Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The 5th Annual Hom 100 (2017)

This is the face of a man almost defeated...

First, about mile 50 I didn't feel good at all. Nausea and lack of food had been the story all day. More on this later...

Second, the entire blog I'd written weeks ago recapping the 5th Hom 100 was completely wiped out by a browser glitch.

In either case, the only option is to carry on. In the spirit of brevity however, please enjoy a hashtag version of what I'd originally written...



Early Miles (6 am - 8 am)

It was suggested to me that we start early and log some miles before setting up the aid station.
#stupidisasstupiddoes

We knocked out a solid 13 miles before stopping to help set up.
#runrise

Starting Off (9 am - 12 pm)

It's always great to see so many of Tony's friends, family and the ALS Association supporting the day. They donate supplies, set up the aid station and cheer on the runners all day.
#ittakesavillage

Of course it's not really hot yet but I got behind on my nutrition early and never really caught up.
#rookiemistake

Friends continued to show up during the early hours helping me count off the miles and keep me company.
#runtribe


Afternoon Miles (12 pm - 6 pm)

I knew it was going to be a long day around 1 pm. I hadn't done any heat training so while 86F wasn't blistering, it was seriously taking its toll.
#lostmymojo


Despite friends coming and going, I was reduced to a snails pace due to the waves of nausea that kept gripping my belly.
#anycalorieswilldo

It was difficult to stay cool. Once I hit the 50km mark though, I took an extended break in the shade, tried to eat and changed my shoes.
#newshoesfeelSOgood

About 4 pm, I knew my normal eating tricks weren't working and I needed something new. A strawberry smoothie sounded awesome.
#tastedgreatgoingin

Photo credit: The Varton Family
Around 5 pm, the sun started to set and the shadows got longer. The cool temperatures did nothing for the gurgling in my belly. The strawberry smoothie would have its revenge.
#tastedbadcomingout

One of the unwritten rules of ultra-running? Just puke it up and keep going. I honestly felt much better!
#needfoodnow


Finishing Up (6 pm - 10 pm)

I returned to the aid station practically starving. Inhibitions gone. Palate open to every option available. Chips. Soda. Gels. Granola bars.
#eatallthefood

With less than a half-marathon to go, I could feel my energy coming back. Cool temps. The light of the moon. Family and friends by my side. I knew everything was going to be OK.
#timetoreflect

Photo credit: The Varton Family
It's usually this time of the run I think back on Tony's struggles with ALS. I will never know the anxiety and pain he must have felt losing so much. Walking. Feeding himself. Hugging his children.
#mypainistemporary

I didn't mind running alone for a while this night. The silence is a necessary reminder of how special Tony was to so many of us. I am proud to dedicate my time to remember him.
#takentoosoon

My son decided to join me for one of the final laps. We walked it all and chatted about how many loops he'd done, how much money we'd raised and how I was feeling.
#proudparentmoment

As we finished or loop, I announced I'd be doing the last 4 miles by myself. Not being selfish, I just felt recharged and wanted to run.
#forrestgump

Just like that, the HOM 100 (km) was finished around 9:30 pm. BTW, finishing in the dark isn't the greatest idea (the pictures suck). Something to change for next year I guess...
#turnofftheflash

Closing Thoughts

First a big thank you to my wife, kids and the Freeman Farms 'village' who entertained the kids, helped at the aid stations and give their day in memory of Tony.
#muchogracias

A special thanks to the Varton family - all the way from MI to support my crazy fundraising. You're the best!
#whenareyoumoving

We couldn't do much without our sponsors either!
#givingback


In case you're wondering, this year's Hom 100 will raise almost $10,000 once all the corporate matching is comes in! Thank you! There's still time to donate - we'll be raising money all year.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Help From My Friends

It never ceases to amaze me how one man's life and his legacy can continue to inspire others. I would venture that 99% of the people and sponsors who contribute, donate and help make the Hom 100 possible each year never even knew Tony.

What they do know is that he was robbed of the many things we take for granted - like teaching your son to drive or walking your daughters down the isle.

Our sponsors this year include Cadence Running Company and Arbor Networks.

Dan and Mary at Cadence not only own the greatest running store on the East Side but they have a passion for making their community a better place. I can't thank them enough for their continued support of the Hom 100.


A big thanks to Arbor Networks for their support as well. We couldn't do it without you!


A big thank you to the friends, family and neighbors that will join me in celebrating Tony's legacy on April 8. You are all amazing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Hom 100

It's hard to believe that it's already time for another Hom 100. In it's 5th year, we've taken Tony's memory and turned it into meaningful dollars that benefit both patients, families and caregivers who have been forced to deal with this cowardly incurable disease. Over $100,000 raised in his memory is incredible!

I urge you more than ever to consider donating to our fight against ALS. With more press and publicity than ever before, we are poised to make substantial breakthroughs in care, prevention and treatments with your continued contributions.

Mark your calendar for April 8th - we'll run, walk, cycle, skip or crawl to honor the man, the husband, the father and my friend - all to benefit the Arizona Chapter of the ALS Association.

To learn more about the course and run info, click here. To donate, click here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wrapping up 2016

It's been another amazing year of fundraising for the Arizona Chapter of the ALS Association. I'm so thankful for your support.

We're coming up on the 5th year of doing what ever it takes to keep Tony's memory alive. He is forever in our hearts and we'll raise a ton of money next year too.

Here is what you helped accomplish this year for Tony:



(this is actually over $20,000 when you add in the other team contributions)

Also, this brings our 4-year fundraising total to just over $100,000 for Hom's Homies. Thank you!!


One more thing...save the date! The 2017 Hom 100 will be on April 8th starting at 9 am. Can't wait to see you all there!

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Hom 100 Recap

For the 4th year in a row, I've been fortunate enough to have the awesome support of friends, family and neighbors who come out and help me put on this crazy charity run to benefit ALS. Most people think that running the 100 miles is the hardest but in actuality, the planning and coordination is what really what makes my blood pressure spike! From permits to porta-potties, food, supplies, trash bags and ice - the list is endless and can really stress a guy out. Like I said however, I have an amazing wife and friends who make sure everything was ship-shape throughout the day all the way to the finish.

As you might imagine, running a 2-mile loop endlessly is far from exciting and doesn't provide much in a change of scenary but I'll do my best to recount the day and those memorable nuggets from this year's Hom 100.

    Start (9 am) to Noon

    Truthfully, if I had my way I'd start this event at like 4 am so I could enjoy the cool morning air and really knock out some miles. Unfortunately, this is the real world and most reasonably sane families (including my own), don't even contemplate getting up until 8. It's one thing I used to stress about but the reality is whether you start at 4 am or 9 am, you're still going to be spending 24+ hours on your feet.

    We had a healthy gathering at our house to begin the event. 25-30 people, most donning their Hom's Homies t-shirts, were anxious to get under way knowing that the temperatures for the day were expected to (again!) be unseasonably hot.

    You had a group of stroller moms. A group of walker moms. A group of kids on bikes. There was also a group of cyclists, led by the eldest Hom daughter, who planned on riding 100 miles that day. Collectively, we took up the entire road and proudly marched out to the aid station to kick off the actual run.

    I was hoping to get more miles during this segment while the weather was a bit cooler but there is always the excitement of the start, various folks showing up to run and massive amounts of pictures being taken while we're still fresh and smelling somewhat pleasant.

    Approximate miles - 15

    Noon to Midnight

    Yep, it feels like 93 F!
    If there is one universal constant in this galaxy, it's that the Hom 100 will be held on THE hottest day imaginable. I'm not sure who upstairs thinks we need 90+ temperatures, but it's honestly not funny any more. So of course around noon, the sun was out in full force, keeping everyone toasty. Kids were getting red and puffy-faced. Adults were camped out under the tents (with adult beverages I might add!)

