Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - the year of firsts

Time to bid farewell to 2009.

It has been an interesting year to say the least, with many, highlights, and it is hard to pick one as THE highlight - so I won't.

First off, this blog is almost a year old. I was never sure I would keep it going this long, and yet here I am, and still suprised that not only do people read it, some actually comment too! To those folks, readers and writers, thank you.

I think I calculated that I raced 416 miles this year, beating my old record of 69.5 (2007) miles by just a little bit.

My first crazy stunt of the year was running home from work one Friday afternoon - 29 miles from Raleigh to Sanford.

My first ultra - Umstead 50 miles, which was where I had the eppiphany at the start line. I'm looking around at all these runners' t-shirts - Hardrock, Western States, Leadville etc etc etc. My own race plan went out the window there and then, "do what they do" became the order of the day.

The Boogie - yep, running at night in 90+ degree heat CAN be fun. Really.

24 hours of Laramie. The steepest learning curve of them all. Yep, altitude does make a difference, so does food, drink, electrolytes etc - and if that balance goes wrong, then it can screw your whole day up! I know there weren't many finishers - but placing third does give a boost!

Oh, then I learned about "Fat Ass 50k's" at the Medoc Meltdown. The first thing I learnt is that 50K, does not always = 31 miles - in this case it was 35 miles. I also learnt that beer was the perfect antidote to 35 miles in high humidity, blistering heat and torrential down pours. The can of Yeung I had at the end was probably the most pleasant, well deserved beer I have ever earned. I'll be back Frank.

In July, work meant I was stranded in California for a weekend, so I ended up volunteering at the finish line of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 with my friend Frankie. I was the guy who took the bottom tear strip off the runners' numbers. It was quite something seeing these amazing athletes finish 100 miles. It definitely furthered my desire to finish a 100 miler myself. I'm planning on doing the TRT 50 miler in 2010, the scenery was stunning, and the race looked incredibly well organized.

Labor Day weekend, the original plan was to pace for my good friend Frankie at the Grand Teton Races 100 miler. Unfortunately, Frankie's race didn't go as well as we had expected, so I ended up being drafted to pace the eventual women's winner, Ashley Nordell for the last 25 miles of her race. I plan on going back to the GTR to do the 50 mile in 2010.

Then we get to Hinson Lake 24 hr, and my own 100 mile run at Boulder, both were great runs and fabulous experiences for me. I will never forget the feeling I had when I crossed the line after moving forward for 100 miles. Let's say that again. 100 miles. And again. 100 freakin' miles!! I will never forget the pain the next day either.

In '09, I joined the Raleigh Trail Runners, and became a life time member the Mangum Track Club (the pups also became members by completing the "shirt run". Both terrific, but different orgainizations, but both filled with great people who run for the pleasure of it. One highlight is the Mangum Track Club's "What's the Point Race", I am pretty proud of how well I did. But more than that, it is great to have met a bunch of people local to me who "get it".

The thing though that really stands out for me - even before my own accomplishments, is the people I have met. From the front of the pack, all the way to the back, I have met wonderful people - many of whom take the sport seriously, and many who just enjoy the camraderie that a really long run can bring out in people.

I have plans for 2010, starting with Weymouth Woods 100K, and I would like to do at least a marathon distance every month (there, I have said it - that's my goal), plus I would like to do 2 or 3 100 mile runs. There will be a post on my 2010 goals in the next few days.

I have one more ultra-related goal in 2009 - again, I am saving the details for another day.

So, farewell '09 - it was a good one. Bring on '10

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thanks Santa!

I guess that having a hobby/obsession such as running makes it easy to pick out Christmas (and birthday gifts). I did well this year. For my birthday, I got a new pair of trail shoes (New Balance MT875's), a long sleeve fleece top, and Dean K's first book (my last copy fell apart) - oh, and I am now in a different age group - I "jumped the box" so to speak.

For Christmas, I did well too - a long sleeve running top/jacket (the sleeves come off, so it doubles up as a vest), a pair of Zensah compression calf sleeves, a holder for my mp3 player, a Nathan 2 liter hydration vest, a Nathan handheld, a replacement drink bottle, "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and a Headsweats heawrap.

Jess and I are thinking about doing a Christmas in July for 2010 - that way, I can get some summer gear too!

Wilbur and Sarah love their new waterbottle and their flashing red collars :) - I'm not too sure that Sarah likes her new coat though :)

Happy Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Boogie time!

