Saturday, June 27, 2009

Seattle: Post-race

Man, when the wheels fall off....they're off. 

When you get a flat, you can drive on it for a while, but eventually the flat will flop around the rim and the rubber will shred with the thousands of RPMs as it beats the asphalt of the road. At some point or another it will totally break off of the rim and you'll be running metal on the asphalt with sparks flying everywhere until you come to a grinding halt somewhere down the road. Then you're just stuck.

Yeah, I was that guy today. Shredded rubber, rim on road, grinding halt.

I ran strong through 18 miles hitting at or under 8 min pace, but at some point, things took a turn. I was covered in salt, completely dehydrated (despite going through both bottles in the fuel belt and taking a 1/2 cup of water at each stop from mile 10 on) and then started to cramp with increasing intensity from 18 through 22. The last four were brutal. Don't have the words yet. 

I would, however, like to thank Aaron, who was one of the assigned members of the medical team for the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. She rode next to me and talked, from mile 15 (when I was strong) all the way through 25.9 (and all the starts and stops in between) as the cramping set in and I was cut from a run, to a jog, to multiple stretching stops, to simply shuffling across the line. Aaron, you're great. Thanks for your support. 

So I finished in 3:42 (8:28 pace) which is the slowest finishing time of the first six races by nearly 9 minutes. Ugly weather, great city, 25,000 runners, but a tough day and a grueling performance. I'll write more tomorrow or Monday and give a more in-depth breakdown but for now, I need to grab a bite before meeting up with some of the RnR crew for an event this evening. 

Six down. Four to go.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Seattle: 3 hours 'til the gun

It's 0345hrs PST and true to form, I beat my alarm on race morning. My internal clock says it's 0645 back east, so the early call time wasn't a problem at all. My body feels pretty good, considering my 4.5hr trip from Eugene, OR yesterday turned into 6.5 after a two-hour traffic jam in Portland. My compact car is really compact, so those extra 2 hours made my lower back super tight...long story short, I'm good. Sitting here drinking a couple 180 Energy drinks, gels are loaded in my Fuel Belt, 180s are in the small bottles, new Nike Lunar Trainers are raring to go and I'm waiting for the decongestant to kick in for my nose and throat. 

I think there's a difference in humility and unnecessary self-deprecation. I say that to say, all of my prior statements about my uncertainty regarding my fitness level (or apparent lack thereof) leading up to this race were an accurate portrayal of how I'm feeling inwardly (self-confidence) and how I'm feeling outwardly, given the mile splits and relative soreness of some recent workouts. Nonetheless, the marathon is about controlled suffering or as a DLE intern said to me in an email last night, controlled relentlessness. What a brilliant way to put it.

So as I do my final prep over the next 67 minutes before boarding the hotel shuttle for the drive out to the Tukwila starting line, I will be thinking about all the local support I've received here in Seattle, as well as all the well-wishes, and steady contributions we've received at the office for our continued drive towards $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. 

Six Awaits.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

PRESS: Seattle Examiner article on the 10-12-100 Campaign

Yesterday, Lynne Butler of the Seattle Examiner wrote an information piece on the 10-12-100 Campaign. You can check it out below:

I appreciate Ms. Butler taking the time to cover our efforts. Additionally, I did a phone interview yesterday (while sitting in 2hrs of bumper to bumper traffic outside of Portland) with Mike Gastineau of 950AM Sports Talk in Seattle. The interview ran about seven minutes long and The Gas Man (his name, not mine) was really supportive of what I'm doing with this campaign. In general, the Seattle media community--whether the Seattle Times, Seattle Examiner, CBS or 950AM--have all been very enthusiastic about this campaign and the ultimate beneficiaries we seek to serve. 

I would be remised, however, if I did not say a special thank you to Courtney Beese, who has quickly become an integral part of DLE Sports and is solely responsible for the logistical and media-based success of this trip. Her detail-oriented commitment, vision and thorough follow-thru have made this company run much more efficiently and I am grateful for all that she does on a daily basis. 

