Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Go the Distance - The Event

It’s been over a month since Go the Distance and I still have not sat down and put my thoughts down on paper like I had planned to do. I’m having a very difficult time putting my thoughts together on this event and my words are not really able to capture all that it has meant to me. With that said I wanted to put something down on paper so I went back to an outline I had put together for the Go the Distance appreciation assembly that was held at the Franklin Gym one week after the event. I did my best to take that outline and recreate basically what I said during my 20 minute speech that day.


Do you know what I wish? I wish that everyone here could have felt what it has been like to be me for the past week. It would change your life. It has changed mine.

Just hours into the 24-hour run I was accompanied by Erika Small, one of the key Go the Distance team members. Erika said to me,”did you ever imagine it would be like this?” I knew the answer she expected to get but my reply was something different. I responded to her, “Yes, this is how I imagined it.” When you are planning an event and you picture it in your head you always visualize it at its best. Saturday after the event I sent Erika another email saying that I had changed my answer I gave her 48 hours earlier. I expected the media at the start and the kids going wild and band being great and the 5k having 500 participants and all those other things. What I didn’t see coming were the intangibles and emotional effect this event would have on the kids, the participants and the entire community. It touched a nerve in people and had a deeper effect than I ever imagined. I’ve heard countless stories from people who were moved to tears. It brought the school together like I’ve never seen before. Go the Distance transcended the run and the event and became a movement.

I had a lot riding on this event. It was my creation and my family’s name and reputation were all over it. For media purposes I made a huge commitment and “I called my shot”. I not only said I am going to run for 24 hours but that I’m going to run 125 miles in 24 hours. I knew that was what the media wanted to hear. There was certainly added pressure put on me to reach that distance. Most of that pressure was applied by me. Nobody would have called the run a failure if I only reached 120 miles but it was important to me. As a result, stress levels were very high and sleep was minimal in the weeks leading up to the run. The tension built when the media picked up as the day got closer. In the two nights prior to the event I got nine hours of sleep. From Tuesday morning to Friday morning (72 hours) I slept a total of 9 hours.


The night before the run I got 4 hours sleep and woke up at 1:15 not able go back to sleep so I began the slow methodical process of getting ready. It was actually a relief to be getting in the car and driving to the school. It was a busy morning for everyone and things came together as planned. I was wishing I had more alone time to prepare but I was running around answering questions, medical checks and doing media stuff right up to the time when I was handed the microphone to say a few words to the kids and families that came out. I can’t tell you exactly what I said but I know the message was something about the fact that this event has long outgrown me and it is now about a school and a community coming together to make a difference. At the time I had no idea how right I would be proven to be.

I won’t bore you with the hour by hour details of what I was thinking or doing but there were events that stood out in my mind throughout the day that I feel are important to share.

I enjoyed running with every class as they came out for their PE for the day. It was a great distraction and constant entertainment. If I were in a race it would have been a terrible distraction but this was not a race. What stands out to me now is the fact that the kids wanted to talk to me. Not like an adult or like a teacher but like a friend. Early in the day I was running with the 8th graders. I’d been into the classrooms in the weeks prior and asked who was planning on coming out to the Thursday evening 5k and festivities. A few hands “casually” went up, as 8th grade hands do. That’s cool, I expected that. But when I asked the same question on the track I got a different answer. There was enthusiasm. They wanted to be a part of this. I knew the older kids were in! Then it was time to run with the kindergarteners. What a wonderful mess that was! Sure enough first lap a kid is running in front of me looking back and goes down right in front of me and the herd of 40 charging kindergarteners. We managed not to trample him and pressed on. I learned the names of all their pets and each of their Birthdays and several other random facts about each one before we parted ways. With that I knew the little kids were in! The same story goes for each grade. There was a feeling that most of them wanted to be there and were excited about what was happening. I took energy from knowing that the message that we were trying to send just might get through to some of them.

As the day pressed on and the evening approached I began to feel the wear of 40 plus miles starting to have an effect. Just before the start of the 5k I had so many eyes on me and I was at a point where I needed a quick break to fill up on calories and fluid but I didn’t take the time that I should have to make sure I had everything right. When I headed out on the 5k course for 3 loops I was already low on hydration and calories and the half hour away from the track took a toll on me. The good news is that I knew exactly what I needed. I finished the 5k and told my Dad, “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry and I’m wiped out.” He calmly said “okay”, and began to fix the problem. I stopped and put down 300 calories, 12 oz of water 450 mg of sodium and he sent me on my way with another 10 oz of water to finish over the next few laps. I told Gina I’d like an escort and she ran in front of me for about 20 minutes or so before the fueling began to kick in and I came back around. It doesn’t take much to get off on the fueling and feel the effects. Before long I was feeling a little better but the miles were slowly taking their toll.