One of my favorite runs last year was The Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie Marathon. It was a tough course, and the heat and humity and the fact that it started late and much of the race was at night made it tougher.
Here are my write ups from last June: The Boogie Marathon and More thoughts on the Boogie. Oh, and Jimbo is on Youtube.
The race is described on the website as, "There are several long hills and some smaller ones too. This is not mountainous but is definitely not flat."

It took me 5:44 last June to run the 26.2. So, this week, I mailed my entry in for the 50 miler on June 12th 2010, I am looking forward to my T-shirt, and all being well, my finisher's coffee mug sometime in the early hours of the morning on June 13th.

There are a few other good lines on the Boogie website:

This is not your normal marathon. This is all rural, not a city marathon. The course is not certified. You will be in the middle of nowhere all the time with no porta-potties, no splits, no mile markers, no spectators, and late in the run possibly even no other runners. There are only 6 houses on the courseand they have dogs.

Even the race waiver makes me smile:

I realize June in North Carolina is hot and humid. Most people and doctors advise against running in heat and humidity. Also, running at night presents special problems such as seeing where you are stepping and watching out for cars. I understand that this area has specific hazards such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, polecats, wildcats, and rednecks who like to drink and drive and throw things. I know that 50 miles is a long, long ways and many people get tired just driving that far. Nevertheless, I want, no, I insist I be allowed to do this event regardless of the risk. Therefore, I want everyone to know that I am not being forced to do this event and that I agree for myself and any survivors or possible claimants that I may leave behind, to save, release, and keep harmless the Mangum Track Club, its members, the Runners From Hell, and any volunteers or sponsors or any other helpers that may be involved with this event, from all liability, claims, or demands for damages incurred by participation in this event or any of its parts. I assume all responsibilities for my participation in this event and certify that I am properly trained, mentally fit, and medically able to participate in this 50 mile run. I agree to use a light after dark. I certify that I am 18 yrs old or older. I will not litter. I will not kill snakes. I am aware that this event is limited to the no more than 75 entrants and that registration may close abruptly at the race director's discretion. I realize that the race director's {or his delegate} authority is all encompassing and will abide by anything he tells me. Knowing everything in this waiver has not deterred me from entering this event and my signature below indicates that I have read and agree to all this stuff and still intend to participate. I also promise to have fun.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Run at the Rock - 14 mile trail mud-run


My foot in the mud

......some more mud

Jimbo after the race

When I left home on Saturday morning, the weather was pretty close to my worst nightmare - wet and raining, and not too far above freezing. Some would say idea for some trail running. As a self-admitted 'wuss', this was my day to 'man-up', brave the conditions and go for it! What I didn't anticipate, was the amount of fun I would have. Of course, I expected the trails to be slick, wet and muddy - I wasn't however expecting about 7 of the 14 miles to be shoe sucking, up to calf deep mud.

There looked to be a good few hundred runners who showed up - quite a bit busier than I have been used to lately.

After the "GO", there was a couple of hundred yards of asphalt, and then we had to cross a field to get to the trail head. The field was totally waterlogged, and by the time the back-o-the-packers got there, it was well and truly chewed up. While many were trying to work their way round the mud, a few (me included) figured that the easiest way was just to plow through it. Being as the race was both a 7 mile run (one lap), and a 14 mile run (two laps), I suspect that there were a few runners new to trails. It certainly did seem to me that there were several people who appeared incredibly uncomfortable. I was having a blast.

Once out of the field and onto the trails, the conditions got worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). My trail shoes were getting a good testing, and I really did notice that I had better traction than those with road shoes. The course was muddy and hilly for the first 3 miles or so. After that, the hills remained, but the muddiness subsided -now there were plenty of rocks and roots to conted with. There was about 1/2 a mile more of mud in the last half of the lap. End of lap 1, my time was 1:25:34.

Roots during the second half of the race

Now out onto lap two. The number of runners had dramatically reduced after the 7 milers had finished (there were 360 7 mile finishers and 135 finishers in the 14 mile race), so there was a lot more room to run, and a lot less people trying (and failing) to steer themselves around the mud. As a result, I actually managed to negative split! Woohoo - I don't think I have ever done that before. My second lap split was 1:23:37. Overall time was 2:49:12.

I will definitely do this one again - especially if it is raining! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Derby 50k race report

The Derby 50K was a lot of fun, and only my second 50k race, and first 'official' 50k - the first one was an FA (and actually 35 miles), the Medoc Meltdown, on technical trails in the middle of August, where we got the full onslaught on of mid-summer North Carolina weather, storms, high heat, and high humidity. My time for that day was about 8:50. So a PR at Derby was always on the cards.

