Vermont 50 Recap (Part 3 – Tribulation)

As we were leaving Skunk Hollow Adam and Sarah were just pulling in, and I felt a mixed bag of emotions. I was feeling great physically, but I had some creeping doubts sneaking in because I had only eaten about 400 calories (best guess) and had only taken in about half the electrolytes I had planned for. The part that was nagging at me was I knew once you get behind on these things (especially the electrolytes) it’s hard, if not impossible to get caught up.

I was going to have to be very diligent with my intake from here on out. I knew I had to force myself to eat on a regular basis in between aid stations, and keep pounding my Nuun. I went into this with the mindset that it wasn’t a 50 mile race, but a series of 5-7 mile races (the distance between the aid stations). An experienced ultra runner told me once that an ultra was all about eating, drinking, and running… In that order.

I was looking forward expectantly to what was in store for me, but I knew we had some tough going ahead. I was going to push myself to the point where my body would quit and my mind was going to necessarily take over. But when would that be? At 20 miles? 26.2? 50k? Just how bad was that wall going to be? Would it be mostly physical? Or would I break down emotionally? How much would I have to rely on my friends to get me through this? Would we be able to hold each other up? Or would we all go down at the same time? This next segment was going to be the mucilage of our rapport. 4 miles to the next aid station, 18-19 miles until Dugdale’s and our next drop bag’s and crew, and 4 major climbs totaling around 3000′ of climbing (almost 1/3 of the total elevation gain of the entire race).

Put that camera down JB!

What goes up must come down and the big climbs were always followed by some steep descents. From the outset Jeremy D and I established ourselves as the downhill bombers of the group.  Anyone who’s been following me for a while knows I’ve been focused on my downhill running technique since training for Boston this year. I’ve practiced and honed my technique even further in mountain and trail races over the Spring and Summer. I’m glad I did though, because it was even more important to do it properly here than it was in Boston.

Some of the descents here were so steep that braking at all would’ve just shredded my quads. I was forced to just let my legs go and pretend I was flying. Many times my arms went out to the sides for balance. Sometimes it was so much fun that we were whoopin’ and hollerin’ all the way down. Still other times it was so scary we were literally screaming out in terror as if we were on a really hairy roller coaster. I remember a particularly gnarly section where Jeremy D and I actually stopped and walked back a little just to make sure Luau and Jeremy B made it down in one piece.

Coming into the Garvin Hill Aid Station

The climb up Garvin Hill just seemed to go on forever. Between the course description and the published elevation profile it seems we climbed 1600-1800′ over 2 miles. We started on a dirt road, turned into the woods, the single track and switchbacks through the woods just went on and on. As soon as we saw the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, we finally came out of the woods into what looked deceptively like an open pasture, but it was the side of a big hill filled with even more switchbacks.

When we got to the aid station at the top of the hill… Huge payoff! Definitely the most breathtaking views from the highest point course. It would’ve been really easy to just hang there and stare-off into the distance for a while if it weren’t for our trail boss wrangling us and heading down. The way down the backside of Garvin Hill was just as beautiful and extremely fun with easy flowing switchbacks to the bottom. Only to set us up for another 3-4 miles of climbing.

This particular stretch was an alternating low point for myself, Luau and Jeremy B. We each had a down and raw emotional moment through here where the rest of us held the other up with positive thoughts of “just keep moving” and “it will pass.” I remember lots of cursing, dirty jokes, talk about music (And Jeremy D’s affinity for good Metal), I believe I even broke out into some “Ice, Ice Baby” and “Jump Around” here (I made it into the Beastie Boys “Paul Revere” later on in the race). Conversation turned to Monty Python and we broke out into a rousing version of “I’m a lumberjack and that’s ok!” We talked about Saturday Night Live and even “Old Gregg.” Anything to keep our minds off of the pain and suffering we were experiencing.

The aid station at the top of that climb was called “Margaritaville.” Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jimmy Buffett (having worked on island bars and tex-mex bar/restaurants where Buffet is played 24/7), but these Parrot Heads really created a party atmosphere and it was refreshing to say the least. They were so helpful and upbeat that just being there picked-up our spirits. Plus, they had made all sorts of unique treats (even though I stuck with the pb&j, cookies and chips I’d been scarfing at all the rest of the aid stations), and it was nice to have options at that point.

Pulling out of “Margaritaville” we knew the next station was at Dugdale’s where we would see our crew’s again, and I was looking forward to getting into my New Balance MT-101’s as the Peregrine’s were getting really waterlogged and heavy at this point. Besides, the sun had been out for over an hour and it was getting hot. Subsequently, I was sweating a lot more. I put my last two Nuun tablets into my bottle and knew I was going to need more. Needless to say we were looking to cover the next 4-5 miles as fast as possible. Luau had already had some cramping issues at this point. I told him to try popping a Nuun tab in his mouth directly (I had done this on a long run with good results) and it seemed to work for him.

Within a couple of hundred yards we caught-up to a couple of cute girls we’d met earlier on the course and struck-up idle conversation about the course, the heat, etc. When suddenly the bottle I had just put 2 Nuun tabs into blasted a cold discharge all over the back of one of the girls as the pressure built-up and released. Normally, this probably would’ve been incredibly embarrassing, instead she thanked me with some “I knew you were happy to see me” jokes and took it in stride. The conversation quickly deteriorated from there. Just one more difference in the attitude of ultra runners over “faster” runners. Everyone is so laid back and funny. At this point I have to mention all of the gas bags on the trail and fart jokes that ensued. Hilarious. And I won’t mention any names. They know who they are!

