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Description: January/February Issue Endurance Racing Magazine.

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2014 U.S. SKI MOUNTAINEERING FEMALE PHENOM ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Nina Silitch Eldar Spahic s Quest to the Spartan Race Stephen Brown Competing with Cancer The North Face Athlete Robert Krar Skimo Adventure Racer Don Moden Read our New Column by Jay Markiewicz of InnerCompetitor MEN S THERMOBALL HOODIE The North Face Georgetown The North Face Tyson s Corner The North Face Bethesda The North Face Towson WOMEN S THERMOBALL FULL ZIP JACKET 2 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZI NE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 EDITOR S LETTER Ski Mountineering A Fitness Boom I didn t know a lot about ski mountaineering until recently. According to Wikipedia Ski mountaineering is a form of ski touring that variously combines the sports of Telemark Alpine and backcountry skiing with that of mountaineering. The spectrum of ski mountaineering spans from ascending a mountain in pursuit of virgin powder to achieving a mountain s summit using skis as a tool with skiing down secondary. Ski mountaineering may be distinguished from general ski touring by a willingness to travel over any part of a mountain not just trails for ascending or sheltered powder snow fields for spirited descent. This may include significant rock ice or broken glacier sections as well as high-altitude traverses as part of multi-peak ascents. In addition to skins and ski crampons for traction ski mountaineers may use a range of technical equipment-- including crampons ice axes and ropes--to reach otherwise inaccessible or dangerous points on foot. When skiing is the primary goal skis are carried on backpack as far as the mountaineers go when not they are removed and cached until the climbers return from their continued ascent. When skimo as it s commonly called was brought to my attention I knew I needed to learn more. First many ultra athletes are using skimo as a form of cross training and for athletes like The North Face s Robert Krar the sport is responsible for not only making him fit but also helping him get back into endurance running after having suffered an injury which had set him back years. For the pros out there Nina Silitch is a force to be reckoned with her skimo competitions take her around the world. Nina lived in the French Alps and it s no wonder that the landscape there allowed her to fall in love with nature--and with skimo she can experience the mountains in one of the most unobtrusive ways possible. Don Moden impressed me with how the sport was pinnacle in changing the way he lived and competed. Moden who was an eco challenger back in the day progressed to skimo after trying a whole slew of sports. This one took and it s his current sport of choice. The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (http www.ussma.org ) governs competitive ski mountaineering racing in the US. Globally there is the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) which emerged from the International Council for Ski Mountaineering Competitions (ISMC) in 2008 and is responsible for international competition ski mountaineering. Right now there are 31 countries around the world who are part of the organization. So what kind of equipment do you need to be a ski mountaineer Enough so that there are websites about it. One I found http www.skimountaineer.com EquipInfo Equipment.html has an enormous list of items from skis and boots to poles and ropes to Essential Avalanche Safety Gear to you-name-it. To learn more about equipment check out Annie Agle s blog http www.liftopia.com blog ski-mountaineering-gear-guide which shows the types of equipment she uses for her skimo adventures. continued on page 30 14 Nina Silitch JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS EDITOR S LETTER 6 Jay Markiewicz 3 Ski Mountaineering A Fitness Boom Ski Mountaineering (skimo) is a sport which is gaining popularity in the U.S. It has also been a key cross training sport for Ultra runners. COACHES CORNER 6 Inner Competitor Training Part 1 By Jay Markiewicz Mental ability also referred to as mental toughness can be confusing and difficult to define and is complicated by how elusive it is to train to improve. 8 Robert Krar FEATURES 14 Nina Silitch 8 The North Face Global Team Member Robert Krar Canadian-born Robert Krar broke barriers as an Ultra runner building a fitness base with ski mountaineering. 12 Ex Eco Challenger and Ski Mountaineer Don Moden Shows Us That No Sports Goal is Too Hard to Achieve Don Moden has tried about every type of endurance sport there is. He s now into Ski Mountaineering and plans to continue to compete in this low-impact endurance sport as long as his body will let him. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Subscribe today at EnduranceRacingMagazine.com ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE http EnduranceRacingMagazine.com https www.facebook.com EnduranceRacingMagazine Twitter AlixShutello Pinterest http pinterest.com enduranceracing boards 14 Skimo Champion Nina Silitch Nina Silitch started ski mountainering in 2004. By 2007 she was competing as an ultra skimo competitor. 4 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ATHLETE PROFILE CONTRIBUTORS ERM is made possible by the contributions from athletes and seasoned writers who bring their unique ideas expertise and perspectives to the magazine. Stephen Brown Ultra Athlete Supports Team In Training 18 Competing Against and With Cancer By Stephen Brown Stephen Brown learned he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Instead of folding the towel Brown is competing and helping others who have this disease. RACE REPORTS 22 Eldar Spahic Plans to Take the Spartan Death Race by Storm Eldar Spahic is a seven-year veteran of ultra racing and in the summer of 2014 he will attempt the Spartan Death Race. Jay Markiewicz Fortune 500 Leadership Coach Sports Performance Coach and founder of Inner Competitor 24 A Quest to Swim the English Channel By Janeen Thomas Being the support crew for Patrick Thomas was both exhilarating and a wonderful experience. Alix Shutello Runner and CEO of Endurance Racing Magazine Janeen Thomas Race Crew English Channel Swim 18 Stephen Brown THANK YOU TO OUR ADVERTISERS The North Face CorioVelo Epic Ultras MILA and The Lost World Series. IBE SUBSCR rance to Endu gazine Ma Racing TODAY 22 Eldar Spahic ON THE COVER Nina Silitch has jumped into the global scene to become a prolific ski mountaineering competitor with a lot of wins and championship races under her belt. 24 Patrick Thomas JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 5 COACHES CORNER Inner Competitor Training Part 1 By Jay Markiewicz Mental ability also referred to as mental toughness can be confusing and difficult to define and is complicated by how elusive it is to train to improve. Yet mental ability is paramount to an athlete and is an area that requires focus in order to improve overall performance. So let s try an approach to mental ability to make it simple and powerful. Start with the assumption that our ultimate goal is to accomplish performance improvement and enhance our enjoyment of the sport. If so then we are guided to find practical and applicable tools--which just so happen to be in the domain of mental ability--that help us achieve that goal. This series of articles is based on that approach--focusing on the goal of improved performance and enhanced enjoyment of the sport within the context of mental ability. The framework the articles will follow is based on the sciences and processes of Leadership Coaching. Let s begin by asking yourself a few questions. What is your honest opinion of yourself as an athlete When do you find yourself struggling the most What do you hear yourself saying when things are not going well during training or racing We ll come back to those questions later. First let s talk about an