Letter of Intent – Allegheny Mountain Loop

Leading up to the IRONMAN Lake Placid, I am going to have to do some serious training (thank you Captain Obvious). But along the way I am going to compete in a few events to help gauge my fitness and just break the monotony. So Sunday I submitted my letter of intent to race in the Allegheny Mountains Loop.

There is not a day that goes by when I do not think of where I was a little over a year ago. Along the way, I have completed a number of my identified goals:

But this letter is not about looking back, it is all about looking forward. I have a couple more events in front of me before the 2017 IronMan Lake Placid, I’ll be running in the Black Mountain Challenge and Marine Corps 17.75 and competing in the IronMan Raleigh 70.3. With this letter, I would like to announce my intent in competing 2017 Allegheny Mountain Loop.

Thank you for the opportunity and I appreciate your effort!

So what is the Allegheny Mountain Loop you might ask…

It is a 400+ mile self-supported mountain bike race along the West Virginia and Virginia borders held in late April that consists of 128 miles of gravel forest roads, 78 miles of rail-trails, 22 miles of abandoned rail-trails, and 175 miles of paved roads with a whole bunch of ups and downs.

But what does that mean? Well, it means I will be starting with a handful of other crazies at 6am on April 28th to ride the loop as fast as I can while carrying everything I need. If I can’t carry it, I will need to buy it along the way. There are no support vehicles or aid stations along the way, just a simple “run what you brung” event.

Pretty stoked about it and being accepted to toe the line with some of the best cyclists in the region and see how hard and as far as I can push myself.

Giving Tuesday – Don’t Dig a Hole

If you are reading this, you have survived the food induced coma from Thanksgiving. Hopefully you didn’t get in a fight at the store on Black Friday or followed REI’s motto of #OptOutside and spent the day outdoors with your loved ones. Maybe you supported your local small businesses on Small Business Saturday and finished off your holiday shopping on Cyber Monday. Which leads us to today – Giving Tuesday.

One of my favorite games to play at family gatherings is Cards Against Humanity (like you expected anything better out of me). There have a few very late nights with my niece, nephews and their significant others in tears from laughing. Last week, the folks at Cards Against Humanity starting digging a hole and funded it with donations. There was no purpose for the hole other than digging it and having it funded by donations. From the interaction below, you can see why I enjoy playing Cards Against Humanity with them:

Digging a hole

D hit the nail right on the head from the FAQ:

Q: Why aren’t you giving the money to charity?
A: It’s your money. Why aren’t YOU giving it to charity.

Another FAQ I thought was relevant was:

Q: How am I supposed to feel about this?
A: You’re supposed to think it’s funny. You might not get it for a while, but some time next year you’ll chuckle quietly to yourself and remember all this business about the hole.

I see the humor and given everything that has been going on over the past few months, I think the hole is about as relevant as many other news items. But I ask a favor, if you are going to donate today, please consider donating to the Multiple Myleoma Research Foundation.  I don’t know a single person that has not been impact by cancer, whether personally, through a friend or loved one. This organization is solid  with 90% of the funds raised used to support research and related programming.

The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $240 million since its inception to fund laboratories and trials worldwide. Ninety percent of the MMRF’s budget is dedicated to support research and related programming, earning the very highest ratings from the nation’s leading charity evaluators such as Charity Navigator.

So please consider donating a few dollars, or more if you can, I don’t want to limit you. I know a number of you have made donations, and I truly appreciate it. If you could share my donations page or posts from here and help spread the story that would be great.

Marine Corps Marathon

I am not going to try and BS anyone, that was DIFFICULT. It has been two days and I am still taking stairs one step at a time.

Here are the stats for the day:

MCM Stats

Total Number of Marathon Participants: 24,982
Overall Finishing Place: 4004
Division (Males 40-44): 423/1691
Gender: 2818/10641
Gel Packets Eaten: 8
Pieces of Candy from Strangers: 5
Toenails Lost: 2
Chafing Spots: 0 (Thank you Body Glide)

For my first marathon, I am really happy. When people started dropping, literally falling over and hitting the ground, between miles 22 and 23 I started thinking about how nice it would be to walk for awhile I was able to push on through.

So my first challenge has been accomplished! Now it is time to really start focusing on the Lake Placid Ironman. I am comfortable with the training part, because I am 100% in control of that. I am going to need your help to raise the money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. So please click the link below and give whatever you can. Every donation is tax deductible and it is helping me get one step closer to my goal.

Please Donate!

Champs Elysees

I have watched people race around the Champs Elysees since I was thirteen years old. I loved the ceremony of them having a procession for most of the stage and then throwing the gloves off to stomp around this loop for a sprinters finish. One that I distinctly remember was back in the late 80’s when Greg Lemond won the Tour in a time trial to beat Laurent Fignon. I taped that race off of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and watched it for a whole winter riding rollers (to be honest I crashed off the rollers that winter leaning into a turn while watching the video).

On this trip I got to experience a part of it by running the loop and it was pretty amazing. It is hard to imagine how rough those cobblestones really are and there is a grinder of a climb they make when going back up to the Arc de Triomphe.

Stoked I was able to do it and moving on to the next one! Please help me achieve it by making a donation to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, I would really appreciate it. I have a start, but still have a ways to go.

Featured Image Source: Pez Cycling News

A week vacation

About a month away from the Marine Corps Marathon and I am taking a bit of a break. Might not be the best thing for training, but my body is thanking me with ankles that aren’t screaming and a belly full of cheese and swirly meat. I’ll just have to make up for it when I get back but it is totally with it!
It has been a bitter sweet week here. We got to spend an evening  with our friends and their two wonderful kids. It was the first time we had met their daughters and they warmed up to us pretty quickly. I learned all about the Gruffalo and how tough mice really are. Sandra’s health is good and her levels have stabilized and is doing everything she possibly can.

