I ran with Mike Warren at Rim to River 100 a few weeks ago and he then invited me to speak on his podcast “Master Runner”. He focuses on those of us between the ages of 40 and 49. He takes a deep dive into the stories behind these fellow master, grandmaster (50-59), and senior grandmaster (60+) athletes, along with their successes, struggles, and favorite mistakes they’ve made along the way.
As a child, Patrick, a newly minted master runner at the age of 41, remembers countless days accompanying his dad on his track workouts. While running up and down the bleachers as his dad sped around the track, his father’s dedication, hard work, and enjoyment were never lost on him, and those attributes became the foundation for the man he is today.
Now a father himself, Patrick continues instilling these values in his own children through his constant dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm toward running. While his family shares some of his love for running, he also wants them to know the more important part is to just enjoy this stint down here called life.
Great boost of energy once you are tired. Took it twice during the race and really helped get me back on my feet.
Fire pit to dry feet
Have no spare socks but near an aid station? Use the fire pit to dry everything out! Why did I never think of this?!?!?! Thank you random drunk pacer that had no runner! Put my shoes, socks, and bare feet next to the fire for 5 minutes and they were as good as new!
Pre-set race pace of 12:30-13:30
Right at the start, I tried to hold this pace but I didn’t do it enough. It was both good and bad because I still would rather run slightly faster with someone than alone.
No rocks! What was amazing was how different the trails were from PA-type trails. That is basically all I know and most of what I have run.
I thought it was a joke when they called PA “Rocksylvania”, but it’s true! The course had way fewer rocks than the trails in Philly. (Wissahickon)
One of the aid stations would NOT give me soup/soda because I didn’t have my cup. I told them multiple times it fell out of my pack. I get it guys, you want to go cupless, but using one cup for a guy who lost his isn’t a big deal. The next aid station was able to make it work and got me a replacement cup.
Ran out of water during an 11-mile section.
I didn’t top off my water bladder before I left the aid station. This was a HUGE mistake. I had to drink from a stream because I was dying of thirst and it was getting really hot.
Didn’t close the aid bag and it got rained in it.
Didn’t change shoes because 3rd pair got soaked and I also forgot to carry an extra pair of socks.
Out and back format of this race can be annoying on the single-track sections.
Watch course tracking via Garmin didn’t work very well on the GPX files I had loaded. This cause me to get lost once.
My feet were wet for too long and I paid the price. I will never go that long with wet feet without changing socks. If it’s been more than 20+ miles and they have been wet, be prepared for some foot pain.
Forgot my headlamp for the race start, but was able to grab it from the aid station truck.
Feedback for race directors:
If I had a message for the race directors it would be that all aid station bags should be kept under a canopy. Every other 100 I have run has done this. I know it was my fault, but they lined them up out in the open to make it easier to find but got soaked in the process. It was 100% my fault for leaving my bag open a bit which caused it to get flooded.
Allows people to use non-waterproof bags.
Have backup cups for people that might lose them on the course. This is also my fault, but please have some leniency.
I thought a drop bag was mandatory for Friday night. Some people like to give them a once-over at the hotel. I don’t know if I missed that note, but the trucks were still there in the AM.
What I would do differently?
I was consistent with my pace, but not enough. I was with people that pushed me slightly faster than I wanted to run. I still would have rather run with someone than alone so this was still the right decision, but I need to try a race fully set at a target pace. The fact I forgot my spare socks in my pack was pretty dumb.
I gave my buckle to my dad because he joked about when was I going to give him one. It was a tiny act of kindness I could do for someone who sacrificed everything. There are so many people that come together to make this happen. I would give them all buckles if I could, my in-laws, my parents, my wife, aid station workers, and people who marked the course. The list is endless, but I’m just glad there are people that make these races a reality. Check out the video below to see the course through my eyes. I hope you enjoy watching it! I really enjoyed running it!
Runner Shout out:
Michael Warren, Jennifer Russo, and Brian Collins shared the most miles with me and I can’t thank them enough!
What went right? It was cold at the start so I took arm sleeves, gloves, and compression for my legs. This was my 9th time doing Blues Cruise, and I decided that I was going to throw caution to the wind. I didn’t really care if I got an age group award. I knew I had the training in the bank to PR and this was going to be the weather for it. I set the “virtual partner” on my Garmin at a 9:00-minute pace for the race. Only 4 out of the 31 miles were slower, either because of an aid station or a big climb. I was FAST at each aid station, no chatting, just grab n’ go. Things really started to pick up once I met Zach Landis. He was moving FAST, so the two of us shared some miles together pushing the pace. It was hard, but it never felt THAT hard. Eastern States 100 increased my propensity to suffer. I can hurt 10X more than I thought I was capable of. I ran with that mindset of, “this isn’t ES100 pain”. I also used music at the start and just stayed in my little world and kept grinding. Watching the pace of each mile and I kept hitting my target with relative ease and comfort. A large majority of that was related to the weather. The conditions of the day will dictate your performance in these things, and I think people sometimes forget that.
This was an extremely light kit for this race. I think one of my biggest issues in past seasons is not utilizing aid stations. I tended to carry too much food/water. I would rather keep it light with just the bare minimum for weather like this. A first-time mistake is to take way more than you need, but I think I only realized that after 9 of these damn races.
What went wrong? I didn’t need my gloves. I forgot the race was cupless so I couldn’t take soda at one aid station. This was almost a perfect execution of a race, not much went wrong. My Insta360 Go2 died halfway and I missed some funny moments, that might be the extent of what went “wrong”. The camera is tough to shoot with because you have no screen. That’s why I also bring the pocket DJI camera as a backup.
What would I have done differently? NOTHING! This was a year of a bunch of PRs and I attribute that to new running friends (Alex, Kellen, and John), a change in mindset, and gratitude to be alive and able to do this. My mantra this year is “I don’t mind what happens” and I just kept saying “Funk it! LET’S GO”! I told myself that racing is exciting but really doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of things. Who cares if I bonk or blow up, it’s just another BC in the books, and in a few years nobody cares, hell a few days I won’t even care. Live in the moment! Live in the mile! SMILE because there’s only a handful of these types of races you will do in your life!
The best moment in the race for me was when someone said I was in 12th place. I knew it was only halfway and I could catch a few people. I started to visualize holding the oar. I WANTED to hold the oar! I would NOT be stopped from holding the GOD DAMN OAR!!! That just kept repeating in my mind, “OAR OAR OAR”! Does anybody need an oar? NO! WTH am I going to do with this thing?
This type of performance comes from perfect weather, good rest, and NO MENTAL DAEMONS! I had just read The Relationship Handbook, and this part really stuck out.
Insecurity is the source of distress and all counterproductive behavior. Thoughts of insecurity periodically pass through our minds. If we dismiss these thoughts, we will remain secure, our ideal selves: easygoing, joyful, compassionate and wise. If we harbor our thoughts of insecurity, we end up in a state of distress.
Another way of saying it is “Change your thoughts, change your world”. You actually don’t have to listen to what your mind is telling you. Realize that low moods pass. Just because you have a bad day or bad mile, doesn’t mean you will have a bad race. I kept this mindset with me the entire time and I think it paid off.
I have been recording almost all my races and throwing together a little montage for myself and my kids to enjoy. I do this to show them how running can change your life if you let it.