important component of mental ability your brain. Here is something every athlete should know One of the key design principles of the brain is minimize danger and maximize reward. The simplified version is that our brain identifies something as bad with a subsequent avoidance strategy and good with a subsequent engagement strategy. Hot stove bad avoid. The way the brain accomplishes avoiding bad and engaging good is through the mechanism of story (inner voice) and emotion. The brain assesses bad and wants us to avoid it the brain creates a story and your inner voice starts yelling about it. You will experience some kind of emotional response emotion is the fuel of action. So before you know it you are faced with a loud inner voice an emotion and fuel to act. Example Brain assesses hot stove inner voice yells Holy crap ouch response is emotion of fear lots of fuel kicks in and the hand is quickly pulled back from the burner. Fast efficient. Here is the kicker and why we care as athletes our brain is quick to assess bad and there is a lot of potential for bad as a performing athlete--physical pain (keeping up this running pace) perceived loss (falling short of goals) something important at risk (my identity as an athlete) unexpected challenge (weather equipment issues) foes (competitors) loss of control (course conditions) winning losing and so on. Performing in sports is one big adventure in dealing with our brain s auto-response to minimizing danger inner voice emotions and fuel to act in ways that counter our peak performance. This auto-response is the root of what derails the best of athletes if gone unchecked. The great news our brain is trainable There are methods and approaches athletes can employ to improve performance and enjoy the sport more by managing through the dangerstory-emotion-fuel mechanism. 6 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 COACHES CORNER You actually have already started this. Recall your answers to the questions at the beginning of this article. What does this suggest about your danger reward-story-emotion-fuel process In the next article we will continue in the coaching process by building on our noticing. We will learn tools to train ourselves (our brain) in order to improve our performance and enjoy the sport more. Until then rock Jay Markiewicz an endurance athlete and highly soughtafter Fortune 500 Leadership Coach Sports Performance Coach and founder of Inner Competitor --an organization that works with clients who want to perform better and enjoy their life more. You can contact Jay at info innercompetitor.com. Let s define the first practical and applicable action to improve your performance. And remember this is a coaching process which means step one is step one The first action on your Inner Competitor training plan is called noticing --focusing your attention on yourself and your experience. Become intimately familiar with your inner voice and the conditions and experiences that are present. Notice what your brain is labeling as bad or good. Notice what you say to yourself notice when you say it notice everything that you can during the danger reward-story-emotion-fuel response. You can t do anything to change the response until you notice it. 100 & 50 Mile Ultra Races Featuring Honorary Speaker Ultrarunning Legend David Horton Saturday March 29 2014 Ottawa Kansas PrairieSpirit100.com Kansas Grand Slam KansasGrandSlam.com EpicUltras.com Custom Buckles to ALL Finishers of Either Event Pre and Post Race Meals Complimentary Photos Limited to 200 Participants Epic Finish Line First Leg of the Brand New for 2014 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 7 C anadian-born Robert Krar started running in high school and was a middle-distance runner at Butler College in the United States. After moving to Phoenix Ariz. and taking a few years off Krar moved north to the mountain town of Flagstaff. Before long Krar was running and racing once again--this time as an endurance runner. In 2009 he entered the six-day TransRockies trail run with friend Mike Smith. There he met his wife Christina but also sustained long-term injuries. In 2010 Krar underwent surgery to remove Haglund s deformities from both heels. The long recovery from surgery was difficult but Krar discovered many new passions including fly-fishing rock climbing and ski mountaineering (skimo). In the fall of 2011 he and Christina bought their first skimo gear. The gear was very expensive but at that time Krar believed he could never run again he was looking for an activity to do in the mountains of Colorado during the fall and winter. Krar credits his skimo fitness regimen for helping him win and set a new course record in his first race back after nearly three years at the Moab Red Hot 33 in February THE NORTH FACE GLOBAL TEAM MEMBER ROBERT KRAR By Alix Shutello 8 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 I FEATURE t s important for me to stand on the starting line of of peace of the hours ahead... an ultra with a clear head a singular focus and a sense 2012 and that was just the beginning. That summer Krar continued to achieve great things such as setting a new Fastest Known Time for the single crossing of the Grand Canyon in May traversing the north-to-south route in just over 2 51. Another highlight of the season was representing his home country of Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships in September in Tem Italy. As a testament to his success Krar qualified for Western States in 2012 and came in second place. In November 2012 he came in second place at his first ultra the Bootlegger 25K 50K opting for the longer distance at the last minute just to see what it would be like. I was originally signed up for the 25K but decided at the last moment to give the longer distance a shot. It was a bit of a whim but not too out of character for myself. The race went great and things really snowballed from there. A month later he set a new course record at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K. Sponsors were calling but Krar was worried that he wasn t ready to commit to competitive racing so he turned down a few small offers. Instead he approached 2013 with his sights set on the longer-distance races and trained through the winter--another strong winter of skimo and another recordsetting win at the 2013 Moab Red Hot in the 55K distance. It s important for me to stand on the starting line of an ultra with a clear head a singular focus and a sense of peace of the hours ahead. It s a healthier approach to racing than my days around the track and on the roads. Later in the race and especially during difficult patches I tend to focus on the training and sacrifices I made preparing for the day and doing everything within my power to see those efforts come to fruition. As he planned for running UROC (Ultra Race of Champions) in Colorado The North Face (TNF) contacted him and asked him to join their Global Running Team. When a company contacts you you are not exactly sure what the partnership would be like. There are primary and secondary sponsors Krar explained. TNF is a primary where you are supported with getting their gear etc. I looked at their overall operation how much they raced the vibe of their team and made my decision based on that. WOMEN S ISOTHERM WS JACKET WOMEN S ULTRA GUIDE GTX WOMEN S ISOTHERM WS TIGHT The North Face Georgetown The North Face Tyson s Corner The North Face Bethesda The North Face Towson JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 9 FEATURE At that point Krar was finally comfortable running and felt that with his new training regimen (and a diet which he followed thanks to Christina) he was able to be a smart sustainable runner. TNF was in the right place at the right time. He signed on to the Global AthleteTeam and went on to win the 100K UROC a race which traversed mountain passes trails and pavement between Breckenridge and Vail. And in December as a member of TNF he won the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. It s