Pacing Alex at the Vermont 100

What a fun and exciting experience I had pacing and crewing Alex from team RWB through his first 100 mile race.  This was my first 100 mile crew and pacing experience and I learned a lot.

With the help of my pestering before the race Alex was pretty conservative with his pacing and it paid off. I was amazed at how many runners came into Camp 10 Bear (at mile 47) under 24 hour pace  knowing they probably wouldn’t come in close to that time. The reinforces my favorite rule of ultra running “don’t focus on making your fastest mile faster focus on making your slowest mile less slow”.  You can’t bank miles, when you run hard early you will pay with a death march at the end.

Pacing Alex

Pacing Alex

Interesting while not running the race I felt I have learned the course quite well while spending time awaiting my runner at the aid stations.

Alex’s wife Amanda and a friend were also first timers at crewing.

I was walking out and backs from the aid stations while waiting for Alex to come in.  At Margaretville I was on my second 1 mile out and back up the very large incline when I saw Alex coming in. I decided to walk out past him a bit and figured at mile 58 I wouldn’t have much trouble catching back up to him as he came into the aid.  While most other runners at this point were pretty ragged from the 2 mile incline Alex was actually moving really well and I didn’t catch him coming into the aid.  I was cringing as I saw him greeted by his crew as they led him into the aid station and away from the food table.  Good lesson learned for first time pacers. When your runner comes in lead him or her into the station and point out food that they may want before leading them away to handle other clothing and gear issues away from the food.

I saw one team using a caddy similar to the one below to carry aid and supplies.  I will definitely look into something like this for my pit crew.

Mohican 100 Trail Run 2016

Not all of the 2015 Team USA 24 Hour Running Team are as consistent or as speedy as the amazing Maggatron (Maggie Guterl) to race our way into the WSER100 with a Golden Ticket. For some of us plodder humanoids our only chance is to get in through the lottery like the rest of the mere mortals. For me this meant running the Mohican 100 Trail Run even though I have been injured, in my body and mind, and have been running way less than 25 miles a week.

I must admit my training woes are more mental than physical. My diet has been inconsistent and crappy and I have gained more than 25lbs. I have been a complete idiot and not gone to a doctor about my hip since I’m afraid. I am lying to myself. Yes, I am a big mess. Mental instability: it’s what makes good ultra runners great.

I’m not going to do a full chronological report here, just a list of stuff, since my writing is about as piss poor as my running right now. I was over confident in the beginning and paid for it at the end with a death march for more than 35 miles to the finish. I could have had a much more enjoyable, pain free experience with better pacing, but what fun would that be right? In hindsight I’m pretty surprised at how well I am recovering, this is one thing that I did well.

Cool things to see:

Many firsts:

  • first event that I continued for more than 24 hours ( 30:51:02 )
  • first event where I was late to the starting line ( I thought the start was at the same place as the finish. I come to find out 15 minutes before race time that it’s a mile down the road, I had to walk down there and drop my bag before starting for more than a few minutes delay)
  • first time I cried during a race ( yes, after shuffling through mile after mile with excruciating chaffing seeing the green grass of the campsite; knowing the finish wasn’t far beyond and a lone young camper ringing a cowbell made me shed a tear.)
  • first time I took a shower during a race ( there was a bathroom with a shower on the course, good to know for next time since I would leave a drop bag there with 3 changes of gear and clean up every loop)
  • first time I prepared for my shower after the race during the race ( knowing that I would have to climb a large hill after the race to get my clean clothes and shower stuff I took a short detour off course to my truck and then carried my and left my bag by the showers so it would be there for me after the race)
  • first time I saw a pace bunny at an aid station ( I’m not sure who the lucky runner was who had a young woman in a bikini, bunny ears and tail waiting for them at the aid station, that sure would have kept me moving )

Lessons learned:

  • a cheap head lamp is always better than an expensive one ( for the nth time my $120 Petzl NAO died in short order while the $30 Petzl Zipka served for the early morning start and the entire night )
  • when your fat and you have to wear old cheap running shorts chaffing will be a major issue. I really need to loose the weight to fit in all my nice running gear again.
  • wear your garmin and stick to plan, respect the heat especially when it doesn’t cool off at night. the fitbit lulled me into thinking I was doing much better than I was which strangely made me push harder when I should have been backing off.
  • train and diet for 6 months to a year before running a 100 miler

Considering this was a Solo 100 (no pacer, no crew) I had very little gear. I only used 1 drop bag which you could get to 3 times on the loop course. ( I saw one man using a cat litter pail for drop bag which seems like a good idea)  It had:

  • spare headlamp
  • change of shirt, shorts, shoes and socks
  • light jacket
  • spare mp3 player
  • Auqaphore
  • Arnica gel
  • some assorted gels

I carried 2 water bottles in my AK race vest along with another headlamp and mp3 player, a few gels and my trucker gum.

