Tuesday, October 28, 2008

5 Q&As with team member Bart Yasso

Earlier this year I came home one evening from work and saw that my copy of Runner's World Magazine had arrived. It was an edition that gave me the chills. It was an article about Bart Yasso aka the Chief Running Operating Officer of Runners World Magazine, others call him the Mayor of Running. The article talked about among many of his running adventures, his Badwater run 145 miles (to the top of Mt Whitney) but also his tough bout with Lyme disease. I thought to myself now here is a guy who can relate to me.

Lyme disease for a runner is what sand in an engine would do.

Yasso joined Runner's World in 1987 to develop the groundbreaking Runner's World Race Sponsorship Program, creating a vehicle for Runner's World to work with over 7,000 races representing 4 million runners per year. In 2007, Bart was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions.
Yasso also invented the Yasso 800s, a marathon-training schedule used by thousands around the world. He is one of the few people to have completed races on all seven continents from the Antarctica marathon to the Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon. In 1987, Yasso won the U.S. National Biathlon Long Course Championship and won the Smoky Mountain Marathon in 1998. He has also completed the Ironman five times and the Badwater 146 through Death Valley. He has also cycled, unsupported and by himself, across the country twice.

When I called Bart up on the phone I was bit nervous. Bart inducted to the Running Hall of Champions did not make me feel any calmer. He didn't know me I was just a regular guy who is trying to raise Lyme awareness. When Bart picked up the phone and said "Bart" I felt already at ease. His voice was friendly. I told him what I was about to do and he was very supportive of my quest. He said "Let me know how I can help you and I will".

In his recently released autobiography "My life on the run" he recalls a visit to the doctors in 2006: (excerpt)
"....my Lyme disease returned with a vengeance, inflating my knees like basket balls. I went to see my doctor again, and he did an MRI. The scan showed degenerative joint damage in the right knee and ample evidence of arthritis. "Your running days are over,"my doc told me. "I can't run marathons anymore?" "No you can't run". I left the office in a fog.....In the end I didn't quit. I decided that however many miles more there were left in my body, I would use them judiciously, waiting for a glorious morning when it would be neither too hot or too cold, and then only running on a scenic trail. I still consider myself a lifetime runner, but only 2-3 miles at a time. I made peace with it after recognizing that running isn't how far you go but how far you have come."

Bart has been a great supporter and I had the opportunity to ask Bart a few questions of interest.

C: Bart, first I would like to thank you for becoming another Team Time For Lyme supporter. I know that you have just come out with your book "My life on the run" can you tell us a little about the book?
B: My book tells the story of runner just going out for a one mile run 31 years ago and ends about running on all seven continents and ends up with the coolest job in the world the CRO at Runner's World.

C: Being a busy man, how much do you run per week these days?
B: I do my best to run once per week 3 to 4 miles on a soft surface. It doesn't always work I haven't run a step the past 3 weeks.

C: What is your proudest running moment?
B: Getting inducted in to the Running USA hall of champions. I got inducted for all work I did for the sport not so much for my running accomplishments.

C: I know that your wife is an avid ultra marathoner. Do you have any plans to do another ultra?
B: My wife still runs lots of ultras. I haven't run an ultra in 6 years. I hope someday I can return and do one and only one ultra, Comrades.

C: Why do you think raising awareness for Lyme disease is so important?
B: I still think we don't know enough about the disease I would like to help people not contract the disease so nobody has to suffer the pain associated with Lyme.

C: Thank you Bart for supporting Time For Lyme
B: Thanks for reaching out to me I wish you the best on the NE 200!

For donations to support Lyme research (via www.timeforlyme.org) please visit: http://www.timeforlyme.org/news-one-mans-race.html

Thank you for all of your support and feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know.

Best Carl

Bart Yasso supporter of Team Time For Lyme.