been a long road and would take many pages of writing to fully explain where I am today. I ve experienced great highs and miserable lows in my running but all those highs and lows have been instrumental in my transition to the trails and the ultra-distance. Having the retrospect of a difficult injury and long recovery has led to a new philosophy in my training the past two years. A gentler and more balanced approach has allowed me more than two years of injury-free running and that consistency has proven invaluable Krar said. MORE ABOUT KRAR I run between 70-100 miles a week when in season and focused on a big race. Depending on the race my training could include hill repeats long runs and interval repeats. I also have a circuit routine I try to consistently complete twice a week. I skimo over the winter months and also will use the mountain bike for cross training throughout the year and recovery after races. I don t follow any special diet but I do eat wellbalanced and healthy meals. Many people have asked about my diet they can now follow Christina s new food blog Feeding the Frenzy at www.feedingthefrenzyblog.com. I am happy to have joined The North Face Global Athlete Team. It s a team full of incredible athletes and to be included amongst them is a real honor for me. I met my wife at a running event in 2009 (the TransRockies Run) and she s been my rock in life ever since. Running is one of her many talents and in September she completed her first 100M at the Wasatch. We both have full-time jobs and busy schedules but we ve managed to find a way to make it all work and it s worth it. http www.auburnjournal.com article olsonblazes-through-heat-repeat-western-states-100 TO READ MORE ABOUT ROBERT KRAR GO TO http www.thenorthface.com en_US exploration athletes 65-robert-krar A 10 gentler and more balance approach SUBS [in training] has allowed me more than two years of injury-free running and that consistency has proven invaluable. ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 to E Racin ndurance g Ma gazin e CRIBE TODA Y BETTER THAN NAKED SINGLET 45.00 BETTER THAN NAKED S S 50.00 The North Face Georgetown DC The North Face Tyson s Corner VA The North Face Bethesda MD Like us on Facebook JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 11 FEATURE Don Moden has tried about every type of endurance sport there is. He s now into Ski Mountaineering (skimo) and plans to continue to compete in this low-impact endurance sport as long as his body will let him. Don Moden started out as a competitive wrestler competing from the time he was in third grade through high school. As he transitioned to endurance sports the mental toughness he learned as a wrestler carried him through challenging times as a triathlete. As Moden s experience grew so did his capacity to remain mentally strong through longer and longer competitions. As he made his way to adventure racing his many years of experience and slow progression on distance helped him to be mentally prepared for whatever lay ahead of him in competition. Moden carries that experience and enthusiasm with him today. MULTI-SPORT ENTHUSIAST Moden is no stranger to competition. He spent the first 10 years (1988-98) of his endurance sport career competing in triathlons duathlons and biathlons in Europe and other locations around the world. In the late 1990s Moden became attracted to adventure racing. His progression was slow starting with short one-day events and working up to 10-day Eco-Challenge races within 3 years. In 2001 for example Moden competed on Team Santa Fe in the New Zealand Eco-Challenge. The sport of expedition-length adventure racing started drying up around 2003 with Eco-Challenge going away for good. So I started into trail running Moden said. As with all the other sports Moden tried he succeeded through slow progression on distance to achieve success in ultra distance. Starting in the 50K distance range Moden raced the Leadville 100 in 2007 and then moved on to other things. He hasn t returned to adventure racing except for special circumstances. EX-ECO-CHALLENGER AND SKI MOUNTAINEER Don Moden SHOWS US THAT NO SPORTS GOAL IS TOO HARD TO ACHIEVE By Alix Shutello 12 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 FEATURE Training is my time to put my music in and focus on whatever sport I am doing. I tend to push myself much harder when I m by myself in the mountains. There s always been very little overlap between each sport I try as I typically end up leaving a sport with little interest of returning. I still adventure race but only every two or three years and they are typically unsupported wilderness events from point A to point B he explained. Injury however slowed Moden down and he stopped competing in endurance running events for the last few years. That is when ski mountaineering became an integral part of his recovery and fitness and ultimately his most recent sporting conquest. Moden and his wife of 20 years live in Ouray Colo. six months out of the year. At 8 000 feet there are not only numerous trails but many of them are covered with snow. After taking to the trails Moden became enamored with ski mountaineering (skimo) and started a new chapter in his life as a skimo competitor. All the years of mental training as an endurance athlete have made it much easier to focus on success when I pick up a new sport. I am only a month away from my first ski mountaineering race and I have no doubts that when the race starts I can elevate my physical performance through my mental toughness. It is amazing what the body can do if the mind is willing to command it he said. ON TRAINING AND LIFESTYLE Moden typically trains alone in a much less structured way than he did in the past. Training sessions are not only physical building but mental building too. At a minimum Moden strives to get one anaerobic one tempo and one long training session followed by a medium distance session each week. I will typically build my session by time not mileage over a three-week period with a recovery week. I continue to build these cycles until I am within a month of whatever event I am doing and do a slow taper to let me strength-build. Moden does not do any weights cross-fit or stretching and remains fairly injury-free as long as he does a daily hydrotherapy session. He also never schedules a day off from training but allows that to happen naturally when he feels his body needs a rest. As for gear Moden typically will use the best and lightest gear available anywhere in the world. In my sport the lighter you travel the faster you go Moden said. I ve made it my rule that I train in what I race in so there are no surprises. I cannot remember a race in the last 25 years that I had to drop because of my gear. As for sponsors Moden s had many throughout the years but the longest-standing one is Hammer Nutrition since 1989. This is pretty much the only nutrition I use during my training and racing he said. FAMILY LIFE Moden and his wife work remotely for big corporations and each put in about 45-50 hours per week. To accommodate the grueling work schedule the couple has focused on training and spent a few non-competitive years enjoying the mountains by long-distance fast-packing (backpacking with ultra gear over longer distances). Because we don t have kids we don t really budget for our sports Moden added. It is what keeps our mind and body s health in our mid-40s and you can t put a price tag on that. So when we run across an event that looks challenging we just sign up. Many times we use events to travel as well so not only do we get to do an event but we also get to experience a new area or new country. We re planning to retire in four more years so we re both looking forward to having more time to do training and participate in a number of events that our work lives haven t allowed. We are hoping to be those folks still doing races when we re in our 80s. JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 13 Nina Silitch started ski mountaineering in 2004. By 2007 she