I have been a buckle snob in the past believing there should be a distinction between a 1 day finish and everyone else. This experience gave me a new outlook on that.  I am happy and proud to have a nice new buckle and qualifier for the WSER 100 lottery.  Hopefully by the time I get in there I will still enjoy running hundreds.

Congratulations to my teammates Harvey and Connie with amazing performances for 2nd and 1st place ( and Connie’s 6th win???) . Crazy to think I can be back in the same league as them. Hopefully I can get my head and body back in check and pull off a late qualifier this year in a last ditch attempt to make the team. I have found that I usually need to dig myself into a big hole in order to succeed. This is a very deep one, so who knows what I will do after this.

Bear Mountain 50 Miler

Yesterday (4/30/2016) I ran the Bear Mountain 50 Miler. I proved to myself, once more, that I can still do pretty well in an ultra without training at all. Since I had done similar at the Vermont 100 last July, finishing in under 24 hours with similar training. As you can see from the report below, in my last 12 months of mileage the past 3 months have been under 21 miles for the whole month.


With smart pacing and the right mental outlook any obstacle can be overcome in an ultra.

This really fun day was highlighted by chatting with Erin and Alex most of the way. Alex introduced himself thanks to my Team RWB t-shirt. I’m not a vet but; I’m “wearing the eagle” to show my support for enriching veterans lives. Erin found me to be a helpful pacer and I took on pacing her to keep my mind off my own discomfort and to give my day a bit more purpose.Erin and Alex

Considering Pro Athlete Timothy Olson dropped I guess I can say I beat a Pro Athlete with no training :-) Finish Time 12:47:16

“How to cure an adductor injury. Make the rest of the body sore the adductor doesn’t really hurt so much any more.”  Seriously though I think taking 115,000 steps may have really pounded the scar tissue out of there.  Lets see how I feel next week. Today I’m happy with my day after the race hobbling with a slightly bruised big toe nail and some minor chafing.

I did get to take lots of video and photos on my GoPro I shared them here I consider this race a success and being out there so long I really did get my moneys worth out of the entry fee.

OneDrive for Business (OD4B) Default Retention Policies

Responsibility for Backup and Recovery changes when you move to a SaaS solution like Office 365.  There are basically 2 types of recovery scenarios that need to be planned for. The first being a server or datacenter failure the second being the corruption or deletion of data. In Office 365 Microsoft is responsible for the first part of this equation.  Although Microsoft is constantly replicating data between data centers and storing data in completely redundant environments with backup and restoring capabilities; this is not going to help in cases of data being deleted or corrupted either maliciously or in error.  I have started some research around some of the OneDrive for Business default retention items that provide part of the solution for the second half of the equation.

1. SharePoint Online Sites including the OneDrive for Business Document Library has a non-configurable 93 day retention on 1st stage recycle bin and another 93 days on the second stage.

2. All Document libraries in SharePoint Online including the OneDrive for Business Document Library have the maximum number of major versions set to 500 by default.

With these 2 items you have a reasonable backup and recovery strategy for most cases of non malicious intent. First problem comes up around user deleting all items from the first and second stage recycle bin since the user is the Site Collection administrator of their OneDrive. Second is that a user could change the version settings to remove the 500 versions. Any way to prevent those scenarios with Office 365?


MS Exam 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements

I recently completed my 28th Microsoft exam MS Exam 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements. I took around 3 weeks to prepare which was fairly intensive as this was my first deep immersion into Office 365. Here is a bulleted list of some of the key resources I used in my studies.

This was my first time using an online proctored exam. It was nice to not have to travel to the testing center on a day off to take the exam. With online proctored exam Prometric watches you take the exam via your webcam and microphone to make sure you are not cheating. It was quite funny to turn out my pockets, roll up my sleeves and provide a 360 scan of my desk and office.

24 Hour World Championships: Race Report

After traveling around Italy for eight days, with three kids, on our first ever trip abroad, I was ready for the easy part: running for 24 hours. This was our first trip to a foreign country and we were not prepared for the language barrier or the culture shock. I would need a completely separate blog to write of the crazy and sometimes stressful misadventures of our travels.

Team USA started to arrive in Torino, Italy on Wednesday and the team was completely assembled by Thursday afternoon.  The Men’s team did a course preview tour on Thursday and gathered together again Friday morning for an easy 5K synchronize of our watches.   By Sunday morning this group essentially of strangers had come together as a team. However on race morning, Team USA was scattered around the starting corral and eventually mingling into position with the Men’s team strangely lined up behind the soon to be champion Woman. After a seven second misstart the race got on the way.

