Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Year in Review

The year of 2016 was a busy, but wonderful year.  I have traveled a bunch, running in some cool places. I have also had the chance to race a decent amount with some decent finishes. I am eager to take the lessons that I have learned into the new year. I also was able to tie the knot with the love of my life, Ashlee which was the most incredible moment of my life.

Some Highlights of the year:

1. Got married!!!
2. Ran in all kinds of cool places
3. Have an awesome job
4. Have made so many new friends
5. I am in good health
6. Nothing to complain about only happy memories of the year.

With my job at Nathan, I have traveled as far west as California for work trip and as far south as Texas and Florida. It has been such a wild time. I am looking forward to a fun 2017 with the company. Here is my photo montage of the year as the Nathan Eastern Region Tech Rep:

Ragnar with the Salomon Crew. Photo Credits: Cole C.

Nathan at USB Sales Conference. Photo Creds: Dan Suher

Ragnar events. Photo Cred: Cole C.

Weekend getaway with Ashlee at Letchworth State Park. Photo Credits: Ashlee Prewitt Crosby

Demo with Finger Lakes Run Co and Robert K. Photo Credits: Cole C.

Demo run in Asheville, NC. Photo Credits: Andrew Snow

The Perfect Oklahoma Wedding. Photo Credits: Bailey Salisbury.

Demo in Hotlanta. Photo Credits: Cole C.

Fun DC Demo run with Fire Up Your Run night and Johnathan. Photo Credits: Cole C.
Fall Running in Princeton, NJ. Photo Credits Cole C.

Christmas long run. Photo Credits: Cole C.

For my races in 2016: I ran 6 Key races/events and here is how they went:

Febuary I ran the Cast-A-Shadow race which is usually a snowshoe race but instead was a 6 hour muddy trail run.

I placed 1st running about 42 miles in the 6 hours.

Running strong. Photo Credits: Ron Herkins JR.

March: Caumsett 50k: 7th place
Then I raced the Caumsett 50k, a USATF 50k road championship. I placed 7th in a PR run of 3:11 which I was happy with due to no specific speedwork in training and some nutrition issues during the race.

Running with the Pack and friend, Eric Senseman. Photo Credits: Charles Crosby

April: Hyner View Challenge  3rd Place.

A Race where I had no expectations as I had not gotten any elevation training in months, the effort paid off. I ran with Mike Daigeaun and Adam Russel and helped push the pace to all three of us besting the old course record. Quite a day. And it was a blast hanging with the Nathan crew.

1st big climb. Photo Credits: Momentum Photography.
Chasing the leaders at the first climb. Photo Credits: Mark Lengel

June: Cayuga Trails 50 mile: US Trail Champs DNF
DNF at mile 28. Puking my guts out. I came into this race primed and fit. I left it broken after having pre-race nutrition mis-cues. No whole fruit with the skins EVER AGAIN! It was great to see so many great performances even with the heat.

3 cool dudes. Photo Credits: Lauren Ashley.

September: I Run For Half Marathon and Marathon : 1st in 2:38
This race I used as training for Tussey Mountainback but it went as well as it could have gone with me bonking pretty hard at mile 18 but great effort given the hills.
Myself with Anne. Photo Credits:

October: Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile/USATF 50 mile road champs: 3rd place in 6:22
This race for me I had a solid training block for it but was a physical and mental wreck come race day and fell apart at mile 21. The hardest I have ever fought in a race to come out holding on to third place was by far the race of the year for me.

Last long run before Tussey. Photo Credit: Cole C.
Tussey Pre-race gear. Photo Credits: Cole C.

SO what does that mean for 2017 you ask? Well, I hope to mix things up. I feel more comfortable in my current job with Nathan and will be looking to add some great races to the mix.

Here are a list of goals and races I on my radar to run in 2017:

Some Snowshoe Races: This would include the World Champs in Saranac Lake, NY and National Champs at Bend, Oregon.

Setting some FKTs around some of the larger Finger Lakes: Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka etc.

Syracuse Half-Marathon

Hyner View Challenge 25k

Breakneck 42k

Binghamton Bridge Run Half Marathon

UROC 100k in Virginia or Dirty German 50 mile

Ontario Summit Trail Marathon

Herald of Victory Marathon: Guinness World Record for Marathon in Toga

Maybe Cayuga Trails 50

Finger Lakes 50 Mile

Twisted Branch 100k

Fall 100 miler or 100k

Tesla Hertz 100k or 100 mile

Stonemill 50

Hellgate 100k

I want to thank everyone who has been with me this incredible journey in 2016.

