Monday, August 30, 2010

Making Lemonade

So, as previously noted, Saturday's Skinnyman 50k was a big success.

Me, Todd, Phil and a dude named Berkeley Dave pushed off at 6 am on the nose. We kept the pace easy and tried hard not to let 29 year-old Berkelely Dave - who is a heck of a fast runner - grind us into fairy dust.

We generally felt good for the first 12 miles, except for Coach Phil, who was dealing with some GI issues that wouldn't allow him to take in liquids. He suffered in silence, as his nature, and took it out at his own pace. Coach Phil is a tough dude.

The first 12 miles of this run were interesting; they featured four pretty significant climbs that probably totaled about 3500 feet of climbing. That's a bit much for the front end of an ultra marathon, and it's inevitable that climbing like that will catch up to one on the back end of the course. And even though we generally felt pretty good, Todd and I ended up power hiking a majority of the big climbs, which was a strategy that I think served us well in the end.

Our crews - The Wife, Little Boy, Little Girl and Todd's wife Liza were amazing, and there is no way we could have done this without their support. They provided support at three critical junctions: Tennessee Valley, Pantoll (two times) and of course, the finish line.

I generally felt good throughout the entire race -- for the first time in a long while I could say that I was adequately prepared - though my feet really took a beating - and I mean beating - due in all likelihood to the downhills. At one point I had stop to bandage my toes, and I noted that my left sock was pretty bloody.

Todd's fitness was pretty high too; I was really impressed with his strength all day, especially considering that he wasn't able to train for these types of hills (and downhills too for that matter, which I think in the end took a far worse toll on us at the end of the day) back home in Long Island.

The only part where things got ridiculously hard was the last push from Stinson Beach back up to Pantoll. That was a relentless and seemingly never ending 3.5 mile push, but we got through it relatively intact.

Once we got back up to Pantoll for the second time (mile 27), the Little Boy joined us for the last push, which was mostly downhill. Having him out there was spectacularly meaningful for me, and I think for him too. It was pretty cool listening to a 10 year old talk non-stop words of encouragement to the two of us. I genuinely think he gets it, and he's going to be a heck of a runner one day. Actually, he's already pretty darn impressive. I hope he continues to enjoy running as much as he seemed to on Saturday.

So long short, we finished and all things considered, we finished pretty darn strong. There wasn't any minute during which either of us seemed to be in a crisis, which made for a more enjoyable experience. Our finish time was 6:50, which was about what I expected for a course this tough, but truth is if we wanted to, I think we could have gone faster. We were much more about enjoying the day and taking in the sites -- and boy, difficulty aside, this course was stunningly beautiful.

To use a tired cliche, I think Todd and I (by the way, Dave and Phil decided to turn it into a long training run and both turned around at Pantoll. I think their respective mileage was somewhere around 25-28 for the day, which is still incredible)did a great job of turning lemons into lemonade.

It bothered neither of us in the slightest that we weren't running an "official" race. I'd go so far as to say we enjoyed this manner of a run even more. It was great being out there all day with one of my best friends - on his birthday nonetheless - and it definitely goes down as a top highlight in my running career.

In fact, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And I just might, because Todd and I think Skinnyman needs to be an annual event. That's something that's under discussion; more later.

Finally, another round of mad props to our most awesome crew. Without them, this event would never have happened. You guys helped make this a day that Todd and I will never forget.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Skinnyman 50k is a Success!

The Skinnyman 50k was everything I thought I would be and more. It was beyond epic. Todd and I (and our friends Phil and Berkeley Dave) had a great time. Todd and I ran super strong the entire way through. This was the first race I've trained properly in a long while and it showed. For once, I didn't suffer like a dog. Anyway much more later but for now a few pictures of me and Todd and our fantastic crew. Huge props to the Wife and Liza for their support. We could not have done it without them.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day of School

School starts early in California. As in - today. Hard to believe that I'm the father of a middle school student. Sixth grade. Where does the time go? Little Girl is getting older herself - she's now in third grade. I wish you a great year, Kids.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If You Live in Marin -- and Have Some Time on Saturday.......

