Pete Tanguay

My NF Hero

“You inspire me”. And you, me.

by on Jun.11, 2011, under My NF Hero

It’s funny how life fits together like a puzzle.  How we make the most difference when we focus on what is right and what we love.  If we simply pay attention to the people and things that are going on around us and connect with them with everything we have, we will constantly be surprised by the unexpected.  And the unexpected we find out about is just the tip of the iceberg of the difference we can make.

Like this Facebook message I received after joining the Marathon Maniacs.  The person’s name is omitted but the message is clear.

Pete: Welcome to the Manaics!

I don’t have much time – I am leaving for a 50 miler in a few minutes but just saw you joined the maniacs. I’ve actually seen you on the internet as you are running to raise money for NF. I’d like to discuss this with you as I have NF (please don’t share that, most don’t know about it).

I’m trying to add meaning to the NF and would like to talk to you about the work you have done and possible things I can do in the future.

I was told I’d never run when I was born and now I am a 10-star maniac and 100 mile finisher.

Thanks man. You inspire me.

I will continue to Run for a Reason and to find a cure for NF.  I will continue to run for Mavia and the Evenson family.  But from now on, I will also run for this new friend.  Kind of like an “unknown soldier” to me.  You, and all the other NF friends I have, truly inspire me.

Click here to support me financially and join me in the NF race.  The link is for races earlier this year but it is not too late.  I fund raise once a year, and run all year long.  And then … expect the unexpected.

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Vienna City Marathon 2011

by on Apr.17, 2011, under Mavia, My NF Hero, Races

Vienna City 2011 is behind me now and what an experience.  An experience that started in 2001 when I ran my first marathon in Berlin with my brother.  This was basically the result of a challenge he sent out to family and friends after he watched the 2000 marathon – “Hey this looks fun – I’ll run it in 2001 if someone will run with me”.  I accepted the challenge in February and the rest is history.

Ed runs 2 marathons a year, Berlin in the Fall and a marathon in the Spring.  I’ve run Berlin with him twice and have always wanted to do one in the Spring.  It’s our way of getting together and seeing the world together, 26.2 miles at a time. Both times we’ve run the same race we’ve run our own race and finished at different times. We’ve always had a goal to get under 4 hours, but a higher goal to finish, do our best and have fun.

I finally broke the 4 hour barrier with a 3:58 in Memphis in December 2009.  I had some injuries in 2010 but started training hard for the Little Rock Marathon March 6, 2011 and had my best race ever, finishing in 3:51.  Before the race I had decided that Ed and I would run Vienna together at his pace and this finishing time confirmed this decision.  I was 6 weeks out from Vienna and excited for that journey to begin.

The decision to run Vienna started back in December when I decided I needed a new car and looked into international delivery options from a few of the cars I was interested in.  We decided to buy a Volvo, fly to Sweden and pick it up, drive down to Berlin and pick up Ed and head to Vienna to run our 3rd marathon together – but this time, truly together every step of the way.  Vienna was Ed’s 15th and my 11th marathon.

One more thing, before I highlight the Vienna story, a friend of mine owns a running store named Go Running! and she asked me to take one of her shirts and get photos with it on as I traveled.  Sounded like a great idea and we set out to Go Running in Scandinavia and Europe with our final destination being the 2011 Vienna City Marathon.  We got many Go Running pics, starting with “Go Running with the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen”, “Go Running to pick up your Volvo”, “Go Running to drink beer with your brother you haven’t seen in 3 years” and “Go Running on top of Vienna, contemplating the race ahead”.

The day finally arrived and Madeleine, Lynn and I boarded our plane in Little Rock, Arkansas and headed to Chicago where we’d catch our plane to Sweden, stopping in Copenhagen the next day around noon and arriving in Gothenburg around 2.  Our first taste of international delivery was the driver in the Volvo limo who picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel.  The next day we were picked up at taken to the Volvo plant where we were introduced to our new car, took a wonderful tour of the facility where it was made (mostly by robots) and headed out on roads where we couldn’t read the signs and where everything was measured in kilometers instead of miles.  We picked up a bite to eat and headed to the ferry where we’d load the car for an overnight trip to Kiel, Germany where we’d get out and travel the autobahn to Berlin.  Floating on the Baltic Sea, everything new, all of us excited for what was ahead, was a great way to start our journey.

