Monthly Archives: April 2016

Running – Ultra Marathon – And Super Seniors

Every runner has a story.

Some run to fight depression, some run to battle weight issues, some run to forget and some run to honor those they lost.

Likewise, every race has a bigger calling, to honor our heroes, to set the ultimate challenge and to raise money to fight an evil illness.

Super seniors headline the Virginia 24-Hour Run/Walk for Cancer


Robert White served in the 17th Airborne during World War II, has run nine marathons and jogged a 5K in Hampton earlier this month. In short, this 92-year-old marvel is accustomed to pushing himself.

Saturday, and perhaps Sunday, White embraces another challenge as he joins other “super seniors” in the 13th annual Virginia 24-Hour Run/Walk for Cancer at Hampton’s Sandy Bottom Nature Park. Read about his and other super seniors here.

Update on the SUPER SENIORS, read more about this groups accomplishments here.

Ultra Marathon – Running The Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim, R2R2R or R3

Ever since I announced to my wife, family, friends and the world that I wanted to run the Grand Canyon, Rim (South Kaibab Trail) to Rim (North Kaibab Trail) to Rim (Bright Angel Trail) in one day, I’ve been asked why.  Why would I want to take on such a challenging run, that isn’t even an official race. az-bikepack-2-and-grand-canyon-127 I never really had a good answer, at least not a single answer.  As this day approaches I’ve tried to explain the calling the Grand Canyon has had on my running dreams.

Grand Canyon and 20 reasons why.

1.  I’ve come to face I may not have the drive, genetics or time to be in a position to 1st place in my age group or win an event…..but I CAN DO EPIC.  I will do epic and will live an EPIC LIFE.


2.  For the wonder of it all…the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s great marvels.  For one day the four of us will be part of it.

GCteam(Joshua, Myself and Eric = Logistics lead)

3.  Eric and Joshua are two friends who are going with me.  Since I first mentioned this adventure to Eric on a training run for the Graveyard 100, teaming up with him and then Joshua “Dewy” has been awesome. The dreaming, planning, preparation and the future success will bond us together.

4.   This Grand Canyon run will help set the stage for a future race in Leadville, Colorado, the Leadville Trail 100. If I can survive Rim2Rim2Rim I’ll toss my hat into the Leadville race.

5.  No run can compare, some might be longer, some might have more elevation, but none, by my standard combine both in such an epic adventure.

6.  For the same reason people climb and run mountains, because its there.

7.  The logistics challenge.  This is not a race, it’s a self supported out and back run.  That challenge calls for being self supported for 48 miles and 20,000 feet of climb/decent.  Other than the pit stop at Phantom Ranch and water availability at selected spots along the trail, this run is as much about being able to support yourself as it is about the miles or location.

A friend of mine made this great video of his packing plan.

8.  I’ll be honest, some of it has to do with bragging rights.  When a group of runners get together, often you hear, I ran NYC, Chicago, Boston….well I ran the Grand Canyon #BOOM  I say this is jest…but it will be awesome!

canyonprofile 9.  There’s only two hills…

10.  The idea of running something that has remained mostly unchanged for 1,000s of years.

11.  For the Fun.

12.  For the challenge, half and full marathons are are hard, 24 hour and 100 mile races are down right tough….but Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim may be life changing.  What else can equal that?

13.  Life is short and now is the time. grandcanyoncolors 14.  To see and be surrounded by natures color palette. Please join the Facebook group Grand Canyon R2R2R for a ton of information and documented experiences.

15.  I grew up in Erie, Pa most of my early adult life, but for one summer there was a thought that we might one day move to Arizona.  I remember looking at a map of the state, seeing the canyon outline and thinking, wow wouldn’t it be cool to live there.

16.  During my first trip to the canyon over 20 years ago I stood on the edge wondering what it must be like to venture into the canyon and stand at the edge of the Colorado river and stare at the people on the canyon’s rim. south kaibab 17.  To see the Colorado river.

18.  The challenge is had to match, near 48 miles with over 20,000 feet of elevation change.

19.  It’s the GRAND CANYON.

20.  I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for the first person who while out collecting water, hunting or trying to find a new western passage, stumbled across this natural wonder.  I hope to capture some of that wonder, some of that initial excitement when I take my first strides down the South Kaibab trail headed North.

On 12 May 2016, five of us went over the edge and battled the canyon all day…it is DONE…..

Running – Racing And The Marathon, How Do You Select A Race?

Whether you run local 5 and 10ks, half marathons, full marathon or ultra distance races selecting a race to run can be an arduous process.  There are many things to consider.  On the line are long hours in training, miles on the body and the time away from family, and friends.  Not to mention the money spent on registration fees, travel and  accommodations.  This investment can be money well spent or wasted depending on the outcome.  Selecting a race is a major decision point on to not take lightly.

