Sunday, January 4, 2009

What is this all about then?

I started running about 4 or 5 years ago, after I decided to get healthy. A couple of years previously, I had quit smoking ("phase 1"), so now it was time to get "phase 2" underway, which was to start exercising.

In March 2005, I did my first organized run, which was the Asics Reading Half Marathon in Reading England. Wow, I was hooked.

A few half marathons, 10K's, 5K's later, I competed my first full marathon in March 2007 (Shamrock in Virginia Beach), and later the same year, I did the inaugural City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh NC. I have done one other marathon - the OBX (Outer Banks NC) in November 2008. My marathon times have ranged between 4:26 and 5:22.

Over these 4 years, I have lost about 35-40lbs, and in the last 18 months, ("phase 3" was get a physical) got my blood pressure into normal range, and dropped my total cholesterol from 238 (high) to 154 (optimal) without medication.

Early in 2008, I stumbled upon
Dean Karnazes' first book, Ultramarathon Man, Confessions of an all Night Runner. I was enthralled with Dean's description of his first 100 mile run, the Western States 100. "I would love to try one of those", I thought. Idiot.

I discovered there is a 100 mile race fairly close to home, the
Umstead 100. Fortunately, the good folks at the North Carolina Ultra Running Association won't let me enter the 100 mile race, without having done at least a 50 miler before. So I entered the 50. Idiot.

So, I have a lot of running, training, and learning to do before April 4th. Here is where you can follow my journey leading up to the Umstead 50 and beyond (hopefully not TO the beyond).

In short, what started off as a way to get fit, has turned into a fully fledged mid-life crisis - however, one that is cheaper than a Porsche or Harley, and easier to manage than a 'fling' ;-).


  1. Good Morning Jimbo,
    I find your journey fascinating in how similar it is to mine. I am 53 years old. I became re-interested in running last April and became passionate after a few months. I lost 25 or so pounds. I began to debate whether I could train for a marathon and stumbled across Ultramarathon Man as well. I increased my effort and ran in the 2009 City Of Oaks. I then also ran the NC Marathon in High Point and then was out there with you at the Boogie Marathon. Small world? My times have been 4:45 (Oaks), 4:50 (NC) and 5:45 (Boogie). And now I am looking to train for my first Ultra, maybe the Triple Lakes 40 Miler. But I really have my heart set on the Boogie 50 nect year.
    Happy Running and I am sure I will see you soon.

  2. Hi Chris - I think I remember you at The Boogie (well, there was only one person with Vibrams.... I guess that was you anyway). My times for City of Oaks and Boogie 26.2 are both within a minute of yours! I will certainly have another go at Boogie 50 next year. Weymouth Woods 100k, Hinson Lake 24hr and Derby 50K are definitely other runs that are worth looking into.

    Good luck, and see you around :)


  3. Yes, that was me, the only VFF guy. My left foot was sore at the start of the race and that was my first marathon in the VFFs so I was pretty nervous. But it went well enough for me and I am hooked on the Boogie!
    I generally have a limit on the number of events I can do so I am thinking maybe 3 or 4 per year. I am debating between Triple Lakes/City of Oaks again/Derby 50k for the fall. I have not completed an ultra but as Oaks was my first race and it was miserable weather last year I am thinking about it as well. If I can build some confidence running the single track at Umstead and building some strength on those trails with the Vibrams then I would like to do Triple Lakes.
    BTW, Karnazes, in his 50/50/50 book described Triple Lakes as one of the 3 best marathons he ran in that effort. YEAH NC!
    I saw references to Running On The Sun early in your blog. That movie was a key moment in my thinking I could do more with my running. Spirit of the Marathon is also a good movie which focuses on a handful of pros and amateurs preparing for the Chicago Marathon. And, of course, Born to Run as a motivator to go crazy with the VFFs.
    I have the Weymouth website saved for way down the road. And I would like to do the Umstead Marathon this year as my winter time race. Then on to Boogie again for a hopeful 50 effort.
    I am sure we will cross paths down the road.