Monday, January 30, 2012

January 22, 2012: A Much Better Training Week and Other Highlights

First off, here's to GMAA's Jim Paige running at Cornell last week for the 45th running of the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile.  One of our new 50's speed guys, Jim ran an incredible 4:52:59  for the mile taking 6th overall in the Men's 50's Elite.  Congrats Jim!!  Even more incredible was Nolan Shaheed, who at 62 years young ran a 4:50:96 to break his own world record.

Shaheed just ahead of GMAA's Jim Paige
Nolan Shaheed chops 6 seconds off own world indoor mile record as reported by
Nolan Shaheed, 62, crushed his own world indoor record in the mile Saturday, clocking 4:50.96 to beat his listed M60 mark of 4:57.06. Nolan was the only record-setter at the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Miles in Ithaca, New York. W40 Sonja Friend-Uhl beat W45 Alisa Harvey, and Charlie Kern defended 2011 his title. Tom Hartshorne sends these results and highlights: “Two near records with Sonja missing by a second the W40s world and Alisa also by little over a second her own W45 world record. David Cannon going after the M55 world record (owned by Nolan) had leg muscle cramp issue several laps into the race somewhat related to his racing spikes and dropped out in order not to tear anything. Nolan as they say in sandlot, blew the cover off the ball! knocking 6+ seconds off his amazing indoor mark of two years ago here and in the process undercutting the world outdoor mark by about three seconds as well. And as they say in our circles, Nolan is the real deal!” Age-graded, Nolan’s mile is worth an open mark of 3:49.9.


After dealing with the previous weeks challenges of breathing difficulties and wiping out on the ice, this past week was more "normal" for me.  Although the running conditions have to a certain extent deteriorated more, being better equipped with screw shoes and turning on the headlamp has improved the outcome.

Monday:  I started the week with a "slow" Aliza run on the Burlington Rec Path.  A warm day in the low 30's but with a little wind.  The rec path was in fine overall shape with limited ice.

Tuesday:  I decided to venture out on the trails at the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Preserve.  Most of the snow was gone but what remained was the snow packed trail which was now deadly glare ice.  After about 5 minutes of hoping it would get better, I bailed and returned to the roads.  I've been getting really bored of this road running so I decided to make it a hill day running up to Guinea Rd which is all up hill for 2 1/2 miles.  Foul weather returned later on and XC skiing at the Range was cancelled.

Wednesday:  Tried some other dirt roads only to find a combination of mud and ice.

Thursday:  Did some hill work for my mid day run and then to the Range to XC ski.  With lack of snow and nothing for the skis to grip on, it was a skate ski day.  I arrived early only to find every local high school XC team training there since some of the other local XC centers were closed.  I ventured off the main path for a short while only to find myself sliding out of control on old frozen tracks.  Not good, too scary even for me so I backtracked and hit the main trail.  This main trail was a challenge in itself. It had some patches of good snow but more ice than not and hoards of people.  I did a number of fast laps.  At one point I got elbowed by some adult and run off the trail as he cut right in front of my skis.  What the heck!  Done, I had enough.  Meanwhile more buses were rolling in with high school kids.  As I was leaving, the highlight was watching the CVU XC girls as they were first starting out coming off the upper bridge doing an out of control power plow as they were screaming.  After skiing it was off to Burlington for the Thursday Night Fun Run at the Skirack.

Brooks Night at the Skirack
Tonight was a demo night for Brooks Shoes and Tina brought up some shoes and vests for us to try out.  We did the Urban Route all over town.  A little ice here and there but overall a good night run.  Only one casualty, it was Sherry's night to fall.  Afterwards it was cocktails and food at the VT Pub & Brewery.

Friday:  After some snow Thursday night it was back to running in mud, slush and ice.  No trails today.

