Dec 25, 2008

"Snowy" Christmas Day Run

Brett and I set out for a Christmas Day run around 2PM. The temp was around 18F, but colder with the windchill. When Brett showed up he was in shorts and a Santa hat. I usually wear shorts in most weather conditions, but not today as I elected for tights and shorts over top. More because I have a Fat Ass 50K in a couple of days and didn't want to risk anything. The wind was a little bitter, but not like last Sunday's (-26F w/windchill) and the road section leading into St. Patrick's Park was iced over. Here I am running on the trail in St. Patrick's Park in Indiana. I had screws in my shoes so it helped quite a bit with traXtion. We ran fairly conservatively together for most of this run as the footing was ok, but very hard over parts of the trail as you can see in the pics below. Here I am running on the trail in Madeline Bertrand Park in Michigan. Here is Brett plowing up the trail in Bertrand, sans the tights and in Christmas attire. Here is a closeup of our mugs on the snow trails.

Dec 6, 2008

Winter Wonder Run

It really wasn't hard getting up from the warmth of my bed this morning at 4:30AM for a 6:00AM meetup with Brett for our long run. Today's run was designed to alleviate traffic and run multiple loops. 15 Loops over a 1.35-40 Mile course. Both of us arrived on time as it was blowing, snowing and right around -1F with the windchill factored in. The wind was coming from the southwest. So, we set off together, but I was really unsure how far Brett would be able to go only because he had been sick the past couple of days. If he bagged the run early, who could blame him. I probably would. After two loops we got separated and by the end of lap 3, Brett decided to call it a day. However, he did run an additional lap with me, just as I started lap 5. After that it was 10 solo loops, although Brett did come back later to greet me on the road as I had two laps to go. Here is pic of the course heading north with the wind behind me. The windmill in the background was really moving fast. Surprised the park service doesn't try to harness some of that energy. Overall, with the conditions of the day I felt pretty consistent in my energy level and the loops were very consistent: Here is a breakdown of the 15Loops: L1: 12:46, L2: 12:36, L3: 12:33, L4: 12:17 Took 1st Gel after this loop, L5: 12:13, L6: 12:35, L7: 12:10, L8: 12:09 Took 2nd Gel after this loop, L9: 12:03, L10: 11:58, L11: 12:04, L12: 12:05 Took 3rd Gel after this loop, L13: 12:00, L14: 12:10, L15: 11:53 Just need to keep training consistent in this inclement weather and concentrate on quality workout. Here are a few pics from the actual course.

Nov 28, 2008

Turkey Day Run

Great to get back out on the trail for a run. Sent Brett a text the day prior to meet me at the church outside the parks. Him and his brother-in-law joined in on the fun. Both of them are training for the Disney Marathon in early January. I was contemplating this as well, but I have prior commitments. Today's run was cold, around 20F, but no wind. I elected to wear shorts/long sleeve/gloves/hat/fuelbelt/handheld, as my legs rarely get cold. It is my fingers that are usually the first to go. For awhile there they stayed warm, but then I could feel them getting colder as I was warming up. For some reason I didn't feel like I was warming up at all. Maybe I was pushing the pace too hard. After the 1st mile, I took off a bit, while Brett and his bro-in-law ran together. I saw them vaguely the rest of the run as I decided to keep pushing the pace. I felt mostly ok on this run, but have been mostly crosstraining for the last 10-12 days. Finished strong in 54:43 and waited for the other guys to arrive about 7min later. Now my fingers began to tell me that they were mad at me. As they thawed out the pain was setting in. Ouch!

