The Mission:

From Nov. 28th, 2008 to Feb. 8th, 2009 (12 weeks) I intend to run 13 races of marathon distance (26.2 miles) or greater to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In total, if all goes as planned, approximately 388 miles will have been covered over a span of a 12 week time frame and a significant amount of money will have been raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

100% of donations will go directly to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Wow - is this late or what?!? First off, I apologize to anyone who wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth - I didn't, in fact I've already wrote this post once but some how managed to delete it prior to posting it. When I discovered that all my typing had disappeared I decided to wait until I was ready to officially call an end to receiving donations to post something about the last race.
(Outside, all looks calm and peaceful - inside disorganization rules)

So... way back on the 8th was the Valentines Marathon, #13 of the '13 in 12,' prior to the race I had made arrangements with a very generous donor to wear a special t-shirt during the race, though the pictures don't do it justice, it's a very cool shirt that reads "I'm Nic" then has 3 awesome little robots, then below reads "Stever's Fan Club" (Stever is my buddy who is the main motivation behind the fund raising). I also planned to run with fellow Maniacs Matt & Andre to (once again) attempt a 3:30 marathon. When I arrived at the race location, I was greeted with a lack of organization, by the time I had my bib # we were moments from the start of the race, never the less I was able to be ready and lined up with Matt & Andre as planned.

(shirt similar to the one I was wearing - but mine is bright orange!)

We started off and I could already tell 8 minute miles were not what I was used to, but once in a rhythm they seemed to feel alright, and even when they didn't, I had my motivation (Matt had pinned a cash donation to the back of his running jacket).

Somewhere shortly after the half way turn around Andre told us that he was going to fall back a bit, Matt & I were still chugging along, though I was fairly certain I wouldn't be able to hold the pace the remainder of the race. Some where around mile 18 we started resorting to a few walking breaks... soon enough it was obvious that 3:30 would once again remain elusive... but still, I was enjoying Matt's company and over all, was having a pretty good day.

(Just past the finishing line - feeling better than I look)

Around 25 miles (maybe less) Matt told me to go ahead and finish without him, I (barely) speed up and ended up coming in about a minute and a half earlier than he did, with Andre only a few minutes behind Matt. When I finished, my watch read 3:41: and change, which ends up being my 3rd fastest marathon, so I'll take it.

(#13 - with assistance from my wife and key supporter, Rachael! Feeling *much* better than I look...)

I'll post soon with a grand total as far as donations received + a few other comments regarding the whole process, but real quick I'd just like to say "Thank You" to everyone who donated and supported me over the course of these last 12 (+) weeks, this has been a wonderful experience and I know the LLS appreciates the cash!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This past Sunday was an all together new experience for me, for this was my first attempt at race directing.

Because of the type of person I am, the majority of the race preparation occurred the evening prior. I had a firm idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, it was just a matter of getting it done. I constructed medals, 'made' Gatorade and PB&Js, marked the turn around with chalk under the cover of night, and acquired a few other materials such as fire wood.

(There! They're done - can I go to bed yet? What to you mean, 'Did I make the PB&Js?')

The next morning my wife and drug our selves out of bed and headed down to Lincoln Park in order to get set up. As we arrived it became apparent that despite what was posted, the parking lots were still locked up (they remained this way until well past the start of the race). Thankfully, there is a relatively good amount of parking available on local side streets and the majority of fellow runners were able to adjust quickly.

My good friend Bob, also greeted us as we pulled up and was quickly to work with me while my wife directed any lost looking runners. Shortly before 7am we were able to have most of the essentials set up. As runners continued to show up and take care of any last minute needs, I scrambled to get myself together (I realized shortly before the start that I was still wearing all my warm over layers).

(trying my best to get set up)

Just a bit past 7am (the planned start time) I called for the runners to gather on the path and gave them a quick briefing as to how the course was laid out (ie: water on the left/road on the right - and be sure to run around the path on the outside of the pool), then said 'without further ado... GO!' and off almost all the runners went. I stuck back for about an extra minute or two to ensure Rachael & Bob had everything under control (of course they did - more so than I ever could) then headed out at the back of the pack.

('...without further ado...GO!')

Less than a mile into the run it occurred to me that through all the hi jinx at the start I had managed to leave behind my water bottle and any sort of energy food. I felt fine at the time, but realized I still had 14+ miles 'til I'd get back to the aid station - of course, I was completely unwilling to turn around - I knew there was water on various points along the course, so I knew I'd be alright.

('Hey, doffus, where's your water bottle? - umm, yeah...')