I loved the music. Mother Mayhew was awesome and sounded great. But, by the time it began to get dark and the people began to clear out I was also ready for the circus to leave town and to get to work on what would be the most difficult pat of this run, the darkness. There is a saying in the ultrarunning world that in a 100 mile race you run the first 50 with you legs and the second 50 with you mind. In a 24 hour run I would say you run the first 12 hours with your legs and the second 12 with you mind. It was time for the mind to take over. Strangely I don’t have any great stories to tell from the night. It was a surreal experience and I just put my head down and did what I had to do. Many people came out to join me throughout the night and most of the time the company was welcome. Some time shortly after midnight I began to sink into rough patch and asked to run alone for a while. I loved the fact that so many people were willing to join me and help me through the night but there comes a time where nobody can help and I have to turn inwards and close out all outside distractions. At this point I was no longer making decisions but rather relying 100% on my crew or my Father and Brother-in-law to make those decisions for me. Sheri commented that she felt like she was playing the part of Mother of the Bride with so many people asking her questions about me. She was calm and ensured everyone that I was doing fine even when it may have appeared that I was struggling. Sheri has seen worse and says she can tell my condition from my eyes. My Dad says he can tell from my speech. My Brother-in-law / EMT says he can tell from my vital signs. What a team!

My Dad and I had a plan going into this thing. Every lap was calculated on a pace chart and assuming we stuck with the plan I would reach 125 miles with 30 minutes to spare. The plan was to take it easy during the day and enjoy the company of everyone around me. I would run very conservatively and try and remain reasonably social through 8:30 pm on Thursday. Once everyone left I would get down to business and we both expected that things might get a little messy through the night. Once we knew that I would make the 125 miles I would slowly begin to shut it down and back off the pace so that I would be able to compose myself and grab the microphone and speak to the kids after the run. That was important to me and I was willing to sacrifice a few miles so that I would be able to address them at the end. To our surprise five media trucks began arriving in the 4:00 hour and stopping and walking was no longer an option for me. I did slow the pace a bit but could not bring myself to take any extended breaks or walk with the cameras present. As it turned out the slowing of the pace along with the rising of the sun and gathering of the crowd gave me the amazing boost of energy I needed to finish this thing off.

April 23, 2010

At about 23 hours and 15 minutes I completed the lap that put me at 125 miles. Nobody there really knew how important that lap was to me. It was even far more important than the last lap. From here on in it was all celebration and I did my best to enjoy the moment even though I was very uncomfortable. As the final laps wore down everything came together as it should. I ran a few laps with Gina and we quietly gave each other a little pat on the back for what we have accomplished with Go the Distance. She was also exhausted from being up all night and running this show and at that moment, as we slowly made our way around the track I felt as if we had run every step side-by-side from the very beginning. Then my family joined me for a bit and I was able to see the pride in my kids eyes as we slowly jogged past a cheering crowd. Finally the Osborne girls joined me for what would be the final lap. The girls and I talked throughout during the lap but I couldn’t tell you what was said. My mind was focused on what I had been through over the last 24 hours and everything it has taken over the last 6 months to get to this point. As we rounded the final curve all the hairs on my arms began to stand and that tingling feeling overcame my entire body. At this moment there was no pain, only numbness from head to toe. It was as it I felt every emotion at one instance and then it was over.


With those final steps I accomplished my goal, a goal that I set 6 months prior. The goal that I had spent over 500 hours preparing for. In order to accomplish this goal I had to be willing to go to a place that most people have never been and most will never go; their outer limits of mental and physical possibilities. What I’ve learned from doing these runs is not that I can push myself to my limit. What I learned is that my limit is way further out than I ever imagined it was. Every time I think I can’t go another step but find a way to do it I learn that I am stronger than I know. It’s like exploring space. People used to think the universe was what was in front of them. As we have begun to explore space, the more we learn the more we understand there is so much more out there than we ever realized. And there is more out there than you realize. You can do far more than you realize. Your mind and your body are an amazing vehicle that will take you anywhere you want to go if you take care of it and you are willing to work for it. It may even take you places that you never imagined were possible.

A few weeks ago our photographer James Pratt asked me to come up with a motivational saying and write it down on a piece of paper and sign it. He was going to emboss it on a photo and offer it on his website. I put it off for a while but eventually decided I would do it. But what would I say? There is a saying that I really liked that goes, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." By T.S. Eliot. The only problem was that I couldn’t use it because it is too wordy and it would be plagiarism. So I began to take the quote and break it down to its basic meaning and I came up with these three words, “Challenge the Impossible”. I liked it but I needed to run it by my brain trust, Gavin. I said to Gavin, “What do you think of this motivational quote, Challenge the Impossible?” He thought about it for about a second and a half and said, “That’s dumb Dad, why would you challenge the impossible? If it is impossible why would you bother doing it?” That’s when I knew it was perfect.