Thank you to my lovely Wife, Ashlee.

Thank you to my friends, family and the whole team at Nathan and USB!

Thank you to my sponsors who have helped me become the person I am today:

Mammut North America: for being with me every step of the way with the best shoes, apparel, and gear in the industry.

Nathan for being not only my employer but also with aiding me with the best in hydration, visibility, gear and runner's care essentials.

Team RNRMPF for allowing me to be on a roster with some of the best and most kindhearted trails runners in the East.

Boom Nutrition for helping to fuel me with the all-natural fruit power of Boom gels.

Fits Socks for making the best merino wool socks that fit better than a glove.

Redfeather snowshoes for the ColeVapor shoe and the best in snowshoes.

Karhu NA for great road shoes for all of my ultra training and road running exploits.

Craft NA for the best baselayers, running tights and winter gear.

Here is to what has been an incredible 2016 and I will raise a glass to 2017. Time to make some dreams and turn them into reality!



Monday, November 21, 2016

Tussey Mountainback 2016 USA Champs 3rd Place: When All Else Fails, Run with Heart

The Tussey Mountainback 50 mile has been my true ultimate goal for 2016. It was netted as a USA Championship 50 mile road event which helped to grow its appeal for some fast competition. I also left this event two years ago with a 3rd place in 6:16 running an incredible race with pneumonia until my body gave way at mile 40. I entered this race looking for redemption.

Training leading up to the race was going pretty well. With a weekly average of 77.5 miles a week up from 71 earlier in the year, I was very pleased with my increase in weekly volume. I was also able to get more quality workouts in with steady climbing and descending; the type of running needed to excel at Tussey.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I Run For Marathon: Training For Tussey

This was a fun race and a great opportunity. I had run the I Run For Half marathon two years ago and had a blast. I knew that with a course that featured 767 feet of climbing for the Half Marathon, that for a Marathon,  I was going to get a great training stimulus in for Tussey Mountainback.  

It was great to be able to run such a great local event after having an incredibly busy summer on the road as well as to run a race on September 11th.  The Seepersauds are an incredible down to earth family and it has been such a pleasure to know them and to run their race.

Weather for the race was mild in the 60's and rainy. This is decent weather but I knew that I would have to stay on-top of hydration and salts as the forecast was going to have temps get near 70. The race course is a quad out and back with 6.5 out and back twice. This would be beneficial to 1) Know the course well, 2) Help receive aid easily throughout  3) Help build some mental toughness of seeing the same scenery.

The race went out well from the start. I hit the first mile in 5:22 and knew that  I had to settle-in and get into marathon pace. I proceeded to run a very controlled and comfortable 5:50 average through the first 6.5 miles. The first 6.5 of the course climb gradually to the top of the course at the turn-around. Throughout the first quarter of the race, there are some long and short and steep climbs that can tax the legs. Going through the hills, my slowest mile was 6 minutes on the dot. Looking back at the pace, it was probably too aggressive given the course design. I was on pace for 2:31/2:32 (giving a potential slowing in the closing miles). Once I hit the turn-around, I began to relax and continue to ratchet the pace.

Let me also talk about the pacers: Having Jack and Kat out there on the support bikes was incredible. They kept me going an honest pace and helped to motivate me throughout! Thank you to both of you.

I went through the 13.1 mark feeling strong in around 75:55 on a fast pace through the course and even added about a half mile around the turn-around too. I switched out my Nathan Speedshot handheld and was off for the second 13.1. The weather was getting warmer with the sun coming out of the clouds. I started struggling at mile 18 as my 6 minute mile pace began to slip. I started running 6:04, then 6:11, then 6:20, followed by another 6:11. Near mile 20, my legs could not handle the effort anymore and the early miles really took a toll on me. I then pushed as hard as I could with lead legs for the final 6.2 miles.

My last few miles ranged from 6:30 and up to a 7:20 last mile. It was not pretty but I got to the finish line in one piece. I finished around 2:38:48 on my watch through the finish which had me a few minutes long. I finished the race in around 2:39.