Rich Riopel at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

Rich Riopel staying hydrated at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

I immediately got right into my planned pace zone on my GPS Watch which was 9:07 per mile for a 4 hour marathon and good enough for SIX marathons in one day which was my B goal.  It felt easy and neither my adductor nor my shin issues which had been sore the whole trip bothered me.  The rest of the men on Team USA were behind me which I thought was strange since they had all discussed pacing more aggressively than me.  As it turns out “at the end of the day” my GPS watch was 3 miles short and I didn’t bother with lap splits so I was pacing faster than I thought. Ignorance is bliss…

After the first marathon I picked it up as planned to 9:05 and kept strolling along.  The warm temperatures were nice but the ice bandana was welcome to keep cool. Thank you to Coach Howard Nippert for having the foresight to stockpile ice in the iceless country.  (I also need to thank Coach Rich Zeger for schlepping us back and forth in the van. He surely did the ultra of driving in Italy).

Rich Riopel at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

Rich Riopel checking the big board at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

Still feeling good after the second marathon, I dropped down to 9 min miles as planned.  By 10 hours in, I was getting sleepy and started eating the caffeinated energy gel, 2 hours earlier than planned but much later than any of my previous 24 hours. Things get a bit blurry and I am missing big pieces of the story; like the power going out in the stadium and the fire that blew big clouds of nasty smoke on the track. (There is probably so much I am missing in this report since I am a runner not a writer… see the bullets at the end for a bunch more fun and interesting tid-bits).

Rich Riopel at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

Rich Riopel in the zone at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

There is a STRONG individual competition between the members of Team USA and honestly it is an F-ing awesome friendly competition that makes us all stronger! Katalin Nagy the Women’s World Champion was so strong! I used her as inspiration and drive, and honestly I was worried she was going to beat me again :-). But, if you’re going to get beat, at least it would be by one of the fiercest competitors out there.  After not seeing Harvey Lewis all day, I’m guessing around hour 20 or so he said HI from over my shoulder.  This pumped me up in 2 ways. First I realized that we still had a chance at a team medal and second the individual competition was heating up! Harvey later impressed and motivated me more when I could see in his face that he was giving everything he had! I loved seeing that determination!

I can’t forget to mention the amazing heart displayed by Isaiah Janzen! He came into the competition getting over an injury and undertrained, but pushed along and always cheered #RUNRICHRUN when I went by.  All of my other teammates were also super supportive always with great cheers when I saw them on the course. I regret that I did not always give the same encouragement back during the race but I was reserving all of my energy for moving forward.

The medical staff was amazing. Dr. Greg and Dr. Lovy were miracle workers who brought me back from the dead 2 times. They also cut off my compression shorts so I could switch into dry ones to prevent a chaffing issue. That mile was still only 13:44.

I had two mantras “The will must be stronger than the skill” -Muhammad Ali and “Pain does not exist in this dojo!” – Karate Kid.  I also spent a lot of time thinking about the people who have encouraged and supported me along the way.  I had intended to ask my wife & crew Donna to feed me more names as I passed the aid station but I kept forgetting. I did end up meditating on many of my friends and family and how they have helped me.

High Fives with Team Canada

Rich Riopel hi-fives with Team Canada at the 2015 24-Hour World Championships

I really wish we could have gotten “the view from the podium” but I am happy and proud of my personal results and being the top American. I made the top 10 all-time American performance list which I heard gets me an automatic spot on the team in 2017. I exceeded my goal of running 6 marathons in one day. I placed 8th in the WORLD and was the 1st AMERICAN completing 159.53 MILES in 24 hours. This is a 12.5 mile PR at a 9:01 per mile average pace.  This was only my 4th 24 hour race going from 127,142,147 and now 159.5 miles.  With only two other 100 mile races under my belt I think I still have a lot to learn and can make even more miles at the 24.

I couldn’t have done so well without my amazing wife, Donna, who not only crewed for me for 24 hours, but took care of our 3 kids as they played & slept in a tent on the track at the same time! That is an amazing feat and I owe her big time.  Donna was able to give me the right motivation when I needed it and kept me running strong all the way to the end.

Why was I smiling the whole time?  Really I could not be happier to compete on the world stage with an amazing team who pushed and pushed and came together at the end. As we all laid together on the high jump mat at the end of the race the team was united glowing in our amazing accomplishments!