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Friday, June 26, 2009

PRESS: Seattle Times article on the 10-12-100 Campaign

A special thank you to Steve Kelley, who wrote a brilliant piece on the 10-12-100 Campaign which ran on the front page of yesterday's Seattle Times Sports section. You can read the feature, below:

We had a phone interview earlier this week and I must say, Mr. Kelley was as informed and engaged as he was enthusiastic and supportive. I appreciate his willingness to so eloquently cover our campaign, as it will help us reach a whole new group of potential supporters in the greater Seattle area. 

I hope you guys enjoy the piece. There will be more media updates to follow later today. I'll try to make a posting when I get back to my hotel in Seattle, sometime around 2300hrs PST.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Seattle Marathon: 24 hours away

It's 0636hrs local time, as I type this from my hotel room at the Valley River Inn, in Eugene, Oregon. I'm here today for the USA Track & Field (USATF) Agent Conference, which coincides with the USATF national championships at the beautiful and historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. 

Aptly titled "Tracktown USA" Eugene is home to the most rabid, devoted and knowledgeable T+F fans in the entire country. It is also the home of running legend Steve 'Pre' Prefontaine as well as the genesis of a small sporting goods company whose first R+D concept involved strips of rubber and a kitchen waffle iron and whose marketing and distribution plan consisted of selling new "waffle" pattern, rubber-sole sneakers out of the back of a beat-up two-door car. That company is now called Nike, or victory in Greek. 

It's rather poignant that a company founded on the dying utterance of Philippides, in 490 B.C. spawned generations of running and competition, founded a global athletic giant, spawned the first DLE clients, and in many ways are the reason that I'm here for today's conference and then traveling back to Seattle tonight, for tomorrow morning's Seattle Marathon: running, or more poignantly, running as the ultimate metaphor for dedication, pain, determination and accomplishment. 

As the story goes:

In 490 B.C. an army from Persia landed on the plain of Marathon, about twenty-five miles from Athens, with the intention of capturing and enslaving that city. The Athenians prepared for a battle that would determine the course of history for centuries to come. A victory for the powerful Persian Empire could destroy the independence of the Greek city-states and effectively end Greek civilization and culture.

While the massive Persian army landed, the Athenians sent a messenger named Philippides (his name was corrupted in later texts to Pheidippides) to Sparta to enlist the aid of the Spartans in the upcoming battle. He covered the distance of about 150 miles in less than two days, a remarkable accomplishment by any standard.

Back at Marathon, however, the decision was made not to wait for the Spartans. The Athenian army fell upon the vastly larger Persian forces while they were still preparing for battle. Against great odds, the Greeks prevailed. Though historians writing close to the time of the battle make no mention of the event, writers some 600 years later claim that a runner was dispatched to Athens to carry the news of the great victory. According to legend he reached the city, said, "Rejoice, we conquer," and fell to the ground dead. 


It is that sense of mission, duty, and fortitude that the marathon evokes, which in many ways is the nexus between this 10-12-100 Campaign and the young, wounded soldier we are trying to aid by this effort. 

And so after today's conference, I'll head back to Seattle and get a few, quick hours of sleep before getting up at 0330PST to begin preparation for my sixth marathon in this ten-race campaign. 

Yesterday, I sat down with Dan Cruz, PR Director for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, and we discussed the brutal profile for the back half of this course and the unfortunate last-minute pull-out of marathon legend Paul Tergat, of Kenya. Dan said that based on the difficulty (read: hilliness) of this course, consistent conservative estimates are adding anywhere from 4-6 minutes onto someone's average personal best. Given my aforementioned lack of 'real' training since Cincinnati, that doesn't sound good. My plan, however, is just to tuck into my pace group (yes, there will be one for this race), keep my head down, my arms pumping, and just hang on. Any way you spin it, this is going to be painful day. 

