April 15, 2011

Epic Man Team Blog-Bianca-Post 2

Tomorrow morning it all begins! We have all worked so hard to get to this point and no matter what the outcome is, whether some of us make it only out of the plane or make it sprinting across the finish line on Boylston st, we all "made it." Since a large number of Epic Man team mates are running the marathon without official numbers I decided to make our own so people would know just how much it took us, mentally and physically to get to where we were.

Due to some very important personal issues back home I am only able to complete the sky diving, kayaking and some of the biking with my team. I just found out this afternoon that I am unable to complete the entire Epic Man journey, something that I have been training and working towards since Novemeber. It's been a harsh reality but sometimes life throws you those curve balls for a reason. My team means so much to me and I am so happy to have been part of this experience thus far!

April 14, 2011

Jason Greenblatt & Phil Hoban High Fives Interview!

Check out Jason Greenblatts video interview with Phil Hoban, High Fives athlete!

High Fives + Epic Man Interview: Jason Greenblatt and Phil Hoban from HighFivesFoundation on Vimeo.

Donate to High Fives on behalf of Jason, Tyler and Phil HERE!

April 11, 2011

Epic Man Team Blog - Edward Aten - Man Down

I messed up and didn't track my run last Sunday correctly. I accidentally paused the tracking on RunKeeper and only clocked about 13 of the 18 or so miles I ran. And quite a run it was.

One of those amazing days in the Bay Area where the winds are low, the sun is out and you snag an occasional high-5 from other runners who are out having the time of their lives. I had been out in DC and NYC a few days earlier so it was easy to get up early to try and get the 2.5 hour run from North Beach, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through Sausilito and around the Bay to Tiburon to make the 11:30 ferry. Of course things didn't go exactly according to plan.

First I spent more time than expected at Trader Joes waiting for them to open 5 minutes late then had to stop in the middle of the span of the Golden Gate Bridge to pull out my cellphone and sign the contract that would finally put my house in contract.Obviously time well spent, but even though I buckled down for the last 4 miles running close to 7 minute pace I missed the ferry by just enough to watch it back away and steam across the bay without me.

So I sat on the green and waited 90 minutes for the next ferry. I ate the salad I brought at Trader Joes. I ordered a cappuccino. I thought about the Epic Man that was only two weeks away.

This run had been my final long run of training. It wasnt as long as I probably needed but it was hard feeling bad after having so much gas left in the tank at the end. Then again the Epic man isn't a standard race, and my mood quickly moved from inspiration to intimidation thinking about the magnitude of the effort required in two weeks.

April 17th I'd be on Peaks Island Maine with a kayak looking across the bay at Portsmouth. After about an hours paddle we would hop on our bikes for a 50 mile ride to Portsmouth NH. There we'd break for some food and maybe a beer or two before the 107 mile ride to through the night to Hopkinton, MA arriving at something like 11AM the next morning.

There we are going to lock up the bikes, put on our running clothes and run the Boston marathon.

I've thought a lot about the Epic Man over the last few months almost always with the same questions: Was the concept overall crazy? Was it another life adventure? Was I crazy? Could I do it? What if I didn't finish? Why on earth was I doing this?

When George Mallory was asked why he climbed Everest he said three of the most famous words in the history of mountaineering: 'Because it's there.'

But the Epic Man wasn't there any more than cycling across the country is. Any more than me deciding I'm going to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

Sitting on the green that morning I was surrounded by all types of people. Italian tourists riding rental bikes while smoking. Lycra-clad cyclists that were either uber fit or just dressing the part. Couples over for a hike and lunch.

If I had approached them their reactions to the race would probably be as varied as their appearance. Most probably couldn't comprehend the distances. Before I started running real distances anything over 10 miles seemed completely insane. Some of the more aggressive looking guys would probably be into it. Many probably would just think I had some sort of mental problem to want to do something like that.

So what would be Epic to them? The thing that I have loved most about Epic Man from the beginning is the equality of it - it isnt just the huge distance event. People sign on for portions of the event or create their own ways of pushing their limits.

Everyone on the green could participate in some way if they had the desire.

I guess for me it just boiled down to: What happens if I take something that seems beyond possible and put everything I can muster into trying to do it?

For me the Epic Man is a real stretch. I'm not a cyclist. I'm not the fastest or best runner. But I figured if I'm going to push my limits, why not really REALLY push them?