    I tried to keep moving through the heat but found I needed to take more breaks than normal to clear my head, hydrate and lower my heart rate - it was racing through the roof! It always surprises me that noon to 6 is usually the most popular time to come out and run...go figure! Everyone loves the heat (or getting a nice runner's tan) :-)

    I found myself getting behind in calories throughout the day due to the heat. One of the great things about this course is that the aid station is every 2 miles. Oddly enough, one of the hardest things about this course is that the aid station is every 2 miles...it creates a stopping point both physically and mentally but it's also where everyone comes to join the run so there are pictures, laughter, kids and something always going on...everything except eating (in my case). I was easily distracted by friends and wardrobe changes so much that I wasn't eating as much as I should have.

    10-mile Marcus
    Mr. Hangover
    The-40-mile-man-LaBelle
    The Double Mint Twins :)

    It wasn't until about 11 pm that my body was crying out for solid food. What kind of food?! Well, pizza! Duh! I gobbled up 5 small squares of pizza and asked my wife for more. She told me there was more at home and that she'd have it 'delivered' to the aid station in a few laps. Of course, within 15 minutes I was starving again and looking for anything that sounded good...how about a solid PB&J sandwich? Sure. With LOTS of jelly!

    This went on for about an hour until I was comfortably 'full' of pizza and sandwiches. I managed to sit down a few times to eat but quickly realized that while it felt great to take a load off, it was much harder to get going after your muscles have had time to relax. I made a mental note to stay on my feet as much as I could the rest of the night to minimize the chances I would remain permanently parked in one of the chairs.
    The night-crew
    Somewhere around 50 miles I also changed my shoes and socks. While I love my Saucony Peregrine shoes, the cushion under my ankle bone had irritated it all day and caused both pain and swelling. A fresh pair of socks and my Hoka's felt like I was on Cloud 9.

    Approximate miles - 60

    Midnight to 6 am

    Magnum PI came out for some laps
    All went well into the midnight hours. Spectators thinned. Kids had gone to bed. Only a couple runners remained to keep me company. My wife stayed on at the aid station until about 1 am before calling it quits herself...such a trooper.

    2 am would be the only time when someone wasn't running with me. However, I'm fortunate to have a great neighbor who doesn't mind staying up all night or riding his bike in circles with me. We continued on through the night for a couple hours - chatting, eating potato chips and solving the mysteries of the universe (ok, we just contemplated them...not sure we solved much)

    It wasn't until about 4 am that an early crew of runners showed up at the tent to take over and keep me company. I'm sure I was overly emotional from being up for 24 hours and very tired, but I couldn't help think of how lucky I was to have friends who would give up their Sunday morning to come out to keep me company and share a sunrise together. We chatted, laughed and made small talk but it was clear that the lack of caffeine was an issue for me as I started to fade in and out of consciousness while walking through the night.

    Laps with Jon
    About 5 am, I stopped at the tent and sat down, wrapped a blanket around me and took a 2-minute cat nap to try and refresh my body and mind just enough to get me to sunrise. While not completely refreshing, it was enough to help me push through another 45 minutes to meet the rising sun (I think the couple shots of Mountain Dew also helped).

    Once that sun came up, it was amazing how invigorated I felt. Still on my feet and still 'running', I was now bound and determined to try and get done by 10 am - putting me at about 25 hours for the run.

    Approximate miles - 82

    6 am to Finish

    Once again, hunger struck in a bad way about 7 am. Much of the aid station food had been decimated and picked over at this point - not to mention that all my personal race food...gels, bars, chews...had been thinned out, leaving only the gross unappetizing flavors (like peanut butter).

    Leave it to my wife to have impeccable timing however - she brought down english muffins with Nutella and sausage/egg biscuits to the tent just in time for me to INHALE several of them as we kept moving along the trail. SO good!

    Fresh runners, kids and other friends started showing up again with the new day - always encouraging and invigorating. Now I could have walked much of the remaining miles - my 'running' pace wasn't much faster than a brisk walk but my ankle was still in bad shape and I couldn't tell if I had blisters on my heels or very bad heat rash (turns out it was both). As they say, 'If it hurts to run and it hurts to walk, then you might as well run'...so I kept going.

