Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Results of Dumb Ass Fat Ass Boxing Day Madness 6 Hour Ultra



  Sex Age Mileage
C.H. Christopher M 37 37.6
John Adamof M 43 35.45
Trever Schick M 37 34.45
Charles Akers M 32 32.6
Darryl Banks M 45 31.6
Chris Knodel M 38 31
Tim Weiss M 53 31
Jeff Sackaroff M 38 31
Stephen Pieroni M 40 31
Bill Parquet M 40 30
Bryant Dukes M 38 30
Charles West M 43 30
Gene Meade M 48 26.9
Tim Preble M 38 26.6
Linda Banks F 48 26.6
Blanca Akers F 32 26.6
Bob Sites M 58 26
Amy Surrette F 38 24.9
Dan Pieroni M 71 24
George Wannop M   23
Michael Holt M 23 23
Norbert Miller M 55 22
Ben Dillon M 62 20
Jimmy Ballard M 48 20
Amy Schimmel F 35 18
Jeff Kimrey M   12
Nelson McDonald M   12
Robyn Smith F 59 12
Deanna Lovell F   10
Jim Elliot M 45 10
Donald Dees M 49 8
James Plant M 47 7.15
Fred M 58 7
Chris Elliot M   6
Mary Flood F 41 6
Jody Stouffer M 40 6
Melissa Stouffer F 39 5
Kirby Ballard F 9 5
Eagan     5
Jenn Elliot F 11 5
Randal Ware M 29 4
Hannah Dees F   3
Johnnie Dickens M   3
Jeremy M   2
Maurice M   1

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Awesomeness of 2011 and looking forward to 2012

Like most runners – I tend to use this time of year for some reflection on the year that is rapidly approaching the end.

2011 started with me running. At midnight, December 31 2010, I was running. And winning. Yep, I was first place male at the Freedom Park 12 hour run. No, really, I was winning. W-I-N-N-I-N-G. Shit, you don’t believe me. Of course, never having been in that position, I learned that it creates a whole new set of problems that I didn’t know existed. For example, I didn’t fuel and hydrate properly, and as a result ended up falling apart with 3 or 4 hours to go. I couldn’t hang on to it. So, the year started with second place male, (third overall). Good start.

Over the course of the year, I have ran 1017 miles in races/organized runs. I have failed in two races, Umstead 100 where a cold prevented from going any further than 50 miles, and also I had a DNF at Javelina where I kicked a rock and twisted my knee.

I have run around 2200 (with a couple of weeks left, I will see if I can get that to 2300) miles total for the year – above my target of 2111.

The highlight was of course finishing Tahoe Rim Trail 100. The most unbelievably difficult thing I have ever done. This 33 hours, 59 minutes and 20 seconds was one of my life’s greatest achievements.
2011 has also been the year I got faster. I have PR’s in 5K, 13.1, 26.2, 50k, 12 hour, 50 mile and 100k. The ones I wanted though, 100 mile and 24 hour have alluded me.

Here is my 2011 race list

1 Freedom Park 24 Hour (43.38m)
2 NC Fat Ass (9m)
3 Frosty 50k
4 Weymouth Woods 100k
5 Geezer Pleezer 4-Miler
6 Pilot Mountain Marathon
7 Umstead Trail Marathon
8 Ellerbe Marathon
9 Umstead 50
10 Hampton VA 24 Hour(57.25M)
11 Panther Prowl 5k
12 Inside Out Sports 1/2 Marathon
13 Conquer the Cove Marathon
14 Boogie 50-Miler
15 Chatooga 50k
16 Lake Tahoe 100-Miler
17 Laurel Valley 35-Miler
18 Two Bridges 50-Miler
19 CARA 5k
20 Hinson Lake 24 Hour(68.11)
21 Oct 1 Shirt Run
22 New River 50k
23 Medoc Trail Marathon
24 Ridge to Bridge Marathon
25 Seaboard 5k
26 City of Oaks Marathon
27 Javelina 100k
28 Pinehurst Turkey Trot 1/2 Marathon
29 Derby 50k
30 Crooked Rd 24 hour
31 Pittsboro 5k

To save you from counting, that is 31 events, 22 were 26.2 or above, and includes 15 ultras. Not bad.
It means I will finish second or third in the Mangum Track Club “What’s the point” race. I would have won most other years.

As always – it is the people I come across that make this sport so special. I have met many and made many new friends. The “Team Awesome” experience was fantastic – and somehow, figuring out a way to bring that whole concept forward to 2012 is going to be my generic goal – what do I mean by that? Well, I don’t mean that every race has to have a dozen members of a team like we did in April – no, I think it means that I have to bring awesomeness to every run I do. It doesn’t necessarily mean maximum effort – it means maximum enjoyment, along with a sprinkling of maximum effort.