was competing as an ultra skimo competitor. Her accomplishments include many podium finishes and top billings at the world s most competitive races. Silitch who started competing in the French Alps now lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two children. ERM How old were you when you made that first step to go to ultra distances SILITCH I did my first skimo race in 2004 when my firstborn was 10 months old. It was tough because I was nursing. It wasn t until my second child was born in 2006 that I managed to get out more and try different types of races. I did my first ultra trail race the CCC 100km North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in 2009. This is a pretty big endurance race around Mont Blanc but I wanted to do it as I lived in Chamonix and love the trails in France Italy and Switzerland. Skimo Champion N ERM What is the draw for you for skimo SILITCH I love sports the mountains and the outdoors being active in the mountains is what makes me tick. Doing this with my family is even better. ERM Tell us a little about your training-- who you train with and why what products you use (clothing food equipment etc.) in your training and in competition. SILITCH I started to get serious about my training in 2010 while living in Chamonix France. I started working with a coach Adam St. Pierre from Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. It was when I started training with him that I began my ultra running and brought my ski mountaineering to a new level. At this point my children were ages 6 and 4. I have a very supportive husband who was 100% behind me. After a few years I realized I had the potential to race at high level and be strong 14 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE in the sport. I was talented at the long-distance races 3 hours to 10 hours and stage races. I took my training to a new level and set some goals for being the best sprinter in the world. I am sponsored by Hammer Nutrition Camelbak SkiTrab Petzl Hoka One One Pomoca Plum Oakley Skins Texner and SUUNTO Ambit. ERM Let s talk about your mental training. It takes a certain mental fortitude to do this sport. What drives you and keeps you sustained during competition SILITCH I increased my mental training significantly last year and worked with a mental coach for the sprint races. Sprints are very intense and require a lot of focus. I also worked a lot on breathing and increased my strength training significantly. JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (also referred to as UTMB) is a single stage mountain ultramarathon. It takes place once a year in the Alps across France Italy and Switzerland. The distance is approximately 166 km with a total elevation gain of around 9 600 m. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races in Europe. It s certainly the largest with over 2 000 starters. The combined participation in all of the events is approaching 10 000 runners. Nina Silitch By Alix Shutello JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 15 ERM How many races have you completed SILITCH I do about 23 skimo races a season including small and World Cup races and national and world championships. For trail running races I do approximately 10 to 12. I do about three ultra distance runs a season. These are races between 42 and 100km long and include two marathons one 50km and one 100km. All of these are trail runs with at least 3000 meters of elevation in the 50km and up to 6000 meters of climbing for the 100km. ERM What about pain or injury...anything slowing you down SILITCH The longer ultra runs take a lot more time to recover from. I also find I can recover from a long skimo race quicker than a 100km ultra trail as the running is harder on your body. I had to do a lot of strength and speed training to be in shape for sprint races which are 3 30 to 4 30 long whereas a long ultra is up to 18 hours of running. My longest skimo time would be 9 hours or 3-4 hours over 4 days. I still love ultra running in the off season. ERM Tell us a little about your recent success and plans for future racing. SILITCH I did not get into high-level racing until my late 40s I won my first gold medal at the age of 40 and my second at 41--both historical medals in the sport of ski mountaineering. Last year I was third in the Veteran category in the Ultra Trail Race CCC 2012. I have made the podium in various trail running ultra distances in the Alps. Since my recent move back to the US I would like to discover new trail races and also help the sport of skimo grow in the Alps. ERM How did you switch from ultra running to training for ski mountaineering SILITCH Running intervals and speed training can be easily transferred to skis once your base is formed. I always warn people to be careful not to do intervals at too high an altitude lest you struggle with both performance and recovery. The biomechanics of running is similar to that of ski-touring and our bodies often see this switch as a welcome break from pounding on the hard earth. Though much of skimo racing on the flatter sections relates to cross-country skiing as we begin to climb it is quite similar to trail running and the climbing we do on trails. NINA S ACCOMPLISHMENTS Member of the United States Ski Mountaineering Team since 2008 First North American to medal in the sport in 2012 Two historic gold medals in the Sprint (Tromso Norway 2012 and 2013) Silver medal at World Championships 2013 France 41 World Cup Starts 4 World Championships 2013 French National Sprint Champion Retired from the World Cup in Sprint 2013 16 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 FEATURE STATS 5th overall in the two-year Grande Course competition in seasons 2010 11 to 2011 12 (Patrouille des glaciers Trofeo Mezzalama Tour de Ruitor Adamello). Ranked 2nd in France in 2011-12 (behind Laetitia Roux). IN 2013 NINA HAD 41 WORLD CUP STARTS. RESULTS World Championships Podiums 1 (2nd Place SILVER MEDAL in Sprint Pelvoux 2013 ) World Cup Podiums 2 (1st Place x 2 2 GOLD MEDALS at end of 2013 season) World Cup starts 41 (at end of 2013 season) World Cup top ten 14 (at end of 2013 season) World Championships race starts 10 (at end of 2013 season) World Championships selections 4 last World Champs (Pelvoux France 2013 Claut Italy 2011 Andorra 2010 Champery Switzerland 2008) World Championships top ten 3 (Pelvoux 2013 Claut 2011 Andorra 2010) US Ski Mountaineering Team 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013. (6 years ) I will return to Europe to compete in their ultra races. I would like to do the UTMB 100-miler in the next five years and return to the place I lived and the trails I love in the Alps. ERM What do you want to do in your spare time SILITCH I have just become a certified health coach and I want to help girls and women in sports. I want to start a Girls on the Run group here in New Hampshire. I m excited to work with professional women and mothers who want to do trail running and sports but who are afraid or feel like they can t fit it in. 2013 HIGHLIGHTS 1st World Cup sprint in Tromso Norway 2nd World Championships sprint Pelvoux France 1st French National Championships sprint Courchevel France JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 17 ATHLETE PROFILE Competing Against and With Cancer By Stephen Brown My perspective on cancer was always that it was something that happened to other people. I grew up as one of those perfectly healthy kids who played every sport that I could sink my teeth into. I attended college on a soccer scholarship. I hung on the fringe of a pro soccer career and then played semi professionally for a number of years. I lived clean and healthy. So I assumed that I of all people should get a free pass on disease like cancer. I received my calling into the world of endurance sports in 1986 when a friend invited me to do a triathlon with him. I scrambled to borrow a bike. I wore a goalie jersey baggy nylon sweat pants and a skydiving helmet and was immediately addicted to what I saw on race