Saturday:  I woke up in kind of a funk so grabbed my Gregory pack to adequately prepare myself with some GU Brew and some GU gels, brought my "smart" phone which has a GPS program for running and tunes.  I never run with music but had no plan for today, just run wherever so I thought I would experiment with music.  Outside I found the satellites for the GPS, dialed in my play list and off and running towards Hinesburg.  Once on the dirt roads it was the same old combination of mud and ice.  In the sun was mud, shade was ice.  One thing I noticed right off, with music on you can't hear cars behind you so you can't run in the middle of the road.  Some of my route contained class 4 unmaintained roads which luckily were all very passable.  On route towards Monkton, I went by the usual house which sometimes has a very unfriendly German Shepherd.  Sometimes I pick up a stick or a rock before going by but it seemed all quiet on the home front.  No action, great.  About a minute later I realized another downfall of headphones, you can't hear dogs sneaking up on you.  All of a sudden I heard loud barking just about on my heels.  I turned around to see not one but two huge German Shepherd's about to have me for breakfast.
Not so friendly (likeness only)
They frightened me so much that my initial reaction was to scream.  I screamed so loud that they stopped in their tracks wondering what to do.  They stood there in the middle of the road looking hungry and I started yelling some more.  It worked.  I think I scared them as much as they scared me.  At times like this I wish I had a heart-rate monitor to see how high my heart-rate was.  Things were going good for the rest of the way but it was getting warm when the wind was at your back with temps in the 30's.  Glad I had fluids with me.... but not enough.  By mile 23 I was out of fluid and feeling thirsty.  I had about 3 more miles until I could get home for a refill which was fine.  I could handle that.  At mile 26 I was home to replenish.  I ate a banana and drank a bit of coke and figured I would just do an out an easy out and back to make it a 30 mile day. When I took off my pack to check the GPS function, I discovered the "smart" phone was not very "smart".  In fact it never recorded any of the run.  So I left the pack at home for the out and back.  I ran the 2 miles out and coming back was starting to drag.  I was tired and getting a bit dizzy.  I could breathe just fine, these were just my typical signs of bonking.  Soon I was home and jumped on my scale to see why I was bonking.  With my new eating plan I've not been eating enough calories and this was exactly the reason for today's bonking.  I was at high school wrestling weight.  Not good.  After some eating and drinking I was fine.  The night ended at Joe and Kathleen's.  They just arrived back home after a vacation in Aruba and Joe had brought back something for me.  I was a special shot glass from Aruba.  Joe had gotten one for himself and one for me.  So of course we had to break them in.  A fine end to the day :)

Sunday:  To end the week, I headed up in the morning to run with the GMAA group from Sports and Fitness Edge.  With the bike path mostly clear we headed in that direction.  Overnight there was some more snow with turned to ice so there were many sections of black ice to be found.  I ran an out and back with Bob Corey for about 10 miles.  It was fun chatting with Bob.  After we returned I grabbed my fanny pack with GU Brew and some GU gels to go run another 12 miles on the SB Rec Path.  This was a much nicer route with rolling hills and it was covered with light, grippy snow which made for a more enjoyable run.  Once I arrived back at Sports and Fitness Edge it was sauna time and a hot shower to end the morning activities.

This was definitely a much better week for training than the previous week.  I managed to get in 100+ miles without too much difficulty and a little bit of skiing.  The temps overall have been pleasant to run in... if we can only eliminate the ice :)

THE VEGGIE DIET:  I'm still working on figuring out the best way to fuel my body with this meatless lifestyle.  Overall it's been going well and I'm coming up with new meals all the time and discovering other meatless options. I made an awesome fake chicken parmigiana dinner one night and experimented with some homemade bread along with vegetarian chilly with fake ground meat that tasted like the real deal.  I just need to remember to eat more substantial calories during the week if I expect to be running for 3 hours or more.  It does make a difference.

This fake chicken parmigiana was excellent!
Homemade wheat/maple bread

Race Schedule for 2012:

Now that we're into 2012 I've been looking at some possible races for this year.  Still undecided and will have to wait for sign up dates and lotteries.  But here are some up and coming possible races to consider:

Feb. 25, 2012;  FebApple 50 Mile in New Jersey
March 4, 2012;  USATF 50K Nationals in NY
March 18, 2012;  New Bedford Half Marathon (GMAA team race)
April 9, 2012;  Northern Nipmuck (16 miler)
April 14, 2012;  Traprock 50K (CT)
May 12, 2012;  MMT 100 (VA)  (Made this lottery)
May 27, 2012;  Key Bank Vermont City Marathon (Pace Team Leader)
June 2, 2012;  Nipmuck 50k (new this year)
June 16, 2012;  Mt. Washington Road Race, NH
June 30, 2012;  Finger Lakes 50
July 21, 2012;  Tahoe Rim 100 (currently on wait list)
July 28, 2012;  Burning River 100
August 18, 2012;  Waldo 100K, Oregon
September 30, 2012;  VT 50
September 30, 2012:  Spartathlon, Greece
November 3, 2012;  Pinhotti 100, Alabama
December 8, 2012;  USATF XC Club Nationals, KY

PACERS WANTED:  If anyone is interested in being a pacer for the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon on May 27th, let me know.   I'm the coordinator for the team and have a few more slots to fill.

