Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Buckner Mission Man Sprint Triathlon

I was suppose to be running Catherines FA 50K in Massanutten last weekend but with my lack of running and poor condition along with the injuries I made the decision to drop my name from the race and let someone else have my spot. I still had the weekend free so I decided to accompany my friends Bill and Margherita over to Burlington Saturday for a little Tri fun.

I have been continuing with all my treatments for the periformis and hamstring issues and have finally started to see some real improvement. I've been getting in several 5 mile runs in each week as well as the cross-training. Fortunately the swimming and the biking don't cause any pain or further damage so I can do it as frequently as my schedule will allow. Even with the Ironman still a long time away, I know I need to work on the other disciplines a lot and the sprint tri seemed like a fun way to do it. With only a 5 K run I wasn't worried about hurting myself.

I was up way too early and then met the Scotts at their home at 4:45. By 5 we were on the road making good time and arrived at the race site by 6:30 giving us plenty of time to check in and set up in transition. It was a beautiful morning but a bit humid. Just before the start I climbed into Lake Cammack to warm up a little. The water felt great and was a fairly clean lake. Bil and I are in the same age-group now so we lined up in the water together when it was time for our wave to get ready. At the horn we took off but Bill pulled ahead quickly and that was the last I would see of him until the finish. There was the usual jostling in the swim until the first buoy and then I was able to settle in to a comfortable stroke.

This was my longest continuous swim since I started back 6 weeks ago going to the Y so I was very happy to feel smooth and comfortable in the water. I was beginning to tire a little at the end but did ok. We think the swim was a little long but that's not unusual to have a bit of diffenrce in the swim from year to year.

The bike course was a fairly moderate course with a few hills. none were too long or steep but I still haven't spent much time on the bike and none in over two weeks so I think I had actually done 6 rides since my first one in three years last month. I do pretty good on the flats where not much power is need because of my high endurance level from years of ultrarunning but as soon as there is any incline I just don't have any power. I was pedaling my little heart out there on the course and thought I had done ok until I saw the results. I was 24th out of 24 in my age-group on the bike.

The run went a little better and also a little better than in Wake Forest last month. Still hard to run off the bike but I had a little more life in the legs. I just need to start doing some bike-run bricks in training as well as more events. the run course was two loops and 2/3'rds of it was on a double-track trail so at least it was shady. There were several short steep hills , especially at the end of each loop and again I had no power climbing.

Overall it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed spending the time with Bill and Margo.

I forgot to take the camera so no photos I'm afraid. You can go to the race website here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the results

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Anita smashes Badwater Double Women's record

This is an e-mail Anita sent to one of her crew:

"Well we did it!!! Thanks to all your great support and the rest of my wonderful crew, I was able to reach the summit of Mt. Whitney from Badwater in a time of 52:17, breaking the previous best time set by a British woman of 52:45. A VERY tough climb and an even tougher descent. The descent took nme two hours longer than the climb. I told you I suck at going downhill.

I completed the double also, breaking the old women's record of 143:25, in a time of 129:44. It was great having Ben and Denise and Kari and Phil there for me. It was 131F coming back into Badwater and there was a headwind of 20-30mph.

Thanks for all your help, patience and effort.

Anita "

Congratulations to Anita the Trail Princess. You are an amazing lady and a great athlete.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sudden Sadness: A life cut short.

I can only say I was shocked when my oldest son Steven called last night to tell me his mother was dead. Before I could get any details our call was cut-off. I waited for a return call while I tried to process what was happening. Surely this wasn't real. But then a few moments later my younger son Jeremy came to my door to verify the news on his way to her home.
I met Edith while working at the Revco Drug Store in Downtown Raleigh in 1974. My boss told me when I came into work that he had hired a girl for me. A year later on 11-07-75 we were married. Steven was born a little over three years later on 2-23-79 and 8 years later on 3-01-87 Jeremy was born. Sadly Edith fought with her inner demons for many years and our marriage ended over 16 years ago. We long ago made our peace and over the past several years she had finally gotten her life turned around. She has been happily married the past several years to Wes Separk and things seemed to be going well for them.

Please pray for my sons as they deal with the loss of their Mother and for Wes and the rest of her family.