It's 46 degrees outside this morning, but the sunrise over the rolling valleys and pines of the pacific northwest was gorgeous. With that, I must return to some client emails and then I'd better get showered and suited for today's busy agenda. Thanks for all your emails, texts, and facebook messages of support. It means a lot.

More later. 

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seattle, Eugene and the Merits of an Ice Bath...

I am looking forward to making my first trip to Seattle, Washington next week for Saturday's Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. By all accounts, Seattle is a beautiful town and after talking to the PR Director for all the RnR Marathons--Seattle and Vegas, my sixth and tenth races respectively--I am even more excited for what will likely prove to be an awesome venue and an awesome race.

By my own admission, my training since Cincinnati has been rather non-existent. Indeed, I was totally exhausted at the conclusion of The Flying Pig and the even though the micro-fiber muscle tears associated with post-marathon soreness subsided within a few days, the general lethargy and cumulative fatigue did not. Since I had essentially a seven-week break between Cincinnati (May 3rd) and the Seattle RnR (June 27) I ended up taking waaaaay too much time off in between...something in the order of 5.5 weeks. Now, to be clear, it wasn't a total training hiatus. I'd ride my bike (or the trainer late at night) and do some easy runs along the Canal in G'town or some track repeats at sub-marathon pace, but generally speaking, both the volume and intensity needed to truly prepare for a marathon just hasn't been there. 

I'm not sure there's really blame to assign for this--though clearly any and all of it would fall on me, since I write and administer my own program. I'm hoping, however, that the training reprieve leading up to the Seattle Marathon (which will undoubtedly mean that this race is gonna hurt like hell next weekend) will hopefully benefit me over the course of the last five marathons, each of which is difficult for a different reason: Seattle (time change/lack of training), San Francisco (time change/hilliest city in the U.S.), Colorado Springs (trail marathon/7,200ft of elevation), Marine Corps (always hot or raining here in DC that weekend), Las Vegas (tenth race of the fatigue). That said, I'm not making excuses, but rather, trying to be pragmatic in looking down the road at the races still to come. Additionally, I've resumed an old practice that began back in the fall of '96 when I was running track at JMU: the dreaded ice bath. For those of you who have never done an ice bath, it is at once both unthinkably painful and yet horribly simplistic in design and execution. It is literally a tub full of ice cold water, followed by several bags of ice dumped in to further lower the temperature. It's not cold, it's downright painful. The benefits, however, far outweigh the pain when it comes to repairing damaged muscles. 

Ask any runner and they'll tell you they bundle up, roll their shirt up, put on a tabogan, gloves, iPod and get a magazine to sit through the 20 minutes of self-induced torture. Last night, I did just that. After finishing an 11-mile tempo run in the driving rain along the C+O Canal, my quads were unreasonably sore and simply weren't recovering as they should've been. After all, it wasn't even half the distance of the marathon, and it was on soft-packed dirt/gravel, and at a pace some 10 seconds slower per mile than the targeted race pace. Nonetheless, my body was just rebelling. Foreshadowing aside, I did the ice bath last night and my legs this morning are discernibly better than they were yesterday afternoon. 

So looking ahead, this race will actually be crazier than most, due to some travel within the travel and some Agent obligations. Here's what it looks like:

THU. 6/25
0700 Direct flight from BWI to Seattle
0940 Arrive in SEA (PST)
Rental car
Drive to Expo to pick up race packet
Afternoon media in Seattle
3-mile tempo run, stretch, shower, change
1730 VIP Reception for RnR Elites (no, I'm not an Elite, just got the invite)
2000 Drive 4.5hrs to Eugene, OR

FRI. 6/26
0100 Arrive in Eugene/check into hotel room
0830 USATF Agent Conference in Eugene, OR
1530 Conference concludes, see clients for 2 hours
1800 Quick pasta dinner in Eugene before hitting road for 4.5hr drive
1830 Start drive back to Seattle
2300 Arrive in Seattle/check into hotel
2315 Lay out gear for race
2330 Bed

