Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 in Review

As 2006 draws to an end, I look back at my year in running with amazement at the things I have accomplished. Compared to the times of many others and some of their grand successes what I did is not too special but on a personal level this was a year of achieving things I would never have thought possible, especially having turned 50 years old last December. I would never have dreamed that my most successful running would come as I began my second half-century. I tell my friends, if I had known I would run so well at 50 I would have turned 50 a long time ago.
I would have have to say that qualifying for Boston at this past February's Myrtle Beach Marathon was the hardest thing and in many ways the most rewarding. The photo above shows me just as I crossed the finish line. Most of you reading this are familiar with the story but if you aren't then read the post "Dreams Can Come True" and you will understand why this meant so much to me and why I was in tears as I crossed the line ( I'm in the white hat). You can see the time on the clock shows I just squeaked in by less than a minute for the time I needed so that I could go to Boston and run with Karla in what would be the most rewarding running experience of my life.
The other biggest highlight would have to be finishing the Leadville 100. I never expected to run this race because I knew I would never have the time to go out to Colorado to acclimate properly to the high altitude. The finishing rate for the race is barely 50% each year and nearly all of those either live and train at altitude or go out weeks before to prepare. But after an invitation from the Trail Princess I decided to go give it a try. If nothing else, I would have some fun participating in a great race and see some beautiful scenery along the way. Turns out my body handled the altitude and terrain quite well. As with all my races I had a plan and stuck to it. As I crossed over Hope Pass the 2nd time with the lovely Beth Simpson I knew I would finish even though I had a tough 45 miles to go. As I made the last turn and could see the finish I was totally exhausted and couldn't muster the will to run the last 1/4 mile. From the sidewalk, Hannah Lugiano, Joe's wife and a non-runner, ran out into the street and encouraged me on and starting running beside me. The crowd was cheering and soon I had 3 or 4 other ladies come out of the crowd to escort me to the carpeted finish line. What a relief it was to make it and have that finishers medal put around my neck.
There were many more great runs for me over the year, but the best memories are the people with which I shared the roads and trails. Many hours racing and training with old friends. Getting to know many aquaintences better and meeting new friends is what really makes this such a special sport. Here is a quick overview of the rest of the year in chronological order.
Ran the Ocean Isle Beach Half-marathon while preparing for MB. Had a great weekend with Jerry and the Werners. Ran my fastest Half (1:38) in over 20 years and won my age-group.
Qualified for Boston in 3:35:15, a pr by 12 minutes and an improvement of 25 minutes since MB the year before. Got to run some of it with Fred and Laura, two of my favorite people. Had a good but bittersweet weekend with Jerry and the Werner's again as Karla was facing impending surgery and chemo-therapy.
With Boston qualifying out of the way it was back to ultratraining as I had some big plans on the horizon. Ran my 2nd slowest marathon ever at Umstead on a freaky hot 81F day after running in the 30's in the week prior. Ran the last few miles with Tony and lots of other friends were there. Two weeks later had a great time at the Ellerbe Springs Marathon. Ran most of it with Anita Finkle and then Tony finally caught up to me with about 10 miles to go. With his encouragement we squeaked in under 4 hours on a tough, hilly course.
Started off the month volunteering at the Umtsead 100 miler. Highlights of the weekend were watching a couple of special ladies running their 1st 50 miles.
Laura is pretty fast as well as just very pretty and has run quite few shorter ultra's. As expected she did great and ran under 10 hours. The dark-haired lovely Jenn Ennis was in only her 2nd ultra and ran a great 10:15. I was so proud. I would have loved to have run with her if my schedule had allowed it. But my main mission for the weekend was pacing the Trail Princess Anita Fromm again. It was a joy to meet and run with her last year so I was eagerly awaiting her return. She ran a PR sub 24 hour and we had a lot of fun again.
Boston. What can I say? It's the greatest tradition in marathoning and I was finally there and sharing it with the usual suspects, Jerry and the Werners. Very rewarding emotional weekend. Never so proud to run my slowest marathon ever.
Back to being ultraman as the month ended at Promise Land 50K plus. Started off in the darkness and the thunderstorm hit in the first mile turning much of the trails into quagmire and the rest into flowing streams of rushing, cold, ankle deep water. Still set a course Pr by 35 minutes. Best part was running with Fred and Tony nearly the whole way. Tony and I crossed the line together once again.
Went to Capon Valley 50K for the first time and glad I did. Had a good run up until the last 6 miles or so when dehydration was getting the best of me. Forgot to carry a water bottle and it was a warm day. Well organized race in a beautiful location.
I needed a qualifier for Western States so I planned to run the original Old Dominion 100 miler. We had a great weekend for it. I began the first climb with Fred Dummar, Jay Finkle, Bob Calabria and a new aqauintence, Dmitry Rozinsky from Texas. After a couple of hours Bob dropped back. Around 20 miles Jay ran ahead. Just past 50 miles Dmitry fell back and Fred pulled ahead as I went through a bad spell. Struggled through the night with sleep deprivation problems but came back strong at dawn for another tough 100 mile finish.
Two weeks later I ran the Boogie 50 miler. Probably not too smart but I wanted to get the points for the Mangum Cup and have some fun. Always a lot of friends here. Ran the first half with the"Ever Lovely Mrs. Doom", Susan. Tony and Teddy ran the first loop with us. After Susan dropped I ran the rest of the night alone and despite fatigue from OD I had a good time.
In between I went to the Race for the Cure 5K in Raleigh. Jerry and I ran with Karla in a race that held special meaning this year. It was the first time I had been able to run with Karla since Boston and she did amazingly well.
Returned to the Grandfather Mountain Marathon with hopes of breaking 4 hours on this difficult course. Lots of Mangum friends here. Highlight of the weekend was being able to run with the lovely Laura for the first half. The course turned out to be over a half mile long due to a re-route caused by bridge construction or I would have made sub four by about 2 minutes. It's great hanging around the finish with so many friends and then dinner with the MTC group.
Went back to Catherine's Fat Ass 50k in the Massanutten Mts. It was nice to run it without having to run another 50k the day before. The purple trail was still tough but at least it wasn't as hot as last year. Great to spend the day with the VHTRC and the post race picnic makes the trip worthwhile. And saw my first bear on the trail Got to run a couple of hours with Janet Vincent.
Leadville as mentioned above. Got to spend time with Anita the Trail Princess. Got to know Vinny better and met the lovely Beth from Wisconsin. NC friends Bill and Sally, Joe and Hannah, Doug the Boogieman Dawkins. Spent some time on the trail with VHTRC members Gary and Rob. Had some support from Scott along the way. What memories are made of.
Leadville really took a lot out of me but I had planned to rest a couple of weeks anyway. Ran the Stanley Cup 5K with Karla and Frank. She did great considering almost no running during chemo and we had a great morning.
The last day of the month was the start of the Hinson Lake 24 hour. Once again so many friends from the MTC and others were there. I had a very good run. Despite missing my goal of 106, I still got over 103 miles and went through 100 in PR time. Raised over $1,500 in honor of Karla for the UNC Linberger Cancer Center thanks to the support of my running friends.
Finished up Hinson Lake on the 1st. Two weeks later ran the Autism 5k with Karla on a beautiful Autumn morning. Then ran the Inside Out Sports half-marathon which is put on by the NCRC. Had a good run in the rain. The next weekend I ran the Seaboard Festival 5 mile put on by Mark Long of the MTC. I don't do many of these short road races cause they hurt if you race them. Ran a good time and got to hang out with some MTC buddies. Won 2nd in my age-group. Woohoo!
Mountain Masochist 50mile +. Probably my favorite event, mainly due to the atmosphere surrounding it. A large crowd but still small enough to meet nearly everyone. It's like an ultrarunning reunion. And a beautiful course. I was by myself most of the time but did run with Jay a shortwhile. Ran with Dean for a couple of hours in the middle before he dropped back. I got a course PR by 35 minutes. A week later was the OBX Marathon. Another great weekend in a fantastic coastal setting with once again, the usual suspects Jerry, and the Werners. Running with Karla was another wonderful inspiring experience. A week later I amazed myself running a fast for me 21:36 at the Apex Turkey Trot and getting 3rd in my age-group. The best part though was running with Laura. Another week later and it was off to Derby 50K, another favorite. Mark puts on a fine race and it's another good social situation with a lot of friends and familiar faces. Jay and Fred ran with me until Jay dropped back around 13 miles. Doom and I stuck together until with about 5 miles to go when I got a cramp. I was never able to quite catch back up and we finished 30 seconds apart. It was another 50K PR for me by about 7 minutes in spite of the cramping. got to run several miles with Byron Backer for a change. He is usually way way ahead of me so it was nice to have him for company for a while.
Hellgate 100k. Yes it is scary and it was as tough as I had heard. A very rewarding finish in a unique event. The setting is quite intimate with the limit of 100 runners fitting the size of the facilities just right. Lots of VHTRC and MTC friends around to share the horror stories with. Ran several miles with Jay and Dean but mostly a solitary run due to the length of the course and small field. Got to run a few miles with Quatro late in the race. I probably ran a bit too much the last 2 months and went into this with some knee pain that just started the week before. Being a hard-head I was determined to finish despite a lot of pain for the last 50 miles of the race. As a result I have had to take off over two weeks but the rest has done me good and the knee after testing it out on a few short runs this week seems to be doing ok. Looking forward to more miles and smiles to come.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day for Celebration

