Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Me and Umstead. Part 4. The Birth of Ultraman

After the ACL blowout I began going to the Y for swimming and weight work to strengthen the legs and stay in shape as well as biking more. I figured while I was doing those two ,once I began running again it was time to try a triathlon which was something I had always wanted to try. Like ultrarunning I had subscribed to a triathlon magazine in the early 80's but never got around to doing one. SO from 1999 through the next 5 - 6 years I participated in about 30 tri's but that again is another story although it does have a little something to do with this one. My running during this period was around 20 miles a week and I still was getting out and running some shorter runs on the trails, usually about 6 miles.

In 2001 I decided to enter the Uwharrie 20 miler which was my longest run since the mid 80's. I probably had not done more than 5 or 6 runs of about 13 miles over the previous years and that race turned out to be about the hardest thing I had ever done but I loved it.
In late 2001 I was going to enter it again for 2002 but found out that they would not be holding the 20 miler that year. I was disappointed but knew there was no way I was going to try for 40 with my running mileage still in the low 20's per week. I had only done a few 12-13 mile runs again and one 16 mile trail race in October but then I noticed a beginner friendly ultra in Va, Holiday Lake put on by David Horton whom I was familiar with and had met at the Virgina 10 miler. I'd always wanted to eventually enter an ultra so I decided it was time and sent in my entry.

That December of 2001 I also decided it was time to re-enter the world and meet some people so I began going to the then monthly NCRC meetings. I met Joe Lugiano there and told him what I had planned and he was great at giving me a lot of advice. I also met the Squiers and eventually made friends. On a side note, I noticed a beautiful young lady at one of those meetings around this time. Figured she was about 23 or so. It would be a couple of years before we ever actually talked at one of the Umstead series runs in August before I took on leading that social series. Turns outs ended up being one of my best friends and training partners, The Ultra Angel Jenn, but I digress.

So I did run that 50K plus in Feb of 2002, and loved it but I was still dedicated to doing my best in the upcoming Tri season so I would not run anymore ultra's that year. My first one of the season would be on Sunday April 7th which just happened to be Umstead weekend. I volunteered on Friday helping park cars and then working in the lodge with the pasta dinner. It was great meeting more ultrarunners and getting to know some of the local runners and volunteers better and was a bit sad that I couldn't be there for the race since I had already made plans to be In Wilmington on Saturday for the Tri on Sunday.

In January 2003 I ran my 2nd ultra at the Frosty 50K and was doing much better at meeting people, making friends and opening up a little more. I was planning on doing several more ultra's in the coming year leading up to my first 50 mile attempt in November but I was still trying to improve in the tri's at this point during the warm Spring and Summer months. Once again I had the April tri in Wilmington on Sunday of Umstead weekend but this time I volunteered on Friday and then came back and worked at the main aid station for 4 hours on Saturday before heading to Wilmington for the packet pickup. I really hated to leave for by now I was really loving being around the ultra community and although I wanted to do well in the upcoming tri season I could feel my heart was moving to the ultra world.

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