Change Is Good!

Today, I am posting about CHANGE and why something that should be so easy, actually is anything but, for most people.

The definition of CHANGE is this; “To make or become different“. So, now that we know the book definition of change, let me convey some of my thoughts on why it is so difficult for many.

1.) ACCEPTANCE – Everyone, regardless of what they may say and or outwardly express, wants to be accepted. People get comfortable within their “social bubble” and they worry that by changing, they will no longer be accepted by this said bubble. They have a fear of being an outcast or no longer capable of fitting in to the status quo of that particular group in which they seek acceptance.

2.) FEAR OF UNCERTAINTY – This is the big one, particularly for you runners out there. People tend to fear what they do not know how to combat. By nature, we as animals are creatures of habit. We get caught up in our safe havens and we are scared to branch out to see what lies beyond. We tend to eat the same things, drive the same routes to and from a location, get stuck in the same routine. As a runner, we constantly want to stick to a certain pace, a certain course, a certain time of day, etc. Do not get me wrong here, consistency is a good thing too, however, consistency will eventually lead to complacency and, complacency leads to plateauing and, plateauing leads to mediocrity.

3.) FAILURE – Most people are scared to FAIL!! It’s that simple. When you look at something new, be it a new training plan, a new job, a new diet, etc, etc., the initial thought is “CAN I DO THIS?” We get very comfortable in our routine and what we do on a regular basis, especially if that routine yields an above average result. Take a new training plan for instance. Regardless of how much success a particular training plan might have amongst one’s peers, the first thought is “Well what if it doesn’t work?”….”what if I regress”. Rather than being optimistic, the first thought is to be pessimistic.

4.) SETTLING – Once we get to a point and once we achieve that initial success, we settle. We settle with relationships, we settle with careers, we settle with diets, we settle with our lives and, everything in between. “This isn’t my dream job but, it pays the bills”. “This isn’t my ideal weight but, it’s way to much effort to lose the weight”. “I am not seeing any further improvements in my training but, I am not regressing so that’s good”. Whatever it is you are settling for, understand that there is always more out there to achieve. This is not to say that you don’t have a great life and that you aren’t happy with your life. This is just to say that, an additional rainbow or two or, an extra cherry on top, never hurt anyone.

So, with that to ponder, get out there and make some changes. Make the move to give up your Diet Coke. Make the change to add in some strength work instead of some junk miles. Wake up a half hour early and use that time to do something worth while.

Change doesn’t have to be drastic. A little here and a little there can add a whole lot of spice and flavor to your life.

Don’t be that person who is finishing out their life, only to wish they had made a change all those years ago. The time is now, make it happen!

Featured Athlete of the Month, (David Mick)

In order to highlight and show support of our awesome athletes, The Endurance Project ( will be choosing one athlete per month, who represents the project in every desired way. The Endurance Project, aside from seeking hardworking, dedicated and talented athletes, also looks for other traits that set their athletes aside from others. Selflessness is one of the most desired traits that we seek in The Endurance Project and, this month’s athlete exemplifies that on a daily basis.

So without further adieu, I introduce David Mick

Most recently, David has been kicking ass in the Spartan Race scene! In the past month, David has placed in the top 15 at Spartan Race Amesbury, MA at Spartan Race Wintergreen, VA and yesterday at Spartan Race Tri-State, NJ.

But, it’s not David’s recent racing success that has made him September’s “Athlete of the Month”. As his coach, his friend and as founder of The Endurance Project, it’s David’s selflessness that takes precidence over any and all other athletic success and is what sticks out the most to me.

You’ll never hear David boast or brag or talk about himself. In fact, David is first to talk up someone else, rather than himself. He puts his teammates, his friends and his family first, in both athletics and in life. An example of his character: Earlier this year, myself, along with another runner, was to pace and be seeing guides for Michael Davis (a blind athlete with Team Hoyt VB) at the 117th Boston Marathon. Last minute, the other runner could not join me so, I called David and asked him to be the other guide for Michael. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said YES! There was no “well let me think about it” or “let me see how I recover from Shamrock marathon”…..oh yeah, I forgot to mention, he had just ran a PR 3:03 marathon a few days earlier and was still recovering. He simply said yes, not because of any attention he would get or that because it was the Boston Marathon…he simply did it because a friend needed him.

On Wednesday evenings, you’ll find David (also assistant coach), working with New Energy P.O.W.E.R at Mt. Trashmore ( NE POWER is a running/fitness club for children with special needs. You will see David out there, pushing his friend Katiana and running along, with a dozen or more kids following in pursuit. They all love Coach David!!

