Spring Dual Race Report

spring dualRace #1 for the weekend was the Spring Dual Against Cystic Fibrosis. It had all of the elements of a great race – less than 1 mile from home, a short but intense distance to warm up for the upcoming season, and it raised money for a great cause.

It had rained the previous night leaving wet roads, but we were lucky that the weather cooperated with us race morning. For a small local race, I was excited to see some sexy bikes and fast athletes in transition. This was going to be fun!
StartThe runs were identical – a 2 mile loop – half on a cinder rail trail and half on the road. My plan was to take it slightly easier on the rail trail, and then open up once we turned onto the road heading back to transition. The plan worked well and I came into T1 with an 11:53 split. Despite realizing during the national anthem that I left my gloves in transition (frozen fingers strike again), I had an uneventful T1 as I headed out onto the bike course.
1st TransitionThe bike was a 12 mile TT – an out-and-back on a flat road. It was here that I noticed my lack of training outside. It wasn’t windy per se, but it sure felt like it as I struggled to maintain a respectable pace. After the turnaround I felt a little more settled in and was able to pull off a negative split. That was probably due to 1) seeing the chasing females behind me, and 2) perhaps there was a tailwind 🙂

It’s always exciting for me to get off the bike and start run #2, because that is where I feel strongest. As you may have already seen in the video that was posted, as I was dismounting the bike I hit the brakes only to have the rear tire fishtail behind me. Oops! Gotta get those first race mishaps out of the way. The roads were still wet, and I had my training wheels on the bike – that tire has been on the trainer for over a year and is in desperate need of replacing!
2nd TransitionTime to finish the race with the 2nd run. And this is where I put the most thought in prior to the race. With a tough trail race the following day, I wasn’t sure how hard I wanted to push if I had a big enough lead. But at the same time I don’t like getting into the habit of “letting up” when I feel confident in my lead. I was feeling good at this point so I decided to stick with a solid 2nd run. I aimed at passing a few of the guys and finishing strong. Had I been paying attention to my splits I would have tried to push that 2nd run a little harder to more closely match the first run, but I was happy with my finish.
FinishOverall the race was great! Well-organized, great volunteers, and a fun course. Other than needing some more work on the bike, I felt great. Now it was time to have a celebratory lunch at Karma Road with some friends – Evan and Jess who tackled their first duathlon – and smiled the whole way!
Evan and JessNext up on the duathlon schedule…Cary Du Classic🙂

Run 1 – 11:53
T1 – :31
Bike – 31:50
T2 – :33
Run 2 – 12:34
Total – 57:22

* all photos courtesy of Jared Avigliano

Vegan Power 50k Benefit for Scott Spitz



The page is up! The Vegan Power 50k is only weeks away and I’m ready to start putting in the miles so that I can race with as much heart and drive as Scott exhibits with everything in his life: his running, his battle against cancer, his work, and his love for others. I appreciate your time to check out the page!

Now I’m off to the trails!


The More Fire Benefit Run

More Fire Syracuse

For those of you who have had the pleasure of getting to know Scott Spitz, either in person or through his blog and/or social media, this is a no-brainer. It’s time to rally around our brother and show him that we have his back. For those of you who haven’t yet met Scott, I highly recommend you enlighten yourself by checking out his blog:


For just over a year now, Scott has been fighting an epic battle against a rare form of stomach cancer (Pseudomyxoma Peritonei). He’s been fighting with the courage, strength, and grit that I could only hope to summon up if I were faced with a similar opponent. And during this most trying of times, he has been sharing this whole “experience” with all of us. He’s showing all – the dark moments, the light moments, the dirty moments. I know that when I read his posts, I can go through a whole range of emotions.

Let me share some highlights about Scott:

The Runner – Scott is one hell of a runner. He has a marathon PR of 2:25 and was chasing an Olympic Trials qualifying time when the big C snuck up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder and said “sorry buddy – not right now”. For my fellow athletes reading this, you know how devastating it is to see that goal suddenly slip so far out of your grasp. But this wasn’t just a setback, this was life-changing. This was stepping, or shall I say sprinting, into the unknown. And when you suddenly lose what was so near and dear to you, it’s crushing in and of itself. Not to mention what he had to face head-on.


Over this past year Scott has been struggling with an on-again off-again running regimen. The treatments have rendered him unable to walk, let alone run, for much of this time. Everything being pumped into his body during his treatments isn’t enough to extinguish the fire he has inside of him. Scott continues to run when he can, satisfying that itch many of us have. He hopes to maintain whatever fitness and form he can so that he can get back to racing. And I can’t wait to toe the line with him someday!

The Father – When you picture what Scott is going through you can’t help but imagine what impact this has on his 7-year-old son. Any fear or apprehension that Scott has had during this past year has been for August. A parent wants to give everything they can to their children, and I can’t even begin to imagine the struggle that comes when you are faced with the realization that this time may be cut short. I have yet to meet him, but I can tell from the stories and pictures I’ve seen that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. August is full of energy, jubilance, and an absolute lust for life. They are like 2 peas in a pod!
two_peas_in_a_pod_twins_babyThe Giver – Scott has a lot on his plate – physical struggle, mental struggle, and financial struggle. You would think he would just put his head down and focus on himself. But no, Scott’s biggest concern is lifting up the support crew that surrounds him. I can tell you how during the holidays Scott requested that no one buy gifts for him, but instead donate to a deserving charity. There are plenty of stories that show his selflessness, but the one that sticks out the most is what he did for the nurses who administer his infusions.

Being the caring guy that Scott is, from the beginning he recognized how tough their job must be, so he would bring coffee for them each time. This gesture would always brighten their day. He realized that their job was all about making the patients’ time with them as pleasant and comfortable as possible, so why not return some of the love? When he was scheduled for an infusion on December 24th Scott didn’t care that this is how he would be spending his Christmas Eve – he was genuinely sad for the nurses who had to be there for him. So what did he do? He set up a fund to collect donations so that he could purchase a Keurig and an astounding stash of K-cups for these tireless ladies. (http://runvegan.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/a-xmas-plea/) The response was amazing:

“Suffice to say, the nurses were quite thrilled with the presents I was able to give them through your generosity. In all, I was able to purchase approximately 575 K-cups for their Keurig machine, a requested book shelf for their office, 20 candy bars explicitly asked for by one contributor, and 25 gift cards to a local coffee shop for each employee in the office.”

Pretty damn awesome!

The Cause
Let’s get down to it. Scott first underwent a HIPEC surgery in April 2013, soon after his diagnosis. The severity of this surgery left him basically incapacitated for months. The time has come to go another round with the knife. Although on one hand this is exciting, as great progress can be made in eliminating the cancer growths inside of him, this means another long, grueling, recovery period.
scott hospital“The HIPEC surgery (affectionately called The Mother Of All Surgeries) is the hardest physical difficulty I’ve ever had to endure, completely wiping out my physical strength, but also making positive and inspired emotional moments hard to capture. I will be physically useless for a while and so these funds help me pay my mortgage, utilities, buy food and support my son.”

The More Fire Run is a donation-only event being hosted in 2 cities – Indianapolis, IN – where Scott resides, and Syracuse, NY – where his biggest fan club, the Strong Hearts Run Club, was born. If you are close to either of these areas and want to join a community of support, solidarity, and positivity – I invite you to donate to his surgery fund and join us on August 10th to run or walk for Scott Spitz. Heck you can skateboard, ride a bike, jump-rope – let’s just move forward together as Scott moves forward in his fight. Scott is on the front lines – let’s show him the army he has standing beside him, helping him to forge ahead.

If you don’t live close to either of these areas, join us virtually. Any little bit helps, and you can post your activity on either of the Facebook pages (click on the city links above) to show Scott you are fighting right alongside him. It will mean a lot to Scott, his family, his loved ones, and his friends. And since he has SO many of them, you’ll be making many people happy!

What else?
As you may or may not know, I competed in my first 50k last October. It left me hungry for another shot. Not only will I return to that race this year, but I will also be competing at the Vegan Power 50k on June 14th.
vegan-power-banner-revised-This race has an appeal to me for obvious reasons, so I decided to make it an event to celebrate the very thing that brought Scott and I together as friends. I met Scott in September of last year as a fellow teammate on the Strong Hearts Vegan Power Ragnar Team.

Strong Hearts Vegan Power

Strong Hearts Vegan Power

It was an honor to meet and run with Scott and I think the whole team can agree that we formed a bond stronger than steel with the common passion of our vegan values. Scott had just recovered from his first surgery at the time and was undergoing his grueling treatments. Even just showing up was a feat of great strength! Scott did more than show up – he showed everyone how it’s done! (https://laurajkline.com/2013/10/04/13-vegans-2-vans/)
scott post-run

I want to repay Scott for the motivation he’s given me and countless others time and time again. To keep pushing and keep running. Day after day after day.

I will be launching a fundraising site for the Vegan Power 50k to raise funds for my fellow Vegan Power teammate. I will get the site up soon and don’t worry, you’ll see it! Just as I’ve raised funds for various cancer charities in the past, I will do so again. This time the benefits of this fundraiser will be more personal to me, as I know the direct recipient. I understand that at this time of year we are all receiving requests to donate as our friends and families participate in events for many worthy charities. It would mean a great deal to me if you support me as I run for Scott in June! I appreciate anything you can do for a wonderful father, friend, fellow runner, and all-around amazing human being!

Eat, Play, Run

It’s not often I take a vacation – usually my travels revolve around racing. So when I do get the chance, I like to spend my vacation the way every athlete dreams – fuel, train, recover, repeat. When I get to do this with my BFF, my sister, it’s even better! And when my sister lives in Albuquerque, NM I can train at altitude and the opportunities are endless! Here’s a synopsis of my eating and training escapades in the Midwest.

I arrived in Albuquerque Thursday night and after enjoying a nourishing dinner from my favorite NM eatery, Annapurna’s, we spent some time catching up before I was off to bed to prepare for the weekend ahead.

Day 1 – Friday

Mileage: 9.7
Max Elevation: 6,500 ft

I awoke to find my sister in the kitchen prepping a delicious-looking pre-workout meal for the day.
granolaA homemade granola consisting of oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, apricots, cranberries, coconut oil and maple syrup. Hot out of the oven we covered it with almond milk – perfect!

granola 2

Final product

After we fueled up we were headed off to our first adventure. In order to ease into the change in elevation, my sister made the wise choice in heading to the foothill trails of the Cibola National Forest. This was a lovely greeting to start the trip:

Rattlesnakes, cougars and bears - oh my!

Rattlesnakes, cougars and bears – oh my!

The trails were perfect for day 1 – lots of single track, nothing technical, fun rollers, and of course, beautiful views!

cibola 2 cibola 3

After our run we checked out Loving Vegan in the Nob Hill section of Albuquerque for a nice recovery meal. I of course went for gold, getting the Bento Box, which meant I had the leftovers for dinner 🙂
bentoboxDay 2 – Saturday

Mileage: 16
Max Elevation: 6,665 ft

Saturday morning the temps were warm enough for me to fit in a track workout before we headed to Santa Fe. With a high school just over a mile away from the house, it was perfect for me to run a warm-up on the way there. But not before enjoying another energy-dense breakfast prepared by my sister. Banana chia pudding topped with coconut and berries. Chia is the perfect fuel for a long day of training!
chia puddingDespite only having done 1 track workout outside this year, it wasn’t as painful as I was fearing. In fact, the company I had at the track made it fun!


I am slightly obsessed with tumbleweeds…

After returning from the track I enjoyed some of the wonderful treats my sister prepared – coconut chocolate and cherry chocolate balls. Raw, vegan, and a perfect post-run treat! Then it was a quick shower and change and we were headed north! Today’s run would be in Ojo Caliente which is 50 miles north of Santa Fe. Since we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us, we were going to need some pre-run fuel along the way 🙂 We stopped off at Rasa Juice Bar in Santa Fe which had plenty to offer.
RasaWe went with the Grounding Green juice – a blend of romaine, kale, beet, carrot, apple, lemon and ginger. And we couldn’t pass up some of the tempting treats in the cooler!We each had a lemon chia macaroon (I just can’t get enough chia!) and we split a fig bar. All raw, vegan, gluten-free, and delicious!

Back on the road to the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. As if another day running in the trails wasn’t enough – starting and ending at the springs made it even more energizing. I set off into the trails to tack on another 9.75 miles to my morning track workout. I was again greeted with a variety of terrain and views. There were twisting hard-packed single-track trails, rolling hills, deep sand beds leading into ravines – a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!

ojo 3

If you look on the horizon you can see the snow-covered mountains in Santa Fe

ojo 2

ojo 1

Footbridge over Bosque River

By the end of my run I was definitely feeling the morning’s effort and couldn’t wait to get into those mineral spas!

“Our sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. Ojo is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. Over 100,000 gallons come to the surface, revitalizing those who soak in these legendary, healing waters. Our eleven pools are filled with different types and combinations of these waters with temperatures ranging from 80-109 degrees.”

We soaked in the iron spring and the arsenic spring – just what the body needed!

The Iron Spring

A Native American legend tells that the giant rock in the iron pool guards the place where the ancient people of the mesa once received food and water during times of famine. The warm, iron-rich water bubbles up from the natural pebble floor, providing hot spots to discover in this mystical outdoor cliffside pool. Iron is considered to be beneficial to the blood and immune system.

The Arsenic Spring

The arsenic water is believed to be beneficial for relief from arthritis, stomach ulcers and to heal a variety of skin conditions. Water from the iron and arsenic springs is blended in various pools throughout the property.

Feeling relaxed, it was time to head home. But not before stopping for dinner at my favorite NM eatery – Annapurna’s! Go big or go home seems to be my motto when it comes to recovery meals!
anapurnaI enjoyed a young coconut water to replenish electrolytes. There’s only one way to enjoy it – straight from the source! A hot cocoa because, well, I love hot cocoa. And a wonderful falafel chapati wrap with a side of greens and bowl of my favorite…beet coconut soup. I could eat that soup daily!

Day 3 – Sunday

Mileage: 14
Max Elevation: 10,678

Sunday already?!? I was just getting started… Although I was bummed that my trip was flying by so fast, I woke up with excitement that my sister saved the best run for last. La Luz. A seven mile trail starting at 7,000 feet and ending at 10,678 feet. I couldn’t wait to tackle this one! I fueled up with an Emergen-C, a banana and a scone from Annapurna’s – one of my favorite treats!
sconeI filled my inov-8 Race Pro Extreme 4 one last time. Then I was off to run 7 miles at ~12% grade before turning around to descend that same trail. It was single track the whole way – ribbons upon ribbons of switchbacks across the mountain as you made your way to the pinnacle. There was no way pictures could capture the beautiful views, but of course I tried 🙂
la luz 4 la luz 3 la luz 2 la luz 1

A race is held on this trail – they start on the road and run 1.8 miles on pavement before climbing their way to the top. In the Fall 2001 issue of Trail Runner Magazine, La Luz was selected as one of the “12 Most Grueling Trail Races in North America.” There are only 400 slots available and registration is done by lottery. I hope to do this race someday, but not this year, as it happens to fall on the same weekend as the Wedding of the Century!

At mile 4.5 I hit the snow pack. I knew this was coming, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to the top if the conditions were rough. I passed a group of runners putting on their microspikes and figured that wasn’t a great sign. But I was determined! I passed a few groups of hikers – all wearing either microspikes, heavy-duty hiking boots, trekking poles, or a combination of the three. Although I was moving pretty slow, especially over the thick icy spots, I was impressed with how well my inov-8 Trailroc 150’s were handling the conditions. I think the people I was passing were impressed too 🙂 I love these shoes more and more every time I wear them!
trailrocWhen I finally made it to the top I had a bit of a Rocky Balboa moment…
rockyI climbed to the observation deck to take it all in, but barely even looked out over the horizon – the winds were high and it was cold!! Time to race back down the mountain.

Of course this run deserved, you guessed it, lunch at Annapurna’s! I was so hungry after that run, my meal didn’t even last long enough for a photo. A dosa stuffed with roasted veggies, a cup of dal, and a side of chapati. Oh and of course another young coconut! Sweet, sweet recovery.

The rest of the day was spent hanging with my sister and enjoying our last bit of time together before flying out early Monday morning. This included a joint effort on dinner – a Protein Power Goddess Bowl from Oh She Glows.

Does a mini-vacation get any better? Awesome trail running in optimal weather, quality time with my sister, and amazing vegan food. I wanted more miles. When can I do it again?