Edith Prince Separk B:12-09-56 D:7-19-08

More adventures of my friends

This is Eric Werner and his friend Andrea. They have just completed a cross-country bike ride across the USA. Immediately afterwards they traveled to Iowa.

Frank and Karla have flown there this weekend and this Sunday morning began RAGBRAI, or Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa.

Seven days and 472 miles across the state from the Missouri river to the Mississippi river averaging 68 miles a day. Frank and Karla have been spending more time on the bikes training for the event and just bought new bikes a couple of days before the Smile Triathlon a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure they will have a grand time touring the state with Eric and the rolling weeklong party.

And a totally different adventure is underway for Boogieman Doug Dawkins.

Doug is a founding member of the Mangum Track Club and race director of the Boogie and the Ellerbe Springs Marathon. Doug is now recently retired and has begun a lifelong dream of running across the country. You can go to his blog for the details of his route and schedule. This will be a mostly self-supported run for Doug. He is carrying a light pack and will replenish along the way and sleep wherever he can find a place to lay his head. As he travels through NC he will have many friends to meet him and possibly crew for short periods but as he moves further west there will be some lonely days on the road. If you have friends or family that are close to the route he is following please contact them and see if they might be willing to offer some encouragement and possibly a little help. Doug would welcome some company along the road as well as an offer of a soft bed and shower occasionally as well as some home cooking. I also have a link to his blog in the sidebar so you can find it easily for further updates of his adventure.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Anita returns to Badwater

Photo: Chris Kostman

Well friends an readers. My friend Anita Marie Fromm returned to Badwater again this year for another attempt at doing a double crossing from Badwater to the summit of Mt. Whitney and returning to Badwater.

The race went well for her and she got her 4th finish in 40:32. You can go to the race website for lots of info and links to photos. She was running a great pace and was in the top 15 overall for much of the race but took a long break in anticipation of going or the return trip too. Once she started back she continued on her great pace and successfully reached the summit of Mt Whitney and set a new women's record from Badwater to the Summit. I was able to reach one of her crew this evening and got an update. She is still moving well and in good spirits. She has had some blister issues but her crew have them taken care of and she seems to be managing them well. I'll let you know as soon as I here anymore news.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grandfather Mt Marathon, or Why am I here?

Some people can live their whole lives and never discover their life's purpose. I feel very lucky that I was able to figure out why I am here several years ago. It wasn't obvious at first but a series of events starting when I tore my ACL playing soccer in 1998 and up until this past weekend make it clear. I was born to accompany wonderful, intelligent, strong but gentle hearted and yes, lovely women in long distance running events. Yes, I am quite a lucky man.

Some times it is planned in advance but other times it just seems fate has arranged it, but in either case, the best times and memories of the 75 of so ultra's and marathons I've run the past 6 years are those when I ran beside one of the many Angels and Princesses of the sport. I can only marvel at the strong will, tenacity and , perseverance these athletic ladies exhibit on the roads and trails.

Saturday morning as I arrived at Kidd Brewer Stadium on the Campus of Appalachian State University, my only hope was to finish the race without suffering or doing further damage to my banged up body. I was an early arrival and few runners had arrived but that would soon change. The first I saw was Annette Bednosky from nearby Jefferson NC who would win the title for the weekends best combined time in the Bear, the Grizzly and the Marathon. I would spend the next hour meeting and greeting many friends and acquaintances, some veterans of the race and others here to challenge themselves for the first time. Two of the latter would include Lori Schneider and Camilla Nielsen from the NCRC. More on them later.

Soon it was time to line up on the track for the start of the race. I had been planning to at least start with Laura but she was no where in sight. Had she decided at the last minute not to run because of the virus she'd had the past two weeks? No, with 5 minutes to go she made her appearance on the track and so we lined up together in the middle of the pack. The gun sounded and off we went around the track. Within 100yds Laura lost her patience with the crowd and the slow pace so she took off. I lost sight of her in the crowd and thought to myself that she must be feeling a lot better than she let on, so I settled into what felt like an easy pace, knowing that soon the easy downhill into town would turn into a series of long hard climbs.