For the future, I know not to run as if I am running a flat marathon for a hilly marathon. My pace out the gates was too hot for the course. Overall, I was pleased with how  I hung tough even when things started to crumble on me. This was great preparation for Tussey.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible. Thank you to the volunteers and to the whole Binghamton community which is the best around!

There was so many great stories out there during the race. Many strong marathon finishes and great goals met out there! Nice work to all the runners!

Thank you to all of my sponsors who helped to get me outfitted and ready for the race:

Mammut North America
Fits Socks
Boom Nutrition
Redfeather Snowshoes
Karhu NA
Craft NA
Confluence Running
Finger Lakes Run Co

Coming into the Finish-Photo Credits: Jack Kuhn

Photo Credit: Jack Kuhn

Myself Hanging on. Photo Credit: Jack Kuhn

All my Race Gear: Mammut,Nathan, Karhu, MPFRNR, Fits Socks, Boom Nutrition

Having fun in the ADK. Photo Credit: Cole

Great Demo with Syracuse at Green Lakes. Photo Credit: Cole C.


I Run For Marathon: Training For Tussey

This was a fun race and a great opportunity. I had run the I Run For Half marathon two years ago and had a blast. I knew that with a course that featured 767 feet of climbing for the Half Marathon, that for a Marathon,  I was going to get a great training stimulus in for Tussey Mountainback.  

It was great to be able to run such a great local event after having an incredibly busy summer on the road as well as to run a race on September 11th.  The Seepersauds are an incredible down to earth family and it has been such a pleasure to know them and to run their race.

Weather for the race was mild in the 60's and rainy. This is decent weather but I knew that I would have to stay on-top of hydration and salts as the forecast was going to have temps get near 70. The race course is a quad out and back with 6.5 out and back twice. This would be beneficial to 1) Know the course well, 2) Help receive aid easily throughout  3) Help build some mental toughness of seeing the same scenery.

The race went out well from the start. I hit the first mile in 5:22 and knew that  I had to settle-in and get into marathon pace. I proceeded to run a very controlled and comfortable 5:50 average through the first 6.5 miles. The first 6.5 of the course climb gradually to the top of the course at the turn-around. Throughout the first quarter of the race, there are some long and short and steep climbs that can tax the legs. Going through the hills, my slowest mile was 6 minutes on the dot. Looking back at the pace, it was probably too aggressive given the course design. I was on pace for 2:31/2:32 (giving a potential slowing in the closing miles). Once I hit the turn-around, I began to relax and continue to ratchet the pace.

Let me also talk about the pacers: Having Jack and Kat out there on the support bikes was incredible. They kept me going an honest pace and helped to motivate me throughout! Thank you to both of you.

Running for the second 13.1 (Photo Credit: Brent Rice)


Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Cayuga Trails 50: Could not Stomach the Day

This race has been my Achilles heel.

I have finished 9th in 2013, 7th in 2014 and a DNF in 2015. The race has always been a tough one for me. Maybe it is because of the time of year, the humidity of early summer? I really am not sure.

Getting to the race site the night before and sleeping in the Nathan Mobile was nice to be able to be right where the action would happen. With a nice cool morning right around the high 50's, it was great to sleep with the windows down and the beautiful starts overhead. I felt poised and ready to go. You never go into a race feeling 100% perfect though training had gone well and I was hopeful for a great day.

