American Odyssey Relay 2013 – Make It Happen! – Part 1


Trying to summarize 4 jam packed days of American Odyssey Relay 2013 into a single entry doesn’t happen overnight especially when there are a ton of notable events so I’m going to break this down into a few parts. I’m sure I’ll forget some of the details so if you read this and want to add anything, do it in the comments section. A quick overview for those who are reading this and have never heard of AOR or a 200 mile relay. You assemble a team of 12 people and each take a set of “legs” that range from 3-9 miles. When your leg is up, you run it and hand off to the next person. When the 36 legs are finished, you’ll have traveled from Gettysburg to Washington DC in extraordinary fashion. This humorous video does a good job of explaining. After all the people read this post and see how great the trip was, I have a feeling Nathan will be moving from 2 teams to 3 teams next year. I’m going to write this post as a trip report from the moment it started to when it ended remembering any and everything I can.

Entire AOR Teams

I met up with Nathan, Jeff, and Jose at the Enterprise in Plymouth Meeting at 1:30pm on Thursday to pick up our new homes for the weekend. We drove to Nathan’s office and awaited for the teams to arrive. After getting settled, we drove 2 vans up to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster for a buffet of immense magnitude. We arrived just as the early dinner crowd (+65) was finishing and for a mere 18 bucks, had enough food to last for days. This place had rows and rows of dishes and was a perfect choice for our type of crowd. The fruit punch was delicious and earned me the nickname “Kool-Aid”. We left Lancaster at 6:30 and drove the 1 and half hours to Gettysburg to arrive where the race was to begin. After checking into our hotel rooms we grabbed a few beers and socialized with the members of our team to get to know each other a little better. At 11pm we turned it in because our send off times were around 8 and 9 the next morning and this is the last real rest you get until the race is completed.

I look like I deserve to be a part of Shady Acres.
Too much Fruit Punch!

The 6th place finishing team
6th Place Team

The next morning we packed up the vans, did some van decorating and cheered off our runners as the race got started. I took the Browns to the Super Bowl in the Wyndham restroom which was luxurious compared to what I knew the rest of the trip’s accommodations were like. Once both teams had started, we had planned a Segway tour around Gettysburg which had its stories. At the indoor Segway practice course you had to prove you could handle a Segway which was challenging for some (Ck4) but without much delay, we took to the streets. I found the Segway to be new at first but after a few minutes riding it, you get the hang. This idea was better than what we did last year which was wandering around Gettsyburg with no particular purpose. After an hour on the Segway and touring the area, we hopped off to meet our runners at the next transition point. My legs felt like a lead balloon after the Segway which had me a bit concerned but didn’t prove to be a problem. Driving up Leg 6 had Chad starting to understand what type of hills we were in store for.

We arrived a bit early at the transition point which gave David (more on him later) plenty of time to warm up. When we saw Fran cruising up the hardest leg with ease, she handed off the bracelet to David and our set of legs had begun. This was David’s first time doing this event and he got a nice taste of the what type of terrain was in store for us. Without much issue though, a winded David handed off to Chad who had a nice little 1.5 incline that he was up all night worrying about. We assured him we would be his van support at the top of the hill to give him water. As it turned out, we didn’t follow him along the path and had no chance to give him water which was a bit of concern for some (Nikkii) but not much for the rest of us. We drove the next transition point and waited (and hoped) that Chad would be alright because he isn’t exactly a veteran runner. The jokes at this point of whether we would ever see Chad again were flowing. To quote Chad before he did his run, “I’ll either be there or I won’t.” Part 2 to come shortly.

TC & CK4
ck4 and tc

CK4 Sweating a bit
ck4 finishing

By |2013-11-14T18:58:14-05:00April 29th, 2013|My Life|2 Comments

Studying Bracketology


There is no doubt this is an exciting time of the year for basketball fans. On a scale of 1-10, I give the first 4 days of the tournament a solid 9.5. There is just nothing else like it. There is even a feeling of depression when it comes to an end. For me the combination of thrilling basketball, the tournament aspect and choosing brackets, and constant action all make this time of year joyful. There is a huge level of difference in watching collegiate athletes put their hearts on the line compared to NBA players who go home with fat paychecks. That is what truly makes this tournament the best basketball there is.