The race was billed as: "This is a very low key, no frills race. If you are expecting port-a-potties, expos or to be waited on, I suggest you stay home." Just my kind of event, perfect.

Anyway, back to Derby, left home a little after six. Brrrrr, it was C-O-L-D - this heat trained body suffered on the long long 50ft walk to the car.

When I got to the car, there was this kind of weird white stuff stuck to the windshield that needed scraping off - anyone seen that stuff before? It was also on the grass. Hmmm, I will have to do some research.

The "2 for $2" sign at the McD's on the way down quite literally forced me off the road and up to their drive-thru window, and before I knew it, the words, "two sausage egg McMuffins please" were coming out of my mouth - it was like some entity from another world had taken over my body. Now I had these two darn McMuffin things, I couldn't throw them away, because that would be bad for the enviroment. Only thing I could think of doing to dispose of them was eat them; so that's what I did.

I got to the Derby Community building about 7:15 there were plenty of people there already. I gave the RD the second half of my entry fee - dog or cat food for the local animal shelter - I love this idea, so gave both. (The other half of the entry fee was $25 when I signed up.)

There is always something kinda special about hanging around with other ultra folks prior to a race, and this was no exception.

There were decisions to be made about what to wear. It was still bitterly bitterly cold - even with the sun up, it was STILL under 40. Running shorts or pants, long sleeve/short sleeve shirt. Eventually, went with shorts and short sleeve shirt, but to avoid frost bite from the freezing wind that I would create by running so fast (sure Jimbo, sure), I decided to cover up my hands and ears.

The course - 3 x 10.5 mile loops on rural NC back roads - about 1.5 miles of each loop was a dirt road.

Ready, set............

GO!....and here is the view from the back after I went back to the start to pick up my S-Caps that I had dropped.

Remember that weird white stuff I was talking about earlier? Well look on the grass on this picture below, there is some still there. What is that??

I am always amazed at how quickly the field thins out as the speedy runners surge ahead.

So, just about the whole race, there was just me and my music. That's cool, I keep myself really good company.

Just after AS#1 - I just love the way that somebody in the dim and distant past decided to line this road in the middle of nowhere with trees:

Towards the end of the first lap, I made my first mistake. I missed a turn. Just half a mile down the wrong road, confused, I came to AS#1 but from the wrong direction (I was supposed to be approaching the start/finish, huh????). Thankfully, Mrs. Doom was there to turn me around. It is amazing how much this kind of mistake effects the rest of the race - in reality, it should have only added 12 or so minutes to my finish time, I am sure it added more. I was mad at myself.

......and then I made mistake #2. At the start of lap 2, I made a decision to try and make up the 12 or so minutes I lost because of mistake #1. You see, I had visions of a sub-6 hour run. So I pushed myself around the second lap. Sure, I made up most the 12 minutes, but I was beat, and that would cause me to struggle around the third lap.

This was the dirt road part of the course. Gotta love that Carolina blue sky..........

and because there was nobody to take pictures of me, I took this one of my shadow, just to prove I was there:

Anyway, lap two was fast and pretty uneventful - but for the fact that the folks at AS#1 had a good giggle at me when I came in from the correct direction this time.

Lap 3 - a mile into it, I realized that I was running out of steam, and with 9 miles left, that was a little earlier than I had anticipated. I tried pushing it a bit, but soon figured out that the sub 6 was not going to happen. Just "finish alive" became the new target, slow and steady, and keep moving.

Two miles in, the sausage egg McMuffins came back to haunt me.

Number of McMuffins: 2
Number of emergency dashes into the woods: 1
Having kleenex with me? Priceless.

With three miles to go, I set a new target - I saw I could finish in sub-6:30 if I managed 12 minute miles. Go for it! I finished strongly (especially considering that mile 8 to 9 is a fairly steep hill), and came in with an official time of 6:28:19.

With a mile to go, the support from the crowd at the side of the road spurred me on.......

and here I am at the finish line:

So, conclusion: Very happy with the time, could have been better - I really do think that the extra mile cost me more than the 12 minutes, but I will take a PR by over 2:20 anyday of the week. Course? I liked it, but as I get older, I really do notice the hurt more after running on roads.

I would certainly recommend this race to anyone though, the RD and all the volunteers were fantastic, it will be on November 27th next year, and it looks like I can sign up for it already,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Raven's Rock Rumble - 10 mile trail race

The start (I'm in there somewhere - towards the back - yep, the back, now there's a shock)

I had a lot of fun in this 10 mile trail race. No preparation, no trips to Walmart, no stress, no significant travel - just a short 30 minute drive, and my friend Connie and I were there and ready to go. Having said that, I should have gone to Walmart to get some batteries for my camera, because unfortunately, it died before I took the first picture thankfully a couple were posted on the race website.