The first easy mile was about 9 mp and comfortable and then the course turned onto Winkler's Creek Road where the climbing would began. I made a brief pitstop to release the morning's coffee and as I stepped out of the bushes, I spotted Lori and Camilla approaching so I pulled out the camera and them joined in the race with them. Camilla had told me earlier that they ran around 10mp on their long runs so I thought that seemed a reasonable pace for me to be running for now. We had much to talk about and they had questions about the course and my impending Ironman so we were enjoying the beautiful morning and the conversation. Only problem for me was we were climbing a lot of hills and their pace was faster than I expected. I keep expecting them to take a walk break on some of the steeper portions but they didn't slow down and we were running 9:30 pace. Normally that would not be a problem but with my lack of running and especially hill training, I was beginning to struggle to stay with them. Finally on one steep section just before the 5 mile mark I had to give in and walk. They continued but soon they were walking too.

I saw Tony Rouse coming out of the woods from a pit stop so we walked and talked together for a few minutes but then there was a steep downhill. I took advantage of it to make some time and caught back up with the ladies just before the bottom and we resumed our stroll on the mountain together. These ladies were well prepared and feeling better than me and as we started the next climb I was working hard to stay with them. About that time I was surprised to see Laura ahead walking slowly and she didn't look too good. I stopped to check on her and she was ok, but having a hard time breathing and the early fast pace was too much. I decided since the pace with Lori and Camilla was too fast for me if I wanted to finish in good shape, I would stay back with Laura.

Laura and I had a great time discussing many things that friends talk about. She was still running strong on the rare downhill sections but as soon as we would start climbing she would have a hard time breathing deeply enough and would have to walk. I was fine with that because time today meant nothing to me and I was very content to spend the time running with her. We have very few opportunities to run together and she usually is too fast for me anyway. She was a bit frustrated but still in good spirits. Almost everyone that passed us or the rare person we passed, she would introduce herself to them and start a conversation. Funny but that's exactly how I met the young lady at the Carrboro 50K back in 2003.

The miles passed by and we were having a great time. We made it to the Parkway and the views opened up as we headed down the long hill down to Julian Price Park where her sister Michelle and niece were waiting. We made good time down the hill, running about 8 mp but as soon as the road began to turn uphill again she was struggling. The next two miles would be very slow but eventually we turned off the parkway and began the climb up to the 16 mile water stop and the beginning of the gravel road. The gravel road is fairly flat until the steep hill near the end and the turn onto Hwy 221 so I was expecting we would run most of it but after only a couple of 100yds she was walking and nearly gasping. I was starting to really get worried about her now. Part of the problem is she really has a problem running slow so I tried to convince her to run slower and try to keep her heart rate down so she wouldn't need as much air.

Laura simply calls the hill at the the end of the gravel road 17 because it comes at the 17 mile mark. She walks it every year even when running sub 4 and I did too in 2006 because it is just a nasty steep hill at a bad point in the race. We finally made the climb up and came into the water stop there at the intersection with Hwy 221. I took a gel and kept walking onto the highway expecting her to soon be right behind me . But when I finally looked back, she still wasn't coming. She was raised in Boone and knows some people that help out so I assumed she was talking to someone and then I noticed her crouching down. I obviously could have been running a lot faster, even with my problems but I didn't want to leave her behind struggling. I know how long these races can be when you're having a bad day so I started walking backwards up the road and waited until she finally got up and ran to catch up with me. The good thing is the backwards walking stretched my hamstrings and made them feel a little better.

At the halfway point of the race,we were still in good shape to make it onto the track and finish under 5 hours but now at 17 unless there was a miracle turnaround in the way she felt, we weren't going to make that cut-off. A little disappointing but no big deal. We would just kept plugging along enjoying the day and each others company and cheering on the other runners with smiles on our faces. Ever since I had been running with her I had been letting her set the pace and walked when she walked but now I decided to try and choose the pace. It is rare for her to struggle but shuffling and suffering are second nature to me so I would suggest when to start running and when to walk in order to maximize pace and minimize energy expenditure. That seemed to work and after a few miles she seemed to actually began to feel a little better.

Both of us were running with our cameras and were taking shots of the beautiful sites along the way and the miles gradually clicked away until we finally saw the sign that says Grandfather Mountain, 2 miles. I told her if we could run a couple of 6 minute miles we could still make it onto the track. Ha! It's been nearly 20 years since I ran one mile in 6 minutes. Earlier I could have easily pulled away but now I was having to work hard to keep up with Laura when she ran and my legs were getting so tight I had a hard time walking her pace too.