day. I was drawn in to the world of Lycra funky bike shoes and pedals cool sunglasses helmets and other radical gear. when I got a call from the surgeon that my pre-admission blood work came back with an elevated white count and I was instructed to consult my oncologist. Now there s a call you don t get every day. And that s not a number one typically has in their contacts like AAA or a plumber. But we got an appointment with a great oncology doctor who then ordered every test and scan imaginable. On February 24 of 2006 my wife and I sat in the office of an oncologist I had known for all of seven days as I tried to wrap my head around what he was telling me. I had chronic lymphocytic leukemia ( CLL ). This would require several weeks of chemotherapy and then two years of follow-up treatments--and even that wouldn t cure the disease. So a little confused a little scared and a little angry I began the first of four week-long rounds of chemotherapy and I of course ran the gamut of every emotion possible. I hit some physical and emotional dark patches. But they weren t all dark these patches were cyclical and things got better. My tolerance improved and treatment started showing signs of working. By the third round my blood counts were slowly returning to normal and I had reached remission. We made a party out of chemo whenever we could. We made it an event. My wife Mary Grace came to every treatment. My kids occasionally skipped school to come hang out with us and we would all each lunch together in the chemo suite. I always tried to be the class clown to add a little levity to the situation. But that s who I am in almost any situation. I couldn t control the diagnosis--but I could control a lot about how I reacted to that diagnosis. I started racing shorter races but it wasn t too long before I worked my way up to marathons and eventually Ironman triathlons. I upgraded my gear along the way more than a few times. I was healthy. I was happy. And I felt like I was setting good examples of healthy living for my kids who came to so many of my races and crossed so many finish lines with me. That was my lifestyle for 20 years...and it was a good one. In early 2006 I started having difficulty swallowing. I also started to notice the presence of a couple of enlarged nodes on the back of my neck. Finally I made an appointment with an ear nose and throat doc who instantly ordered a tonsillectomy. This was not exactly how I wanted to spend my 46th birthday. But then the waters really got murky 18 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ATHLETE PROFILE As I reconciled everything that I was experiencing I made a few key decisions that both kept me sane and at the same time also changed my life. One was to practice the simple adage of controlling those things I could control. I couldn t control the diagnosis--but I could control a lot about how I reacted to that diagnosis. Another was to remain in motion. I have learned through the years that I am happiest when I am moving. I ve never known if I am running toward something or away from months post-diagnosis. I probably could have just as easily retreated and rested but I needed to move. The other decision I made was to sign on as a Team In Training1 triathlon coach and tie all of this together sharing my passion for triathlon with people who are raising money for blood cancers. It s been a partnership better than words could ever describe. In November I was with 50 000 friends racing the NYC marathon. A week later I was sitting in a chemo recliner for 6 hours doing a marathon of a different type with the I went back to racing sprint triathlons five months after my diagnosis and raced an Ironman seven months post-diagnosis. something but when I am moving I am whole. It s more than just a way to stay in shape it is how I have always coped and it is my therapy. So I held onto that and kept up my training through my treatments often running home from chemo. I made it part of a game. I challenged the disease and made up some of my own rules of engagement. And that little game was fun because I was winning. The combination of good drugs a smart doctor a good mind-set and a little luck allowed me to remain in some kind of shape. I was back to racing sprint triathlons five months after my diagnosis and raced an Ironman seven WOMEN S THERMOBALL VEST MEN S THERMOBALL FULL ZIP JACKET WOMEN S THERMOBALL HOODIE The North Face Georgetown The North Face Tyson s Corner The North Face Bethesda The North Face Tyson s Corner JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 19 drug Rituxan. On November 17th I raced the Philadelphia Marathon and on December 9th I was back in treatment. Keep in mind that this is a chronic form of blood cancer that I live with. We can manage it with the goal of remaining in remission but there is no true cure as we know the word today. If symptoms appear we address them. It s a process that I manage. And manage quite well I might add. So I ve learned a few things in my 25 years of racing and 7 years of living with a chronic leukemia. That equates to 23 full marathons an ultra marathon in South Africa 11 Ironman triathlons countless shorter races...and 46 visits to the chemotherapy suite. Lessons tend to come out of that kind of stuff. And I will continue to learn and build both relationships and experiences as time rolls on. Most importantly I try my best to live above and not just with this thing. This cancer can be considered either a curse or an opportunity--depending on perspective and on the choices I make. Team in Training ( TNT ) is one of the oldest and most successful endurance sports training programs in the country. We train athletes in triathlon half and 1 full marathons as well as century cycling events. In exchange for receiving coaching and event travel logistics participants raise money in the fight against blood cancers like mine. I am the triathlon coach for the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter we are now gearing up for our summer season when we will take approximately 60 athletes to the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon in June. It s been a wonderful partnership for me. I work with amazing individuals and train them in a sport that I am very passionate about while they raise funds to fight blood cancers. TNT has a presence throughout the United States and Canada. TO LEARN MORE VISIT WWW.TEAMINTRAINING.ORG 20 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 21 Eldar Spahic Eldar Spahic is a seven-year veteran of ultra racing and in the summer of 2014 he will attempt the Spartan Death Race. Plans to Take the Spartan Bosnia-born Eldar Spahic (33) survived the Balkan War and took a lot away from the experience. I learned at a very early age how to survive on limited supplies and with minimal modern conveniences and gained valuable lifelong experiences that I would never trade for a different life. Spahic moved to New York in 2000 where he got a degree in Molecular Cellular Biology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. After graduation Spahic moved to San Diego where he worked for pharmaceutical companies and clinical research. He also started training in Taekwondo and joined a bootcamp group-which later became known as Gut Check Fitness-owned and operated by Joe Decker the World s Fittest Man and Guinness World Book Record Holder. It was with Joe and Nicole (now Joe s wife) where I began to compete in trail running Marine Bootcamp Challenges Strong Man Competitions and all the sports that accompanied beach life Spahic said. Those competitions led to obstacle course racing which led to unique and ultra-endurance races such as The Ultimate Suck Spartan Beasts GoRucks and eco-survival challenges. I did not have a dramatic start or an event that motivated me to start I just enjoy the amazing high you get when you accomplish the impossible. The friends and competitors I have met along the way keep me motivated and pushing my limits every year Spahic said. Spahic and his wife Erin