Archive for Outreach

60K for World Diabetes Day!

Loop 3 of the #nyc60k sitting in fourth. Photo credit: Denie Wong

Loop 3 of the #nyc60k sitting in fourth. Photo credit: Denie Wong

When your local ultra marathon falls on World Diabetes Day, what else would you expect me to do with such great timing?! Following from my distant last year’s 2nd place performance at the 60K (to my good and speedy friend Carlo Agostinetto), my goal was to run my own race. Not only was he returning to defend, but another fast friend in Adolfo Munguia – that would be the 2013 champion, was making a return appearance to the only NYRR ultra.

My ‘own race plan’ was to attempt to run a sub-3 hour marathon pace (6:51) except do so for the complete race of 37.2 miles. All good plans need training and focus and unfortunately I decided to get stuck into the race from the gun instead.

Catching up with Alfonso on loop 1.

Catching up with Adolfo on loop 1. Photo credit: Michael Toma

A lead runner who was a mystery to all of us held the lead for three loops (the first being a lower 5 of Central Park, followed by the monotonous 8x 4 mile inner loops) before our group swept him up like a peloton catching a brave solo rider. From their, the games really begun with Carlo pushing the pace at times and others countering. Clocking off a 6:06 mile was not smart or realistic but that was what was going down at times!

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Running strong in a pack of 5 up Cat Hill chasing the solo leader in the early loops. Photo credit: KJ Englerth

Carlo and the newbie ultra Eric (he told me this was to be his furthest ever run after a 23 mile training run!) took off and left me and Adolfo to chase, sharing third. Checking my glucose on my CGM every loop, I made my calculations of whether I would grab water or Gatorade from the table or even mix it up and tear open a Honey Stinger gel that I had stuffed into my glove.

Loop 3 with Eric. Photo credit; Michael Toma

Loop 3 with Eric and Aldofo. Photo credit; Michael Toma

Soon enough Adolfo tried to bridge the gap to keep tabs on the front two. I knew better at this point than to try anymore heroics, especially as my training for the race involved a spur of the moment 2:57 Yonkers Marathon and pacing the 3:30 group at the NYC Marathon. The rest of my training had been running with my dog Miles!

Along the 72nd St. transverse road once more. Photo credit; Michael Toma

Along the 72nd St. transverse road once more. Photo credit; Michael Toma

Hanging in fourth solo for a loop or so, I then found Eric struggling ahead as we crossed the 72nd transverse once more. His lack of experience if nothing else had caught up to him and he was now going half the pace from when I last saw him. It gave me renewed energy just as I was beginning to fatigue because now I had a podium place behind Carlo and Adolfo (which I had predicted to myself during the week). But later on the same loop, Adolfo pulled up cramping ahead without any previous signs of trouble. I was genuinely upset to see this and wished we were able to race together and gut out a true dispute for what seemed like second place at the time.

But now here I was in second with Carlo well ahead (a mile I believe I was told) as I clocked off a marathon time of 2:58. Two minutes under goal pace in theory but I was now paying the price for those early fast loops. With just a NYRR bike volunteer for company, all I could do was churn out the miles and hang onto second. Any mile around 7-minute pace was a success. I knew it would take something special from a runner behind to catch me if I maintained that kind of pace. But with two loops to go, my gait got sloppier, my desire to push and truly live in the red zone was not there and my pace kept dropping.

The biker reassured me with one loop left, third was way back. The famous last words of fake reassurance. An NY Harrier whom I had not seen for several loops passed and now I was third with no counter punch. Down the west side hills one last time and one more runner passed me and then another. I dared ask if they were un-looping themselves from me in fear that they would say “no”. I knew the answer without asking the question. My body was done and I had nothing to give except the next step. Up cat hill for the ninth time (never again!) and one more runner passed. It took everything in me to not stop and just walk at this point as my final loop was now becoming a real mess.

The final stretch taking home 5th place (??) in 4h 30.

The final stretch taking home 5th place (??) in 4h 30. Photo credit: Scott Shiba

But I focused. I knew Tiffany, Andrew, Scucy and many other friends would greet me at the finish just as they had so kindly cheered me on all day all around the course. The victory was still mine. I knew the day still belonged to World Diabetes Day (as tough as that is with the tragedy of Paris the night before). The 60K I was about to pull off was my 30th ultra marathon, my 49th marathon or more. My place only mattered to me so I did my best to hold my head up high and remember why I chose to run this race today. To inspire everyone affected by diabetes that you can still do what you want with your life, even if that means running nine loops of Central Park.

Belt buckles are usually reserved for 100 mile races but....

