Monday, December 27, 2010

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Things here at the Snail's Place are winding down for the year. We have crossed the threshold of Winter; we are daily gaining minutes of sunlight here in the South. I can't help but reflect back upon the year and be grateful for all that has transpired.

I have been fortunate to maintain gainful employment, I have even managed a transfer from the sleepy resort located in Savannah, to the hustle & bustle of Atlanta. In this new city I have connected with a wonderful running club(GUTS)and have started forming relationships with some very cool trailrunners.

With these awesome trailruuners, I have been exposed to some fantastic locations and events. The Pinhoti 100 Mile Run being one that really sticks out in my mind. I plan to return to Helfin, AL to toe the line at this race in the future.

Looking forward to 2011, I am currently in the base building stage of training, working towards 2 50k's(Sweetwater & Chattooga) and the Savannah Rock & Roll Marathon in November. I might even throw in the Wood Ferry 24 Hour run for fun....who knows. I think the race that I am most looking forward to is the RC Cola & Moon Pie 10 miler in June. This race will take place the weekend my sister is getting married and I will get to run it with my brother. The only thing that may make me happier than seeing my sister get married, will be the chance to log some miles with my brother.

2011 will bring a year of continued fitness for myself & my Sweetest Boo...On the trails and in life in general. To have my family back together again is the greatest gift given to me in 2010.

Thank you to all who have been on the journey with me, you all inspire me in so many different ways. I look forward to continuing to "trudge the road of happy destiny" with you all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bartram Forest 100 Mile Race

**All photos provided by P. Sebastian

I spent the weekend crewing & pacing for Psyche & Charles at the Bartram 100's...

**Psyche-grabbing fuel, Me-being of no help

Okay...where do I start? Bartram Forest 100 mile & 100k trail race in Milledgeville, GA. In a word, sneaky.

After having a tough go at Pinhoti and missing the cutoff at mile 65, Psyche & Charles decided to give the hundy another go and run Bartram. This race reads as an easier race; less elevation and a longer cutoff.

100 miles is still 100 frickin' miles!

The awesome RD's Chris & Mike ( I believe there was a 3rd, I can't remember his name) set up a 5.56 mile loop that was to be run 18 times. Each loop started & finished at a pavilion where there was a fully stocked aid station. A word about the AS? Awesome. As the day moved on, the food selection changed, soups as the weather got colder & doughnuts in the morning. They had Wendy's burgers at one point and even had pizza delivered. If a runner wanted anything the wonderful volunteers went out of their way to provide it! It had a really homey, family feel.

The 5.56 mile course was very unassuming. It was well marked and compared to a lot of trail races, had minimal elevation, about 200-250 feet per loop. There were two big hills along power lines, the 2nd one, along mile 3, was the harder of the two. I believe Ashley Walsh had the best quote about this hill as we were traveling up it on loop 17, "I wish this hill would die!"

The day started out much like any other...Nerves before the start. Runners were questioning whether they tapered too much or not enough. Had their training really prepared them for the day ahead? I, as a crew/pacer was comfortable with my ability to cover 25-30 miles and was thankful to not be toeing the line...

After a few instructions, the runners were off. I saw Psyche and Charles almost an hour later, 1st loop in 59:37. Quick bite & back out on trail. By design, this course had an unattended AS about halfway through the loop, a little water & mini clif bar stop. The best part was that there was a short cut for the spectators and we could getthere in about 1/2 mile. Great design of the RD's. Throughout the day, I spent a lot of time over in this area to break up the monotony for the runners and give them encouragement.**Charles, the runnin' pirate!

The day was unfolding quietly, Pscyhe & Charles were holding a good pace, each loop only taking a minute or two longer than the previous. All the while I had a chance to encourage other GUTS runners: Kena, Beth McCurdy, Ashley Walsh, Rico Dorsey, Lane Vogel & Big Easy, Jason Sullivan. I also had a chance to meet several other amzing runners & bloggers. Check out Tiger's blog, this amazing woman is battling cancer!

The sun began to set and the runners were switching to headlamps and long sleeves to hold off the chill. An enormous fire was lit; I stated looking for marshmellows.
I was tracking my runners progress, recording each loop & the amount of time spent in the AS. I was happy to see the consistency in the numbers, nothing to cause any alarm. Moving further into the evening a few runners were be expected. Passing the 50 mile mark a little over 11 hours in, Psyche & Charles were a little off pace for their hopes of a sub 24 finish-they were still moving strong. Soon the finishers for the 100k started rolling through; Congrats to Beth for 2nd female.

While my runners were on loop 12, I went & changed into my running gear, I would be going out with them next loop. Forecast called for rain around 3am, I dressed warmly. As team Scallywag rolled in to finish #12, I posted my last race update via FB & Twitter and off we went!

Charles was feeling strong & pushed ahead a little, Psyche & I motored along at a good pace, my goal was to get her around in 90 minutes. The mood was light and I entertained her with various stories of my sordid life..."What is said on the trail, stays on the trail." We finished the loop in 93 minutes and were looking forward to the next. I knew the rain was coming and grabbed my rainbreaker. I thought about grabbing a couple of poncho's but thought we would be back before it hit.

Halfway through lp 13, I wondered aloud if I was halucinating & seeing snow. Psyche said no, it looks like snow flurries. Ahead of us was Lane and his pacer, he yelled back that he would rather have snow than rain and we agreed. Not longer after that the "snow" switched to rain. It was light and not too bad to deal with until Psyche told me she couldn't run anymore, her hip flexor was killing her. We were power walking at a nice 17 minute pace, I knew I could get her in soon.