I had a number of people that I needed to thank. Principle Shawn Shaw for never hesitating for a second to allow this to happen. Jason Harper for the guidance and encouragement and warning me on the effect of running for a reason. To my crew: Brother-in-law Kevin Guerrero and my Dad for standing at attention for every lap and making sure everything was taken care of and putting my safety and needs first. To my family, Sheri, Garret and Gavin for the encouragement, never doubting me and putting up with everything that has gone into this event. Nobody knows how much they have sacrificed and how much of my time they have given up to allow this to happen. I had two very special people that I thanked and presented with a nice photo collage and flowers. Michelle Guardino, Thank you. You have no idea how good you really are as you quietly just get the job done. I’m sure that every teacher in the school will testify to this. Gina Anixter, my partner from the beginning, Thank you. Go the Distance will continue at Franklin but only if you are willing to do it with me.

Go the Distance became more than a fundraiser. It became a movement and it sent a message. Where you wind up in life is a result of all the little decisions you make every day of your life. Each day you wake you have a choice to take the easy way, the way that you are comfortable with. Or you can take the path that may be a little more difficult. The way that may have some mountains to climb but the way that will lead you to where you want to be. So each day you make a choice, the easy way, the path of less resistance, or the hard way, the path that leads you to the top of the mountain. So what’s it going to be? Will you choose to take the path of less resistance or will you choose to Go the Distance? Make the right choice. Climb that mountain. Go the Distance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Go the Distance - What's in a name?

When we first began planning this event we knew it needed a catchy name. By the second meeting we decided to call it Go the Distance. I liked the name. It was fine. But as the event has taken shape the phrase “Go the Distance” has come to have more meaning for me. It is an appropriate name for a 24-hour run because of the extreme distance that I intend to cover but there is more to it than that.

The phrase originated in the boxing world and it was used to describe a fight that went all scheduled rounds without stopping due to a knock out. I remember in the original Rocky movie, all Rocky Balboa wanted to do was “Go the Distance” against Apollo Creed. “Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed”. For Rocky, an incredible underdog in the fight, it was not his primary objective to knock Apollo out; he just wanted to still be standing when that final bell rang. The more I thought about the name of our event the more I realized it was the perfect fit.

In many ways I approach this 24-hour run as if I am entering the ring for a title fight. A shot at the title against a formidable opponent that I have faced before. Each of the previous times I’ve faced this opponent it was an epic battle till the end. In this case my opponent is the distance and I have an incredible amount of respect for my opponent. I know there will be no first round knock out. This fight will Go the Distance. I already know I will take a beating. I may be knocked down but I will somehow have to find a way to get back on my feet and continue. In the end, like Rocky, I will still be standing. I will have gone the distance.

As I’ve said before, Go the Distance is not just about me and the challenge I’ve set for myself. It is about a school and a community that has decided to take it upon themselves to do something a little out-of-the-box to ensure that health and fitness programs remain a priority at our school. I’m confident that on Friday April 23rd, at 8:50 am when the 24 hours has expired and the event is over, our fight will continue. There will continue to be a need for funding that the State and District are unable to provide and we will have a choice to either accept the reduction in programs because it is easier or we can fight for what we believe in. “Life is full of choices. You can choose the path of less resistance or you can choose to Go the Distance.”




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How do I know if I'm ready?

I’ve been training specifically for this 24 hour run for the last six months. Week after week and month after month I’ve torn the muscles down so they will rebuild stronger. Much of the last two month I’ve felt physically drained of energy due to the hours of exercise every day. The legs have never felt completely recovered and as a result I’ve never really known what kind of shape I’m in. After each long test run I’ve asked the question, “How much better would I have run if I weren’t so tired?” How do I know if the training is working? How do I know if I am going to be ready on April 22nd? I guess I just have to believe in the training. I don’t write up a specific training plan but I do keep a log of what I’ve done. The training log is what tells me if I’ve put in the work that is necessary and gives me the confidence that it will all come together. Everyday I look in the mirror and ask myself, have I done enough? Have I trained correctly? Will I be ready? Several weeks ago I began to taper down the miles and the legs have slowly begun to feel better. My pace has become quicker and the miles seemed to fly by with ease. With two weeks to go rest days became more important than the run days. The legs have now had time to recover and the rewards of months of hard work are beginning to show. Today was a bittersweet day. Today I did my last workout before the 24-hour run. From the first steps I knew it was going to be a good run. The asphalt felt soft under my feet and the long quick stride felt effortless. My breathing was shallow and my heart rate was low. As I made the turn for home I continued to increase the pace only to find I still had another gear left. Feeling good and knowing this would be my final run I continued to pushed the pace faster and faster each of the remaining miles home. Having a run like the one I had today was the perfect way to finish off my training. Lance Armstrong has described it as “no chain” meaning he sometimes feels like there is no chain on his bike and he can spin the pedals as fast as he wants without tiring. That’s how I felt today. “No chain.” So there it is. The work is done. There is nothing more I can do to prepare other than rest. I’ve put everything I have into the training for this run and after today I have to believe… I’m ready! Greg Bomhoff Ready to Go the Distance. ~ Greg Bomhoff