have traveled and raced together since 2005 when they met. She is also an experienced ultra-endurance athlete ecologist ER Manager and adventure seeker probably one the most dangerous scenarios-neither one of us know how to quit Spahic said. In 2008 Spahic was competitively selected to attend a unique accelerated nursing degree program that completed his medical background with my biology degree and career. In Las Cruces New Mexico Spahic started mountain biking a sport he had left behind for a while. In 2009 Spahic moved back to upstate New York to work. He also competed in the GoRuck 12hr Green Bret Challenge 2 Spartan Beast World Championships International Mountain Biking Association Race-Maryland The East Coast Regional SUCK (2nd Place) and The National Championship Ultimate SUCK. Spahic keeps in top shape by incorporating all types of sports into his fitness regimen. He has trained and competed with a group who got together in San Diego Calif. he and his ultra-competitive wife have sought out tougher and tougher races leading them to take on the top 10 most difficult races in America according to msn.com. I cross train in everything I can get my hands on. There is no sport I will not try at least once. Just to name a few some of my more recent training schedules included cross fit Olympic weight lifting adventure racing triathlon training kickboxing Jujitsu Taekwondo hiking bouldering camping yoga P90X and ultra-marathons he said. In 2014 Spahic plans to compete in his first Ironman the North Face Endurance Challenge and the Spartan Death 22 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ATHLETE PROFILE Death Race by Storm Race. As Spahic prepares for the Spartan Death Race he s well aware it will be a mental and physical test of endurance. Racers are given a start date and time to meet at basecamp from there competitors do not know when the race will start when it will end how far they will have to go or what tasks they will be required to complete. The 2013 Death Race lasted over 72 hours less than 10% of the competitors who begin will complete the race. By Alix Shutello The first Lost Tribe race will be held in an undisclosed location in Upstate NY on May 17th 2014. The race has filled but the organization has decided to open the race to a few more slots based on first-come-first serve basis. The Lost Tribe will also be announcing its Fall 2014 expedition date shortly for those that did not get into the Spring Expedition. Although this race has been listed as an eco-challenge it will bring unique and never-before seen challenges to its racers. While traditional eco-challenges include extreme sports and equipment the focus of this entry level race will be focused primarily around survival skills ecosystem preservation and leadership vs teamwork skills. The expedition will challenge each person both mentally and physically as they endure some of the most pristine and remote wilderness imaginable. Spahic believes that to take on these types of races one has to want it so badly that there is no option for failure. He is hoping that this philosophy will help him through the competition. No matter how much mental preparation you have there will always be that point in the race where your mind contemplates quitting. The drive for completion must be so strong that for your mind there is no other option. Keeping spirits high laughing and smiling are the best remedies for pushing through those moments--even if pain and agony are the only things to laugh about he said. The driving factor for Spahic is the indescribable feeling when you accomplish something that so few can even imagine. His desire for tough endurance races has taken him one step further race development. Spahic and his partners have created The Lost Tribe Expeditions designed as a 12-hour eco-challenge set in remote wilderness. The challenge will consist of multiple tasks both team and individually based that will require physical strength leadership teamwork and strategy. (For more information go online at www.losttribeexpeditions.com.) I do not intend to stop so far my body has been amazingly sturdy--and I intend to keep pushing limits. E SUBSCRIB nce to Endura zine aga Racing M TODAY JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 23 CONQUERING THE EVEREST OF SWIMMING the English Channel By Janeen Thomas By January 2011 my friend Patrick had bagged a number of medals for a variety of challenges--the Cape to Cairo bike ride full Ironman half Ironman Cape Argus Cape Epic Comrades marathon climbing Kilimanjaro Double Century Cycle rides et cetera. Now he was considering the next extreme challenge on his bucket list--the English Channel Swim. Over the course of many years Patrick and I have shared training goals training notes and runs and followed each other s endurance events with enthusiasm. So it was with admiration and a little I wish I had the guts that I watched from the sidelines as Patrick registered and began his preparation for the English Channel. This included eating anything he liked to build his weight to 100 kg--extra blubber to help brave the cold--and hours and kilometres of swimming in anything that held water--the gym pool Sea Point swimming pool Australian waters South Africa waters--and in any weather. In addition to the training he still completed an Argus and an Epic. Cross training maybe Some might say mad . I had accepted the request to be part of Patrick s support crew--a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this was not to be missed. The timing for Patrick s swim was an ideal start to a trip that would end with my running the Berlin marathon. So while Patrick trained ate and prepared for his swim I kept my two feet on the road reviewed my previous boat trips and concluded that seasickness was not a number-one risk. I scoured the Internet for information on supporting a channel swimmer I m not sure if I ever A QUEST TO SWIM 24 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 Patrick s schedule detailed the time and nature of refreshment for every feed anticipated...I was constantly struck by the amount (and the detail) of preparation that was required for this event. feed time told Patrick but I found only two articles. In the first the support crew described it as hellish and never again in the other two of the swimmer s crew got so seasick they were no help at all and the third crew member slipped on the boat and knocked himself out so the swim had to be aborted because of an unconscious crew member. I wondered What was I getting myself into September came quickly and it was not long before I found myself waiting for Patrick outside our designated meeting point--Costa Coffee at St. Pancras train station. I had envisaged that my stay in Dover would be like staying on some small wet isolated and not very attractive beach in an old beat-up caravan. Boy was I wrong our home for the next few days a mobile caravan in Varne Ridge Holiday Park was situated on the white cliffs with stunning views across the channel to France. The park a home away from home for Channel swimmers is run by a local couple who go the extra mile to help swimmers and their support team. Having hosted many a swimmer they have a wealth of knowledge to share and a knack for making each visitor feel special. With swimmers from Australia Ireland Canada Malaysia and South Africa getting weather reports checking the tides and winds speculating on whether their swim was a no-go or a go Varne Ridge was Ground Control for nations united on one goal the Channel crossing Patrick and I headed for a rendezvous with his South African friend Myles who coincidently had the same window period for his swim. Human nature is interesting here were two people facing the same challenge one with anxiety and an endless list of questions etched in his face and the other giving little insight as to what was occupying his thoughts. The two clad in their Speedos with a South African flag on the rear tested the water and discussed the prospects for their