Nov 9, 2008

I really had no plans to run long on Thursday, but since I could skip out of the office early, I thought why not give it a shot. So, I went home, let Sydney(dog) out and headed out to St. Patrick's Park. My favorite local place to run. The run started off well, only because I decided to take it out conservatively. It really looked like it was going to rain as I headed into the woods. It did start to mist a little, but it felt pretty good. The trail was covered in leaves and deer were everywhere. There were a few people in the park, but not as many as there would be if the weather were warmer. I made my way out of St. Pats and into Bertrand Park, across the Indiana/Michigan line. There I decided to run 4 consecutive loops before heading back to St. Pats and meeting a running partner near the church where we park. This part of the run ended up right around 12.5-13 miles (1:46:51). I probably should have ran an additional 2 miles because I still had 25 minutes before Brett was to arrive at the church. So, I sat on my tailgate as dark approached munching on 2 packets of fruit snacks. I didn't feel too cold waiting as it started to rain a little more and the temperature fell. Brett arrived and we were off with our headlights in tow. We ran the entire loop together. I led most of the loop, but decided to let Brett lead with a couple of miles to go as I was getting tired. I stayed close behind as we finished together (57:56). Total time/distance for this run - 2:44:47/19.5M. I felt a little, well alot drained when I was done. A little nausea was setting in. At least that is how it felt. Overall, I was pleased as my left knee/ITBand did not give me any issues.

Oct 29, 2008

Crosstraining Begins

It has been a trying summer and fall training wise. Pretty much ran through ITBS since finishing 3rd overall at the Berryman Trail 50M in May. Some days were more painful then others. Although I really haven't raced since then, aside from another DNF at the Kettle Moraine 100M in June, I am ok with it. So, I've decided to start crosstraining again in the hope that I can strengthen my legs enough to get over this ITBS. Training will go something like this. Sun: short trail run, Mon: crosstrain, Tues: trail run, Wed: crosstrain, Thur: trail run, Fri: crosstrain or rest, Sat: longer trail run. This should get me safely to my next race: Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K. Ran this event this year with limited training, but will be much better prepared for the 2009 race.

Aug 1, 2008

Training on the Trail makes JULY Fly By

  • Man, did July fly by. I guess when you're having fun on the trail and all other areas of your life it tends to go that way. I fell a little short this month in the hours on the trail category, but possibly I may have got a little greedy thinking life wouldn't get in the way. I did take 9 rest days, which are definitely needed when putting in this type of training. The flys were really biting hard this month as it was super humid on most runs. The smart thing is that I ran quite a bit in the evening when the heat was bearable. Happy to say I put in two runs over 26Miles in length. That is an accomplishment in itself in this type of weather. Hill workouts turned into a fun workout and the speed sessions don't get any easier, but they are helping my overall fitness. Well, I train on, setting bigger goals for August as I march toward my goal race on 09/20: North Country Trail 50M .This is a race I am so looking forward to as I've wanted to run it the last 2 years. Some other race, usually a marathon got in the way of me running it, but not this year. I solely focused on trail running and the ultra scene. I have yet to decide, but I may travel up to take part in the training run on the Big M Trail 08/16.
  • July Goals: 1)40-42 hours on the trail, 2)Increase long run, 3)Incorporate one day of solid hill training per week, 4)Increase speed/tempo workout up to an hour every other week
  1. Goal missed: 35:08(June - 38:13), increased training days from 20(June) to 22(23 trail runs)
  2. Goal met: (2) 26M+ long runs on 07/04 and 7/26 (increased from a 20Miler in June)
  3. Goal met: Incorporated 5 hill workout with a shorter run versus no hill training in June
  4. Goal met: Sometimes 2 speed sessions per week from 50-53 min, 7:30-8:00/min pace
  • August Goals: 1) 35-40 hours on the trail 2) At least one long of 30-32 miles 3) Continue sled hill (5-6hills) workout every Tuesday 4) Continue at least 1 speed session per week from 50-53 min

Jul 2, 2008

Half a Year Gone! What's Next?

2008 is half over. Man did it fly by. To this point in the year training has gone quite well. Aside from a left ITBand issue that continues to nag me off and on, I have remained uninjured. Thank you Lord!!!
  • Last 3 months of training:
  • April: 24:31 - 18 days training
  • May: 33:13 - 19 days training / 50M PR (8:30:09)
  • June: 38:13 - 20 days training / 100M DNF
  • Looking Ahead:
  • July Goal: 40-42 hrs / 1)Increase long run, 2)Incorporate one day of solid hill training per week, 3)Do a speed workout up to an hour every other week
  • Aug: Pikes Peak Marathon?
  • Sep: North Country Trail 50M - Sent my application in TODAY!!!!!!

Decided with it being the 4th of July weekend, I won't enter the 360 Minutes @ Muscatatuct in North Vernon, IN. The travel and time away from home will be to much. Plus, Pam and I will have a great weekend together. On the other hand, I have decided to run my own version of the event, but near home. I've deemed it - 360@TheParks. The parks being St. Patrick's Park and Madeline Bertrand Park. My buddy Brett will be running roughly 4hrs of it with me prior to heading off to spend time with his family. It will be great to have someone else join in on the fun. Our planned start time is 5:00AM on the 4th of July. Should be exciting.

Jun 27, 2008

Berryman Trail 50M - Reflecting Back / Moving On

The Berryman Trail 50M was well over a month ago, but looking back I have to thank my buddy Brett for snapping this photo of me at the finish. I had set a new PR(8:30) at the distance by over 13 minutes. I was elated. All I really wanted to do was run a successful race without getting injured. These are the things that motivate me to run these crazy distances. That and the competition factor. I may not be the fastest at any event that I run, but I do like to compete. Then the race was over just like that. You train so hard for one event, cross the finish line, and then what? Recovery. Move on to the next goal. Take time off (not). Well, and I didn't. I had 3 weeks until the Kettle Moraine 100M on June 7th. That race ended up being another DNF for me, but I'm not convinced that it was all heat related. Another factor could have been that I only had 3 weeks in between both races. I'll never know for sure. The last three weeks have really given me time to reflect on the DNF @ KM. My mind says go ahead and attempt another 100M, but deep down I'm not totally sure if I really want to make the commitment. I love trail running. It pretty much defines who I am as a person more than anything that I do.
  • As I train on, I am considering my next race: 360 Minutes @ Muscatatuct - in North Vernon, IN on July 5th. I would really like to run this race as I have yet to run an event like it. It is held on a 5 mile repeating loop course with a variation of hills, but with two nice climbs of 150'. The hill training will be nice as I am limited on the trails that I run here at home.
  • Another race to consider is the Pikes Peak Marathon on August 16th. I am signed up for the event, but am not sure if I can justify the cost of going back to Colorado for a few days. If I do it will be on the "cheap". Ran the marathon back in 2004. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had as a runner living at less than 1,000' and running at altitude.

Jun 1, 2008

May - A Great Month of Training!

Another month has gone by. Last evening, my pacer for the Kettle Moraine 100 , Brett and I finished up May with a 2hr night run from just past 10PM-Midnightish. A beautiful night to run and acclimate to the darkness we'll be running in at KM100 next weekend. Ran considerably more this month. More time on my feet. Never really had any issues during training or racing. I am so excited this is the last week of tapering down for the race. Everything seems to be going smooth to this point. Training is in the bank with only a few more shakeout runs to keep the legs moving. Raced the Berryman Trail 50M on 05/17 and seemed to have recovered quite nicely from the effort. I never really expected to run as well as I did at Berryman, but training toward that race paid big dividends. Will it be the same for KM100? Only time will tell. My goal race for late spring/early summer is right around the corner. My only real goal for this race is to finish, although finishing under 24hrs would certainly be a gift.

May 19, 2008

Berryman Trail 50M (pics)

May 12, 2008

New Trailers

My new trail shoes arrived in the mail today. I have been wanting to try out another pair of the Inov-8 line. So, I went with the Roclite 305 model. For the past 3 years I've been wearing the Flyroc 310. The shoes have been great. No serious problems with them except that on occasion I will get a serious blister on my heel. Not sure if it is the fact that I need to go up a 1/2 size because the fit seems fine. So, I am anxious to try out the new model. I would like to, but seriously doubt that I'll wear the Roclites at Berryman Trail 50m this coming weekend. Unless that is they give me no problems on a couple of taper runs this week. Wait and see approach.

May 1, 2008

April - A month of progress

Made considerable progress this month. Ran much more than I did in March and actually felt excited to do it. Although I missed a few runs, I'd like to think that the runs I did get in were "quality" type runs. Feeling more and more comfortable on the trail again. The kind of feeling I had in 2006 when I finished my first 70M race. Most runs this month were in the 1hr+ to 2hr range. Put in a tempo style run nearly every week and usually followed that with another hour of easy running. I would say I concentrated more on the "time on your feet approach" versus actually worrying about total mileage. With the increased mileage brought on an episode of ITBand issues in my left leg. Some runs were tougher because of the irritation, but with a stride change I think I can manage it. And the fact that I need to continue to stretch the area periodically. Looking forward to the month of May where I'll get back out on the race course, running the Berryman Trail 50M southwest of St. Louis, MO. This will be a test like everything else, but my real goal is the Kettle Moraine 100 in June. Always remember the goal.

Apr 2, 2008

Fat Ass 50K - My Own Version

04/05/2008 - A Trail in 2 States FA 50K

Not sure why I hadn't thought of this before, but why not organize my own version of a Fat Ass 50K. Running loops on the trails where I currently train is the best place for it, through Madeline Bertrand Park (MI) and St. Patrick's Park(IN) . Here is the plan: My buddy Brett and I will start out around 4:30AM on our first of three loops through the woods. Each loop consists of roughly 9.25ish miles through the woods, along the St. Joseph River and across a small prairie. Each loop will bring us back to the only aidstation: the back of (my vehicle). Then at the end of the 3rd loop we'll run right around 2 miles 0utNback to finish off the 50K. The course I have picked out is for the most part accurate, but in reality there aren't many certified 50K courses.

Mar 18, 2008

Training update!

My goal was to run more this month than in the prior 2 months and I am accomplishing that. The last couple of weeks it has been nice to run with a few other runners. Met Brett-South Bend online at Fried Quads . He emailed me out of the blue. We run together 3 times. And I've run with Matt from work and a few of his friends a couple of times. The runs with Matt are tempo style runs, which I need to do anyway. It is great to be able to do them with other guys who are better conditioned than I am right now. I'll get it back it is just going to take some time. Need to get a longer run in this weekend. Somewhere in the 15-20M range. Even if I run for 2hrs I would be happy with that progress leading up to this marathon. With us going home to Wisconsin this weekend, I may just run for 2hrs on Thursday 03/20 so that I don't have worry about getting the run in. If I do then I'll run a 7-10 miler on the Galena River Trail back home on Sunday. This is a great little trail. I've run it a few times. The mileage is even marked which I don't care much for. However, I may be able to get my brother to meet me there and we can run together. That would be nice since we don't often get to run together.

Feb 18, 2008

2/16/08 Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K - Report

I knew coming into this race it would be a crapshoot at best to be able to successfully complete this 50K. I had not run for well over three weeks and my longest run this year was a bit over an hour for the run. I did crosstrain quite a bit with a stepmill, so I guess you could call this "crosstraining your way to a 50K finish." I mean it's not like I haven't run this distance before with a 4:12PR(2004), but on a different trail course. Most first time runners of the LLTH 50K really have no idea what they are getting themselves into when it comes to running this race. Sure they hear stories of the "hills". And I have from my good buddy Tom (4-time finisher), who I would be running this race with. Tom was sick for most of the week leading up to the event. Even spent 18-20hrs in bed one day, but the hardcore ultrarunner that he is, nothing was going to stop him from running this race. I took Friday off work to make the 5hr trip south to Louisville. Tom and his family were kind enough to put me up for the weekend. After arriving in Louisville, I met up with Tom at the local trail store, called The Trail Store. Tom and I hadn't seen one another for almost 2 years. The last time was when we both paced at the 2006 Kentucky Derby Marathon. The first time we met was at the 2003 HUFF 50K. Interesting enough that was our maiden voyage into the ultrarunning world. After a brief stay at the the trail store of which I purchased a new Mont-Bell windshell, we headed for a bite to eat at a small italian restaurant, Steve O's Italian Kitchen in LaGrange, KY near his home. Better than any Olive Garden I've eaten at. It was good stuff. Before departing for the race site in Jefferson Memorial Forest, we awoke around 4:15AM for a large bowl of hot oatmeal topped with blueberries. After getting ready we made a quick stop in Louisville to pick up another runner (Tim) who would go on to finish/place quite well in the 50K race. We arrived a bit early for the race, but it gave us a chance to chit-chat with other runners and get our stuff ready for the long day ahead. At first we thought about wearing shorts, but that quickly changed and went with tights/longsleeves. Although some brave souls did wear shorts and some even ended the day wearing no shirts at all. After a last minute briefing we were off. We started off midpack. The trail quickly became icy/snowy/muddy, which is what we would have to contend with for the remainder of the race. Up hill or down hill the trails were slushy, snow covered and quite muddy in spots. Oh! Did I mention log jumping and creek crossings? Some of that thrown in as well. The course was made up of 5 sections: 1) 5 Miles on the Red Trail (I think we covered this in 59 Minutes) 2) 7.7 Miles on McConnell Trail and a road section (We were reminded by the RD that if we heard a large(understatement) white dog barking at you on the right then you were going in the right direction. The white dog just happened to be a Great Pyrenees. The largest dog I've ever seen. Beautiful animals. It is probably safe to say that he could eat you out of house and home. 3) 5.8 Miles on the Siltstone and Purple Heart Trails 4) 7.2 Miles out-n-back on the Siltstone to Scotts Gap. At this point it gave us a chance to see the leaders of the race. The top 5-6 runners, including the lead female were tearing up the course. Some looked fresh while others looked like they were ready to be done. Tom and I at this point were joking about how bad we felt and we hadn't even hit the turnaround yet. 5) 5.1 Miles from Bearcamp Rd to Purple Heart Trail, then on the road, back on the trail and into the FINISH! Each section had its challenges. The footing in general was tough only because as you got tired it made it harder to plant your feet and get traction. The amazing thing is that neither of us fell down, although there were times when I felt like I could go down at any moment. I'm almost certain that if one of us were to go down in front of the other, both of us would have hit the ground. We both new the end was in site after hitting the last aidstation. The end to a challenging day for each of us. We both had our issues throughout the day, but finished together in a respectable time (6:43). I thought for such a challenging course and the conditions that were presented to us we ran pretty well. Race Swag: Tom & I coming out of the woods
somewhere along the course.

Jan 26, 2008

Training - 01/13/08 thru 01/26/08

Near the end of 2 weeks of training as I march toward the goal of finishing the Kettle Moraine 100 in June near LaGrange, WI in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. A very nice series of trails to run on as shown by this pic: I put in a good effort in 2007, but pulled out near the 50M mark with a series of issues. I learned alot and hope not to make the same mistakes the 2nd time around. A good mix of strength training/StepMill/Road & Trail running these last two weeks. As stated above. The StepMill is one of my favorite crosstraining exercises as you see in the link above. Great for the quads, core strengthening and overall endurance conditioning. Used it as a means to successfully run the 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon

Jan 19, 2008

A 100 Mile Finish Looms

After a horrendous 2007 racing season because of a combination of laziness, and I'll admit, burnout from 2006, 2008 brings a new year in my quest to finish my first 100 Mile race. With 3 attempts (2006 & 2007 Leadville Trail 100 and Kettle Moraine 100) at the distance, I yearn to figure out what I need to do to finish. Is it more training, slower pace, less marathons or the will to keep going when it gets rough? Maybe a combination of all. I know one thing, I'll do my best to enjoy this adventure.

05/17/08 - Berryman Trail 50 Mile (Race Report)

My training partner Brett and I signed up for the Berryman Trail races back in late March. I would be running the 50M event while Brett would be running the marathon (his first trail race) or the "fun run" as the website stipulates. I was excited for him and excited for as well as I hadn't run a race since Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K back in February. I was way under trained for that event, but finished and knew I had alot of work to do come May 17th. Sure, training can be fun, but there comes a point in time when you really need to get back in the game, back where I feel most comfortable and that is racing.

My biggest issue coming into this race was a bout with ITBand irritation in my left leg. It would come and go, but at times it was excruciating following some runs. Come late April I even emailed the RD to ask if it was possible to move down to the marathon distance as I wasn't entirely sure I would be adequately trained come race day. She said that I could once the race starts, but wouldn't be eligible for any awards. So, I completely pulled myself off the road and concentrated solely on training on the trails. In the past when training for ultras I would use a combination of road marathons/trail running. Leaving the pavement behind helped. Even during trail tempos I experienced no problems the following day and was able to bounce back. I was ready for the challenge. From this point on I wouldn't second guess my decision to stay in the 50M race.

Brett and I set off for our destination, Potosi, MO. A small town about 74 miles southwest of St. Louis. Not far from where we'd be racing at the Berryman Campground inside Mark Twain National Forest. This area of the country is quite beautiful and hilly. I did a little research on the course, but one never knows until they actually get out there as to what it’s like. Sometimes it is best not knowing what you are getting yourself into.

Course: Two loops (24.8M per loop) for the 50 mile, 1 for the Marathon, plus a short out and back for each event on a gravel road. There is one crossing of Brazil Creek per loop. The course crosses many other stream beds that may or may not have water in them depending on recent rainfall. Aid Stations will be approximately every 4 to 5 miles apart.

After arriving in Potosi we dropped our stuff off at the local Super 8. A great place to stay for the race and cheap$$. Plus, they had a great breakfast buffet. And the fact that it is located only 15-20 minutes from Berryman Campground. So, we headed out to the campground to pick up our race packets and found they were just getting things set up. It was pretty low key, so we gathered our packets and headed back into Potosi for a bite to eat and some rest as the race would be starting at 6:30AM. We did notice however that the temperature was a bit warmer than northern Indiana and they were predicting start temps in the 50s with a high in the lower 80s. That concerned me a little, but what could we do. At least we'd be running under the canopy.

Going in I really had no expectations as far as finishing time for this ultra. Brett said he'd like to run right around 5hrs. Not knowing what the course was like I through a time out there late on Friday evening prior to the race of 9hrs, but "finishing" was what I was really after.

We turned in somewhat early for a 4:00AM wakeup. I slept about as well before a race as I probably ever had. Everything was ready and we headed toward the campground. The day finally arrived. It was a cool morning, but the sun was slowly rising over a ridge. There wouldn't be a cloud in the sky on this day. We arrived at the campground as others were pulling in. Each of us put a drop bag down for the 16 mile mark after crossing Brazil Creek.

After a few late instructions from the RD, Brett and I wished each other luck and we were off on the short out-n-back section on the gravel road. The 50 Milers would cover .4 miles on the road and the marathoners 1.4 miles before heading back into the woods to start the loop. I started right off the front as did two other 50M runners and a few marathoners. I didn't know these two runners, but by the looks of it they were seasoned trail runners. I stayed close behind them from the start as we entered the trail and was right on their heels. The beginning of the trail is made up of rocky/root covered sections. There were a few dry creek beds, but most had water running through them. The cold water felt pretty good, but my goal was to stay as dry as possible. I stayed with the lead runners just before the first aid station at 4.45 miles. They were going a bit faster than I wanted to go this early and my heart rate was telling me to back off. About that time, just before AS#1, another 50M runner came up behind me and passed. I stayed with him as we headed into AS#1. We left as soon as we came in not wasting any time. I was close behind him. Not far from AS#1 he caught his foot on a rock and rolled it pretty good. I asked him if he was alright and told him to walk it off. Don't run on it immediately. This would plague him all day. Most if not all of this section was very runnable aside from navigating the rockier creek areas.

In 3rd place again, a few of the lead marathoners were making their way along the course. I graciously ran to the right side of the single track letting them pass as their day would end way before mine would. Staying with them would be a huge mistake. I would have no part of that. Over this time as I headed into AS#2 and AS#3, I made sure to power walk nearly every hill. I ran some of them, but it made no sense to waste quad strength that I would need late in the race. By this time the 50M runner who had rolled his ankle was behind me once again and I let him pass. He was running all the hills, but was having a heck of time on the downhill portions where I would trade places with him again and again. I was feeling really good. As we headed into AS#3, another marathoner came in as I was leaving. He caught me going out and we ran together, chatting it up. This section to AS#4 at Brazil Creek ended up being more horse trail then single track. Quite muddy at times, but nothing that stopped me from running through and around it. We headed down the rocky section to Brazel Creek at mile 16 on the course. You had no choice but to jump into the cool water and across. I actually didn't mind it. As soon as you get across and run through a bit of sand, the course veers to the right to the aid station at the campground. I grabbed a glass of coke and filled my hand held with half gator”barf”/half water and grabbed a handful of gummy bears. To this point I was eating Sharkey's and Energy Beans from my belt and the occasional GU.

We left AS#4 through a small clearing and out onto the only paved road section on the course. I decided to walk half of it before heading back onto the trail into the woods. Soon after I would catch the marathoner I had run with prior and we chatted awhile. The pace felt comfortable so I went with it. He told me there are days when he'll mountain bike this course and then run it. I could probably do it but when it comes to biking I'm a green horn and would probably hurt myself on this course. From this point on we would run together until he finished. Most of the bigger (long) hills were from 16 miles on until the completion of the first loop. I would continue to power walk the hills as fast as I could while the two runners I was with would run them. Again, after the hill I would catch them shortly after.

We made it into AS#5 (19.5M) and filled up. I chose to stay away from any solid foods. Nothing looked good to me at the time. I was drinking well and popping an S-cap nearly every 1hr-1.5hrs. One of the volunteers told me he'd have ice and popsicles for the 2nd loop. I told him I'd hold him to it and laughed as we headed out toward AS#6. More climbing ensued, but alot of this section was easy running.

We headed into AS#6 greeted by two lovely ladies, filled up quickly and were gone. One more longggg climb remained and then some rollers back to Berryman Campground to end the first loop. I was feeling good as I came through the start/finish area in 3:49. Maybe a little to good as the temperature was rising. Here you had the option of dropping to the marathon distance by running an additional out-n-back if things weren’t going as planned. I filled up quickly and was out of there. Now I was thinking that maybe I had a shot at setting a new PR. Two other runners came in behind me at the end of the loop and quickly caught me. The guy who rolled his ankle early on and another runner I had not seen to this point in the race. I let them both by and stayed close behind the runner hobbling on his ankle. He quickly pulled off to the side as we headed into AS#1 and I wouldn't seem him again until the race was over. The other guy took off down the trail.

From this point on I would run solo the remainder of the race aside from coming up behind a few late marathon runners. I think at the time I was in 4th place. It was getting hotter. Each time I stepped out of the shade on the trail into the sunlight the sun seemed that much warmer. I kept moving forward. Just before Brazil Creek I came upon 5 horses and their riders on the muddier section of the trail. I quickly moved off to the side not wanting to spook them as they went by. I crossed the creek into the Brazil Creek AS and joked with the two girls volunteering, asking them if this was a school project or were they just giving up their Saturday for us. I thanked them and quickly left. Things were still going well. As I excited Brazil Creek and out on to the small road section I chose to walk the entire length of it until reaching the woods and took off once again. More climbing would ensue. To this point I still had my legs and had no problems running without having to grimace in pain because my quads hurt like in past races.

For some reason with like 5-6 miles to go I kept thinking about the lead female catching me. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it is my competitive nature or something. The funny thing is that I didn’t know who it was and didn’t see her all day. I suppose this motivated me a bit to push on harder. I had two more aid stations to go to the finish. With 6:35 on my watch I headed into the 2nd to last AS. Low and behold they had ice and a lime freeze pop. Just like the guy said that he would. I filled up my bottle and walked out of the AS. Man did that freeze pop hit the spot.

Within a quarter of a mile leading into the last aid station I noticed the runner who passed me at the beginning of the 2nd loop was limping. I asked him if he was ok as I went by and told him to walk it off to the next AS. Now I was in position to take 3rd overall and a new PR was within reach. I entered the last AS and quickly exited after a fill up. I knew there was one long climb to go. I knew I would really have to push myself at this point. I wasn’t struggling, but at this point in the race with it being over 80F, I felt depleted. I could feel the salt hanging on my face and arms. I knew the finish was near. After power walking the last climb, I took off only seeing a few late marathon runners ahead on the trail. I exited the woods and across the gravel road and could nearly see the finish area. I picked it up a bit as they rang the cowbells with people cheering me on. It felt good to be done although I would have pushed on had the race been longer. I met Brett at the finish. He had finished his first trail marathon in 5:17. I was happy for him.

Finish: 3rd Overall (8:30:09PR) - (Old 2006 PR: 8:43:55)
1st Place – 7:37
2nd Place – 7:54