I also learned that a friend of mine from high school passed away. We weren’t close friends, but hung out with the same group of friends. More recently, I’d run into him at his music studio in the town we used to live in our grabbing a beer at the hotel.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Brendan Leonard

This was not the case with Terry he lived his life for music and followed his love and had an impact on so many. For me, his death puts things into perspective. There are so many things I want to do and I am lucky enough to have a wife and job that gives me the opportunity to try and achieve them. I once heard a quote that was something like:

How many times have you said that you’ll start tomorrow and look back a year later wishing you started yesterday?

Alright, enough of that…

I love to run in foreign cities and seeing the place without crowds, London was no disappointment. While running along the Thames the other day there were a bunch of sirens followed by the sound of two motorcycles twisting their throttles as hard as possible. Next came the distinctive sound of a turbo spinning up, that high pitched whine of a really fast car.

Turns out they were closing the road down to film a Porsche commercial. Thinking about that really pushed me through the last bit of my run. That driver is so good at what he does, they are willing to shut down a major thoroughfare in the center of London to drive his car as fast as he can. The only way to get to do that is with a shit ton of work. And he put it in!

I am feeling kind of preachy as I go back through reading this, but we really can do whatever we want if we put in the work. So for the remainder of this week, I am going to put in the work of filling my belly with cheese and swirly meats (and a few runs here and there) while always remembering  whose got that attitude.

The Results are In

Less than 10 hours ago, I was finishing up the Nation’s Tri and came in 42nd (out of 107) in my age group and 482 (out of 1349). I will take it! Right now, I am more than 29,000’ in the air flying to Switzerland thinking about how today went and am really happy. One thing I was really stoked about was my bike section, averaging over 21 mph for 40k.

Me finishing today’s race

Thank you to everyone for all of the encouragement and support in the postings today. It definitely makes it easier to stay excited. Today was just the first step in the process towards next year’s IronMan Lake Placid. I have done a lot of work over the past year just to get myself here. In just under one year, I have lost over 45 pounds, run over 850 miles and am not sure how many miles I have put in on a bike (not as many as I should have to be honest).

Me about a year ago carrying an extra 45 lbs.

But as I mentioned, this is only the start. I still have a lot of serious work lined up ahead of me, not only physically, but I also have a ways to go with my fund raising efforts. I have raised $300 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is a good start. But I still have another $4700 to go until I can actually toe the line in Lake Placid. So please donate and help me get there.

Next stop, Marine Corps Marathon!

I can’t believe it, one month in

I cannot believe that one month has already passed! Where did it go? Things have been crazy with moving into the new house and all the travel, but I have still been making progress in both the training and fund raising.

I have raised $300 which is a good start still having 11 months to go, but I still have a ways to go. I have been working with a close friend to help put together a fund raiser and silent auction, more details to come on that one.

Its only 20 days until the Nation’s Triathlon and things are coming together for it. I feel strong with the bike and run part of it. The swim is what I am a little nervous about. In one of my pool sessions it occurred to me the only swimming I have done over the past five years has been when I have come out of my boat. Swimming for distance is a WAY different thing and more tiring. At least I have identified this weakness early with a lot of time to work on it.

Once the Nation’s Tri is over, I am going to have to shift gears and focus my sights on the Marine Corps Marathon which is the end of October. I hope to see you at some of the upcoming events and really appreciate all of your support as I am moving forward. Please do not forget to help me get to the Lake Placid IronMan and donate to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Please Donate!

Morning Ride

I love getting up early and heading out for a ride or run, especially with views like this along the way.

Getting started…

I think it was 14 years ago on a climbing trip through New York and New Hampshire with a couple of friends that I stumbled into the IronMan Lake Placid. Three dirty guys and a stinky dog wandered into an amazing place full of positive energy and excitement for every competitor entering the finishing area until midnight. The only way I can describe it would be – inspiring.

This is what I remember, throngs of people celebrating everyone as they complete their IronMan journey well into the evening.
Image Source: IRONMAN.com

That inspiration has stuck with me and I have repeatedly told myself that I want to compete in that event. Following my newly adopted mantra of JFDI, I am doing it. I have officially registered for the 2017 IronMan Lake Placid on July 23rd. For those not familiar with what an IronMan triathlon entails – it is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2 mile run.

I wanted some accountability in moving forward and completing this challenge and have entered through the Charity Partner Entry supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). Training for this is event is going to be a challenge, but nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma, currently an incurable blood cancer, is the second most common blood cancer after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Based in the U.S., the MMRF is one of the most highly regarded cancer foundations in the world. They are the world’s largest private funder of multiple myeloma research and nearly 90% of the funds raised by the MMRF are budgeted for myeloma research and related programs. And the MMRF is in the top 1% of all charities, having earned Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating for the past eleven years in a row.

So many people I know have been impact by cancer in one way or another. Whether themselves personally having to fight the disease, supporting a friend or family member in their battle, or coping with the loss of a loved one. I have personally had to deal with it multiple times with my friends and immediate family and know how bad it sucks. This is one way I can try to help prevent someone else from having to go through that process as well as prove to myself that I can complete something this grand.

I have set a minimum goal of raising $5,000 and ask for your help in achieving it. All US donations are tax deductible and you will receive confirmation from MMRF shortly after making the contribution. So please help me raise the money to help a worthwhile organization and prevent other people from having to deal with cancer.

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