Monday, April 12, 2010

Franklin gives back

Part of my inspiration for Go the Distance was from a friend of mine named Jason Harper who back in 2008, ran 100 miles to raise money for Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento. Oak Ridge Elementary is among the most impoverished schools in the Sacramento Valley and back in 08 only about 12% of the students had health care. Through Jason’s efforts now over 85% of the kids have some sort of health care.

Jason and his team of volunteers did not stop there. They continue to promote health and fitness as well as nutrition and have programs in place to see this happen.

From their website:

Be Change After-school Fitness and Nutrition
Many inner-city children are sedentary and do not have access to healthy food options. With 100% of Oak Ridge Elementary children on district's free lunch program, Equal Start's Be Change After-school Programming provides a running club to help kids get moving. Be Change partners with Fleet Feet of Sacramento, The Running Zone, and the California International Marathon to give kids goals that are achievable. More than fifty kids are enrolled and are committed to getting active. Nutritionally, Equal Start's Be Change in conjunction with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services gives every child a bag of groceries on Friday to augment and counter the effects of hunger through the weekend.
GOAL: Mobilize kids into quality after-school programming to stimulate a healthy/nutritional awareness using running as goal setting activity.
LINK:
http://bechange.cc

Go the Distance and Franklin school have initiated a plan to give back to those with greater needs than our own and will organize a Food Drive for the kids of Oak Ridge Elementary. On Thursday April 15th, I will visit each classroom at Franklin and challenge each class to raise 125 non-perishable food items to coincide with the 125 miles I have challenged myself to run in 24 hours. On April 22nd, at the Go the Distance event, Jason, his team and some of the kids from Oak Ridge Elementary will come to our school to accept our contribution and be a part of our event.

There is an important message here that I want to pass along to our kids at Franklin School. I began Go the Distance because I saw a need. I believe that teaching and encouraging kids about health and fitness at an early age is important to their future and I want to make sure the funding is available for it to continue. However, I also understand that there are those who have much greater needs than we do at Franklin School. In this case those kids are just 30 miles down the road. I hope for this food drive to be a great benefit for the kids of Oak Ridge Elementary but I also believe the kids of Franklin will get a lot out of it as well.

Please help me encourage the kids and Franklin families to take part in this noble effort.

Additional information will be coming home with the kids on Thursday the 15th.

For additional information or if you would like to help with this food drive contact:

Amy Osborne – taosborne@att.net
Kasey Smith – smith.kasey@gmail.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Get light, get loose and get fast!

I can’t believe it is here already. I’m referring to taper time. With only one month to go before the 24-hour run I need to start backing down off the huge miles I have been putting in and rest the legs. For the last five months my training has consisted of pounding out as many miles and as many hours as my body would allow me to go. The last couple months have been rough. In February I ran more miles than I have ever done in one month in my life. nearly 400 miles! My average distance per run was 17 miles. The first half of March was not what I had planned. I’ve been battling a foot injury and instead of spending 3 hours a day running like I had planned, I’m spending 1 hour running and 2 hours on the bike so I can heal the foot. The long runs are still in the 30-60 mile range. Everyday my alarm goes off at 4 am and with the first steps of the day my legs remind me what I have been putting them through for the last 5 months. I’m tired, I feel beat up and I’m looking forward to the taper. It’s time to start feeling good again. Time to get light, get loose and get fast.

Get light: Believe it or not. I can’t get down to my race weight when I’m running 100 miles a week. I just can’t stop eating. Especially after my weekend long run my body craves food for days. And it is not craving vegetables! It wants calories. Now that the real long runs and high mileage are behind me I will drop those last 5 pounds before run day. Believe me, carrying around 5 fewer pounds for 24 hours makes a big difference. Dieting may be the hardest part of the taper for me. I have the willpower to run for 24-hours but the cookie jar will break me every time. Seriously though, my diet will become very important in the last few weeks and the only things going in will be healthy foods and plenty of water.

