an try to run my own 50 miler. I did the math. I can plot a 2 mile trail in the woods. If I run 25 of those...I will hit 50 miles. That way, I have many chances to swing by the car and grab any water-gu's-nourishment I need. Buddies, Tim, Suzanne and others are running the Mohican 50 miler next Saturday and I am really bummed that my schedule won't permit me to make it to Mohican. I wish them well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Training for the first ever attempt at running a 50 miler is going well. The only stick in the mud is I don't have a race that fits my I am working on that... I am really considering staging my own 50 conquest and will enlist the likes of my son, and others to run some of it with me.
Have been getting in some long Saturday runs and the cross training with weights, or balls or rope skipping has gone well too. Last week, when my son ran his 31.8 miles for his birthday, I got in one 16 miler and another 15 miler and other runs...... a total of 40 for the week.
This past week, I only totalled 27 miles...but got many of them this morning... 17.5 miles with Tim and also with Suzanne at North Chagrin. Both are running the Mohican 50 miler.

My Eat Clean approach has been great. 12 pounds lighter and its helping my ultra-training. I slipped a little the past few fact, right now I am eating a Hormel spaghetti dinner.... get this....1400 milligrams of sodium. Holy heart attack.
Its still possible my next race will be a triathlon. A sprint triathlon. I have done very little biking or swimming as I have been concentrating on upping the trail mileage.

I have tweeted about this book and I can't say enough about it. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. (CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON REVIEW & Q AND A WITH AUTHOR) Very entertaining look at the Tarahumara runners of Mexico's Copper Canyon region and about how some elite runners competed against them. I have actually started re-reading the book, it was that good. I highly recommend it. He makes some good points about how man was designed to be a marathon machine..and how long distance running is the reason man is still many thousands of years ago..the only way to survive was to hunt the prey, by simply running it to death. He also makes the point that, although people think ultra runners are insane, they are simply doing what evolution has commanded them to efforts.
I think its a great book. No, I have never met the author, nor do I have any connection with him or the publisher. Any endurance athlete will read this book and I think see parts that resonate.
Next week, I will concentrate on some tempo runs.

Work is a little less insane, now that the Cavs were eliminated from the playoffs, but it seems, LeBron James is always in the news. Refusing to talk after the loss. Not shaking hands and then having surgery on his mouth. I said on the air, he should have been more gracious in defeat, but lets not make this look like he caused the swine flu. He apologized and I think he will grow from the experience.
Keep Training.. Life's a Blast.