Monthly marathon race report: Naked Prussian Marathon

I really love running small marathons where race directors maintain a personal touch on every aspect of their race. I enjoy gathering in a small circle of a few dozen runners before the start to listen to a race director go over the course. My March, 2018 marathon (30th overall) was one of those races - the Naked Prussian trail marathon in Leesport, PA. The race was on March 31st, barely getting it in before the month’s end!

I told myself I wasn’t going to do a trail marathon this year, but I had to skip the marathon I was planning to do on March 24th due to a small sprain. This trail marathon was my backup. 

The welcome party is a guy playing the accordion. How great is that?!

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The race took place on the Blue Marsh trail system. It’s really well-maintained. 

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The start/finish was right on the shore of the lake and next to the parking with plenty of parking. 

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There were 2 race lengths going on concurrently, a marathon and a 50 miler. Most of the course was covered trails, but occasionally went through open fields and along a couple of roads.

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The weather that couldn’t have been better and I just loved the view along the lake. 

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More trees. They’re everywhere! As I was running, I thought about an article I once read on Dr Jack Schultz, Professor at the University of Missouri, who said that’s plants are just ‘slow moving animals’ that see, hear, smell and respond. Fascinating. 

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I finished the race in the middle of the pack, which was ok by me since I was still a little sore from my injury a week earlier. 

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Award winners received these fun growlers. 

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They had a ton of warm, delicious savory food for finishers!

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I got this nice finisher’s mug 

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Overall I would recommend this race if you live in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey or even NYC and are looking for a trail marathon you can drive to and get back home the same day. It’s a beautiful time of the year to be out in that part of Pennsylvania. Check them out and sign up for next year’s race! 

Monthly marathon race report: Hyannis marathon 2018

In 2018, I'm continuing to run 1 marathon every month like I did in 2017. All except 2 of the marathons I'm running this year are completely new to me. The ones I'm repeating this year are Hyannis, which I ran last week, and NYC, which I've run since 2010. 

Many of the same things I reported on last year are the same: 

  • It is one of the most picturesque races I've ever done
  • The marathon course is 2 loops and passes by the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod
  • Hyannis is an awesome little race & town in the Cape Cod area
  • Very scenic, mostly flat course along the beach
  • You get a nice medal!
  • You can find chowder and cod everywhere 
  • Everyone we met in Cape Cod was nice 
  • Both the marathon and half marathon courses are USATF certified

Here's my video race report from the 2017 race:

One thing was a bit different from last year—it was very wet. It rained the entire race. It was also pretty cold, but I didn't mind that part as much because I've gotten used to cold runs living in NYC. I noticed the weather forecast for the race before we drove to Hyannis and I was hoping it would clear up before race day, so I didn't pack rain gear. 

The day of the race, it was clear that the rain was going to happen for sure so I got a big trash bag from the hotel staff, poked holes for my head and arms in it, and planned to run with the first few miles of the race. 

I arrived at the race an hour before the 10:00am start and stayed warm at Race Expo inside the Hyannis Resort & Conference Center, which was right next to the starting line. I met the great Bill Rodgers, while wearing my garbage bag, and he gave me some great advice: "keep it steady and stay warm". He seemed to get a kick out of the bag.

3 miles into the race, the rain and wind weren't letting up, so I kept the bag on. I also kept on some cheap cloth gloves I bought at the expo I counted at least 2 dozen others with bags on, so I felt a sense of camaraderie with them. 14 miles into the race it started raining a little harder and the wind was blowing much harder, so I decided at that point I wanted to wear the bag for the rest of the race just for the fun of wearing a bag for an entire marathon. I was also happy being dry and warm underneath it. I had to wring the water out the gloves at this point. 

Up until the 23 mile mark, I was having a decent run considering the conditions, but then I felt a throbbing pain in my right knee joint. It got to the point that I had to walk the last 2 miles. It has since cleared up and not lingered. I hope it was because of the cold and the rain, and not something more serious. Several years ago before I got into running, I tore my right ACL (and got a patella tendon repair) and I haven't had any trouble with it. I've been lucky.I also had to take the insert out of my right shoe because it kept bunching up and making walking uncomfortable.

I was happy to finish the race. It wasn't pretty, but it's finish nonetheless—with the bag still on on my shoe insert in hand.

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My wife picked me up after the race. It was still so windy, that our big golf umbrella broke into pieces when it caught the wind.

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I love the finisher medals they give at this race.

