Oct 14, 2009

Extreme Runner of the Week

An internet message board about running that I frequent has a weekly feature called "extreme runner of the week", a takeoff on their "extreme running" sub-forum - intended for ultra and trail runners. A few weeks ago it was my turn to fill out the EROTW survey, and I'm republishing most of it here for posterity.

Where ya from ?
Flushing, NY. Go Mets!

Where are you now ?
Suffern, NY. They call it that for a reason.

What's Your Sign ?

Do you have a nickname ?

Whaddaya do for a livin' ?
Software Developer

How long you been runnin' ?
Off and on since 1997

Average mileage per week ?

Trail to Road Ratio ?
3:1 in the summertime.. although a significant number of miles comes from the treadmill, as I like to go to the gym during my lunch hour.

How many toe nails ya still got ?? How many toes ?
right now, 8 toenails on 10 toes

Races per year ?
Try to average one marathon or ultra per month. I think I'll have 14 or 15 in 2009, depending on what happens in November or December. This doesn't count races shorter than a marathon.. I think I've had 3 or 4 races in the 5K-25K range so far this year. Will probably add a few more before the year is out.

First Ultra
Lake Waramaug 50K 2008. Finished in 7:43.

Next Ultra
(Updated) Mountain Madness 50K this weekend - but everything is building up to Umstead next march.

Most Notable Performance
Caumsett 50K this past march. Intending to go out slow and easy and just have a good time, I ended up running a 6:47 PR, and a marathon PR on the way to it.

Just how slow are you, anyway ?
I've never finished 50 miles before dark. It once took me 11 hours to finish a 32-mile race. Some people want more than anything to qualify for boston. I hope one day to break 5 hours.. I'm 33 (:

Ultimate Running Goal
To hang with friends in the middle of the pack during an ultra. Back-of-the pack is too spread out for hanging..

Got a dream event ??
Hardrock / UTMB

What is the most EXTREME event or training run you've ever done ?
I entered Rocky Raccoon in 2009 and didn't finish.
The most extreme race I've finished, therefore, would be Grand Teton 50 - 10'000 feet of climbing, finished it after midnight.

Do You XT ?

Do you have a running idol or inspiration ?
I'm a fan of Ryan Hall and Anton Krupicka, but would hardly call them idols or inspiring.

I do find disabled runners, fat runners, old runners, and generally slow runners inspiring - and I wouldn't except the fact that I hear so often people who could be awesome runners making excuses - telling me that they can't run because their knees hurt, or because of some injury in their past, or because they're too old, or something else. No disrespect intended, but while they say that, I think of the amputees who finish badwater.

Running strengths and weaknesses ?
Strengths: Um, I smile a lot during races?
Weaknesses: Everything. I'm built to be a lineman. If I lose enough weight I'd be built to be a linebacker. I'm slow, my form must be pathetic, and I can hardly talk when I'm running at even an easy pace.


A favorite frequent running route
The reason for the frequency of running routes I go to most often is more because of their proximity rather than enjoyment. Having said that, it's a real treat to head up to Mohonk and run there, or to run with Tony at Rockies (where allowed, anyway), or to do some sort of cross-country route through harriman State Park or Ramapo Reservation. But the logistics make that kind of run tough..

A favorite running event & why
Tetons. Great atmosphere, great people, just a really enjoyable event.

An out-of-town run that you'd like to do again ? why ?

Somewhere you've never run but would like to ...
Washington and Oregon.

What does your favorite running shirt say ?? Can we see a picture of You in it ??
Sorry, all my running shirts are either race shirts or solid colors. My favorite t-shirt says "No, I won't fix your computer." It's cotton, I wouldn't run it it.