Once in Berlin we have a great reunion with Ed, Gisela, Hanna and Karla, a short visit (2 nights) and then headed out for Vienna on Friday morning because as Billy Joel sang long ago (and Claudia reminded me before I left on the trip), “Vienna waits for you”.   It was a perfect travel day through Germany and into Austria, as this video shows, and after a stop in Regensburg to eat a Bratwurst at the oldest Sausage Kitchen in Germany, and also to see where Ed had run one of his Spring marathons, we made it to Austria and Vienna in time to check in to our hotel and to make it to the opening night of OsterKlang – Festival in the Theater an der Wein.  This was just the beginning to the classical music and beautiful architecture we were about to experience over the next few days in Vienna.

The evening was beautiful, and Madeleine even made it through it, which was quite an accomplishment for a 7 year old who had been traveling in a foreign country for a few days and was used to being in bed by 8.  Opera?  Really Dad?

It got better because the Hilton came through with an upgrade to an Executive Suite since we are Hilton Gold members and we had access to the 10th floor for evening talks and morning breakfasts.  We literally started and ended each day on the top of Vienna (as shown in the Go Running pics).  The people were so nice and made us feel like royalty.  The surreal experience continued.

Saturday was the day we mastered public transportation to get our race packets, take a tour of the Schönbrunn palace (which was worth the trip itself) and headed back to reflect on the day to come – up on the 10th floor overlooking Vienna and to the light of the moon of course.  The temperatures were perfect for the evening, as they would also be for the race tomorrow.

Eyes opened before the alarm went off because all systems were ready to go for the adventure ahead of us.  We had our race plan set.  One thing I’ve learned is to have a realistic race plan set before you start so you can spend the race focusing on executing the plan, rather than trying to decide what to do while you run.  Ed had not trained a lot during the Spring, given the winter conditions in Berlin, travel and family schedule and other things.  There wasn’t going to be a sub-4 hour marathon today and he set his goal at something around 4:30.  The biggest mistake is to go out too fast and we set our goal to run a 9:50 pace for 32 km (20 miles) and then pick it up to the end.

This made the first 25 km extremely enjoyable.  It was a slow pace for both of us but especially for me.  We talked and shared stories and took in the beautiful sites of Vienna.  The classical music was indescribable, you just had to be there to experience it.  In Vienna, every building has detailed architectural design on it.  The race experience at this pace was like a fun run in the park.  At Mile 14 we saw Lynn and Madeleine, I stopped to visit for a couple minutes and Ed ran on.  I caught up with him and we continued our fun run through Vienna.

Running in the 20-30k portion of the race you can see runners coming back that are past 35-6k and running strong and it was encouraging to see them as we would soon be running to the finish as well.  But as the race neared 32k our conversation got a little more measured and quiet.  I was preparing to help Ed do what he had never done before, run negative splits the last 10k of the race and feel strong coming into the finish line.  The responsibility was on my shoulders as I had chosen the race plan and told him if he would hang with me it would happen.  I had just had that experience in Little Rock where I ran an 8:50 pace for 20 miles and then with the help of a couple friends, passed runners for the last 6 miles finishing strong at a sub-8 minute pace.  He had the challenge before him and we were nearing what we had called the “starting line of the race” since we crossed the official starting line.

32k done.  10k to go.  The slow pace we had been running had tired me a bit and it was an effort to slowly pick it up.  I began to slowly pick it up so we could enter the next phase of the race and could see Ed beginning to struggle.  I kept the pace to let him use me as a pacer but his legs were beginning to call it a day.  The next 6 miles were painful.  As we slowed, I would run and then walk to let him catch up.  It was too painful to run his pace and yet the walking was a challenge as well.  By 40k we were at the “let’s just get this done” point.  Kudos to Ed, he never stopped running and brought it to the finish with a smile on his face.

We finished side by side, with our NF singlets on, which to me is the icing on the cake for our Vienna City Marathon experience.  I “run for a reason” as part of the NF Endurance team.  I run for my NF Hero, Mavia, and her family who face the challenges of NF every day.  This has added a new and meaningful dimension to my running over the past couple years.  It has brought countless new friends into our lives.  It has given me a new perspective of thankfulness for being able run and for the health of my family.  The goal of the NF endurance team is to raise money for research as well as to raise awareness.  Being able to finish the Vienna marathon with my brother and both wearing NF singlets – priceless.  To do it to classical music – unreal.

Take a minute to visit my fund raising page to read why I run for NF and Mavia, read the support of the people who helped raise $5,000 as part of my running the Little Rock and Vienna marathons this year and if you can, join my team with whatever you can give.  These races are over, but the race to find a cure for NF goes on.

And last but not least, Ed captured 25 pictures and 17 videos as we ran through the streets of Vienna together.  His commentary along with these images are on his blog.  There you can hear the classical music, the other marathon sounds and see the sights of Vienna as we did.  Typically I don’t like to run a marathon more than once as there are so many to run and so little time.  However, I think I could do Vienna again!