Get loose: I stretch for a good half hour almost every day and I spend lots of time in the hot tub, but because of the constant training every day I typically wake up sore and stiff. My legs, my core, my feet and ankles, my hips have all been working overtime and as a result they are always just a little tight. That’s about to change. With the reduced mileage I will spend more time stretching and massaging the legs and do more cross training to improve mobility and flexibility.

Get fast: For 5 month I’ve been pounding out the miles for hour after hour. The focus on my training has all been about mileage. To go along with the get light and get loose, now I will also get fast. The workouts will be much shorter and much more intense. In the next 3 weeks I’ll work on the cardio and getting really fit.

When the sun comes up on the morning of April 22nd I’ll be 100% recovered from the 6 months of heavy training and the body will feel fresh. I will be lean and I’ll be fit. I feel really good about my training. It hasn’t always gone the way that I wrote it up but that’s to be expected. I’ve pushed to the breaking point and listened when my body said it needed a rest. Nothing left to do but Go the Distance.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dinner Auction Time!

Auction Time:

The Franklin Dinner Auction is coming up on March 20th and this event will kick off our fundraising for Go the Distance. Go the Distance will have a few things going on at the Auction that I think are pretty exciting.

Believe it or not the Dinner Auction is where this whole thing started for me. I really didn’t plan for this 24 hour run to be what it has become. I originally proposed it as a Dinner Auction item. My idea was to have a sign up sheet at a table where people could pledge $.25, $.50, $1.00, whatever per mile and then I’d go out to the track a month later and see how far I could go. The basic premise of the event is the same but the size, scope and need for the funds has grown considerably. Gina Anixter deserves the credit for taking my simple idea and turning it into a real event and hopefully a big fundraiser. She stepped in on day one and basically said if you’re going to run for 24 hours we’re going to do this right! From there the team assembled and has been working hard ever since. (See the blog post on the Go the Distance team below.)

So for the Silent Auction we will still stick with the original plan to have a table and a pledge sheet out where you may make a flat rate donation or you can make a pledge per mile and make me work for the money. Any donations of $150 and up or $1.50 per mile and up and we will put your name on the website sponsor page as an event supporter! Or maybe put your kids name up there. Who wouldn’t want that? All money raised here will go towards supporting health and fitness programs at Franklin School. So drink up and I’ll be seeing you there with my pledge sheet!

Go the Distance will also be donating three live Auction items.

“Final lap” – Friday morning the kids of Franklin School, parents and media will assemble at the track’s edge as the 24-hour clock ticks down. With just minutes on the clock two children will get to join me on what will be the “Final lap” and the three of us will cross the finish line to the cheers of 500 people and live morning news coverage. (disclaimer: morning news coverage has been confirmed but no guarantee.) I had to throw the disclaimer in there just in case Gavin Maloof’s cat gets stuck in a tree and the entire Sacramento media has to be on scene to cover it.


“VIP Tent” – The VIP Tent will sit trackside and will include 10 Franklin 5k race entries and event t-shirts as well as dinner for 20 people. Plus, front row seating for the start and finish of the 5k race and of course front row seating to watch the drama unfold as I slowly run in circles. I’m not sure how to make that part sound exciting. Great item for a few families to go in on together.


“First Pitch” – One child will get to live out the dream of a lifetime and throw out the first pitch in a professional baseball game. On May 23rd, the Sacramento River Cats will recognize Go the Distance for our efforts to promote the health and fitness of children. Your Franklin student (Sorry Dads this one’s not for you.) will join me on the mound as Go the Distance is honored, then as I hand over the game ball in front of a packed house, your child will throw out the first pitch to start the game. “Play Ball!” I’m sure they will get to keep the ball as a souvenir but I haven’t confirmed that yet. Really, why wouldn’t they?


Pretty good stuff huh? All the proceeds from the sale of these live auction items will go towards the auction proceeds and the PTC General fund. I hope to see everyone at the Auction. I hear they have done a fantastic job again this year and it’s a fun event for the parents and a great event for the school.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What drives you?

Recently I was asked to be a guest speaker for a group of people doing a weight loss challenge. I happily agreed to do it but I was a little unsure what it was that they were looking for from me. They offered some suggested topics for my 30 minute presentation like how exercise has enhanced my life, what makes me get up and move and general fitness tips like injury prevention when exercising. I admitted that this was all a little new to me but I’d put something together for the group. First off, I don’t claim to be an expert in health and fitness. I have no formal training in the subject but I have spent plenty of time trying to get fit and I know what works for me. With that in mind I decided I would focus my talk on “what makes me get up and move.” I never really thought about why I do what I do and I thought this might be an opportunity to look a little deeper into myself and see what makes me tick.


