I finished my first 50 miler.

I FINISHED MY FIRST 50 MILER!!! To say that I am ecstatic about this accomplishment would be understating my excitement!

Let’s take a step back. Mount Penn, located in Reading, Pennsylvania, was basically in my backyard growing up. I ran there a handful of times, but I never got to know the area incredibly well. My wife, a group of our running buddies, and I decided in late 2016 that we would all run the Labor Pains 12 Hour Endurance Trail Run out on by Pretzel City Sports (www.pretzelcitysports.com) the following year. We all started discussing goal distances (since it is a timed event) and I blurted out “I’m going for 50!” without thinking about what that meant.

Fast forward to Labor Day Weekend 2017. Race day comes and training has not gone the way I wanted/was hoping/it should have. We toe the line, the gun goes off, and we are off to run in the woods for as many 5 miles laps as we can in 12 hours. I went out way too quickly. I was running with a woman who I later found out was shooting for the 100k. Oh boy, this could hurt later! The first two laps went well, then on lap 3, my body started to react to the fast start to the day. I worked into a more comfortable pace and settled in for what I knew would be a long day!

Laps 4-7 were all over the place, but mostly from “My legs don’t feel well” to “How soon is this over?”. It was a bit of a roller-coaster that I had not previously experienced to this extent in an ultra before. I kept putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes faster than others, but always in a forward motion. By the time I got to lap 8 my legs felt fried and I started to worry that the last 3 laps were going to be brutal. About a half mile into lap 8 my legs loosened up and I was able to start running with some purpose again! Lap 9 wasn’t as good as lap 8, but I kept moving decently well and got through it. I came in to the aid station and took an extra minute to get ready for the last lap. One of the members of our running group, Nick, asked if I wanted a pacer and I blurted out “That would be awesome!”. He offered to fill my bottle and meet me shortly after the start of the lap. Having him with me for the first mile of this lap was huge. Nick was a fantastic mental help, allowing me to focus on talking to him and not how my legs were feeling. We progressed through lap 10 quite well. I had some surges of energy and power that surprised both myself and Nick. We came off the long downhill to the road section and I looked at my watch to see how we were doing on time for my goal and my watch died with less than .5 miles to go!!! I instantly yelled out in frustration. We laughed at the humor of the situation as we continued into the finish, which was up what most would consider the sickest joke of a finishing hill in the history of all humanity (thank you Ron!)!!

I crossed the finish line and felt an instantaneous amount of both relief and joy. Relief that I wasn’t heading back out for another lap (or two+) and joy that I had completed the longest distance run I’d ever attempted! Immediately after crossing the finish line (and multiple times through the harder moments of the race) I told myself I would not be doing anything longer than a 50 mile run in my life. Two days later, I began looking at 100 mile runs.

If you have never done this race, I recommend it! It is a perfect way to go for a distance that seems just out of reach because of the setup. Who knows, maybe next year I will shoot for that 100k!


Hello all you beautiful athletes! We have some exciting news to share!

Cycling Jerseys from Pace:Junky are here!

That’s right, you read that correctly! We are now pumped to offer Men’s and Women’s short sleeve Cycling Jerseys. We will be adding retail designs to the website over the coming weeks/months and we are now accepting custom orders as well. If your cycling group is tired of their old jerseys, reach out to us and let us get you into something unique and eye-catching! We look forward to seeing more and more Pace:Junky jerseys on the trails, roads, and barstools!

EMBRACE THE PACE

Here is an example of one of our recent custom orders!

 



If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we recently completed the Sugarloaf Marathon. We have taken the last two to three weeks as recovery from the race and we are now getting back into the swing of running and training. My first good weekend training session was Sunday. I set out for a brick workout; 9 miles on foot and 21 on wheels. The day went well. My legs were quite tired from the bike workout as I have not been riding much through the first half of the year. All in all it was a quality workout day!

The next logical question is, “What’s next?”. The Marlette 50k in beautiful Lake Tahoe, NV! This race looks truly awesome. I know the scenery out there is phenomenal from racing Lake Tahoe 70.3 in 2015, but now we get to hit the trails and have some REAL fun! Training is going to consist of a ton of trail running, looking for a good amount of elevation gain on some of the longer runs to get my legs accustomed to going up for a long time while fatigued. The elevation gain is approximately 5400′, which is not an insane amount of climbing for the distance, but it also can’t be snickered at. The course should prove for great views and some serious challenges!

I am excited for August to get here!

If you will be at the Marlette 50k, or if you have raced it in the past, definitely drop a comment here and let us know what you thought!


Sugarloaf Marathon
May 21, 2017

This was supposed to be the race where I qualified for Boston. I knew the course well having run it in 2016. I was aware of how to get through the first 10 miles controlled so I could attack on the downhill. Then, winter and lack of motivation happened.

If you have been following the “My BQ Push” posts you know that my training hasn’t been quite what I was hoping for. I have no legitimate reasons. my only excuse is that my motivation was not there from December through March and once I did get back to somewhat of a normal training regimen, it was too late. All of these things said, I still ran a good race! I finished in 3:26. My main goal for the race was to go sub 3:30. I knew if I could achieve that, I would be pleased with my performance.