Belt buckles are usually reserved for 100 mile races but….Photo credit: Jurgen Englerth

To trump my morning race in the park, my day had only just begun. I went home, ironed my best suit and tie and attended a reception at the Danish Ambassador of New York’s home representing Team Novo Nordisk with many high-profile, or as the Consel General Anne Dorte Riggelsen phrased it “Champions of Diabetes”. To meet the likes of her, Jesper Hoiland and his Novo Nordisk executive team and Aaron Kowalski of JDRF, to name just a few was quite the honor. I am so proud to be an ambassador for diabetes and today was a true celebration of that. As Aaron reminded me #T1Dlookslikeme. It could look like you. It affects all of us either living with diabetes or knowing someone that is. Ultimately, their will eventually be a cure. Until that time, Happy 123rd Birthday Sir Dr. Frederick Banting. You saved my life and millions of others. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough so I will continue to do what I do best. I’ll go for another run.

Editor’s note: I can’t count! As demoralizing as the last loop seemed to go for me, I was only passed by the NY Harrier runner (David White) to affect my overall placing. I made the podium after all and finished 3rd in 4h 26.

T1D Looks Like Me – JDRF

#T1DLooksLikeMe since 1994

#T1DLooksLikeMe since 1994

If you have T1D or know someone who does I strongly encourage you to be brave and change your social media profile picture (thanks to the help from our friends at JDRF) with the #T1DLooksLikeMe campaign to help raise awareness during National Diabetes Awareness Month or simply NDAM. It’s a small ask that could create a BIG impact. Let’s show the world what a T1D looks like and what we can achieve living with diabetes! It’s time to help educate and be proud to be a strong member of the diabetes community. Click the link here and give it a go;

 

Sunday Funday – A Mild Sprain To Benefit JDRF

4.25 miles of twists and turns to raise vital funds for JDRF.

A full 24 hours after my 50K at Kettletown, I found myself with another bib attached to my shorts.  This time, myself and fellow NY teammate, Matt Patrick were kindly invited to represent Team Novo Nordisk at a special local trail race held at Sprain Ridge Park, Yonkers, NY (note the race name). Race directors and general good guys; Dave Vogel and Brant Brooks, were putting on a 4.25 trail race for the third year but what makes the race special are the reasons behind the race. Taken from their website;

“All net proceeds go to JDRF whose mission is to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

The 4.25-ish mile course is a great fun test of trail running…..it has some great climb, fun downhill, single track, switchbacks, along with plenty of rocks and logs to navigate…”

A tight squeeze but somehow Dave and Brant mange to find 4.25 miles of trails in here!

A tight squeeze but somehow Dave and Brant manage to find 4.25 miles of trails in here!

Knowing it would be a crazy idea to run the race as a race, I decided to do just that after going back and forth on the idea all morning. (Somehow, I had managed to convince myself running 4 miles hard was a good idea to incorporate into a 16 easy day!) I took off with some young pups and local elites and charged up a hill with Matt. “How are you feeling?” inquired Matt. “Like I just ran a 50K yesterday!” was my response.
Sprint start to get to the trail head!

A sprint start to get to the trail head! Photo credit: Leatherman’s Loop

Before long, we were on single track meant for mountain bikers, jumping up and over large rocks and branches and weaving back and forth on S-bends. I was in the mix of the top ten for most of the race and managed to charge up a few more places in the last mile although I was pretty spent. The banner at halfway saying “almost done” was not helpful!
Home stretch in 7th.

Home stretch in 7th. Photo credit: Leatherman’s Loop

Both myself and Matt ended up in the top 10. I came in 7th and surprisingly won my AG and Matt took 10th. We then got to take the stage at the awards and talk about the team and what we are all about. Matt ‘threw me under the bus’ calling me out for being crazy and training for 200 miles which definitely got some jaws to drop and we handed out some TNN swag to the kids with T1D that also ran the race. Sunday Funday, it sure was.
Age group winner! (I had no idea - cool bonus)

Age group winner! (I had no idea, cool bonus).  Photo credit: Leatherman’s Loop

A great day for trail running and raising almost $100,000 for JDRF. We even scored Salomon trucker hats for being good sports from elite runner Glen Redpath (Top 10 Western States 100  runner extraordinaire). Thanks Glen!
matt gets pink hat 2

Glen handing out some Salomon trucker hats. The short straw definitely went to Matty P!  Photo credit: Leatherman’s Loop

These guys! We placed in the Top 10 today at #AMildSprain #trail race benefiting #JDRF. Team Novo Nordisk represented. Thanks Dave Vogel (RD) for the invite to talk about the team and #diabetes. @salomonrunning trucker hats thanks to Glen Redpath! — with Matt Patrick at Sprain Ridge Park.

These guys! We placed in the Top 10 today at #AMildSprain #trail race benefiting #JDRF. Team Novo Nordisk represented. Thanks Dave Vogel for the invite to talk about the team and #diabetes. @salomonrunning trucker hats thanks to Glen Redpath! — with Matt Patrick at Sprain Ridge Park.

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