Photo Credits ATRA  Myself and the chase pack
Photo Credits: Mountain Peak Fitness --Hanging with Avi and Zach
 * The race like all of the others had us gather together with Ian's blowing of the ram's horn. I settled a little further back than what I normal would do putting myself around 10-15th place. I wanted to start the run more conservatively than in years' past because I have encountered issues when going out with the front group. I also wanted to take the time to enjoy the beginning of the race more so than before. I felt that maintaining an upbeat attitude would bode well for conserving much needed energy for the longer ups and downs encountered the 2nd 25 miles of the course on tired legs.
Photo Credit: ATRA
 As the field began to separate, I met one of Zach's friends from Ann Arbor, Avi who we spent a large portion of miles together. The photo above shows the fun we were having rattling off strong but consistent miles. We kept our pace in the 7:45-8:30 minute range through the gorges and the steps of the course. It was really great to have someone along for the journey. This course knows how to pack a punch and I was feeling really strong besides the humid and warm day. With my job, I had spent the past month in some warmer spots of the country so this was helpful and felt that with maintaining a sound hydration and nutrition plan, things would go well. I was making sure to drink 18 oz every 6 miles and making sure to take a gel every two aid stations. Avi and myself began to catch other runners around the Buttermilk turn-around. I had some GI issues leading up to that aid station and had to stop to use the bathroom. I lost some time here as Avi heading up the steps of Buttermilk falls as I took my pit stop.
Photo Credit: ATRA
Life was going pretty well in the early stages...
Then things became real!
The pit stop was the first warning sign. I began to sweat a little more but my stomach felt better. I continued on my nutrition plan. I knew I could catch Avi again as he was maybe a minute or two ahead of me. I soon caught one runner and then latched on with former Red Newt/MPF runner, Ben Nephew. We hung together as I noticed Ben was going through a little low point and eventually decided to make a move to pass. I started taking in more Boom Gels and Tailwind and started noticing a weird sloshing in my stomach. I continued to try and remain calm knowing that stomach sloshing could be caused by all types of things.
Photo Credit: TJ Moore
After a bathroom pit stop, I did not think anything of this. I kept trucking along.
Photo Credits: TJ Moore 
This photo was the breaking point. The stomach sloshing with the heat really was making me feel sick. I dumped water on myself to get some evaporative cooling before the next push to mile 25 turnaround but really had that sea sick type of feeling.

All it took was right after the Highway Aid station I stopped to walk on one of the uphills and then felt it coming. I threw up some and then began to resume running hoping that was going to be all I had to deal with. Boy was I wrong. My body's system had enough. Any bit of running and I was projectile vomiting all over the trail. I had to walk. I thought maybe a few minutes of walking would do me good. Soon Ben Nephew and some other runners passed me by. They could tell something was off. In an ultra, you have some time to rebound and make a race of it. I knew that at this moment, top 5 would be out of the picture but if I could put together a strong last 25 miles, I could maybe crack the top 10.

It was torture. Every moment I got going into a running motion, I would find myself throwing up. I finally after struggling for the last 7 or so miles and being passed by the lead ladies, I knew my race was in jeopardy.  I finally crawled into the 25 mile turnaround point and knew I had to make a decision. I already felt dejected knowing that already 25 miles in that this race was not the redemption race I had hoped for.

Stomach Problems Led the Way:

Photo Credits: ATRA
Here you can see me dejected and sick. The whole team at the Start/Finish was incredible. A friend of mine, Dom was the man of the hour getting me back to feeling stronger with ice pops and plenty of water. It took me a solid 15 minutes before I headed back out. Kudos to everyone there to help boost me up as best as they could. That support was truly incredible. I was leaving the 25 mile mark at about 4:03. If I had a solid second 25, I could still make some magic happen. The downside, was that I was not sure if I was really feeling back to normal. I told my fiancé, Ashlee and my Dad to meet me at each aid station as we would play it aid to aid to see if I could improve and rebound.
From the energy of all the volunteers, I bolted out of the 25 mile aid and up into the gorges. It was maybe about a mile or so before I stopped by a rock and puked some more. Then tried to run again and the puking continued. That was it. I continued to average 15 minutes a mile through this section until I had made the near 50k mark. I hit the aid station finally and sat down on a chair here and said I had to drop.
At this point I had thrown up maybe 20+ times in those last 5 miles and was not able to put anything else down. I felt weak and dizzy. My race was over.
Again, the Cayuga Trails Course bested me yet again. I made it back to the Start/Finish to cheer on  MPF/RNR teammates and other finishers.
The heat made it hard for all of the runners out there but so many preserved and finished.
Incredible races by:
Tyler Sigl who ran a gutsy 6:43 besting Sage's course record on a hot and humid June day was incredible.
Jared Burdick who has been so consistent here with two 2nd place finishes!
And props to MPF/RNR teammates:
Ben Nephew for his 6th place finish
Jan Wellford showing he has some ultra speed too finishing 9th
and Silas Carey finishing in 10th.
Photo Credits: Ashley Lauren

So what went wrong?  

Pretty simple: After talking to everyone, eating fibrous fruit for breakfast was not the best idea. I had two apples and a peach with the skins on. This mistake with the hot and humid conditions only made things worse. I noticed when I threw up the first time that the skins were the only thing I could make out in the mush.  It goes to show that we can always learn new things about ourselves.
Even though the outcome was not what I hoped for, the people of this race are what  I truly love and am thankful for. Thanks to all of you, this is the reason why I love this event year in and year out.
Thank you to all of the race volunteers for keeping me going when I thought I should just throw in the towel, the RD: Ian Golden for putting on a killer race year in and year out, Dom for almost reviving me, Elizabeth of MPF and so many others.
Thank you to sponsors: Mammut North America for being such an incredible company to represent as well as Nathan which is also become a second family for me, Fits socks for the best in merino blister-free socks with the best Fit around, Boom Nutrition that keeps me fueled and ready to go, Redfeather Snowshoes for the best in running snowshoes, and Team MPF/RNR for helping to inspire me each and every day to train and race my best!

Hyner View Challenge: 3rd Place, The View was Worth the Challenge

Alright, it has taken me a long time to write a post on this race so I will make it short and sweet for everyone but to sum up the whole experience, it was a true confidence booster for myself and a truly incredible event.

For all of those out there: Hyner is a tough race. With 5 long arduous climbs all 800ft-1200ft ascents with similar descents on Rocky and technical Central PA terrain, this race truly...Hard! 

I was unsure how this race would go for me as I had come from places such as Savanna, Georgia where the running is pretty flat so my dedicated hill-training was at an all-time low. Running this race was a great opportunity as preparation for Cayuga Trails 50.  With running with the Nathan Team, this was an even more exciting opportunity.  After my events in DC during that week, I took the Nathan car out to Lock Haven, PA for the race. I camped in my car at the starting line and arrived at the race site around 10pm. I rolled the windows down as it was a beautiful April evening and quickly grabbed some zzzzzz.

The morning came quickly and as I lounged around and almost missed getting my bib and had some contact with the Nathan crew: Maggie, and Brent; and then I was off with the crew for 50k of some of the most brutal trails around.

The race went out comfortable and sadly I could not get that darn GPS of mine to sync up. Time to race by feel. To say that the course record was not on my mind would be a lie. I really felt that with such a solid crew of runners and with some smart pacing, that the record could go down.

To see the top 3 including myself break the record, was something special!

The Top 3: Myself, Adam and Mike!

We hit the first climb and the run now became a hike. I was breathing a little heavy but was to be expected with running hardly any hills like this in quite some time.

I latched onto Adam Russell and Mike D, who are very accomplished Ultra runners. Adam recently was second to Ben Nephew at Breakneck and was the past course record holder of Hyner. As For Mike D, he has all kinds of fast times out in the East Coast trail scene such as A victory at Umstead 100, both course records at Green Lakes 50k and 100k and numerous other fast times. I knew that if I could run relaxed with these two for as long as possible, great things would come from it.

After the first climb, it was us three the whole way. Mike and Myself had to work hard to match Adam's strong downhill running. That guy knows how to fly on steep technical terrain! I felt pretty solid making sure to drink often and take my Boom gel every 45 mins. This worked great to keep my legs and body feeling strong. I felt strong on the climbs and even worked a few of them pretty well to test how Mike and Adam felt.
Making the first big climb at Hyner!
On climb number 3, I made a little move up the long gradual climb before running a little harder on the flat section and then into a nice runnable downhill. I gained some separation on the two but the goal was to test the waters and see how they would respond. Eventually, the two matched my pace on a steeper downhill section.
I still managed to feel fresh. We hit this creek section that was the next climb and Adam decided to ease off the pace as I led Mike into the wet rocky footing ahead. It was hard to run fast on this section and I felt like we were crawling but I could look back and it seemed that our pace was consistent. Remember, with no GPS, I had no idea if we were on record pace or not or any pace really. Towards the top of the climb, Mike caught to me on my shoulder and we talked how we were running close to 4:30 50k pace which was stellar as the old record was 4:52. I told Mike if we keep working together here, good things will come from it. It was fun running with Mike as we rocked the NJ love pretty well growing up only 7 miles from one another. Mike was also the man I attempted to break his incredible 3:28 Green Lakes 50k time so it was a pleasure to connect with him during the race.
I lost contact with Mike at one of the Aid stations. I stopped, he kept going. I lost about 20-30 seconds on him here as we made our way at the top of a ridge. I kept Mike in my sights as we began another descent. Once we finished the descent, we were now mixed in with the 25k runners. I knew that I wanted to catch Mike as this would be the final home stretch and we had one more crazy climb before the finish. I pushed hard on the wet rocky footing trying to pass the 25k runners as best as possible. To put it in perspective, this part of the course is wet slick rock and one bad false misstep and you could fracture an ankle. It is a trail designed for a few hikers every so often. Passing a conga line of runners was difficult as there was no place for the runners to step off to the side of the trail. A little frustrated as I was losing Mike in the crowd, I tried to maneuver off the course running as hard as I could to pass as many people as I could. With each strong pass, my body was getting exhausted. I could feel myself creeping into severe fatigue at this point as the small gap to Mike felt like an eternity.
I eventually gave up to trying to maneuver on this course and began to hike slowly behind the line of runners. I felt that all of this extra effort just was hurting my cause so I began to fuel up for the final miles of the race. I began to lose sight of Mike but knew that if I kept it within a few minutes, that I could close well. Maybe a few minutes go by and then I see Adam as he passes by on the trail. At this point I am just trying to stay upright as my legs have cramped on me.
Once out of the Creek Bed, I was able to run more as the trail allowed some passing but I was just frustrated that I gave up. I mixed in some run-walk to get the legs to have me power-up the last SOB climb. I have heard this one is a tough one. I clenched my teeth and gave it one last push. Once up the ski slope 40% type of ascent up the SOB, I fueled at the top of the climb and saw Brent. We chatted a little and then off I was running. This portion of the trail was more runnable and now after losing about 15 minutes I felt on the last few miles from Mike and Adam, I began to gain my energy and kicked it into high-gear. My GPS watch finally kicked on. Okay, let's see how fast I can go!
My last 4 miles, I split: 7:38, 7:15, 7:49, and 6:23.
I ran through the trail hard and was yelping "50k runner flying" the whole way to the finish. I was on a mission to catch Adam and Mike if I could and felt great the last few miles. As soon as I hit the road section, I opened up my stride and kicked it to the finish.
I hit the 3rd place mark in 4:47:27. I was 10 minutes behind Adam and 15 behind Mike.
We all broke the course record and my body handled the hills incredibly well. I was truly pleased with this performance and know that if I was to run this race again, I could improve upon that last section on the creek and serve up an even faster time.
The views of this course was unbelievable. This is a true mountain ultra. For me, it was a very technical race with rocky and loose footing but cannot express how incredible the experience was.
Thank you to all of my sponsors that help to power me through all of my running adventures:
Mammut North America
Nathan Sports
Fits Socks
Boom Nutrition
Mcdavid USA
Redfeather Snowshoes
Craft NA

All the gear used from a solid race:
*Nathan Sports Fireball Hydration Pack with Exo shot 12 oz Flask and Speedraw Plus Insulated Handheld
*Mammut MTR 141 Zip Shirt, MTR 71 shorts, MTR 201-II Max Shoes
*Fits socks Runner Low Sock (No Blisters, No Problem)
*Boom Gels (Consumed one gel every 45 mins for perfect energy levels)
*Mcdavid Compression 10k Run sleeves!
*MPF/RNR Apparel for the race and cool down!
*Karhu Flow Trainer: Cool down shoes
*Craft Focus Shorts: Cool down shorts

Monday, March 7, 2016

Caumsett 50k USA Championship--Lucky Number 7

The other day I had the chance to race the Caumsett 50k in Long Island. The race served as the USA 50k Road Championships and competition would be fierce for a spot to be called the "Fastest US 50k runner of 2016". As mentioned in my blog in a previous post, I have been a busy man traveling all around and have not really done Caumsett 50k specific workouts. Instead, I have been getting in solid volume 70-90 miles a week and have had some runs with uptempo miles to help simulate a little of what Caumsett offers. Leading into my taper week, I had the chance to spend a portion of one day scoping out some of the trails in the Hudson Highlands. Honestly, these trails are not only technical with plenty of rocks and steep climbs and descents (almost sea level to 1,600ft in a mile) but the shape and design of the hills and mountains of the surroundings are unlike anywhere I have ever been. That day, I fell in love with the area! After getting some solid vertical, I was primed for Caumsett.