All hell broke lose around mile 4 of that loop (76 on the day). The freezing rain began to pummel us and we were in an open section with nothing to break the 20 mph winds. Stopping was not an option, we would be destroyed if we tried to go to ground. I told Psyche to stay right behind me & we pushed as fast as we could to cover the last mile and a half. We passed DCRR member Shawn Prewett & his pacer Johnny Buice. Shawn was motoring as best he could(I learned earlier while talking with Johhny, that this was Shawn's third race ever!). Psyche was such a champ, I knew she was in extreme pain, she never once complained. She stayed right behind me; one step at a time.

Finally we pulled int othe AS and I sat her down by the fire to warm her up. I grabbed our bags and got her some dry clothes and sent her to get changed. After soup & fire, she was starting to come around. "I'm feeling much better, I'm ready to go back out." Almost an hour had passed since we came in, it was time to do work. As we headed out she looked at me and said "I can't walk". I pushed her to get to the end of the road. At that point she said that her hip flexor was killing her and she thought it was something serious. After talking it over we agreed to go back to camp and rest, see if we could work it out, we had a lot of time on our side. Charles had finished another loop and ran into us on our way back. After the two of them talked for a minute, Psyche decided to drop. On the record, I think she absolutly made the right decision. I know we could have pushed through the last 22 miles, but it would have cost her so much moving forward, turning a potential injury into a serious injury with a huge layoff.

Psyche Wimberly is one of the strongest runners, strongest people I know. It was an honor to run with her at Bartram. We shared a moment out there I will never forget.

She told me I should run Charles in & I picked him up with two loops to go. He was feeling strong and we headed out. It was 30 minutes to daylight, we were pushing 22 hours into the race. Out of nowhere, Charles started running, running like the devil himself was behind him with a cattle prod. Not just on the downhills, the uphills too! WTF?!?! This dude has run 88 miles and he is about to drop his pacer? Oh, hell no! Let's go big cat! We were knocking down 9's for about 2 miles and then he finally slowed down. We ran when we could and hiked the hills. lap 17 done in 81 minutes.

The last lap was tough, Charles pulled through like a champ. I ran ahead to make sure Psyche and his son Alex were at the finish. 26 hours and 17 minutes after it began, Charles crossed the finish line., completing a 100 mile trail race for the 1st time.

As I sit here today, I am full of a variety of emotions. I have a new respect for the 100 mile race and those people who choose to run them. After Pinhoti, I thought that a hundy was a good idea. I thought that with the proper training I can do it. I learned after this weekend, that the beast of a hundy has so many variables. So many different things can go wrong. As I tried to explain to Charles on his last loop(I don't know how much made sense-in our sleep deprived state) "It's really all a gamble Charles. A certain small percentage of people are going to have a really good day, everything goes right. A larger percentage will finish-doing so with great amount of suffering. Then there are those who will have to be the statistic of not making it, so the others can. The problem is, it is a crap shoot at the start of the race to see who is going to draw what number that day..."Me and Lil Weezy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Double Pumping... The Savannah River Bridge Run.

It's that time of year, all of the locals and a few out of towners test their will against the quiet, but back breaking, Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge. There are three seperate offerings; the 5k, 10k and Double Pump. This will be my 7th overall bridge run, and for the second year in a row, I will be running both races - thus completing the "Double Pump" and earning my finisher's glass.

Last year, my combined time was 1:25:43, for an overall pace of 9:11 per mile. I ran the 5k in 27:27 (8:50 pace) & 10k in 58:16 (9:22). Currently, my steady state training runs are around 9 - 9:15's...So I am feeling really good about going well below last year's time. I am thinking 1:20 total time is a reasonable goal. McMillian says I should be able to run a 1:17 15k; 8:18 pace. There are a few differences in my training this year over last. Namely, all of the trails & hills I have been running in the last 3 months... Just these last two sunday's alone, I have been been doing a couple of 1.5 mile repeats up Kennesaw, with about 700' in climb. The best part is getting to run back down said hill!
Enough about me, my Sweetest Boo will also be tackling the bridge this year, completing her 3rd BR. Perk of the job, we finally get to stay at the hotel whereI used to work. The best part is the hotel is about a 1/4 mile from the starting line!!!!

We will have to leave the dudes at home...I hope they will get by...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Settled In for Winter...

The holiday season is upon us...It's that time of year when there are delicious treats around every corner. If we are not careful we will end up as rotund as ol' St. Nick
err, ignore that last statement...

For me, it's all about the Turkey Day Feast...I like to start my day out with a turkey trot, that way I may enjoy the meal that follows...

This year I will not be running in an actual "Turkey Trot", I will get up early and quietly log my miles, reflecting on all that I am grateful to have in my life.

I have my health. I am continuing to develop my fitness and slowly shedding pounds...turning myself into a lean, mean trail running machine!

I have my Sweetest Boo at my side. I am so grateful to be in the same city, same home, same bed as my beautiful wife. Together we are creating a warm, comfortable home.

I have recently made many new friends, with whom I have shared miles on the trails. It is wonderful to have awesome people in my life who have the same passion I have for running.

I have my freedom. Take time to thank a soldier for their service, many of them will be away from their loved ones this holiday season.

Finally, I have my sobriety, without this, none of the above would be possible. Thank you to those that have been there with me along the way.

Take some time to log some miles this week and reflect on what you are grateful to have; it is time well spent.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pinhoti Baby!!! A perspective of a 100 mile trail race from the crew***

The Pinhoti 100 Mile Endurance Run was everything I expected plus a whole lot more…Sit back and relax as we take a tour of Alabama and the Talladega National Forest from the perspective of a crew member supporting two racers.***(This is a long RR...but so is a 100 mile trail race)

After finding out one of my favorite bloggers, Psyche, was going to attempt to earn her buckle at Pinhoti, I immediately reached out to her and offered my support as a pacer and crew. I have been admiring the 100 mile distance from afar and decided I needed an up close and personal view of it to decide if I actually wanted to toe the line with these insane people. She gladly accepted my offer and team “Run like you stole sumthin' from a Georgia Snail” was born.