The course is mainly single track, fairly technical with plenty of leaf covered roots and rocks and some good climbs. It was a figure of 8 course, each loop of the "8" was five miles long, there were aid stations at the 5 mile mark, and about 8 miles.

We ran at a pretty comfortable pace - taking it easy on the rougher trails, and walking for the most part up the hills. (Note to self: this will be a good park to get some good hill training in every now and then).

On the whole, I really enjoyed this run, and would most certainly do it again. We finished in about 2:18 or so

Connie and I finishing

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jimbo's Radar

2010 is going to be an exciting year I think. The year of "easy 100's" (if there is such a thing) and "hard 50's" - well, that's the plan anyway.

I have confirmed entries into Weymouth Woods 100k in January, Umstead 100 in March, and Zane Grey 50 in April.

Almost certain I will do most of the other MTC events - Ellerbe Springs Marathon in March, The Bethel Hill Boogie 50 in June and Hinson Lake 24 hr in September. Also, I expect to be doing the Medoc Trail Marathon in October. Not to mention Medoc Meltdown in the height of summer

Up for consideration are Rocky Racoon 50 or 100 in Feb, Tahoe Rim Trail 50 in July, Grand Tetons 50 in September, Javelina 100 in October - all will involve travel and associated expenses, so it may be a case of pick two or three and sacrifice the rest for another year.

What are the pups thinking?

We had a lot of rain in the week as former tropical storm Ida came through NC. Anyway, Jess felt the pups wouldn't like the rain - hence the raincoats. Of course, being male I have to disagree. I personally believe that they are thinking, "hope nobody can see us!" :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mangum Track Club - Shirt Run

New MTC members Wilbur, Sarah, Connie and Nicole at the 'famous' sign

Sarah, Jimbo and Wilbur

Fun, lots of it, was the order of the day on Saturday as the pups and I took part in the Mangum Track Club Shirt run. We met up with friends Connie and Nicole about 5:45 in the morning, and made the 90 minute drive to Ellerbe NC. We met with 23 other new members and several other seasoned members. At a guess there were probably a total of 40-50 runners.

Just like last time, everyone piled into cars, and we headed out to Mangum - after a few photos were taken, we started out on the 15 mile, no pressure run. It took us a little under three hours to cover the rolling hills of the course. At the end, there was pizza for Jimbo, and Connie and Nicole received their T-shirts with their MTC memberships, and Wilbur and Sarah got some pizza crusts with theirs!

I know that the pups are very proud of their memberships!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wilbur and Sarah to do MTC "Shirt run" :)


My training partners, Wilbur and Sarah are going to make an attempt to become life long members of the Mangum Track Club. From the club website:

Back during the late 80's five guys would meet in the hills of Ellerbe, NC for training runs for marathons. One Christmas during that time, one of the guys purchased 5 shirts. One for each training partner. The shirt was a navy blue shirt with "Mangum Track Club" on the front of it. As the story goes, one of the wives of one of the guys wanted one of the shirts. Well being guys, they toldher, you will have to earn it. The "Shirt Run" was born. The shirt run is a 15-mile point-to-point run/walk from Mangum, N.C. to Ellerbe, N.C. Once you finish the shirt run you will receive your Mangum Track Club shirt and you are a member for life. The Mangum Track Club is a fun run crowd consisting of walkers to ultra runners. We do not have dues or meetings and you may be asked to purchase your Mangum Track Club shirt depending on the number of runners that show up for the shirt run. Normally members pitch in to buy the shirts.
At Umstead, on my last lap, I met someone who explained what the MTC is about. A little googling, and learned what I needed to do to join. I became a member in May, completing the 15 mile run. Here is my write up from then. Since then, I have done the Boogie Marathon, and Hinson Lake 24 hr run, both organized by the MTC and their members. They are a great running group, and becoming associated with the MTC is one of the best things I have done. I'm also coming 5th in the "what's the point race" (I'll get double points for the 15 miles on Saturday)

I noticed that they have some "canine" members, so, I was very pleased when the pups expressed a desire to join. The pups, my friend Connie and will be leaving bright and early Saturday, and we are going to enjoy the no pressure, fun 15 mile run among friends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boulder 100 Race Report - Part 3, the final part

The Night

The night time portion of the race was hands down my favorite part of the race. It was a long 12 hours or so, but really, it was thoroughly enjoyable - probably because nothing went wrong. The temperature was right, there was no wind, running with "Pacer Steph" for a couple of hours or so was a great experience, Chris, Kari and the rest of the turn-around aid station gang kept me fed and watered well, and kept my spirits high. Everything went right.