Happy Running !

"The five S's of sports training are: Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spirit;

but the greatest of these is Spirit".

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 2012 Training, A Rough Week

Yes, this week has been tough.

Since running The Bandera 100K on January 7th I've had some strange things going on.  The week after Bandera I felt great, hungry and eating all week and the body felt fabulous.  Legs were strong and besides running every day I got in a couple of days XC skiing and a day of Alpine skiing.  The cold weather set in, sub zero and it actually felt good running in the cold and snow.  Sure beats the intense cramping in the southern heat.  Then, all sh#@t hit the fan.  After running an easy 12 miler last Sunday in zero degrees, I jumped in the sauna to warm up and then went home hitting the grocery store on the way.  Hungry, I grabbed a quick egg sandwich while shopping and then it hit.  Dizziness, short of breath and intense pain on the lower right side of the body.  At one point I thought I might pass out in the aisles.  I managed to get out of there and in the car.  Should I go to the emergency ward or just beeline it and get home.  I opted for the ride home and as soon as I got home, jumped in bed, clothes, coat and all.  I was having a hard time breathing but found one position where I could somewhat relax and lied there, sort of sleeping for over an hour.  I managed to get through the rest of the day and attempted to go for an easy sunset hike in the snow, denying any pain I had.  Well the pain was still there, big time and I could barely breathe.  I returned home after a while and settled in.  Some dinner, a movie but wondering, what if I stop breathing tonight, then what?  I figured no big deal.  My usual philosophy in life, when your ticket comes up at the deli window, it's time.  It's all about fate, nothing you can do but go for the ride.  That's why I rarely hesitate running through a lightening storm or even think twice about jumping out of the door of a reasonably good plane at 12,000 feet.

Monday began with the same intense pain and I was having a hard time breathing whenever I tried to exert myself to more than sitting.  I waited all day hoping things would improve and finally went outside for a run in the afternoon.  It finally warmed up to 20 degrees too.  Out the door I went, only to find it was not a good thing.  I immediately started running/walking up the hill.  After about a 1/2 mile the pain trying to breathe was excruciating and I could hear myself grunting with each breath.  I felt like I only had one lung, what the heck.  I hit the top of the hill and was then running on a totally flat road, which I thought would be fine.  Not!  It hurt as much as the hill.  I managed to get another 1/2 mile shuffle in before I had to turn around.  This was definitely not fun!  I just couldn't breathe.  On the way back home I go right by the Charlotte Family Health Center, I thought I would pay them a visit.  I always hate to go to the doctor, almost embarrassing if something isn't really wrong.  I thought not being able to breathe was a good enough reason to visit.  I saw Bunkie, my local doc who is great.  He did a quick exam and evaluation and decided I should get an xray to check my lungs for  a possible partial collapse of the lung.  He also said, "no more running" for now.  After he did some other vital organ checks, it was off to the hospital to get an xray at 5:30 PM.  The trip to Fanny Allen was easier and quicker than anticipated.  I barely had to wait.  The pics were taken although the picture taker wasn't capable or allowed to read the xray so I would have to wait to get the reading from the radiologist and/or Bunkie.

It doesn't get much flatter than this.
Tuesday, still in pain and no word from the doc.  About mid day I decided to attempt a slow run   to the Post Office and then to some new trails on absolutely flat frozen mowed trails.  As I went by the docs office I slowed it down to a walk in case they could see me.  At minimal effort I was ok, doing 10 plus minute miles and an efficient shuffle.  Anything faster and I couldn't breathe.  This was OK, for today.

Wednesday I woke up still in pain.  During the day I did some work at home and finally decided it was time to attempt another walk/run.  I stood up and noticed something strange, I could breathe again.  I could actually stand and take a good deep breath.  Where did this come from??  It was like someone flipped the switch.  Hey take what you can.  Then Bunkie called to say there was nothing out of the ordinary in my xray or other results and I could run again.  I didn't tell him I never stopped running.  This was all great but on the other side, so why was I hurting so much before??  So I went out for a run and ran snow covered trails for almost 2 hours without any reoccurring issues.  Weird!!

