Saturday, February 26, 2011

aR racers unite! Fall road trip to VA for ultra champs

With only one more snowshoe race left in the season(sigh), it is time to look to the future. What better way keep your motivation up than by committing to a 100k ultra. And not just any ultra, but what is being hailed as the ultra of champions. Check out the article below:

Trail Runner Magazine and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports Announce
First Annual Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions

February 25, 2011, Carbondale, CO, and Charlottesville, VA—Trail Runner magazine and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports have joined forces for the first-ever ultrarunning championship race. On September 24th, 2011, the world’s best ultrarunners will race for 100 kilometers and compete for a slice of the $10,000 prize purse in the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions (UROC).

“Until now, there has been no definitive ultra championship race,” says current Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run record holder, Geoff Roes, also the Trail Runner UROC Elite Athlete Liaison. “Most elite runners want a race that will guarantee them a chance to run against other top runners, and those I've spoken with say they are willing to change their racing schedule for the opportunity to run the inaugural Trail Runner UROC.”

Directed by Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports, UROC is the creation of J. Russell Gill and Francesca Conte, founders of Charlottesville Running Company and Bad to the Bone. “We want this to be the event,” says Gill. “We’ve been developing the concept for several years, and are doing everything possible to bring the best of the best together for one day, while keeping Trail Runner UROC open to all runners.”

The 2011 race will take place just outside of Charlottesville, within Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. And while the world’s best ultrarunners will contend for a cash purse, UROC encourages runners of all abilities to come out and share the course. Trail Runner UROC strives to support the intimate “family” culture of trail and ultrarunning.

The out-and-back 100K course features 12,948 feet of elevation gain and loss, 32 miles of singletrack, 25 miles of mountain gravel roads and five miles on the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway. And for runners looking for a shorter challenge, the Great Eastern Endurance Run 50K and Half Marathon Trail Races will take place the same day and share sections of the Trail Runner UROC course.

The goal of UROC is to gather as many elite ultra runners as possible. Elite runners will be invited based on the recommendations of a Trail Runner UROC advisory panel and their performances at events such as: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the four Grand Slam 100-mile events (Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run and Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run) and other select ultra races around the world.

“We’re excited to partner with such experienced and respected trail runners and race directors as Gill and Francesca to promote and grow this unprecedented event,” says Michael Benge, Editor of Trail Runner magazine, the official media sponsor of UROC. “The Trail Runner UROC constitutes the first-ever formal ultrarunning championship, the veritable Superbowl of Ultrarunning.”

Registration opens March 14th, 2011, at If you are an elite runner, email J. Russell Gill at or Geoff Roes at for more information. Visit for race updates

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Danny Ferreira interviews Greg Whitman

My recent debacle at the Philips Exeter Swim meet made me rethink my swim training-wondering whether it would be adequate for an Ironman. That got me thinking about my good friend and great swimmer, Greg Whitman, and whether he could help shed some light on what I could possibly do differently to improve my swimming. Yes, the same Greg Whitman who let me borrow his bone stimulator for my stress fracture last May, convinced me a 6 mile swim in the Hudson was a good idea, the other half of the unsuccessful attempt at P90X, and who lost his car keys on the top of Mount Lafayette after a long and cold early winter hike. He also recently moved to Australia to start his MD training and therefore has become a little harder to reach. I figured I could interview him and hopefully get some useful information that could help me not come out of the water last come May. Without any further introduction, here's that interview:

How'd you get started swimming?

My first swim lesson came when I was still in diapers. My parents believed that learning to swim was important and that early exposure was critical for me to develop a healthy respect for the water. My mom was, and to some extent still is, terrified of the water.

When my mom was a child, living on a farm in North Dakota, her mom took her to the pool. As my mom tells it, her mom, my grandma, was so embarrassed by the fact that my mom and her sisters couldn't swim that she never took them back.

My parents kept me in swim lessons and at age 5, I joined our neighborhood swim team. Skyline Acres, a private swim and tennis club in Denver, Colorado, was a few blocks from where we lived. Skyline is where I learned to swim, compete, and be a member of a team. Many of my lifelong friends have come from our membership and my years of swimming for and at Skyline.

What about swimming do you most enjoy? Dislike?

I don't have much on my facebook page but you might have seen that I have a quote from Fran Crippen. In speaking with a group of kids he said, "the thing that I remember is not necessarily the races that I have done over the years, but the friendships that I make and the people who I meet around the world. The friends you make in swimming will last you a lifetime." That is what I have enjoyed the most, the people I've met.

Other things I have enjoyed:

Morning practice, outside, with the smell of fresh cut grass, as the sun comes up, and steam rises from the pool...

Being able to put your head down when you don't feel like speaking to anyone and go through the rhythmic motions of an endless distance set...

Dislikes... that is hard. As far as actual swimming there aren't many things I dislike. Maybe, trying to get back in-shape after taking too long of a break and feeling like crap in the water. The NCAA and universities that use Title IX as an excuse to drop swim programs. But that isn't something I dislike about swimming. By-in-large that is institutions and individuals who view sport primarily as a means to advance their own ego or to line their pocket books (or at least act as such) but I digress...

You swam for college(where?), did that take away or enhance your love for the sport?

I did. I began my junior year of college as a walk-on member of the University of Kansas Men's Swim Team. My time with them however was short lived.

During my senior year of high school, I sustained a session ending injury. I fractured my right ischium (the hoops on the backside of your pelvis where your hamstrings attach) in two places, completely separating it from the rest of my pelvis. This ultimately changed my college swimming plans.

Despite having received several scholarship offers from Division I programs, I decided to enroll at Montana State University which did not have a swim team, focus on recovering from my injury and then transfer. Through my transfers though I jeopardized my eligibility and my collegiate swimming career ended prior to it ever really beginning.

List the places you've coached. Where was the best in terms of competition, in terms of enjoyment?

Overland High School, Aurora, Colorado - my alma mater

Spent 2 years assisting my club coach, Jim Railey, with the girls swim program

Lawrence High school, Lawrence, Kansas

One season with the girls swim program

University of Southern California - Schubert Swim Camp

Assisted US Olympic Coaches Mark Schubert and Jim Montrella as well as current Oregon State and former US Pan-Am Games coach Larry Liebowitz.

Also worked along side Olympians, Lenny Krayzelburg, Erik Vendt, Lindsay Benko, Kaitlin Sandeno, Klete Keller, and Janet Evans.

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Spent 3 years as an assistant under my long-time friend and teammate, Rich LeDuc (Skyline) and 1 year as the programs head coach.

United States Air Force Academy - Falcon Swim Camp

Assisted Olympian Casey Converse, the first man ever to break 15 minutes in the 1650, and Rob Clayton.

Dartmouth College

Served as the men's assistant coach under coach Jim Wilson for 1 year.

University of Michigan - Wolverine Swim Camp

Assisted US Olympic Coaches Jim Richardson, Bob Bowman and Jon Urbanchek.

Also worked along side Olympians, Erik Vendt, Kaitlin Sandeno, Klete Keller, Michael Phelps, and Peter Vanderkaay.

University of Southern Illinois

Served as the head assistant coach under US Open Water Team Coach Rick Walker for 1 year.

Harvard University - Technique Swim Camp

Directed the Competitive Site Swim Camp under Harvard Men's Head Coach and World Championship Coach Tim Murphy.

Each of these opportunities brought with it their own unique set of opportunities and challenges and I learned a lot from each. The Schubert Swim Camp, Falcon Swim Camp, Wolverine Swim Camp and Technique Swim Camp were all instructional camps and therefor were not competitive in nature. At Southern Illinois, we won the womens' conference championship and placed the men in the top 20 NCAA Division I rankings. I qualified my first NCAA qualifier at Metro State. The following year we qualified five.

You've obviously competed in pool meets but you also have done some pretty substantial open water swims[Greg holds the Alcatraz World Record]. Which do you find more challenging?

Right now, for me, I find pool swimming more challenging. Pool swimming, much more so than open water swimming, is quantitative. After each race, I know exactly how fast I am. I don't think I could handle knowing how not fast I am, so for the time being I'll stick with open water swimming.

Although having signed up for multiple triathlons, you have only completed one(a half ironman) during which you were sidelined due to a mechanical. Despite that, what would you recommend to people new to the sport in regard to swim preparation?

Train so that you are comfortable in the water, comfortable swimming in packs, and comfortable swimming in the open water. The swim is relatively short (at least compared to the bike and run) and you can draft (unlike in the bike). Learn about open water swimming strategy and practice these strategies.

 In your opinion, with only two months left in Ironman training, what's more important: continuing to work on steady swimming(as I am currently) or start doing some intervals to increase my speed? Remember: I'm only swimming two days a week.
You are only swimming two days a week? Didn't we talk about this?

For those of you who don't live in a State where the lakes and rivers are frozen for more of the year than they are not, get out and practice open water swimming techniques. This is where you can and should be doing your steady swimming.; do the bulk of your interval training in the nice controlled environment of a pool. However, if your local body of water is currently frozen you can still practice open water swimming in the pool. For example, try swimming three or four across in a lane.

Interval training should make up the bulk of your swim training with the majority of the intervals being of the short rest variety (i.e. 5-10 seconds). If you are doing repeats, and you should be, focus primarily on the 100/200/400 distances. Use your longer swims, swims such as 1.5K+, to test where you are with regard to your swim training.

What's on your bucket list for races?

I have a couple I am thinking of, but no must does at this point. I would like to do a swim like Cook's Straight or something super epic but we will see. Lake Tahoe, Maui Channel, and the Manhattan Marathon Swim always catch my eye. Any sponsors out there?

Give us a sample training week (of you right now and of you when in your training routine)?
When I think about it, I try to sit up straight and flex my abs. I also usually take the stairs. Honestly, I just moved to Sydney, Australia to attend medical school and my training has been replaced with trying to figure out where the hell I am. I'll get back to it soon.

At this point I will defer this question until my training routine has been re-established.

How's Australia? More swimming or less?

Australia is hot! The first week after I arrived it was over 100F every day. You would think that that would lead to more swimming and I assure you it will. There are a ton of pools, almost all of them 50 meter and many of them salt water.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello everyone.  Amber here. I have been absent on the blog for awhile secondary to a variety of reasons (namely the lack of computer I had access to) but I'm back.  I'm baaacckkk.  And I was thinking: is there a better way to blast back into the blogging scene than with an accurate description of Danny's swim performance a few weekends ago?  I don't think so.  I will admit have been a bit of a three-toed sloth in regards to contributing to our blog.  However, with the recent purchase of our computer and free WiFi access nothing can stop me now.

Let me begin by saying Danny showed up to the swim meet in true Danny Fashion = no warm up, super sonic jet speed consumption of large quantities of food which consisted of 1 bagel with cream cheese, 1 bagel with egg and one large coffee and, of course, blissful ignorance. The blissfull ignorance part is mandatory.  Especially when you are entered in the first event of the day and you still have cream cheese on your face. 

The announcer calls the swimmers in the first event to the blocks.  Danny, stealing the part of the three toed sloth, reluctantly oozes his way onto the blocks.  His competition: an 80-year-old in a saggy speedo and a swimmer of the larger variety who has bouyancy on his side.  Speaking of bouyancy - Danny has none. Actually, in the swimming world he would be the text book example of someone who is negatively bouyant.  a.k.a. Body fat of a beetle. 

To be continued and I promise I will....this story is too good to be left untold....


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boston Marathon has Rolling Admissions? A good thing- Yeah if you're fast

 If you have been training really hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon, 2012 will be your last opportunity at the current qualifying times. The BAA has released new qualifying times, five minutes faster than previously(now the same as Gansett Marathon) to start in 2013. They also will be instituting a rolling registration process to allow faster runners to enter first. So not only will you have to qualify at five minutes faster than in previous years but you, in essence, have to qualify 25 minutes faster due to the staggered race entry dates. This certainly will make it easier for the fast guys to ensure that they will get in, but definitely will leave out those runners that "barely" made it. What I like about the Boston Marathon is that it allows runners from all backgrounds to set a reasonably achievable goal with a prestigious race at its culmination. My concern with the new rolling entry is that these people will be shut out of the race after working so hard to get in. When I first started running, every race I did was to "qualify for Boston" and it took me a year, and 6 or so marathons and a realization that my previous "training" plan wasn't working, before I qualified. I don't know if I would have kept trying though if that standard was seemingly out of reach. While I definitely like the fact that it will be a much faster field from a competitive stand-point, I think setting the bar too high may deter some runners from ever starting.
Who knows? Maybe everyone will rise to the challenge. Just glad they're not reducing the charity field- such an important part of the marathon.
2012 rolling registration dates

- Day 1 (Sept. 12) - Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard 2:50 for me and males under 34 and 3:20 for Am and females under 34

- Day 3 (Sept. 14) - Qualifiers who have met the standard set for their age/gender by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may apply. 3:00 and 3:30, respectively

- Day 5 (Sept. 16) - Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying time by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply. 3:05 and 3:35

- Day 8 (Sept. 19) - Open to all qualifiers to register. 3:10 and 3:40

- Day 12 (Sept. 23) - Registration closes for qualified applicants. Registered qualifiers will be notified of their acceptance by Sept. 28.

The rolling admission process will remain in place for 2013.

 For 2013, the new qualifying times:

Age Group    Men          Women

18-34        3:05:00          3:35:00

35-39       3:10:00           3:40:00

40-44       3:15:00           3:45:00

45-49       3:25:00           3:55:00

50-54      3:30:00            4:00:00

55-59      3:40:00            4:10:00

60-64        3:55:00          4:25:00

65-69       4:10:00           4:40:00

70-74      4:25:00           4:55:00

75-79      4:40:00            5:10:00

80+        4:55:00             5:25:00

UNRELATED: On Thursday Feb 17th, Amber and other snowshoe racers can be see on NH Chronicle(WMUR) at 7:30.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Hardest Endurance Events-Revisited

Back in November, I had written about my list of the hardest endurance events. I immediately started a plan on attempting to achieve them all in the next couple years. After just finding out that I didn't get into Hardrock, that now makes two that I won't be doing that I was hoping to this year(I was also "weight" listed from Barkley Marathon). My focus this year will now be on qualifying for Kona and the Race Across America and Ironman St. George and the Adirondack 540, respectively. Here's my list again and my plan for doing each.

1)Badwater 135-Requires a minimum of three 100's plus as much other endurance events as possible so, as this is invite only, I will be applying for this one after I've made it successfully through some of the others.

2)Race Across America- The Adirondack 540(actually 544 miles) is in September where I hope to qualify for RAAM. If I can do it in under 46 hours, I should be good. RAAM will be the following July of 2012.

3)The Norseman- Nothing stopping me from doing this one other than money. Will save for it and maybe do next year.

4)Iditarod Trail Invitational-Sold out for 2011, again money is an issue but will see for 2012. Registration opens April 2011.

5)The Hardrock 100-Denied from the 2011 lottery, will try again in 2012.

6)The Nose in a day- Hoping to climb Cannon Cliff and Whiteface etc. this summer to get my climbing skills back to where they used to. Also have never climbed anything more than 5 pitches before...

7)Everest Challenge-September 24-25th 2011. Registration hasn't opened yet but hoping to get in.

8)Arctic Circle Ski Race- Next year I will work on improving my skiing so hopefully will enter for 2013.

9)The Barkley Marathons-"Weight" Listed. Will try again next year.

10)The English Channel Swim- First I've got to find some shorts that fit and then work on my swim technique.
11)Climb Mt. Denali - I would love to end on this one. Weather plays such a huge factor in my success.
12)Qualify and compete in Kona- Ironman St. George will be my best bet- May 7, 2011!

A lot of hoping and praying going on here. This visit may take quite some time to achieve. But from what I hear, it is not the destination but rather the trip that makes life worth living.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Exeter Race Double- Ferreira is a Snowshoe and Swimming Machine!

This weekend we did the Exeter Race Double- Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo on Saturday and the Philips Exeter Swim Masters Mini-Meet on Sunday. The Hullabaloo was the best snowshoe race of the year so far. The terrain was amazing, all single track(which stunk if you tried to pass but great for enjoyable running). The soup at the finish was delicious, they had coffee and hot chocolate... You can see where my priorities are. The race started out as they all do-fast! This was a tricky one though due to the nature of the course. Being all single-track you didn't want to go out too fast and slow down people behind you, nor did you want to get stuck behind someone slow. However, despite the potential issues with pacing, I thought I had done a great job finding a place, I could envision myself: right behind Robert Jackman of TNT and a guy from Winner's Circle who looked legit. The front runners included Double J of CMS, Geoff Cunningham, Ryan Kelly and Tim Cox of acidotic Racing, and Wesley Dinman who had a very strong Sidehiller showing. Those guys plus Winner's Circle, Jackman and a potential couple other runners were the predicted winners. Sure enough, Double J took off and I don't think he ever relinquished the lead with Dinman and Cunningham coming in 2nd and 3rd.

I took off behind all those guys pacing off of the Winner's Circle runner for about a half mile before he courteously let me pass. I quickly caught up to another runner(unknown), who took about a mile of encouragement prior to letting me pass. This was the only frustrating aspect of the whole race trying to pass this guy. Once I did, I slowly crept upon Robert Jackman who was running a strong race. He and I ran together for probably close to two miles(him pulling the whole time) before we started to reel in Kelly. Seeing Kelly and knowing that it was his second race of the day, I encouraged Jackman to catch him at which point he graciously let me take the lead to catch Kelly. He stuck with for about another half mile before falling off, slightly. I caught Kelly with about a mile to go at which point, I could tell he was fading fast. He put in a concerted effort to keep ahead of me, but I finally passed him with less than a quarter mile to go. I ended up 5th, Kelly 6th right behind and Jackman 7th. Ryan Welts also of aR had an excellent race as well pulling in a solid 8th. Amber finished just out of the top ten overall in 11th, a good 3-4 minutes ahead of the second female.

The second race of the weekend was actually several races: I did the 50, 100, 200 yard freestyle, the 50 butterfly and the 1650 free. Amber did the 100 and 200 yard free, the 50 and 100 butterfly and the 1650 free. Amber's sister, Deidre, who came up for the day did the 50, 100, 200 yard freestyle, the 50 butterfly and the 100 IM. Both Amber and Deidre showed why they are good triathletes placing very well in all of their events. I on the other hand, was seeded with the octogenarians and still finished nearly last for each event. I was disqualified from the butterfly due to use of the flutterkick(apparently you need to do a dolphin kick), belly flopped off the blocks once, lost my goggles off the blocks twice and lost my shorts of the block all five times. The nicest compliment anyone paid me all day was that I did a very nice job pulling up my shorts with both hands to avoid disqualification(I think they were joking). I did end up swimming under 30 minutes for the 1650(29:46) so that is promising for St. George. Amber swam a 21 and is also looking ready to take on the Ironman events that she has signed up for.

All in all, a very nice blend of athletic events, good meals, fun atmospheres and good friends made our Exeter Race Double a very fun one.

Up Next: Amber will be competing in this Saturday's Horsehill while I cheer on St. Michael's and my sister at her last college home game. Good luck to everyone racing! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Stuff, Upcoming Races, Training Thus Far

We have decided to try to make our blog a little less "busy" so we've made a separate blog(link located to the left of our posts) that focuses on training tips and we'll keep this one for race reports, interviews and other fun stuff. So far, we've got two article reviews on carbohydrates +protein supplementation for endurance events and low volume high intensity workouts for the time crunched athletes. Let us know if there's any areas that you'd like to see researched...

The fun stuff: This weekend Amber and I have the Exeter Double. Saturday we'll be doing the Exeter Hullabaloo, the fourth race in the GSSS. If you haven't yet made it to one of these, you are definitely missing out. They are fun for everyone whether racing, running, jogging or walking. In addition to being outside with a group of like-minded people, there is usually a great post-race celebration for the ones hosted by Chris Dunn and acidotic RACING.
This race is expected to be technical, windy and challenging so it will be interesting to see who rounds out the top 3.

After the Hullabaloo Am and I will be spending the night at the Inn by the Bandstand, a bed and breakfast right in Exeter, which we hear is excellent. After a, hopefully, good breakfast and a solid utilization of 8-10 hours of bed we will be off to the second part of our Exeter Expedition. We will be participating in an Exeter Swim Meet. I am interested to see how well Amber does against people that swim not as part of the training but their entire training... Also interesting, I'm sure to watch, will be me trying a)not to drown, b) dive from the starting blocks and not belly flop, c) not get lapped in the 100y swim, and d) not get pulled from the race from going to slowly. We shall see...

Speaking of one third of what I am supposed to be doing for my Ironman St. George training: training has been going slow. That is, I've been getting to the pool and doing my prescribed time splashing around 2-3/week now for 5 weeks but have been going slooooooooooow. You would need to add about a billion more o's in there to appreciate the severity of my slowness. I come out of the water looking like a cross between a wet rat and a prune and only having swam a mile. That's less than half of how far I have to swim! Don't get me started on distances: While the snow has been great for snowshoeing and skiing, it hasn't been so good for biking which has taken a serious hit in terms of distance and time. Riding on the rollers or spin bike only can go so far. I've gone that far I think. At least my run seems to not be getting much worse.

That's it for now. Sidehiller went well, great course variability, good competition and as always great coffee at that little coffee shop.