Once the sun went down, the park emptied out of local day users very quickly. Although I missed saying hi to their dogs, and watching them play, I felt a certain amount of peace (plus there was the advantage that I didn't have to worry about where I went for a pee!).

Soon after the sunset, it became apparent that unless anything went wrong, I would beat my PR for 50 miles, which was 11:48. This wasn't something I was expecting at all - and certainly nothing I was pushing for - but obviously something that delighted me. The time for 50 was 11:26. Wow. I took a 10 minute or so break at that point for a change of socks and a bite to eat.

An hour or so later after I set out from the base, I was back at the turnaround aid station - they had done a great job of decorating

The night time aidstation - picture by Chris

It was then that I met up with my pacer Steph. She was fantastic company. Unfortunately, she had a class the next morning so couldn't keep me company past midnight, but the two-and-a-bit hours we hung out together was definitely one of the highlights of the race. We chatted a lot about her stellar ultra career, and my long term ultra ambitions, my short term ultra ambition (which was basically "finish alive sometime tomorrow"). The time flew by, and it seemed way to soon, but we were back at the turnaround, a little before midnight, and I had to bid farewell to Steph. Thanks Steph, I look forward to returning the favor one day.

Jimbo (not looking at camera!) and Pacer Steph

As I left the aid station (I was now at about 100K), although I felt alone for a while, I managed to lose myself in whatever was playing in my headphones and keep moving forward.

My splits through the night were mainly very steady a little over two hours. I would usually take a two or three minute break at the end of each lap, to take the weight off of my feet and grab a bite to eat (the highlight being the grilled cheese at 3 or 4 am - Thanks Chris!). My longest break was at 7am or so when I sat for 15 minutes.

So that was the night, good running, steady pace, great company, good aid, loud music, no moon. In a way, it was a shame it couldn't have remained dark for longer!

Random Musing #3

Lesson learned here Jimbo - when you go off trail for a pee, make sure you don't walk through the type of brush that has pods/seeds/whatever those things that stick all over your shoes, socks and legs!

Daylight again

As much as I enjoyed the night, there is something something special about sunrise though! Other than the last few yards of the race, I think that was about the only thing I enjoyed about the rest of the race. Fatigue was starting to kick in. At dawn, I think I was at around 83 miles - and 17 miles to go, it really really seems a long way. I know I stopped eating at this point, and it is also probably fair to say that I slowed down the fluid intake as well. I am now of course thinking of nothing but finishing. I want it over and done with. Not to mention of course that there is a fair amount of pain by this point - yep, when I set out on lap 13, that was my low point.
It was also pretty lonely out there - I could handle that at night, but for some reason, after dawn, it bothered me. Many of the runners had dropped, some 100 milers had finished already, and the 24 hour runners either done or soon to be done, and it was a little too early for the dog walkers to be out. I had a hard time that lap (I did have a cup of coffee to start it off though which did help a bit). But, there was only one way I was going to finish this thing - and that was by actually doing it, so I just plodded on. It also started to get warm, and I was still wearing my long sleeve top. The weather had more trick - it started to get windy, a very dry wind that was probably sucking more moisture out of me than I was bringing on board.

I hit the 24 hour point, when I was at 91.xx miles - a 10 mile PR

The lap eventually ended - at the same time, the 24 hour racers were receiving their awards, so they sent me off on my last lap with a few "Go Jimbo's", which was well appreciated. I didn't take a break, just changed into a short sleeved shirt (I actually chose the race shirt - there was no way I was not going to finish now, so I didn't feel like I had violated any of my own superstions). That being said, I can now understand why people do drop so late in a race, I was now at mile 93, and I was absolutely only moving forward because of my determination to finish. If the will to finish ever went, then I really think I would would have stopped. So I just kept plodding forward, but getting slower.

The dogs and their people were back out now, so that gave me something to think about. Most of the dogs were off leash, and it did strike me how well they all got on, I saw dozens of dogs, all breeds, and 90% off leash, and none of them fighting. Just wish my two mutts were as trustworthy! This is where the little hills near to the turn around aid station were now full mountains - I walked up one sideways my quads were hurting so much.

I got to the mid way aid station, and thanked Ashley and Jeremy for their great support, turned around and headed out on the last leg.

I could smell the finish by now, and the plodding would continue. I did enjoy the look on one lady's face - she asked me what was going on, "hundred mile race, and I am on 97", the look was priceless - a combination of disbelief and awe I think.

The view towards the finish with 1.25 miles to go

The finish was getting closer, and the one thing that I was disappointed about was the fact that I didn't 'enjoy' the last mile, I expected to be on some sort of a high - but you know, it was just like the previous few miles - just another painful obstacle of 5280' between me and the finish.

As I went out on the parking lot loop, I gave my camera to the guys at the main aid station so they could get a couple of finish line shots. I am now finally starting to feel a little overwhelmed with it all, and amazed at the accomplisment, and realizing just how far a hundred freakin' miles is!

It's long way. A very long way - and I did it.

Boulder report part 1
Boulder report part 2
Boulder report part 3

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boulder 100 Race Report - Part 2

Random Musing #1

Some people are just born a-holes. It is one thing to jump in front of me at the check in line, it's another to to blank me - not even smile or acknowledge the wave and greeting I gave you every single time we passed. You could at least nod your head. Maybe your DNF was karma coming back to haunt you.

The plan

I acknowledge that I am a geek for this kind of stuff, but one of the most useful things I had was a 3 x 5 index card with my predicted splits for a 28 hour finish - I also noted on this card the "actual" splits for a 29 hour finisher. The theory being that if I found myself getting behind those splits, then I would know that I needed to step it up a bit. Conversely, if I found myself ahead of the 28 hour splits, I could ease up, and maybe take a break or two

Compare the calculated "actual time" column to my splits on the day below.


10:35 AM
12:09 PM
1:39 PM
3:14 PM
4:59 PM
6:48 PM
8:26 PM
10:40 PM
12:45 AM
2:46 AM
4:49 AM
7:14 AM
9:22 AM
11:24 AM

Like I said - I am a geek for this kind of stuff - but it was always very useful to know how I was doing at any time - I referred to the card often. I will most certainly do something similar for future runs


Fruit and a boost shake for breakfast, plus of course coffee. During the run, most of my calories came from Clip during the day, and Amino at night. That was supplemented with the Jimbo turkey slider burrito from my own supplies, and peanut M&M's and trail mix - which suprisingly, I didn't eat much of - to date, this has been a taple of every ultra I have ran.

From the aid station, the main meal I had was a chicken pasta dish, which was heaven sent by the time I ate it. In addition to that, my friend Chris who was manning the turnaround aid station through the night, cooked for me a special treat of a grilled cheese sandwich, which was delicious.

The only time my stomach rebelled was after I ate half a banana - no puking, but I did feel nauseous for 15 minutes or so. One thing that went down well was orange slices, in fact, towards the end, they were probably my only source of calories.

The one are that I let myself down, was late in the race, once the sun had returned, I am now certain that I didn't eat enough. All I can remember eating was some orange slices, some Clip, and 1 gel. I probably had no more than 500 calories. That will explain the lack of energy for my last lap. It didn't cross my mind at the time, I put my lethargy down to having just completed 93 miles or so. I'm not sure why I didn't eat really, it's not like my stomach was rebelling - I just didn't feel like eating, I wasn't hungry at all. In this instance, I shouldn't have listened to my body!

Random Musing #2

The "no shit Sherlock" award goes to this educational picture that was at about the 2.25 mile point.

"Prairie Dogs are part of the Prairie" - you don't say!

The Pain

Sometime around the 25 26 mile mark, something went wrong with my left achilles, basically, every time I power walked, an excruciating pain shot up from my achilles tendon and through my calf. The strange thing was, it didn't hurt when I jogged. So, I had two options - limp slowly, or jog. When I got to the main base, I changed into my road shoes to see if that made a difference - it didn't, if anything, it made it worse, so I changed back after I had done the parking lot loop. So I took two tylenol, and hoped to tough it out. I have to admit to being worried that this would end it for me. At about mile 35, the pain went away, almost as suddenly as it appeared - the Tylenol? - No idea, may have been, the pain went probably two hours after I took the pills.

It was good to be able to walk strongly again.

......there's more to come.......
Boulder report part 1
Boulder report part 2
Boulder report part 3

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boulder 100 - Race report, part one

I am writing this report at several thousand feet, having just took off from Denver. This is a good opportunity to bring up my first ‘top tip’ – “Don’t travel within a day of a 100 mile foot race”. It hurts.

I am currently listening to the song that was playing when I crossed the finish line, “Resistance” by Muse – I have loved the band and their music for a long time, but I will never be able to listen to this song again without remembering my first 100 mile finish.

Where to start…….. the beginning I suppose. I landed in Denver on Thursday afternoon, and checked into a hotel near to the airport. As luck would have it, there was a Wal-Mart within a mile. Perfect

Last minute supplies included the ingredients for “Jimbo’s Turkey Slider Burritos”, which was to be my staple food - flour tortillas, grated cheese, sliced turkey and avocado. In hindsight, next time, I will also slap some mayo onto them, they felt a bit dry late in the day.

Friday was spent actually making the burritos, driving to Boulder to find the reservoir, and also meeting with Karl King to pick up some Clip sportsdrink, and hanging out in the pool/hot tub.

I ate minimal solids – carbo loading the day before a run has always caused problems. Other than fruit for breakfast, a Jimbo Turkey Slider Burrito for lunch, my only other source of calories was Boost protein shakes. I had no stomach issues at all during the race, and no need for any sprints to find the Port-a-Potty (or even worse, a tree, because they were pretty sparse.)

Jimbo in the hotel on race day morning

On race day, I got to the start with plenty of time to check in, get my number pinned on my shorts, etc. I set the rental car up as my own personal aid-station, I had a great parking spot, not 50’ from the start/finish line.

The start was uneventful – for the first mile or so, we could several balloons taking off into the beautiful clear blue Colorado sky.

The view from the back

After the fist mile, I was dead last, and I am proud of it! :)
Anyway, rather than do a lap by lap recount, I will do a series of random musings and thoughts…………

The Course

The course is a 7.14 mile out and back. It is kind of like a lollipop with a very long stick. The first part is a loop around the parking lot, then still on asphalt with a slight up hill we head towards the dam. From there the surface was a densely packed gravel – very easy footing, occasionally there were some small rocks packed in with the gravel (they became huge boulders as I stumbled on them from time to time during the night). Just as we would start the dam portion, we would pass one mile.

The dam was in two parts, with some 90 degree turns in between and some small (very small) inclines. The end of the second part of the dam was 2 miles.

The next mile was easy wide trail, with some small gentle rolling hills, which took us to the ‘canal crossing’, which was a narrow bridge.

The gentle hills at about 2.5 miles - looking back toward the start

Near to the canal were signs that would promise “Certain Death” – one was right next to the trail, there seemed to be a delicious irony that we would pass this sign 28 times during the 100 miles.

With each lap, the "Certain Death" seemed to get a little closer :)

After the bridge, the trail became a bit narrower, and the hills seemed a little steeper and longer. By the end of the run, they had become fully fledged foothills of the Rockies. That last half mile or so took us to the half way aid station, where we turned around and followed the trail back to the start.

The longest, steepest climb - it wasn't much, but got steeper each lap

To be continued........
Boulder report part 1
Boulder report part 2
Boulder report part 3

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boulder 100 - quick update

Quick update - I finished the 100 miles in 26:29.

Perfect weather.

PR for 50 miles: 11:26

PR for 24 hours: 91.xx miles

I hurt. A lot.

But very happy - more to follow, including more pictures.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hello from Colorado!

I made it safely out to Colorado - my baggage made it too, which is always a plus.

The weather looks like it will be perfect on Saturday and Sunday in Boulder. Tha's a relief, especially as this time last week I believe it was snowing. Looking like mid-60's for Saturday, going down to mid-40's on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and low 70's on Sunday. More importantly, it will be dry.

And... what d'ya know, there is a Wal-Mart just a mile or so down the road from the hotel, so I have already got all my supplies in.

So for the 100 miles, I will be feasting on such wonderful delights as:
  • Trail mix and Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's (this has been a staple of every ultra I have done so far)
  • Avacado, turkey and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla - I tried this at Hinson, and it was very palatable, plus provides fat, protein and carbohydrate in just one mouthful.
  • Coke and Dr Pepper - to go with the caffiene pills - the wonder drug combo. Although I bought Coke, I tend to lean a little more towards the Dr. Pepper now - it is amazingly refreshing in the middle of the night.
  • And finally some Milano cookies and potato chips.
  • Plus of course whatever delights they have at the aid stations, and of course the Clip and Amino drinks.

I knew that I would feel better and less nervous once I got into travelling mode, and I really do. There is no more training to be done, just relax, sort out supplies, and then on Saturday, get from Denver to Boulder. That's it. There is nothing I can do now that can change the outcome other than to make sure I have not forgotten anything, and I will be checking and double checking all day tomorrow, and trying to get lots of sleep between now and Saturday morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last evening run by the lake till the Spring

Tonight was probably my last run on a weekday evening on the technical trails around Jordan Lake until the clocks change in the spring. It was getting pretty dark by the time I had finished this evening, I took the above picture at sunset with my phone (hence the crapiness of the photo).