We made it into Dugdale’s which was in the neighborhood of 32 miles, and I knew the real race was just about to get started…

Coming into Dugdale's

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Vermont 50 Recap (Part 2 – Sublimation)

The first thing I heard in the morning was Luau’s voice saying “Doug! It’s 4 O’clock! Get up!” Shiiiiit!!! My alarm didn’t go off! For the first time EVER I actually slept soundly without a care or worry in the World the night before a race. For once I didn’t get up, every hour on the hour, incessantly checking my alarm gripped with fear and I paid the price. We planned on being on the road by 4. We had at least a 30 minute drive ahead of us and we were told that we had to be checked-in by 515 for the pre-race briefing. Yes, we had time, but considering there would be 1300 participants with one single lane road in to the start area, there was bound to be traffic.

So, after a brief tirade in which I think I linked together more expletives than have ever come out of my mouth in one sentence, I scrambled to the fridge for my first of three bottles of “Boost” (at my coaches behest, I’ve been using it for my pre-race and long run fuel which was now about an hour behind schedule, but oh well). I got dressed in a hurry and packed my spare bag with warm clothes and other items I might need for my crew to bring with them. Thank God that Dave heard me running around and got up to help. I ran out the door, put the bag in my truck and jumped in the back of Luau’s vehicle without saying goodbye to Dave or even kissing Lex goodbye!

As soon as we got on the road, Luau looks at me and says “this one’s for you!” And puts on his iPod…

“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it? Or just let it slip?” – Lose Yourself, Eminem

My boy Luau knows me. Part of the reason that he agreed to run Vermont with me was to make sure I hit my “A” goal of sub-11 hours in order to qualify for entry into the lottery for the Western States Endurance Run. “Lose Yourself” was one of my training theme songs for this race. There was simply no better way to start the day! I was starting to feel an overwhelming sense of kismet. We jumped on the highway and we were off!

That’s when sheer terror set-in as I realized I had left both of my handheld’s behind.  Not only were they to be my only source of hydration, but they were stocked with my nutrition (Honey Stinger gels and chews) and electrolytes in the form of Nuun tabs… Aaaaargh!!! A quick call to Dave on Sarah’s phone (I left my iPhone behind intentionally) and I discovered he was already on top of it.

In fact, he said that as soon as he walked back in the house he saw the bottles sitting on the chair, grabbed them and came running out the driveway after us. He said he actually caught us and got his hand on the bumper just as we turned onto the road. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to catch our attention. He was already in his truck on the way after us. We turned around and headed back one exit and met him at a gas station right next to the exit. Let’s try this again! This was NOT at all how I had envisioned the morning going.

Luckily we still hit the road at a good time because there was little traffic and we had plenty of time to spare. We checked-in and milled about for a while trying to keep warm until the pre-race instructions were given, which were basically “respect the land and the landowners, “here’s your signs” (to look for), have a great race!” I grabbed a coffee and rounded up the group to head over to the pre-appointed meeting area. That cup of coffee was probably the best coffee EVER! Actually, it could’ve been total crap (i.e. Marine Corps coffee) and I wouldn’t have cared at that point. I hadn’t had caffeine for almost two weeks! I cut it out so that it would have the desired effect when I needed to use it during the race. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed that cup of coffee!

Everyone eventually showed-up on the patio outside of Cunningham’s except our fast friend Nancy. We started taking pictures while we waited and listened to all of the mountain biker divisions start. Around 630 they made an announcement of “5 minutes until all 50-mile runners start,” so we made our way over making sure to keep an eye out for Nancy in her ACS Determination singlet, but to no avail. Only much later did we find out that she showed-up late, jumped right into the start and took off, literally (finishing 24th OA, 4th Female and 1st AG with an AMAZING time of 8:30:13)! We were sad to have missed her but realize we would’ve just slowed her down! She ROCKED it! Below is the best of the pre-race pic’s of the group, we (most of us) were SO clueless! LOL!


Adam, Jeremy B, Sarah, Me, Luau, Jeremy D

At 635 am local time we were off! Approximately 375 of us 50-miler’s going down the road toward 9000 feet plus of elevation on a course (re-routed in several places to avoid washouts from the hurricane flooding about a month earlier) that would take us over 50.5 miles according to the RD (which is better than the 54 miles that the guy with the maps told us about yesterday). The first couple of miles took us downhill and out of the Ascutney Mountain Resort.

We were all chatting away about our expectations and goals for the race, trying to avoid thinking of the first climb. We were told that the first climb had been re-routed and was going to be much steeper than originally planned. Instead of 1000′ over 1.6 miles it was now over just under 0.5 miles. Luau and I decided that of course our “A” Goal was a sub-11 hour finish (a Western States Qualifier), but our “B” goal was to finish before the 12-hour cutoff, our “C” goal was the standard “do NOT shit yourself,” and we added a “D” goal for this race of “just don’t die!”

The Start

The first big climb that we were dreading anticipating ended-up being immediately coming out of the first aid station. I learned a few lessons at the first aid station. First, I needed to have my bottles open coming into the station. Second, just grab some food and move on or our trail boss (Jeremy D) would start barking at us… DON’T DAWDLE!

Being that this was my first race running with two handhelds, I fumbled around in the water line trying to get the tops off until a kindly volunteer offered to help me and I got them off, filled-up, grabbed a pb&j and some chips ahoy and started moving toward the trail head. The climb was no joke. It was over 1/2 mile, steep as hell, and wading through 6-8 inches of slippery mud that had already been torn-up by 800 mountain bikers in front of us. I spent the first 100 yards or so fumbling with my left-hand bottle again because I forgot to drop my Nuun tabs into it. D’oh!

