So what is next?? 2020 in a nutshell has been quite a wild ride. It has been one where we have had time to reflect and re-evaluate our lives, what motivates us, and what inspires us- all in the face of a global pandemic, economic downturn, and political maelstrom.
To start the year, I was able to travel to Florida for the PGA Merchandise show, spend a weekend with my amazing wife-Ashlee as we toured Harry Potter world and the theme parks. I would say it started out pretty darn awesome. The trip out there was incredible as I was able to gain valuable industry experience, connect with new brands and vendors and feel as my role is something to be respected and valued in the industry, which was something I felt was missing. Sharing in this experience with Ashlee is something I will cherish forever as it gave us the opportunity to go back to our childhood and reminisce.
After that trip we quickly switched gears to World Snowshoe Running in Japan…
That trip was unbelievable. Japan is such an incredible country and getting to experience it all with Ashlee and our teammates was next level. As my first international trip, this was one that was so special and life-changing.
Shortly after that trip, things started to change. Coronavirus was just starting to pop-up in the media. It’s spread was only to China at that point.
I then hopped into the Caumsett 50k and shot-off the front looking to go for a PR and sub 3 hour finish. I maintained goal pace through 24 miles and really I pushed too hard in the head winds out on the course and suffered to a 5th place and 3:11 time. It was far from my best but I was happy with the effort.
Then the next week the lockdown loomed. By March 18th, much of NY and NJ was shut down. Caumsett would be my last official race of 2020.
I went on a personal quest to understand more about myself, my motivations, and the things in my life that I had put on the back-burner and held off on.
I ran the D&R Canal Towpath FKT in May in a time just after the devastating swell of cases and deaths in the NYC metro had taken hold and things were starting to improve. This run symbolized a lot for me. It was a turning point in my running as instead of being driven by how well I could place in a competition and gain recognition that way, I would run and push myself more with my heart and run for causes and other motivators outside of racing. I would be motivated by how I could push my human level of endurance and challenge myself in ways I never thought I would.
Work picked up in the Golf Industry in June, and has been by far the busiest and most-stressful season of my professional working career. It has felt like a never-ending ultra.
I was lucky enough to then in August be selected to represent the United States in the IAU Global Solidarity run- 6 hour event. The event has over 144 athletes selected out of 34 countries. I ran a road course in the Pine Barrens that if you read my post on the effort, you find out had its set of challenges.
So where am I at now?
I have wanted to run races but things at work and with the uncertainty of racing and travel bans have made it all too risky. I have looked at FKT efforts which are still on the table but it will depend on if I feel I have the time to put together such an effort.
I have two things in the works: Maybe I run my own virtual Hellgate 100k++ since I cannot travel to the race this year or I go for a fast 100 mile road time out by the Jersey shore and see what I can do.
Come January though, I have a monumental goal I have set for myself last January. Run the entire state of New Jersey!! You heard it here first. 189 miles from High Point State Park to Cape May Lighthouse. Running it in January will give me minimal traffic, cool-cold weather, and the time away from work to put together this effort.
How fast can I do this? I am not sure but I am targeting 40 hours as my goal which would be an FKT. I hope if things fall into place, I can push low 30 hours. Why do this? Well I have always put barriers on myself. And what I have learned is that I love to run because I love to explore using my own two feet. My old self would look at something like this and say it was not possible but I know deep in my heart it is. I have spent my whole life preparing for efforts like this. Running NJ will be just the beginning. I hope I can use this effort as a launch-pad for Spartatholon, Badwater, Marathon Des Sables, 4 Deserts Race Series, Yukon Arctic Ultra, Iditarod trail ultra, and many more. I want to push myself to go far and fast in some of the most challenging but beautiful environments our world has to offer.
Dream Big and do not make excuses. We only have one life to live, and better to live it fully without much $ then to have material possessions but have a life not full of substance.
2020 has taught us a lot and I am really excited for turning these dreams into reality in 2021!