I learned some things about myself during this race. I was in better shape than I thought I was, to a degree. I was capable of knocking out a solid first half; 1:36. I was quite pleased to be at the half mark in that time, but that may ultimately have been what kept me from being closer to 3:20. The first half of the race felt smooth and comfortable. I started to feel the toll of the mileage on my legs around mile 17. By mile 20 I had started instituting some run/walk combinations as I went along to try to keep from totally bonking later in the race. I also found out that supporting those individuals you pass as you navigate your own race will return the favor later on if you are on the receiving end of a “course-lead ass-kicking” of your own. When the chips are down, your fellow runners manage to elevate you to continue on! Check out some of the details of my race below!

The course profile (Sugarloaf Marathon Map and Elevation Map) is quite unique in that the first 10 miles contain the major uphills and the last 16 miles contain all of the downhill; 942 feet of elevation loss to be exact. The first half fatigues you and the second half hammers your legs with constant downhill pounding. Add into the second half the need to also run up long, gradual uphills on those beaten and battered legs and you have the recipe for a long second half, should you not be prepared properly!

There is already some talk of going back next year. There is also talk of someone close to me running their first marathon there next year. This would be cause for proper training and celebration, respectively.

I know that I am capable of the 3:10 I now need, and then some. I know that I can do it. In all reality, only time will tell!


My push to Sugarloaf 2016 was a great training cycle that culminated in my PR of 3:07. I fear this year will not result in such a time. My training has been lacking motivation until recently and sporadic at best until recently as well. I have been able to get multiple 14-16 mile runs in with a 20 miler later in the cycle, but the weekly mileage has not been where I was hoping to be this year. As I have been reviewing the push towards Sugarloaf 2017 I have done some soul-searching, so to speak, and found that while the times I run aren’t always what I hope for, I am learning more and more to enjoy the journey of each run. I look around more noticing the environment I am in, the people around me who are sharing in the joy of one of my favorite hobbies, and the fact that I am very privileged to be able to engage in a hobby that I love on a very regular basis.

I may not qualify for Boston this year and that is OK. I will enjoy the trip, the run, and the company. Boston doesn’t define me, it is simply a goal; one which I will definitely achieve some day. One thing the past few years have shown me is that the elusive Boston Qualifying time I once thought was out of my reach is well within my grasp.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c5/Bostonmarathonlogo.jpg

The Boston Marathon. Since I first decided to give this whole marathon thing a shot, The Boston Marathon has been my goal. It may not be the hardest race to qualify for when considering the time requirements, but it is without a doubt the holy grail of the major marathon circuit. I have wanted to qualify and run this majestic race since day 1.

This week was the first on the schedule for solid training. If you read about my push for Boston last year (read about the failed second attempt here) you know that I had a great training cycle for the Sugarloaf Marathon last year, but fell short of qualifying for Boston by approximately two minutes even though I ran a PR of 3:07:18. The feeling after the race was majority elation for having run such a great race, but slight disappointment for having come so close.

This year I am back at it and heading back to Sugarloaf with my wife and her father to shoot for a BQ once again. This year I aged up and will need to run 3:10:00 (actually something around a 3:07:30 to solidly lock in my chance) to make it to the big stage for the marathon. My training is just slightly behind last year’s, but my fitness base is better this year coming into the training cycle so I feel I will catch up to last year’s results in a shorter amount of time. My big hurdle this year has been motivation and making time to get out and train. The “run to work, run home from work” cycle has started, which helps immensely with getting mileage in both fresh and fatigued, which I feel is a massively beneficial addition to a long-distance training regimen. This is just week 1. There is plenty of of time to make gains and move toward my goal!

Come back weekly for updates on how training is going for Sugarloaf and my BQ push!

I love to hear your thoughts and comments about blog, so please comment and share what you’re thinking!


Pace:Junky is feeling froggy, so we decided to jump! We are running a flash sale for the next 48 hours, giving anyone who makes a purchase 20% off!!! Use code “pj20off” at checkout to get your discount. Treat yourself to something nice for St. Patrick’s day!


Ahoy Mateys!
Pace:Junky will be heading to the @Gasparilla Distance Classic 2017 at the end of February to start the season off with a fun, flat, fast 13.1. I will be running along with my wife and her father. To make this race even more fun and add a little Pace:Junky flair, we came up with some AWESOME pirate themed singlets for the event. The event is going to be HUGE and looks like it will be a blast! Check out the digs we will be sportin’! If you will be in the Tampa Bay area, come join Pace:Junky for a fun race!

 


Recently I spent just over two hours with some very friendly mud, rocks, cliffs, trees, and a gurgling stream. Why is this worth writing about, you may be asking yourself. Over the month of December, my wife and I normally take time away from running and cycling to let our bodies recover from the training of the previous year and allow ourselves to relax and enjoy other aspects of our life. This year, that break was especially needed and lasted slightly longer than usual. This past weekend I got out for my first long run of the year, a glorious 15.8 mile trail run in the amazing Wissahickon Park (TOTALLY worth checking out when you are in the Philly area!). This run reminded me why I love running, beyond the superficial things like being competitive, racing myself and the clock, and wanting to always be faster. My run among the trees refreshed my love for just being out there. When I run, I do not have to worry about politics, work, money, or anything outside of what I am doing and where I am. Being out on the trail allowed me to focus on how absolutely beautiful the trails were. I could watch the stream rise and fall below me as I gained and lost elevation. The birds scurried about as I came by. I was truly in the moment and loving it. For a lasting moment, reality fell away and the world around me became a playland of sorts, where I was able to lose myself as a child does when they are playing.

This is why I run.