How I got to 159.53 miles and other random thoughts:

  • I ate more than 65 energy gels, I choked them down just like Coach Howard said to.
  • I drank an electrolyte drink for most of the race until it was gross and I needed to drink just plain water.
  • This is my first 24 hour race where I was not forced to take an extended walking break.  I only walked the hill out of the stadium.  I then a planned walk break every mile which was good for me.
  • Little cans of coke are the most refreshing drink in the world.
  • Cappuccino really gave me a boost at the end. I should have asked for more of it right away. I should try some bulletproof coffee during the race.
  • I held off on using caffeine for 10 hours which is longer than any of my previous 24hr. Getting even better rest beforehand would allow me to hold off even longer which would be good.
  • When I put my headphones on around 12 hours it gave me a huge boost.  I must have frightened quite a few runners with my singing, screaming and grunting. At one point I screamed “I LOVE RUNNING!!!” as I sprinted down the back stretch, this brought quite a few smiles from the other runners!
  • I should have put my arm sleeves and hat on in the cold of the night. I probably expended more energy than I realized keeping warm even though I felt comfortable.
  • I drank 6 tart cherry drinks. One every 4 hours, and I really looked forward to this (need to remember to tell the crew (my wife) if I am going to run before drinking to unscrew the cap but leave it for me to open so I don’t spill it all over myself). Pretty sure these helped walking the hill out of the stadium while eating and drinking worked well, there were few times I ran the hill.
  • 3 protein drinks, thanks to my teammate Harvey. I could really feel the need for protein and I probably should have eaten more fat as well. I should try chia seeds during the race like Aly Venti suggested since they are high in fat.
  • The PB&J and the tortilla wraps were not soft moist white bread (they were dry again… like Desert Solstice ) GREAT recommendation from Maggie Guterl to have un-crustables.
  • The dill pickles were NOT garlic dill, I need to always bring my own pickles and juice.
  • I did not walk the hairpin turn as suggested but I did slow to a shuffle run. I felt like others would crash into me if I was walking.

How can I get even more miles:

  1. Come into the race with no injuries – I had a minor adductor tear and a shin splint in my right shin.
  2. Don’t peak too early, I peaked in training probably 4 weeks out and was in a bit of a lull.
  3. Find better food before the race no matter what, the language barriers made getting the best food hard before the race. I ended up eating mostly bad pizza and croissants for days before the race.
  4. Make sure to ask for your position from coaching staff so you know who to try to pass. Maybe that information would have given me the boost I needed to get past 7 and 6 who were only 50 and 300M ahead.
  5. Lose more weight. I need to get down to 143 lbs.

24 Hour World Championships: Race Day Info

The 24 Hour World Championships takes place on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
Start time: 10am (4am Eastern Time)

The race ends on Sunday, April 12, 2015.
End time is 10am (4am Eastern Time)

The race is not televised, but there may be some live streaming here: International Association of Ultrarunners

It will be possible to see the results with hourly updates at this link.

Regular updates for Team USA will be posted on the official Facebook page:

Also find updates on Twitter here: 

and here:

Race Entrant List. Rich’s race number is 188.



Rich’s Random Running Tips

I’m a runner not a writer.  I have been composing many tidbits of blog posts but I have been finding that most of the time there is not enough content to publish.  I have decided to just start posting them up and going for quantity over length.  Here are a bunch of random running and racing tips.  I’m no and expert and I haven’t had any specific training;  really I’m a beginner and have only been only endurance training since 2009 so I don’t really know why these things work for me but they do.  Try them out let me know what you think.

  • Rotate through many different styles and brands of shoes.  I run in minimalist and maximal shoes.
  • Do some long training runs without fuel.
  • When you eat a GU let it sit on your tongue so your brain knows that is getting sugar.
  • Don’t stop your watch on long training runs when you take a break for traffic, fueling or potty breaks.
  • Doing two a day workouts are great for splitting up long runs or for cramming when you are behind in your training.
  • Log your runs on a website like or
  • Write a detailed race report so you can remember things that went well or went wrong.

Booster Campaign is Live!

Hey ‪#‎RUNRichRUN‬ supporters…did you hear? The first round of shirts are in! We’ll be contacting to arrange pick up/drop off. In case you missed the first round, we’ve re-launched the Booster – the only difference this time around, is that the shirt will get shipped directly to you.

Available now until March 14th…get it while you can!  I have been selected to represent the United States as part of the 2015 U.S. National 24 Hour Ultra Running Team competing in Torino, Italy on April 11-12, 2015. I have worked really hard to get to this goal and have been given the chance to compete with some world class athletes. Traveling to and competing in Italy will be a once in a lifetime experience and at the urging of friends I have decided to do some fund raising to defer some of the costs involved.  #RunRichRun

Thank you for your support!

Rich Riopel Team USA