Aug 28, 2008

50-mile Race on Saturday

Not a bad place to run 50 miles in a day.

We're here. Short post.. I'll post pics later.

i'll send short messages from the trail, and you'll see them here:

live results - i *think* this is the correct link for 2008:

I have 17 hours to finish this race and I expect that I'll need every minute of it. It starts at 7am (9am NY time) and will go all day.

That is all. Maybe I'll post again tomorrow - but if not, see you early next week with a race report.


Aug 21, 2008


Sorry about the crummy photo, but...

The Tram Road from about 10 miles away. Notice the airplane in the foreground.

Am I overthinking this 50 mile thing? I mean, at this point, there's nothing I can do but just sack up and get it done. Spending any mental energy thinking or worrying about it is going to do me no good..

Well, I think that is obvious. Here's a better question - is there anyway at this point to avoid spending mental energy and worrying about it?

Oh, by the way -
Fred's mountain ("Most difficult" part of the course, will climb it twice in the 50-miler):
1810 ft of gain in 2.7 miles - 670 feet of gain per mile
And the tram road in Palm Springs (I have done it twice, and once under an hour):
2643 ft of gain in 3.7 miles - 714 feet of gain per mile

The comparison really helps me not freak out so much. Cuz freaking out is just not going to do me any good.

Hey Steve, what were those links again?
short live updates on my condition during the race (this also updates my facebook status.)

Another link that'll be interesting for the stalkers out there

Here's an official race link that'll provide live results:

Aug 19, 2008

Grand Teton 50-mile ultramarathon: 10 days to go!

Sorry about having another Rizzo photo - but that tooth won't be missing forever, and I want to get my laughs while I can!

Right now is Tuesday afternoon. On Friday Morning, I'll be boarding a flight for Denver, Colorado - and then making my way over the next week to the Jackson area in Wyoming to compete in the Grand Teton 50 miler..

Holy crap!

I'm a lot of excited and nervous right now.

The main thing to me.. is how much "new" there will be. Think about it: about 10,000 feet of climbing in a day. The most I've ever done is about 4500. Also, 50 miles in a day. The most I've done is 31. Either one I'm sure I can handle. Both on the same day? oh boy.. And the other thing - are my trail runs around Harriman really sufficient for this kind of task? I don't know..

On the other hand...

I don't have to go fast. Because the race coincides with a 100-mile ultra (competitors run 4 laps), the time limit is very generous on my measly two laps, and as long as I keep going, I can finish no matter how slow I go. So this really is a test for myself.. No matter how sore I get, no matter how tired I get, no matter how much pain I go through with each excruciating step, I know I can keep going. The only thing that would stop me is an actual acute injury.. Sherpa John wrote to me once. He said, "Mental Toughness... through this you WILL accomplish ANYTHING." Am I as mentally tough as I like to think I am? Well.. I'm going to find out..

Cut the sappy crap, steve. What's the deal with your training?

I know I'm ready for very technically rocky terrain - which I don't think is an issue there, judging from people's photographs. Rolling hills, I've got covered. I've surprised myself lately at how well I handle them. My daily mileage is pretty pathetic - almost non-existent - but I'm very pleased with my long runs. Two days ago I went 22 miles, super slow, hit some hills late in the run, and felt great. It was my longest "training run" ever. I felt even better the next day - it was the first time ever I felt somewhat "normal" the day after going more than 15 miles.

Then again, I hold no delusions. 22 miles on asphalt with 1300' of climbing is a lot different than 50 miles on trails with 10,000'. But, as I said above, it's all about being very conservative, taking advantage of the generous time limit. With that in mind, I know for a fact that I'm going to LOVE this race. Looking over the competitor list, I saw a couple of names that I recognized - some from personal correspondence, others from being famous names in ultrarunning. Plus - it's the Grand Teton area! How awesome is that?? I can't wait!

Provided that I have a signal (I think I will), I will try to send short updates on my condition during the race via Twitter. You can follow that at this URL: (this also updates my facebook status.)

Also, if you're ever curious as to where I am while I wander around the rocky mountains for the week before (and after) the race, you can sometimes get updated information here:

I might climb mount elbert (highpoint of colorado) on Sunday or Monday. I don't know. On one hand, I think it'll really help with my hill training, especially at altitude. On the other, will I have enough recovery time? dunno.. it's only 9 miles round trip.. but with something like 4500-5000 feet of climbing, it's hard to judge. I tend to recover from that kind of workout quickly, but it's impossible to know if I'll be regretting it at mile 27, 5 days later..

That's it for now. I'll post again before the race.

Aug 8, 2008

t-minus 3 weeks till the Grand Teton 50 miler

Seen on the LIE in Queens. This bumper sticker normally says "this car climbed..", I love this modification & wish there were more like it.

There I was, somewhere on the Kakiat Trail, just starting what would probably be my longest *trail* run before the grand teton 50 miler, about a half-mile from the parking lot where my wife dropped me off, right above an exposed rocky area & right below an exposed rocky area, when a severe thunderstorm paid a visit. It scared the living daylights out of me. It pinned me in place, crouched on a small rock, for about a half-hour before I felt like I could resume the run.

Calling it a "run" is a little bit of a stretch, because most of the trail was a sprained-ankle-mine field of wet rocks everywhere - too technical to run safely. So I powerwalked hills with reckless abandon, racking up about 3500 vertical feet of climbing (and about that much descending) over twelve miles or so. My moving time was 4 hours, and that 20/minute pace is about what I'll need in three weeks to finish the Grand Teton 50-mile ultramarathon under the 17-hour cutoff. The good news is that I finished with a TON of energy, the course is not nearly as technical as Harriman, and there won't be as much climbing per mile. Bad news is that it was only 12 miles, and my legs are going to be hatin' me in three weeks at about mile 40. This weekend will be my last opportunity for a super-long run before the race, and I am planning on waking up early tomorrow and going at least 12 miles, but I'm secretly hoping to do 18 or maybe even 21.

Next weekend, with only two weeks to go, I probably won't do as much, but I do want to run at least a mile every day during the next two weeks because that kind of streak seems to do wonders for my fitness in general. I also intend to lose about 15 lbs in the next three weeks, getting to 275 and making the GT50 as easy as possible (I've already lost 10 in the last week.)

My flight, by the way, leaves on August 22 and I'll be arriving in Denver. We'll be spending two weeks in the area. There is no itinerary except for the race itself, but I do know that I'd like to spend most of that time in the outside of cities. Si I'll probably hike Mt. Elbert (highpoint of Colorado) early in the week (Sunday?) to acclimatize a little and to get a last-minute hill workout, then kind of meander around the rockies, gradually working our way back north, until we get to the Jackson area to do the race. After that, it's completely up in the air. We may go west towards Utah, Arizona & Nevada, or maybe east towards the Dakotas and Mount Rushmore. I like the idea of having no itinerary - this is going to be a stress-free vacation and if I spend a lot of time lying on an easy chair outside a swimming pool with a view of the rockies, I won't be that disappointed.

If you're interested, I plan to use twitter to send status updates from the race as it happens, and you'll also be able to follow my progress here: