Pine to Palm – DUN!!!!

Press the Play Button, turn up the volume and enjoy (Queen – We Are The Champions)!

Wow!  Can you believe that it has been almost two weeks since the Pine to Palm 100.5 Mile Endurance Run was held?  More surprisingly, can you believe that I FINISHED!  It wasn’t pretty and my quads were trashed, but 30 hours and 40 minutes after Hal gave the go signal, I crossed the finish line.  The feet do not lie!


In the Beginning….

But let us backtrack a few days.  It was not much of a secret…I was making excuses and planning my failure.  I made these thoughts known, not only to myself, but others as well.  I wanted no one to be surprised if I DNF’d…  I had recently recovered from a third injury, all of  which had severely hampered my training.  So much so, that I actually contemplated dropping.  However, the early booking of the airline ticket and hotels kept me committed as I already had too much skin in the game!

My Thoughts….

I could bore you with random thoughts, memories and general ramblings, but I will spare you and get to the point of this blog.

I want to thank so many people who were responsible for my completing this event but, first and foremost would be my wife, Caryn Lerman.  Caryn does not run and does not necessarily understand why I have become somewhat obsessed with such endeavors.  But nonetheless, without her support, this would not have been possible.

By the way, are you aware that you can purchase a pie shake at Shari’s, in Grant’s Pass?  Just ask my co-runner Gene Dykes who ordered one.  I could only envision Dan Aykroyd doing the Bass-o-Matic skit on Saturday Night Live!

But I digress….

Pacers and Crew: Dan Roed and Erin Fitzgerald were invaluable!  As a result of Dan’s previous running and crewing of this race, his guidance, insight and logistical support were invaluable.  Moreover, it was knowing that Dan and Erin would meet me at critical Aid Stations along the way that kept me going.  I also want to give a special shout out to Erin for agreeing to pace me from Dutchman Peak onward.  I think she envisioned ‘running’.  However, by that time, my quads were trashed resulting in almost 12 hours of hiking to the finish!  Erin, thanks for your company and continuous positive attitude!

Here is an example of the wisdom dispensed by Dan as I came into Squaw Lake:

Dan and the Crew:  What do you need? Water bottles filled?  Gels?

Me: yes.  Wow, look at those grapes, I’ll try a few.

Dan:  Here, try some of the cherry tomatoes as well.

Me: ok.

Me: My socks are dirty and wet, I want to change into a clean pair.  Dan, what do you think?

Dan: Suck it up.. Keep going.. Don’t waste time… (adlibbing)

(See Dan and Erin below)


Wisdom of the Elites

During the race, I would play certain sayings or visions over and over in my head, here are a few:

SpeedGoat Karl Meltzer: “A 100 miles is not that far….”  Really???

Rob Krar’s Beard…..

Tim Olson’s Hair…..

Kasie Enman’s feet after placing 2nd in the women’s division at the SpeedGoat 50K.. Did you see the pic of her feet following the race?  If Kasie could push through on those feet, I never had a reason to complain!  Check it out below:


And the words that Hal penned into my copy of his book:  “Troy, making it through this book is the hard part.  Running is fun.  Happy Trails. Hal”.  Several times during the race, it would be these words that would sustain me….’Running is fun…Running is fun…’

The Real Ultra Runners.. The Non-Elites

It is this group from whom I have gleaned the most wisdom and inspiration.  Unlike the group above, these people are ‘human’ like me!

I must begin this list with an acknowledgement of Clyde Aker.  Clyde is a man on the older side.  Clyde was also responsible for marking the 100 miles of trails.   Still to this day, I’m not quite sure how it happened, but Clyde and I passed one another several times and each time I would say ‘great job marking the trail Clyde’.  Marking this trail was no small feat and one that should not go unrewarded!

No list of revered ultra runners would be complete without the name Chris Jones.  I do not know Chris well, but as well as one can know anyone via Face Book, texting and the occasional phone call.  I find Chris to be an amazing ultra runner.  A real inspiration and he carries himself as if it is all not a big deal.  Let me recap 2014 for you – HURT 100, Angeles Crest, 100, Cascade Crest 100 and Pine to Palm 100….  Chris provided two crucial pieces of advice: 1) bring poles and 2) practice power hiking.  This advice would prove crucial to my completing this race.

Nick Ferrera is one of the few local ultra runners that I know.  This year alone, Nick has completed Western States, Eastern States and is going to top off 2014 with the Grindstone!  Nick is an everyday guy with a job and a family.  Someone with whom I can relate and draw strength.

Gina Chupka is a runner relatively new to ultra running scene.  We met last year during the Pine Creek Challenge; the first 100 miler for each of us.  Since that time, Gina has embraced ultra running with a vengeance and has become someone to admire.

The many runners that I had the pleasure to meet before, during and after the race: Tim Roush, Martin Whitcomb, Sandy Purtle, Lucas Lyons, Scott Dunlap, Steve Collins, etc.  Thank you so  much for the company and inspiration.

I must also give a shout out to Pat Travis, affectionately known as P-Bot.  P-Bot certificate toting Sommelier working for FranksWine.  P-Bot is not what you would call a natural runner.  But nonetheless, he has signed up to run his first marathon in Chicago.  P-Bot’s  dedication and determination has been an inspiration.  Go P-Bot!

Lastly, this race really comes down to the superb aid station volunteers!  I have no names, but they were so helpful and attentive.  This group of people who chose to volunteer their time are the epitome of what all volunteering is all about.  Thank you for your time, pleasant attitude, and helpfulness!

Thanks to all of you mentioned and those that I’ve forgotten to mention.


Pine to Palm – The Next Challenge!

Hit the ‘Play’ button above, turn up the volume and enjoy the read!

The day is fast approaching.  That day is Saturday September 13th, the start of the legendary Pine to Palm 100 Mile Event.  I’m calling it an ‘Event’ and not a race as it is most assured that I will not be ‘racing’!

Today, as I begin pulling together both my gear and my thoughts, I wander back and forth, between exhilaration and fear.  I say this because the thought of not only attempting, but being counted amongst those who will not only survive, but complete this challenge is exciting.  However, on the other hand, I am also fearful knowing that three injuries have not allowed me to train as hard as I would have liked.  Therefore, my goal is to FINISH and to beat the aid station cut-off times!  Just ponder this elevation chart for a moment!


The course is a remote and rugged classic point to point course traversing the Siskiyou; Mountains Range in Southern Oregon. Starting in Williams, OR the course winds it way east to Ashland, OR on a mixture of single track trail, dirt road, with less than 4 miles of pavement. The course boasts over 20,000ft of climb and 20,000 ft of loss with 3 epic climbs to 7,000ft and fantastic views of Mt Shasta and Mt McLaughlin.

As I prepare for this event, am a little saddened that my wife, Caryn Lerman, will not be there to cheer me on.  During my first 100 mile last year, it made my day to see her smiling face at the  aid stations waiting and cheering for me!  This year, I will have a great back-up crew to both support and pace me.  They will be tasked with not only to encourage, but to also nudge and harangue me to the finish.  I want to give a huge shout out to Erin Fitzgerald and my cousin, Dan Roed.  Thank you so much for volunteering your time and energy for me!  You are much appreciated.

Let me also add, that I will, till he decides to leave me behind, be running with Gene Dykes.  I met Gene a few years ago stumbling through the Susquehanna Super Hike.  Gene is an incredible runner and will work hard to pull me along.  Gene already has us planning next year’s run!

Sorry, before I forget, let me go over my gear list……

Gear Check-list:

  1. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
  2. Garmin 910XT as a back-up
  3. Hiking Poles
  4. UD Scott Jurek Vest
  5. Three water bottles
  6. ChicaBands for cooling
  7. Two head lamps
  8. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning – get his autograph
  9. Three drop bags
  10. Three pair of Hoka’s (one pair of size 13 to wear later after my feet begin to swell)
  11. Several pair of socks, shorts, and t-shirts
  12. Hat with neck protection
  13. Light toboggan hat
  14. Light gloves
  15. Long sleeve running shirt
  16. Light wind breaker
  17. Mylar blanket
  18. Batteries
  19. External battery charger for charging watch on the run if required
  20. Sunglasses
  21. Compression Sleeves
  22. Nipple Guards
  23. Roctane salt caps
  24. Body Glide
  25. iPod with great tunes (Metallica, STP, Garbage, The Offspring, Chili Peppers, Rob Zombie, etc)
  26. iPhones, iPad and various chargers and cords
  27. and oh yeah, boarding passes!


Have I forgotten anything??????  Forgive me for digressing…. Ugh!

I am also looking forward to the camaraderie of the Ultra community.  Living here on the east coast, I am always in awe, and may I also say, envious, of the Ultra community found out west.  Here in Philadelphia, I am aware of one other ultra runner, Nick Ferrera,  an exceptional ultra runner.  However, we do not live very close to one another and therefore have never had the opportunity to train together.  Whereas, it is not uncommon for me to see Face Book postings of organized and/or impromptu group runs from those of you in the mountain west and west coast.  You are lucky and I am jealous! 

Lastly, I am somewhat giddy to finally meet a great ultra runner in his own right, Chris Jones.  Chris is an ultra runner extraordinaire!  Since May of this year, Chris has completed four 100 mile races (DRTE, Tahoe Rim, Angeles Crest, and Cascade Crest) with Pine to Palm to be his 5th.  It is my goal, at least initially, to draft Chris…  I’ll let you know how that works out!

Ok, that is it.. Time to begin packing….

You can follow this race via and then click on Pine to Palm.