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Think about putting this race on your calendar for next year! http://hyannismarathon.com

Monthly marathon race report: Icebreaker International Marathon

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I ran my 1st monthly marathon of 2018 on January 28 - the Icebreaker International Marathon & Half Marathon in East Meadow, NY on Long Island. This was a new marathon for me. In fact, 9 of the 12 marathons I’m running this year are new to me. There are so many marathons every weekend (and some weekdays!) and they all offer a different experience. Notably, I don’t have any indoor or trail marathons on my list this year. I ran two of each of those last year. 

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This race was a short 40 min drive for me from Manhattan, and inside Eisenhower Park. There were about 100 runners, most of them were running the half, and about 40 us were running the full.

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The half was 4 loops of the park and the full was 8 loops. 

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One interesting tidbit about this race - it was selected by Marathon Adventures to be the North American venue for its “Triple 7 Quest,” involving seven marathons or 7 halfs on 7 continents in seven days. The course was well-marked, staffed with plenty of volunteers, and they and a lot of race food/drinks as well as a lot of post-race food.

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There was 1 race food/drink tent set up near the end of the loop. They had the usual Gatorade, water, and also Pepsi. They had bananas, pretzels, orange slices, and my favorite during this race-peanut butter and banana sandwiches cut into quarters.

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I ran a pretty good race. We got fairly lucky with the weather, which was hovering around 48 degrees with some light rain during the first hour. I spent all of January cross-training, lifting, and doing a lot of intervals. I think that helped me quite a bit on this race. I tried to take it easy because I had a 24 hour bike race (the Sebring 24 RAAM qualifier) in Florida 2 weeks after this race, where I did 410 miles, won my age group, and qualified for the 3,000 Race Across America bicycle race1

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Overall, I recommend this race if you live nearby in NYC or Long Island and really want to run a marathon in January. 

Oh and the finisher medal are really fun. Try this race out next year! 

My full 2018 schedule:

  • Jan 28 Icebreaker (NY)
  • Feb 25 Hyannis (MA)
  • Mar 24 Savin Rock (CT)
  • Apr 14 Garden Spot Village (PA)
  • May 6 Queens (NYC)
  • Jun 30 NE Series (NY)
  • Jul 8 Mad (VT)
  • Aug 5 Drake Well (PA)
  • Sept 29 Hamptons (NY)
  • Oct 20 Brooklyn
  • Nov 4 #TCSNYCMarathon
  • Dec 9 Roxbury (CT)

Check out these great stories from Culture Trip

I was recently honored to be featured in 2 stories by Michael LoRé of Culture Trip. 

The first story is about a profile piece and includes a fun video of our interview. 

 

And the other piece Competitive eating success stems from innovation, intelligence and technique is a chat about how competitive eating has evolved over the years and what the playing field is like these days.

Race report: Tour de Donut Austin 2017

A couple of weeks ago on Nov 12, 2017, for the 2nd year in a row I won the Tour de Donut of Austin bicycle race, a 24.8 mile ride w/3 donut stops where competitors eat donuts for time credits. 

In this race, each donut eaten gives you 3 minutes credit at the first stop, 6 min at the 2nd stop, and 7 min at the 3rd stop. I ate 37, for a 'donut adjusted time' of -1 hour and 45 minutes. Both new course records. 

Here's a video of the my race from last year. 

Monthly marathon report: NYC marathon

Just a couple of weeks ago, I ran my 7th NYC marathon. This race holds a very special place for my wife and me. NYC Marathon 2010 was the first marathon we both ever ran. To learn a bit more about we ran ran that race, watch this great StoryCorps video about my wife's story—my inspiration for doing all these marathons, triathlons, as well as wacky races and competitions. 

One of my favorite parts of the NYC marathon is actually volunteering at the Expo the day before race—handing out bibs to runners. Speaking off bibs, I had a special bib this year with my name on it!

There was a bit of hype this year with some of the runners and I was lucky and honored to be included in a Runner's World piece and TV promotions for the race.

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And this this fun piece on AM New York

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The race went really well. The temperature was just right and the rain held up. The crowds and bands in every borough were great as always. I ran my fastest NYC marathon yet (4:41) and came in just 2 minutes behind Prince Royce and 3 minutes behind Tiki Barber

Runner's World did this great follow up on their pre-marathon article:

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And there were a few other great articles on the NYC Marathon that I was also honored to be featured in: 

 

The medals were nice, as always.

 

And my wife and I celebrated another successful NYC marathon together. We plan to run this marathon as long as we're able to!

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There is no run quite like the NYC marathon. If you ever have the chance to run it, do it! It is my favorite run and is a special race for my wife and me. And if you every have a chance to hear the stories of any of the other 50,000+ runners that finish it every year, you'll see that it's a special race for them, too.

Monthly marathon race report: Rockaway Marathon

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October's run was the Rockaway Marathon in Far Rockaway, NYC on October 7.