The Trail Head out of Aid Station 1

The next 8 or 9 miles into Skunk Hollow Aid Station  (our first meet-up with crew/handler’s) seemed like a relentless series of short and fast downhill runs followed by long steep climbs. It seemed that our group was already spreading out much like I’d imagined it would. Only, I figured that the 2 Jeremy’s would pull-away out front, Luau and I would hang in the middle and Sarah and Adam would bring up the rear. At this point though, The Jeremy’s and Luau were setting the pace out front (and personally I thought they were pushing a bit too hard for my taste), I was alone in the middle (but making friends), and Adam and Sarah were behind me. At one point I waited at the top of a climb to hook-up with Sarah and Adam because I was tired of being by myself.

Coming into Skunk Hollow

When we rolled into the second aid station, I had my bottles open and electrolytes in, filled them, grabbed some food and moved out. I think I had it down now! Next thing I know I looked around me and realized I was out in front of the rest of our group, but I knew they would catch me with all the climbs ahead. The last mile or so into Skunk Hollow was a long, steep, muddy downhill that Jeremy D and I just bombed down until we came out of the woods into a HUGE mud pit that slowed us down a bit going into the aid station.

I have to say my crew was awesome! I handed my bottles off to Lex and she filled and restocked them, while Dave helped me change. My feet were pretty wet, so I lubed them up with vaseline, and put dry socks on before putting them back in my shoes. I chose to run the first 30 or so miles in my Saucony Peregrine’s and so far they were working-out well. I decided not to change my shirt, grabbed my bottles, kissed my wife and headed back out…

Changing my Socks

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Vermont 50 Race Recap (Part 1 – Provision)

Mt. Ascutney

Subtitle: Mudfest 2011

Cast of Characters:

  • Jeremy D. – The Trail Boss
  • Luau – The Marathoner
  • Jeremy B. – The Newbie
  • Sarah – The Ultrarunner with something to prove
  • Adam – The Everyman
  • Lex – My Wife and Crew Chief
  • Dave – My Best Friend and Crew
  • Jenni – Adam’s Wife and Crew Chief
  • Gene – Sarah’s Crew

Wow! Just wow! Seriously. The Vermont 50! A Montrail Ultra Cup race? Did I really choose this as my first ultramarathon?  What was I thinking?!?! Well, it turned-out to be an amazing day spent in an amazing place with an amazing group of people.  My “team” was made-up of a group of runner’s that I met and peer-pressured into running with me through twitter and the dailymile community. What else can I say? I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first ultramarathon. Well, maybe I could’ve asked for a little less, mud, but…

Part of the reason that it has taken me a couple of days to sit down and write this recap is that I’m still trying to digest what I’ve just been through. It’s so hard to get my head around it. Running the Vermont 50 was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Subsequently, I think this recap is going to be incredibly hard for me to write, partly because I really don’t want it to be a novel (and frankly, I’ve written novels about 5k’s before so this is going to be a challenge), and partly because I just don’t know where to start…

Shortly after finishing my first Boston Marathon in 2010 I decided I wanted to try my hand at running an ultramarathon. You see, it was then that I determined that I am simply not fast enough to ever be competitive (even in my AG) in the marathon. For me to even qualify for Boston I have to run a 7:30 mile x 26.2 (even though I made a valiant effort at running a BQ in my second Boston, I fell way short). However, one thing I realized is that I seem to be built for endurance. I mean, most of the time I feel like I can run forever! 

So, I did some research on the interwebs and decided that I would to make the Vermont 50 my first and set my eyes on 2012 (I had a feeling if I went for it in 2011 I might end-up in divorce court). Why the Vermont 50 you ask? Well, the obvious answer is that it is in Vermont, d’uh! I love the Green Mountains, it’s a fairly inexpensive race and considering it would be a road trip with several campgrounds nearby, perfect! I immediately set about recruiting my “team.” I talked-up the #VT50 all over twitter and dailymile as much as humanly possible and as soon as I received an inkling of interest from anyone, I ramped up the pressure until they agreed to run it with me. At one point I actually had around 20 people that were “seriously interested” or “contemplating” it.

The first solid commitment I received was from my buddy good friend Luau. He opened-up his mouth and said “if I qualify for Boston at Smuttynose, I will run Vermont with you!” Guess who ran the Smuttynose half marathon on almost no training just so he could be there to witness said BQ, and make sure he kept his promise! I even took everyone’s favorite picture of the fist-pump crossing the finish line! Afterwards we were chatting-it-up over post-race beers he agreed to do it. As a kind of “collateral damage” Adam said he “might be” interested in doing it as well, and besides “they have a 50k too, in case I can’t do the 50-miler, right?” Right Adam, 50k.

Shortly after that I recall a conversation between Luau, Sarah and I, in which Sarah agreed to come out and crew/pace for us. Eventually the herd thinned out, people who were going to run with me dropped or couldn’t for one reason or another, crew member’s came and went, but you know how these things go. In the end I’m really happy with the way things ended-up shaking-out. At one point I thought I’d lost Luau to a last-chance BQ time trial-style marathon and it was even up in the air until the last minute whether or not Sarah would make it, let alone run, but things like this always seem to work out the way they should in the end…

The week before the race was filled with preparations and multiple facebook messages about race strategy, shoe choices, anticipated weather and trail conditions, what to put in our drop bags, etc. Jeremy D was an invaluable resource to the rest of us rookies, and incredibly gracious with his knowledge and opinions. At times I felt that we must’ve been really annoying with all of the questions, but Jeremy fielded them all without so much as a terse answer. He’s definitely a great guy and we were so incredibly lucky to have him with us on this journey!