With that little build up, we find ourselves amidst the few days you have to study and do some research for the brackets. My first thought it that no matter how much research you do, games won’t play out like you think. There is just too much unpredictability in this environment. However, I believe there are a few things to look for when choosing teams to make deep runs. I also want to point out that in no way to I consider myself a master, just a gambler.

How did the team fair in it’s conference tournament? I like picking teams that are winning games late in the season. Records mean nothing, it’s how well is the team gelling towards the end. People can argue that players can be tired after playing all these games but I just don’t buy it. These are collegiate athletes, not over the hill veterans.

What is the team’s seniority level? Seniors tend to lay it all on the line because it’s their last shot. They will also have more experience which can come in handy.

Are they a good Free Throw shooting team? I was watching the 30 on 30 last night on NC States improbable run to the title in 1983 and every team they faced blew foul shots at the end of the game. One easy way to let teams back in the game in missing foul shots.

Does the team have a superstar? Big players step up in these types of tournaments. I think it’s fine to have a well rounded team but when it comes down to crunch time, you need a player to make some shots.

Pick against the herd. If you are in a group with 100+ entries, it’s too hard to pick a perfect bracket while choosing the odds on favorite to win it all. It can be better to stray off the beaten path and choose a team like Florida or Miami to win it all. This way if it happens, you lock it up instead of getting nicked out at the end by others who chose the favorite.

I’m sure I’ll make another post after putting some time looking at the teams but this is my general guideline for what to look for. Bracket can be found here.

By |2016-10-29T13:30:21-04:00March 18th, 2013|Sports|5 Comments

Frostbite 5 Miler 2013 Experience

frostbite 5 miler

The Frostbite 5 Miler is a very well run race hosted by the Ambler running club. Ira Meyers, winner of the 1986 Philadelphia Marathon, is the race director and keeps everyone up to date with info. Supposedly we were going to get some snow and ice last night but luckily everything held off. I slept at my parents house so I wouldn’t have to rush to race. I got there at 8:15 or so and there were already a good number of people. The race started at 9am and was expected to get 1600 runners. I met up with Ck4 and Nikkii and other people looking to recruit runners for the American Odyssey Run come April. We are looking to get 2 teams of 12 runners and are 4 short so if anyone who reads this blog wants to participate in a 200 mile relay run from Gettysburg to DC, let me know. The highlight being you get to spend 24+ hours in a van with me.

Back to the run. The weather was perfect for this run as it is sometimes extremely frigid. I got in behind the first few rows of runners and the race began promptly as scheduled. I had trained entirely indoors this year and this was my first time outside since the fall. Sometimes treadmill training can be deceiving with no hills so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first mile is a gradual decline and I finished the first mile at 5:15. I read last year’s post and was at 5:30 so I knew I was at a pretty good pace. I still felt good and was running mostly with myself and came across the next mile at 10:50. Still feeling good I started running with this bro for the next mile and we were at low 17 for 3 which I knew would make it difficult to break 29 which I would say is my goal. At this point I still had strength in my legs and was expecting to pick up the pace. Wrong. At 23:15 crossing the 4 mark I knew I was toast. To quote Sam, “I started rigging up.” My stomach was hurting even though I still had strength in my legs, I just couldn’t get a kick going. With 400 a female started coming up on me but even a deathly ill TC can outkick a girl and I finished with a 29:15 or so. I was pretty pleased as I didn’t know what to expect. It was 10 seconds off of last year and I assume I’ll lose 10 seconds every year following.

I talked with Ck4 at the finish line for a while and then jumped in my car and headed off. I had to drive through some runners but they made it out alive without getting hurt. I got a vanilla milkshake from McDonalds like last year and headed back to Philly. I arrived back at 10:30 which should make this one of the first posts in any blog out there about this race.

By |2013-03-15T02:57:23-04:00February 16th, 2013|Running|0 Comments

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