We both agreed that it was a good thing we couldn't run on the track because now we wouldn't have to run up that last stupid little steep hill up to the track . We could just stop at the aid station and call it a day. But although it was a couple of minutes after the 5 hour cut-off when we finally entered MacRae Meadows, they told us to keep going. So I struggled on up that last steep dusty, nasty, hateful little hill. Laura had found a burst of energy and pulled ahead and then as we were about to enter the track she actually had to wait for me to catch up. We ran onto the track but had not even gone around the first turn when the race officials came walking towards us telling us to stop. We were about 300 yds away from the real finish line but our race was done as they handed us finishers medals anyway.

We spent the next bit of time waiting around for the awards ceremony and visiting with friends. Camilla and Lori and Chris came and sat with us and then Camilla and Chris rode on the shuttle back down the mountain to Boone. It was nice to get to know Camilla a bit better and spend some time talking with her. She is a very sweet natured and lovely lady from Denmark.

I had a great time. Sometimes slower is better, especially when you spend the time with special people. I'm a bit disappointed that my hamstrings tightened up as much as they did and I still had some periformis pain but it is still an improvement on how things have been. I feel ok today
and don't appear to have done anymore damage which was my goal so I guess it's all good.

Here are the Photos

Here are Laura's photos

Friday, July 11, 2008

Guess where I'm at?

If you said Lenoir you would be right. Why Lenoir? Because it's cheaper than Boone and I'm here for the Grandfather Mountain Mountain Marathon.

I have finally been feeling better the past week and have been out for several short runs since last weekend. The chiro adjustments are continuing and I had another massage yesterday. Both of them have no problem with me running this weekend so I am here and hoping for the best. When I signed up for the race, my goal was to go under 4 hours on this difficult course. This will be my fourth time running I think? In 2006 when I was in my best marathon shape ever I was on that pace but due to a detour forced by construction on the Parkway, the course was long, about 26.8 miles. I went through the 26 mile mark in 3:56 but although we had detoured, the finish was still on the track and my time was 4:04 in the results.

There will be no attmept at a fast time this year. I plan to take it easy and have some fun and take somephotos along one of the most beautiful road courses in the country. There are many friends and aquaintences from the NCRC and MTC, many who come here nearly every year. It's a challenging but runnable course and usually the weather is a nice break from warmer and more humid conditions back down at sea level. The Trail Angel is running too and she has been sidelined with a virus the past couple of weeks so she plans to take it easy and have fun too. Hopefully we can run some together. Her slow is still tough for me! Neither one of us is being very smart even being here but between the two of us we've done a lot dumber things.

Look for a report and photos soon!

Friday, July 04, 2008

And now, what you've been anxiously waiting for ;

The Big Anouncement !

Rather than re-type everything, I 'll just cut a and paste some slightly edited e-mails I sent to a few close friends.

Subject: Oh my God, no he didn't!?!?!

Greetings friends of Ultraman,
Or should that be Ironman Joey?
Hold on to your hats people, I have lost my mind and made myself out a liar. Anyone want to go to Ironman Couer d' Alene with me next June? Well sign up now while there are still spots.

Click here and go to participants list

Waiting to hear the response?


Subject: re: He was kidding wasn't he?

No, boys and girls, it was not a joke:

So what happened? We know he wasn't drinking and there were no drugs involved, so explain to us how he got himself into this mess.
Well, thats what I was wondering this afternoon as I splashed my way through a 900 yd swim with weary arms that are revolting against this new demand being place upon them. So what did happen?
Well on Monday as I was swimming for the 4th time since re-joining the Y a week ago to get ready for this little sprint coming up Sunday, the Devil was sitting in the lifeguard chair at the end of my lane. I know it had to be the Devil because I kept getting these evil thoughts of actually swimming 2.4 miles even though I was struggling to swim 200 consecutive yards for the first time in 3 years. Yeah, do it Joey. Sign up for an Ironman. You know you've always wanted to do it. Nobody has to know. So what if you told everyone that you hate swimming more than 20 minutes and you'll never ride a bike more than two hours. Who cares you've only ridden your bike twice in 3 years?
I resisted as much as I could. After I got home and sat in front of the computer the evil voice, still ringing in my head was telling me to google Ironman. But I was able to control myself and went to bed but nightmares of never ending lake swims and hours upon hours of pedaling and pedaling with severe bicycle butt haunted my dreams. Finally I awoke Tuesday morning and realized it had all just been a bad dream. I did no workouts all day and just decided to rest.
So then Tuesday I'm sitting in front of the computer and it was like my hand became possessed. It typed in Ironman and the next thing I know there is Active.com on my screen waiting for me to give them my credit card info. But wait! I'm not ready for this I need more time to think! I don't like swimming that much! I hate riding a bike half that long! Noooooo! But then uncontrollably like some zombie, I arose to get my wallet and the next thing I knew I was entered! Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
Ok, maybe it wasn't exactly like that.. Yes, I have told all of you repeatedly of my decision after one half-ironman that I wanted no part of it. But after an absence of 3 years from the sport and the upcoming tri this Sunday I had been giving some thought to entering more tris. And with the injury and the need to cross-train for a while as well as having just renewed my Y membership I've been thinking maybe I need to cut back on the ultra's awhile too. But it is true that the idea to do an Ironman popped into my head while swimming Monday. I just didn't have time to do anything until Tuesday as far as looking into it.
Well it must have been destiny. I had no idea that Cour-d'Alene had just been held over the weekend and was open for registration. That is the one I really thought I would want to do anyway but as fast as most Ironman events fill up I figured I would have to pick a non branded event. In fact when I first looked at the Ironman home website it said Cour-d'alene was closed already but when I went to the race site it said click here to register and I did. Bam ! Reality suddenly set in. Here was a chance to get in and I hadn't really had time to seriously consider if I really wanted to do this. And there was my opportunity waiting for me to commit a year ahead and spend way too much money on something I wasn't sure I wanted to do. Well, I said what the Heck. Just Do it! You know you really have always wanted to do an Ironman since you first saw it on TV in 1982 and if you wait it probably will be full within hours . At first I wasn't going to tell anybody until just before the event next year and surprise everyone but then I decided that I really wanted to share the whole getting ready thing with all of you. I guess you are all surprised anyway huh?
So, I was thinking today whether I need to look up some training programs. But then I thought, how silly of me. Just do as Master JuJu Yoda (Jerry) would say. Train Not! Just Do!
So I'm going to piddle around the house until next May and then I'll have a few weeks to get ready. Ok, not really. I'll do copious amounts of swimming and ride as much as I can and kick some butt next June 21st. I've got a year to decide where to put the tattoo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Well, I promised in a post about my injury that I would be making a big announcement soon. This isn't it! But this is another one and an update. My hamstrings are showing a lot of improvement as well as the periformis but it will still be a while before it quits being angry. I ran the 5k at the Tri without almost any discomfort ( besides being dead from biking) but there was still some stiffness and pain afterwards. I haven't run anymore yet and have been continuing with my treatments and cross-training. I hope to get out for a few miles with the NCRC social group tonight and see how it feels.

Ok, here is the announcement but not the other one that will come later, maybe Friday?

I have given this a whole lot of thought and it is not a decision I wanted to have to make but due to my injury situation and lack of any quality running and training for a while, I am going to have to give up my spot in the Wasatch Front 100 in Sept. It is one of the hardest 100 milers out there and certainly the most difficult I would have attempted and would have required me to be in top shape in order to complete it. With only 8 weeks to go and with me not being able to get on the trails and be climbing mountains to get ready I don't think there is any chance I would be able to finish. It is just too far and expensive for me to go and have a miserable experience.

With my inexplicable meltdown at Hinson Lake last Fall and then dropping at Umstead this Spring along with the pain, I had been contemplating taking a break from the 100 mile/24 hour stuff for a while anyway but was hoping to wait to take that break until after Wasatch but now I know I have to go ahead and give my body and mind a little rest. Hopefully I'll be able to be running decently soon and I will still be competing in other ultra's as planned, just not as often as I was doing them. I plan to be at Catherine's FA 50K in a few weeks using it as a training run and I am going to be at MMTR running with Jenn in Nov. I'll hope that maybe I can do a 50K or two in Sept and Oct. but I haven't committed to anything yet until I see how things go the rest of this month.