Thursday, November 13, 2008


the mother road is done.
my psyche driving down to OK was decent. after 3+ weeks of non-running and stiff-legged slow running, i finally had a 'normal' run 3 days before the race.

when i first had the accident, i figured i'd be back jogging in 4-5 days.
then things sunk in and i realized 10 days might be optimistic.
i was finally walking again after 10 days, but no running til 14 days.
at that point my mind was trying to hold onto some hope, but really my enthusiasm was lost.
people said i couldn't lose fitness in 2 weeks. i wanted to believe them.
but i gained 5-6 lbs because my eating habits had inertia.
stumbling along on some 10 mile runs, i was back on the trails, but i had no pep. i couldn't do anything less than an 8:30 mile. the knee wouldn't allow it.
i had been so looking forward to those last 3 weeks of preparation, that when they were taken away the joy of the race left with them.
still, i knew i would run the race. it was on the way home to georgia (where i was excited to go) and there was no good reason not to start.
the one illegitimate reason i had was that i had put off running a 100 mile race for 8 years since starting to run ultras. everyone wondered why i hadn't run one was because i had this idea that i didn't want to run 100 until i was ready to RUN 100 miles. i knew i could cover the distance in the time limit, but that didn't sound particularly satisfying to me.
so i trained alot and had a great confidence boost from the le grizz run, and i was ready to RUN 100 miles.
so now, with the extra weight and the too-rested legs, i wasn't sure i could RUN the whole thing...and why do it?
i decided that it made sense to go for it.

i started out in the well cushioned shoes that i'd worn for the le grizz. i went out conservatively, just wanting to feel good til 100k.
my hamstrings were tight after 20 miles, so i changed into my racing flats (they had 1000 miles on them, and the padding was compacted, but at least they let my hammys loosen up) and strolled along. i think i was about 18th or so at 25 miles. i took some dr. pepper and gatorade every few miles, and cruised in to 50 miles in 8:22. i had moved up to about 7th place.

originally i'd hoped to keep the first 50 under 8 hours, but i was concerned about pushing too early. i knew that with my psyche the way it was, i needed to stay comfortable as long as possible. if i could avoid feeling horrible before 80 miles, then i figured i could force myself to finish well. but if it got rough before 50 then i wasn't sure i would finish.

anyway, 8:22 for 50 was fine. right on 10 minute miles. given that some of my best races have been negative splits i thought that even though it wasn't likely, i might still run close to 17 hours.

i slightly bonked at 53 miles, but got some calories down when i caught up to james in the van, and rectified the situation.
the sun was going down, and i told james to keep the stops 2 miles apart, so that i could easily keep the calories flowing. i thought i picked up the pace for the next 20 miles, and was super pumped to reach the 72 mile aid station in under 14 hours......until i found out that it was only the 67 mile aid station. damn! despite the slowing, i had still moved up to 5th place.

here was the make or break point of the race. i thought i'd been cruising, while in fact i'd been struggling. I knew that mentally i needed to concentrate on keeping up performance, rather than being disappointed at the pace falling off. if i could keep positive then i could still run under 19 or 20 hours (not terribly satisfying, but an obviously honest effort).

i hung in there and stayed positive til 71.5 miles, half way across the long bridge. there my metabolism slowed, and i got cold, and i started to walk. when i arrived at the aid station i was mentally broken. I gave up.

i have given up before, and still finished well, but it usually takes a couple/few hours of suffering before i correct the situation and get the right combination of calories and enthusiasm flowing again. At Vol-State if has taken me half a day to get things going again. that's suffering.

after giving up, i really wanted to quit. it was cold, my time goal was gone, and there was just a long 28 miles in the middle of the night to look forward to. i was still in 5th place, but that was small consolation for how i was feeling.

i told james to drive back to town and get some hot food. this way i wouldn't have the option to quit for a while....taking that option away might give me an opportunity to stop thinking negatively and let the calories do some work and get me moving again. as he left i said, 'when you get back i might even be running!'