swim. With Dover Castle perched on the stunningly beautiful white cliffs behind me I watched as other aspirant swimmers swam lengths from left to right while large ferries carrying passengers travelled eastward from Dover and Calais. These sights would become very familiar and the beach a regular meeting point for us. The next few days seemed to fly by as we stocked up on water and Cadbury s chocolate rolls (recommended fuel for the swimmers on D-day) and Patrick took me through my paces with his feeding regime and equipment. Each day would end with a call to the skipper of Patrick s crew boat Anastasia to get a heads-up on the weather and possible start date. The rules of the swim require that the swimmer swim in a Speedo and cannot hang onto the boat or a rope or person Patrick had patented a number of tools that would assist his crew in adhering to the rules while feeding him. Thirty-four kilometers is a long way to swim and motivating the swimmer is key. While Vladimir (Patrick s Smurf mascot) watched silently I was prepped on the dos and the don ts to encourage Patrick on. Vladimir having accompanied Patrick on the Argus the Epic Iron Man a hike to Kilimanjaro and the Comrades has many a tale to tell but that s a story still to be written. Patrick s schedule detailed the time and nature of refreshment for every feed anticipated as he crossed the Channel and in reviewing this I was constantly struck by the amount (and the detail) of preparation that was required for this event. Between all of this I still had the time to experience some beautiful runs along the white cliffs and while doing so mulled on my upcoming support role. JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 25 A reminder to Patrick of the support growing for him at home came in the form of a banner of photos and messages from friends and family that hung in our lounge and the more vocal came in the form of constant tweets and bbm messages. On September 7 2012 D-day arrived Myles got his call and was due to start at 23h30 and Patrick s waiting was about to end. He received the message good to go at 3h30 on September 8 2011. Varne Ridge was a hive of activity and Patrick s other crew--Paul and Dave previous channel crossers themselves--arrived. War stories were traded last-minute changes to equipment made and final lists ticked. Bed called but sleep alluded and it was all quiet on the western front till the early hours of the 8th when the park again hummed with activity. We headed to the harbour and our designated boat. Myles by now had been swimming 3 hours. Despite the early hour the harbour was abuzz--there were 3 other boats with swimmers mentally preparing for the task ahead of them. One--a swimmer from Australia--would attempt to make 3 crossings. on the ground and one arm in the air signaled that at 3 31 a.m. Patrick s Channel swim had officially begun. On Patrick s phone I tweet In the water and on his way. lights out The boat turned and gradually left the dark white cliffs behind travelling in an easterly direction across English waters toward the shipping line and our final destination the pebbles of French beach Cap Gris Nez. It wasn t long before a lone figure with a smooth consistent stroke and rhythm was swimming alongside the boat. Face down arm in over and through breathe to the right face down arm in over and through breathe to the left and so the pattern for Patrick s 34-km journey was set. It was still dark but the water was calm and fairly mild at 17 degrees and as the dawn broke silver streaks of light made their appearance on the slowly shimmering sea. The colors of the South Africa flag on Patrick s cap became brighter and more prominent. I was simultaneously overwhelmed with emotions that were a mix of comfort anxiety and excited expectation. Mentally I communicated to Patrick You can do it don t give up keep going. In discussing an expected time for finishing a channel swim Patrick had indicated it could take up to 14 hours and I had wondered how I was going to fill so many hours on a boat. I never would have anticipated how busy I would be and how quickly the time would pass. Patrick had to be fed every 45 minutes for the first three hours and then every 30 minutes thereafter. Feeding time did not consist of a choice of arbitrary items that could be thrown at the swimmer anytime but rather a detailed and varied menu that had to be carefully passed to the swimmer ensuring he did not hang on to the stick or boat while eating. Patrick was alerted to each feed a few minutes before it was due when we hung Vladamir over the side of the boat. What do I do if I have to go... --and we all shouted in unison Do it in the water The skipper Eddie Spelling and his crew welcomed us all on board the Anastasia. In the cool dark and windless hours of the early morning the boat chugged slowly toward Shakespeare Beach where the swim would officially begin. Patrick clad in a Speedo with a light stick attached to his rear (so we could spot him in the water) and a South African swimming cap on his head stood legs astride and arms in the air as he was rubbed down with Vaseline and suntan lotion. The boat was eerily silent as crew and swimmer alike contemplated what the dawning day would bring. The grin on Patrick s face disguised any feelings of nervousness and anxiety he was more than likely experiencing. This contemplative silence was broken by a question from Patrick What do I do if I have to go... --and we all shouted in unison Do it in the water Shakespeare Beach was reached final goodbyes and goodlucks were said then Patrick climbed down the ladder and swam a few metres toward the shore. In the dark a loan pale figure appeared on the pebble-covered beach. Two feet 26 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 Mentally I communicated to Patrick You can do it don t give up keep going. Every item of food eaten or drink consumed had to be documented by myself and a swimming official. The latter s role was to ensure that all the rules for the swim were adhered to and to monitor the swimmer s performance and condition to determine that he she was still fit to continue and there were no pending health or safety conditions that would require the swim to be aborted. The pace of Patrick s stroke had to be counted and recorded regularly a significant slowing in the average stroke rate would be cause for concern. Conversations held with Patrick had to be noted to ensure that he remained alert lucid and aware. Understandably in most endurance events--and in this case between 3.5 and 4 hours into the swim--Patrick hit a low. Motivation and the response of his support team at this point were integral to his success. It was then that I realized there would definitely be two crew members I would ask to support my channel swim if I ever was daft enough to attempt it. The first being the skipper who in a calm but firm manner disputed others advice with regard to the extent to which you increase the concentration of the energy drinks and with a quiet confidence reassured us that if guided Patrick would succeed. The second would be Dave a successful channel swimmer and a cancer survivor who had come equipped with a Santa Claus outfit to provide distraction and a whistle to attract his attention. Dave also made use of Vladimir--Patrick s ever-faithful mascot--for inspiration and Vladimir became proficient in waving an arm and two legs at Patrick while swinging from the side of the boat. As the sun rose higher in the sky Patrick swam further and the white cliffs of Dover were no longer visible. Time passed quickly as we all remained focused on our common goal. Terms previously foreign to me like SW Lane Separation Zone and NE Lane (shipping lanes) stroke rate Cap (ideal landing point) all became common vocabulary as we tracked Patrick s progress. With a newly acquired skill I became a champion tweeter responding to messages as friends and family woke and wanted updates and sent their motivational greetings or chirps like Go Patty-cake Are you guys