It rained all week before the race, so on Friday I called the campground to check on the conditions. The guy who answered the phone said “it’s pretty rough out here and not expected to get much better for the weekend.” Lex and I agreed there was no way we would be able to do this while camping-out in the mud and rain all weekend. So, at the last minute, I called Luau who had offered us floor space at his buddies house (where he was staying) if we needed it. A quick call to his friend and it was done. I also found-out that he was picking-up Sarah and she would be staying with us too. So it would be one big happy family and I would be cooking our pre-race dinner (I knew Luau’s and my own stomach’s disdain for tomato sauce before big races) to reciprocate for our night’s lodging.

Saturday morning I woke-up early and scrambled around with packing and all of the final preparations. I checked and double-checked all of my gear and clothes. Once the truck was fully packed we were just waiting for the in-laws to come to take over kid duty for the weekend. Once they arrived we went-over the three page list of instructions Lex wrote for them and we were off! I planned on leaving between 10am and Noon, so, Noon it was!

It was a beautiful 2hr and 40min drive, during which I remembered that I forgot my toothbrush and our camping chairs (for the handler’s aid stations). I called Dave and thank God he didn’t forget his chairs! It’s “peeper” season and the colors are just starting to change around here so it was a magnificently beautiful drive. Every place in the World has it’s “thing.” The blue waters of the Carribean, the Pipeline in Hawaii, the Northern Lights, the glaciers in Antarctica. The fall foliage in Northern New England (especially Vermont) is a sight to behold! Fall is my favorite season and this was going to be a great way of kicking it off! I was getting pumped!

The only thing bothering me was a pain in my ass (literally). I’ve had this right glute/leg issue developing since a couple of weeks before Boston this year. I don’t know what it is, but it makes sitting in the car (mine especially for some reason) extremely difficult. The discomfort/pain starts in my right glute and the longer I sit, the more it spreads down into my hamstring, knee, calf and even ankle at times. It had never really bothered me during a run until about 3 weeks before Vermont (my 70 mile week) when it started bothering me on my 2 long runs. This pain is partly the reason I wasn’t interested in running much during my taper, I was hoping with rest it would heal and go away. It didn’t.

Despite running behind we were still the first of the group to arrive. I went down, registered and milled around while waiting for Dave to get back from his adventure. He arrived a couple of hours earlier and using the pics sent to us through the blog by the RD, he decided to drive around town and figure-out where all of the handler/crew aid stations were (Skunk Hollow @ 12.6 miles, Dugdale’s @ 31 miles, and Johnson’s @ 47 miles). Luau and Sarah were the next to arrive. After they registered, Luau and I went back and packed our drop bags. It took us forever because we both seem to have the same type of OCD!

After we dropped our bags we found Jeremy D and shortly after that Adam showed-up. We all hung around for a bit and discussed what our strategy was going to be during the race and we decided we’d stick together as much as possible and Jeremy D would be in charge of pacing and keeping us from dawdling too much at the aid stations. Our cell’s had really poor coverage on the mountain, but in a counterintuitive twist of fate, the two people with AT&T had full bars of service while those of us with Verizon were screwed. Apparently, if you have AT&T you can ONLY get coverage out in the boonies where nobody else can. But if you’re anywhere in the modern civilized World, forget about it!

We waited for a while for Jeremy B and our other twitter/dailymile friend Nancy to show-up. However, we got a message from Nancy that she wasn’t going to get there until after 6 and Jeremy B was running behind too. So, we let everyone know that we were going to meet on the patio outside of Cunningham’s (the only place that us Verizon customer’s could get a little service) immediately following the pre-race meeting in the morning. We headed back to Luau’s friend’s house in W. Lebanon, NH (about 30 minutes away). I cooked us an awesome meal of tri-color rotini with olive oil, fresh garlic, red, yellow and orange peppers, onion, parmesan and fresh basil.

After dinner the runner’s decided to turn-in early. Only, of course, I had to stay up another hour obsessing over my gear being laid-out properly and making sure everything was perfectly in place to make the most efficient use of time in the morning. I set the alarm on my iPhone (the first time ever) for 3:30 and went to sleep…

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Post-Race Let-down

Have you ever experienced a post-race let-down?

You know the phenomenon that occurs when you’ve put-in all the hard work, long hours and extreme effort it takes to train for your  “A” race, be it a marathon, triathlon, ultramarathon or an Ironman? You work so hard for so long and your life literally revolves around the achievement of that BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) and once you’ve achieved it you wander around aimlessly, decide that you don’t want to workout because you hate running (or biking or swimming) anyway? You start packing-on the pounds because you continue to eat the same way you did when you were running 50-70 miles/wk? This funk just surrounds you wherever you go and you might even say that you’re depressed?

Have you ever experienced it during your taper?

I’ve been conspicuously absent from blogging, dailymile, etc. for this reason. I’m totally depressed, I’m putting on weight and I just don;t want to run anymore. Not another step. Every workout is sheer torture. My head is just not in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m getting totally psyched for the Vermont 50. I’m pretty sure I’m ready to run. I’ve certainly put-in the miles (780 of them), I’ve run a lot of those on trails and hills and all of my tune-up races have been mountain races, so I think I’m good. I’m confident that I will finish. In fact, I can’t wait. It would just better if I didn’t have to run anymore.

