Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 31, 2008

Q&A: 16 hours, 100 miles. How'd he do it? Burritos (and other answers)


Q: When and how did you start running? A: I started running in 1996, just as I was graduating from law school down in D.C. (at) Georgetown. I was a pack-a-day smoker and realized I needed to make a change as I headed into the professional world, so I started running. I started with a mile and then worked my way up. In 1998, I ran my first marathon. Funny thing is that I did not fully quit smoking until the month before my first marathon in 1998.

Q: How hard was making the jump from running marathons to running 100 miles?

A: I got into ultra running when I saw an ad by a local ultra running club in Topsfield (Gil's Athletic Club) for a nighttime run. It was a 25-mile run that started at 10 at night in the woods in Ipswich. I ran and was hooked. The GAC folks are extremely nice. That was back in spring 2006. Since then, I have raced five 50Ks, three 50 milers, a 100K and the Vermont 100-miler. The best way to describe it was that it was tough, but not as tough as people might think. By the time I started training for ultra marathons, I had run more than 10 marathons, including a personal best of 2:33 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2005. I knew what it was like to work hard. Training for an ultra marathon is a lot like training for a marathon, but the long runs are just longer. It is simple in some ways.

Q:What does your family think of you running 100 miles?

A: I am very fortunate to have a very supportive wife and two great kids. They are all very proud of me and help me out, whether it is my kids sitting with me when I stretch or my wife who does everything from listening to me talk about my running, to helping me with my race planning and being my crew, like at the Vermont 100.

Q: The Vermont 100 mile race started at 4 a.m. Is this when you usually train, or do you train in the evening?

A: I do almost all of my training in the morning. I am a corporate attorney and a partner in a large law firm. I work a lot of hours and often get home late. I know that if I do not get my run done in the morning, I may not get out to run that night. So I usually get up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and get out for my runs. By the time I'm home, my kids are getting up and I am able to spend time with them before going to work. Same on the weekends, because I want to get back by the time my kids get up so that we can spend time together.

Q: You mentioned the crews who met the runners to give them things like clean pairs of socks. How many pairs did you think you went through?

A: Only two pairs. I usually don't change my socks or shoes, but it was a wet day and my feet were swelling from the terrible humidity, so I opted to change my socks at the 70-mile aid station. There was a huge thunderstorm 30 minutes later so the comfort didn't last long.

Q: How did you feel upon completion of the race?

A: I was just very happy. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. It was a long road to get to that point, not just the 100 but all the training and setbacks. In the end, I ran as well as I could have that day and it was a great result, even better than I expected. Second place in my first 100-mile race is not too shabby.

Q: What's next for you?

A: First, I need to get some rest and recovery. I feel pretty good at this point, but my wife is due with our third child in two weeks so I will be spending a lot more time at home helping out. Then, more running and racing. There is a very popular, local ultra marathon in Topsfield in November — it is called the Stonecat 50 Miler. I've wanted to run it every year but something always comes up. I definitely want to run it and if I am in shape and the weather conditions are good, I am hoping to set a new course record. Next year, my focus will be on the Western States Endurance Run.