well, this gravel section of the course treated my feet horribly, with the racing flats still on every step was painful. i kept plodding, and finally james came running up the road towards me. it turns out that crew vehicles weren't allowed on this section, so james ran back 3 miles to bring me some food. nice.
i ate and drank a little and we talked. i wanted to quit still. it was still a marathon to the finish and i just didn't see any really solid reason to struggle through it.

when we got to the van i kept walking. things were truly sucking, but i have been through much worse before. I decided that i needed to come up with a solid reason to quit, or else a solid reason to finish. if i came up with either one, then that would get the question of "should i finish" out of my mind.

well, when ever i have wanted to quit something in the past (like school or a task or a job, or a run) my dad has said, "you need to finish it, and then you can decide whether it was worth it, and whether you'll ever choose to do something similar again."

when you want to quit, this outlook is a tough one to take, but i thought about it. i didn't necessarily agree with it...i had been through alot in the past 4 months, why should i force myself through this pain, just to finish in an unsatisfying time?

long story short, i just kept going. at 90 miles james needed to get to the airport (by 6 am) and both he and i thought i'd drop out and drive him there. instead i told him to take the van to the airport and i'd get a ride there later.

he did, and i walked it in to the finish. 23:24.
certainly not a satisfying time, but i did finish.

the important aspect of finishing this race (i realized afterwards) is that i gained more experience that will help me in my next try at RUNNING 100 miles. now i know, "how far" 100 miles in one feels. this will be an advantage going into the next attempt.
now i just need to recover from the tired legs, and get the training consistent for a few months again.

good stuff. many thanks to james.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

down to 2.5 hours

ready to hit the road.
the past week has seen reduced mileage again. if anything, i am rested.
finally, on wednesday of this week, i had a run where things felt free again.
10 minute miles.
take it as it comes, do the best i know how.
limits are created in the mind more often than they are real.
you never know when this sweet life will be taken.


Monday, October 27, 2008

down to 2

10.20 1.5 miles - to grocery store and back. must keep the left leg straight to avoid tearing the stitches. limping 100%

10.21 1.5 miles - to grocery store. otherwise i am just reading and laying down. ready to be outside moving, but gotta keep the knee healthy or i won't be able to race.

10.22 4 miles. walked on the trails. still limping, but feel i'll be back soon.

10.23 4 miles. walked on the trails. still stiff legged limping, but moving!

10.24 9 miles. walked the 4 mile loop twice, plus to the grocery store. just happy to have moved!

10.25 11 miles. thought i might be able to run, actually jogged 2 blocks but while the stitches are ready for the bending of the knee, the tendon underneath is very tender. can't give a normal stride. walked 2 miles and then decided that a slow run was better than nothing, so i did that for hte remaining 7-8 miles. not normal running, but at least i got to sweat.

10.26 12 miles. ran the whole way. still limping somewhat, but a little better. can't extend the left leg due to the tender tendon. when will it feel normal, i wonder. is it tender from the rock bashing when i fell in montana, or is it tender because i didn't bend my knee for almost 2 weeks? i would guess it's due to a combination.

total: 43 miles. jeez, sure didn't feel like 43 miles, but i was exhausted after 12 on sunday. a couple weeks of nearly zero activity knocked out my ability to recover quickly. i needed a nap after sunday's run. maybe the coming week's effort will bring me back to the baseline, even if i lost some fitness i'm sure i'm still in the best shape of my life (i hope).

Monday, October 20, 2008

down to 3

10.13 13 miles. hiked up the spotted bear lookout trail. gorgeous views and fun hike. saw glacier park, swan range, more. nervous about bears, but made noise and no encounters.

10.14 8 miles. nearly climbed great northern mountain. inexperience caused an accident, and the stress levels were through the roof. end up with stitches in left knees and elbow. running will be a while.