My taper has gone horribly. I’ve put-off, moved and skipped workouts entirely. I’ve had to drag myself out the door. And I’ve been constantly reminding myself why I’m doing this. Every other taper I’ve put myself through has been quite the opposite. I’ve been raring to go. In all my other tapers, I’ve had to work hard at keeping the horses in the stable, I’ve been chomping at the bit trying NOT to run harder and faster or more often than the training plan called for. This time I don’t even want to get out of bed, let alone out the door. Hopefully this is a good sign. I dunno.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you perform on race day? Should I be worried?

There is no tomorrow. Go out and GET  it today!


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Never Forget

We shall never forget these 343 Firefighters

Below is a list sorted alphabetically of the firefighters who died on 9/11/01 during the greatest rescue operation in the history of the fire service. Almost 3000 people died that day, but that number surely would have been incomprehensible had these men not done their job to the best of their ability. They made the ultimate sacrifice. Never forget.



Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Angelini, Res.1 Joseph Angelini Jr., Lad.4 Faustino Apostol Jr., Bat.2 David Arce, Eng.33 Louis Arena, Lad.5 Carl Asaro, Bat.9 Lt. Gregg Atlas, Eng.10 Gerald Atwood, Lad.21

Gerald Baptiste, Lad.9 A.C. Gerard Barbara, Cmd. Ctr. Matthew Barnes, Lad.25 Arthur Barry, Lad.15 Lt.Steven Bates, Eng.235 Carl Bedigian, Eng.214 Stephen Belson, Bat.7 John Bergin, Res.5 Paul Beyer, Eng.6 Peter Bielfeld, Lad.42 Brian Bilcher, Sqd.1 Carl Bini, Res.5 Christopher Blackwell, Res.3 Michael Bocchino, Bat.48 Frank Bonomo, Eng.230 Gary Box, Sqd.1 Michael Boyle, Eng.33 Kevin Bracken, Eng.40 Michael Brennan, Lad.4 Peter Brennan, Res.4 Cpt. Daniel Brethel, Lad.24 Cpt. Patrick Brown, Lad.3 Andrew Brunn, Lad.5 Cpt. Vincent Brunton, Lad.105 F.M. Ronald Bucca Greg Buck, Eng.201 Cpt. William Burke Jr., Eng.21 A.C. Donald Burns, Cmd. Ctr. John Burnside, Lad.20 Thomas Butler, Sqd.1 Patrick Byrne, Lad.101

George Cain, Lad.7 Salvatore Calabro, Lad.101 Cpt. Frank Callahan, Lad.35 Michael Cammarata, Lad.11 Brian Cannizzaro, Lad.101 Dennis Carey, Hmc.1 Michael Carlo, Eng.230 Michael Carroll, Lad.3 Peter Carroll, Sqd.1 Thomas Casoria, Eng.22 Michael Cawley, Lad.136 Vernon Cherry, Lad.118 Nicholas Chiofalo, Eng.235 John Chipura, Eng.219 Michael Clarke, Lad.2 Steven Coakley, Eng.217 Tarel Coleman, Sqd.252 John Collins, Lad.25 Robert Cordice, Sqd.1 Ruben Correa, Eng.74 James Coyle, Lad.3 Robert Crawford, Safety Lt. John Crisci, H.M. B.C. Dennis Cross, Bat.57 Thomas Cullen III, Sqd. 41 Robert Curatolo, Lad.16

Lt. Edward D’Atri, Sqd.1 Michael D’Auria, Eng.40 Scott Davidson, Lad.118 Edward Day, Lad.11 B.C. Thomas DeAngelis, Bat. 8 Manuel Delvalle, Eng.5 Martin DeMeo, H.M. 1 David DeRubbio, Eng.226 Lt. Andrew Desperito, Eng.1 B.C. Dennis Devlin, Bat.9 Gerard Dewan, Lad.3 George DiPasquale, Lad.2 Lt. Kevin Donnelly, Lad.3 Lt. Kevin Dowdell, Res.4 B.C. Raymond Downey, Soc. Gerard Duffy, Lad.21

Cpt. Martin Egan, Jr., Div.15 Michael Elferis, Eng.22 Francis Esposito, Eng.235 Lt. Michael Esposito, Sqd.1 Robert Evans, Eng.33

B.C. John Fanning, H.O. Cpt. Thomas Farino, Eng.26 Terrence Farrell, Res.4 Cpt. Joseph Farrelly, Div.1 Dep. Comm. William Feehan, Lee Fehling, Eng.235 Alan Feinberg, Bat.9 Michael Fiore, Res.5 Lt. John Fischer, Lad.20 Andre Fletcher, Res.5 John Florio, Eng.214 Lt. Michael Fodor, Lad.21 Thomas Foley, Res.3 David Fontana, Sqd.1 Robert Foti, Lad.7 Andrew Fredericks, Sqd.18 Lt. Peter Freund, Eng.55

Thomas Gambino Jr., Res.3 Chief of Dept. Peter Ganci, Jr. Lt. Charles Garbarini, Bat.9 Thomas Gardner, Hmc.1 Matthew Garvey, Sqd.1 Bruce Gary, Eng.40 Gary Geidel, Res.1 B.C. Edward Geraghty, Bat.9 Dennis Germain, Lad.2 Lt. Vincent Giammona, Lad.5 James Giberson, Lad.35 Ronnie Gies, Sqd.288 Paul Gill, Eng.54 Lt. John Ginley, Eng.40 Jeffrey Giordano, Lad.3 John Giordano, Hmc.1 Keith Glascoe, Lad.21 James Gray, Lad.20 B.C. Joseph Grzelak, Bat.48 Jose Guadalupe, Eng.54 Lt. Geoffrey Guja, Bat.43 Lt. Joseph Gullickson, Lad.101