In August, David was slated to push Katiana for Team Hoyt VB at the Alan Stone Memorial 5k…well, turns out that Katiana desired to take part in the RUN/SWIM/RUN portion of the Alan Stone. True to his nature, David agreed and, without any recent swim training, strapped on the harness, put Katiana in the raft and completed his first RSR for Team Hoyt VB.

To provide a quick back story, David joined our running group in December of 2011. He was a former standout wrestler, who had let the daily grind of life and work catch up to him and had put on some weight and had gotten out of shape. He had recently been a pack a day smoker and the stresses of life were catching up to him. After joining our group, David immediately started showing some natural athletic talent but, it was his work ethick and dedication that really made me take notice. His personality and sense of humor was also a great fit for our group and for my coaching style.

Since then, David has been one of the most dedicated and hardest working athletes I have had the pleasure to work with. He has consistently dropped his times in all race distances from the mile to the marathon. He completed the Spartan Ultra Beast last year, where he got lost and ended up turning a 26 mile race into a 32 mile run..but rather than quit, he stuck with it, finished and showed a ton of heart (many of the elites who got lost with him, quit at that point). David will be competing in his 2nd Ultra Beast in two weeks and is a favorite to make the podium and possibly take the top spot.

No matter the challenge or the task, David is always right there, willing to take it on. If I ask him to pace another athlete in training or a race, he does it, no questions asked. When I needed support for the 24 hour run for Team Hoyt VB, he was there, lending his time and services anyway that he could.

David is also one of the most loyal people I know and if you are his friend, there is nothing the guy won’t do for you. There is no doubt that whatever David decides to do, he can excel at. Aside from continuing his focus on the Spartan Races, he has signed up for the summer Spartan Death Race for 2014 and has mentioned doing a few ultras and triathlons.

I look forward to working with and competing with David throughout the upcoming months, year and, beyond.

Here is to many great things to come, David!

Who will be the featured athlete for the month of October? Stay tuned and in the meantime, Happy training!

Fueling for the Long Run!!

Having recently completed nearly 22 hours of continuous movement, that resulted in 90 miles of distance covered, I have been getting a lot of questions in regards to my nutrition during this event. Because of all the requests, I decided to share with you all.


Unlike for a marathon where everyone tries to carbo load leading up the the race, to ensure their glycogen levels are high. There is not much need for this practice during an ultra. Essentially, because of the paces you are running during a 100 mile event is at such a slower pace, relative to a marathon and because you will be eating quite a bit on the go (or should be), you really won’t have to worry much about glycogen depletion.

In a typical marathon, you must rely on the on course gels and or drink provided by the race or, some people carry their own gels, sport beans, gummies, or, whatever it is you fancy to get you through to the finish without bonking (running out of glycogen).

For the 24 hour event, I was running laps around a local 400 meter track, thus, I could essentially have a Golden Corral buffet set up out there had I wanted to, because I was always within close proximity to my fuel supply.

10 days out from the race, I made sure my diet was consisting of nearly nothing but fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts and lots and lots of hydration. I also started a loading cycle of several key amino acids as well. Aside from just ensuring my body stayed fueled with calories, I wanted to ensure that my body stayed supplied with the amino acids and electrolytes it would need during the run, but also to keep the tanks filled so that post run recovery was much quicker.

The night before the race, I went with a pre race favorite of Pho. This is an amazing Vietnemese rice noodle soup. I choose Pho over the traditional pasta choice of many runners, for several reason. 1.) It has no gluten, thus, it keeps my stomach happy. 2.) A large bowl of this Pho has 20+ ounces of broth that is loaded with sodium. 3.) It is served with a generous amount of fresh basil and, if you are unaware, basil has high amounts of vitamin A, calcium and magnesium. It is also a very good natural anti-inflammatory and works in the same fashion as NSAIDS. 4.) Pho is also packed with a high amount of carbohydrates via the rice noodles.

The morning of, I awoke at 5:45 am to start preparing for my 9:00am start time. At 6:00, I had a mint chocalate chip SR bar (, which provided me with a quick 300 calories, 20 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbs and 10+ grams of fat.

Throughout my buildup for this event, I had been training my body to burn primarily fat vs. glycogen because well, I wouldn’t be relying much on glycogen based on the paces I would be running/walking. Not to go into to great of scientific detail but, the body prefers to burn fat as it’s primary fuel, particularly over long distances. The average person can only stock 2000-3000ish calories worth of glycogen (most of which is used for brain function). Once that stock is burned through, the body starts going a bit buggy and all sorts of bad things can happen. So, in order to avoid this, the person much either continue pouring glycogen, in the form of some outside, down their throats in order to keep the glycogen levels up and thus, avoid the dreaded “bonk”. However, if you can get your body burning a higher ratio of fat to glycogen, you can push back the rate of glycogen expenditure, therefore extending your capacity of continued movement.

Once the run got started at 9:00am, my nutrition looked like this for the most part (aside from an extra calorie or two here and there)

Within each hour (for first 12 hours) : I would consume 300-400 calories per hour (gradually throughout the hour) in the form of bites of fruit (watermelon, cantalope, grapes) and via sips of a bottle of a mixture of 12 ounces lemonade and a scoop of Generation UCAN (230 calories per bottle).

Every hour – 2 tablets of Homeostasis Electrolytes (

Every 2 hours – 500mg Taurine, 500mg L-Glutamine, 500mg L-Arginine, 500mg L-Carnitine, 500mg Rhodiola

Every 4 hours – 4g L-Leucine, 1g L-Isoleucine, 1g L-Valine


FOOD/CALORIES – Same as above, with the exception of 1 8oz of Red Bull at 10:00pm and one at 2:00 am. Also had a cup and a half of straight black coffee during this time. During the last 10 hours of the run, I relied primarily on my liquid calorie drink mentioned above, lots of aqueous fruits and 3 handfuls of kettle cooked potato chips.

Once the sun went down, I continued with the electrolyte tabs but at a rate of 2 tables ever two hours. I kept all other supplements and amino acid intake the same.

As stated before, aside from the swelling of the ankle, I had no muscle or joint soreness anywhere else to speak of. I believe that the proper nutrition/supplement plan is what really prevented me from getting beat up over my entire body and I believe it is what kept me going the entire time with no “bonk” or GI problems.

Miles For Smiles!!

What started as merely idle chit chat amongst two running nerds (myself and Tommy Neeson), finally became a reality yesterday at 6:00am on September 1st. Several months back, Tommy and I were discussing various ideas to raise awareness and to promote fundraising for Team Hoyt VB ( We were originally discussing the ideas of how awesome it would be to run a coast-to-coast run from Eugene, Oregon, to Washington D.C, with the idea of trying to find a chapter of Ainsley’s Angels ( and My Team Triumph ( along our planned route. Tommy, being the somewhat sensible man that he is, decided that particular endeavor would have to wait and instead, suggested that we start with something smaller.

That “something smaller” came in the form of running for 24 hours, covering as many miles as possible and including as many rider athletes (Captains) as possible. Having done a few charity runs himself, Tommy suggested that we attach something that would be draw a bit of attention toward the mission. In this case, 6 world records for mileage while pushing a running chair, would be the platform.

When this idea was conceived back in Janurary, it seemed like 9 months was so far away and that I had plenty of time to prepare myself. However, how do you go about preparing yourself for something like this? Sure, there are a million and one training plans and advice on how to run a 24 hour run but, none of those plans include doing it while pushing a racing wheel chair with varying sized rider athletes. I knew that for this endeavor, my upper body strength and endurance would have to match my lower body strength and endurance, thus, it would take an unorthoxed approach to prepare my body for this.

Against all conventional wisdom, I decided to forego the high mileage training that is typical of an ultra marathon traning plan and instead add quality mileage to the tune of 20-25 miles per week, supplemented with a great deal of xtraining and strength endurance work. I wanted my body to be able to withstand the rigors of such a task and I knew that in order to do that, my body needed to be strong.

From Janurary until early July, the training was going quite well and I had more than enough confidence that I was up for the challenge. Then, a bit of a setback occured. During a training run, I get a sharp pain in my heel and was forced to hobble back to my car. Diagnosis? Turns out I had suffered from an onset of Plantar Fascitis. THIS, was a a hard pill to swallow. I could barely walk around for the first couple weeks, let alone run. WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I GOING TO DO??

If this had been a race for myself, I would have withdrawn and moved on. But, this event was not about me, it was about our rider athletes, it was about raising awareness, it was about MILES FOR SMILES!! I sulked for a couple of days, then I got back on the horse and vowed to have myself as ready as I possibly could. I may not be a 100% when August 31st rolled around but, I knew that I was going to do everything in my power to complete the mission. Despite only running a total of 32 miles over a 7 week period, I maintained fitness in the form of high intensity cross training and long roller blading sessions to keep my endurance up.


So the morning of the event is now upon us. “Are you ready”, “Are you nervous”? These are just a few of the questions I heard in the final hours leading up the the 9:00am start. To answer, I really wasn’t nervous and though physically I was not 100%, I was mentally ready 200% and for me, that was enough.

With the help of so many friends, the event started with a bang! Wheels were rolling at precisely 9:00 am with a little kick-off music by our on-site DJ, Tommy Bell (who stayed throughout the entire event, keeping us rolling with good tunes).

So as to not be a bore fest of watching a chair go around and around a track, we had a bounce house for the kids (and David Mick), a Team Hoyt relay (this consisted of pairing four runners with a rider athlete, each running 400m each), a Glo-Run (everyone running around in neon, glow in the dark attire and accessories). We had the local VB Fire Dept. out there with a firetruck, giving tours for all the children.

Aside from contending with the heat and no cloud coverage, the daylight hours went rather well. With so much on site support and activity, the hours flew by faster than anticipated. As per the itenarary, I would run for 50 minutes or so, then spend the last 10 minutes of each hour, switching out riders, changing shoes and socks as needed and replenishing calories.

For 17 hours, I couldn’t be more pleased. My body was holding up better than anticipated, my nutrition and hydration was on point (thanks in part to all those who kept ensuring I drink and eat even when I didn’t want to), I was listening to many stories from both the riders and as well as from those who were running along beside, pacing me. The tunes were blasting from the DJ booth, there were smiles galore. Everything was great and THEN…

It was about hour 18, I started to feel my ankles getting tight and a throbbing pain started to set in. My first measure of maintenance was to get my ankles taped, which helped a bit, then I decided to try some anti-inflammatory gel…then, despite everything that I stand for, I broke down and consumed some Ibuprophen (if you know me, this means things has gotten bad).

From here on out, I knew it was going to be painful, but I would keep pressing forward. There were high and low points during the next 3-4 hours. At one point, when the pain was really bad, the young girl I was pushing said “It’s amazing that you are using your running ability to help us who can’t run. I would really like to run a martathon someday myself, though the doctor’s say I can’t”. That comment got me through the next few miles, to say the least.

Finally, around hour 20, my run/walk combo had turned strictly into a walk only. Granted, I was still able to walk a decent pace, but each step was excrutiating. It was around this time that I put together one last attempt to try and get me through the remaining few hours. Another tape job, some more Ibuprophen and some more anti-inflammatory gel. None of which would end up working.

At hour 21.5, I needed just 10 more miles to get to the 100 mile mark but, it just wasn’t meant to be. The swelling in my ankles was so bad, I could not longer walk. I took a 30 minute break to ice and treat them, hoping with all hope that I could get just a couple more hours out of them.

Finally, closing in on the 22 hour mark, I had to make one very tough decision. With medical advice from Dr. Wittenburg and counsel from my wife and friends, I decided the mission would end, 2 hours short of the overall goal.

Though it has left me a bit heavy hearted, knowing I did not finish what I had set out to, I can rest easy knowing that I gave my all. I couldn’t walk another step (still can’t walk).

As the rest of my Team Hoyt VB teammates and family lined up to head to the start of the Rock N Roll half marathon, I had a tear in my eye, knowing that the last 22 hours was in fact, not a waste and, that the goal of “Total Inclusion and Awareness”, was met.

The things I learned during those 22 hours was this: 1.) Support from family and friends mean everyting. 2.) Love, compassion and smiles can fix just about anything. 3.) The human body and mind is capable of much more than you would ever think possible. 4.) Selflessness is the greatest of gifts.

In order to thank everyone who had a part in this, I would have at least 12 pages of content. So, I will instead thank many as all inclusive groups. Thank you to:

1.) Our Team Hoyt VB family and Ainsley’s Angels

2.) Our friends who were with us throughout the entire journey, especially the ones who kept us going in the darkest times, running countless miles throughout the day.

3.) The Virginia Beach Police..WOW! (these guys/gals came out and supported us in a way I would never have expected..even joining us for a few laps with their motorcyles, their horses and even a few of them on foot).

4.) To the complete strangers who came out to support us and run a few laps with us.

5.) To the entire medical staff and crew (Sentara, Dr. Wittenburg, Mrs. Peggy, Matt Bolton).

6.) Homestasis Electrolytes and SR Bars for providing me with the nutrition and supplements I needed to keep going

7.) Our amazing DJ

8.) The city of Virginia Beach, the Mayor, the City Commisioner and Beach Middle school for allowing us to have this event on your wonderful grounds, in your wonderful city.

9.) Most importantly, I would like to thank all of our rider athletes. Without them, none of this would have been possible, nor would it have had any purpose or meaning. I truly hope that each and everyone of you know just how amazing these individuals are. Throughout the day, we had 20+ different riders. During that time, we had nothing but smiles and laughter from each and everyone of them. In fact, I have never heard so many laughs and giggles in my life.

As I sit here, with my ankles swollen to the point of needing crutches to walk, I can’t help but to think about how much it was worth it. To see the awareness this event raised and to experience the love and joy that surrounded it all, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and pride.

Again, thank you all for everything! Now, to start planning for next year’s grand event! 😉