With all of that added pressure resting on your shoulders (and on your feet) is your race selection normally based on the length of the race, the location, on performance indications or on the swag and bling available for finishing? 

bling(I love the bling) 

I get asked this question often via e-mail or in person, how do I go about picking a race?  Although my selection of a race is never the same, sometime I’ll run a certain race because friends recommend it, it’s a local favorite or I just want to hang out with a group of cool people.  Although I’m selecting a race to run for training or race purposes it comes down to…

Mostly distance.  I pick most of my races based on the distance I need as part of my Marathon/Ultra training plan.  I normally select a few target aka “goal” races during the year, then the rest of my racing calendar is based around races that will support these “goal” races. The trend lately has seen most of my target races being marathon and longer in turn the “support” races have been half marathon or longer in length.

On Location:  I’m not an elite athlete , not independently wealthy and not sponsored by a national shoe company.  Selecting a race destination with its associated travel costs, time and the number of vacation days needed are major factors for me.  Most of my races tend to be local events while my destination races (a night away from home) are run in combination with a long weekend or previously planned vacation.  Reviewing my race travels for last year (2015) I ran 11 races with five being in combination with a night out of town.

On performance:  In years past, 2013 in particular my eyes were squarely on running my first sub-four hour marathon.  I selected both Cleveland (failed attempt) and Niagara Falls (successful 3:56) with the hopes of providing a flat and fast track.  Other years I’ve selected races as a train up for a longer distance  an example being my first 100 mile run at Umstead in 2014, I ran the Graveyard 100k as a train up run.   Counter to this I have yet to avoid a race based on the performance.  I’ve gone into a few races knowing it was going to be a slow tough event for me.  In 2013 I ran races an example being the Medoc Mountain Meltdown, a FA event of the 50k+ length, that I knew would kick my butt.  Here performance wasn’t the end result hanging out with running friends was the goal.

For the bling/swag:  Yes I’m a sucker for big and shinny race medals.  I love the free goodies and event shirts that most large scale races offer.  In reality I do not pay much attention to the bling or event goodies when I select a race.  I love finding out what the medal looks like and I like a lot of chrome and shiny stuff, but I do not select a race based solely on the bling/swag. The swag at the expo and the finishing bling is a bonus.

With so many great races on the calendar, the selection is getting harder and harder to make. How do you go about selecting a race?

Boston Marathon – And The Squirrel Runner

I never give “running” the Boston Marathon much thought, except on Patriots day every April.  Then I wonder if I could post a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time.  I’m not against charity runners getting into the Boston Marathon, but If I ever “run” Boston it will have to be by posting a qualifying time.  Because simply, that is what “running” Boston means to me.

To be honest, I don’t think I have what it takes to BQ.

I believe I have the legs to BQ.

I believe I have the lungs to BQ and I Believe I have the mental toughness to run a qualifying time.

But I’m to much of a squirrel runner to stay focus long enough to train for my BQ race.  Plain and simple I get distracted too easy.


Did I mention I wanted to be Bruce Lee when I was growing up, I just loved him in “Enter The Dragon.” My favorite scene was when he was fighting in a room filled with mirrors. I wonder if Bruce Lee could post BQ time.

My goals in running are to run for as long as I can. To experience as many running environments as I can well adding to my life’s journey.  I enjoy running local 5k races and national 100 miles events.  I want to run it all.  I just don’t have the make up to sacrifices a number of running experiences and all they add to my life for one qualifying time.  Now I’m not saying a BQ time is not a worthy goal…it is and I respect those that have the focus to train for and achieve such a goal.  Myself I can’t stay focused on one race.



One day after school a friend and I got into a bottle rocket war.  Man those things were zipping by my head, dang that was stupid, I could have lost an eye. Then I could have been a pirate. I lived on a lake so being a pirate…..what?

Priate, what were we talking about?

My hat goes off to all those who have reached their goal, whether it was your first Boston Marathon or your tenth.  You have reached a goal few have.  For those who seek other running goals away from Boston, my hat goes off to you as well.  One of the best attributes of our hobby/life style is that their is room for everyone.


Speaking of hats…this cat broke into my house once. He was crazy and was wearing a red and white striped top hat…….

Umstead 100 – Andrea’s 100 Mile Run – If It Was Easy

Andrea is one of my good running friends, she joined my 24 hour team three years ago when she was not sure the ultra world was for her.  In the three years since I’ve been witness to her becoming an “Ultra- Runner and a 100 Mile Finisher.”

andrea100f(Andrea’s post just prior to the big day)

Andrea signed up to run the 2016 edition of the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance race, and I paced her for the last 50 miles of her 100 mile journey.  During that long night I got to wonder who is the more talented, the more relentless, the toughest runner.  The record holders, the runners who qualify for the Olympics, the World Champions runners or the amatuer runners who put it all on the line for the only the love of the sport.