A little background on me is probably in order. I played sports and was a competitive kid. I feel like even as a kid I pushed myself harder than the others did. Soccer and water skiing were my primary sports through high school and early college. When I transferred to Sac State I began competing at a regional and national water skiing tournaments. After graduation I decided to postpone the real world and chased a dream. I began skiing full-time and was able to make my living as a professional skier until I was 30 years old. For me it was rewarding. Every day was spent exercising and trying to get better at my sport. 100% of my income was based on my performance and that provided clarity. There was the satisfaction of doing well and there was the disappointment of failure. The measure of success and failure was very clear. Eventually I retired from skiing, got a wife, a real job, two kids and a back surgery and just like that life became about as different as it could be. As the infant years passed and the haze finally lifted I began to miss the feeling of competition. The summer of 2005 I was in Squaw Valley and heard about a group of 400 endurance runners who had just left the floor of Squaw, ran over the mountain and would run the 100 miles to Auburn by the following day. The race was called the Western States 100. I was blown away! Later that day I hiked the 3.5 miles to the top of the 9000 ft. mountain just to see what that was like. I stood there imagining what another 97 miles of rough terrain would be like. I wondered if I had what it would take to make it to Auburn. I could only imagine what they went through. So the next week I began training. Each weekend I would go a little further and a little further. Within a few months I very slowly completed a 30 mile run and by November I completed a 50 mile race with a good enough time to qualify me to enter the lottery to get into Western States. I was lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery and I spent the next 6 months training as hard as my body would allow me. The last weekend in June of 2006 I completed the Western States 100 in 23 ½ hours, earning the coveted silver buckle award for a sub 24-hour finish. The sense of accomplishment was unlike anything I’d felt before in athletics. I went into this totally committed to accomplishing a goal and I did it. I was done. I hung up my running shoes. Mission accomplished. At least that’s what I thought! I’d still go out for a run now and then but for the rest of 2006 and all of 2007 I didn’t train or race again. But there was always something pulling me back to that day between Squaw Valley and Auburn. I began to feel like I was wasting away that wonderful fitness I had worked so hard to achieve. By the end of 2007 I began to realize that I missed that nervous feeling I had that early morning as I stood at the starting line in Squaw Valley with 100 rugged miles stretched out ahead of me. Even more I missed that feeling less than 24 hours later as I crossed the finish line in Auburn. I also missed every agonizing mile in between. In 2008 I began training and racing again.


What I learned is that I don’t love running. It’s not about the running. I love the feeling of being fit and I love to have a goal to chase after, something to obsess over. So what motivates me to get up and run long before the sun comes up every morning? What motivates me to spend half a day on the weekend putting in 35 miles? The answer is fear! Fear of failure, fear of being unprepared. When you commit to lining up for a race with nothing but 100 miles of rough trail between you and the finish it is a little scary. You know before you even take that first step that you are in for a rough day, guaranteed. If you don’t get out of bed and run in the morning or if you don’t put in those miles on the weekend you will pay the price on race day. The distance is not forgiving.


So now we know what motivates me to get out the door and exercise but what drives me to push myself so far? Why do I want to run for 24-hours? I want to do it because it is hard. Many of us go through life without really challenging ourselves, without setting lofty goals. Some may find their lofty goal in their work or in other areas of their life. For me the purest challenges are physical challenges and the greater the challenge the greater the reward. What I love about Ultra distance running is that success or failure is not open to opinion. You either complete the distance within the allotted time or you don’t.


Does any of this apply to the weight loss challenge group I’ll be speaking to? Sure it does. There are many similarities between the weight loss challengers and my Go the Distance run.

First, you have to set a goal and announce it. The greater the goal the harder you have to work and the greater the reward when it is accomplished.

Second, you have to be motivated to meet that goal. You have to want it and that fear of failure is what will push you to chase after your goal every day.

Third, there are no quick results. No single day will make a big difference. Success will be a result of months or years of consistency.

Fourth, accountability. In my case that has never been as well defined as it is with the Go the Distance challenge I have set for myself. I recently mentioned to someone if they are ever having a hard time keeping to their exercise program, try telling an entire community that you are going to run for 24 hours for their children. You won’t miss a workout. What that means is I have no choice. I have made a commitment to an entire community to see this thing through to the end and I won’t let anyone down. I will be held accountable when I step on the track the morning of April 22nd. For the weight loss challengers that happens when they step on the scale. That’s the great thing about a weight loss challenge, they can’t hide and they know they will be held accountable and I commend them for having the courage to make the commitment.

So what drives you? What gets you out of bed every morning?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet the Go the Distance Team

In a couple of my previous posts I made mention of the Go the Distance Team that has been assembled and is responsible for putting this event together and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some of the key members.