    There wasn't anything very magical about those last 4 hours. The sun had come back out and I applied a new layer of sunscreen on top of the nasty, sticky and stinky layer of sunscreen from the day before. You know it's bad when you can smell yourself! Ick.

    Finish line attendants
    Despite my stench, more and more kids, friends and neighbors had made their way onto the course to keep me company - all very supportive, talkative and attentive to my needs. Lap after lap I was counting the miles down until the time I could sit down and put my feet into a bucket of ice water...

    video

    At last we came to the final lap - which is always a lap plus a little extra (because each lap is just short of 2 miles). A ton of folks joined me for the last lap (or at least half of it - they hurried back to take pictures and video). There is nothing more glorious that heading around the last corner, hearing the final 100-mile beep from my GPS watch and knowing that in 0.25 miles, I'll be able to bask in the glory of another 100-mile finish and another successful charity event for my friend Tony.

    Final Thoughts

    When we started this in 2012, Tony never believed we'd raise more that a couple hundred bucks. I'm sure he's still looking down and shaking his head at me. Our event this year has raised over $10,000 bringing our 4-year total to just over $105,000 (so far).

    The littlest Homie
    I'm so very fortunate to be surrounded by loving and caring individuals and families who may not have known Tony like I did, but support me and my passions just the same. You are all amazing people and I'm lucky to know you all.

    Thank you to my 'village' who has become exceeding efficient at setting up, breaking down, keeping kids entertained, donating food and providing post-race fluids :-)

    Thank you to everyone who came out to run and/or donated.

    Thank you to Cadence Running for the aid station nutrition.

    A HUGE thanks to Dean and Missy for supplying participants (and me!) with the medals and pint glasses.

    The hugest thanks of all to my wife. Co-race-director, (temporary) aid station captain (#WheresDean), bringer-of-food and noise-maker extraordinaire. Love you babe.

    Remember, the Scottsdale Walk to Defeat ALS is October 29, 2016. Stay tuned for more ways you can participate in the walk and our fundraising in memory of Tony. If you're still interested in donating, please go to web.alsa.org/homshomies.



    Friday, March 4, 2016

    Ready, Set, Run!

    In case you ever wanted to be a race director, I should tell you right now that it's not for the feint of heart. Coordinating all the aspects of a charity run are definitely challenging when you're already working a 40+ hour week...but the rewards are well worth the time and energy. I told Tony that I would continue doing this in his honor so long as my legs could handle it. So here we go!

    HOA Approval Porta-potty Aid Station Medals/Swag Food/Drinks City Permit

    We have a great run in store again this year. The weather looks promising (i.e., NOT 115!) and everything is falling into place. I'm especially excited this year to have a couple partners returning to help sponsor key elements of the run.


    Our friends at Cadence Running Company have generously donated all the necessary race-day nutrition to keep your electrolytes balanced and your thirst quenched! If that wasn't enough, they're offering anyone who stops into the store a 15% discount when mentioning the Hom 100 (exclusions apply). Make sure and stop by the store and thank them for their support!

    Dean (far left), Missy (far left of girl trio)
    Next, we have Dean and Missy Varton who have generously donated their time and money to provide us with special Hom 100 participant medals and commemorative pint glasses. This is the first year we've been able to have extra-special mementos for everyone and I'm honored by their generosity and passion for our work with the ALS Association of Arizona. Thanks Dean and Missy!

    I can't wait to see you out there and to share some miles with you...it's guaranteed to be a great time and I'm sure I'll tell you a few of my favorite 'Tony' stories as the miles get longer :)

    Don't forget to donate too!

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    2016 Hom 100

    The Hom children and I
    Make sure to mark your calendar for March 19, 2016. The Hom 100 is back again to help keep Tony's memory alive and to raise money in the support of the ALS Association of Arizona.

    Last year proved that you can never take the Arizona weather for granted! What was normally a hot and blistering time of year turned out to be sunny and 75...perfect for a little run around the block :-) We could have done without the rain but hey, I won't complain.

    If you're interested in being a sponsor, helping with the aid station or bringing food for me and the other runners just let me know at rovert.d@gmail.com.