No race report would be complete without a mile by mile blow of calories burned and pace report as recorded by the Garmin.  Here is what Garmin has to say about the 2011 Vienna City Marathon.  And as we all know so well, the Garmin simply records the truth as you deliver it step by step.

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Hogeye Marathon

by on Apr.11, 2010, under Mavia, My NF Hero, Races

Had a good race on a course with a lot of hills.  On the bright side, there were a lot of up and downhills so if you managed it right you can balance it out a bit.  Set out to run 9 minute miles as long as I could and that was basically through mile 15.  At mile 15 Lynn met me and handed me a cliff bar and a running bottle filled with Amino Vital drink.  I did not feel like I was struggling at that point.  However, as I ate my cliff bar and got some hydration, I was also heading up a pretty good hill and it seemed to take a lot out of me.  As you can see from the Garmin, I slowed on this hill (which is understandable) but after this I could never get my pace back (which is not).  I never gave up, kept working the race but basically saw an immediate 1 minute 20 second difference / mile for the next 7 miles.  I don’t really  understand this.  I want to learn what I can do in this situation.  I’ve learned a lot and am in a position to figure this one out.  In the past I would get discouraged, try to run faster, burn up more energy and hit a wall.    I did not hit a wall.  I’ve really learned about my nutrition and hydration needs in the races and feel I have good plans for that.  It was quite a bit hotter during these miles but really it was my legs not running the pace I wanted them to run.  I dropped another minute per mile in miles 23-25, taking a little longer at the aide stations to make sure I got plenty of hydration.  As I got in to the last mile it was down and up with net up and I ran real strong.  Nobody passed me in the last 4 miles and I passed a number of people. 

It’s so great to have running friends.  Ran with Claudia for the first 15 miles and when I slowed, she kept to the plan and finished in 4:06.  Frank was a bit behind us, then caught us and then dropped back with some cramping.  Here’s part of our group, some registered for the full and some the half. 


I finished 41 overall out of 102 men in the race and third out of 9 in my age group.  One of these I passed in the last mile which is nice to know.  On the enjoyable side, this was a good race.  I ran what my body could run and enjoyed the beautiful course, even the hills.  I am more interested now in learning about my running than what time I finish.  This is my 4th marathon in 5 months and I am ready for a break and then some work on specific things.  I ran again for Mavia, my NF hero and it has become a very meaningful thing to wear my NF shirt and to be a part of her and her family’s struggle with NF.  Frank also had his NF shirt on and it was great to run together for the time we were able. 

My official finishing time was 4:14:50, which is a bit longer than my garmin.  They did not use chips so part of it was this, although we were very close to the front, and part of it was when we went through a long tunnel and I lost satellite, I think. 

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Life is a Marathon – Run Hard, Finish Strong

by on Mar.09, 2010, under My NF Hero

The night before the marathon they had a pasta dinner for the entire NF endurance team and as part of the evening I gave Mavia a 2009 Chicago Marathon medal with her name engraved on the back along with the words – “Life is a marathon.  Run hard, finish strong”.  The story behind this medal is that I ran the last 20 miles of the Chicago Marathon in 2009, pacing a friend Melissa and we ran in honor of Teresa, a running friend who was undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the time.  Thankfully, Teresa’s chemo is over and she is now back out running with us.  At the end I got a medal, even though I wasn’t officially in the race.  They just gave me one as I came across the finish line.  I decided to have Teresa’s name engraved on it with Melissa’s finishing time when we were all at the Nike store and Melissa was getting hers engraved.  Later another running friend of mine, Curt, who also unofficially ran the Chicago marathon (long story) gave me his medal as he has 9 of them already. 

The weekend before the marathon I was trying to decide what I could give Mavia when I met her and I realized I needed to give away my marathon medal again.  So I had her name engraved on the back along with the words “Life is a Marathon – Run Hard, Finish Strong”.  Below is the video of her receiving the medal from my daughter Madeleine after I told the story of the medal.  This is really what the 2010 Little Rock Marathon was all about for me. 

Chicago Marathon Medal Presentation to Mavia Evenson

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Little Rock Marathon

by on Mar.08, 2010, under My NF Hero, Races

Another marathon behind me.  It was a good race, perfect weather day and the added element of running for the NF Endurance team was great.  Children and adults with NF have such a challenge and yet I have to say that they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  They have a wonderful support network and are out there cheering for eachother, helping those running on their team, etc.  I met my NF Hero, Mavia Evenson, and her brother and parents on Saturday night at the NF Pasta dinner and it was a great time.  Here they were at the starting line – Mavia, Maddox and Mommy (Karrie)

And then one with Ryan as well.