10.15 0 miles. driving back to Boise so i can keep my wounds clean and sleep more comfortably.

10.16 1.5 miles. to grocery store and back. i have to limp to keep my leg straight and not tear the stitches. feel like someone beat me up.

10.17 3 miles. to library and back. unfortunately the excercise gets my blood pressure up a little and the wounds are weeping, so i'll have to lay low for a bit.

10.18 0 miles.

10.19 0 miles.

total: 26.5 miles. well, ideally i'd have finished the week with more hiking and done a couple decent runs at the end of the week. instead, the body needs rest. will this cost me fitness for the 100? or be a strengthening break? either way, i am in good shape and can't change what happened. I am lucky enough that it should be well healed before the 100, so at least it is still very likely that i'll run!

Friday, October 17, 2008

down to 4

10.6 10 miles. same backwards sidewinder loop, same tired start and good finish.

10.7 8 miles. Crooked Creek Trail in Boise National Forest. saw some super cool rock formations, a trail crew building a bridge, and helicopter dropping supplies. nice run with FREEZING bath in Crooked Creek Post-Run. I am on my way to Montana for exploration/adventure and Le Grizz....

10.8 11 miles. short hike in the morning on sweeney creek trail south of Hamilton, MT. AWESOME views and HUGE mountains here in Big Sky. then more miles on trails in rattlesnake rec area east of Missoula. Descending from Stuart Peak I ran into a big black bear. i made some noise, and retreated. found his/her scat on my alternate trail. A bear on my first day in

10.9 6 miles. just around downtown missoula and up to university's clark fork trail. very nice, just waiting for the library to open. just below freezing...the van was cold last night!

10.10 drove to hungry horse, scoped out the course, stayed up a little late talking to the locals who have been running and hiking for years. felt alittle better about grizzly country, and looking forward to the race in the a.m.

10.11 Le Grizz 50.
10 miles in 1:24
20 miles in 2:50
25 miles in 3:30
30 miles in 4:12
40 miles in 5:42
50 miles in 6:56
felt tight for the first 1/3, then smooth and very consitent throughout. consciously held back from hard effort, because my focus is mother road. VERY pleased with sub 7, and negative split. good confidence/experience for the 100.

10.12 0 miles. took it easy walking around flathead river and fishing in the cold.

total: 85 miles. enjoyed a couple exploration runs and then shook out the cobwebs for 50 miles. really pleased that my fitness is probably as good as i could have hoped. especially happy that i was still limber and care free at 50 miles.

down to 5

9.29 0 miles. resting

9.30 0 miles. resting

10.1 14 miles. two loops on sidewinder. strong running.

10.2 13 miles. up bogus basin to corrals, connected to 8th st. started tired but finished fine.

10.3 14 miles. up bogus basin road to dry creek trail. love this trail and connecting to hard guy trail. favorite route yet.

10.4 0 miles.

10.5 10 miles. ran sidewinder backwards. good run.

total: 51 miles. i was worn out and my achilles was extra tender after the preceding long week, so mon/tues were necessary zeros. the rest of the week felt good but i had a mental low on saturday and didn't get out. i think this was fine after the strong week before.

Monday, September 29, 2008

down to 6

9.22 14 miles. up 8th st to upper gulch trailhead. ran strong all the way up, but was weak on the return dowhill. just tired.

9.23 11 miles.

9.24 15 miles.

9.25 13 miles.

9.26 8 miles. a slight recovery day, took it easy.

9.27 20 miles. e-mailed a group of boise ultrarunners and had 4 come join me for a nice loop early in the morning. saw some new trails and had conversation on a run for the first time in months.

9.28 25 miles. similar group of runners. up to the ridge and over the ski lifts at bogus basin. we explored some new trails trying to find a quick way back down after 6 hours, but instead came out on the road still above 5500'. we hitched rides down. a nice long training run with like mided crazies.

total: 108 miles.
got the miles up there. it was an effort, and the achilles felt it a little bit with all the uphill stuff. but this is what's necessary. i will lay low for a day and then see how next week pans out. i am excited about the training and the big race. this is the time to push, while still keeping tabs on the weak links. 100 miles is a long week. good times. exploring the experiment of one.

down to 7

9.15 0 miles

9.16 19 miles. intended 1:45 run, but made one wrong turn up high in the foothills, and ended up doing nearly 3 hours. this was a good run, even with just one water bottle i managed to cruise and hold thigns together til the last mile. 3 hours in this non-humidity with just a little water is an accomplishment. glad my body is adjusting and doing well.

9.17 6 miles. rode bicycle up to polecat trail system. motivation was low, so just did one loop.

9.18 12 miles. enjoyed sweet sidewinder trail in hulls gulch system. can't get enough of this trail with the great slopes and views.

9.19 14 miles. to sidewinder again and this time two laps. sprinted down the mountain to fend off mtn bikers in pursuit. adrenaline and speed. quite fun.

9.20 0 miles.

9.21 20 miles in two 10 mile runs. morning
morning: in hulls gulch area, some fast downhill running again.
evening: into the dark and wrapped up the week.

total: 70 miles. enjoyed this week immensely. still a bit confounded that while 70 miles seems "reasonable" it is not "easy." oh well, this is still my best training ever and in the future we'll see if more miles get easier. good times.

down to 8

9.8 0 miles.

9.9 5 miles. still wrecked.

9.10 5 miles. speed work. 0.1 miles HARD. 0.1 miles easy. tough workout.

9.11 12 miles. awesome run on trails at camel's back park. biked over to park. felt inspired and visualized the mother road race. feel i am getting tougher and enjoying the training.

9.12 9 miles. over to camel's back again. enjoy these trails and the views looking down on boise.

9.13 12 miles. boise orienteering meet. humbling to get 'off' a couple times. but a fun change of pace none the less....then over to the trails for another 6 miles or so. good day.

9.14 20 miles. ran up hulls gulch trail and the motorcycle trail to the ridge road. then down 8th street and hulls gulch interpretive trail. found some water in hulls gulch and drank unfiltered. thank goodness or i'd have been damaged by dehydration agian! foolish but fun.

total: 63 miles. just getting back into the swing after the bike trip and bodacious 55 last week. first real good forays on the foothills are bringing hill running into full effect.

down to 9

9.1 10 miles. in eugene, OR. up to butte south of town. adidas/rexxus trail.

9.4 riding back from the ocean....

9.6 55 miles. ran in the last miles of the pacific trip. see pacific ride blog for story of this adventure run.

9.7 0 miles.

total: 65 miles. whoosh, the long one was ultra endurance adventure at it's best. very tough. sleep deprivation, etc. good stuff.

down to 10

8.25 10 miles.

8.26 started bicycle ride to the pacific

8.29 pacific ride. 12-17 hrs/day on the bicycle. awesome.

total: 10 miles running but a ton of aerobics.

down to 11

8.18 20 miles. to table rock east of town. held things together for the 1000' climb in the heat, then doused in the boise river on the way back.

8.19 11 miles. to downtown on greenbelt. then mentally cracked and walked several miles. very low point mentally. ran last 2 miles in 14:00 to get some rythm going.

8.20 0 miles. rode bicycle to lucky peak reservoir. 50k ride to reconn the course for running.

8.21 20 miles. on greenway, 10 mile splits of 1:29, 1:23. last mile in 7:30. solid run.

8.22 0 miles.

8.23 12 miles. chased some fast runners on the greenway. ran into leon rothstein, local boise ultraguy. good stuff. fast running was good.

8.24 7 miles. sore from fast stuff, but just got to 70 miles.

total: 70 miles. goodness, run a couple 20's take a couple days off, and there you are again at 70 miles for te week. how do the big timers do double that!??

rythm count down 12

8.11 0 miles

8.12 11 miles to seaman's gulch trails and back. had a couple sodas from the grovery store quarter machine on the way. nice views and heat.

8.13 34 miles. took iodine tablets and a water bottle up 8th street ext. to boise ridge road. all dirt. went along the road hoping for water for a long time...views were spectacular from 6,000' up there, but all was dry. came down hard guy trail, which should be mtn biker heaven. totally dehydrated for the last slow 8 miles. silly, but then the maps show creeks everywhere!?!? not here in boise summer!

8.14 5 miles. tough, just baby jogged it to heal myself.

8.15 0 miles.

8.16 11 miles. to seaman's gulch again. like this greenway+trails loop. last mile in 6:50 felt good.

8.17 9 miles. on greenbelt. started slow, finished strong and felt solid.

total for week: 70 miles. sticking to 70 until more feels easier. the mid week long run was good, although i'll not intend on making it quite so tough next time. must....have....water...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

log-a-rythm 6

8.4 5 miles in park in nashville. slow and tired. fine. then drove to nebraska.

8.5 0 miles, driving to idaho.

8.6 18 miles in greenway in idaho. in the heat. dry. good run.

8.7 12 miles. greenway over to seaman's gulch to check out a hilly valley view loop. gorgeous views. no trees to hide from the sun.

8.8 18 miles. on greenway to downtown, to the foothills and up hull's gulch. back down and through city streets to apartment. good, tough the last 4-5 miles. no water. then did mammoth rafting on payette river. exhausted!

8.9 7 miles on greenway. tired, just covered a few miles.

8.10 11 miles on greeway. still tired. just getting miles again.

total: 71 miles. pretty good considering the long drive out early in the week. some good long miles.

log-a-rythm 5

7.28 13 miles. to furman, around 5 mile course. finished dead.

7.29 15 miles. same as yesterday, but held it together. good.

7.30 15 loop around base of paris mountain. gatorade at halfway. negative split. 1:05, 1:04

7.31 10 miles. around apartment neighborhoods.

8.1 0 miles. driving to war trace, tn

8.2 14 miles. gary's house to 39.2 on strolling jim course. then back. godawful hot.

8.3 12 miles in park in nashville. including 10 miles in sub 70. hard hilly run. tough and great!

total: 79 miles. a good week including some travel. the hard 10 in nashville was punishing but great for the end of the week, since i drive to idaho tomorrow. good week.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

log-a-rythm 4

7.21 2 miles. crewing for kevin between shelbyville and monteagle, tn. got a couple miles in by leap frogging him between aid stops. no good running, but the lack of sleep and inspiration are enough for now.

7.22 0 miles. finished crewing. kevin wins vol state 2008 in 4:23:45:08. whata run! amazing persistence and determination.

7.23 0 miles. whatched john price finish.

7.24 5 miles. watched don winkley finish, then drove home and got a couple miles in around the lake. scott rode the bicycle next to me and heard the tales from the road.

7.25 12 miles. back in greenville, ran the furman/paris mtn loop in the heat. finished ok, but dehydrated.

7.26 10 miles. around neighborhoods at base of paris mountain. ran strong the last mile.

7.27 0 miles. felt sick and tired. will shoot for big miles tomorrow, and in the coming week.

total for week: 29 miles. pitiful, but between the sleep deprivation of crewing and the puny feeling at the end of the week, it will have to do. big miles coming up this next week! must focus on consistency.

log-a-rythm 3

7.14 0 miles. getting ready to leave apartment

7.15 7 miles. getting ready to leave for vol state run

7.16 0 miles. long drive to union city, tn

7.17 18 miles. dresden to martin and back. enjoyed the TN blast furnace. started th eday with videoing the start and first 20 miles of the race. then drove ahead to dresden and got these miles in. crossing paths with don, byron, and cyndi en route.

7.18 16 miles. out and back to lexington on hwy 22. HOT. walked last few miles due to hot sun.

7.19 9 miles. hampshire tn, to county line and back on hwy 412. hot again. fast last mile. worn myself out.

7.20 0 miles. rode with gary back through field. then started crewing for kevin at 9pm.

total for week: 50 miles. not nearly what i'd hoped for. but the videoing and then crewing precluded getting the miles in. hopefully next week will be a bit better and then i'll be in the swing of things.

Monday, July 14, 2008

log-a-rythm 2

7.7: 9.4 miles. ran around neighborhoods at base of paris mountain. enjoyed shade on this hot day, and keep the pace mellow (9 minute miles).

7.9: 15.3 miles. ran over to furman, and found byron's truck parked, i correctly assumed he was running the green valley 5 course, so i ran it backwards until i ran into him, we then cranked out a couple 6:30's to bring him in just under 35, in 34:59. i continued home in the dark. a good run with a couple fast miles thrown in.

7.10: with all the miles, i was dreading this rondevous with byron for what would be our last outing before i head off from greenville. byron wanted to run 34:30. i wanted to stay home....however yet again i was surprised by the results. we warmed up about a mile, and then took off. instead of feeling dead like i had all day, i cruised. 6:30, 12:46, 19:53, 26:00, 32:04. probably within 40 seconds of my pr for 5 miles. and it was hot. i need to remind myself on days when i am tired and hurting that if i just start moving it will get easier most of the time. a great run.

7.12: 30.7 miles. to sammy's house in pickens. the weather got warm as i neared sammy's house. the countryside was beautiful. a great run. slow and steady, with a solid good pace for the last mile with sammy. then ate lunch and napped/watched the tour de france on sammy's tv. fun times.

7.13: 14 miles. paris mountain lake loop. this one has alot of vertical. it rained and was as muggy as is physically possible. i had an early breakfast and no lunch before this afternoon run. i died at 8 miles. walk/jogged the last 6, straight walking the last 2. tough, but then had a nice dinner and relaxed.

total for the week: 76 miles. it sure seemed like alot more than 76 miles, but that's running. i am pumped to have two solid weeks to start the training. i thought i would have trouble hitting the 60's at first, but 164 for the first 2 weeks is encouraging. next week i'll be at vol state and hope to get some good mileage in there too. grinding out the miles....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

log-a-rythm 1

with apologies to matt kirk, i can't imagine a better name for regular updates on running training.

6.30: 5 miles.

7.1: 8 miles. 3 with annie on shady roads, then 5 with byron, i took off for 5 in 33:06

7.2: 0 miles. resting to get up early and journey run.

7.3: 48 miles. greenville to iva, sc. had planned 110 mile trek to athens, ga. stopped early but enjoyed the run very much. i like the idea of doing a day long journey run regularly throughout this training.

7.4: 1 mile. in athens, swam to the dam and ran back. just to loosen up.

7.5: 15.3 miles. country roads in athens. slow and hot. powerline cut provided a blackberry aid station and later a nice creek cool down.

7.6: 11 miles. back in greenville, green valley 10 course with byron in 1:24. slow and steady. warm weather and just trying to move fluidly and easily.

total for the week: 88 miles. a great kick off. knocking out the medium range runs late in the week was a bonus i didn't expect. the slower pace lets the legs loosen up and endure.
all miles in the the worn out new balance 152's - i love these shoes.

fresh perspective

on june 28th, 2008 i turned in my notice at hamilton automation and decided to set off from greenville, sc in order to seek a fresh perspective. a great portion of my heart is still in greenville, but i am looking to see my life from a new angle.

july 11th is my last day at work, and the plan is to train for 4 months for the mother road 100 mile road race, to be held november 8th, in oklahoma. this training will see me visit tennessee, and other places that feel right.

the hope is that these four months will allow my dreams and desires to coalesce, and i will find the next path, the next great challenge.

sometimes you have to just make a decision and cut yourself loose.

we all live an adventure, and this log will update you on mine for the next little while.