Thursday, feeling good, I went to the Range and XC skied for almost an hour on wicked fast snow, skate skiing on the edge of disaster .  The fun part of XC skiing is that many times have very little control and are on the edge of a major crash and if you can pull it off without, you've done really well.  This night was like that.  The snow was hard, icy and rough and you seemed to bounce all over as you cruised along.  Successfully, I stayed upright and had a blast!  Then it was the Thursday night run with the crew.  First it was the pre-run with Bob to get in more miles.  We decided to go do the usual  6 miler along the back dirt roads of Essex.  Normally this would be fine but our fluky weather this year has brought many freeze, thaw, freeze opportunities and tonight was no different.  The back roads were challenging to say the least.  Ice was the primary surface and staying upright was a challenge.  About 2 miles out with Bob, I found some really slick ice, tried to move over unsuccessfully and crashed hard.
Left Elbow rather swollen - "olecranon bursa"
The brunt of the fall was taken by my elbows although I also crashed on the back of my head and my headlamp flew off.  But the immediate pain was definitely felt more in the area of my elbows.  Still, I got up, regained some stability after sliding some more and off I went running.  Bob and I continued and finished our loop to join up with the rest of the group so we could run this loop again.  And we did so with no major issues.  We all ran conservatively on the icy roads but managed to get through without any more crashes.  Once we got back, I thought I may have cut one of my elbows and decided to have a peak.  I had a hard time getting my shirt over my elbow and finally gave up only to have a more difficult time trying to get my shirt back over my elbow.  When I finally changed for the post run dinner, I realized my elbow was rather enlarged.  More than I had ever seen it before.  First thing that came to mind was, I've already been in for xrays this week for a possible collapsed lung, they won't want to see me again.  At dinner I put my elbow in ice and when I got home immediately wrapped it in ice which reduced the swelling.
Right Elbow

Friday, my whole body was sore from Thursday nights crash.  I felt like I was run over by a truck.  My elbow was still swollen so I experimented and wrapped it with pre-tape then put on an arm warmer, perfect!  Then I made a trip to the hardware store and made a major purchase, 20 screws for my shoes.  I went with the # 6 hex head sheet metal screws, 10 at 3/8" depth and the other 10 at 1/2".  So just before my run I grabbed my screw gun and put those in.  Then out the door to do a test run.  I headed out to run at the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge where the trails are still runnable.  About an inch of snow covered over the ice and it was great!  The screw shoes were incredible!
Screw Shoes ready to go!

Saturday proved to be a nice 20 miler in light snow on the back rolling roads of Williston, Richmond, Hinesburg and Huntington.  I met Aliza just after 9:00 am and off we went, bundled up for the run as it was only 9 degrees, luckily not much wind.  After a couple of miles on paved roads it was mostly snow and ice covered dirt roads.  The screw shoes were ideal.  My arm was bandaged up in a semi bent positions and was no problem although the rest of the body was still sore.  We had a mostly uneventful day on this "slow" run except the dead end road cut through had a new no trespassing sign which of course we ignored.  Once through the gate we heard a voice yelling at us.  Too late, we were moving forward and a bit faster now as repeated yells at us to stop.  Not stopping, run faster!  Luckily no gun shots.  Once out of there it was back to more hills and dirt roads.  We were both getting a bit hungry and had a quick GU break only to find out the GU's were more like semi frozen blocks.  Forgot to pre-warm the GU in my pocket.  We cruised along for a bit and were approaching some more big hills when we came upon Heather coming out of Dugway Rd.  She was doing a different loop so we decided to join her on the rest of her loop.  More back dirt roads, nothing too steep until the mile downhill on Wes White Hill.  Luckily this paved part had some clear pavement making it easier to stay upright.  At the end of the hill was Heather's car and a ride back to the start making for a nice winter run.

And back to Sunday to end this week.  I met up with Bob Ayers in the not too early morning and we ran a fun loop through the back roads and some trails of Richmond, Bolton and Jericho, 22 Garmin miles.  The elbow was feeling much better and the body not as sore.  Screw shoes were required as much of the surface was snow covered with ice underneath.  It started out cold but above zero, maybe 8 degrees with little wind and the sun came out.  We had some good climbing on the Stage Road to really warm up.  Overall, we had a great run and chatted most of the way about life, running and whatever.  To end the day and to enjoy the sunset I went out on the flat mowed trails at home for a few more miles as a great end to a week that started out a bit questionable.

Sunset over the Adirondacks

I learned a few things this week.  Some are just basic common sense, which at times I'm lacking in as I always try to push the envelope a little bit to see what the body and brain can endure.

What I learned this week:

  • You can benefit from bringing fluids and food with you on 20+ mile runs, even in the winter.
  • Eat more calories so you don’t bonk.
  • Embrace the good things in life when you have them, like being able to breathe.
  • Turn on your headlamp while running at night on the ice; you can see more with it.  (Wish I had my light on BEFORE the crash.)  I like to “feel” the road as I’m running in the dark.  I definitely felt it that night.
  • Screw shoes are a wonderful thing, use them.