Today was a day for celebration and not because it is the first day of Winter. No, after 10 long months Karla has finally finished the battle against her cancer with the last radiation treatment this afternoon. She celebrated this evening with a run. I look forward to her quick recovery and hope we can do some training together soon. We plan to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon together in February 07. The photo was taken in the summer of 2005 at the Race for the Cure during our training together while preparing me for my Boston qualifying attempt. On this happy day neither of us would know how different things would be at this same event in 2006.

Thanks to everyone that supported Karla and her family during this difficult time with your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Joey and Mike's Cider and Doughnut Run

This past Saturday afternoon, Mike Walsh and I hosted this social run for the North Carolina Roadrunner's Club at Umstead State Park. What a beautiful day it turned out to be with temperature's in the mid-60's. With the 2Pm start time we weren't sure what kind of turnout to expect, especially with Holiday Christmas shopping in full swing. At 5 minutes until 2pm there were only about a dozen runners but within the next 5 minutes folks starting showing up in bunches and we ended up with 33 in attendance counting me.
Mike had mapped out a couple of 4 mile routes, one on the single-track Loblolly trail, the other on the bridle trails. Runners also had the option of doing a loop including both sections.I took a few photos that you can link to here
I have been nursing a tender knee since running the Hellgate 100K the previous weekend, so while everyone was off running , I would be guarding the doughnuts. Yummmmm. I pulled a recipe for Spiced Apple Cider off the internet and it seemed to be enjoyed by most everyone. Dave Rouse, a fellow board member from the club provided the heater for the cider. We had 10 door prizes to give away in a drawing, several of which were donated by Fleet Feet Sports of Raleigh including a $75 gift certificate. With the successful turnout we will hope to continue the new tradition next year. I have already planned to have the same perfect weather on next years calender.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Gates of Hell are Open Day and Night

Here is my report from this weekends Hellgate 100K

Here are a few photos I took from the race this weekend: Hellgate pictures.
I would have taken more but I was a little pressed for time during the run and although there were many gorgeous views, they were mostly blocked by trees. As usual David Horton and his crew put on a top notch event.
Even with perfect weather this would be a very difficult run. I would not advise anyone to enter unless they are in very good shape or a very gifted runner. This is not the event for novices to dip their toes into ultrarunning. I have run almost 40 ultra's in the past 4 years and I am in my best shape ever and I only made the cut-off by 10 minutes. Looking over the results from the previous years I saw many runners that normally finish well ahead of me struggling to finish within the last hour so I knew I shouldn't run until this year.

The title quote is attributed to a Roman Poet ,Virgil and was the slogan on the race t-shirt this year and was very appropriate for the 12:01 am start Saturday morning. Ever since David Horton was possessed to direct the Hellgate 100K it seems the race has been cursed with harsh weather conditions and this year would be no exception. Fortunately there would be no snow and ice or rain, just bone-chilling cold and wind. The race has taken on an almost mythical reputation in the few years of it's existence and this year the event filled weeks in advance as runners, myself included could not resist the chance to see if we were up to the unique challenge that is Hellgate.
" Horton is a man of God with a spirit kind and true,
But the Devil whispered in his ear, saying here's somethng you should do.

You've directed a lot of races, some runners say you're the best.
Are you willing to take on just one more
That will really put them to the test?

Have it start just after midnight on my private little trail.
It's just outside of Natural Bridge where you enter the GATES OF HELL!!! "

It is an odd feeling to be gearing up to go run a difficult race when normal people are heading off to the comfort of a warm bed but there I was with 95 other souls. And strangely enough some of them knew exactly what they were getting into. I had been watching the weather forecast all week and each time I checked, the predicted low temperatures kept dropping. Now we would be looking at a starting temperature in the valleys in the teens with probably single digits up along the ridgelines. Many were asking what others were planning on wearing. My advice was to wear everything you brought. It is cold and you could die out there. Ok, I can hear my friends living in the North and Midwestern states snickering now. I know it gets colder there and this is normal for you. I don't want to hear it. There is a reason why I stay in the South and I would appreciate it if you would keep your Arctic air up there where it belongs.

Finally it was 11Pm and time to shuttle to the start near Natural Bridge. I hitched a ride with fellow MTC members Dean and Sylvana. Dean would be running and Sylvana was going to go to sleep. I think she was the smartest one in the truck. Did I mention it was cold? We waited until the last minute to leave the warm truck and walk over to the start. After a teeth chattering version of the National Anthem were started off into the darkness ithrough the Gates of Hell. Everyone has there own vision of what Hell must be like and I wondered if this would be the night I would see my version come true. Why is this race so hard? Why do people of much better ability than me find it so hard to make the cut-offs and finish this thing? Most 100 milers have a higher finishing rate than this with 68% finishing in 2004 being the highest yet.
 The first two sections did nothing to help me understand why. I was runinng along with Jay Finkle and Dean soon after the start and found it to be mostly runnable until we encountered the first obstacle, a freezing creek crossing. A poor soul in front of me slipped and fell , totally submerging himself in the icy water. I didn't recognize him in the darkness but found out at the end that it was Bob (no relation) Anderson. I was luckier and made it across with no problem . Bob and his wife Kari are two very nice people and I would see Kari at all the crew checkpoints cheering me on as she waited for him. There wasn't much of a breeze yet and with the faster pace I was warming up so I removed my jacket and tied it around my waist.

The next section was also fairly easy . It was all uphill on a gravel road but a lot of it was not too steep and I decided to run a lot of it. I'm glad I did because I would need every minute of cushion I could use later in the race. It was a crystal clear night and the stars were shining brightly along with about a 3/4 moon to light the way. I took advantage of the brightness and easy footing and turned off my lights and enjoyed the climb with my moonshadow for company. I was climbing stronger than Jay and Dean and left them behind a little but they caught up to me at the aid station at the top. I had decided not to run with any hydration in this one. I don't need much fluid when it's cold and I didn't want to carry a freezing water bottle . I also don't like wearing anything on my back so I stopped long enough to down two cups of conquest and then off into the night again..