there yet and Want a photo of France you could be in a swimming pool for all we know The Stella Artois is calling L ong-distance swimming is tedious and unlike running there is no view to contemplate no hill to walk up or speed down it is just the monotony of the ocean the side of the boat and continuous forward strokes. Keeping a swimmer motivated is therefore really important. We had a whiteboard on which to write messages from friends tweeting bbming or smsing or we could choose from a list of motivational words names phrases that Patrick had given us. We selected these depending on how we viewed Patrick s mood Money Pain is temporary--failure is inevitable names of friends or family names of races events where Patrick had been inspired succeeded or ones where he had struggled or bailed. All personal reminders and motivators to him of the dreams goals and sacrifices he had made to embark on this journey. The banner depicting photos and words of wisdom and encouragement from family friends and supporters oceans apart adorned the side of the boat a constant reminder to Patrick as he lifted his head to breathe that others were following his journey. early in the morning JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 27 In the few odd quiet and still moments when the only sounds one could here were the slow chug-chug of the boat and splish-splish of a swimmer s stroke I had time to wonder and admire Patrick s tenacity and endurance. Unlike a marathon runner a channel swimmer cannot stop with feet on the ground to take a drink or enjoy the loud cheers of supporters along the road one can only tread water for a few seconds grab an energy gel from a stick and try to make sense of the muffled sounds coming from a single boat bobbing up and down a few metres away. Patrick s desire to finish was fuelled and encouraged by the various reports we gave him of the others around him. Mark Bayliss an enduro athlete completed the Arch to Arc (a 140-km run from Marble Arch in London to Dover a 34 km mile swim from Dover across the channel to Calais and then 290-km cycle race to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) in a record time of 73 39 12. Trent Grimsey an Australian swimmer Patrick met at Varne Ridge completed his swim just as Patrick first reached French waters in a record time of 6 55. Myles Wilson Patrick s South African friend and swimmimg partner reached the Cap in 13 11 at almost the same moment Trent stood on French soil. Sooner than we thought and taken slightly south of our expected destination by the incoming tide we could see the sandy French beach in the distance. If I zoomed in on my camera I could clearly see children and adults enjoying a lazy afternoon on the beach. An inquisitive catamaran sailing near us stopped to cheer Patrick on and I tweeted a photo and a Charge ur glasses this man is gonna land in France soon. In water as clear and calm as a swimming pool we dropped anchor and shivering with goose bumps a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye I watched as the skipper s son climbed aboard a kayak in the water and Paul and Dave in Speedos (and Vladimir in Dave s hand) jumped into the water to accompany Patrick for the last few metres. Knowing how incredible it felt to watch Patrick swim stand up walk onto the sunlit warm French beach raise his arms in the air 13 56 after the same gesture on a dark cold English beach I can only imagine his combined feelings of exhaustion exhilaration and sense of achievement. My final tweet He s done it 13.56 WELL DONE PATTY I can only imagine his combined feelings of exhaustion exhilaration and sense of achievement. As the sun slowly began to set I watched as Patrick was towed back by the kayak and carefully climbed up onto the boat. With a teary eye and a dry towel I hugged him--what an achievement and what a privilege to have been there to witness it. Nearly fourteen hours in the sun and water was evident in Patrick s slightly swollen face and the tan marks where his goggles had been. Patrick retrieved some small stones from his Speedo--testimony to his I want to call myself a channel swimmer and put pebbles in my trunk. The boat turned and began its homeward journey as Patrick now dressed in warm clothes bucket by his side and his arm on a pillow dozed--oblivious to the most spectacular sunset and red sky that surrounded us and slowly drew the curtain on a momentous day. Disembarking at the harbour Patrick was greeted and presented with a medal (of chocolate ) by Phil and Tara two tweeting supporters. How proud he must have felt when we arrived back at Varne Ridge to see the South African flag flying from the mast and a huge banner pasted on our caravan that read Congratulations on becoming a Channel swimmer --just one more example of David and Evelyn s support and encouragement. Patrick still had the energy to share a celebratory braai with UK friends who had travelled to Dover for the weekend. Pottering around the caravan that night both Patrick and I were struck by the fact that it still felt as if we were bobbing up and down on the waves--sea legs persisted. Sleep came easily that night for both of us. Vladimir Patrick s Smurf mascot has accompanied Patrick on the Argus the Epic Iron Man a hike to Kilimanjaro and the Comrades 28 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 The next few days were spent drinking large cappuccinos while revelling in Patrick and Myles success exploring Dover castle Folkestone and Canterbury a memorable run with Patrick from Varne Ridge along the white cliffs to Shakespeare Beach (the start of the swim) and watching other avid swimmers stress and prepare for their crossing. On Wednesday September 12 2012 outside Costa Coffee at St. Pancras Station my journey with Patrick had travelled full circle and we headed off in opposite directions--me in pursuit of the Berlin marathon and Patrick a well-earned rest (and no doubt dreams of the next challenge). MEN S ISOTHERM WS JACKET MEN S ISOTHERM 1 2 ZIP The North Face Georgetown The North Face Tyson s Corner The North Face Bethesda The North Face Towson JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 29 EDITOR S LETTER Continued from page 3... The nice thing about skimo is that it s all about you and the environment. It s a sport that incorporates so many other disciplines and aspects of adventure racing yet the fact that you have to carry your skis during competition through some of the terrain makes me think this is one of the most challenging endurance sports out there. Outdoor Magazine provided top ten tips for ski mountaineers and the first tip was to take a ski mountaineering class. There are also Nina Silitch ski mountaineering camps like Sawtooth (http sawtoothguides.com winter-courses-instruction ski-mountaineeringcamp ) that teach both ski and snowboarding mountaineering techniques. While this issue is heavy in skimo I wanted to include a couple of articles to broaden the spectrum of this magazine. I was fortunate enough to receive a submission from Janeen Thomas on how Patrick Thomas completed an English Channel swim. Her adventure taken from the point of view of support crew was both thorough an engaging. Another interesting piece comes from Eldar Spahic. He is one of many I ve talked to about going after the Spartan Race but Spahic is prepping like no one I ve seen before. Check out his article on page 22 as well as Stephen Brown s inspiring article. Brown a cancer survivor is one of those amazing well-rounded athletes who is working to make a difference in his own life as well as others . He s competed through struggling with his leukemia and is working to help others compete to support the cause. I m particularly sensitive about this disease as I know people who ve lost their lives to it and I want to personally thank Stephen for bringing me this story. I hope you enjoy the issue Alix Alix Shutello President and CEO Editor runnersillustrated.com 30 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 ENDURANCE RACING MAGAZINE 31