David Halderman, Sqd.18 Lt. Vincent Halloran, Lad.8 Robert Hamilton, Sqd.41 Sean Hanley, Lad.20 Thomas Hannafin, Lad.5 Dana Hannon, Eng.26 Daniel Harlin, Lad.2 Lt. Harvey Harrell, Res.5 Lt. Stephen Harrell, Bat.7 Cpt. Thomas Haskell, Jr., Div.15 Timothy Haskell, Sqd.18 Cpt. Terence Hatton, Res.1 Michael Haub, Lad.4 Lt. Michael Healey, Sqd.41 John Hefferman, Lad.11 Ronnie Henderson, Eng.279 Joseph Henry, Lad.21 William Henry, Res.1 Thomas Hetzel, Lad.13 Cpt. Brian Hickey, Res.4 Lt. Timothy Higgins, S.O.C. Jonathan Hohmann, Hmc.1 Thomas Holohan, Eng.6 Joseph Hunter, Sqd.288 Cpt. Walter Hynes, Lad.13

Jonathan Ielpi, Sqd.288 Cpt. Frederick Ill Jr., Lad.2

William Johnston, Eng.6 Andrew Jordan, Lad.132 Karl Joseph, Eng.207 Lt. Anthony Jovic, Bat.47 Angel Juarbe Jr., Lad.12 Mychal Judge, Chaplain

Vincent Kane, Eng.22 B.C. Charles Kasper, S.O.C. Paul Keating, Lad.5 Richard Kelly Jr., Lad.11 Thomas R. Kelly, Lad.15 Thomas W. Kelly, Lad.105 Thomas Kennedy, Lad.101 Lt. Ronald Kerwin, Sqd.288 Michael Kiefer, Lad.132 Robert King Jr., Eng.33 Scott Kopytko, Lad.15 William Krukowski, Lad.21 Kenneth Kumpel, Lad.25 Thomas Kuveikis, Sqd.252

David LaForge, Lad.20 William Lake, Res.2 Robert Lane, Eng.55 Peter Langone, Sqd.252 Scott Larsen, Lad.15 Lt. Joseph Leavey, Lad.15 Neil Leavy, Eng.217 Daniel Libretti, Res.2 Carlos Lillo, Paramedic Robert Linnane, Lad.20 Michael Lynch, Eng.40 Michael Lynch, Lad.4 Michael Lyons, Sqd.41 Patrick Lyons, Sqd.252

Joseph Maffeo, Lad.101 William Mahoney, Res 4 Joseph Maloney, Lad.3 B.C. Joseph Marchbanks Jr, Bat.12 Lt. Charles Margiotta, Bat.22 Kenneth Marino, Res.1 John Marshall, Eng.23 Lt. Peter Martin, Res.2 Lt. Paul Martini, Eng.23 Joseph Mascali, T.S.U. 2 Keithroy Maynard, Eng.33 Brian McAleese, Eng.226 John McAvoy, Lad.3 Thomas McCann, Bat.8 Lt. William McGinn, Sqd.18 B.C. William McGovern, Bat.2 Dennis McHugh, Lad.13 Robert McMahon, Lad.20 Robert McPadden, Eng.23 Terence McShane, Lad.101 Timothy McSweeney, Lad.3 Martin McWilliams, Eng.22 Raymond Meisenheimer, Res.3 Charles Mendez, Lad.7 Steve Mercado, Eng.40 Douglas Miller, Res.5 Henry Miller Jr, Lad.105 Robert Minara, Lad.25 Thomas Mingione, Lad.132 Lt. Paul Mitchell, Bat.1 Capt. Louis Modafferi, Res.5 Lt. Dennis Mojica, Res.1 Manuel Mojica, Sqd.18 Carl Molinaro, Lad.2 Michael Montesi, Res.1 Capt. Thomas Moody, Div.1 B.C. John Moran, Bat.49 Vincent Morello, Lad.35 Christopher Mozzillo, Eng.55 Richard Muldowney Jr, Lad.07 Michael Mullan, Lad.12 Dennis Mulligan, Lad.2 Lt. Raymond Murphy, Lad.16

Lt. Robert Nagel, Eng.58 John Napolitano, Res.2 Peter Nelson, Res.4 Gerard Nevins, Res.1

Dennis O’Berg, Lad.105 Lt. Daniel O’Callaghan, Lad.4 Douglas Oelschlager, Lad.15 Joseph Ogren, Lad.3 Lt. Thomas O’Hagan, Bat.4 Samuel Oitice, Lad.4 Patrick O’Keefe, Res.1 Capt. William O’Keefe, Div.15 Eric Olsen, Lad.15 Jeffery Olsen, Eng.10 Steven Olson, Lad.3 Kevin O’Rourke, Res.2 Michael Otten, Lad.35

Jeffery Palazzo, Res.5 B.C. Orio Palmer, Bat.7 Frank Palombo, Lad.105 Paul Pansini, Eng.10 B.C. John Paolillo, Bat.11 James Pappageorge, Eng.23 Robert Parro, Eng.8 Durrell Pearsall, Res.4 Lt. Glenn Perry, Bat.12 Lt. Philip Petti, Bat.7 Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, Eng. 33 Lt. Kenneth Phelan, Bat.32 Christopher Pickford, Eng.201 Shawn Powell, Eng.207 Vincent Princiotta, Lad.7 Kevin Prior, Sqd.252 B.C. Richard Prunty, Bat.2