The next section began to reveal a little bit off the difficulties to come. We hit the first true section of single-track and the climbs and descents became steeper but the footing was still pretty good over most of this part. I was not too happy to catch up and pass Martha Wright somewhere along here. She is usually a lot faster than me so I thought she must not be having a good run. I was guessing it was due to her not having too much experience in the dark that was slowing her down and so I hoped she could make it under the cut-offs until the sun would rise in the morning. After awhile we were back on a dirt road and a climb up to aid station three. As I left the aid station I was getting very cold. The wind was picking up and the temperature continued to drop so I put my jacket back on after about 1/2 mile. They don't give awards to the one that finishes with the least clothes on. I reached into my pocket to put my gloves on and realized I had lost one. I didn't want to take the time to go back to the aid station to retrieve it and besides, I hadn't been wearing them anyway I found it better to just pull my sleeves over my hands and let the body heat help to keep them warm.
The trek to the 4th aid station would use a section of the Promise Land 50K course, just in reverse direction than it is run in the Spring. I was enjoying this section a lot. It is mostly on a wide grassy road along the side of Onion Mountain with views of the lights of Bedford off in the distant valley. I was feeling great and moving along at a good pace. After a while though I was ready to see the end of this section and the beginning of the trail down to Overstreet Falls. This section seemed to last forever just like it does in the Spring and I was eager to make the first cut-off at the top of Headforemost Mt and I knew I still had a long way to go. I finally made it to the trail. At Promise Land I can usually fly down the hill to the gravel road but it was much more difficult to run among the rocks in this section in the dark. I also was having a lot of pain in my right knee so I was having to be much more careful than I normally would have been. I finally reached the end of the single-track and emerged onto the gravel road to begin the climb to the aid station four.
As I began climbing I noticed a dull roar through my ear warmers. It sounded a bit like a faraway jet flying over but it never changed. I decided it must be a couple of generators the volunteers were using at the aid staiton. Then with about 1/2 mile to go to the top I realized I was hearing the sound of a steady blast of arctic wind pouring over the top of the mountain.

" The Devil smiled as they ran off into the darkness and the cold,
because he knew that they would suffer and soon he would claim their souls.

But David had outsmarted the Devil, as the course brought them to their knees,
You could hear their cries echoing over the hills, praying God want you help me please!!!! "

Just before reaching the summit I began to feel the full force of the wind in my face.I went from being just very cold to painfully cold in moments. As bad as it felt I could only think how special were the volunteers there spending their night just to help a bunch of idiots . They had a fire going and I sat for about 3 minutes while I drank a cup of tomato soup and let my face thaw out. It was tempting to stay but I jumped up and quickly headed out as I had long way to go. I was happy to be about 45 minutes ahead of the cut-off as I headed down the otherside. Soon I was out of the wind and began to slowly feel better again eager to see the sun began to rise and hopefully bring a warmer day.
I normally have a period somewhere between 20 and 30 miles in an ultra that I go through a bad spell. It just isn't usaully 6:00 in the morning when I reach that point. The good thing was the sun was finally starting to shine it's light behind the mountains and I was nearing aid station 5 where I could get some breakfast. A wonderful lady was cooking eggs and sausage so I grabbed a sandwich and ate it while I walked up the next climb. Soon I was feeling good again and still making good time against the cut-offs. And then things really got strange. Through all the dark night I had hardly stumbled as I ran over the twisty , rocky trails. I thought now that it was daylight I would really be able to pick up the pace and run with more confidence. Boy was I wrong. I soon discovered that Hell is a thick blanket of dead leaves hiding the trail from mortal eyes. They were so thick in some sections that my feet were completely buried. There was no way to see what I might be stepping on. All I knew was that every other step there was a rock, stick or hole under there. I fell 3 times, nearly fell a dozen more and stumbled and slipped more times than I could ever count. It was so frustrating to feel good and ready to run but I could only struggle along and watch as my time cushion slowly disappeared.

I was so happy to finally make it into aid station seven at Bearwallow Gap around 42 miles. Ha!! Maybe 45 or more. The Horton miles were adding up. I still had about a 40 minute cushion but I wouldn't be able to afford too many long slow sections like the last one. I sat just long enough to change my shoes and socks. I had been feeling right foot starting to blister and I wanted to avoid the problem I had the last 30 miles at Leadville. I'm really glad I took the time because I had no problem after changing and the blisters never developed. Sometimes I really do learn something from past experiences.

The next two sections were once again very frustrating. At times there was good footing and a chance to run well but then more leaves and more climbs . Since this was my first time running here I had no idea when i would be near the end of a section and I was afraid I was losing too much time. I would have been very upset to work so hard and go through so much pain only to find myself missing the official finisher cut-off.

At Last ! Aid station 9. Just 6.3 miles to go. A young man named Paul that I had met while working an aid station at Holliday Lake two years ago was working here. I had him grab me a couple of cups of Coke and Conquest while I slammed down two gels. I told him I had to hurry up and get out of there. My cushion was down to 15 minutes. I could only hope that this last section was accurately measured and runnable like I had read in the course description. The first 3 miles were a steady uphill climb on a dirt road. I was moving along OK but not nearly as strong as earlier in the day. I normally don't bother looking up on these long climbs My philosophy is that I will get to the top when I get there. Wishing and searching will not make me get there any faster. But now I was straining to look ahead and hope to see the summit. Barb Isom came powerwalking by me on a mission to finish and then I finally saw her stop and look back. I knew she was at the top where we would cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and then it would be all down hill to the finish. I checked the time and breathed a sigh of relief. I finally knew I would make it. Vickie Kendall passed me as we started down and caught up to Barb. My knee was hurting and it was taking me a while to get back into a good running rhythm. After a while though I found my stride and the knee pain eased off as it loosened up and I soon repassed the ladies. I had hoped to finish before dark but it was not to be. I was very glad I was prepared and had my little Fenix LP 2 flashlight in my pocket. It is small , lightweight and very bright and enabled me to continue to run strong and confidently to the end.

 Martha was waiting to see the last runners finish even though her race had ended much earlier. She ran in the last hundred yards with me where as always David Horton was there to give a hug and congratulations. I immediately walked into the lodge and was greeted warmly by a large group of friends and fellow runners. Anita Finkle and Sylvana Smith both were waiting on me bringing me chili and coffee and a chair to sit in while I thawed out my severe case of ultrabrain. To top it off, Quatro had a birthday cake there for Vickie, Sophie, Tonya and me as we all shared a birthday within a week of the race.

Thanks David for another grand adventure

"Run Hellgate
The climbing never ends
Run Hellgate
It's punishment for your sins
Run Hellgate
But don't be looking back
Run Hellgate
The Devil is in your tracks

Joey Anderson

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hellgate Preview

Hellgate time is finally approaching. I will be heading to Virginia after work tomorrow to attempt this race for the first time. This is 100k, but more likely 65 to 66 miles long in keeping with the tradition of all David Horton races for being longer than advertised. You can read all about the race on David's website, I have a link to it on my sidebar links area now. The photo to the left was taken by Mike Day during a training run a couple of years ago. That is Little Hellgate Creek, which I believe we will be crossing in the dark .
The photo below with the snow was taken last year by Sophie Spiedel. The course runs along, up and down the ridgeline of the Mountains in the background. Fortunately this year there is no snow and ice in the forecast but overnnight lows will be in the teens. Brrrr. By the way, the race starts at 12:01 am Saturday morning.
This will be the 4th year of the event. It is a very difficult run and has a finishing rate comparable to some tough 100 mile races. There are two cut-offs and it can be difficult to make those. I knew I was not in shape to run it in 03. I was prepared to enter in 04 since I was in much better shape but I had a bad race at Masochist for some reason and decided to skip Hellgate again. In 05 I was once again considering running and was definitely running better than ever. I had a tough time at GEER 100K in Sept. and was feeling the effects of my most ambitious ultra schedule to date. I decided it was probably in my best interest not to put myself through such a tough test as Hellgate and besides I was into my Boston Marathon qualifying training by then anyway.
Well, 06 is the year finally to see if I can do this. This has been my best year by far with several course and distance PR's and I'm feeling great right now so I am confident I will have a successful run. Look for a report and hopefully some photos soon

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Derby 50K 2006

On Saturday Nov. 25th I went down to the Derby Community for the 4th annual Derby 50K. This is a low-key road race put on by Mark Long as a Mangum Track Club event. The course is 3 loops with a short spur to the start/finish line. It is a very rural area with very few houses along the route. Mostly farm and game lands. Although not a difficult course it has several rolling hills and a section of dirt road each loop.
The photo to the left has Jay Finkle, Fred Dummar and myself as we enter aid station #1. Fred's wife Susan with friends and fellow MTC members Caroline Amberger and Lucinda Rigg were womaning this aid station.