I ran the first 8 miles with the 3:45 pace group and had planned to run the first half with them if I could stay with them without burning up too much in the first half.  Going up an incline about mile 8 I let them go and kept a pace I felt comfortable with through the first half.  I finished the half at 1:54, about 3 minutes behind where they finished it.  Curt and Brad met me just after this point and began running with me.  This is where the hills started and this is where the work started.  I had planned to keep all of my miles under 9 min/mile and as I started going up these hills it was taking a lot of energy to keep this pace and I fell back.  The hills were pretty much mile 13.3 or so to mile 17 and even though I had lots of help, I could feel the legs getting tired. 

From a fuel and hydration standpoint I had an excellent race, always had plenty and felt good.  It’s just that by mile 18 or so my legs just couldn’t keep the pace I wanted.  I kept telling Curt and Brad to run a specific pace and I’d catch them and try to hang with them but the legs wouldn’t go.  I worked on different form issues, etc. to try to get back to this pace but couldn’t.  Here’s Curt and I coming in to the finish, my awesome pacer and you can still see that he is carrying the “fuel”.

All in all it was a good race.  I didn’t expect a PR as I hadn’t trained as seriously for this race.  I decided to run it after my 2 marathons in Nov and Dec last year, figuring I was already into my training and I did some long runs but not really a full training schedule.  Mostly 16’s a 20 and a 23, although my 23 mile training run was real slow.  The positives I take from the race are that I have finished another marathon, my 7th, I worked hard through the race and kept going, I finished strong and I ran for something more than a time on a clock.  As a result, we have a new family in our lives that we’ll have as friends forever and that makes it all worthwhile.  And here are the details.

My official time was 4:11:53, I stopped a couple times to try and stretch my legs to get me moving faster and my garmin must have stopped.

Added a new twist to the marathon day experience.  After the marathon I spent the afternoon at one of Madeleine’s dance competitions and then played a team tennis match at 6pm.  Fortunately you use different muscles playing tennis than running but the legs were pretty shot!  We won our match 6-0, 6-2.

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Mavia Evenson, My NF Hero

by on Feb.26, 2010, under My NF Hero, Races

Out of nowhere I had the urge to join the NF Endurance Team and add a fundraising dimension to my Little Rock Marathon experience.  Wow, has this been awesome.  I now have a whole new family in my life, people that seem to be such nice people and I haven’t even met them yet.  I set up a fundraising page and started raising money to help find a cure for NF.  If you are reading this, please stop right now and check out this page.  I challenge you to be able to read it and not become a member of my team.  I think that is about as possible as eating just one Lay’s potato chip.  Let me know if you are able to do it. 

Here is my introductory note to Mavia, my NF hero, in her online guestbook

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Running for a Reason

by on Feb.24, 2010, under My NF Hero, Races

I’ve decided to run for a reason at the Little Rock Marathon. Here is my fundraising site – and copied here so it will be here forever after takes it down when the event is over.  If you are reading this before March 7, 2010, please join the team by clicking on either of the images below.

Last year I had the privilege to help crew for a friend from Northern California who was racing (not just riding) his bike across the country in this race called Race Across America (RAAM). I witnessed an unbelievable demonstration of will, determination, strength, teamwork and achievement. Oceanside to Annapolis in 11 days. It was a riveting experience that I’ll never forget.

Through RAAM, I made some lifelong friendships, and not only with the others on the crew I was racing with. I also met Lesley and Connie Oslica, who were crewing for one of the NF Endurance teams. I had never hear of RAAM, NF or the NF endurance team. Now I know them all very well.

NF stands for Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder usually diagnosed in childhood that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. The NF endurance team is focused on raising awareness for this disease through running, biking, swimming or whatever it takes to pull together the ultimate team who will find a cure for NF. A cure for children like Katie Oslica and over 2 million others around the world.

I am running for the NF endurance team at the Little Rock marathon on March 7th. I hope you will run with me through your donation to support our team as we raise funds to support research to find a cure for NF. At dinner tonight with Lesley and Connie I learned that an initial research grant of $25,000 often grows to over $100,000 as the researchers continue their research through additional funding in hopes of finding a cure for NF.

You can watch the short video below to learn some facts about NF and how your donation provides hope for those living with NF. I would like to raise $2500 through 100 supporters with an average donation of $25. Although some of you may choose to give more, I believe in the power of numbers to raise awareness and make a significant contribution.

If you don’t step up I may not get my 100 supporters so you might say I am counting on you to finish the race. Please join me if you can. I’ve done the training and will run the 26.2. Knowing I have your support will make a difference to me and hopefully to millions of others.

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