Friday night we meet up in Sylacauga, Al at the host hotel after the prerace briefing. This race was to be a point to point trail race with 18 aid stations along the way. Psyche and Charles had set up several drop bags that the race crew would drop off at different AS’s and they also gave us a few things to carry as we would be supporting them at different AS’s. After finalizing the last few details we bid Psyche a good night, knowing she was going to need to get some rest before toeing the starting line at 6AM Saturday morning.(Finding out the would be no fires at the AS)
(Big Easy & Lil Weezy)

Not needing to be at the start of this race, Holly and I slept in a little as it would also be a long day for us. I was to help Holly crew for the runners until AS#13(mile 68). I was then going to jump in and pace them through the night and the last major climb up Mt Horn to Pinnacle, 900’ of elevation gain in 1.15 miles. It was all “downhill“after that, arriving in Sylacauga 30 miles later…
We picked up our runners for the first time at AS 3, they rolled through in great spirits, 18 miles into their day. It seemed they were regretting not taking us up on the offer for a ride to the starting line, instead opting to ride the bus set up by the RD with the other runners. The ride was bumpy and there was no coffee to be had. Knowing that there was no crew access at AS4, we got our runners back on trail and told them we would see them at AS5, about 13 miles later.

With a few hours to kill until our runners were expecting to get to AS5, we headed to Anniston to get a little fuel ourselves…Hello IHOP! I knew I would be running in about 18 hours so I was making this my last real meal and jammed on some ‘cakes & scrambled eggs. We grabbed a couple of to-go coffees and headed back to the trail. Arriving at AS5 about 20 minutes ahead of our runners I got to see a lot of my friends who were either crewing or racing. Christian G, Jason S(Big Easy) & Lil Weezy(Wayne D) all came through looking strong. I also saw several GUTS runners, Kena, Perry, Jason, Scott S., Jon O., and a few others. This was turning out to be quite the GUTS party as there were also a bunch of GUTS members crewing. Our runners finally emerged out of the woods into the AS, 45 minutes before the cutoff. We refilled their water bottles, got some fuel in them and also scored huge points for bringing them hot coffee. From the beginning of the day we knew we would be battling the elements as the forcasted overnight low was 29 and the high for the day was to be around 50 degrees. Great running weather…’cept if you planned on being on course for up to 30 hours.

Before sending the runners back out, I gave them a time update, they were 45 minutes ahead of the cutoff pace but had some tough sections coming up. They needed to “bank” a little time on these easier sections, as it would get harder to hold pace as the night's cold air moved upon them. AS 6 was a “no crew” AS so we wished them well and headed to the top of Mt Cheaha, the highest point in all of Alabama. The view from Bald Rock was absolutely breath taking. Holly and I hiked out to the overlook and I was quickly reminded why I run trails. You can’t see this stuff slogging miles out on sidewalks in the middle of Nowhereville, USA…

The parking lot at Bald Rock was overrun with crew and volunteers. I felt like we were tailgating at a football game. We were walking around chatting with everyone, checking out their set ups. Crew members had little propane grills set up everywhere, preparing food for themselves and their runners as they arrived. Tom & Tony were hooking up some serious grilled cheese sandwiches. The actual AS had some chicken soup on the stove and you could feel the electricity in the air when a runner would pull into the AS and everyone would cheer. The best part would be when a regular tourist would give in to curiosity and ask, “What’s going on?” “Oh, they are running a 100 mile trail race.” “What? Is this the finish line or something?” “Oh no, you see this is the 40 mile mark, they still have a ways to go.” The looks we got were priceless.

As the runners came and went, crews packed up and moved onto the next AS. I knew our runners were due, I hated seeing everyone move on; I knew this meant our runners were in the back third of the pack. I received a few phone calls while at this AS; some of my friends had dropped. I was getting anxious to hear word from my runners. Finding out Christian G was struggling with an elevated heart rate and that Big Easy went 5 miles off trail didn’t rest my nerves. I felt like a parent eagerly waiting on a teenager that was out past curfew. (Although I do not have kids-or ever put my parents through that…lol) I decided to walk out to the overlook and wait on my runners. As I turned the last corner, up from the trail pops Charles & Psyche!
“There’s my runners! Welcome to the top of Mt. Cheaha, the highest point in the state of Alabama!” Charles was shocked. “What? We are at the top? That section wasn’t nearly as hard as they said it would be.” Unfortunately, Psyche didn’t look as good. I told them the AS was a ¼ mile down the trail and they quickly made their way down trail to a waiting Holly with her afro wig.

We got some soup in them and assessed their condition. Charles needed a sock change, I helped while Holly took care of Psyche. She was struggling but a couple cups of hot soup was lifting her spirits. They managed to bank a little time and arrived at the AS an hour ahead of the cutoff. The problem, we couldn’t get them out of the AS very easily. 20 minutes later, then were heading down the trail again. Holly and I looked at each other and our expression said it all. They were struggling and the sweepers were looming. As the sun was setting, so was their chance at finishing this race under the cutoff. The next section was a short 4+ mile section; mostly downhill. I found out from others that there were a lot of really steep sections and this section wasn’t completely runable. Hopefully my runners would “wake” up and start feeling stronger. We made it to the next AS in time to see Lil Weezy, he was feeling good and was starting to turn it on. His pacer took him through that last section quickly and they were building steam. This gave me great hope!