- - -

I had another accomplishment today and while drastically different than my run last week it feels nearly as gratifying.

I took a walk.

The walk was short, probably only 400 feet but it was the first I'd stood up since checking into the hospital 24 hours ago.

I was in Miami when it all started. I ate lunch on Tuesday and afterwards felt bloated well beyond normal. I was in some real discomfort so I did the logical thing - I went for a run to the drugstore. I bought some GasX and ate the largest possible dose I could, after all I had a business dinner to attend. So I crammed in a quick few miles, some hopefully therapeutic jostling to my stomach and was still dressed and ready to go to the work dinner.

I went to dinner and figured I should eat incase food would help even things out. At this point I was uncomfortable, not in pain but not feeling like a ton of fun. We went out after dinner, I mean I had to see South Beach!

We called it relatively early around 1AM and all went to bed.

I woke up the next morning to worse discomfort. This time I really didn't want to get out of bed. I eventually made myself get up an hour later but, out of character for me, ended up back in bed a few hours later to rest.

My flight from MIA to SFO was approaching and I know I didn't want to be sick in Miami. I called my Dad and we decided even though I wasn't getting better I wasn't getting terribly worse so I got on the plane and flew home.

The flight itself was fine. I barely moved. Slept a few hours but when I got off I was hurting. No more discomfort, now this was real pain.

I'm kind of an over-thinking hypocondriac. I always think something is wrong with me but then talk myself out of it. As in, I have a pain and assume its something bad but then run the numbers and decide it is impossible I could actually have anything major wrong with me and decide to not do anything about it.

I wasn't sure I even wanted to go see a doctor. I don't even have a doctor! My primary care doc moved away two years ago and I still haven't found a replacement since I'm supposed to be in the prime of my life. I definitely didn't want to go to the emergency room. I mean I wasn't even bleeding. Stomach pain is not an emergency.

I called the hospital closest to me and they transferred me to the ER even though I had asked for Urgent Care. Apparently San Francisco didn't have any Urgent Care centers.


It was hard to walk but I still resisted and considered my options when I rememebered my HMO has a nurse call line. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes I finally connected with a nurse.

We talked for a few minutes and sounding like she was reading off of a screen she told me I had to go see someone within an hour. 'Go to the emergency room.' she said. I guess you don't mess with abdominal pain.

So I did as I was told.

The ER was empty when I got there but immediately started worrying about bumping into my friends that work at the hospital. I know at least two residents that I think even work on that floor! Are they going to see me in the ER ask what is going on and decide that I'm a tax on the already burdened system. That even though the hotline lady said I should be there what does she know and now they think of me as a wimp?

These are the kinds of things I think about.

But I've already checked in and the nurse ushers me in and within 10 minutes I'm sitting with a doctor who has sat down in front of me and is asking for my history.

We speak for about 5 minutes and he tries to do an inspection of my abdomen with his hands but can't because it hurts too much so he calls for pain meds.

After a few minutes later and mildly sedated I feel better and after poking around my stomach he is convinced I need a CT, he's pretty sure its appendicitis.

Apparently appendicitis is pretty common and happens to about 1 in every 15 Americans. The good news is that appendectomy (removal of the appendix) is such a standard procedure that there is very little risk in having it, going under is the most dangerous part.

The CT comes back and I need surgery. Supposedly the next morning.

I ask him how long recovery is and mention I have a race in a week. He laughs.

He recommends taking about a week off of work and within 4 weeks I'll feel more like myself but wont be back to full activities for another 4 weeks. From there he says it will likely be 3 months total until I feel 100%.

This is kind of a problem.

I ask him what my options are and unfortunately they are pretty limited. Apparently appendicitis very rarely goes away. If we decide to give it that opportunity the trade off is that it could rupture spilling the contents of my intestines into my stomach. If that happens its a much larger surgery, a week plus in the hospital or if something goes wrong maybe death.


What he is really saying is get the surgery dude. This isn't really elective.

So my Epic Man 2011 plans are over. I ask about running a section or biking a bit with the team. He says I should talk to my surgeon about that.

I realize I should probably stop stressing about the months of preparation and the excitement I've built up for the adventure and try to put it on hold for a while. After all, in a few hours I'm going to be in the OR with someone poking holes through my abdominal muscles cutting off part of my organs.