Check out Jason Friedman's Blog on his race experience here:

Storm King Mountain from the Breakneck Ridge Trail. Photo Credits: Cole Crosby

For those who are curious about Caumsett, it is a simple course but a great race to run a decent time for 50k. The course has little ups and downs throughout the 5k park path that is enough to tax you but it takes some of the strain of over-use your body will encounter in a completely flat looped course. Unfortunately for me, my body took a beating in the race as I cramped up at mile 23 and could not salvage myself back to the continuous 5:53 miles our group was sustaining.

Pre-Race Gear. Photo Credits: Cole Crosby
*The Pre-race gear was laid out and ready to go! Mammut MTR 201 Tech Low shoes (My favorite), my Mammut/RNR/MPF Orange and Purple Kit, Nathan Hydration Handhelds: (Exo Shot, Speed Shot) and gels in my Lightspeed Belt. Boom Gels for fuel, Mcdavid Reflective Compression Sleeves, and Fits socks.

I was able to stay at a nearby hotel the night before the race on Long Island which made the drive to the event nice and easy. 30 minutes later following a nice sea of cars to the staging area, I was able to check in quickly and secure my bib. I linked-up with  Eric Senseman who I have seen at numerous races: Tussey Mountainback and JFK. It was great to catch up with him and find out he is now running with Scott Sports which is awesome! They picked up a solid athlete and guy. Eric was planning on using this race as a tune-up for Mad City 100k where his hopes would be to make the USA 100k team.

My Father made the trip up and I was able to connect with him. The race was going to have some fast competition being a USA Championship race and those who could run under 3 hours could get their name in the hat for the World Championship Team. Top guys like defending champ, Zach Ornelas who ran 2:52 on this course last year, Cayuga Trails 2nd place Jared Burdick, C Fred Joslyn who has been an Olympic Marathon Trails Qualifier and a fast dude, Eric Senseman, and Chris Rauli, another runner in Upstate NY who has seen success at JFK with a 6th place finish along with many others.  Realistically, I was not sharp enough to run such a fast time to make Worlds. Maybe one day, I can get there but for now the even longer stuff has been suiting me well.  Looking back at my training, I was getting in volume, but not enough running at race pace: 6 minutes and under to prime my body for the pace.  That is okay, as Caumsett was always a bucket-list race and having the opportunity to even run this event was totally awesome. I also had the pleasure of racing with MPF/RNR Teammate: Jason Friedman who was looking for a solid performance at Caumsett.

My goals for the race:

*PR: Run faster than 3:16.
*If feeling good, go for sub 3:06 or if having a perfect day, sub 3 hours.
*Gain confidence running in a competitive road ultra.
*Test and see how my training has progressed since beginning a more rigorous work travel schedule.
*Have fun and compete.

Talking with Eric before the race, I think we both knew we would run together. We both have similar levels of fitness, have been close in all the races we have been together in with Eric getting me at the events we have race together in, and I know both have similar strengths and goals in ultras. That makes a solid person to work with and enjoy the race experience with. I was hoping to run 6 minutes a mile for as long as possible and be able to run that pace as comfortable as possible for the duration of the 50k event. That time would get us to 3:06.  With the initial start, Zach shot out at like 5:20-5:30 mile place which was way to quick for me to follow. C Fred, Jared and Chris formed the chase pack running 5:38-mid 5:40's which still was a little hot for my liking. The third group you can see in the photo below: Eric in the Yellow shirt, Arturs, and then myself. We really liked the idea of running 3:06-3:10 pace. So we rattled off the miles, enjoyed our time together and ultimately, worked together to keep us in tact through as much of the race as possible. We would trade-off pace leading duties and was able to run consistent 5:53 miles and some 6:02 and 5:58 miles. Ultimately, we would speed it up on mile 2 and 3 and run the first mile as our slowest of the 5k loop.