I'll miss the place, the pups and I ran there just about every evening after work when I was in town, I got pretty good at trail running there, and learnt a lot about running on root/rock strewn trails.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ashley Nordell's Grand Teton report

I just stumbled across the Team Pearl Izumi-Smith blog, and Ashley Nordell's Grand Teton report.

Ashley says some very nice things about the 7 hours or so we spent running around the mountains together for her last 25 mile loop.

The thing I remember most is that last mile once we realized that a sub-23 hr run wasn't going to happen, but the win and course record were virtually certain. "Let's just enjoy it then". That last mile was great, and of course, one of the perks of my 'job' was to be the first person to offer my congratulations to Ashley.

Here's the link:

Note: Edited May 2012 because the link changed

Friday, October 9, 2009

Countdown to Boulder

One week tomorrow, I will be going for a run - sometime around 30 hours later, I will forever be a "hundred miler". Wow.

It was only just over 6 months ago that the journey to this point started. That was when I set out for a run around Umstead State Park. That 50 mile run was life changing. Since then, there have been two 24 hour runs, a 50+K, a marathon in 90+ degree heat and countless training runs, including the 25 mile experience of pacing the women's winner (and new course record holder) at the Grand Teton Races. I also got to volunteer at the finish line of the Tahoe Rim Trail run, and became a life time member of the Mangum Track Club by running the traditional 15 mile route on NC back roads known as the "Shirt Run".

In addition, I have met many new people, and have met new friends - from the front of the pack all the way down, and each and everyone of them have inspired me in their own way. I have read countless blogs and race reports and made friends in the 'virtual' world too, some of these folks I may actually get to meet in the 'real' world one day.

What's my point? Don't know really - I suppose all of this is what has driven me to this point - to be on the verge of being a "100 miler".

So, next week. How do I feel? Well, I think I have used the analogy before - I alternate between being as excited as a 5 year old on Christmas eve, and having the dread of a condemned man the night before his date with the firing squad.

The 10 day forecast in Boulder is not as bad as it was yesterday. It at least looks like it will be dry (although they have had at least one snowfall so far out there). It will also be cold - well cold for me - about 50 degrees colder than it was here today(87F). Don't forget hats and gloves Jimbo! I will be OK in the cold (it will still be a bit of a shock to the system though), but wet and cold is not so great. Fingers crossed!

It's been one hell of a ride so far............

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The lessons from Hinson

The official results are in, I managed a total of 81.64 miles. I am very pleased with that.

There were some lessons though:

Don't drink so much. I over salted, and drank too much (Jimbo drinking too much?? Never) - so much that my hands were swollen and my fingers were so swollen that I had to take off my wedding ring. One guy did notice and commented that as long as I was ok in the head, I needn't worry too much about it. I have since learned that "possible mental confusion" is a symptom of too much salt and fluid. Would I have been there in the first place if I wasn't suffering from mental confusion? When I look back, I was drinking the best part of a bottle per lap - that's too much. What I should have done, was stop taking S-caps, and drank only to wet my mouth until I had got back to normal. I wonder if that contributed to the pity party at 22 hours 17 minutes. Something to watch out for at Boulder.

Make sure I have everything with me! I left my charging cradle for my Garmin at home. Not a big deal really, but I am so anal about pace etc., that I decided to go get it - (Jess very kindly met me half-way home with it late on Friday night) - but it still meant not getting bed as early as I had hoped, and certainly stopped me relaxing.

Don't walk around without socks on. Yep - this was really stupid. I was wearing the crocs on Friday night, and a piece of grit was rubbing the top of my big toe. Yep, I got a blister before I had even started. Could this have had something to do with affecting my form, and hence causing additional blisters later on???

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pictures from Hinson

This footbridge was the halway point around the lake

Sunrise over "Camp Jimbo"

Sunrise over the Lake before the start

The start/finish area of each lap - the guy sitting down next to the blue cooler was the eventual winner, Jonathan Savage who accumulated ~132 miles over the 24 hours.

The "Dam area" - right after the main aid station, people set up tents and their own base camps. There was always plent of encouragement from spectators along this part of the course

Camp Jimbo - and the chair that I needed to beware of - it was the scene of my near meltdown at about 22 hours or so.

Vol State 500 K RD Laz Cantrell, sporting a Camel cap, fitted with what he termed as a "Tennessee GPS System" :)