Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family Fitness Shark Style

The post below is from a good friend of mine, Jonathan Shark. I stole it from his Facebook page. He has transitioned from a "Meathead" to a runner of the toughest UltraMarathoner. Not only does he run himself, he has made it a family affair and just completed his first 26.2 mile run with his daughter. I remember her when she was tiny and now she can probably out run me. The kicker? She is only 10. 

Being in shape, healthy, fit, determined, tough...all of these things are great. But they are even greater when shared with others, especially family. Jon is engraining precious lessons in his daughter that will stay with her forever and he is using training and fitness as a primary means for doing such. THAT IS AWESOME. 

In their honor I am releasing the design for the Team SideMeat UltraMarathon T-Shirt. Hopefully the will be available for sale early this summer. 

Do You Shark Family!


One year ago today, I ran my first UltraMarathon, the Squak Mountain 50k. Since then I have run many 50ks but none have even come close to being as challenging or possessing the same level of difficulty as the KILLER Course - Squak Mountain. So this year, in celebration of my one year ultra running anniversary, I brought reinforcements. Today, Squak became a Shark infested trail running playground as Linh, Myself and my 10 year old daughter Jaye-Linh tamed the beast that is Squak. 
Today Jaye-Linh completed her first trail marathon. 
Completing a marathon is a huge accomplishment in and of itself however the magnitude of her achievement can’t really be grasped unless you take into account the terrain she had to conquer. For those of you who run trails, especially those who have been on Squak Mountain, you understand the additional challenges that trail runners have to face; the most daunting of which is elevation gain. The marathon that Jaye completed today had a mind boggling 7,300 feet of climbing. This means that in addition to covering 26.2 miles on tough and rugged terrain, she ascended 7,300 feet of cumulative gain. 
To put this achievement into perspective- The Boston Marathon has a net loss of about 300 feet with 785 feet of climbing. The infamous Pike’s Peak marathon in Colorado has a gain of 7,900 feet. Jaye-Linh’s first trail marathon had a gain of 7,300!!!!! I’ll take the framing of this accomplishment a step further- My first 100miler, The Leadville 100, had a cumulative gain of 15,600, broken down that equates to 156ft of climbing per mile run. At 7,300 feet of gain, Jaye-Linh’s 26.2 mile marathon had 278ft of climbing per mile run. This, coupled with the fact that Jaye’s legs are about half the length of mine, and that she only had bananas, honey, and M&Ms as her fuel source, makes her roughly 98.5% tougher than her Daddy . This is a HUGE feat for a 10 year old girl. 
My beautiful, strong, and totally AWESOME daughter was on her feet for 9 hours and 24 minutes of non-stop movement. When she crossed the finish line I have never been more proud in my entire life. For 9hrs and 22mins my daughter kept going- She NEVER complained, she NEVER stopped to take a rest unless we were at an aid station, and most importantly she NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF QUITTING! (Not that I would let her quit anyway.)
When we arrived at the finish line, almost 9 and a half hours after we started, we expected to see just see maybe one or two people cleaning up. To our surprise there were almost 20 people at the finish waiting for the Shark family to complete this epic journey. Some of them waited over 3 hours after their run just to cheer us on at the finish. We have never felt so blessed. To achieve something like this with my family and share it with some of the best people in the world was one of the most special moments of my life. 
Roger, thanks so much for letting a 10year old sign up for arguably the toughest marathon in Washington State. A lot of marathons have minimum age requirements, with good reason, but you knew that Jaye was a Shark and that she would be able to do it. Thank you for keeping the finishing line open for us as well. I know you had to hang around for a while and the Sharks REALLY appreciate it. 
Thank you to my friend Dan P for driving over 2 hours and then waiting around for another hour just to be a part of the surprise going away party and to see the Sharks off at the starting line. 
Jennifer H, a badass ultra buddy of ours, spent over 40 hours and probably about 2,000 bucks to hand craft the most badass cake EVER from scratch (estimation based on the immeasurable cool factor of the final product). Oh she also took second place in the 50k, finishing the same course that took me 8 hours to finish last year in a little over 6 hours. Congrats Jen! After kicking some serious Squak ass, she then waited around the finish line for over 3 hours to see the Sharks cross the finish line.
My boy George CRUSHED the course then, in true Honey Badger fashion, ran all the way to the nearest Safeway which was about 20 miles round trip. He then proceeded to run from car to car and house to house, hunting down all those Ultrabuddies nearby and at home to sign my going away card. Thanks George, I’m gonna miss you brother. Coincidently, I met George exactly one year ago today during my first ultra; the Squak Mountain 50k. Guess that means we just celebrated our one year anniversary ;-)
And what Shark UltraRunning saga would be complete without a special guest appearance from hot tub soaking, red wine drinking, Salomon gear wearing ultra superstar Deby K!?!?! She destroyed the 50k and then proceeded to corral all the Shark fans in one central location to ensure that Team Shark wasn’t greeted by the sounds of tumble weeds and crickets. Knowing Deby, I’m sure there was some intimation and sheer brute force used. Thanks for sticking around Deb. It was awesome sharing yet another significant milestone with you! 
Dan , who conquered the Squak half in preparation for his first 50k next week, stuck around for close to 4 hours to share this special moment with the Sharks. Rumor has it that he only waited around because there was cake but I know that wasn’t the case. ;) Thanks for hanging around Dan, it meant a lot to me and the Sharks.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out my boy Jamey B and his amazing wife Heather. In 2010, George O, ran Squak 50k as his first ultra with a DFL finish. He then passed the torch to me in 2011 at Squak Mountain when I finished DFL on my first ultra . And it is with dignity, pride, and honor that I’ve passed the ever burning and bright DFL ultra torch to my good friend Jamey B for his first ultra. Jamey, you did it brother. I never doubted you for a minute. I thought it was extra special that the 2010, 2011, and 2012, Squak DFL ultra first timers not only knew each other but are good friends and were all together at the finish this year. Jamey, welcome to the club brother. Heather, it was great seeing you out there at the aid station to take care of us and also for taking those photos, especially the one of the 3 Sharks that will be framed and hung proudly in the Shark Den. You two make a killer team!
Thank you all again from Team Shark! For the awesome surprise cake and party, for waiting so long and most importantly for the friendship. We love all you guys!!!!! 

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