Friday, October 24, 2008

5 Q&As with team member Pete Stringer

I think of myself as a decent student when it comes to preparation for a race. Whether the outcome is successful or not I would hate to have had simple things go wrong (but it still does at times helas) that you can control. When I signed up with an online ultra forum earlier this year I met so many fantastic people with one common interest and love - running. As the months went by, I had the opportunity to become closely acquainted with a few members of the forum and one person really stood out - Pete Stringer. Pete, 67, an ultra veteran and a very popular figure in his own neck of the woods, Cape Cod. He is humble, low key, polite and exudes a passion for running that few have and some ever will. I have always put high stock in experience, we all are humans and the next generations are not "Superman" meaning they will not deviate much in terms of what they will endure compared to what their predessessors went through. It is true though that we do evolve a bit and we adopt new strategies that can help us. But Pete possesses invaluable experiences and I see him as important mentor for my ultra running endeavors which by the way also has a lot in common with life in general, such as pacing for example. When I finished my Pittsfield Peaks 50 miler race up in Vermont in June earlier this year, I met many truly nice ultra runners. I spoke to one of them Steve Pero, who also knew Pete. Steve said to me: "wait until you meet Pete, he's not your average 67 year old". Pete is built with arms and legs that would make most people envious. Steve also mentioned how he battled with Pete in the Vermont 100 in the late 90s where they were neck and neck pushing each others limits. When I mentioned earlier this year to Pete that I was doing a 200 mile ultra in Vermont to raise awareness for Lyme Disease Pete did not hesitate and said "I'm in". Pete who has several dear friends battling this fickle disease knows that we need to deal with this now and not later. In August I was fortunate to meet with Pete and his wonderful wife Jane in person. Pete got to meet my family and we felt like we were old friends already. Pete has a lot of friends due to his great humility. Among Pete's many ultras Leadville 100 miler is one of his absolute favorite races. A race with an average altitude of 9,000 feet in the Rockies. He has run Vermont 100 in 19 hours and change in his late 50s which is incredible. He conducts a running clinic in his own town where he grew up. Running is a way of life for him no question about it. I managed to ask Pete a few questions that might interest you all.

C: Pete, what would you tell people is the biggest misconception about ultra marathoners?
P: That we are naturally, specially endowed or gifted.

C: What is your favorite distance and surface? 50K, 50 miles, 100K or 100 miles or other?
P: Favorite distance is 50 miles and favorite surface is hard packed dirt.

C: What is your proudest ultra moment?
P: Proudest ultra moment is running 19 hours at Vermont 100 in 1998 at the age of 57 or breaking the age group (60-69) 50 mile record at the Nifty 50 in 7 hours and 50 minutes.

C: What's your strategy to tackle this 200 mile ultra marathon in Pittsfield Vermont on October 30th?
P: To go one loop with patience and then figure it out from that.

C: Why do you think raising awareness for Lyme disease is so important?
P: I have seen Lyme disease disable a good friend and feel that better awareness would have vastly increased her chances and others.

C: Thank you Pete and I will see you up in Pittsfield!

For donations to support Lyme research (via www.timeforlyme.org) please visit:

Thank you for all of your support and feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Q&As with team member Ed Viesturs

Team Time For Lyme has been fortunate to have gotten support from the first American to have climbed all 8,000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. A feat literally breath taking. Ed Viesturs is America's leading high altitude mountaineer, having climbed many of the world's most challenging summits, including ascending Mount Everest six times. He completed a 16-year quest to climb all 14 of the world's highest mountains (above 8,000 meters) without the use of supplemental oxygen. In doing so, he became the first American and the 5th person in the world to accomplish this. He reached the summit of his 14th peak, Annapurna, on May 12, 2005.

Ed felt compelled to support the quest better research for Lyme Disease since in the past 30 years little has been accomplished. I was able to take some time out of Ed's tough schedule and ask him a few questions of interest:

C: Ed, first I would like to thank you for becoming a Team Time For Lyme supporter. Tell me what adventure is in store for you at the moment?
E: I have plans to climb Aconcagua in January 2009. Then I am planning to go to Nepal in the spring to climb something fun and new-perhaps an unclimbed peak with a couple of friends.

C: Having read your great book "No short cuts to the top" are you planning to write a new book and if so what will be about?
E: I have a couple of books planned - an undated version of my photo book Himalayan Quest and another book based on one of my 8000 meter climbs with some historical perspective.

C: Having climbed K2 yourself what are your thoughts about the recent K2 incident?
E: It's a tough and unforgiving mountain. One always needs to be prepared for things to go wrong and it seems like some of the climbers were simply unprepared or didn't have the skills or equipment to rescue themselves. You can't rely on others to initiate a rescue at these extreme altitudes. Many of the climbers also climbed far too late into the day and watched the sun set while they were on the summit-when that happens your margin of safety is almost non-existent.

C: I have heard that you have run some marathons and have a good set of lungs what is your marathon PR?
E: I have only run one marathon-the New York City Marathon in 2006. I ran a 3:15 and was quite pleased.

C: Why do you think raising awareness for Lyme disease is so important?
E: This will help educated people about the disease and also alleviate some of the fears about being outside and enjoying the great open spaces we all can enjoy.

C: Thank you Ed for taking some time out of your busy schedule and for supporting Team Time For Lyme. All the best to your future endeavors!