About 45 minutes ahead of cutoff my runners came rolling into AS8. We gassed them up and pushed out quickly, Charles was still feeling strong and Psyche was waking up. Perhaps all of my worrying would be for naught! “Off you go! AS9 is no crew access; we will see you at AS 10 by 9:30pm!” We had about 3 hours before they were do to arrive at AS10 so we drove the 20 miles into the nearest town for our second pitstop of the day, our AS was a Chick-Fil-A. A quick bathroom break and a grilled chicken sandwich and back up the mountain raod to AS10.

AS10 was rockin'!!! The directions to the AS were simple, "turn right on Hwy 281 and go until it ends." We were traveling down this road at 9:30pm and it was pitch black outside. They are absolutly correct when they say "The stars are bright above Alabama", beautiful. Anyways, we are traveling down this road in the middle of nowhere when all of a sudden we hear Gun's & Roses blaring and see two bright spotlights...We must have made it to the AS. Since we were at the end of a road and no homes for miles, it was perfectly acceptable to have a roadside party...This was by far my favorite AS. The trail ended right on the edge of the road, crew members were all standing near the trail opening and as a runner popped out everyone would cheer. Lil Weezy appears out of nowhere and his crew surrounds him. They were like a NASCAR pit crew, one guy was pulling off his shoes and taking care of a blister, another guy was stuffing food in his mouth. all the while Christian was trying to get him to eat some pie!

All of the crews were getting their runners out and moving onto the next station, we were gettign nervous. The cutoff for this AS was 10:30. At 10:15 we saw two headlamps coming to the edge of the forrest, Holly was yelling into the woods, "come on Psyche & Charles!" Out pops a runner, but not ours. This fellow named Adam stumbles into the AS and looks terrible. He was running unaided. I sat him down and started talking to him, "Are you hungry, do you want some soup? How about chocolate?" Holly took his bottles and refilled them. He told me he lost 30 minutes on that last section. He didn't know if he could go on. I told him the next section was 5 miles downhill on a jeep road, very runable. We pushed him back on trail and I told him I would see him at the next AS.

At 10:22 our runners appeared at the edge of the woods! We set them down for a quick second and refueled them. I told them that they could not stay long, they were 8 minutes away from the sweepers. The good news was that the next section was very runable and we would see them in 5 miles. I ran down the road with them for a 1/4 of mile making sure they were feeling good.

The cutoff for AS 11 was 11:59PM. We pulled into the AS as Lil Weezy and his pacer Sean Oh were running into the station. He was in great spirits, telling us how "Sean had me doing fartleks on that last section" they were running strong and reeling in other runners. 60 miles in and that man was full of piss and vinegar, I love it!

11:45 and here come our runners! They managed to bank 15 minutes on that section. Jeep roads are a blessing. Good news, next section has 2.5 miles on jeep road and 2.5 miles on the trail. The bad news was that the first thing Psyche said when they pulled into the AS was, "Charles, go ahead without me." He said, "No, we are doing this together." We all tried to put on our best face but deep down inside I knew we were finished. As we hurried them out of the AS, I told Holly I was dressing early. If they made it to mile 65, I was hitting the trail with them. We hung around the AS for a minute, I hadn't seen Adam. Psyche & Charles told me they had passed him on that section and he wasn't doing well. He rolled in a few mintues later and threw the towel in. I tried to convince him to continue through the next section. He told me he was freezing and could not continue. They got him in a truck and let him start to warm up.

We drove down to AS 12 and waited. There was a fire and the remaining crews were waiting. Weezy comes blazing in, yelling for some hot soup. That dudes energy was sick! I have run with him at two other races this year and those are some of the best times I have spent on trail! He was in and out and gaining time on other racers.

The clock was ticking and the remaining runners were coming through the AS. Our runners were nowhere to be seen. They had until 1:30AM...1:20...1:25...I see two headlamps coming down the trail! This must be them! Nope. Another runner and his pacer. Holly and I prepared for what was to come next. We got the heater blasting in the car and waited. At 1:37AM I saw two headlamps coming down the trail. I ran up to our runners hoping to hear good spirits. For the first time the entire day, Charles told me he was not doing good. Ironically, Psyche woke up on that last section and was feeling stronger. I told them that they missed the cutofff but that the volunteers seemed to not really know that and might let them continue. They both said no, they were finished. They knew with Mt Horn's 900' climb coming up, there was no way they would stay ahead of the sweepers. We sat them by the fire and let them rest.

I am so proud of Psyche & Charles! Covering 65 miles in 19 1/2 hours, they maintained such good spirits and are the true defintion of Ultrarunners. This just wasn't their day. I have learned so much from this expierence, I learned so many things from all of the people involved with the Pinhoti 100 miler. A Huge thank you to Todd the RD and all of the wonderful volunteers, what an undertaking! Congrats to all of the runners, those that got their buckles and to those that gave it everything they had.

BTW-Weezy got his buckle! 28:31 finishing time!Weezy's "pit crew"

So, Pinhoti's right around the corner. I need a crew and some pacers...who is with me?

Adam & Charles after a little rest

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.

I'm in heaven! I love this time of year. The cool evenings, turning of the leaves, effortless runs at a brisk pace...

I could go on for days about the things I love about Autumn. But I won't.

So, I last left you bidding adieu to my long time home of Savannah, GA. I have spent the last 13 years, just over a 1/3 of my life in Savannah. I am not one to look back to the past for too long...So we move forward to my new home.

Smyrna! No, not the ancient Greek city, a smallish town just outside of Atlanta, GA. This location is perfect, central to everything I need/want in my life. Work is an easy 30 minute commute. There is a county indoor pool 7 miles away. (swimming will soon become part of the cross training) Trails e'rewhere!

Speaking of which, I went out to Kennesaw Mountain this past Tuesday and joined up with the GUTS runners for their weekly run. A little more than 5 1/2 miles on the trails out there was just what the doctor ordered...I can't wait to get more involved with this group.

Stay tuned for an update on the Mystery Mountain Marathon and also my crewing/pacing for Psyche at Pinhoti!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heart of Savannah 5k...Farwell

I woke up early Saturday morning and went through my usual pre-race routine. Fumble around in the dark and find my racing kit and shoes...walk the dogs, try and drop the kids off at the pool....Headed out to Forsyth Park, which is only 1/2 a mile from my apartment.

I planned on taking a slightly different approach to this race, as I have felt like I went out too fast at my last 5k. I ran the Pooler 5k last weekend in a time of 25:42. I was happy with the effort due to the weather (hot & humid) and lack of speedwork. I did feel like I went out a little fast and my 2nd & 3rd miles were 30 seconds slower than the 1st.

For this race, I lined up about a 1/3 of the way back and at the gun moved forward with the surge. It was crowded at the start and I was forced to hold back a little, playing into my plan perfectly. I hit the first mile at 8:03 and felt good. The 2nd mile was a little slower somewhere around 8:10. The difference between last week and this race was the 3rd mile. I felt strong and dropped the pace, reeling in runners ahead of me. This course winds through the squares of downtown, there are a lot of tangents to run. I took the most direct line at every chance and and managed to effortlessly gain ground on those runners who were rounding the turns and not managing the course well. 3rd mile, 7:52.

I had enough in the tank for a strong surge at the finish, beating out the guy in front of me. As the photo demonstrates, it appears that I beat out this older gentleman at the line. Perhaps he was 20 years my senior and I should have beat him...but does this make the victory any less sweet? NO. What the photo failed to demonstrate was the gap between us a minute earlier.

24:16 was my chip time. 15 seconds slower than my current 5k PR, which was set this past spring. I am feeling really good about the work I have been putting in lately and can't wait to race in the cooler temps of the autumn calendar. If I can run a 24:16 in 80 degree weather, I think in the next month or two I can break into the 23's or maybe even into the 22's...

There is this nagging question. My Garmin read 3.03 miles. did I run the course perfectly and shave of some of the distance by hitting every tangent? I run this route several times a week and know exactly what lines to run through the countless turns...Did they measure the course wrong? What does my 24:16 translate to against a 3.1 mile course. Does any of this really matter? It is not like I set a world record or even broke my own PR! I am just a numbers dork and like everything to line up...

Moving on...This race was also bittersweet. It was my last race as a Savannah resident. I move on Friday. I have run this particular event more times than any other event in town so it was fitting that I ran this one one more time before I move. Oh, and I won a raffle too...what was the prize? A year membership to Savannah Striders, the local running club. Perfect! LOL!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fire up the moving truck...

"It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches."
— Lemony Snicket

I have short-timer-itis.

Next Thursday will be my last day at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (try saying that five times in a row!) I will be moving to Atlanta to work for the Atlanta Metro Market Cluster office. Same company, similar job, just on a larger scale. think nine hotels instead of one.

Great things await! first and foremost, being in the same city as my Sweetest Boo! There will be other perks of living in the A. TRAILS!!!

I will submit my membership to GUTS and really look forward to becoming active in that running community. I have already met many GUTS runners in the last few ultras that I have run and I look forward to meeting more as time moves forward.

On other running related notes, The Sean is headed to Bend, Oregon to compete at the Xterra Nationals! that is so awesome. Sean is an amazing runner and even more of an amazing person...Stop by his blog to wish him well.

I have a few things on the race calender myself. The YMCA Heart of Savannah is held this Saturday. It is one of the best races held in Savannah, the T-shirts are usually pretty sweet. My go is to go sub 25, I am still coming back from taking a month off in July, my speed is not exactly where I would like it to be.

10/10/10 is the Mystery Mountain Marathon & 12 miler. I signed up for the full mary back before my knee injury, so I may opt to run the 12 miler. Or, I may just do the marathon at a conservative pace to prepare myself for my crew/pacing duties at PINHOTI 100 (pinhoti baby!!!) Psyche over at Run Like You Stole Sumthin' is a bonafide BMF! She will be running Pinhoti in November and I am lucky enough to be able to run with her for a while. I am very excited!

I know my blogging has been suspect as of late...The Running Is Stupid Committee had formed a couple of sub-committes; the "Try Running with a Bum Knee Comm. & Try Blogging While Living in Two Cities Comm" As things settle down and my life is a little less hectic, I will return to posting once in a while instead of once every blue moon...I still enjoy reading everyone's blog, sometimes I am just not sure what I bring to the table.

The Sean's tag really came at a perfect time. I have been spending a lot of time reviewing my running goals and trying to assess where I want to go with running. After logging over 1200 miles in the last 12 months(including 2 marathons and 2 50k ultras) My body revolted. I am taking the time to focus on dropping that extra 20 pounds and am looking at a more realistic race schedule. As the weather has begun to cool off, I find myself enjoying the run more and focusing less on statistical analysis. Of course that will all fall to the wayside as I get to Atlanta and start running trails every week!?!?!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hometown Pride

November 5th, 2011

Mark it down on your calendar! This is quite an accomplishment for my sleepy little town of Savannah, GA! Typically, R&R Marathons are held in larger cities, we not only got a marathon, they are hosting a 1/2 option as well. This has been something
in the works for a long time. I remember running a long run in April of 2009 with the marketing manager of the local running store when he mentioned they were putting a plan together. After months of hard work and maybe a little luck, we will welcome the world into our fair city.

November running weather in Savannah is a runner's dream. Cool, crisp mornings. Average temp's in the early morning usually range from the high 40's to the low 50's. As the morning sun rises over sleepy Tybee Island, it warms up to the low 60's; occasionally peaking into the 70's. Running is this weather is effortless.