There are really two teams at work right now. First, there is my personal team, my handlers. They are responsible for caring for me during the event and making sure I have what I need to continue for 24 hours. Second, there is the team of Franklin parents who are putting in many hours to ensure this event will meet the goals we are reaching for.

My Handlers:

Ron Bomhoff – If there is one person you would want in your corner taking care of you as you push yourself to the limit why not choose the person that has been taking care of you from day one. My Dad has crewed for me on many of my races and is not only knowledgeable of the trials of ultrarunning but he also has a very good sense of my condition during the runs. He will ultimately be the one responsible for monitoring my weight, electrolyte levels, hydration, calorie composition and overall health during the event. Decisions will be made here.

Kevin & Stacy Guerrero – (Sister and Brother-in-law) Stacy and Kevin have crewed for me at some of my longer races and know what to expect on April 22nd-23rd. Stacy was there for possibly my most difficult race and has seen the physical and emotional highs and lows a runner goes through in a long run. Kevin is an EMT and is known for his attention to detail. He will likely also be tracking my health by watching my electrolyte intake, weight, hydration, calories and split times. All this information will be charted and routine medical checks including blood pressure will be performed throughout the day and night just as a precaution.

Sheri Bomhoff – Like Stacy, Sheri has also been at enough races to understand what is needed and when. Sheri is multi-tasking and also will be in charge of some of the events scheduled to take place Thursday evening at the track. It is no coincidence that my handles are all family. Who else is going to stay up all night long and remain totally focused on making sure I have everything I need. Anybody?

The Event Management:

Gina Anixter – (Event Planner) – Gina is responsible for everything beyond this event being a guy running in circles for 24-hours to raise money for the school. (which is what it was when I first pitched the idea) Gina, an accomplished runner/triathlete herself, immediately came on board as the PTC liaison and began to get the wheels turning to make this a very special school event. She has been and will be involved in every aspect of the planning, fundraising and logistics of the event.

Kari jo Clark – (Public Relations / Marketing) Kari jo is putting the word out that there is an exciting event happening at Franklin School and has already distributed the first press release to all major media in the Sacramento area. In addition she has targeted local Loomis and Granite Bay community media and social groups to bring in interest from the entire community. When you see the news trucks at our school or the article in the paper you’ll know who is behind it.

Racine Shaw- (Treasurer) Racine is the PTC Treasurer and is working hard to figure out some of the details in setting up the online donation and registration issues and in accounting and reporting. This is one of those behind the scenes jobs that typically doesn’t get the credit it deserves given the amount of work that goes into it so thank you Racine! I had no idea how hard it was to collect money!

Michelle Guardino – (logistics Coordinator) Michelle will have her hands full on the day and the evening and the next day of the event. Her job as the Logistics Coordinator will be to take all the great events we have planned for the 2 days and figure out how, when and where to make them happen. I think we found the right person for the job! I’ve promised her it will be fun!

Andy Clark – (Emcee / Medic) – Andy has offered his talents both as the voice of the event and as a medic. I’m looking forward to hearing his skilz with the microphone but hope not to need his expertise as a medic. It will be nice to have him there as we do intend to have a trained medic on site for the full 24 hours. We’ll have to give him a cool DJ name too. Any suggestions?

Clint Nelson – (Corporate Sponsorship) Clint is also an experienced runner and triathlete and is working to attract athletic sponsorship and to partner with athletic promoters to support our event.

Lori Jorgensen, Connie Mancasola – (Assemblies and student involvement) We currently have two or three assemblies planned for Walk Toward Health Week. Lori and Connie will bring in individuals that will educate, motivate and entertain the kids about health and fitness. We are hoping to have assemblies at both the beginning and end of the event and involve the kids as much as possible.

Erika Small – Erika has become very involved in the planning of the event and is also doing some soliciting for Corporate Sponsorship and special guests. I understand she has some other tricks up her sleeve but I don’t know what those are yet. Surprise me!

Kristin Arietta – (Dinner auction) As you may know, Kristin has taken on the major task of putting on the Dinner Auction on March 20th. Somehow she has also found the time to be at our planning meetings and provided her valuable input. We intend to promote and raise money for this event at the Auction. Kristin is working with us on how that will be done and has come up with some great ideas. (I’m not crazy about that idea of wearing the running shorts to the Auction though!)

Ann Baker – (guidance and consultant) – Ann is our PTC President and has also been kind enough to be a part of this event and offer her wealth of knowledge and experience. This being my first fundraiser, having her direction has been invaluable.

Steve Stahlberg – (Sponsorship Consultant) Steve has provided his valuable insight to soliciting corporate sponsorship and helped mold our approach to fundraising. He is pretty well connected too!