Lincoln Quappe, Res.2 Lt. Michael Quilty, Lad.11 Ricardo Quinn, Paramedic

Leonard Ragaglia, Eng.54 Michael Ragusa, Eng.279 Edward Rall, Res.2 Adam Rand, Sqd.288 Donald Regan, Res.3 Lt. Robert Regan, Lad.118 Christian Regenhard, Lad.131 Kevin Reilly, Eng.207 Lt. Vernon Richard, Lad.7 James Riches, Eng.4 Joseph Rivelli, Lad.25 Michael Roberts, Eng.214 Michael E. Roberts, Lad.35 Anthony Rodriguez, Eng.279 Matthew Rogan, Lad.11 Nicholas Rossomando, Res.5 Paul Ruback, Lad.25 Stephen Russell, Eng.55 Lt. Michael Russo, S.O.C. B.C. Matthew Ryan, Bat.1

Thomas Sabella, Lad.13 Christopher Santora, Eng.54 John Santore, Lad.5 Gregory Saucedo, Lad.5 Dennis Scauso, H.M. 1 John Schardt, Eng.201 B.C. Fred Scheffold, Bat.12 Thomas Schoales, Eng.4 Gerard Schrang, Res.3 Gregory Sikorsky, Sqd.41 Stephen Siller, Sqd.1 Stanley Smagala Jr, Eng.226 Kevin Smith, H.M. 1 Leon Smith Jr, Lad 118 Robert Spear Jr, Eng.26 Joseph Spor, Res.3 B.C. Lawrence Stack, Bat.50 Cpt. Timothy Stackpole, Div.11 Gregory Stajk, Lad.13 Jeffery Stark, Eng.230 Benjamin Suarez, Lad.21 Daniel Suhr, Eng.216 Lt. Christopher Sullivan, Lad.111 Brian Sweeney, Res.1

Sean Tallon, Lad.10 Allan Tarasiewicz, Res.5 Paul Tegtmeier, Eng.4 John Tierney, Lad.9 John Tipping II, Lad.4 Hector Tirado Jr, Eng.23

Richard Vanhine, Sqd.41 Peter Vega, Lad.118 Lawrence Veling, Eng.235 John Vigiano II, Lad.132 Sergio Villanueva, Lad.132 Lawrence Virgilio, Sqd.18

Lt. Robert Wallace, Eng.205 Jeffery Walz, Lad. 9 Lt. Michael Warchola, Lad.5 Capt. Patrick Waters, S.O.C. Kenneth Watson, Eng.214 Michael Weinberg, Eng.1 David Weiss, Res.1 Timothy Welty, Sqd.288 Eugene Whelan, Eng.230 Edward White, Eng.230 Mark Whitford, Eng.23 Lt. Glenn Wilkinson, Eng.238 B.C. John Williamson, Bat.6 Capt. David Wooley, Lad.4

Raymond York, Eng.285

I also want to make sure that the names of the following firefighter’s are not forgotten. These are the names of the 55 members of the FDNY who have died in the 10 years following the tragedy on 9/11/01. A memorial wall was unveiled at the FDNY Headquarters yesterday to honor these often forgotten victims. The members names on the wall all died of illnesses related to their work at the World Trade Center during and after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Very sadly, the reality is that many more names will be added over the following years.


Firefighter Robert W. Dillon, Engine Co. 153
Firefighter Vanclive A. Johnson, Ladder Co. 135
Firefighter Russell C. Brinkworth, Ladder Co. 135
Firefighter Edward V. Tietjen, Ladder Co. 48
Firefighter Walter Voight, Ladder Co. 144
Battalion Chief Kevin R. Byrnes, Battalion 7
Firefighter Stephen M. Johnson, Ladder Co. 25
Lieutenant Richard M. Burke, Engine Co. 97
Firefighter Michael Sofia, Engine Co. 165
Firefighter Joseph P. Costello, Battalion Co. 58
Firefighter William R. O’Connor, Ladder Co. 84
Lieutenant Reinaldo Natal, Field Communications Unit
Paramedic Deborah Reeve, EMS Station 20
Fire Marshal William Wilson, Jr., Manhattan Base
Lieutenant Thomas J. Hodges, Engine Co. 313
Firefighter Robert J. Wieber, Engine Co. 262
Lieutenant Joseph P. Colleluori, Jr., Engine Co. 324
Firefighter Michael J. Shagi, Engine Co. 74
Firefighter William R. St. George, Battalion Special Operations
Firefighter Raymond W. Hauber, Engine Co. 284
EMS Lieutenant Brian Ellicott, EMS Dispatch
Firefighter William E. Moreau, Engine Co. 166
Lieutenant John P. Murray, Engine Co. 165
Firefighter Sean M. McCarthy, Engine Co. 280
Firefighter Bruce M. Foss, Ladder Co. 108
Firefighter Jacques W. Paultre, Engine Co. 50
Firefighter Kevin M. Delano, Sr., Ladder Co. 142
Lieutenant Vincent J. Tancredi, II, Ladder Co. 47
Paramedic Clyde F. Sealey, Bureau of Health Services
Firefighter Timothy G. Lockwood, Engine Co. 275
Firefighter Edward F. Reilly, Jr., Ladder Co. 160
Firefighter John F. McNamara, Engine Co. 234
Lieutenant Thomas G. Roberts, Ladder Co. 40
Captain Kevin J. Cassidy, Engine Co. 320
Firefighter Joan R. Daley, Engine Co. 63
Firefighter Richard A. Manetta, Ladder Co. 156
Lieutenant Peter J. Farrenkopf, Marine Co. 6
Battalion Chief John J. Vaughan, Battalion Co. 3
Firefighter Robert A. Ford, Engine Co. 284
Paramedic Carene A. Brown, EMS Bureau of Training
Firefighter James J. Ryan, Ladder Co. 167
Lieutenant Robert M. Hess, Ladder Co. 76
EMT Freddie Rosario, EMS Station 4
Lieutenant Harry Wanamaker, Jr., Marine Co. 1
Supv. Commun. Electrician Philip J. Berger, Plant Operations
Firefighter Vincent J. Albanese, Ladder Co. 38
Firefighter John P. Sullivan, Jr., Ladder Co. 34
Firefighter Roy W. Chelsen, Engine Co. 28
Firefighter John F. O’Neill, Ladder Co. 52
Lieutenant Randy J. Wiebicke, Ladder Co. 1
Firefighter Brian C. Malloy, Ladder Co. 80
Lieutenant John A. Garcia, Ladder Co. 5
Firefighter Anthony J. Nuccio, Ladder Co. 175
Fire Marshal Steven C. Mosiello, Chief of Department’s Office
Firefighter Carl Capobianco, Ladder Co. 87