For donations to support Lyme research (via www.timeforlyme.org) please visit:

Thank you for all of your support and feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know.

Ed Viesturs supporting Team Time For Lyme!

To know more about Ed Viesturs please visit his website http://www.edviesturs.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Elements to contend with

Watching the weather forecast has now become more than a casual "is it going to rain today?" type of observation. Understanding the temperature changes will be very crucial to wear appropriate clothing to ensure a stable core temperature throughout. Too much will not only make you sweat and overheat but it will also slow you down with weight (believe me 200 miles with 1/2 lbs of extra clothing will make a difference). I will already wear 3 lbs of extra weight with hydration and food to the next aid station. This is not a mere road marathon where you wear a pair of shorts, tank top and sneakers.
Well today's forecast calls for light snow up in Pittsfield with a temperature with windchill at 27F. This is daytime temperature. This temperature reflects the town of Pittsfield not what the mountains will provide.
As much as I don't trust the 10 day forecast I was amused to see that on Tuesday Oct 28th of next week had a note attached stating "Grab your skis"!! Well let's hope this race does not have too much snow on the mountain or it could become the east coast version of the mid western Arrowhead Ultra.
In addition to the temperatures there will also be other obstacles to contend with such as:
  • Close to 60% of the entire race will be run in darkness due to the season. This is the biggest challenge in my opinion. We all know how we run at night.
  • The cumulative elevation ascent and descent will make the muscles work for sure
  • Heavy slippery fresh foliage on the ground covering rocks, branches and "critters"
  • Rock hard uneven ground or muddy slippery hills
  • Keeping your fluids from freezing in your bottles
  • Bears - looking for a last meal prior to hibernation (not a big concern but a possibility)
  • Hunters - looking for a meal. We will run on private property to reduce this risk but you never know. I will wear bright colors.


Monday, October 20, 2008

NE England 200 mile endurance run - Final course alterations - Whoa!!!

As if 200 miles wasn't enough of a challenge the course has been altered (two weeks out) and now comprises of 43,520 feet of ascent instead of 30,000 feet as previously stated. The reason for change was due to land owner issues and for safety reasons due to the hunting season. As a counter balance to this I am pleased to announce that my goal of 154 lbs as race weight has now been surpassed and that I have been weighting in for the past days at 151.6 lbs which is an important thing when it comes to running/walking and climbing. Below are some facts regarding the race issued by the RDs (race directors):

"No man can live this life (in the desert) and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, and will have within him the yearning to return." - Sir Wilfred P. Thesinger

Some stats on the funeral run:

For the first 50 and 100 miles it is the Aimee Trail Loop :

The Aimee trail loop is 12.5 miles

The Aimee trail loop profile is 3440 elevation per 12.5 mile lap

The total elevation on this 100 miles is 27520

For the second 100 miles

The South hill loop is 10 miles

South hill loop is about 1600’ of elevation per lap.

So that adds up to 16,000’ of climb over 100 miles.

So the total elevation over 200 miles is 43,520…wow unless you train at Everest I guess.

Their will be 2 aid stations on the first 100 miles (12.5 mile loop)

Their will be 2 aid stations on the second 100 miles (10 mile loop)

Aid stations are roughly ½ way through the loops.

People can camp in the Aimee farm barn. They can change, rest, sleep, daydream or do whatever they need to do to get through their challenge.

We will have food at each of the aid stations as well as water. I personally hate HEED but if you guys like it let us know.

This will be a small event but extremely well run. It will be brutal but we will do everything in our power to get you through 50-100 or 200 miles whichever it is you are trying to accomplish. The trail is incredible, the weather has been perfect, it will be well marked fires will be going at night at both aid stations. Please remember to bring gear that you may want to leave at the primary aid station. Also not sure if everyone knows about our participant that is attempting to be the ONLY finisher of all of the PEAK races this year, and entitling him to receive coveted $10,000.00 purse.

Good Luck to all and please help convince some friends to come run/walk/or hike. If it doesn’t kill you it may make you stronger.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Last heavy training week done 111 miles -Taper time

Last Saturday night just before 10:00pm I left my house to do my last looong run before New England 200 on October 30th. I was planning to do a fairly hilly run of 30 miles. When I started to run my legs felt exceptionally strong. I thought it must have been the massage I had gotten on Thursday. As I made my way up the hills my legs kept on feeling "topped off" with glycogen and never felt tired. As I approached the 30 mile mark I said to myself this is too good to be true so I kept on going. Halfway into it I reminded myself not to have too much of a good thing especially when the results shows up a day or two later. I stopped at 41 miles and got home just before 7am or almost 9 hours. October 30th can't come soon enough.