SAT. 6/27 
0330 Wake up, stretch, caffeinate with 180 Energy Drink
0530 Drive to downtown Seattle and shuttle to Tukwila start
0600 Arrive at shuttle/head to Tukwila start
0640 Arrive in Tukwila/drop off bag
0700 RACE BEGINS!!!!
Let's hope for a 3:30 finish
Pick up rental car
Drive back to hotel
Call family, post Blog, follow-up media
1300 Drive out to Wounded Warrior event in Olympia (70min away)
Drive back to Seattle
1900 Post-Race Reception
See college friends in Seattle

SUN. 6/28
1000 Ice bath in hotel
Sight-see in Seattle
1500 Return my money rental car
Blog/Client calls from airport
2100 Return redeye flight to DC (arrive back at BWI at 0740hrs on Monday)

It'll be a great trip. I'll write more this week in the days leading up to the race. For now, I'm going to try and sneak in a run before yet another round of thunderstorms rolls into the area. The wind has picked up, the skyline is dark and the sunny forecast is about to go right out the window...very rainy spring and early summer in D.C. 

More soon. 

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 11: Follow-Up

I'd like to thank all of you who attended our 10-12-100 cocktail hour last Thursday, June 11 at Napoleon Bistro & Lounge, here in Washington, DC. The outdoor patio was completely full, with guests spilling over into the upstairs bar area as well as grabbing tables for dinner at what is unquestionably one of DC's hottest restaurants. I was so pleased to be surrounded by clients, colleagues, classmates, supporters, friends, some friends of friends and in a few cases complete strangers (who by the end of the night were strangers no more.)

Not only did we have great attendance, but we also had amazing participation from DC stores, sports teams, spas, hotels, salons, artists, designers, and photographers...all of which made our silent auction at the end of the evening a runaway success. Add to that, flights of drinks and food provided by Omar Popal at Napoleon and the killer tunes that DJ Jerome put on the tables and it was a great night all around. 

This was the first of several fundraising events we will have in the DC area, in addition to events in targeted cities for the remaining five marathons of this ten-race campaign. For those of you who would either like to attend future events or donate your products or services at an upcoming 10-12-100 fundraiser, please contact our office directly (Courtney Beese at 202.296.7006) and we'll make sure you receive the necessary information.)

I've included some pictures with this entry (and I promise to start posting more racing, training, media and miscellaneous photos as well). For those of you on FACEBOOK, please join us under search term: 10-12-100 Campaign

Events like this give me renewed strength on those long, lonely training runs. During interviews or casual conversation, I'm often asked what I think about while I'm training and racing. (As if to say, how could you possibly help to pass, what must otherwise be an absurd amount of mind-numbing miles spent just running.) To be honest, sometimes I'll think about those young soldiers laying in beds in Walter Reed Army Hospital, whom our efforts are benefitting. Sometimes, I'm thinking about how best to resolve an issue with a DLE client athlete. Sometimes, I'm not thinking about anything at all. 

Moving forward, in the long, hot summer training miles in preparation for the unbelievably challenging marathons remaining, I will draw strength from the outpouring of unity and support I experienced last week at our event. The crowd couldn't have been more diverse, yet the commonality of purpose was overwhelming. 

For those soldiers who have been reading my words--both abroad and at home--you are not alone. There are those of us who back you in thought, in word and most importantly, in deed.

...And our numbers are growing. 

Stay the course.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fundraising Event on June 11 here in D.C.

The staff here at DLE Sports has been furiously working on the finishing touches for what is sure to be an amazing event here in DC on Thursday, June 11 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Two days from now, we are hosting a fundraiser at Napoleon Bistro ( from 7-9pm, with the proceeds going directly to the Wounded Warrior Project through our continued efforts with the 10-12-100 Campaign. For a mere $20, guests will enjoy an open bar for the first two hours, as well as raffle tickets and the opportunity to bid on an amazing array of items in our silent auction.

