Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 50

I have honestly been struggling to put into words my experience at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50.

I loved it, enjoyed every minute of it. I loved the challenge of the climbs, I loved the people I met, I loved the whiskey shots and beer. Above all, the breathtaking scenery. Just stunning.

One of the easiest decision I will make when it comes to planning races for 2011 will be signing up for TRT next year. Probably the 50 again - the 100 is probably out of my reach for the time being, plus, I am not sure I would enjoy a lap in the dark. We'll see.

My goal was to finish, enjoy myself and take lots of pictures. I will let them do the talking for me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Badwater part 2

As the race continued, and our routines established, Hung was moving along nicely it was time for some pacing. Dave paced for a few miles at first, then I took over. I think it was about 2 or 3 pm. Certainly it was hot. It wasn't pacing, exactly, we had to follow behind the runner, carrying a spraybottle filled with ice water and keep him wet so that evaporative cooling could take place.

I think at this point, I paced for an hour or two. The next stint was after Townes Pass, which we hit somewhere arond midnight. It started off with a 10 mile downhill run. Can anyone say fried quads? I managed to find the only rock on road and rolled my ankle pretty badly. Visions of finding an ER filled my mind as I honestly thought I may have broken my foot, there was certainly a loud pop when it rolled. I told Hung to keep running while I limped for a few minutes. The pain did ease off as I kept moving, so it seemed just a slightly worse than typical ankle roll. I paced around 20 miles this time, which included the bulk of the climb to Father Crowley's point.

Hung struggled through the night, it was a hotter night than last year and perhaps he had also put in too much effort during the heat of the day. Either way, we just kept him moving. Approaching the summit though, he was done and needed a rest. I think he slept for about 30 minutes while I repaired a blister. We were parked by a gorgeous canyon, and the sunrise was quite spectacular.

Dr. Jimbo works on a blister

Once rested, Hung started running again, and for the next few hours, 10 minute naps became quite common (maybe once an hour). These little breaks did Hung wonders and he started picking up the pace.

Around 100 miles, Hung really picked it up - a combination of starting to wear the ice water soaked hood again plus probably a sense of "let's just get this thing done". No one was pacing, we crewed at half mile intervals, and time was starting to go by quickly. This second wind lasted all the way to Lone Pine at mile 122. I got a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake. Yum.

As we climbed out of Lone Pine to the finish, we had a cheerleading squad following us up. Amy Palmeiro-Winters (who had unfortunately dropped earlier) and her awesome "Girl-Power" crew (aka - The Pink Chicks" were a lot of fun, and certainly helped make time fly for the last few miles.

Hung and the Pink Chicks

Finally, after 35:56:xx, Hung was finished. The whole thing was an amazing experience, and one that I look forward to repeating. Would I want to run it? Not sure, there is a little piece of me that would, although the costs are scary. I know for a fact that if I was running, I would be more than happy to have "Team Hung" as a crew. Considering none of us really knew one another at the start of all of this, it is great how we all bonded, and I now have four new friends.

Great times.

Team Hung and the Pink Chick at the finish

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How hot is Death Valley?? Badwater part 1

It's hot, very hot. But it's a dry heat.

It was an interesting journey to say the least. One day a few weeks ago, I received a text from my friend Shannon, "Hey do you want to crew at Badwater?" A quick glance of the calendar and I realized that it may just work out - you see a few days after Badwater, I would be running a race at Tahoe..... Hmmmm. I sent a message back, "sure". Unfortunately, that particular opportunity didn't pan out. By the time I had learned that, I did have a desire to crew. So, I posted to the Badwater blog, that I am willing, and would do anything for a beer ans a t-shirt.

Next thing I knew, I was being emailed by Hung Ng to see if I wanted to be on his team. Hell yes.

So, here I was with four random souls in a mini-van. I had met one of them briefly before Umstead - that was Rico. There was also Dave, Aubrey and of course our runner Hung.

It was quite astonishing how we all bonded quite quickly really - and by the end of it all, I had four new friends.

So, what does a crew do? In no particular order, drive the van, resupply, cool off the runner, pace the runner, blister repair, keep the runner hydrated, motivate, etc etc etc. It is tiring, at times quite intense, and very rewarding when it all comes together.

Before the start, Aubrey coats Hung with Sunscreen

The heat for the first part of the run is incredible - I believe we had temperature in the range of 120F - the road temp was over 160F. But it's a dry heat.

Dave soaking Hung's hood

Rico and the van

Jimbo and the van

The scenery is, well, scenery. Bland yet beautiful. The vastness is hard to describe. All you can see is desert, mountains, runners and crew, and a shimmer rising from the ground. It certainly reminds me of those pictures that came from the Mars Rover

It took a few miles to get our routine together, but after a while, it went something like this: Dave would grab Hung's hood and soak it in iced water. Rico would make Hung step into a shopping bag so that his feet would remain dry, Aubrey and I would spray him with iced water while offering up water and sportsdrink. And he would start to run on, and we would prepare for the next stop half a mile later...........

More to follow........

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bad Blogging, Bolloxing The Boogie and Badwater

I've not been too good on the blogging front have I? I know why too, it's because I "Bolloxed The Boogie". Yeah, I hosed that one up.

Let's think about what I said leading up to the race, things like "I'm going for a PR", or after the successful Enoree Passage, "I hope this doesn't give me unrealistic expectations".

Basically, I dropped after 26 miles. A little while later, I added 0.2 miles to make up the marathon. The heat gave me some problems - not the heat on its own of course, but add in a few fast miles at the start (first 3 miles in 27:xx), and I think I overheated and didn't give myself an opportunity to cool down, plus I had stomach problems which meant a few emergency dashes into the woods where the energy (literally and figuratively) drained out of me. Just a rough rough night.

As last year, the race was wonderfully well organized, friendly people (Susan at the main aidstation did a great job cheering me up afterwards).

Such is life I suppose - I am cross at myself to be honest, I needed to respect the distance more. I will in futire, I promise.

Badwater - well, whaddya know? Next week, I will be heading to California to crew for Hung Ng in the 135 mile race across Death Valley. Wow, what a privelige. Hung came 19th last year. It will be a great experience for me, then of course after Badwater, I will be heading up to Tahoe for the TRT. It looks like it will be a great vacation for me!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Race For Awesomeness

The “Race for Awesomeness” – appropriate name.

So last Saturday, I had an interesting day to say the least – it all started when I read on Facebook that my friend Shannon was heading to the South.

An innocent, “Oh, where are you heading?” from me was when I learned that Shannon was heading from NJ to NC to run a race near Asheville, (3-4 hour drive from home).

A couple of text messages later, and the next thing I know, I am washing my running clothes (I had just got home from a 8.5 mile trail run) – and getting ready to head west to participate in the 12 hr “Race for Awesomeness” with Shannon and we would also meet Ray K there. The race was a 24 hr race, with a daytime 12 hr run and a night time 12hr run, which started at 10pm.

Once I had arrived, met with Shannon and her parents, I set up my tent and pretty soon we were getting ready to run.

The race was a relatively flat loop (not entirely flat though), mixed trails – some single track, some wide grassy trails, and some trail covered in wood chip. Very pleasant trail, generally great running surfaces all around.

Once we started, it became apparent that the best plan was to have no plan – and we did well sticking to that plan. It was just fun. After each loop, took a break (not entirely deserved, but we rested anyway) – and each time our breaks got longer and longer. For a while, we ran with Robert, who was running his first ultra (he did well, and ran a double marathon in the 24 hr run) – I think between Ray’s stories of ultras past, Shannon’s last minute decision to go and 10 hr drive to be there, and my diet (I fuelled on fried chicken, watermelon and Robert even gave me a beer after 21 miles) –he will either be totally hooked to this crazy sport, or scared off for life! (I predict though he will be researching 100 milers by the end of the week).

So, bottom line, we got in 27 miles, and then went to sleep for a while – but above all, I had fun, hung out with some great people, and did nothing that would "bollox up the Boogie"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Boogie - prep and goals.

The Boogie 50 is just a little over three weeks away

I am wondering if this is wise to go public with my aims for the run- as can often happen, I may set a goal and fail spectacularly, and look like an idiot.

That being said, I am prepared to look a fool - so here goes:

I want a 50 mile PR.

I see no reason why I can't do it - I know the distance, I know the course, and I know and appreciate the weather conditions. That is about as close to 'being in the comfort zone' as it can get. My current PR is 11:26 - which is what I ran on my way to my first 100 mile finish at Boulder. Next best time is 11:32, on my way to a 100 at Umstead at the end of March. I have only done two 50 mile races - one was Umstead 2009, my time was 11:48, and the other was Zane Grey, where I DNF'd.

I am going to go one step further - sure, a PR is one thing, but based on the way the Enoree Passage 40 went, I am going to raise the stakes some - yep, I would like a sub 11 finish.

So there you have it. I have said it. Sub 11.

Of course, I reserve the right to adjust the target as I am going along, and as always, finishing alive is always the first target - and if I can finish with a smile, regardless of the time, I will still be happy.

So, what have I been doing in order to help me with those ambitious times? Speed work. Yessireee, speedwork. Fartlek, tempo and just plain trying to run faster than normal.

Heat training - NC is hot in mid June, so I drive home with my heater on full blast. I have a little temp gauge - it gets to about 110 in the car. No idea if that will help or not, but we will see. I also plan to sit in my attic a few times when it is really hot outside. At a guess, it gets to be 120 or more up there. Who needs a sauna when you have an attic in NC eh???

Finally, my last long run will be tomorrow night where I plan to run at least 40 miles at the American Cancer Relay for life in Pittsboro.  10 easy, 20 pushing, 10 recovery is the goal. It's a good cause too. Here is my page

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Enoree Passage 40 miler - The anatomy of when it all goes right.

Short version:

Beautiful course
Comfort Zone
Nice People
Holy crap, didn't know I could run that fast.

Slightly longer version

Some days things just go better than planned. When I arrived in South Carolina, I had no particular goals in mind, but as I stood at the start line, I figured, "9 hours would be a good time, but whatever.......". If I translate the pace of a 9 hr finish into a 50 miler, then that would give me a PR for 50. As I left, I set my "secret dream time" to 8:30.

As usual, I walked the first half mile or so, with just the occasional jog - but after Zane Grey, I was really happy to be back in my comfort zone. The single track was very much like I train on at Jordan Lake, and weather was just about as perfect a day as the Carolinas can offer.

For the first 10 miles or so, I was really happy plodding along toward the back, I was in no hurry, the RD, Terri Hayes promotes "No Cut Off Times", which given my experience at Zane Grey, really made me happy.

Somewhere around mile 10-12, I hung out with a Marathon Maniac, Rae, and her dog Rita for a while. Rita was incredibly impressive, she was off leash and just the perfect trail running dog - I don't think she got more that 20' from Rae's side. I chatted with Rae for a while - and wished that Wilbur and Sarah were just as well behaved as Rita.

Somewhere around mile 14???? I found myself hanging out with Psyche. Except at the time, I didn't know it was her - she had posted here just before the race. I really enjoyed chatting with her - to me it was obvious  that she "got" ultras and trail races - this was her first I believe. On her blog, she even called me a "gentleman". Last time I was called that, it was preceded with "Last Call Please....."

Sometime after the 15 mile aid station, maybe mile 16 or so, I got a second wind that almost took me to the finish line. I deserted Psyche (sorry my friend, nothing personal :)), and found myself running alone. It was at this point I made a decision that I was going to race this thing, and push hard - it seemed I was venting some of the pent up frustrations that had haunted me since ZG - I needed to prove to myself that I can do this UltraRunning stuff, and that I do have the endurance to run long distances. I figured the worst that  could happen is that I blow up, and I death march home. I found myself running miles under 11 minutes, I even found myself  running up hills.... crazy or what!! Each aid station was a quick turnaround, no sitting down, then GO JIMBO GO!! I was fuelling on Hammer gels, Clip2 and water - no solid food at all.

Of course, this kind of crazy pace can't go on forever, shortly before the 35 mile aid station, I ran out of steam, I always felt sure that this was going to happen, but to be honest, I am pleasantly suprised at how long my second wind lasted.

Finally I was finished, at 8:21. Let me say that again. 8:21. Holy crap Jimbo. Translating that into a 50 mile time, I would have take about 45 minutes off of my PR. Of course, now I am worried that I will set myself unrealistic expectations for the Boogie.

So, to conclude......... loved the trails, enjoyed meeting new people (and dog), and I signed up for Terri's race in September. Very happy. Very.

It was on trails like this that I really picked up the pace - this was probably at about 23 miles or so.

Typical - just like I am used to at Jordan Lake

Done. really could have done with a beer at this point.......

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quick Update - Enoree Passage 40 miler

Great race, well and truly in my comfort zone. Time was 8:21 - way faster than I anticipated.

I will write more in a day or two.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Running Hope Through America

On Wednesday Raleigh NC was the distination for the "Running Hope Through America". I had the great honor and privelige to hang out with Lisa Smith-Batchen for 21 of her 50 miles for the day. It was neat that Lisa remembered me from the Grand Tetons Races where I helped crew for my friend Frankie, and also paced the 100 mile women's winner. Lisa is running 50 miles in 50 states in 62 days - I have no doubt that she will finish her quest. I am now thinking seriously about doing the GTR 50 miler in September......... watch this space!

You can learn more about the journey and the reasons behond their journey here:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Zane Grey 50 - the anatomy of a DNF

What happened?

Well, the race started fine and I had no problems leading up to the 8 mile aid station, and everything seemed to be fine at the 17 mile aid station. The course was tough, but I was getting through the miles ahead of the cut-offs.

Then about mile 21 - I noticed I had slowed down quite considerably. Next aid station was at 25 miles, and looking at the time, I had an hour to make it. The course at this point was such that I still couldn't pick up the pace. Over the next 20 minutes or so, I had only made it one more mile, I realized that I would miss the cut off at 25. Disappointed and angry with myself at first, but over the next few minutes I became at peace with it. C'est la vie. The course had one more suprise for me though. The next aid station wasn't at 25 miles, it was at 23.xx miles. I made it there with 8 minutes to spare. It was a weird feeling. 5 minutes earlier I was ready to get a ride home. And here I was at the aid station with time to spare. Well, despite feeling pretty crappy - I wasn't going to voluntarily quit! I left after downing a pint of OJ and eating some M&M's.

A mile later, I was beginning to regret not dropping. My hamstrings were cramping on every uphill, and I was physically and mentally beat. Totally and utterly fatigued. I could go back - but then I worried that the volunteers would have packed up and gone (I was one of the last through). (I have since learned that the aid station volunteers won't leave until they have word that all runners are accounteed for at the next aid station, which is a neat touch and good to know). I sat on the ground for 10 minutes trying to get a mild recovery, and decided that I would just plod on the next 9 miles and drop at 33.

Even though I had decided to stop at 33, every now and then, I would change my mind and try to move a little quicker. But then the next hill strewn with those red boulders would loom, and any enthusiasm I had built up, would get beat down again. My hamstrings continued to cramp on the uphills. Then at about 30 miles, I came across the ham radio crew, and that's where I stopped. Sat with those wonderful folks for an hour or so, rehydrated (I'm beginning to think that I didn't drink enough), and then we hiked out another 3 miles or so (oddly enough, I felt very rejuvenated after an hour's rest!) - where I was given a ride to the finish.

So there you have it. My first DNF.

What will I do differently next year?
  • Gear - I don't think anything will change, I was happy with what I wore and carried.
  • Get better conditioned - I need to make up time in the first 17 miles of the race to give a better cushion ahead of the cut offs. Oh oh, that means speedwork!
  • Work on rocky trails - I need to build up confidence, especially on downhills
  • Arrive at altitude at least 24 hours earlier
  • I think I will need to drink more. I didn't feel that thirsty during the race, but once I had stopped, I drank probably close to half a gallon over the next hour or so.
  • Fuel - going to have to think that one through, and experiment over the next year.
  • Company - would be great to have a friend to run with the whole race (working on that already!!), if not, I can have a pacer at 33 miles - I think knowing that someone would have been waiting for me may have mentally made a difference. So, plan A - talk someone into entering the race, plan B - talk someone into being a pacer from mile 33.
  • If I can, try to hike the whole trail - take two or three days to do it, and camping overnight (or do some kind of rental-car-shuffle to stay in town). Maybe get involved with the trail marking?

Despite the toughness of the trail, there were plenty of stunning views (yep, that is snow!)

But of course - if you spent your time looking at the stunning views, you would lose your footing or trip on a piece trail like this!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Zane Grey 50 - “The Toughest 50 Miler in the Country”

Short Version:

Toughest 50 miler in the country
Wonderfully organized
Terrific volunteers
More rocks
Yet more rocks
Unofficial finish in the toughest 50k in the country :)

Longer Version:

I am still getting over my first DNF - I go in cycles, I'm fine with it one moment, and next I am second guessing myself. The race was billed as the toughest 50 miler in the country - and having now done over half of the course, there is no way I will disagree with them. I fought the course - the course won.

I want to first really praise the organization from Joe Galope RD and the volunteers, it is a great event, and if you think you are capable of doing 50 tough miles, then I would have no hesitation in recommending this race. Oh, and I have already decided that I will be back next year.

"Be safe, and use common sense." "GO" - that was the pre race briefing.

So what went wrong? Me. That was what went wrong - I thought I was ready for this kind of trail, in short, I wasn't.

It was the course that got me - it is was unbelieveably difficult for me. I usually do OK on climbs - not fast by any stretch, but a good steady pace, and then I make up time on the descents. For me, this didn't work out - I couldn't get into a steady rhythm climbing, and I certainly couldn't make up any pace on the downs - the effect of rocks everywhere. There were plenty of runners who did finish - so they probably just have more confidence on the downs than I did. I need to figure out a way to practice this kind of running.

Elevation - this was the first time I had problems because of the altitude (or at least I think so). I arrived in Payson about 10 hours before the start - other runs at altitude I have done, I have had at least a day or two to get used to the lack of oxygen. Not total acclimatization for sure, but I am sure it made a difference in my own little experiment of one. For example - at the Tetons last year, I had a week in Idaho ahead of the run. That was at 5,000'. The run itself goes up to just under 9,000'. Sure in the Tetons, I knew I was up there, but at ZG, I really seemed to have problems late on - at much lower altitude too. I will be arriving at least 24 hours earlier next year.

Heat - I live in the South, hot weather is my comfort zone, and here in NC we have had plenty of toasty days already. Physiologically, I was fine, the heat didn't cause me stomach upset - but what it did do, is make me slow down. That's not unusual - I do run slower in the heat. BUT.... I needed to have planned for that slowdown though. One way was probably to have been conditioned better to have been able to take advantage of the early morning cool, and get 10 or 15 minutes further ahead by the 8 mile aid station. This would have added quite a buffer - it also would have meant that the first part of the trail, between first and second aid would have been a bit cooler. I think by following this kind of strategy, it would have taken a fair amount of pressure off of me later on, because I believe that once the brain starts thinking "I ain't gonna make that cut off", it's hard to convince yourself to push a bit harder - I did try from time to time to make up some minutes, but that just adds to the fatigue and ultimately an even slower pace.

More thoughts to come later in the week................... but enjoy these pictures

Dawn brought about some really spectacular views

The photo doesn't quite capture how steep this down hill was. But this was not untypical terrain

This will be my abiding memory - steep inclines, no idea how long the climb goes on for, rocks you know you will slip and trip over, and those bushes that scratch your legs to pieces.

Covered in salt, trying to fake a smile - officially DNF.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This better be the final installment - Umstead 100

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Lap 6 - this time my pacer is my friend Connie - we bumped into each other on the Jordan Lake trails a little over a year ago, she introduced me to Raleigh Trail Runners, and we run a lot of miles together by the lake.

After 100k, I think is where things start to deteriorate. As much as I have ran already, I am still facing 38 miles or so. It is now all about plodding forward, and staying mentally in the game, and refuse to allow thoughts of quitting from entering my head. This is where the pacers come in, and Connie did a great job.

Left right repeat.

A couple of miles into the loop, we had a similar 'incident' to the last lap. Baby wipes. YAY!

One thing I remember is about 4 miles into it, a runner was down, he was suffering from the cold, and was asking for warm packs. Connie and I couldn't help, but thankfully a pacer from a runner behind us could help. The poor guy was really not prepared. It can get cold in NC in March, even late March. I don't think we were much above freezing. We alerted the race staff when we saw someone on a bike, and let the folks at the aid station know - they had already picked him up, I guess he was OK.

At the aid station, it was time for a dumb moment. While Connie was getting me food and drink, I sat in front of the heater and needed to do a sock change. I took my time, because I needed a bit of a break, and the heater was so wonderfully warm. Anyway, dumb ass - I cleaned my feet, reapplied Hydropel, and then promptly placed my feet right onto the ground where they got covered in sand and grit. Start again.

Heading out with new feet and a filled belly I felt somewhat rejuvenated. A couple of miles later, I did notice that there was one piece of grit in my left shoe that was starting to give me bother - I decided that I would need to sort it out at the next aid station 3 or 4 miles away. Connie thankfully suggested that I would be better off to sort it out now - she was of course right - so I found and appropriate tree stump and cleaned my feet again and empied my shoes. This is why I wear a bandana! Much better.

I finished lap 6, in 4:11 - that is then a total time of 19:21 for 75 miles. Thanks Connie!

Another brief break while I ate a cheeseburger. I picked a new pacer - this time a volunteer pacer provided by the race. Rick did an awesome job - we managed to hold a conversation for most of the loop. I was feeling pretty crappy by this point. Nothing inparticular was wrong, I was simply beat, and was still facing a long run. Also, at this point, many of the people you run into on the out and back section are coming into finish, kinda makes you feel jealous.

Left right repeat.

Another break at the aidstation - I couldn't figure out what I wanted, I was starting to think I had taken too much salt, I was very thirsty and noticed some swelling, but I did need calories. Grapes, that's it. Rick got me a cup of grapes to eat, and they were just what I needed. Very refreshing.

On the whole this was an uneventful loop - I enjoyed getting to know Rick, he has since joined RTR, so hopefully I'll see him around at some other local runs.

Lap 7 4:28, 87.5 miles done in 23.49

Last lap. Still tired, but starting to sense that this is almost finished. New pacer, this time Blanca from the volunteer pool of pacers, and somebody else who I enjoyed getting to know. Blanca has done a few marathons and is looking to do some trail runs - she is thinking of Medoc marathon later in the year.

Not too long into this loop, daylight arrives and with it some warmth and of course a sense of accomplishment - there is no way I am not going to get done. Left right repeat. ALMOST THERE!!.

A brief pause at the aid station (remember the bad joke I warned you about??? Here it is..... " Woohoo 10K left, any fool can run 10K. My warm up may have been a little excessive though." Told you.). I took time to thank the aid station gang - really they all did such a phenomenal job, I can't thank them enough.

Time for the last stretch, I feel like there is a little wind in my sails now, and even jog some.

Up the jeep track for the last time, I thanked Blanca for the terrific job she had done, and then it was time to cross the line.


I got my buckle, it is probably one of my proudest possesions.

Jimbo finally getting his buckle from Joe Lugiano.

Lap 8 - 4:00, total time for 100 27:49.

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some more Umstead stuff............

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Lap 5, and time to head out with a pacer. I was pleased with the 50 mile split of 11:32, my second fastest - and 16 minutes faster than last year. More importantly, I was feeling good, and ready to tackle the second half.

My first pacer was my colleague Mike. Mike is an Ironman tri-athlete, no way is he used to running as slow as me!

"Pacer Mike" and I - love the way he is strolling along, and it looks like I am struggling to keep up

Remember the egg? Yep, that came back to haunt me. Stomach cramps about 1/2 mile into the loop. Hmmm, decision time, 1/2 mile back to the start, 3 mile to the porta-john. No way was I going to run 101 miles. Let's make it 3 miles. This creates another dilemma run fast, you get there sooner - errr, but stir things up at the same time. Run slow (walk in other words), and you ain't likely to make it. I walked. And didn't.

Thankfully, the trails at Umstead are surrounded by trees, even more thankfully I carry baby wipes.

Feeling much better, Mike and I had a good lap. My pace had slowed dramatically, but to be honest I wasn't concerned about pace, just keeping going. By this lap, though, the hills were definitely getting steeper, and the feet were getting a little painful - but other than that, everything was fine.

Left right repeat.

The beauty of having a pacer is the conversation and the company which makes the time pass quicker, but more importantly, it stops the brain focusing on the miles to go, the pain, and no doubt it prevents thoughts of the shear stupidity of what I was doing.

Lap 5 time, 3:36. Total time for 100K 15:10

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Umstead 100 - continued

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

All the nerves disappear the moment it is time to start. I was in no hurry, so for the first half mile or so, I was just power walking, loosening up and getting to grips with the task ahead.

At the one mile marker, I just knew that someone would say "99 to go". Even though I was expecting it, and heard it last year and at Boulder I still had to laugh at it - kind of an insane laugh though. It was still dark, but I didn't bother with my headlamp, I carried my Advance Auto $2.50 flashlight - and it did a great job.

A year ago, I knew nothing and knew nobody in this sport. This year it was almost a reunion of the many people I have met, TammyJonathan, Susan and Fred, Marie, Ray, Shannon, Meredith, Tom, Tony, Steve and probably others that I can't think of right now.

"If you wanna run with the kool kidz, you're gonna have to take the ear buds out". So I ran a few miles with Susan Dummar, and I think it was the last time I listened to music the whole race. All that worry about how I am going to give my MP3 player a booster charge came to nothing. It was great to have company, and it really does make time go fast. Into the first aidstation - yay, FOOD!! I was ravenous. These days to avoid stomach upsets, I tend to avoid solid food the 24 hours preceding a race. I get my calories from Boost/Ensure etc. It works well, unless I do something stupid. Like eat an egg. (Remember this when I start talking about lap 6).

I have a wonderful knack of being photographed at just the right time:

Time was flying. About 16-17 miles in, I found myself passing and being passed by the same woman, About half-way up a hill we figure out that we are pretty much running and walking at the same pace, so we decided to hang out for a while. This was Julie, who was running her first 50 miler. ("I'm just doing the 50", she said. "No no", says I, "It's never JUST 50, 50 is still long way."). Julie and I ran together for the next 36 miles, she was great company, and I was thrilled to be a part of her first 50 mile race. It was all very reminiscent of last year when I ran with Frankie for a good length of time, except that then  I was the one doing my first 50. Julie ran very strong on her last lap, and we came into the halfway point for me at about 11:32. I'm hoping I have talked her into doing a 100 in the near future! That was a very solid time for me, (16 minutes quicker than last year, just 6 minutes slower than at Boulder), and a very solid time for Julie's first 50.

Holy crap I look like a moron in this one - but this is Julie and I at 50 miles

It's pacer time........... and time to head out into the night.

There is more to come......................

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Friday, April 2, 2010

Umstead 100 - time to get some words down!

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

It's about time I start to put some kind of write up together! Actually, it helps that I am now allowed to remove my splint as of yesterday, typing is not so much as a pain as it was one handed. Still got the pins in though.

So anyway, Umstead 100. My second 100, my first 100 at Umstead, and my second run Umstead (50 last year).

Here's a few keywords that will remind me of what to write about as I go along:

Wot no music Jimbo?
Bad Eggs
Baby Wipes
Bad Joke
Good friends

Right then "booze". It has occurred to me that lots of running and lots of booze have a similar effect on the body. Bear with me. You see, the first thing, the memory goes. I was out there running for almost 28 hours. If I piece together every single memory I have, it probably wouldn't amount to more than 5 hours. If I drank for 28 hours straight, there would be a similar reaction. I guess that's my way of saying "I forgot a lot, so excuse the random ramblings". Booze also makes me tired the next day, and can upset the stomach. It also makes me stumble around in the early hours of the morning and pee a lot. Sound familiar? Not sure they have rehab for ultrarunners though.

"Cold". On the Friday the day before the race, I just had to get there. No reason except to be amongst the other 'crazies'. So I left home at lunch time and headed up to the park to hang out for a bit (and get a great parking spot right next to the course). And check out the cabin. The cabins at Umstead are great, and next year I will reserve one again. It is nice to be able to fall out of bed and be at the start line. All well and good, but a cold front moved through early evening, and the temperature plumetted - close to freezing during the night, and although I was cozy [trying] to sleep, it was very difficult to get up, lube up and get ready to run 100 miles. Next year, I will remember to bring some kind of lantern

Pre race was all about getting some coffee in me and trying not to panic. The race HQ was pretty full, and there were plenty of people with flying elbows - which meant that the warm caffienated liquid I was trying to consume - well 30% went over me, 50% ended up on the floor, 10% ended up on the folks with the flying elbows. I managed to consume the rest. A second cup had similar disposal ratios. A third try - the urn was empty..........

A couple of minutes to six, and we all headed outside, and at 6 exactly - I think it was a gun blast that set us off - away we went.

More to come......................... but well, it's a toasty day in NC, and I am thristy - I wouldn't want to forget what I wrote now would I?

Umstead 100 part 1
Umstead 100 part 2
Umstead 100 part 3
Umstead 100 part 4

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Umstead 2010

More to come..... but to sum up, had a good run, and finished the 100 in 27:49
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Umstead 100

100 miles. 48 Hours from now, I will be somewhere approaching 100K.

It's looking like the weather will be close to perfect, 63F and dry. I'll take that, but would probably prefer an another 10 degrees.

Tomorrow, I'll be packing before heading up to the park around lunch time, and I won't leave until it's all over.

I was remarkably calm till, oh, I dunno, about now. Nerves are kicking in big time. I'll try ice cream, perhaps a beer.

Aid station to aid station. Left right repeat. Beware the chair. Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty,walk before you're tired. Etc etc.

100 miles... it's a long way.

I'll see y'all on the other side.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ellerbe Springs Marathon - Ellerbe NC

I should have posted this a while ago - no excuses, I am a bad blogger.

The Ellerbe Spring Marathon, another Mangum Track Club event, and just like every Mangum race/run I have done, this one was a lot of fun, and as usual, I enjoyed the run and the great company.

About the course - you know, I can't think of any flat parts, there were certainly a lot of hills, and I took  to be good 'power walking' practice.

I managed to negative split the race, which I don't think I have ever done before in any distance, 2:31 in the first half, and finished in 4:58. My third fastest marathon time.

A special thank you to the Dummars - the RD's, MTC and all the special volunteers who came out to cheer us on.

I'll be back  next year.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Time


I would vote for anyone whose campaign includes "Permanent Daylight Savings Time"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Running Late

Yay, on my way out of the park this afternoon, I noticed that they have changed the "Park Closing" time to 8pm.

As of tomorrow, I will therefore start enjoying the trails after work, as well as the weekends!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Injury Update

On Monday, I went for a follow up visit to the hand doctor. An X-ray revealed that the fractures weren't healing properly, in fact, it looked like the break was getting bigger. The doctor basically gave me one option. Surgery to pin the bones back together.

That happened yesterday - I had never had surgery before, so I was quite nervous. All went fairly smoothly I suppose. Above is the x-ray they took afterwards, you can clearly see the wires (6" nails) that they used to pin it together.

Not sure how long I won't be able to run for - my post-op follow up appontment is next week. I'm guessing no sooner than that, and right now it's pretty painful (even with the vicodin!). Although I am hoping to go for a couple of walks this weekend instead.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rocky Mount FA Marathon

Jimbo, 25 miles in

Frank (2008 marathon, and 2009 50k winner) ran strong to finish in second place

Crossing the finish line

At the start

I was a little disappointed to learn earlier in the week that the Pilot Mountain Payback marathon has had to be postponed. An ice storm had led to several trees falling over, and making it impossible for the race to go ahead as planned this weekend.

This threatened to ruin my "streak" of an ultra or marathon every month this year - I would have been forced to change the streak rules to "a marathon or ultra in every month with more than 29 days".

But..... step up Frank and the Rocky Mount Endurance Club, who at the last minute as a result of several recent race cancellations, put together the Rocky Mt FA Marathon. (Yay, the streak can continue)

I won.

Armed with a turn sheet, and making sure I hung out with some locals so I didn't get lost - and of course to ensure that I kept my main competition in sight (Brad and Frank), we ran the first part of the course around some very nice neighborhoods, before heading back to the start/finish area. The second part of the course took us on the some river trails, and round some parks and back to the aid station - I ran with Brad for this 7 mile or so part of the course - Brad eventually went on to win the 30K event.

For the second half marathon, I ran with Frank - again, the strategy was to ensure that he didn't pull away. Plus he was great company.

With 26 miles done, I made a 0.2 mile surge for the finish, and to great applause, I broke the tape in first place. Frank came in second. We didn't hang around to see who came in third place. In all the excitement, they forgot to give me my winners check and medal - I guess those will arive in the mail later in the week ;)

But seriously...... a lot of fun, a really good training run, and some great company. Oh, and I won, just in case I forgot to mention it.