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I ran my 2nd fastest ever. The run was on the boardwalk. The course was 4 loops of 6.55 miles.

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There was also a half marathon race (2 loops). There were about 50 runners total.

It took me about 1.5 hours to take the subway from lower Manhattan to the start (at the end of the A line).

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Each loop began on the boardwalk at 102nd street, headed toward 57th street (where there was a water station, the other water station was at 102nd st), then down to 30th street, where we turns around and headed back up to 102nd street.

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Overall the course was very fast and the course was easy to follow.

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On my last loop, the water stations ran out of water, so I drank out the water fountains.

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The beach scenery was really great. I sometimes forget how NYC has some amazing beaches out there.

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There were also lots of surfers out.

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I took the new super fast NYC ferry back to Manhattan (only 1 hr!) and and was back home in time for a big lunch.

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Consider this marathon if you live close to NYC and you're looking for an easy, scenic beach marathon in October.

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Monthly marathon race report: Chasing the Unicorn marathon

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On September 10th, I ran the Chasing the Unicorn marathon in Washington Crossing, PA.

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I just the day before, I ran the Charles River marathon in Boston, MA. I wasn't planning to do 2 marathons in September (or 1 weekend!), but my October plans were up in the air, so I had to fit in another one in September just in case, to make sure I fulfill my goal of running 12 marathons this year.

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Chasing the Unicorn is a fast course. The race takes place in Washington Crossing Historic Park, and consists of two loops of a path along the Delaware River.

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There were about 150 or so runners.

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It was a nice day, mostly clear with some clouds, and about 65 degrees.

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There were a good amount of aid stations with sports drinks and water.

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On one side of the path there was the Delaware River.

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On the other side, there was typically either farm fields or quiet neighborhoods.

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The path conditions were perfect, I like running on firm dirt paths.

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I liked these walking/bike path bridges that crossed the river.

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Although I was taking it easy since I ran a marathon just the day before, my time was actually faster for the second marathon of the weekend. The finisher medals are bold, colorful and heavy.

Overall, I loved this course and I recommend it if you are in the Northeast and looking for a fast, scenic September race. See http://www.runbucks.com/runbucks-races for more information on the race. 

Monthly marathon race report: Charles River marathon

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On Saturday, September 9, I ran the inaugural Charles River marathon in Boston, MA. What a great race with a partnership between RACE Cancer Foundation and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The race started at 7:00am and there were around 300 runners. 

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The marathon course is a flat 2.62 mile loop on park paths around Boston's scenic Charles River, starting and finishing at the Herter Park in Boston, MA. 

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The course was mostly on walking trails along the Charles river. 

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Occasionally, there were portions of the course on bike paths. There weren’t a lot of bikes out, probably because it was pretty early.

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There were plenty of volunteers manning the 2 aid stations on the course. One aid station was near the start/finish with had water, sport drink, and a variety of food (pretzels, swedish fish, bananas). The other aid station was around the 1.5 mile mark and had water and sport drink. 

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The weather was great, just cool enough. I ran my second fastest marathon ever that day - until I ran my October marathon (Rockaway Marathon in NYC). 

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The finisher medals were really nice. Overall, I enjoyed this run. I recommend it for next year if you’re in the Northeast and are looking for a September marathon that’s super flat, scenic in a great city. Check out the race site for more info:  https://racecancer.org/runfest

 

Race report: 2017 Tour de Donut Ohio

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On September 16, 2017, I won Tour de Donut - Ohio bike race championship for the 4th year in a row, defending my title and smashing my own record for the race with 44 doughnuts eaten, resulting in a record 'donut adjusted time' of -79 minutes. The best time ever for the race.

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The race this year was moved from Arcanum, Ohio to Troy, Ohio to accomodate the number of riders. The race has grown from about 600 riders from 4 years ago to nearly 3,000 riders this year. What I really love about the Tour de Donut races is that all of them have a charity component. The races are fun with a purpose, and I love to be a part of that as they continue to do grow and do more good. Troy is a great little town with a nice city center.

As in past years, there were 3 race lengths: the mini (16 miles), the full Tour de Donut (32 miles), and the Double Tour de Donut (64 miles). The course was well-marked, and there were tons of volunteers all along the course and at the doughnut stops. At the stops, there were plenty of refreshments in addition to all the doughnuts. The weather this year was nice/mild, the road conditions were very good, and the locals came out to see the race along the course. 

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Congrats to Kyle Hanner for winning the Mini-length Championship.

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And great to see some new faces, like Derek Jacobs who placed 3rd, and put up some good numbers.

I’m excited that the race has a new home and I can’t wait to be back next year. Next year’s race will be in late August, 2018. Join Tour de Donut Ohio’s Facebook page to get the latest updates.