Attention Marin-area readers of this blog. If you are around this Saturday and have some time to kill, we'd love the support on the Skinnyman 50k course. The Wife and Kids will be on the course, along with Coach Phil's and Todd's respective wives, and it should be fun. If anyone cares to join us for part of the run, you are absolutely welcome to do so. For whatever it is worth, the Little Boy plans to run the last 4 miles to the finish line, which is mostly downhill. Would be fun to gather a group for that last push. Meeting area for that would be up at Pantoll.

Anyway, if anyone is interested hit me with a comment below or via email and I will respond with meeting up points and when we expect to reach certain areas based on our anticipated finish time.

And as extra incentive to come out and support us, we do have a few extra technical t-shirts - and they are amazing - to give-away.

I think I speak for Todd and Coach Phil; we are stoked and ready to rumble.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Perfect Day

The weather has been absolutely miserable this Summer in Marin County. Cold,blustery, foggy - just awful. So, when I woke up and saw the sun was out today I knew we had to take action.

So I grabbed the Little Boy and his buddy who had slept over, and the three of us did a four mile trail run on the Skinnyman course. It was an absolute blast. We came home, cooked up some brats, put the paddleboard on the car and headed to the beach, where we preceded to meet up with friends, swim in the Bay and paddle board for hours. Afterwards we headed home, grilled chicken and corn and ate outside. And now I'm sitting outside having a glass of wine as the sun sets, writing this post and reading my book. In. A few minutes I'll start watching True Blood and Entourage.

I'm pretty much a simple creature and have to say that i really don't need much in life, just days like this.

Friday, August 20, 2010

One Big Ass Spider

This was waiting for us on our front porch when we got home earlier this week. This picture doesn't really do justice to exactly how big it is. May just be the biggest damn spider I have ever laid eyes on. And by the way, spiders pretty much freak me out more than anything in the world.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PResenting the Skinnyman 50k

So, finally back from New York. It was awesome to see so many cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. Makes me realize how much I miss seeing family. But that all being said, I am as happy as hell to be home.

As you know, the 50k Todd and I were supposed to run a in two weeks was recently cancelled. Todd and I -- and Coach Phil - decided we are doing the damn thing anyway. Same course, same date, only different name. We've titled our race the Skinnyman 50k and Todd has designed the most kick ass shirt ever. Todd - post a copy of it in the comments when you get a chance.

As disappointed as I am about the cancellation of the "official" race, something tells me the Skinnyman is going to be far more epic. Stay tuned for more......

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lake George, 2010

We are having a great time here in Lake George, New York for our annual week-long vacation. We've done a ton of running, swimming, sailing and eating, not to mention visits to the local arcade. But I think the highlight has been all the fun that was had between all the cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Living in California I forget sometimes how isolated we are but it sure is fun - and that much more appreciated - when family get together. I am sorry that the fun ends in two days but it will be nice to get the kids back home to California

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Thursday, August 12, 2010


Picked the kids up at camp this morning in New Hampshire. I was complete out of it from jet lag but pretty stoked all the same. Not half as stoked as them however; they had an amazing time. I was particularly impressed by the girl. In inimitable style, everyone knew her name and she seemed to be quite popular. A number of counselors noted that she was an amazing camper. According to her, she wasn't quite ready to come home yet. And the Boy - well this is year two for him and he's a seasoned veteran. Glad they had fun but so good to have them home.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Tamalpa Runners Cancel Headlands 50k Three Weeks Prior to Race Day

This is my 805 post. The only common denominator that ties everything together? I try my best to avoid negativity - even when talking about cancer, which was my original content matter back when I started this in 2006.

I'm going to have to break the rules this one time though, because I am really upset and pissed off; more so than I have been about anything in a long, long time.

Here is the back story:

As many of you know, I have been training my ass off these past few months to get ready for my next race, the Headlands 50k. What's more, I was supposed to run this race with my boy Todd, who's taking the time - and incurring the expense -- to make the trip from NYC with his wife Liza. Furthermore, as you will recall the last time I was supposed to run a race with Todd, I got knocked out due my knee injury. So this was our shot to cone together from opposing Coasts and finally run together.

And so, I've been running the course nearly every week, sometimes at four hours a clip. I have dedicated my entire Summer to this event. Yesterday was my final big training day. I ran my four hours and finally felt ready.

I've been so excited about the race - and running it with Todd -- that I've been looking at the course map frequently. Last night I went to the site to check it out -- to learn THAT THE RACE HAS BEEN CANCELLED. THREE WEEKS BEFORE RACE DAY!

In all my years I have run hundreds of races. Not one has ever been cancelled. And yet this one has been cancelled due to "organizational and logistical shortcomings" -- whatever in the world that means.

Unfreaking real. Keep in mind that this is not a 5k. It's an ultramarathon - one that requires tremendous commitment in terms of time and training. To cancel it three weeks outside the race date is to me, beyond unconscionable. My point is simple: if you make a commitment -- and take people's money (which they are refunding), you honor that commitment. Especially if you are a race director. Period, end of story.

Both Todd and I wrote to the officers and Board of Directors. I got back two notes explaining their position. I am a sympathetic guy and all and I do appreciate them taking the time to respond, but any way I look at it, it's really hard to see their point of view (which to protect them, I won't share. Maybe one day they will see this post and care to weigh in with their own "on the record" explanation).

To that end, though, out of principle and lack of trust in their organization, it is doubtful that I will ever join their club or run another one of their races. Not as if I think they care.

All that being said though, when he heard this news my boy Phil stepped up to the plate. Our plans are not yet formalized, but with a big assist from Phil, Todd and I are going to run this damn "race" come hell or high water. Local area residents, The Wife, Phil and likely my Kids will help man the "aid stations." I might do some fundraising for it on my own for Crohn's and Livestrong, non-profits that are important to both Todd and I.

Ironically, I believe it's this type of spirit that formed the original basis for the Tamalpa Runners back in day. I think they need to look into themselves to see if that spirit still exists, today.

Regardless, Todd and I are determined to cross the finish line, together, as originally intended. Because us ultra runners are nothing if not tenacious.

Anyway, that was cathartic. Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Photos from Boys Weekend

Boy's Weekend

I had a fantastic boy's weekend with my main men Rob and Wiley. In no particular order we ate; drank some beer; laughed; went on a few trails run; drank some more beer; hiked Mount Tam; ate some oysters in Bolinas and hung out.

I haven't had a good time like that in quite some time. Nothing like hanging out with one's main boys. Only thing that didn't cooperate is the weather, which is a whole other story unto itself. But in the end, it didn't really matter. Anyway, will post photos from the weekend soon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Chicken or the Wife

Those of you who know me know that the Wife puts up with a lot of nonsense from yours truly. Generally she lets me have my way, whether it is enabling my technology habit, putting up with my training and business travel or ... well, the list is long. For the first time in a long while though we are at loggerheads and it is due to the ..... chickens. To say that she opposes this move would be an understatement. She has drawn a line in the sand and is beyond opposed to this plan. I'm still pretty stoked on the chickens though and thus a decision must be made. And so it comes down to this; will it be the Wife, or the Chickens - who shall prevail? Curious as to whether anyone would like to weigh in on this one. No? I didn't think so.......

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Scene of the Crime

The Mrs. and I are enjoying some time together in NYC. Today, I worked while she ..... shopped. I want to come back as the Wife in my next life but that is a post for another day. After work today she and I took a nice stroll from midtown to the Upper West Side for dinner. On the way, we stopped at the building where we first met nearly 17 years ago (or so) and where she jumped me in the elevator (that's my side of the story, anyway. Let's see if that gets a comment from her). Anyway, a lovely walk down memory lane.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Me, Carrie and Carrie's Dude

This picture oh so stokes me. Me, my cousin Carrie and Carrie's dude. Both are frequent visitors to this site. I feel like Carrie's dude is a bro, and yet here I am meeting him for the first time. Which just so happens to be his wedding day. Carrie you are awesome. You also seem to have married a great Dude. Carrie's Dude - take care of our cousin. And great meeting you my man. You're as cool as I thought you'd be.

Wishing you two a great life together.

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