I have always wanted to run one R&R mary, I always figured I would go to San Diego or somewhere out west. I will jump at the chance to run this race. They have committed to hosting this race for the next three years, I am committing to run this race for the next three years!

I will most likely have to come back to Savannah to run. As some of you may know, I have been in Atlanta for the better part of the last 30 days. I work for Starwood Hotels (Westin, W, Sheraton, St. Regis, et al)and I have been up here working in the newly formed Atlanta Metro Market Cluster office. There are two jobs open, knock on wood, one of them will be offered to me in the next 30 days.

While I was up here, I went out to my favorite park and watched them run the Hot 2 Trot 8 Hour Endurance Run. Psyche was there (of course) as was the usual suspects. I saw Charles R., Jason R., and Tony G. Tony is the Rd for the inaugural GRR 100. The Georgia Reactor Run 100 miler will take place in March of 2011, I made a verbal commitment to participate, luckily there will be a 50k and 50 mile option.

The H2T race was awesome! It was held on a 1.13 mile loop~very spectator friendly. I brought Chloe along to see the start of the race and we later picked up Holly and spent a few hours out there. Great time was had by all, the eventual male and female winners ran 53 and 47 miles, respectfully.Female Winner Kate Brun
Male Winner Jon Obst

I return to Savannah on Thursday and will return to my usual running schedule.(Hopefully) I do have an appointment next week to check further into this nagging injury. Knock on wood, they don't put me on the DL.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breaking News

I am almost finished with my stint up in Atlanta...
It may turn into a full time gig...

Running has been craptasic...struggling with a nagging knee injury...

Oh, and, Savannah will be the next addition in the Rock & Roll francise!

That's right, November 5th, 2011. Come on down. I will save you a place.

The official announcement will come on Wednesday, I scooped it on

click here

I can't wait....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.

July~mid year, time to review the "non recap" recap blog post from the beginning of the year.

Let's see...there was a nifty daredevil snail pic...CHECK!

Tybee Half Marathon 2/6/10 This will be my first race at this distance~Instant PR!I will be shooting for a sub 2 hour performance. Also, I will get to meet CJ...should be fun

I ran 1:54:38...CHECK

Met CJ (Also, victorious at the Duel in the Dunes)...CHECK (Double CHECK!)

I plan on using that marathon as my final training run for the Sweetwater, wait for it,....50K U L T R A on April 3rd.

completed said ultra and ran a second 50k. CHECK!

By this time, I will know if I got a lottery slot into the NYC Marathon. Otherwise I will add another Autumn marathon to my schedule.

Did not get into NYC Marathon. FAIL!
Registered for 2 Autumn marathons & a 50 miler. CHECK!?!?!

Looking at the shorter distances, I plan on running the Savannah Mile, with a goal of 6:45 or less. I ran it in '09 with a mile time of 7:19.

Ran the Savannah Mile in 6:41. CHECK

(It is going to get a little grey...)

My number one goal for 2010 is to stay healthy and continue to improve my overall fitness. I lost 25 pounds during 2009 and would like to lose another 20 in the next year. As I continue to lose weight, my times will continue to drop. I would like to break 4 hours in the full, 49 minutes in the 10k and dare I say it, 22:59 5k...

Stay healthy...
hmmm, I may be nursing a sports hernia...waiting to hear back from the doctor...currently icing after my runs. Pain is 1/2 of 1 on Steve Q's tough as a n*ts@ck scale of toughness...

Lose 20 pounds...
I have lost 10...

Break 4 hours in the Marathon...
Kiawah Island Marathon, 12/11/10; we will see.

49 minute 10K/22:59 5K
I lowered my current 5K to 24:01 in March. I am currently on pace to hitting both of these goals in the fall/winter race season.

So, no CHECK or FAIL at this time.

In 2010 I will give back and work towards being less selfish. I would like to volunteer at a couple of races and move forward with my goal of organizing a race to benifit the local Autism Foundation. I am going to try to help my fellow man whenever my HP allows me.

DOH! I have not moved forward on any of this...I need to get working here. BIG FAIL!

Okay, so all in all, 2010 is shaping up to be a pretty good year. I see the sucess and see where improvement is needed.

An interesting side note, starting Tuesday, I will be in the big A for three weeks for work; three weeks of the big H's people! Holly, Hills and Hotels!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

9 weeks until Long Cane 50

Happy Belated Birfday 'merica!

9 weeks until the Long Cane 50 and lasts week's running had me sweatin' like a whore in church. Literally and figuratively. June has gone down as the hottest month on record and my running has suffered this wrath. The pacing was horrible and I had begun to question my fitness and dedication. Case in point, Thursday, I had 7 miles on the books and bailed 3 miles in...I walked the remaining half mile back to my car chalking it up as "Just one of those bad runs".

I know that I will have bad runs. I also wasn't setting myself up for success by running this particular route(Dairy Farm-thick, grassy route) at this time of day (6pm- 92 degree). That long walk back to my car had me replaying my last few weeks worth of running and it was all the same song. Slow pace, high HR, and a struggle to finish the workout. I had finished my second 50k of the year just a few weeks ago, I couldn't understand why these "easy" runs were so durn hard!!!!

Then, almost as if it was a birthday gift from Mother Nature, a low pressure front moved in over the southeast and we were treated to a wonderful weekend of weather in the mid to low 80's. Running anyone?!?!?!

Like a red-neck with a box full of illegal fireworks, I. WAS. EXCITED!!!

Saturday morning I slipped on my new Brooks Ravennas and met up with Cubbie for a 5 miler. - Effortless.

They just look fast!

Sunday, Watermelon Crawl with the local running store. They had a 6 and 8 mile course mapped out. I needed 10, so I planned on running the 8 and adding on 2 miles on the back end. My goal was to go out easy an try and run 10:30's with a little pick up on the last 2 miles.