As for more specific goals - and I consider these targets, targets that I can move if I want to –  first on the list is getting a Western States qualifier. Also sub 24 hour Umstead would have to be a consideration – but just finishing Umstead is a secondary goal (and will also provide me with the qualifier). I think based on the way I started there last year, I probably have a reasonable shot at it. I still see a 100 miles at Hinson lake as perfectly manageable, so would like to get that done in September. (WTF? LOL)

I’m thinking I would like to see if I can manage at least four 100 milers. Umstead, Tahoe RIm, Javelina and one or two others.

I have already mentioned on another post (here) about the 2012 5k challenge. That is a 5k every week under 24 minutes (60 seconds grace in January). I’m also thinking I would like to shave a minute off of my 5k time – let’s set a target of 22.5 minutes. If they do the panther prowl in May, that would be a good as any place to go for it again – the location of my current 5k PR.

100 pushups – There is a good website that outlines a training plan to get to do one pushups (surprisingly hundredpushups.com) I think that will be a fun challenge.

I would like to log 2412 total miles. 201 miles per month. Not sure I can race as much – but heck, let’s make 1000 miles of racing a target.

I would like to get my name picked out of the hat for Western States Lottery (yeah – good luck with that. WTF? LOL)

Finally – 2012 – (I’m hoping people say “twenty-twelve” instead of “two-thousand and twelve” by the way), I just want it to be filled with awesomeness, and I want to stay happy and healthy.

Have a great Christmas – may it be filled with too much booze, too much food and great presents. Oh, and if you happen to be near Sanford on Boxing Day – (December 26) feel free to come along to Jimbo’s Boxing Day Dumb Ass, Bad Ass, Mad Ass, Fat Ass Fun Run at Kiwanis Park

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reflections on the Western States Lottery

I’m not sure that I will publish this, I don’t want to sound all whiney – I guess if you see it, then I will have already published. This is supposed to be a happy website – you know, the musings and departures from normal of a bald-fat-middle-aged-ultrarunner – somewhat light hearted. But you see, I’m sad.Crying face Not life or death sad but just sad.
The first thing I want to say, is that I accept the rules of the Western States board, I absolutely accept that they can choose the entrants on whatever criteria they deem appropriate and by using whatever method they choose. I absolutely unequivocally accept the lottery results, and I have no question as to the integrity or fairness of the lottery, and totally understand that it is a random process  and that any random selection of names, may not include mine. I am not in slightest bit angry, I am just slowly getting heart broken, (too strong? Probably). <sigh>
In the incredibly slim chance that someone ever reads this who has any authority with the run, I want to let you know, that to run the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is the highest thing on my bucket list – way higher than anything else. When I first started this ultrarunning madness, it was always with a goal to eventually getting to run the wonderful Western States run. There are no ‘ifs’ ‘and’ or ‘buts’ about it, it is my dream –  so, I hope you accept that this is not meant to be disparaging, and I would like to hope that you can take this blog as constructive.
I have been told – “don’t worry about Western States, there are plenty of other 100’s out there” (often by people who have already done WSER). Yeah, I know that. I have even done some of them. And TRT 2012 is looking good for my annual fix of running in the Sierras. But as wonderful as those other 100’s are, and as challenging and as well supported etc etc, they just are simply not Western States. That’s the one that is my dream, and I can dream what I want right?
So, Saturday December 10th 2011. Noon EST – myself along with about 2000 other people with a dream had their names in an “electronic" hat (an SQL database whatever that is). A button was pressed 267 times, and 267 lucky souls were selected to run Western States in June. The odds are stacked against everyone – that is clear.
To sweeten the pot for people who lose the lottery – the following year, you are given an extra ticket in the hat. At first glance it sounds a great system, be patient, keep qualifying and the lottery will stack in your favor. So, this year – me as a previous “two-time-loser”, I had three tickets in the hat, along with 257 other people. There were 460 people with two tickets and 1222 people with just the one ticket.
Now, I am just your average excel user and certainly no statistician, but I figured my 3 tickets gave me about a 1 in 4 chance of being selected. And the actual lottery reflected that number – a very rough count and and it looks like about 57 of the original 258 two time losers got in. So….. there will be no more than 201 three-time-losers in the draw next year. The final number will probably be between 150 and 180.  So, if I run the numbers again with my 4 tickets for next year, it looks like I get about a 1 in 4 chance again (just a hair better). I run the numbers again with 5 tickets in the draw for the lottery in 2013 – still somewhere between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4. Hmmm yes, I appreciate that, the extra tickets give me an advantage over someone with just one ticket in the hat, but my chances of getting selected year on year do not dramatically improve.
Now then, there is a whole load of assumptions that I am making with regard to the number of people who enter the lottery and return for a following year, so nothing is anywhere near certain (especially my calculations) – but here is what my average use of excel told me – if nothing changes, in the 2019 lottery, there will be maybe a dozen or so people  with 10 tickets in the hat, and only a 50% chance of being selected! I just hope that I can keep qualifying for that long.
Is it fair to say that the current system is a little flawed? I won’t say unfair – it is random, so therefore fair. I would like to think that consideration can be made to changing the lottery system a little. I would like to see it weighted heavily to those who have been most patient and qualified year on year. I have some ideas, that I hope could be considered (subject to anyone actually reading this far) – instead of adding a single ticket for each losing year, how about doubling up? That would mean next year I would have 8 tickets in the drawing – with perhaps around a 50% chance of getting in – if I don’t make it, then 16 tickets for the 2013 lottery, or maybe, with just about 70-80 names remaining on the four-time-loser list, consideration maybe give to “clearing the board”, and everyone who has been on the list for five lotteries is just accepted into the race. Similar to the old “two-time-loser” system (which with numbers involved now, the ttl would be just unworkable).
Another thought is to have separate lotteries for each group of losers – for example, next year 40% of the available race slots are just for the three-time-losers, 30% for the two-timers, 20% for one-timers and then 10% for first time entries. Again, using this system, it looks like it may be feasible to “clear the board” of the biggest losers after the 5th time of qualifying for the run.
It would be nice to have finite time, a time where I know for certain, that as long as I keep qualifying, I will be in the race
Am I out of line here?
OK then – I guess it is time to work on a qualifier for the 2013 race.

Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra

Since I have been doing the blogging thing, one thing I have noticed is that the hits to each page go up dramatically if I put the name of the race as the title. I have also noticed that if write things like “Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra” in the body –  again more hits. Thank you Google – you’re doing the world  favor by spreading the word about this wonderful race.
On to the race – Roanoke is about 3 hours from home so it was a fairly easy journey for Tom, Amy and myself. We met up with Shannon, Dave and Tamra all the way from New Jersey – this became a partial Team Awesome reunion.

Over dinner, goals were discussed for the race next morning. 100. 100 miles being the target for Tom, Dave, Shannon and myself. Amy, just returning from a nasty injury had only been given clearance by her Doctor to run that day after a several month layoff; Amy just wanted to run some.

100 miles. 24 hours. WTF? LOL – not even So Far From Normal, as that is becoming a routine goal for me. A goal that I continually fail at….. but a common goal nonetheless.

They say life is full of surprises – but there were at least a couple of things that weren’t actually surprises at all.
Not-a-surprise #1 -  It’s December. It’s cold. With a risk of being very cold. It was. (Then why was I surprised by this? I was actually surprised that I was so surprised). IT’S DECEMBER NUMB NUTS. OF COURSE IT WILL BE COLD!
Not-a-surprise #2 – It never was a surprise,was never going to be a surprise, in fact, I would have been surprised had I been surprised. Nope, no surprise at all that Ricky and Sharon Scott would put on a great race. Ricky and Sharon run in the same circles as I do (quite literally in the case of Hinson Lake), they are often at MTC races, shirt runs, Umstead etc., so they know what ultrarunners like when it comes to a race. Yep, they did a great job – and I wasn’t surprised at all.

Back to the race – Shannon, Dave and Tamra had set up Team Awesome HQ, about 1/3 of the way around the course. The HQ consisted of a tent (heated), and a table full of goodies. I had a 2.5 gallon ziploc bag full of my “stuff” and another 2 full of clothes. I was still jogging to the start line, when at 8:00am sharp the race started. It was cold (SURPRISE!), even frost on the ground (WTF?).

So, 24 hours, 4.166666667 miles each and every hour. 14.4 minutes for each mile. 100 miles in the bag. No problem. (LOL!) Each loop was a certified 0.95xxxx miles

First loop – 12 minutes. YAY, time in the bank. Second lap 11 minutes. YAY more minutes in the bank. I stuck at around a 12 minute pace for a few loops, until Shannon came around to lap me. Shannon’s spirit always motivates me, she needed to slow done some, and she told me I needed to speed up some – so that meant our pace was perfectly matched for quite some time. Our target loop time was 10:45, and it was going really well.

Early on – maybe first loop or 2. See that white frosty looking shit on the ground? Yeah – I know, it was December, I was surprised by that. (Picture Ricky)
Jimbo and Shannon sorting out the world’s running problems, and strategizing over Facebook fights. (If you look closely, you can see the shroud of awesomeness that engulfs Shannon). Picture Ricky.

10 or 11 miles in I had my first shoe change, I switched from my Merrell Trail Gloves to my Kinvaras, and kept plodding away. Some loops I was on my own, others I had company. This is what I love about short loop races – you get to see all of the other runners – if you want to chat, you can; if you want to lose yourself in your thoughts r music you can. Time went on, round and round. Plus the occasional break. Hmmm, probably too many occasional breaks. I also got to see Amy running for the first time in many months!

Talking of Amys – my other Amy friend was also running (Amy Surrette – guest writer to this blog after Hinson). Amy was running for a cause – for a family who had just had triplets and the mother was having medical issues. (Details here) She was running solidly – her whole family was there, and they were cheerleaders to everyone who was running! A special thank you to Kayla who presented me with a strip of Bacon early in the day. It is almost like I have got this reputation of being a bacon loving fiend or something. I am certain it was nothing to do with the fact that I demolished a truck load of bacon in the Shoneys after Hinson – and Kayla may have been a witness…..)

The course is made up of crushed granite surface, not quite flat, and even had a short steep climb (That One Steep Hill™ – every course has one) and an equally short steep descent. It doesn’t take long to figure out where to walk and where to run, and I like that routine of a short loop

My 25 mile split was around 5:40. Ooops. I figure 5 hours if I want to break 100 in 24. Oh well time to shift on to goal #2. See if I could beat 91 miles. Certainly doable (after all, I have done it before – that was my 24 hour split at Boulder). About 5:30pm, it was time to get ready for the night. Tights, and many layers were going to be the answer to fight the chill which was-a-coming.

About 7pm Shannon announced that she was done – happy with 50, unhappy with foot pain. I was in the low 40’s at this point, and was tempted to be done too. It was getting cold. (SURPRISE……. it’s not like it is December or anything). My left foot was hurting (very weird pain – it felt like my laces were done up too tight (they weren’t).

The amount of people still going was rapidly diminishing – and so was I. With about 50 miles done I was tired, cold, wet and in pain. And Amy’s car was warm. Time for a nap and to warm up, and probably time to call it a day. Dave and Tom were still going well. Not sure how long I slept for, but when I came around, I was so toasty. And hungry. I think I headed out to do a couple more loops – I was probably running for about an hour – at a guess, maybe 2am? I dunno, my memories are fairly fuzzy. It was cold, the moon was bright, and it was cold.  Some time later, Tom joined us in the car, he was also pretty much done. Dave was still going.  Around 4:30, Tom and I figured we would walk/jog  loop, and then defrost, walk/jog then defrost – rinse and repeat.  Tom started to get a second wind, he would walk with me for a loop, and while I thawed out, he would run a loop fairly hard, giving him time to defrost for a few minutes. This was a 30 minute cycle. It actually worked quite well – and I do wonder how I could have done had I discovered this ‘technique’ sooner. At 5am, the temperature was recorded at 21oF . Yep, it was cold (SURPRISE!!). About 6:00-6:30, with over 90 miles done, Super Dave had had enough. He ran  incredibly well through a tough night. Awesomeness.

7am – daylight returned, and it has been said by ultrarunner after ultrarunner, that daylight just makes the whole world seem that much better. The fatigue and pain that had plagued me through the long long night had miraculously disappeared. There was an hour left, and I had just less than 57 miles on the board. Hmmm, can I do 12 minute miles? Target 100 had returned. 100k. GO JIMBO GO. Just like at Hinson Lake, I reserved my best and fastest miles for the last hour. I actually considered myself a fraud – considering how bad I felt in the night, how come I could run so strong now?
23.5 hours or so. (Behind me, you can see much of Team Awesome, Super Dave, Shannon (matching orange fleece from last /this year’s Freedom Park), and crew-person extraordinaire, Tamra)

Pushing hard, and watching the clock, it was going to be tight, but it looked like I would hit 100k. Just before 8am – I was handed a popsicle stick with my number on it to drop when the horn sounded at exactly 24 hours. Amy Surrette caught up with me, and we even ran up ‘the one hill ™’  and we ran together for the last few minutes.

 Final distance 62.29 miles (just a hair over 100k). Happy with that. Tom didn’t quite make a 100 miles – his second wind took him to 98.x miles.

So, to summarize. This is a great race, I was well fed, well supported by wonderful volunteers and in the company of friends for most of the 24 hours. It was cold – and I certainly wouldn’t complain if it occurred sooner in the year, but whenever it is, I will almost certainly be back.

Thanks Ricky for the photos - you can find more here.