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Posts Tagged ‘100 miles’

As my feet hit the pavement for the first time in so long, Selena Gomez sang in my ear…

When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

The song is at the beginning of my playlist for my Boot Camp in part because it’s a great song to ease into activity.  The slow, steady beat keeps you from starting too fast, but the throbbing, eastern feel gives you a sense of anticipation of what is coming after your body warms up…

…but today, the song felt different to me.  You see, I normally don’t listen to music for the lyrics.  Unlike Jess, whose love of country music stems from the stories country singers tell in their songs, my pleasure from music comes from the weaving of beats, sounds, harmonies, points and counterpoints.  It can be years later that I realize I still don’t know the lyrics to a favorite song, in part because I don’t care about what the artist is saying…I care about what the artist is saying

…but today, the song felt different to me.  As Selena Gomez’s voice sang to me…

When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

…it was almost as if the road was singing as well…

You ain’t gotta worry, it’s an open invitation
I’ll be sittin’ right here, real patient
All day, all night, I’ll be waitin’ standby…

…and here I was.  I have not run regularly in over a year.  My last marathon was NYCM ’13, but even before then my mileage had dropped precipitously.  Though I still considered (consider) myself a runner, my heart and mind were not cooperating.

…but the road knew…

This love ain’t finished yet
So baby whenever you’re ready
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

As the road sang to me, I got more excited for the slow, 6-miler I had planned.

Some of you may know that way back in the Fall I began talking with a local advocacy group about running 100 miles for them as a way to possibly raise money and awareness of their wonderful work.  Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) is an incredible organization that offers free legal advice to families in need and works tirelessly on capital hill to protect the most vulnerable of society.  By the end of the Fall, we had settled on a Father’s Day run – a crazy dad running not just for his children, but for all children in Massachusetts.  The run will take me from Amherst to Boston Commons (an 89 mile route).

Then we got hit with the worst winter Boston has ever (EVAH) seen.  Between work and the snow, I ran a total of 0 miles in preparation for my run in June…that’s right: 0.

As my thoughts wandered during my run today, I inevitably began thinking of this monstrous task ahead of me.  It is, to say the least overwhelming and scary.  The long distance and short training time is not something I would ever prescribe or recommend for a client.  As I wrestled with my thoughts, Aloe Blacc began to sing to me…

Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
It’s time to do what must be done
Be a king when kingdom comesWell you can tell everybody
Yeah you can tell everybody
Go ahead and tell everybody
I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man

…that was quickly followed up by Angélique Kidjo’s rendition of Voodoo Child…

Well I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Pick up the pieces and make an island
Might even raise a little sand

…and I knew, barring injury, I was going to do this 100 miles run.

Kidjo continued to sing…

‘Cause I’m a voodoo child
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child

I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
Make it back to you one of these days
I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
Make it back to you one of these days  

…and I was brought back full circle.

Throughout my run, feeling the flow with each beat, I dance and sang and laughed with the music – I can only imagine what it looked like to other runners and pedestrians.

It was a celebration of sorts.

Toward the end of my run (my planned 6 had turned into 10 for no reason other than I was having fun), I passed a Church.  People flooded out of Easter services, all dressed in their Sunday best.  It hit me – I was dressed in my Sunday best and attending a Church I had not been to in a long, long time.

Now, despite being baptized presbyterian, I am not a religious man by any stretch, but how appropriate would it be were I to resurrect my passion for running on a day many believe to be a day of renewed life?

I went to Church today…and it was good.

Happy Easter and Good Pesach everyone.  I hope your Sunday morning was as glorious as mine.

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it-takes-a-village

Running can be a lonely sport.  Yes, you can’t throw a rock in certain parts of the country without hitting a running club or group, but ultimately, at its very core, running is an individual undertaking – YOU must put one foot in front of the other to move forward; YOU are the engine that makes you go; YOU and only you can take you from point A to point B.

But it’s rarely just about getting from point A to point B, is it?

I was reminded during the TARC 100 that running is truly the most team-oriented individual sport I have ever participated in.  It is something I have always known, and even written about here, but I felt like I was completely immersed in the team aspect of individual running during my nearly 28 hour journey last weekend.

I would not have had the will or the means to cover 100 miles in so short a time had it not been for Erica & Maddy (my pacers from 54.5 to the finish), Doug (who crewed for me from 25 to 75), the volunteers at each of the Aid Stations and Road Crossings or my wife Jess constantly checking in via text offering words of encouragement.

On the Sunday morning after the race, still unable to collect my thoughts fully, I wrote this on the TARC Facebook Page:

Thank you to the TARC Staff and volunteers! Your enthusiasm throughout the night and day and night again was energizing and helped keep the darkness of doubt at bay. I know that my buckle-status was in part achieved because of you – THANK YOU!
Also, the tenderness with which you treated those of us who finished was amazing.

I would then later post this about my two pacers:

So the enormity of what these two women did for me on Saturday is just finally sinking in. Erica…paced me from mile 54.5 to mile 75 and Maddy…paced me from 75 to 100. Erica had never met me (online or in real life) yet she jumped right in and kept me going for 6 hours. Maddy, whom I have long admired as a runner, heard I needed help and drove over at the drop of a hat to shepherd me through the final stages…I cannot possibly do either of you justice with words (as my eyes start to well up). Thank you!

Without these people, I would have simply been just some fool running in the woods.  I also would have had the common sense to stop after about 6 or 7 miles, probably even sooner.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren’s and Barry O’s often misquoted line, “You didn’t build that”, I didn’t do that…WE did that!  And it is not just the volunteers or my fellow TARC racers or Doug or JB or Erica or Maddy or Jess.  It wasn’t just the Charity Miles App that allowed me to raise funds for my charity of choice with every step I took; it wasn’t just Mophie, the company that donated two battery packs to keep my phone, and therefore the Charity Miles App, running for 28 straight hours; it wasn’t just Julie C and her beautiful daughter showing up at Mile 50 to remind me who I was running for…

It was YOU!  YOU helped carry me to the end when my legs were failing.  YOU helped drive me to the finish when MY will was breaking.  YOU delivered strength when the darkness of doubt came over me.  YOU made sure I got the silly not so little belt buckle at the end of the day.

This villager would like to thank his village for being part of and helping me finish my first 100 mile foot race.

Thank you.

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Boston to Portland, ME – 98 miles.

New York City to Philadelphia – 83 miles.

Washington DC to Richmond, VA – 100 miles

Miami to West Palm Beach – 67 miles.

San Francisco to Carmel – 91 miles

Los Angeles to Idyllwild – 100 miles

Weston, MA to Weston, MA – 100 miles

What is wrong with this picture???

The butterflies kicked in this morning big time!  I had been pretty calm up until just after breakfast this morning and suddenly, FLUTTER FLUTTER!

Here’s a video preview of the race.  See you on the other side of 100!

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A little less than a year and a half ago I crossed the finish line of the Vermont 50 – fifty miles through the mountains of Vermont.

It.

Was.

Miserable.

When I crossed the finish line in just over eleven hours, I made a bee-line for my buddy Doug (the guy who had convinced me this was a good idea) and yelled a string of expletives at him.  I was never going to do this again, I concluded.

Ultra-Marathon could now be checked off on the bucket list – time to move on.

Never again.

About a half hour later, I looked over at Doug and said something along the lines 0f, “you know, if we had actually done any kind of training before this, we probably could have gone sub-10:00.”  I started thinking of doing it again the following year.

As life will often do, scheduling got in the way and I could not participate in last year’s Vermont 50.  I told Doug that 2013 would be the year of the sub-10.  I hadn’t signed up for any marathons save New York City, so I planned on putting in some miles early and then getting serious about training over the summer.

Then #AutismStreaks began.  My mileage through seven and half weeks hasn’t been huge, but I do feel like my legs are coming back – I may be slower than I once was, but I still enjoy time on my feet.  Earlier this week I went running with my Super Sunday 5 running buddy JB.  He is probably one of the easiest people to run with.

Yesterday he posted this on Facebook:

JB's Facebook Post...

JB’s Facebook Post…

***

After Vermont and my experience at Around the Lake earlier that July, I swore I would never run a 100-miler until I had the ability to cover that distance in 18 hours or less.  It wasn’t a speed issue, rather it was I had come to dislike racing at night.  Around the Lake was miserable, absolutely miserable.  The idea of running through the night, which, at my speed, I would have to do to cover 100 miles, did not appeal to me at all.  I knew that at best I could maybe cover 100 miles in 24 hours, under ideal conditions, and the laws of time and space dictate that if that is the case, I would have to run through the night.

Nope.  I wasn’t ever going to do that.

Wasn’t.

Going.

To happen!

***

To humor myself I clicked on the link – what kind of craziness was JB getting into?  100 miles?  He’s crazy!  Trail running madman he is.  That’s just…oh, hey, look – it’s relatively local…and it’s flat…only 3000 feet of climb for the whole 100 miles…what was Vermont?  over 9,000 feet over 50 miles?  that’s six times the elevation per mile…and, whoa! $60???  that’s CHEAP!!!

I shook my head.  What the HELL was I thinking???

No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!!!

I left JB a comment: Are you entered?

JB: Yes sir.

Me:  Do you have a goal time?  WHY THE HELL WAS I ASKING??? And is 3000 climb for 100 miles or for 25 miles? STOP ASKING HIM QUESTIONS!!!

JB: its for the 100, and I think finishing would be a great goal! its pretty damn flat

My response?  I am not actually considering a 100-miler…I am not actually considering a 100-miler…I am not actually considering a 100-miler…

***

Over dinner I mentioned to Jess that I might be thinking about running the TARC 100 – I began with I know I said I would never do one of these things, but you know, it’s relatively local and it’s flat, and JB and Doug are running it and it’s really, really inexpensive and I know I said I would never do one of these things but…

She looked at me as she interrupted me, You know how when I tell you I’m going to buy a pair of boots and I start to come up with all kinds of reasons why I “need” them when I really don’t and you roll your eyes as if to say just go buy them?  I’m rolling my eyes…you’re nuts, but go ahead.

90 minutes later, this happened:

...what have I done?

…what have I done?

GAH!!!

On the bright side, if I’m still #AutismStreaking at this point (I believe it would be day 165) that will be a lot of Charity Miles!

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