The group. Photo Credits: Mike Gadaleta
Using my Nathan Exo Shot handheld, I had no problem taking down my Tailwind nutrition. With cold weather, my body was not craving a whole lot of hydration which was truthfully my downfall.
As the miles rolled along, it became just a waiting game. Could we keep up the pace and not do too much damage to our bodies. The pace felt good for a long while. I took a Boom gel at and hour in and then again in the second hour. 24 ounces of Tailwind and I felt strong. It was until mile 21 that something started happening. My front quads started to cramp. I began to push the pace to see if maybe an increase in tempo could jar the muscles a little. No such luck! 
By mile 23, I told the crew that I was no more and had to drop back to try to recover. Before dropping off, our group was closing on the chase pack and to Zach. If only I had felt better. My consistent miles of 5:53 soon became 6 minutes then 6:08 then 6:15, 6:20, I'm slipping!  I stopped at the 1.5 mile aid station and drank down tons of Gatorade to try and get the salt my body was craving. I split a 6:44 mile with the pit stop.
I was now running alone, grimacing in pain, praying I would not get caught. I continued to slow down even with taking in more calories and salt. I then played the game of just holding on.
Hanging in there with one more loop to go. Photo Credits: Mike Galadeta.
The last 10k of the race was agony as I was fighting my battered body from completely failing on me. Each step was painful. Having legs of lead is never fun.
Half Mile to go. Photo Credits: Mike Galadeta.
As I hit the final out and back section, I was so pleased to be done. I gave Eric some encouragement as he headed for home. As I rounded the corner I knew I was going to run around 3:10-3:11. I pushed with all my might and finished in 7th place: 3:11:44.
It was awesome to be done and it was amazing seeing all of the other guys suffering from cramped legs just like I did. This race was such a fantastic event and experience. Next time, I am talking in more salt and probably wearing tights to keep my leg muscles warm if it is on a cold day again.
Jared B and C Fred qualified for the World team with 1st and 2nd place finishes sub 3 hours!
Overall, It was a fantastic experience. I will run this race again! I know that I can run faster than 3:11 and even when my legs gave out, my aerobic strength was there to help get me through. On not my best day, 7th at a USA championship and a PR is more than what I could have asked for.
Thank you to teammate Jason Friedman for the motivation and support, Mammut for the best gear in the biz and for having me build the MTR line, Nathan Sports for killer products like the Exo shot and the opportunity to help integrate your marketing initiatives as a Tech Rep, Team MPF/RNR for the inspiration and support to represent the true #beastcoast team of the trails, Boom Nutrition for the best fuel source out there for running, Fits socks for the best fitting socks period, SUNY Oneonta XC/TF for team support and coaching love, Karhu NA for training footwear assistance, Craft NA for amazing winter apparel and the best base layers around, Redfeather snowshoes for the best snowshoes on the market, and Confluence Running for being my local shop of choice.
What an amazing race. I will be back for sure. I would love to run under 3:06 here. Now it is time to train for Hyner 50k and for Cayuga Trails 50. At Cayuga with my first DNF, I am returning with a vengeance. I have run this course each and every year with so-so results. I have that feeling that this year is going to be the year.
Check out the awesome team I am with here:
 Here are the 50k Race Results:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Build-Up; Caumsett 50k!

I have been a busy guy traveling all over the eastern seaboard visiting running stores and managing to get some cool runs in wherever I may be.

I have been training for the Caumsett 50k which is almost a week from today and I look forward to seeing if I can crack 3 hours.

I am coming out of a flu bug that  I caught this past week and hope that I will be fully recovered come race day.

The strategy for next weekend's race will be to run smooth 6 minute miles for as long as I can through the first 2 hours then look to hammer the next 5-6 miles and then hold on. I am hoping that effort will get me a sub 3 hour finish which gives myself a chance to be selected for our World 50k team. This race has been a goal of mine ever since I was interested in ultra running about 4-5 years ago. I am super pumped to have the opportunity to race my heart out for a top time.

I had attempted such a crazy 50k feat looking to best Michael Wardian's Indoor Track 50k record and fell short with only a mile to go. The story is found below:

I learned a ton from my 50k attempt, about proper fueling, pacing, and listening to my body. Having a strong company like Nathan aboard, I know that I have a combination of solid hydration products coupled with my Boom Nutrition gels that I will be properly fueled and hydrated the whole race.

The new Mammut NA gear that we have coming out now is amazing from our solid apparel to footwear and I cannot wait to debut this gear this coming weekend!

The story of my training begins with a nice break after the Lookout Mountain 50 miler that I raced in December. I gradually began to ramp-up my mileage and had a solid training week the first week of February running the Cast-A-Shadow Snowshoe race in Rochester which in fact was turned into a trail run.

The race was a fun event where I was able to work a Nathan tent and had the chance to run the 6 hour footrace. I already had a solid week of training and new with 40 miles, that I would be right around 100 miles for the week with one more potential day of training.  I have yet to do some really specific training for Caumsett so I am hoping to wing it as far as pacing goes and hope for the best.