The first few miles flew by and I had to keep telling myself to slow down or I was going to blow up. Every time I would slow down, I would look back at my watch and see that I had crept back to 10's. By mile 5 I decided to stop trying to control my run and just let it happen. As I continued, my times were dipping 10 seconds per mile. 9:50, 9:40, 9:30. Last mile, strong finish, 8:32. What a great feeling to have my legs back under me.

I know that this weather won't last. I took full advantage of it...the most important thing is that I reset my mind as to understand that I will struggle in the heat. When the oppressive heat lets up, my times will return. I need to keep putting my miles in the bank and finishing my workouts. I have also decided that in addition to my regular speed workouts, I need to get up at 5am once a week to run longish, just to remind my body of what the effort feels like when it is still in teh 70's...

Oh yeah, PINHOTI BABY!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Ever since I was 25 miles into my first marathon, there has been this persistant buzzing going around in my head. You see, it was at that point during the Equinox Marathon that there was a person standing on the course directing the marathoners to the right, to run the last mile or so to the finish, and the ultramarathoners to the left, to complete a 5 mile loop before finishing the 50k. I wanted to "have" to go left and run the 50k. At that point, I was also glad to be directed to go right and finish for the day.

Fast forward a couple of months and I am tooling around online looking for my next race when I discover the Sweetwater 50k. Aha! Now I have found my chance to become an ultrarunner. Not long after finishing Sweetwater, that damn buzzing was back....
"You can go further!" "50k is not enough" "What about 50m, or even 100m?" Why would I even entertain thoughts like this...Clearly I have lost my mind! Well, I mean I could finish 50m, I did just run a 50k...

I decided to put those thoughts out of my mind and focus on the task at hand. BQ. that is the real goal right? Except, my heart really isn't in it right now. My heart belongs to the trails. Case in point, I jump at the chance to run Chattooga and rework my training schedule. Even though I got slightly lost and perhaps suffered from serious dehydration, I had a blast. Blog post after blog post I read, there are trail runners everywhere. Ican hear that damn buzzing again.

Then I find out about this race called the Barkley Marathons. More Buzzing. I wonder if I could complete a loop...maybe even the Fun Run...Always in the back of my mind. It's like the running equivilant of "Field of Dreams", if you train for it, your application will come....100 miles...

I swear off all crazy talk and refocus on my winter marathon.

My new friends are all facebooking about trail runs.....Laurel Valley this, Chattooga that. Over night trail runs. Lil Weezy's voice in the back of my head yelling, "Pinhoti Baby!" I see Tony G's face all over FB talking about GRR100. Sully, Charles and Psyche are all talking about trail runs....BUZZZ

100 miler...

Then Western States fever starts heating up....a couple of southeastern runners make the trip out west to attempt a run at a belt buckle. BUZZZ "you should run WS100"

Geoff Roes runs out of his mind and sets the CR....BUZZZZZZZZZ

Then it happens. I crack. "I think I would be best served to pace someone at Pinhoti 100 to see if this is really for me."

Psyche says she would love to have me run with her.

So it's in motion. Pacers can join in after aid station 7, 42 miles in. Hmmm, should I run the remaining 58, you know, to get feel for an attempt at 100?

Then without even thinking about it, I send off my application for Long Cane 50 miler. you know, just for "preparing" to pace at Pinhoti...whatever that means. I'm sick, I tell you...

BUZZZZZZ...Pinhoti....BUZZZZ WS100...BUZZZZ Barkley?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SufferSummerfest 2010

Summer of base building and marathon prep...

As June begins to wind down, the temps around here are on the rise. I knew this day would come. I told my running buddies this winter, that we would miss the cool, morning runs. It was reported earlier this week that Savannah was the hottest place in the country. Back-to-back days of 100+ temps. I went for my 5 miler on Tuesday and was I in for a rude awakening...Struggling to run a 10:30, my HR was sitting in the high 150's. Yesterday's run was a little better, about 8 degrees cooler and I held a 9:40 for the overall pace. Striders afterward were a struggle to hold proper form...Is this what I am in for all summer???

I keep setting the alarm in an attempt to wake up and run before work. I end up playing teh snooze bar game. it is not in my genetic make-up to rise early and be a dew sweeper...So, I will b!tch about the heat for another week or two, before my body gets used to it.

I am in week one my Mystery Mountain Marathon training program. This race will be held on 10/10/10 (same day as Chicago); I will piggy back off of this training and attempt run a 3:30 Mary at Kiawah in December. This all hinges on me dropping about 20 pounds over the next 4-5 months...very achievable goal.

So, here is my training schedule...What do you think?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chattooga 50k Race Report

Terri Hayes is a firecracker of a little ultrarunner and every year she puts on the South Carolina Ultras on Trails Race Series. The series consist of five races that are free of charge, Terri does accept donations to offset her expenses. In the world of sky rocketing road marathon fees, this is a welcome change! At the urging of The Sean and Psyche, I emailed Terri to see if there were any slots left. The races are capped at 74 runners; this one was full. Luckily, there were a few drops and I got in! Just recovering from my first 50k at Sweetwater, I continued to log miles and planned on running it "just for fun" (If that is ever the case...)

Holly and I drove up from Atlanta and found a hotel room about 30 miles from the Cherry Hill Recreation Area, where the race was to begin. We drove over Saturday evening to scout out the place and meet a few people. As I drove into the campground I immediately spotted The Sean and got out to talk to him. We also meet Jim and his wife Jade, this would be Jim's first ultra. Not longer after that, Terri and Psyche came back from a course-marking trip. (In hindsight, this is really funny; I think I will let Psyche explain it though...) After meeting Terri and Psyche we hung out in the campsite for a bit before calling it a night.

