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Month: October 2014

PR at the Zero Prostate Cancer Run 23:36

PR at the Zero Prostate Cancer Run 23:36

I’m trying to take some time to catch up on a few events and prepare for the huge media blitz for my Scott Firefighter Stair Climb, so this post is a little overdue.  The event was back on October 11th and gave me my best time yet.  Something to take away from this is that in life, and in our runs, climbs, and events we are going to hit those mental, physical, and spiritual (whatever you believe) blocks that going to come.  The important part is recognizing them, refocusing, redirecting, and moving past them to the finish.  Sometimes you deal with it right after, sometimes, later that day or week, and other times puking on the course might be that block that you can immediately get rid of and get back in gear. 

IMG_6458I signed up for the event for a few reasons, the ZERO Prostate Cancer run in Columbus lets just say is a cause that means a lot to several people that I know.  It was not only friends or family that are important, but also Brotherhood of individuals that are at a high risk for prostate cancer.  I couldn’t pass it up.  It just so happened that it somehow fell on the right weekend where I wasn’t already busy and was spaced well between other events.  I had some more time to train and hit it to get ready.

It was a cool morning, actually for me it felt extremely cool at the start and I wasn’t quite sure what the running gear was going to be.  Last year at this time I still had a higher body fat percentage and handled the cool weather differently, so it definitely meant no running singlet that’s for sure.  A light long sleeve layer under my UA jersey that I am really going to miss when its worn out, shorts, and bright compression socks.  Yes I am growing into that kind of runner that’s bright, neon, and eye catching…but I love it.

I can’t say enough about some of the pre-race, pre-climb, pre-game changes that I have made that feel like they make an impact.  Be it the meals that week, the meal the night before, to the food that day, these changes have helped immensely.  One of the bigger things however that has made a different is expanding my stretch and warm-up phase by adding yoga to it.  Laying that mat out, turning on the playlist, getting more than the body ready I can “get my mind right.”  Finishing my routine I pulled off the warm-ups and headed to the start line a few minutes ahead of time.

I positioned myself where I wanted to be at in the lineup.  With timing chips on the back of the bib number I wasn’t too worried about getting out first, but I don’t like to be at the back of the pack.  I know pretty close what my pace is that I want and placing myself in the wrong spot has messed up my timing before.

I took off on the right song, and step for step I seemed to be in the right rhythm that I needed.  I knew the course because I ran it a couple weeks prior (another PR) and knew when I needed to change up my stance, and just when I might want to change my speeds a little to make a difference.  Wow, was the path through the woods a little cool that morning.

The run felt great, it felt perfect mostly, until I got to the halfway point when I changed things up too much.  This water stop was on the turnaround and not close quarters.  I wasted a few seconds there that I know I was off pace longer than my previous run.  I quickly found my pace again, but probably my biggest change of pace came in the last ¾ mile stretch.  I was on the last stretch of path before I transitioned to the roadway where I hit a mental block that quickly turned to a physical one.  I hadn’t experienced something like that since Seattle at the Firefighter Stair Climb, but there it was.  Maybe it was some of the signs along the way, maybe it was the event, maybe just a bad day, but the urge to hurl on the course was there.  It was a brief block, but enough to throw me off.  I recognized it, changed the song in my playlist and took off.  My watch told me I would be close, my splits looked good to this point and I could see the finish and a time that was within reach.  I pushed through the archway and collapsed on the sidewalk seeing that I had the PR, but I didn’t know by how much.  I thought 15 seconds better than my last run, but the time of 23:36, 11th place and my fastest mile time ever was going to do.  I shaved 9 seconds off this course in a few weeks.

If you get a chance to run this route from the Creekside Plaza or have an event hosted, do so.  There are some nice rolling hills and in the fall a gorgeous view.  There is more than ample parking around there, outdoors restrooms, a great starting point, and nearby establishments to hydrate/celebrate at afterwards.  All in all it was another great event to pay forward and make a difference.

VIDEO – Recap of Yellow Springs 9/11 Climb

VIDEO – Recap of Yellow Springs 9/11 Climb

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 9.43.55 PMI thought I would take a moment to share with you the video I put together of some highlights of the recent 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Yellow Springs, Ohio.  As you may have read my blog post, and seen some pictures, video really can help tell the story through sight and sound.  Thank you once again to all that made this event possible, from organizers to sponsors you did a phenomenal job.  I already have this marked down for next year.


Click the image to view the video or click here if that does not work.  Make sure to select 1080 HD if given the option.



A climb to remember, Yellow Springs 9/11

A climb to remember, Yellow Springs 9/11

DCIM101GOPROI wrapped up my busy September of events this past Saturday in Yellow Springs, Ohio for the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb to benefit the NFFF. The Miami Township Fire-Rescue department and many great sponsors and volunteers helped to bring this “first Ohio 9/11 climb” to fruition put on the climb. I say that with little quotations because their climb was the first in Ohio to list before Scioto Crossfit and sponsors put one together in a whopping seven weeks bringing us together.

This one was a little harder to make, with high school football and editing on Friday night, the evening was busy and completely go-go-go. Of course of all games, it was homecoming and the week along with my workout schedule had some distractions. Fortunately for my Freddies and my climb, we both were victorious.

The morning started out before 0500 to get ready, hydrate, stretch, and then get in the truck for the two-hour drive. Great weather and a smooth drive greeted me and made the morning go well. Pulling into the quaint college campus it was easy to find the event and Brother firefighters. Bagpipes were already filling the air as I rolled my yoga mat out next to the truck to warm-up and stretch out. I met Geoff, a first time stair climber who is a firefighter just outside the area who stopped and asked if I was climbing with my pack and what this was like. Its great to answer questions that I once asked and be able to encourage people along. All too often encouragement can be pushed aside these days, and positive attitude can go a long way to build the brotherhood.

Why do I climb with my pack and in full gear, well number one because they did on September 11 when they ascended the World Trade Center. We are paying tribute and honoring those that gave it all, and it helps put me in the mindset and with every drop of sweat and aching muscle try to think what they were feeling. Secondly I climb in full gear because I use these events to help stay in shape and prepare for other climbs and events, but also the fire ground. We aren’t wearing running shorts on the fire ground. If I train hard I will perform well.

I’ve been to many a stair climb, both big and small, and Yellow Springs had it going on. It was hard to tell that this was their first go round with a 9/11 climb because they just made it run so smoothly. From registration to pre-event emails, to picking up your bag at the event it really went well and that says a lot about the people involved that worked hard to make it happen.

I’m hoping that the video I shot of the climb turned out so that I can share some of the speakers before the climb, great job.

The building that we climbed (thank you Antioch College) was a four-story brick residence/office building and a much different style that I had climbed so far. Picture a figure eight pattern up and down throughout all the stairwells to get to 110 floors. I will tell you if you’re climbing this one in the future, prepare to get warm if they don’t have the windows open. Probably that’s the only thing I saw that could be improved was PPV fans to get some air moving.

We took off as a group and I was toward the start. Our leader was carrying the American Flag, so it was easy to follow the pattern 99% of the time. The sound of boots and gear swishing through the stairwells and hallways in unison along with the encouragement echoed the building. You were seeing Brothers from other events and meeting new ones along the way, picture a family reunion in some aspects.

We continued to climb, continued to push, and as others pulled aside for water and rest we checked on, encouraged, and kept each other going. You see, its not a race, but it is a challenge to finish and find your own personal strengths along with weaknesses to improve your self and your Brother. I maintained a spot right toward the front and wasn’t allowing my mind to tell me that body could not handle the pace and the climb. It wasn’t until around the halfway point that I recognized the booming voice that was coming from the lead man carrying the flag. Jason Powell from Miami-Township F-R and I have climbed 9/11 events out at FDIC and it was great to see not only was his department hosting the climb, but that he was leading us. Amazing to see others spreading climbs and challenging the fire service to step up for great causes such as the NFFF and beyond.

I have battled at these climbs over the past several years. My first 9/11 climb was at an FDIC event in Indianapolis a few years back and even though I had been competing was shocked to see what 110 floors up and down felt like. To push myself to keep pace in full gear at Yellow Springs was a great feeling, but the last lap was not something I was prepared for when Brother Powell passed the flag off to me. He and several other Brothers and family members were at the front, but some were in street clothes or not full gear and I moved to the front. It’s hard to describe carrying your Nations flag and honoring the fallen while leading a group. I’ve been behind the flag, I’ve seen it far in the distance and been wowed at what that first person must have felt like, but Saturday I was that person. It was emotional and more than sweat keeping me from seeing the numbers on the wall and following their course.

Coming out of the stairwell and ringing the bell for each that I was climbing for gave me chills. I take something away from every one of these climbs and I thought I knew what that was, but I was wrong. The day had made an unforgettable impression on me already, but not as much as something I was told after I stepped to the side with the flag. A chief officer from Miami Township whispered over to Brother Powell and myself that we came out of the structure at 10:28am. For those that know the timeline and benchmarks of September 11, 2001 that was the time that the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Being the first out, listening to the bell toll over and over gave me plenty of time to think about that day when I was a younger firefighter, the commitment to the service, and life in general.

At Yellow Springs I had the honor to climb for Captain Frederick Ill Jr. – Ladder 2, Patrick J. O’Keefe – Rescue 1, Frankie Esposito – Engine 235, Thomas P. Holohan – Engine 6, John Vigiano II – Ladder 132, and Captain William O’Keefe. Everyone goes up. Every one of our Brothers is carried, honored, remembered, and no one is left behind. While the turnout was great for a first time event, most everyone was carrying multiple tags.


It was a great day, unforgettable, and if you get the chance, you need to signup for next year, they have already posted the date as September 26.


We climb for you. #RFB