The first leg felt quick, something I attribute to familiarity of the route, after all, these were my home training (what's that?) grounds. I chatted with a few fellow runners and just generally enjoyed the opportunity to run off my nerves and finally relax a bit. At the turn around I was still feeling good and continued at my pretty standard pace. When I got back to the aid station Bob & Rachael had the fire burning and everything laid out very well, I again chatted with a few runners and generally took my time. I wanted to make sure Bob & Rachael were still content, I wanted to fuel up a bit, and, most of all, I just wanted to hang out. I sat by the fire and just sort of relaxed, after about 5 minutes (which felt like an eternity) I finally got my self going, and headed back out for the second half of the run.

The second half was fairly uneventful for me - I was able to watch the front runners go screaming by on their way back to the finish and had a chance to catch up to and chat with a runner who I had not previously met, which is always nice. I felt as though I was long over my standard time, but due to clumsy fingers, I had hit the 'stop' button on the Garmin when I meant to hit the lap button, so I really had no clue as to how I was doing. When I did finish I was greeted with a 5:22:55, not terrible, but I definitely do better on that course if given different circumstances - but that wasn't the point and I'm glad I was able run this race while attempting to *run* this race :-)
(smiles upon finishing - evident by the fact that this time I have my bottle ;-)

I hope I've already made this clear to everyone at the WSFA50K - both runners and volunteers alike - but if not, let me say once more, thank you all for everything! Runners - thanks for showing up! Volunteers - thanks for all your hard work, it would have literally been impossible with out you! And also, an extra big 'thank you' to participants who donated to the LLS - the run added another $115.00 to the total which is currently at $3320.42! (sure that's a bit off of $5K, but let's be honest - that's still pretty great!)

(#12 of 13 - with help from good friend and aid station extraordinaire, Bob)

MANY more photos from Sunday's race can be seen here : (these photos were taken by Rich Walter, one of our great volunteers!)

and here: (these were taken by Rachael & I at the aid station/finish line)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2 more finished, 2 more left

Sorry for the late update - my Sunday had some lasting effects on my Monday & Tuesday, more about that shortly...

Saturday morning was Pigtail's Run, a 50K consisting of 3 full loops around Lake Youngs Watershed, plus a small out and back section to ensure the proper distance. I ran 2 loops of this run last year and had a wonderful time, so much so in fact, that I see that run as what really pushed me into the 'excessive' marathoning and ultra running. With fond memories in mind, I decided Thursday evening that I would make an attempt at a 50K PR (personal record) come Saturday morning.

Saturday morning was chilly, but good for running. I started the first leg of the first loop running with Eric and Steve (when do these guys not run?) and stuck with them until Steve told me he was going to back off the pace a bit. I kept at about the same speed assuming they'd catch me eventually. The course is a rolling loop with a few hills that do a bit more than roll, nothing crazy, but by the third loop they look a bit more daunting. I decided to run the entire first 2 loops and see how I felt from there. As approached certain hills on the third loop I considered walking them but I kept giving way to my stubbornness, at some point I decided I wouldn't walk until I got to a certain hill that seemed the steepest to me (other than the final hill on the out and back section). When I got to said hill, I once again decided to keep running, in the end I only briefly walked once, on a small incline of all places, as I ate my final Gu and prepared to finish off the last 5 miles or so.
(heading toward the last hill at Pigtail's - photo by Eric)

The stubbornness paid off as I finished the race in 4:44 (and change), a personal best by about 13 minutes! Once Van (the race director) posted the results and splits I was able to see that I had run the course fairly evenly (not even, but close enough) as well, with my first loop being 1:23, my second completed in 1:29, and my final loop in 1:33. I'm pretty happy with all of that, especially since I didn't check my watch once while out on the course.

(After Pigtail's - trying to stay warm - #10!)

Sunday was a different story entirely.

After a fairly long Saturday evening of celebrating Burn's Night with a group of friends, I was finally in bed and ready for sleep at about midnight, I was more than well aware that this was a bad idea, but sometimes real life just has to mix with running and I'd rather do both than give up either. Sunday morning came early, I dragged myself out of bed, got ready, and made my way to the start of the race. Once there, I was informed that one of the bridges on the route was out and as a result instead of running 2 out and back sections we would be running 4 shorter out and backs plus another small out and back to get the distance right, for some reason, at the time, I thought that was a good idea(?).