Arriving early Sunday morning, my plan to run easy was quickly dashed and I had visions of "PR's" dancing in my head. The usual suspects were milling around and after a short briefing from Terri, we were off and running. We started on a 3.5 mile out and back on the Winding Stairs Trail. I fell into a line mid-pack with some great characters. Jim was leading us down the 1000 ft decent, while Lil Wheezy and Jason Sullivan were keeping our minds off the task at hand with some light banter. Some of this "banter" is not fit to print, let's just say we had fun going down the trail...As we were getting close to the bottom, the leaders were coming back. The Sean looked comfortable in second place. Hitting the gravel road we began our climb back out. The return trip took a little more energy and I slipped off of the back of the line.

Reaching the first aid station at about 6.5 miles in, I refueled and crossed over Hwy 107, entering the Big Bend Trail. Not long onto this trail we were blazing down some rooty, single track. As I approached the first wooden bridge the runner 20 yards ahead of me yelled back a warning that the bridge was slippery. "Okay, thanks!" Yup, then I wiped out on the bridge. Landed square on my left side and blasted the cap off of my water bottle, 15 feet into the creek. DOH! luckily It hung up on some branches and I was able to retrieve it and save half of the water in my bottle. We were told to only drink the creek water if we treated it; I did not carry anything to treat it.

I spent the next ten miles by myself, Allowing the morning to unfold, taking in the beauty of the forest. I ran several miles along the Chattooga, listening to the serenade of it's beautiful song. As the temperature slowly rose, I was coming close to taking a dip into the cool water of the river.

As I began to climb away from the river, the quiet of the forest began to wear on me, I did not hear or see anyone for miles. A lot goes through your mind when you are out in the middle of a national forest all by yourself, especially after you learn this is where they filmed "Deliverance".

Then I turned a corner and running right towards me was The Sean. He looked cool and comfortable. Man was he a sight for sore eyes. He asked how I was doing, I told him good now that I saw him; I thought I was off course. He assured me I was going the right way and wished me well. After that, I did not see another runner for over ten minutes ~ He was cruising!

As I climbed out of the trail, back to Hwy 107, I saw the familiar sight of Holly's car. Ha! My Sweet Boo was at the 2nd aid station! Out of water from my earlier mishap, I refueled, grabbed some food and head out for a 2 mile out and back. As I entered the station Jason and Wayne were leaving; It was my goal to catch them and run with them for a while. Those last ten solo miles were tough and I didn't want to run by myself. I caught them at the turn around and we ascended the next two miles back to the aid station together. Since this section between aid stations was so short, I made good use of it and drained both water bottles in attempt to get my hydration back on track.

Pulling back into the aid station we all must have looked refreshed because the volunteers commented on how good we looked. I remember Holly looking at me and saying "You are doing really great!" I stuck with those guys going back onto the Foothill Trail and must say, I really enjoyed running with them. Wayne kept us fired up, even taking time to talk a little shit to the trail markers. I was like a rubber band stretching out on the climbs and snapping back on the down hills. As the climbs grew longer, my band eventually broke and I was dropped.
I tried to keep them in sight as long as possible; I eventually looked up and they were gone.

They disappeared into the distance somewhere around mile 24. I was prepared to finish alone but was secretly hoping someone would roll up on me and we could run in together. I drained my second water bottle around mile 26 and still had not been caught from behind. I caught occational glimpses of Wayne and Jason on the trails above me, giving me motivation to continue "moving forward" Somewhere in this mile I made a critical navigational error (Yes, I got lost) I found myself going straight up this runoff. it was so steep I had to concentrate on every step and I had stopped looking for trail blazes.

Interestingly enough, before starting mile 27, I had decided to run that mile for my father. I had a few chats with him on the climb and drew strength from his example. My dad's mile took me 33 minutes, he always gets his money's worth. Reaching the top of this gut wrenching climb, I discovered a road. Wait, there is not supposed to be a road here. We were never to go on a road! FML! What did I do?!?!?! No?!?! Do I need to go back down that hill? What if this is right and I go back down only to have to come back up again? How about I just sit her until someone comes and gets me??? I needed to push forward. I began to backtrack looking for a blaze, when I came across an intersection I remembered from the morning. Do I go left or right? Let's go right. Being back on trail, I was rejuvinated and running strong, albeit downhill. 1/4 mile in I see two runners coming toward me? Huh? They tell me I am going the right way but that makes no sense. After a short discusion ("We are going this way!"), I decide to follow them. At this point, my pace is terrible and I cannot hang onto them. Without fear, I know I am going in the right direction and keep moving forward. I continue to work my way through the final couple of climbs and come back to Hwy 107. A quick left turn and I am soon on the road to the finish.

As I look in the distance, I see the most beautiful woman in the world. (Standing next to her is my wife. J/K) My sweet boo is holding the clipboard at the finish line, recording times. Every runner dreams of being greeted at the finish line by their loved ones, this was no exception. Without saying a word, we both knew what we had gone through over that last ten mile stretch. Thank you for being there.

Speaking of thank you...THANK YOU to all of the volunteers at the aid station and the finish line, as runners we get to enjoy our love of this sport, but without those people behind the scene, it would not be possible. Special thanks to Terri for putting on this great event!

On the car ride home, we had this great discussion about getting out of your "Comfort Zone" I pushed myself to the edge with muscle failure and dehydration. I was forced out of my comfort zone and into that dark place I don't like to see. There was a point where I was longing for the comfort of my bed, wrapped up in my blanket. Instead, I was forced to push through, see that the dark place isn't that bad, it will not last forever. It is hard to put into words, but everytime I go into that place, I come out the other side a little long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other; one step at a time.

Final numbers per Garmin:

Now that I am familiar with the course (and some areas around the course) I look forward to running this race next year...maybe with The Sean...