There are many others who probably deserve to be on this list for their input. I have a long list of Franklin parents and friends who have offered their assistance. That kind of support is not only appreciated, it is also necessary. We will need many volunteers on the day or days of the event to pull the whole thing off and to tell you the truth that’s one thing I’m not worried about right now. Based on the feedback I’ve received from this community I have no doubt that we will have more than enough people coming forward to help make this happen.

I wanted to put this together to thank the people who have stepped up to put this event together. It has been a constantly evolving process where new ideas are implemented and new connections are made that shape the event. I’d welcome anyone who has an idea, a business sponsorship connection or who just wants to help to contact me at greg@gothedistancerun.com.

Gotta Run,

Greg

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Running a Fine Line -

Until now I have never trained for a race where I had to make it to the starting line. I have always prepared for the big races with the intention of lining up in top physical condition or not at all. Sometimes that meant training through those nagging injuries and hoping they would get better before race day. When preparing to run for 24-hours you are constantly running a fine line between maximum training and overuse injuries. It is just the nature of the beast. There will be aches and pains, legs muscles will be sore and those first steps of the day will always be a little slow. Knowing the difference between normal soreness and early signs of an overuse injury is the key.

For the first time in my life I’m training for an event where it is imperative that I get to the starting line and it has me thinking. Although I have every intention of being in the best shape of my life on April 22nd it is even more important for me to stay healthy and injury free over the next 3 months. I can't back out of this event if training doesn’t go my way. My training had been slow and steady from October thru December and my legs always felt good even on the longer weeks. As of January 1st , I flipped the switch and the serious training began (see blog post below). Over the last two weeks I have run nearly 200 miles. Four of those days I did runs of over 25 miles. All those miles were under an 8 minute mile pace and about half were under a 7 minute mile. The speed and distance has jumped considerably and the legs have taken notice.

I am still running that fine line but I need to reconsider the balance point in my training philosophy. I am paying more attention to those little aches and pains than I had in the past. At the moment everything feels as it should and I have no intention of slowing down. There is a dull aching in my legs, I’m asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow and I’m running farther and faster week after week. These are all indicators that the training is working. With that in mind I’ll press on but cautiously. I will not hesitate to take a few days off at the first sign of injury. Being in the best shape of my life will mean nothing if I can’t Go the Distance due to injury. Run smart!

“In order to finish first, you must first finish!”

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time to flip the switch

It is the beginning of January and I have been training specifically for this event for a little over 2 months now. All the training I have done up to this point has just been preparation for what I’m about to put my body through over the next 110 days.

My first blog post (below)was a summary of how I plan to prepare for this run. I have kept to the plan and ran consistently each week. My weekly mileage started out at 45 miles per week and gradually increased to 90 miles last week. The runs have been easy and I’ve had very little soreness or fatigue as a result of the slow steady miles. That’s about to change! Starting this week I’ll flip the switch and begin training at a new intensity. The short runs will be at a much faster pace and the long runs will have me out there for 4-7 hours. If all goes as planned, the intensity and distance will continue to increase week after week until I reach a peak about a month before Go the Distance. The weekly milage in the three weeks leading up to the peak will be well over 100 miles with a weekly long run in the 35-50 mile range. Better keep the hot tub warm!

As I’m writing this description about my training, I noticed the similarities between how I’m preparing for this run and how the Go the Distance team is preparing to make this event something special.

Me: I’ve begun slowly building the miles in the initial months to lay the foundation for the heavy work I’m about to do. I have studied the event and analyzed split times. I have worked on my pace plan and fueling plan with regard to my calorie composition, fluid intake and electrolyte intake.

Team: The first couple of months have been about organizing and putting together a good plan and a good team to get it done. The website and social networks are in place, the press releases are prepared and we are ready to release this thing to the public.

Me: It is time for the running to increase in intensity and distance until March 22nd.

Team: With the groundwork in place, the Go the Distance team is ready to begin the real work. They will introduce this event to media and begin working with Corporate Sponsors and Local Businesses to build the event into something special.

Me: After March 22nd my mileage will decrease and I’ll focus on recovering and being fresh and ready for the event. I will also use this time to fine tune my pace charts and go over all the details with my handlers that will take care of me during the run.

Team: In the last 30 days the team will also be fine tuning the varied elements of the event. If we are successful in bringing interest to the event there will be many details that will need to come together on the day of the run.

Me & Team: It will be the culmination of 6 months of planning and preparation that will make the event a success. There are no shortcuts! At 8:50 on Friday the 23rd of April we will all be satisfied that we gave our best and hope that we have made a difference to the children of Franklin school and the community as a whole. Then we will rest.