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Providence (a rumination from 2005)

I wrote this on 9/11/05 as I reflected on all that had transpired in the World and in my life in the first 4 years since 9/11:

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th 2001, my whole world changed. The magnitude of the tragic loss of so many people through such a cowardly act had a huge impact on my psyche. I felt a calling to do something more with my life, something with real meaning. At the time that those planes smashed into those towers I was working in advertising and somehow, afterward, my career didn’t seem very important anymore.

The country was locked-down. I didn’t go to work for days. I sat around watching the TV all day, every day, like many of my fellow citizen’s of this great country, saying “What can I do?” I sat and thought. I thought about the nearly 3000 innocent victims and their families. Most of them were just going to work like any other day, but they never came home.

Then I thought about all of the missing firefighter’s and their families. They go to work every day knowing that they might not get to come home. How hard it must be to send your husband or family member off to work every day and live with the reality that it may be the last time you ever see them.

It’s a firefighter’s duty to save life and property. Firefighter’s have been doing their jobs professionally for over 350 years in this country, and how much thought do the average citizen’s give to what firefighter’s do unless their lives are directly impacted by tragedy? Even then, what do they think when a firefighter reaches out to them and make’s a difference? Sometimes they are called heroes, but it mostly goes unnoticed. Still, most firefighter’s are content to not receive any accolades, because after all they are just doing their job. But it’s a job that means so much to so many people around the world every year.

On September 11, 2001, 343 FDNY Firefighter’s gave up their lives doing their job – saving lives. Yet none of them would have ever called themselves a “Hero,” they were just hard-working, highly trained men doing what they loved to do. Most importantly they did it with a sense of pride, courage, honor and loyalty.

How could I go on with my career in advertising selling products with no redeeming or inherent value? It just didn’t matter to me any longer. I wanted to be able to walk down the street everyday with a sense of pride in what I do, because what I do gives back to the World more than it takes.

I remember having a couple of long phone conversations, one with my Mother and one with my Father (a Vietnam Vet) in which I expressed my desire to do something to give back. I told my Dad that I wanted to join the Marines and be among the first to be sent over to get those SOB’s. Cooler heads prevailed and the grizzled veteran convinced me otherwise. He said “if you really want to do something, why don’t you become a police officer or a firefighter?”

On September 14, 2001 I decided to become a firefighter. I gave up my career in advertising, and threw myself headlong into the arduous process of becoming a firefighter. I thought of those 343 men when I walked into her office and told my boss “I quit!” I thought of them when entered EMT training, then Paramedic School at Northeastern University

I thought of those 343 men everyday while putting myself through Paramedic school for 40 hours a week and working another 60 hours a week (at $12/hr) just to get by. When I was down, and hurting, and all I wanted to do was quit, those 343 men got me through. I thought of those 343 men every day that I put on my uniform as a Paramedic in private service. I thought of them every time I responded to a 911 call (whether it was a Motor Vehicle Collision, someone having a Heart attack, or the little old lady that just couldn’t get herself off the toilet).

I thought of those 343 hard-working men the day I was hired onto the Fire Department. I thought of those 343 men every single day of the Fire Academy (especially during morning PT and the daily 5-mile runs when I didn’t think I could make it, they pushed me harder).

And on Wednesday, September 14th 2005, 4 years to the day from when I made the decision to become a firefighter, I’ll think of them again when I put on my Class A uniform for the first time and head into Florian Hall for my graduation from the Fire Academy. I can only hope that I do the job as well, and with as much pride, honor, courage and loyalty as the 343 men who made the ultimate sacrifice four years ago, and that I never, EVER forget!

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Impatient to change

Impatient to change « from Paulo Coelhos Blog.

It took almost 40 years for me to become a writer.

Before that I always dreamt of becoming a writer, but I never dared to take the necessary steps.

I met my master in Amsterdam in 1982. He had told me things back then that enabled my soul to slowly awaken.

Four years later, I embarked on my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

It was during my pilgrimage that it became increasingly apparent that I wasn’t happy and I had to do something about it – stop making excuses.

I realized that you don’t have to jump through a series of complicated hoops to achieve a goal.

You can just look at a mountain and get a connection with God, you don’t have to understand the mountain to feel that.

When I first got back from the trip it was an anti-climax. I found it hard to acclimatize to my normal life and I was impatient to change my life immediately.
But changes happen when you are ready.

It took a few months to realize that I must solely concentrate on writing a book, rather than trying to fill various roles as I had before.

The Pilgrimage was to be my subject, my first step towards my dream.

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