I’m not discounting the effort or dedication of these world class athletes but for my money the amateur athlete who has no chance to win the race but continues to grind may be the toughest of the bunch.

In 2003 when Paula Radcliffe was running for Olympic gold in Athens and things went wrong, when there was no longer a chance to win the race she pulled over to the side of the road and called it a day.

When I ran Umstead in 2015, a world class runner came to North Carolina hoping to win the race and set a new course record.  When things went wrong, when the day turned against him he dropped out of the race.

andrea100a(Andrea, Me and Wendy)

Andrea’s Umstead run was going great when I joined up with her and fellow friend Wendy at the 50 mile mark. The three of us ran two laps together (25 miles) and everything was going as planned.  Then some point after the 75th mile Andrea’s body began to turn on her.  Battling an upset stomach, nausea, and retaining water that made her hands and arms swell to the point of pain and discomfort Andrea did what only a handful of people choose to do.  She pressed forward. The miles leading up to 100 I suspect were the hardest miles of her life. In a battle with herself and the miles yet to travel Andre did not pull over to the side of the trail to give up, she went to work.

Andre did not quit when her stomach turned on her.

When nausea had her making unplanned and rapid trips into the woods Andrea never entertained giving in.

Andrea did not give up when her normally light and easy stride turn into a painful, and labor effort.

In the 16 hours I spent with her I never once heard her once mention anything but finishing what she started.

When we made the turn for the finish, when we were 100 yards from the finish line, I told Andrea how proud I was of her, “this is easy when everything goes right, when everything goes as planned, You girl did it when everything worked against you, YOU fought and are going to be a 100 MILER FINISHER and I’m so proud of you.”

andrea100c(In the moments of Victory)

My voice cracked and Andrea eyes teared up but she lower her eyes back to the trail and went back to work.  Even in victory she battled to cross that finish line.


In 27 Hours, 12 minutes and 43 seconds, Andrea began an 100 Mile Runner.

andra100d(Buckle Up….)

She is one tough runner….


10k Twitter Followers – Runner – Marathoner – Ultra Run – Long Run

When I started this blog and my social media accounts…..I had no idea 10,000 people would decide I had something interesting to say.


I have been inspired, motivated, and encouraged by many other runners, bloggers and people on SM.  I hope you enjoy my posts, and are entertained by my writings.  I also hope in some small way I can add some motivation and encouragement to your life.

Thank You very much for following my adventures.

Not following me…what are you waiting for? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter


Running – 5 Seconds and My Life

What is 5 seconds in the big scheme of things?  Most would say not much…hardly any amount of time at all.  But to a runner 5 seconds can be the difference between world records, a personal best time, or qualifying for Boston.  5 seconds can also be the difference between life and death.

During an ordinary normally routine run though a housing area, I was moving along enjoying the afternoon and in the middle of a good stride when I sensed something coming up from behind me.  I don’t run with an Ipod or anything to cloud my senses. I prefer to be aware of my surroundings and this time it paid off.  In the middle of this run I felt something approaching me.  Whatever was coming up from behind was catching up with me kind of fast.  My instincts also told me that whatever “it” was, it would not be long before it caught up with me.  I also gathered by the mechanical sounds that the “it” was a car or maybe a truck.  Then almost before I could process everything that was going on, a car passed me on my right side and turned  quickly right in front of me.  It appeared this car was pulling into a driveway, a driveway less than 6 feet way.

I’ve got to admit I was pretty surprised, startled, shocked and upset when the driver pulled in front of me. Wanting to avoid this driver I figured I would cut behind the car and get out of the way.  Clearing the street with a quick look over my shoulder, I turned to move behind the passing/turning car.  Then my senses kicked in again, something was moving at me a SECOND time.  The car that just passed and turned in front me was now in fact backing out of the driveway they had entered destined for a driveway across the street. My attempt to get out of the way put me right back in the path of this 4,000 pound monster.  Luckily my awareness served me well allowing me to avoid being run over yet again by this person.  Most startling of all was that the driver gave me the “why was I in her way again” stink eye…

5 seconds.  5 seconds would have been all it took for this driver to slow down. 5 seconds to allow me to get out of her path.  5 seconds could have prevented the near fatal juggling act between the both of us.  5 seconds and the stink eye could have been avoided.  I guess those 5 seconds were important to her.

Home 5 seconds earlier checking the mail.

5 seconds sooner turning into your favorite show.

Dinner served 5 seconds earlier.

Those 5 seconds really are a big deal after all.

To me those 5 seconds nearly ended my running career, those 5 seconds nearly took me out…not once but twice!

Is it really too much to ask, give me 5 seconds, PLEASE