I call my friends and family and tell them whats up. Everyone is amazingly supportive including the nurses, surgeons and team at the hospital.

Surgery goes perfectly (at least from what they tell me) and at 4PM the next day I'm somewhat lucid again.

Over the next few hours I pull it together even more and want to feel how much things have been moved around. I've never had surgery before and while laying in the bed is giving me a sense of what has happened I haven't supported my own weight. I haven't sat up.

So the nurse does her rounds to her other patients, disconnects me from my IV of fluids, antibiotics and pain meds and our adventure has begun!

The entire time all I could do was think about my run the previous Sunday where miles 14-18 I turned on the after-burners and ran like hell to catch the ferry. Here I was 5 days later and waddling around the hospital for a few hundred feet felt like an accomplishment - and in some ways it was a bigger accomplishment.

- - -

Two days later there are two things that have had an impact on me from this experience thus far. First, how quickly things can change and second, how good most of us really have it.

The first point is somewhat obvious. Within a week my plans changed from doing a 180+ mile adventure to hoping I'm strong enough to attend let alone participate in any part of it.

I probably mean something a little different on the second point than what you expect. Through my entire stay in the hospital I was so glad to only be there for my appendicitis. Almost without exception, at any point during my stay I was one of the most healthy people there.

It didn't have to be appendicitis that took me our of the full distance of the Epic Man. It could have been a car accident. It could have been cancer. It could have been anything and now two days later I'm out of the hospital sitting on my couch able to write these words.

So if you are running the 1 mile run before the kayak (which I definitely will), participating in the 50 mile ride to Portsmouth, NH (this is against doctors orders but we will just have to wait and see!), doing the full Epic Man (damn!) or doing anything else that pushes yourself you are inspiring to me.

Any step, any goal, any attempt at something that pushes you is amazing no matter the distance, situation or contraints is a victory of effort, a victory against fear of failure and a victory of taking charge of who you want to be.

Stay strong. Keep trying. Dont give up. Be epic.


April 10, 2011

Always Be Epic TV - EPISODE 8 - Jake Cacciapaglia

Before the "Road to Epic Man 2011" starts tomorrow in Milwaukee Wisconsin, we are proud to announce the last Epic Man 2011 team member, Jake Cacciapaglia! By day, Jake is on the leadership team at Runkeeper. By night, he is known for his "Jake Shake". (No, it is not a dance move) Watch Jake's intro video to learn more about him and his famous "Jake Shake"!

Jake will also be joining us in NYC for the "Paint NYC EPIC" run w/ the Runkeeper Community.

Runkeeper & The Epic Man - "Paint NYC Epic" Details - 4/14 - 5PM

As part of the "Road to Epic Man 2011" - we'll be stopping in NYC on Thursday April 14 to "Paint NYC Epic" with Runkeeper.

If you are around, join us for an appx. 9 mile run starting at Sarah Roosevelt Park at East Houston and Chrystie. Meet up around 5PM. We'll be taking off around 5:30PM and ending in Times Sqaure to celebrate the run.

Click HERE for the Runkeeper Link & Map.
Click HERE for the Facebook Event Page.

See you on Thursday in NYC!

April 7, 2011


At this time 2 weeks from today, I will hopefully had just traveled roughly 190 miles, powered by my body and mind. Just my legs and arms, to paddle that kayak, pedal that bike, and run that marathon.

To tell you the truth, I feel really good! A lot has happened in the past few weeks. A lot of running (did a 20 miler last weekend), more biking, a few good surfs. I started to take this kick ass Yoga/Spin class that's actually located in one of Bruce Lee's old studio's (YAS in Venice, google it). But something really epic happened since last time I posted, I GOT ENGAGED! Boo yeah!! I've got my teammate for life, and so lucky to have found such an amazing person. She has been an inspiration since I met her, and looking forward to continue this adventure called life together.

Speaking of family, unfortunately my old man won't be around for the Epic man, rather he will be in the Bahamas cracking a cold one and hopefully getting out and doing some deep sea fishing. Which I think sounds like a pretty epic time. My Dad has always lead an active life, and in honor of him, I have been growing my beard for at least a month, with no plan to shave till Mexico. Check out the pictures below. He is 30 in that picture, and I am 1 month away from the big 30.

April 5, 2011

Support our Epic Man 2011 Partner Organizations!