(What? The sun was just barely up, and I was already walking?!? - Photo by Eric)

(That's better! - Photo by Eric)

From the first steps I could tell it was not going to be my day, my knees were sore (something I'm not used to as it's honestly never been the case before), my ankle was sore (after having held up fairly well the day before), and my stomach felt off (I really kind of lived it up Saturday night). After a very slow out and back with Eric (again... sheesh!), I headed to the port-a-potty for some, umm... alone time... From that point forward things got a little better, but not significantly so. The run was long and I was slow and sore which made it feel that much longer. On the final 'back' of the out and back, I was able to 'catch' Eric who was also having 'one of those days,' we made our way to the finish together, ending with a personal worst of 6:02:38. I'd be more upset about it if it weren't for the PR the day before... besides, it was day 2 of a double, there was a pretty dusting of snow on the course, and, if nothing else, I was able to be out there doing it, which is no small gift...

(Help! I've run out of finger's! I knew I had to catch Eric for a reason - #11!)

Which of course brings me to my one last statement of this post... please, please, please send this link to friends and family and to anyone else you may know who might be willing to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! My friend (and inspiration behind this '13 in12') just received a transplant on Monday, and now we wait and hope that the stem cells do their job. There are many more folks out there at one stage or another of dealing with blood cancers, and the LLS is there to help them... so, once more, if you've yet to donate (or for that matter signed up to be a possible bone marrow donor) please do and inform others who might... thanks...

(sorry for the long post - next week: WSFA50K)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass

Mega Fat Ass = Mega Collapse

Well, okay, not really but, oh boy was that second half of the second loop tough...

I started the morning feeling very tired and slightly sick to my stomach, not exactly how I wanted to start the day, but what was I going to do? I jumped in the car and made it down to the Mima Trailhead by about 7:30am. At 8am the race began and the conga line formed, about a half mile in things started to open up a bit and I worked my way forward to where Eric and Steve were. I stuck with them for a good half of the first loop, though the entire time I was thinking that we were going a bit too fast. When I reached the completion of the first loop (of 2) 2:28 had ticked off the clock, it seemed like a descent time. As soon as the climbs began on the second loop I got a sense of what I was in for. At some point Van Phan passed me and for a minute there it looked as though she would pull far away but then, for the next couple of miles I was right on her heels, again, this was a mistake. Although I'm usually only a bit behind Van on marathons and 50Ks and every so often I actually finish before her, I know a few things - she's better on trails than I am, she's stronger on hills, and she's MUCH better at pacing than I am - altogether she a stronger more experienced runner than I am. After those few miles on Van's heels I hit a massive wall, with about 10K left I was running on fumes, I ate a final Honey Stinger and hoped for the best. The miles dragged and the minutes jerked (Clash reference) but I finially hit the finish line in 5:18: and change. Here's hoping I actually learn the lessons the trail and my body attempted to teach me ;-)

(#9, #9.... #9...)

View more pics here: (the majority of which were either taken by Eric & Michelle or Allison

...and, if you want to see a cool little video of the trail, check out this post from Thomas' blog.

Next weekend: Back to back 50Ks - Pigtails Run & Yours Truly!

Please keep spreading the word, only 4 weeks left!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One real quick note...

So I guess despite the fact that I was out having fun on Saturday, not everyone at Bridle Trails was... in fact there was only a 65% finish rate. Of the 77 of us who lined up for the 50K, only 50 finished... I'm honestly surprised by that, but, things happen...

Also, if you're interested in reading a longer winded race report from last Saturday, click HERE.

Monday, January 12, 2009

#8 - Bridle Trails 50K

Saturday was #8 of 13, 6 'loops' through Bridle Trails state park for a total of 50K. Loop 1 was run in a grey that those of us living in the Pacific North West like to call daylight, loop 2 was run in dusk, and the remaining 4 loops were run in the dark, aided by a headlamp and L.E.D. flashlight. The course is a mix of single track trail and wider gravel trails, though, by the time the third loop was starting they were all pretty much reduced to a muddy, messy slop, or, as I saw it, they were elevated to FUN!
( I assure you, I am holding up 8 fingers... dang reflective clothing...)

Results are not yet posted, though, according to my watch, I finished in 5 hours, 18 minutes, and change, I finished in 5:17:46, officially, a time I'm fairly happy with, given the (FUN!) conditions.
(Yep, there was enough mud out there to go right through the shoes and socks - perfect!)

Next up: Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 34 Miler. From what I hear, this course should be muddy as well, which means I should have a grand ole time (and also, it means I need to hose off my trail shoes tonight)!


Fund Raising: As stated previously, the donations have slowed but are still trickling in... as long as the trickle continues I'm content, if it picks up again to a steady stream I'll be thrilled! As always, please forward this link on to anyone you know who might have some spare time and a spare dime! Thanks!


And on one completely unrelated note that I'm just too damn excited about to not post everywhere I can... tonight (1/12) I registered for the STOMRY 100, which will be my first attempt at 100 mile ultra come August of this year...