Click here for my report
Derby 50K report

This is the early leaders at the same place on the course. Women's winner Annette Bednosky just out for a "jog" finished 2nd overall.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Apex Turkey Trot 5K

Can you spot the Turkey?
I tried something a little different this Saturday. I don't spend too much time running short road races any more but I decided to run this Turkey Trot in Apex for a test to see how my leg speed is doing these days. It would also give me the opportunity to run with my good friend, the lovely Laura. The Race Director is David Wood, a fellow MTC member. I was happy to see he was representing the club while performing his official Race Director duties.
The weather was perfect for the event as it was in the 50's by race time at 10am with beautiful sunny skies. The course is entirely within Laura Duncan Park, mostly on a paved greenway around a lake. There are some gently rolling hills that would prevent it from being a PR course but not too difficult. The problem with these shorter races is that if you are giving it all you have it hurts the whole time. This one was no different as I tried to squeeze every second I could out of my body. I was very happy to run 21:36 and take 3rd place in the 50-54 age-group. I finished 36th out of 241 in the competitive division. Just before I made the turn up the last hill toward the finish, I heard Laura yelling for me to GO JOEY!!. She was closing fast and finished just 3 seconds behind me taking 1st place in her age-group.
The Turkey was no slouch this year running the whole race in just over 24 minutes. David and the volunteers and Town of Apex did a great job of putting on a fun event for I believe their 8th year. Thanks David

Check out this cool trophy. My first plastic running turkey. Posted by Picasa

Outer Banks Marathon Photos

Here is a link to some photos taken at last weeks Outer Banks Marathon. Some were taken by Frank Werner and the rest were taken during the race with Karla's camera

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Karla's Awesome Outer Banks Marathon

Well, as you can see from the photo which was taken at about the 23 mile mark, We are still running and still smiling. The womans courage and determination never ceases to amaze me. The other runner with us is John Strader. John is also a cancer survivor and is a P.A. at the UNC Cancer Center. We caught up to John coming off the bridge around the 22.5 mile mark and he ran in to the finish with us.
This trip all began over a year ago when it was first announced that there would be an
OBX Marathon. Karla was very excited by this news and stated she would be running it. She and her husband Frank own a waterfront lot on Roanoke Island and plan to move there when they retire. On visits to the Outer Banks they always stay at the Tranquil House Inn on the waterfront in downtown Manteo and the course goes right in front of the Inn just past the 25 mile mark.
Although I also wanted to run, it created a scheduling problem for me with Mountain Masochist moving to the first week of November. I knew I would not be able to race it but I still wanted to make the trip and spend the weekend with the Werner's and our friend Jerry. Karla went ahead and entered last November but I waited. Of course as most of you know by this past February Karla was diagnosed with cancer. Knowing that her treatments would continue into this December I had assumed that OBX was now out of the picture so I never entered. I should never have doubted Karla's determination, especially after her brave run at Boston so when it became obvious that she intended to run anyway I sent in my entry.
Since Boston, the treatments had been very time consuming and draining for Karla and so she had very little time and energy for any training. We had run three 5k's over the summer and she ran a 10k with Frank last month. Other than that she had only done infrequent 2 and 3 mile runs so we were concerned how she would handle the stress of running a marathon. Once again I would run by her side to keep her company and help to monitor her condition as I had at Boston. It is such a pleasure to run with her at any pace so I was eager to go although I did have concern that maybe she was asking too much of herself at this point.
We met at the starting area and passed the time socializing with friends from the NCRC and MTC. Frank was running the half so we wouldn't see him until the finish. Jerry had his own thing to do in the race but his friend Janice that we just met at the start was planning to run with us.

We planned to try and conserve as much energy as possible in the early miles so we would use a run/walk strategy from the first mile. We started off easily near the back of the pack and soon settled into an easy pace enjoying the atmosphere and scenery. Reaching the 1 mile mark we started the plan; run to the mile marker and then walk two minutes. We would repeat this pattern as long as she could keep it up. As is usual when we run together, there was great conversation with plenty of smiles along the way. The miles seemed to pass quickly and I was happy to see that she was able to run a relatively good pace and seemed to be feeling good. There was a light rain early in the run but it felt good since it was a bit warmer and more humid than expected . The course was varied and interesting as we ran through the residential area on the sound side of the island with nice views along the way.
Somewhere around 8 or 9 miles we entered the Nags Head Wood Preserve. This was one of the most enjoyable sections of the run for us. Besides being a beautiful area, it reminded us of the many miles spent training in Umstead Park. At mile 10, Janice decided to drop back and walk for a while. There were several rolling hills on this dirt road section so we abandoned the timed run/walks temporarily and just walked the hills and ran the downs ultra style. We hit a section of single-track trail about half a mile long and found it most enjoyable. I was amused that they had painted some of the roots along the trail orange to help runners from tripping. I told Karla if they painted all the rocks on Massanutten's trails orange, they would need to use crop-duster planes to spray the whole Mountain.
Just as we left the woods and moved out to the highway it began to rain hard and the wind began to blow in our face. Fortunately it was still warm enough that we felt fine. I have run in many rain and thunderstorms and other adverse conditons but this was Karla's first rainy race. She didn't let it dampen her spirits and we cruised along still maintaining a good pace and sticking with the plan. We passed the half in great shape and judging from her conditon I was confident that she would make it to the end now. As the course moved off the highway and back into the neighborhoods, the wind and rain soon passed.
The next few miles were most pleasant and we continued to enjoy the scenery and the conversation. Just as we returned once again to the highway it rained again even harder than before and the wind was blowing it right into our faces. We were looking forward to turning away from the wind and hoped that the lighter skies were heading our way before the finish. Finally we made the turn toward the bridge, the last obstacle before the very flat finish. We power-walked the bridge at a good pace and then began to run down the other side. It was about halfway down we picked up John. Then we saw Frank drive by looking for us on the course. He was surprised to find us so far along so he turned around to go wait at the finish. The photo was taken by Frank as he drove by us. During the last few miles we extended the walk break each mile to three minutes but otherwise we were sticking to the plan.
It was such a joy to enter the waterfront area of Manteo and run by the Tranquil House. We began seeing friends along the course cheering us on. I was wearing my Pink shirt with the "For Karla" message written on it and we had received great support from the crowds all day. And then it was there, the finish line. I was so proud of her effort as well as amazed at how well she had performed. We finished in 5:25:01, which was 22 minutes faster than at Boston. Our pacing plan worked wonderfully and we only slowed 9 minutes from the first half and even passed over 100 people the 2nd half. Watch out when she gets well. She's going to come back strong!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Heading to Outer Banks Marathon

I'm heading off to Manteo this afternoon for the Inaugural Outer Banks Marathon with the usual suspects. It looks like we will have some nice weather out along the coast of NC. I will be run/walking the race with my #1 training partner and friend Karla. This will be a special event for us as Karla continues to keep a positive attitude while fighting cancer. She began 6 weeks of radiation treatment this past Monday after completing 29 weeks of chemotherapy on Oct. 13th. We know this will be long and slow but we will enjoy the day and the joy of a wonderful friendship. Karla's husband Frank will be running in the half marathon and our friend Mojo Jerry will also be running in the marathon.
The race has filed to capacity and I know there will quite a few runners from the NCRC and maybe also few from MTC. I hope to see many of you there. The photos above were taken at the finish line of last February's Myrtle Beach Marathon where I ran my PR and Boston qualifier in 3:35:15.
Look for a report when I return.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ultra Adventures - Mt Masochist 2006

Well, here is my report. Just click on the link below.
That's me somewhere around 35 miles on the Mt. Pleasant Loop. As you can see at the higher elevations, most of the leaves have already fallen, while in the valleys and lower slopes the colors were near their peak.