Can't participate in any of the group runs, the boat cruise, the bike rides, or the parties.... but still want to support the team and our partner organizations? See below for a complete list with links where you can check out more info on the organizations and donate.

Click HERE for the full rundown of Epic Man events.
Click HERE for the full list of opportunities to participate in Epic Man 2011.

High Fives Foundation
(Team members Jason and Tyler are representing High Fives)
High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community.
Donation Site:http://highfivesfoundation.org/epicman.html

The Sisters Wish
(The Sisters Wish are hosting the 1 Mile Epic Run and Portlan Boat Cruise on 4/17)
The Sisters Wish is a non-profit organization that provides wish's to
terminally/chronically ill young adults ages 18-30 who reside in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

Team Trevor
(Team Trevor is the supported charity on the Trek Portsmouth bike ride from Portland to Portsmouth on 4/17)

The Claddagh Fund
(Official Charity of the Dropkick Murphy's and the sponsor of the Epic Man / Social Boston Sports afterparty on Boylston Street at McGreevy's on 4/18)
Donation Link, Event Page - stay tuned!

Ronald McDonald House - Boston
(Team Member Justin Obey is representing the Ronald McDonald House)

Charity4Life – Leading International Fundraising Efforts
(Charity4Life is the supported Charity and host of the Mag Mile run in Chicago on 4/12)
Charity4LIFE is a Chicago-Based Corporation focused on benefitting children in third-world countries. Charity4LIFE’s Mission is to support underdeveloped communities through grassroots NGO’s, focusing on street children and empowering them to reach their full potential. Charity4LIFE is currently representing institutions in Columbia and Guatemala with its next mission taking place in Haiti April 29-May 4.
Weekend Warrior Activism* – A style of humanitarian aid that involves working around the 40-hour workweek.
Donation Link HERE.

April 1, 2011

Epic Man 2011 - Participate & Support!

There are many ways for YOU to Be Epic and join the Epic Man 2011 journey to help inspire others and raise money for some of our partner organizations.

CHICAGO: On April 12, Join Will and Seth on the 2nd Leg of the "Road To Epic Man 2011" when they partner up with Chicago based Charity4Life for their next mission to Haiti. This Leg will include a Happy Hour Fun Run along the shores of Lake Michigan and on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. All details and Registration can be found HERE, or on the event's FACEBOOK Page.

NEW YORK CITY: On April 14, the 3rd Leg of the "Road to Epic Man 2011" join Seth, Will and a few other Epic Man 2011 team members when we partner up with Runkeeper to "Paint NYC Epic". We don't have the exact details on this one yet, but for those of you interested in joining, stay tuned right here and also to our FACEBOOK PAGE as details come to life.

PORTLAND, ME: On the morning of April 17, The entire Epic Man team will kick off Epic Man 2011 partnering with The Sisters Wish for an EPIC MILE fun run which will end at Casco Bay Lines for a brunch Ferry cruise to watch the Epic Man team on the 1st official leg of the Epic Man as they travel from Peaks Island to Portland, ME. After the team has arrived, Epic Mile and Epic Man participants will gather at Flatbread on Commercial Street in Portland, ME for the first party before everyone sends the Epic Man team off on the Trek Portsmouth Bike Ride and 2nd Leg of the Epic Man from Portland to Portsmouth, NH. Details & registration can be found HERE. Register soon, as there is limited capacity on the boat and we filled it last year!

PORTSMOUTH TO PORTLAND: The 2nd leg of the Journey is the a 50 mile bike ride from Portland, ME to Portsmouth, NH which is sponsored by TREK Portsmouth in support of TEAM TREVOR. Anyone interested in joining our team for this should contact TREK Portsmouth directly. All details and registration info can be found HERE. The Trek Portsmouth ride will finish up at the Trek Portsmouth Retail shop off of Route 1 in Portsmouth. This party will include food provided by Chipotle, in addition to some tasty local brews. This party is FREE and open to the Public (even if you did not participate in the ride). Donations to Team Trevor will be accepted at the party if you wish to contribute.

Stay tuned right here and also to our FACEBOOK page for more details as the come for the opportunities above as well as for the details on the After Marathon party at McGreevy's in support of the Claddagh Fund, as well as details on the after after marathon party at River Gods in Cambridge where Will and Seth will DJ the night away.