The generously donated raffle items continue to roll in, and we have several $100 and $200 certificates to local restaurants, as well as spas and salons. On the auction side, we have amazing items from renowned designer Darryl Carter, the fabled Willard Hotel, equisite Edward Marc chocolate, visionary couture from Aidah, as well as Nationals tickets (3rd base line and homeplate seats), Redskins tickets, and an impressive assortment of jewelry, dresses, suits and other outstanding items. 

After the auction results are announced, DC's best DJ will take the tables just after 9pm and spin an amazingly eclectic mix of hip hop, 80s, dance, rock, and house music, as only DJ Jerome can do. 

For those of you in the area that are interested in attending, please contact:

Courtney Beese

The event is as diverse and as inclusive as the campaign itself. All are welcome and all are encouraged to attend. Please let us know if you'd like to join and encourage your friends and family to do the same. 

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday at 7pm.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Leaders Lead"

This was the theme of a keynote address given by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen this morning at a breakfast I attended at the Liaison Hotel, which was hosted by The Hill newspaper. His address was no more than 15 minutes, but the topics covered by the Chairman, were as relevant as they were thoughtful. Moreover, his remarks were right on target with the underlying aim and scope of the 10-12-100 Campaign.

Admiral Mullen highlighted the need for caring for our wounded warriors upon their return home from active duty abroad. In that, he addressed an injury that often escapes the naked eye: mental and emotional trauma, such as PTSD. An increasing number of young servicemen are returning home with this type of injury and many argue that it is one of the leading contributors in the alarming rise in suicide rates of young enlisted men and women. 

Much of the 10-12-100 Campaign focus thus far has been centered on those servicemen and women who are dealing with debilitating physical injuries as they transition from active-duty back to civilian life. I would be remised, however, if I did not focus equal attention on those who are dealing with traumatic mental and emotional injuries as a direct result of their service to our nation. Admiral Mullen brought this to the fore this morning when he highlighted the current deficit in qualified healthcare professionals, who are able and ready to serve the needs of the aforementioned servicemen. 

In Mullen's words, "...some say that there is a national shortage of qualified healthcare professionals able to treat the needs of PTSD-related injuries among our troops. I do not subscribe to that, and I find that unacceptable." The Chairman went on to say that we need to not only actively recruit more mental healthcare professionals (MHP) but that perhaps we should begin to reach outside the normal channels of recruitment and seek the pro-bono services of such MHPs in order to meet the growing needs of our troops.

At my table, I sat between White House veteran Tim McBride and Hill defense reporter Roxana Tiron. Across from us on the other side of the circular table were Hill publisher Fran McMahon and Editor-in-Chief, Hugo Gurdon. The audience was comprised of Hill staffers, young veterans, older veterans, lobbyists, and everyday patriots. Among those in attendance were a few Vietnam veterans whose children were now preparing for their first or second deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Mullen pointed out in answering one of their questions, "I always like to take a moment to thank the parents of our young military soldiers. Thank you for providing a home environment that encouraged and emboldened them to serve their country."

I found that statement to be rather poignant. Admiral Mullen carefully and directly answered the comments and concerns of the audience members in a Q+A manner that was as elegant as it was informative. I've always been an admirer of the Chairman, and after hearing him speak in person this morning, that well-founded respect has widened even further. 

I was honored to sit in the audience and hear his unscripted, heart-felt remarks and his patience and honesty in answering the questions from the audience. Indeed, the Admiral also reminded me that those injured veterans who walk among us, are not merely relegated to the superficial physical impairments that we see on an everyday basis; they are also the deep-seeded mental and emotional trauma that can only be understood by those who have stood on the front lines of combat, where the bullets are flying and your comrade's life is in your hands. 

Duty to God and to Country has never had a more palatable and visceral interpretation. 

I will continue to focus my efforts on our troops in recognition of all they have done for us. Their scars of service run deep; some on the surface level, some are buried a little deeper. All were forged in the fire of duty, service and sacrifice. 

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports