Sunday, December 30, 2012

6 Hours of WTF? LOL! Boxing Day Madness and Awesomeness


Below are the results of the Second Annual Boxing Day Madness 6 hour fat ass fun run in Kiwanis Park Sanford NC.

This year, I also gave athletes from anywhere in the country (world even) to participate – just let me know the mileage ran, and I would list you in the results (those with the asterisk). We had runners in NJ, NV, Western NC and OH.

The rest of the runners deserve a ton of accolades for even just showing up – they were greeted with heavy, cold rain – a drenching, soaking rain.  Everyone who managed to run even just a little while deserve a ton of credit – congratulations to all.

BCRT Chief [Brick City Running Tribe here in Sanford), Tim Preble ran a smart race all day, staying in sight of the leaders, and eventually picking them off to win overall. Considering a year ago to the day was Tim’s first ultra – where he just got above 26.2, and he suffered a rather spectacular meltdown towards the end, he has come a long way in a year! Congrats!

There was a tie for first place among the women the second year running, with Amy Surrette, and Sue Harbour grinding out 21 miles each. Gene Meade wore a skirt of some description. I think he was trying to con the RD into making it a three-way tie for the women.

Amy’s race write up is here:

2012-12-26 12.08.39
Gene and his skirt. “Ach laddie, it is but a mist!”

There were distance PR’s for Shawn Sheffield (who also got his first Ultra distance) and also Colin Barrows.

Jeff Sackaroff won the ugly-sweater contest (can’t imagine why!)

2012-12-26 12.04.58

John Price came all the way down from Virginia Beach for this run – how cool is that?? John has an impressive ultrarunning resume, having run across the United States in 2011 (averaging 35 miles per day for more than 3000 miles), almost the complete length of Great Britain earlier this year, and he is a veteran of The Last Annual Vol State 500k run across TN and The Barkley Marathons. In 2013, his next adventure will be 30 Iron Distance Triathlons in a row. Yes, you read that right, that is an Ironman every day for 30 days, for a total accumulative mileage 4,218 miles in a month. And now he can add to his list the fact that he survived the Boxing Day Madness Typhoon of 2012!

John Price dodging a puddle

I have a ton of chipotle chicken left , as there would have been no way I would have got a grill lit (going to have a cookout on New Years Day probably to get rid of it). There were a ton of great snacks, and Gene’s vegan soup was really nice too – got even nicer when we added Deanna’s deep fried Cajun turkey to it!

Also, as a result of me being lazy, I did not get around to arranging t-shirts before the run – so instead, I had people sketch stuff and I am going to make a whacky, unique, “reflections” of the day shirt…. watch this space – it could end up looking something like this:

2012-12-26 22.19.46

On the whole, I think those brave enough to get out of bed and come for a run in the rain had fun – congrats to everyone who took part!

Name Miles
Tim Preble 33.6
Colin Barrows 31.5
Bob Sites 30.45
Jim Wei 28.35
Trever Schick 27.3
Shawn Sheffield 27.3
Jeff Sackaroff 27.3
John Price 23.1
Tony Mollica * 23
Sue Harbour 21
Gene Meade 21
Amy Surrette 21
Bill Parquet 13.65
Alanna Garrison-Kast * 13
Mike Flores 10.5
Lisa Daniels 8.4
Jeremy Jackson 8.4
Paul Heckert * 6
Cari Heckert * 6
Marshall McNeill 5
Christy Buchannan McNeill 5
Karen Martin * 3.5
Jody Stauffer * 3.1

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ever thought of hiring a running coach?

This is a blatant plug for one of my best friend’s coaching business.

Here is the website:

Creating Momentum! Shannon McGinn

Anyone who has ever met Shannon will struggle not to be inspired by her awesomeness. Under 20 hours for 100 miles, 110.67 for 24 hours, 3:15 marathon, 4:13 for 50k. Yeah, so she is a fast runner, and she is also a certified long distance running coach. Being a good runner though is not the only thing that makes a good coach though (it is a good start though!). You will need to be motivated to train (not shouted at), you will need to understand the methods and why you are being asked to do what you are being asked to do. And you will need inspiration.

What Shannon doesn’t know (unless she reads this), is that had I been selected in the Western States Lottery, I would have hired her to coach me in the months leading up to the race – It would have been an obvious step; it is apparent that opportunities to run Western States will be few and far between, and I would absolutely would want to give myself the best possible chance of finishing on the once in a lifetime opportunity I would get of running my dream race.  Also, having had numerous consultations and discussions with her over the years, I absolutely believe her methods (how she trains herself) would work for me. Volume, running streaks, slow running, using races for speedwork, run for joy etc. [Probably about time I paid her for all of the advice I have received too!]

I think I will end up by using the words our mutual friend Alanna posted on Facebook to summarize why I think Shannon would be a great choice for a coach – I can’t think of a better way to say it.

For anyone out there looking for some motivation -- Shannon is an excellent running coach, a good friend of mine, and a wonderful person who can help you attain your fitness and wellness goals. She provides both online and in-person coaching, and can kick your butt into high gear -- yes, this would make an excellent Christmas present for that special running someone!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reflections on the Western States Lottery. Again.

[For last year’s reflections…click here.]


I didn’t get in again. But I shouldn’t be surprised, the odds were stacked against me, everyone. With 4 tickets in the draw, I had ~28% chance of getting in.

This time I decided to make the journey from NC to Auburn (misplaced confidence, not the first time I have had that)– what a fun time; the room is filled with energy – big rounds of applause when a local favorite gets picked, or a 4-time loser who is in the crowd gets picked. As the names get drawn and you start realizing that there are not many spots left, you can certainly feel the energy draining out of the place. Looking forward to next year already. You can also tell that they take the integrity of the process very seriously.

Of course it was disappointing to not be selected, but it kinda is what it is, a random process, fairly done, and the probability of having my name pulled out even with 4 tickets in the hat was slim.

There were quite a few times  during the drawing (try saying that fast after a few beers), when a ticket would be pulled, and it would go like this:

RD: “Another 4 time loser”
ME: [Heart starts thumping]
RD: “From San…….”
RD: “…….Jose”
ME: “Shit”

That happened 5 times. 5 times my heart skipped a beat. There are 5 4-time losers with San as the first three letters of their town. 5 times I get ready to do a fist pump and give a large “WOOHOO!”

Seriously, what are the odds of that?? There were 37 (I think) four time losers picked – 5 of them came SanSomewhere. None of those Sans ended in Ford. Bollox.

I don’t feel as down as I did this time last year. Here is why. After the drawing – I took a walk on part of the Western States trail, I sat on a rock next to the American River and looked up at No Hands Bridge (mile 97 of the course), and started thinking how lucky I am. In the next 6 weeks or so, I will be living within 45 minutes of this spot. And then the plan came to me. Over the course of the next year, I am going to run the whole course, piece by piece. Squaw Valley, to Auburn. Why? Because I can. And I will.

Some geekery. In December 2009, my name was one of 1693 entrants. That pool of entrants has dwindled year on year. 2010, there were 500 of us that would have 2 tickets in the hat. 2011 there were 258 with three tickets, and today, there were 122 with 4.

Of those 4, there were 37 who get selected, leaving just 85 from the original 1693.  Meaning that 1608 (95%) have either got into the race, failed to qualify or lost interest.

If I was a betting man, I would guess that next year, there will be just 50-60 people with 5 tickets in the hat. Those 50 or 60, even with their 5 tickets, will still have only around a 30% chance of getting selected. It is the nature of the beast that way this particular lottery works.

Perhaps, Mr. Race Director, sir, perhaps, next December, you can clean the board  get rid of 250-300 tickets out of the drawing and let all 50-60 of us in the race. Please?















Friday, December 7, 2012


That is my number in the Western States 100 lottery tomorrow.

There will be 4 tickets in the hat with that number on it.

I am told I have a 27.1% chance of being selected – which is pretty much what I predicted after last year's lottery.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Croatan 24 Hour Ultramarathon

This is late – sorry. Oh well.

There are lots of different things that give races an appeal. The list below is a pretty good summary. A run doesn’t have to have all of these things to appeal to me – in fact it may just have say one or two of these things and do them well.

So, anyway, here is the list in no order:

    • Well supported
    • Well organized
    • An RD who is loving what he is doing
    • Fair priced (value in other words)
    • Nice place to run
    • Good views
    • Loops
    • Friendly runners
    • Good atmosphere
    • Its own character

Croatan pretty much had all of these covered. Brandon the Race Director did a superb job in every aspect of this race. From the schwag, the course, the volunteers – I loved this race.

Now the character of the race – Brandon is a former marine, and the race being held on the marines’ birthday, there was ceremony marking the occasion. Also to commemorate veterans day, at the start of the race, active duty and retired military were asked to lead for the first lap. We were also given special t-shirts that said the branch of service were in. I had my own special shirt with “Royal Navy” on it. Nice touch, and thank you.

The course is a 1.3 mile loop, in the Croatan National Forest in Eastern North Carolina, about a 3 hour drive from home. My plan was to run somewhere north of 50 miles. How north of 50 all depended on how I felt when I got to 50!

I got got to run some loops with Ray K and hang out with my friend Steph (who also volunteered for several hours – thanks!). I enjoyed their company.

The course – 1.3 miles is a great distance, you get a ‘bonus mile’ every 3.3 loops. The views around the salt marshes were gorgeous. I can honestly say that despite running around it 37 laps, it never got boring and I actually never even got familiar with the loop. Normally on a small loop ultra, you get to learn every single turn, tree, view, pothole etc. Not this one – I think the diversity of the scenery just kept it interesting. The sunset was spectacular

So, anyway, I got my 50 miles in, and tried to sleep for a couple of hours and then drove home.

This race is a great one. Put it on your to-do list.

Enjoy the photos – you can never have enough sunset pictures.