What's yer favorite running food
Before - Bagel with lox and cream cheese
During - Depends on my mood. Fresh fruit can be awesome. Other times, it's horrible and I want turkey.
After - Greasy Almost-Raw cheddar-burger with lots of bacon & extra cheese!! I want to run a race near Chandler, AZ (javelina?) just so I can have an excuse to eat one of these 8000-calorie babies:

Do you have a favorite saying, quotation or mantra ?
"Enjoy the weather, it's the only weather you've got." (Joe Bastardi)

If you run with music, what are some of you fave running songs ?
I rarely run with music. If I do, it's short high-intensity work and I find music helps - lately this has been a few moby songs. I have an hour-long playlist that I work my way through.
Having said that, I listen to a lot of podcasts Running is my TV time, because I don't watch too much of it. Podcasts are TV for me.. on topics ranging from technology to reformed theology. My favorites are This American Life, Stack Overflow, Mark Driscoll, James White, The Java Posse, Endurance Planaet, TWiT, DrunkAndRetired, Hardcore History, and Common Sense with Dan Carlin.

BEER ! !

Which’s yer favorite ?
Changes frequently. This month I'm partial to Blue Moon. I guess I'm always happy with a nice belgian ale though..

What is the most amout you’ve had
Pre ? Never. I've gotta work on that.
During ?? One can, twice - once at the philadelphia marathon, and once at chicago.

After ? 3 or 4, I guess. I've never gotten drunk after a race..

. . . running that is--


What is the greatest challenge you face in your running now and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome in the past ?
I used to weigh 400 lbs. That has a rather detrimental effect on your running. Try it some time to see what I mean.
This morning I weighed 286lbs. I don't have a "magic number" where I'll feel like I'm at a weight I'll be happy with, but it's at least another 50lbs away, probably 75.

Have any Trail & Ultra Running fears ?
Not really. Nighttime running used to freak me out, but once I did it a couple of times I was ok with it.

How do you handle the dreaded “DNF” ?
I'm at a point where if I DNF, there's a really good reason for it. The one time I did DNF and later realize I could have finished had I kept moving, I went back the next year and finished the sucker. That was Grand Teton on labor day.

Trail & Ultra training takes up a lot of time. How do you manage to ...
It doesn't take a ton of time in my case. I can run at lunch, or in the morning before the wife and kid are up. Weekend LSDs are a different matter, particularly because I'm so slow (the 20-miler you can do in 3-4 hours takes me 5).

Do you think we need a reason "WHY" to run ? Do you have one ... or more ???
No. I started running to lose weight, and to run a marathon (took me 9 years before I actually ran one, but that's a different story.) Once I got into trail running, I wanted to lose weight so I can run more trails. For me, trail running is the perfect wilderness experience. Hiking is just too .. slow. for me. Plus, the people who run ultras are awesome.

Do you have any rituals or carry any lucky charms or amulets for your races ?

UltraRunning pets or pet peeves ?
I'm pretty free-going, you run your race your way, i run mine my way. I've never seen anyone behave in a way that bothered me - except for bothered people. In other words, the only thing that can bother me is seeing a person get worked up over some other runner's way of doing things.

Enjoy or Hate The Taper ? How do you survive it ?
My whole life is a taper. I never taper. I haven't decided which is true.

Besides running and working out, what other stuff do you like to do ?
I'm a software developer, so I like to think I enjoy that, and sometimes I do. I used to be an avid skier, and would say I still am except that this last season I didn't ski at all.. which bothers me. I love skiing. Running, however, is cheaper. (:


I started running because __I was fat, wanted to lose weight, and wanted to run a marathon__ .

I don't like to run when __I'm away from my family__ .

I am so proud of __a lot of things__ .

My wife/husband/SO thinks I am __neat__ for running trails 'n ultras.

I'd like to run with __anyone__ , because __I love the company__ .

My best line of BS said during a race to encourage a fellow UR consumed in self-pity and thinking of dropping was “__you guys look great__”. (sorry for the boring answer. I'll start working on a better one.)

--Back in the 80's I'd rather be __learning BASIC on my apple ][C__ than sweatin' it out on on some dumb trail run. Of course, now i know better !!

New entries for Steve's blog are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00am NY time and can be seen at http://www.tursi.com

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