Be sure to check out the photos linked in the posting I did earlier.
Click here to go to the race report:
Ultra Adventures - Mt Masochist 2006

Some more thoughts on the race.

This race is a very special event in many ways. David Horton has probably done more for the sport of ultrarunning in the Eastern United States than any one. The races that he directs are just a part of it. He has been an inspiration to so many over the years and as a Professor at Liberty University has introduced the sport to countless young people. Attending one of Horton's races is like a reunion. All of his events offer not only a race but time for socializing before and after. Each year I get to make new friends and strengthen existing friendships.
At Masochist, the packet pick-up is held with a pre-race dinner at Heritage High School. This venue is just big enough to accomodate the number of entrants. I find it hard to sit down as I spot a familiar face in every corner of the room. While joining in with one group of friends, I seem to make a new aquaintence that I will look forward to seeing along the trail or at the next event.
After the race more social time with the awards and a delicious chicken dinner as we share our stories of pain or glory. And sometimes both. And for some of us that can't seem to get enough, there is the Sunday morning breakfast at Golden Corral. Yes, we ultrarunners love to eat and talk.
The comraderie between ultrarunners is very special as we share the experiences of the long miles. I look forward to sharing many more memories for many years to come.

Mt Masochist 2006

Here are some pictures from this weekends Mt Masochist 50+ mile run. Some were taken at the pre-race dinner and the rest from the race.

Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Mt Masochist ...

look for a report soon

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mayor's Walk for Cancer

On Saturday Oct 21st, I met Karla and Frank over at Lake Benson Park in Garner for the Mayor's Walk for Cancer. It was a first year event with the proceeds going to the Susan G Komen Foundation for Cancer Research. You can see Karla in the blue hat being recognized with the other survivors in attendance. It was a beautiful morning and there were approximately 100 participants in the walk.

We were happy that our friends Laura MacLean and Alan Hughes came out to show their support for Karla and enjoy a nice walk around the park.

I grew up about a mile from Lake Benson and spent a lot of time exploring in the woods and fields surrounding it. At that time in the 60' the area was very rural with only about a dozen houses within 2 miles of my home. Mostly farmland and forest. There used to be an old boathouse and bait shop at the lake and I spent many an hour hanging out there during summer vacation. My parents still live in the house I grew up in.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Seaboard Festival 5 mile

Awoke this morning to a beautiful, unseasonably warm morning outside of West End. I was very pleased that the heavy rains of Thursday had passed on
leaving clear blue skies.
I was the guest of my friend and fellow MTC member Tony Rouse and his wife Lisa. They were kind enough to offer there hospitality to me to save the long drive down from Zebulon on race day or finding a motel. After breakfast and coffee, we made the drive down to the hamlet of Hamlet NC. The race is held in conjuction with the annual Seaboard Festival that celebrates the towns history and relationship with the railroad. Hamlet was at a crossroads of two major tracks of the Seaboard Airline Railroad and also the location of a major yard and service facilities. Over the years many mergers and aquisitions later , Seaboard is now a part of the massive CSX Transportation but the town is still a railroad town. The old depot is a historic site and a museum now but the area is still serviced by Amtrak.
The race is the 3rd in a series of Mangum Track Club events and is required running if one is interested in getting bonus points in the quest for the Mangum Cup. At the present time Tony and I are the two points leaders and barring a major catastrophy, one of us will be this years winner. Since I have become mostly an ultrarunner the past several years I seldom run these shorter road races. One reason is because to run them fast you have to hurt just about every step of the way. Especially if you don't train for it. Before I begin my quest to qualify for Boston, I had not done any speedwork in about 20 years. And since I ran my qualiifer this past Feb. I hadn't done anymore. That became painfully evident between miles 3 and 4. I had been running quite well up to that point but I could feel the bear crawling onto my shoulders. About that time I heard footsteps behind me and I was 99% sure without looking back that it was Tony. He soon passed me and although I recovered and ran the last mile back at exactly my average pace for the whole run, I never was able to close the gap. But hey, that's OK. He's not in my age-group and there are no bonus points for finishing in front of me!
Overall, I was very happy with my race. I was 9th overall and 2nd in the 50-59 age-group. Getting older doesn't make competing any easier. Mark Long and his volunteers and the town did a great job as usual allowing us the opportunity to have some fun . It was nice to hang around for awhile with my fellow MTC's. If you are interested in a well organized race that is a bargain compared to most races, come down to the Sandhills next Oct.
Here is a link to a few photos I took at the finish .
Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Seaboard 5 mile

Friday, October 27, 2006

Single-Track Heaven

Another great day in the playground known as Umstead State Park. I decided to hit the trails yesterday. I had about two hours so I chose one of my favorite routes, the Double Company Mill Trail. Company Mill is a lollypop trail, an out and back with a loop. When I do the double I run the loop once in each direction before climbing back up the spur for about a 10 mile workout.
The weather was once again near perfect, about 59F. One great thing about running on a weekday afternoon is the lack of crowds in the park. And when you are on the trails there are even less as the Mt Bikes are not allowed. This day the trails were practically my own. I only encountered a pair of hikers walking their dog on the first loop and a lone runner on the second. Although I do enjoy running with friends it is these runs that satisfy my soul. Just me alone with my thoughts and God to keep me company. I was feeling very good yesterday and with the cool weather I could just relax and have fun enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the forest in Autumn. More than once a big smile came across my face as I played in the woods. To top it off, I set a new course PR without even trying. No , the photo isn't Company Mill. This is the trailhead to the Loblolly Trail. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Leadville 2006

I have posted my Leadville photos on my Picasa Web Album page now. I have added some photos I took on the way to the race. There are also some pictures that Joe and Hannah Lugiano sent me along the course and the finish. I am very grateful to them or I would not have a finishing photo. The ones from the Lugianos were scanned from prints so the quality might not be as sharp as the rest of the album.

Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Leadville 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Karla's last chemotherapy infusion

Friday Oct 13th was a good day this year. After 29 weeks Karla was finally getting her last infusion of chemotherapy. It was an emotional day for her. On one hand was the happiness of putting this phase of her treatments behind her. On the other hand there was a bit of sadness. Over all these weeks the wonderful staff at the UNC-Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center had taken special care of Karla and close relationships had been formed. Saying good-bye would not be easy.
Karla and Frank had invited our friend Jerry and myself to join them in saying good-bye and thanking the staff as well as celebrate the end of this phase of Karla's treatment. It also happened to be Frank's birthday. You can see in the picture the tube inserted in a port in Karla's chest delivering the last infusion.
Here are several of the caring staff that have done a great job of treating Karla. Here she is receiving her purple heart certificate for completing all the treatments. They waved the magic wand over her and sang goodbye.
The timing worked out great as far as my fundraising in Karla's honor. I let Karla choose which of several cancer charities that she would like for me to use the donations for and it was decided to give it to the Patient and Family Care Center as a thank you.

After the infusion was over we went down to their office to make the presentation. I was very happy to hand over all the checks and cash that was so genorously donated by you, our friends and family. The majority of the money came from the running community which was most appropriate since I raised the money running to honor my training partner and your fellow runner and club member.

This is Tina Shaban, the Patient Education Resource Coordinator. Pam Baker, the Program Assistant was also present. Hopefully I can get a picture of her posted soon. Due to your generosity I have now received $1,563.44 to give to them. I want to once again give out a BIG THANK YOU to everyone that made a donation, no matter how large or small. It is very hard for family and friends to watch someone they love battle something like cancer. This was just my way of showing my support for her in the way I know best.
Karla's fight against this terrible disease is not over yet. She still faces 6 weeks of radiation before she will be able to put this behind her. In the meantime she remains strong and determined. We just ran the Autism 5K in Raleigh together this morning and she did very well as we were smiling and talking the whole time. This was her best run since we finished Boston back in April. Hopefully on Nov. 12th she will find the strength to finish the Outer Banks Marathon. And I will be there to share the day with her and celebrate life and a special friendship.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Here is the "DirtyGirl" Xy Weiss, talented ultrarunner and the maker of dirtygirlgaiters. When I first started running ultra's 4.5 years ago I was aware of what gaiters were and their purpose, but never felt the need for them. Besides, I didn't care much for what I saw out there available. After a couple of years and getting tired of emptying trail debris from my shoes I started thinking maybe I should look into finding some gaiters.
So, last August while having a wonderful day on the Laurel Valley Trail sweeping with the Dummar's, I noticed both of them were wearing DirtyGirls. I had seen them earlier at the Vermont 100, which is also the place I saw Xy. Fred had been running alongside Xy when one of the horses came running by. Xy was startled and fell into the river. I think she was just looking to cool off since it was in the 90's and humid that day. Anyway, Fred and Susan both raved about how they loved their new gaiters so I decided to order a couple of pairs for myself and a gift for my training partner.
And they are great. Once you put them on you will forget you have them on.( Unless you have on blinding Hot Pink ones) They perform well and it's a snap to just roll them up to change shoes or socks if you need to.

I ordered the Hot Pink-Iron Butterfly design for my cancer fundraiser to draw attention to my cause. It worked. There was some serious gaiter envy going on at Hinson Lake so if anyone is looking to get some really cool, functional fashion trail running accessories I can highly recommend Xy's. She was kind enough to donate mine and also gave a genorous donation to UNC-LCCC in Karla's honor. Xy obviously has a lot of fun with the whole dirtygirl thing but she also has a serious side. Her job is a District Attorney in California helping to put away some dispicable characters. She is a great advocate for the victims and has donated the proceeds from her side business in gaiter making to charity.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Hinson Lake 2...

Below is a link to some more photos taken at last weekends Hinson Lake 24 hour. These were taken by Karla using her camera.
Frank and Karla have been using Picasa to organize their digital photos and introduced me to the program. It is in my opinion a wonderful tool and makes downloading pictures and organizing and editing easy for a former luddite like me. Just recently Picasa added the web sharing feature . I was glad to see this option because now I can do everything including uploading photos to my blog all in one program. There is a link to Picasa (google photos) in the sidebar of my blog now if you would like to check it out. It is a free program and downloads in seconds if you have hi-speed internet.

Picasa Web Albums - Joey - Hinson Lake 2...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hinson Lake 24 hour Report

Here is my report on the Hinson Lake 24 hour race held the weekend of Sept30th/Oct 1st.

Click Here to go to Mike's ncultra website.

Here is a link to some photo's Karla took with my camera.

Go here for the photo album

Monday, October 02, 2006

Flickr: ncultra's photos tagged with 24hour

Here is a link to some photos Mike Day took at this past weekends Hinson Lake 24 hour run.
It was a great weekend for running and there were many inspiring performances. I hope to have my report and some more photos posted later

Flickr: ncultra's photos tagged with 24hour

It takes a "real" ultraman to wear Pink!
Certainly got a lot of attention for my fundraiser

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Lonely Princess

This is a short story I wrote in April 2005 after pacing at the Umstead 100 miler on the back of a scrap sheet of paper. It was a rough draft and I never finished it and now I don't know where it is so I am re-writing now while I sit here in front of my computer. Hope you enjoy it.

   He was a mostly normal boy who enjoyed doing normal boy things. But even at an early age he could sense that he was a little different from most of his friends and although he enjoyed playing with others, he enjoyed spending time alone with his thoughts. Many hours were spent in the woods behind his home, sometimes just sitting in a tree thinking.

  And he loved to read. He was quite good at reading at an early age and although the school library only allowed two books at a time to be checked out, they made an exception for him and allowed him to take home three at a time. History, biography, science, mystery, fantasy and fiction were all pored over and absorbed to feed his voracious appetite for knowledge, entertainment and yes, escapism. His favorite books were of the fantasy genre, especially those having to do with knights and dragons and brave, adventurous deeds. He was mostly a happy child, but a part of him always felt there was something more out there and he was afraid he was missing out on it.

    After a while it was becoming harder to find books that would be of interest that he had not already read in the school library so one day, not having much luck finding anything of interest, he appealed to the librarian for help. She replied, yes I think I have just the book that you are looking for. She went to a nearby closet and returned with an old dust covered book that obviously had not been touched for years. As she handed the book to him, he cast a skeptical look her way. The title was " The Lonely Princess". Yes, he did enjoy reading of castle's and kings and knights in shining armor, but this looked like a girly book to him. The librarian insisted that he give it a look so he stuffed it into his book bag and went to class.

   There the book stayed for several days until boredom led him to retrieve the book and give it a look. Just as he suspected, there were no jousting knights or dragons to be fought in the book but what he did find was a story more compelling than he could have imagined and it became his favorite book, one that would be read and re-read over and over again.

   It was the story of a beautiful young Princess who was mostly normal. But she was not content to sit around in the castle looking pretty. She had a yearning for adventure that needed to be fed. All of her court could not understand why she couldn't be happy like a normal Princess would be. She had all the finest clothes, jewelry and people waiting on her hand and foot.  But she was not happy. She felt there was something more out there and she was missing it. She dreamed of leaving the castle and seeing the world, seeking adventure and slaying her own dragons.

    So one day she slipped out the castle , into the forest and began to run. And it felt good. So the next day she ran again only further. And soon she was spending nearly all day just running. Through running she was finding the freedom and adventure she needed . Of course the King and Queen didn't understand her strange behavior and tried to discourage her but this only made her desire to run even stronger. She didn't understand it either. She wished that she could explain but it was no use. So she just ran and ran.

   Years past by and the boy grew into a man. The book was packed away and over the years became a distant memory. And life began to take it's toll on the man. But even through all the hardships he still dreamed of adventures and exotic locations even though he knew that's all they were. Dreams.

  And then one day he stepped out the door and just began to run. And it felt good. So the next day he ran further and then further still. And through running he found something that was missing in his life. His friends and family didn't really understand it. Why the need to run so long and far? He wished he could explain it to them but he wasn't really sure he understood himself. But as he ran he smiled to himself for he knew that long ago and faraway there was a beautiful Princess that understood.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Running 24 hours for Breast Cancer Research

The weekend of Sept 30th/Oct 1st I will be participating in the Hinson Lake 24 hour race in Rockingham NC. The race is being directed by Tom Gabell, a member of the Mangum Track Club of which I am a member. Recently Mike Day suggested that I solicit pledges for my fund raising efforts for Cancer research. As many of you know I tied some of my Spring ultra's to fund raising to benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and also the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure in honor of my training partner Karla Werner. The photo is from the RFTC in June. That is our friend Jerry running with us.
For those of you new to the story, you can find the background information in my story "Dreams Can Come True" located on this blog. First let me give you an update on Karla. As of today she has 5 more weeks remaining in chemotherapy. That will be followed by 6 weeks of radiation. She is hoping that her Doctors will allow her to take a break in between so that she can run/walk the Outer Banks Marathon on Nov. 12th. I will be by her side the whole time just as we were together at Boston. If she has the strength and courage to do it, then I will be there to support her. We just ran the Stanley Cup 5k last Sunday and she did well. I was so proud of her.

This photo was taken there. That is her husband Frank who also ran with us.

Which brings me back to the fundraising. All proceeds will go to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center's Patient and Family Resource Center. These are the people that have been taking care of Karla's treatments. If you click on the title of this story it will take you to the UNC-LCCC website.
I hope that all of you reading this will consider making a contribution. I do plan to run over 100 miles in this race so keep that in mind. .10 cents a mile or $1 per mile, any amount would be welcome. And if it will help you decide to give, I will be proudly wearing Pink in the race. I invite everyone that is in the area to come down and watch some of the race and run some with me. All checks should be made out to UNC-LCCC. Earmark the funds to go to the Patient and Family Resource Center. You can e-mail me and I will give you my address. just click on my profile at the top of the blog and it will show you my e-mail. For those of you that can't find it in your heart to contribute to anything with UNC in front of it, I will also accept contributions to the Komen Foundation. Thank You for helping in the fight against breast cancer and helping me to honor my friend .

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ultra Adventures - Leadville 2006 Report

Here is the link to my report.
Ultra Adventures - Leadville 2006 Report

I hope you enjoy it. I hope to go back someday and correct the mistakes I made and have a faster time, but it will have to wait a while.

Here is a link to some pictures I took in Colorado if you missed them.

Monday, August 21, 2006

View from Hope Pass

Here I am crossing Hope Pass the 2nd time.
What an amazing event. I did it!!
Look for a complete report and pictures soon. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Heading off to Leadville

This is a view I hope to see this coming Saturday. It was taken from atop Hope Pass, about the 45 mile mark. Down in the valley off in the distance you can see Twin Lakes andbeyond there is Turquoise Lake. Leadville is just out of the picture a couple of miles to the right of Turquoise Lake.
I have several friends already out there acclimating. Joe Lugiano from Cary and Bill Squires from Raleigh and Doug Dawkins of the MTC from Rockingham. Also Gary Knipling and his son Keith from the VHTRC are hoping to finish the Grand Slam this year. I am really looking forward to seeing and running with Anita Fromm. She is a young lady I met while pacing at the Umstead 100 in 05 as I mentioned in the story on volunteering. We had so much fun, I paced her again this year when she ran a PR sub-24. Anita is now living in Manitou Springs so she should be used to the altitude. I hope I can keep up with her for a while at least.
All my drop bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I'm sure I'll have a report and some pictures when I get back.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Leadville 100 Miler.

The time is fast approaching for my departure to Leadville Colorado for what may be the most difficult run for me so far. The course is not as difficult or as technical as Massanutten but the high altitude will present a very tough challenge for this lifetime resident of sea level central NC.
My training has been going very well. I don't have the luxury of being able to travel to CO early to acclimate to the high altitude so I will have to just hope to be able to handle it as well as possible. To help prepare for the lack of oxygen I tried a couple of special workouts. On my long runs at Umstead, I would hold my breath and run as fast as I could until I would pass out. After waking up I would repeat for the duration of the workout. I was able to cover 3 miles in 4 hours on my first attempt. Only 97 more miles to go but I will have to pick up the pace to make the cut-offs. I also suffered quite a few bruises and scrapes but it was worth it to get in the training. Sleeping at altitude is suppose to be one of the best ways to acclimate so at night I duct tape my mouth and nose shut and insert a small coffee stirrer straw into one nostril. I haven't slept very well lately but hopefully I can catch up on some sleep this week before leaving.
Ok, just kidding. Actually my training has been going well and I have been tapering for a 3 weeks now. I feel confident in my ability to accomplish the task and look forward to the challenge. Got to head to work now. More later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Great Eastern 100k 2005

Hello Friends,
I hadn't planned a report. This was a message I composed last night for my training partner but several of you have asked how it was and congratulated me on my time so I decided to send this ever so slightly edited version out to the world or a small part of it at least.
I am Truly Blessed to have such wonderful people out there that care about me and share my stories with.So here it is.
Well, I survived but just barely. Next to Massanutten, this was definitly the hardest thing I've ever done. In a way it was even harder but, I don't think I can explain it in words that you can understand. More on that in a minute.
This race is essentially two totally different courses combined for one race. The 1st 11 miles are run on roads, mostly paved.Slightly uphill the 1st 2 miles, mostly down the next 2 and then a downhill plunge for about 4 miles. Then flat in the valley for the next 3. You return to this point at 50.8 miles and finish the way you came. The remaining 40 miles are predominately trail. Very steep, rocky trails. The total elevation change of 14, 200 feet is mile for mile more than Massanutten.
Not only was the course two totally different ones but so was my day. Actually about 4 differnet days for me. The 1st 16 miles I was feeling great but then my stomach started feeling bad and for some reason I was having a hard time getting a deep breath. The sad part was the next 5miles would have been the most enjoyable section of trail on the whole course. Instead of having fun though, I was struggling with whether or not I would be able to continue. Once again I found myself struggling with dehydration like at Vermont but I couldn't drink anything. I finally dragged into the 21.8 miles aid station, barely able to think. I sat in a chair and was able to drink some ginger ale and that seemed to sit well with me.. After about 5 minutes I got up and headed for the next trail. Slowly I began to feel better and able to drink. By the time I was halfway around that 3.8 mile loop I was on top of the world, feeling great and running as well as ever in an ultra.
In spite of my bad spell, I was now in the top half of the field which is very rare for me and I was on pace to run under my fantasy goal time 16 hours. The next several hours I was as happy as an Ultraman can be. At 37 Miles I began the longest segment. It was a long slog up a rocky dirt road that went on forever. I climbed for 1.5 hours before it leveled out enough for me to run any but out of the 8 miles in that segment, I was climbing at least 6.5. To make matters worse it was during the warmest part of the day and exposed to the sun for a good part of the time. I was passed here for the first time since mile 17. It was pretty lonely out there most of the day. One of the people was David Snipes. David always is very encouraging to me and we were close together for a good part of the remainder of the run, usually meeting at the aid stations.
I finally made it to the 45.3 mile aid station but I was not in good shape again. My stomach was not happy and although I was starving I couldn't eat. Except for 1 gel and one cookie and half of a milky way bar, I hadn't eaten anything in 10 hours and 30+ miles of running. The only calories I was getting were from coke and ginger ale at the aid stations and it wasn't enough. I sat for 19 minutes trying to get my stomach settled enough to run. The amazing thing is I was still running fairly well on the flats and downhills, but I was dragging on the climbs. Thankfully the next 5.5 miles were all downhill and flat and I was able to make pretty decent time and recover a little until I got back to the start of the road section at 50.8 miles just as it was getting dark enough for me to need a light.
I ran almost all of the next 3 miles to the base of the long climb back up to the Parkway. I knew if i just kept moving I would still go under my realistic goal of 17 hours. The full moon was just rising above the trees at this point but I was struggling to keep moving up that long interminable climb and couldn't enjoy it. At this point I didn't want to keep going. I was not having fun, I felt like crap and I decided I would never run another ultra. Well maybe a flat 50K now and then. And I still have to run Masochist next month. and I still hope to get into Western States next year, but that's it, I quit.
Well obviously I did keep going and finished in 16:38. I should be esctatic, since I exceeded my realistic time goal and finished 39th out of about 80 starters. But as I sat around at the finish nothing seemed to matter. I felt like a beaten man. It's like I left a part of my soul out there somewhere on that course and I'll never get it back. I had to dig deep for this one, all for a time that in the big scheme of things is totally meaningless. Last night on that dark lonely road looking for an answer why, I couldn't find one.
Things are looking better today, they always do. It's amazing how low blood sugar can screw with your mind. Throw in exhaustion and feet pounded into submission from a billion rocks and it's understandable why I was a mental wreck.
On a lighter note, I had a Jerry moment for this one.( Note: Jerry is one of my best friends. If you knew him you would understand what I mean by a Jerry moment. One of these days I may write a book of Jerry Moments) It came just as we started the 1st trail climb around 12miles. The guy behind me says, are those two different shoes you are wearing? No I said, but then I looked down and sure enough I had an Asics 2090 on one foot and a 2100 on the other. At least I had a right and a left. My feet didn't seem to mind.
Hope to see most of you at Masochist

Uwharrie 40 2005

A little bit different report this time. After getting quite a few of these events behind me over the last three years, I've started to look at them a bit differently now. Of course much is the same. Ultra's challenge us in many ways. Sometimes more physical, others more mental and sometimes they dig deep us into emotionally us and reach places we either have forgotten or tried to hide. But I'll try not to get too deep here.
First off, this was a wonderful event starting with the Friday night social and all the way through the post race activities. A great course with great friends on a perfect day. But there was something weird going on out there. The first half was very normal and I felt great and having too much fun. I was mostly alone that first half after losing contact with Bill Squiers after a couple of miles when everyone was spread out. I caught up with Bea around 18 miles and we spent most of the next 15-16 miles togehter and it was nice to have some company.
It was at the turn that things got strange on me though.I was about to head back out, when a very wonderful, unexpected and very brief occurence took me completely off my game. I was surprised, confused, and speechless, so I just took off down the trail to complete my run. It was then I realized I obviously was still in my bed at the motel and dreaming. It would be just a moment and I'd wake up and be driving to the start.
I had caughtt up with Bill just before the turn and so he and I and Bea were soon running together. Bill soon dropped back and once again Bea and I were running alone again. It was nice seeing more friends heading up to the turnaround and others finishing the 20. Then things got weird again. Two very pretty young ladies that were frinends of Bea, stopped to greet her. I continued to walk away and overheard the young ladies refer to the "Hottie" that Bea was running with. Of course I had to look around to try and find this other guy because I thought it was just us two. Bea assured me they were referring to me. Oh yeah, I haven't awakend yet from my dream..
Then we get to the 29 mile aid station and I'm standing there, when this very good looking woman says "Oh you have such nice hair". So I'm looking around again trying to see where is this guy she's talking to. Then it dawns on me , oh yeah I'm asleep, but man this is a long dream and I sure feel tired. Or maybe I have somehow inhabited some young good-looking guys body.
Well, I finally do finish but I can't hang around too long because 3 women want me to go out to eat with them.So why not.You don't get to have dreams like this too often. Hey I was a little slower than I'd hoped but this is still on great dream.
So anyway I wake up and instead of waking up in the motel and getting ready to go run, I 'm at home, it's Sunday morning, I 'm tired, sore and there is mud on my nrunning clothes. It was all real after all! So thanks to everyone, the volunteers and race directors, and all my wonderful running friends are always there to encourage me. A special thanks to Bea for keeping me company and for Dorothy and Rosa supporting us on the way back.
It turns out not to have ben a fantasy or dream, but I will always treasure this ultra made special because I was truly touched by an Angel at 20 miles. I don't know that this Angel will ever see this story, but if you do Thank YOU!!
You will never know how much it meant to me.

Fw: [ncrc] Fw: greetings/ellerbe

This was originally just an e-mail I sent to a couple
of friends. I was going to write a report but never got around to it so I
slightly modified this instead

That is Anita Finkle just behind me. Her husband Jay took the picture.

Hello my favorite running people,

The weather turned out perfect. I drove through a shower around Sanford
and was worried but when in got to Ellerbe it was blue skies.

Now on with the story.
I was a bit apprehensive about running this after the extremely difficult
time I had at Umstead 2 weeks ago. And my right leg hasn't been right
since Myrtle Beach Marathon and was hurting me quite a bit yesterday. I decided to go ahead
and run for fun and hope the leg would hold up. Age-group medals would
have to wait til another day.
I started out with my good ultrabuddy Anita Finkle. Jay wasn't running
because of some Achilles tendonitis so he was saving it for the 100 in two
weeks. It was great to run with her. I haven't seen them as much as usual
the past year and we haven't run together in a long time. My leg was
feeling fine so that was a relief. The pace was maybe a little quicker
than I planned that early, right at 9mp but it felt good. The first half
is very hilly. I think this may be as tough as the Boogie, just easier
because of the cooler weather than June.
We were just having a great time talking and after about 7 miles a lady
Anita knew joined us. The miles seem to pass quickly and we went through
the half, which is the highest point on the course in 2:01:15, about 9:15
pace. The hill leading up to that point is about as tough and long as
Bethel Church Hill. The next couple of miles had some nice downhill but
there were still plenty of hills left. The 2nd half is somewhat easier
than the 1st though.
At 15 miles,Jay was working the a.s. and Anita stopped for a minute and
while I was walking away drinking some water, Ruth, the other lady kept
going. I was going slow thinking Anita might catch back up but after a few
minutes I decided to pick the pace back up. I saw Tony Rouse was just
behind me at the a.s.and I was hoping he would catch me too so we could
run together. Well, he finally did 4 miles later at 19. We picked up the
pace a little more. The next few miles were a long gradual climb, just
enough to let you know you are going up hill. I commented to Tony that I
could really use some downhill soon.
Anita caught us at 22 miles. We were running about 9mp again but she
passed us in pursuit of beating other women. We had been Finkled. I told
Tony after running an 8:50 mile that we were doing good but I had to slow
down becuase I felt a stitch coming and my stomach was feeling a bit
queezy. I dropped back a little to recupe a bit. When we got to mile 23,
Tony stopped and turned back and waited for me. He said if we push it we
might crack 4 hours. I didn't think it was even a remote possibility but I
looked at my watch and saw it would be possible but only if we really
pushed it. I didn't think I could so I told Tony I didn't feel like trying
but for him to go ahead. Strange thing though, that last easy mile had me
feeling better and we started picking it up and soon were in a good
groove. This was cool. This late in a marathon and I feel great and
running faster than I have all day. Around 24 miles we passed Anita and 3
other people. ( My first reverse Finkle!) We ran mile 25 in
I can honestly say that although it was not my fastest marathon, it was
probably my best from start to finish.
What a great day. Spend it with some great people and running a great
race in a beautiful place. Got to spend some quality time with the Trail
Angel before and after the race. Always a highlight of my life.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ultra Adventures - Volunteering at Umstead

This is a story about volunteering. Sometimes it can be as much fun as running.

Ultra Adventures - Joey Anderson's MMT Report

This is my report on the May 2005 Massanutten Mountain Trail 100

Ultra Adventures - Doing the Double, or What was I Thinking!

Last August I had the bright idea that it would be fun to do back to back rocky, gnarly very hot 50K's in the Mountains one weekend. It was a lot like fun, just different
Ultra Adventures - Redemption at the Mountain Masochist.

This is a story about David Horton's Mountain Masochist 50 miler from 2005

Ultra Adventures - Chasing Dreams and the Power of Friendship, Part 2

Here is Part two of the story of my attempt to quailify for Boston. That is Karla and I with our age-group awards from the Ocean Isle Beach 1/2 Marathon in January. It was a tune-up race for the Myrtle Beach Marathon where I hoped to run my qualifying time.

Ultra Adventures - Chasing Dreams and the Power of Friendship

This is the first in a three part series I wrote about my attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon and the friends that helped me along the way. This picture shows the 4 major characters as we get ready to run the Richmond Marathon last Nov.
Thats me with the flannel shirt on. Karla is on my right and Margo is between me and Jerry

Ultra Adventures - Dreams Can Come True

Here is the final segment of the Boston story. As you can see from the picture, it ended successfully.

Ultra Adventures - Capon Valley

This is a link to a story I did about the Capon Valey 50K on May 6th 2006. I plan to have all my old stories posted soon so that anyone that hasn't had a chance to read any of them can find them all in one place. With the exception of a couple of stories that I did in e-mails, all of my stories have been posted at my friend Mike Day's website I have provided a link to Mike's site over in the links column. If you have any interest in ultrarunning, you should definitely check it out. I will continue to post any new stories there as well as on my blog.

Ultra Adventures - Boogie Night 2006

This is a story about the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie. I ran the 50 miler there on June 17th for the first time, two weeks after running the Old Dominion 100 Miler. This is me and my training partner Karla waiting for the start of the marathon last year.