Let's hope for a better upcoming week and more successful weeks to come!  And hopefully I can survive this training without any more major issues.  See you on the trail :)

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
-- Confucius

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 USA 100 km Trail National Championships

Bandera 100 km Endurance Trail Run - 
Race Report and Adventures
A Trail Run of Rugged and Brutal Beauty
where Everything Cuts, Stings, or Bites

January 7, 2012
Bandera, TX

As usual, my races are way more than the race itself.  It's all about the journey, not the outcome.

Texas Longhorn
The decision to make the trip to Texas was sort of last minute.  I had been training for the USATF 10K Club XC Nationals held in early December in Seattle with my local 50’s team and had been racing a number of 5K to 10K distances to prepare.  But I felt a need to get back into the longer distances and on trails.  I quickly ramped up the miles and even managed to get in a 50k day at the Christmas Marathon in NY.  And with the lack of snow in VT, I had been able to continue running on trails.  So I figured what the heck, time for a change of pace.  I didn't feel 100% trained for such an event but thought my fitness level was good enough to go.  The bigger factor for me would be the weather, especially the warmer temps that Texas could produce.  Last March I went down to the Nueces 50 Mile Trail Championships, only to arrive in 87 degrees.  Luckily it was cooler for race day but still hot enough to set off some good cramping for not being acclimated to the heat.  Training in Vermont in the winter is more about staying warm and dry.  And the week before Bandera, the temps had been in the 0-15 degree range, which was feeling rather nice to me.

I made reservations to fly down for a quick weekend, leaving on Friday morning, race Saturday and back to VT early Monday morning.  The wild card would be the weather, for flying.  Winter traveling in the Northeast is always a challenge.  As I finally prepared and packed for the trip, the weather was looking fine, possibility of light snow to fly out with but nothing out of the ordinary for an area that normally receives snow in the winter.  I was up early on Friday for the 5:30 AM flight and there was about ½” of snow on the ground and it wasn’t all that cold, maybe 20 degrees.  I arrived at the airport with plenty of time and soon we all boarded, right on time.  There really shouldn’t have been delays as I think we were the first plane out that morning.  But then we sat, and sat and sat in the plane.  After sitting for 30 minutes, then it was time to de-ice the plane which took another 15 minutes.  So right from the start, we were running 45 minutes late on the first leg of the trip to Dulles Airport.  I knew there wasn’t a lot of time between flights but thought if all went well, the connecting flight to San Antonio would still be possible.  We landed and I figured I had about 15 minutes to catch the next flight, if we got out of the plane after we landed.  Well another snafu.  We sat in the plane forever and they wouldn’t let us out, losing time fast.  Finally we got out and then had to wait for our carry-on bags. I knew they were already boarding my next flight.  As soon as I could, I grabbed my 40 lb roller bag, threw on my 25 lb backpack and started running.  To make it worse, we landed at terminal A and I needed to get to D which could require either a shuttle or a train ride.  I went to the shuttle area but it wasn’t arriving until my flight was already gone, so off and running to catch the train.  The train was for gates C & D.  First stop it said Gate C.  I poked my head out the door, a bit lost but looked again and the train said Gate C, it made no mention of Gate D so I stayed on.  When the door closed, I noticed I was the only one on it.  The train electronic banner now said out of service and traveled a short way up the track and stopped in the middle of nowhere.  I was stranded on this train, doors locked and nowhere to go.  Then it started moving up another rail and it said Gate A, what the heck!  So back to A, then to C where I got off this time and then ran from the far end of C all the way to the far end of D only to see the flight was closed.  Not a happy camper.  A bit overheated I arrive at customer service only to wait in line.  At the counter they were having issues but found a flight going back up to Chicago and then to San Antonio.  I started to complain but the woman at the counter said they were already boarding and I better get going or I wouldn’t be out until the evening.  They were having problems printing a boarding pass and said they would call ahead.  So off I was running again, this time from the far end of D to the far end of C.  When I arrived they greeted me and said, “Didn’t she tell you, we couldn’t get you on”.  At that point I was ready to go home.  I think she saw the look on my face and said wait here and somehow found a spot for me as the plane was waiting.  I finally boarded and then off to Chicago and then to San Antonio.

In all, I lost about 4 hour’s time, the time I wanted to check out the trails and attend the pre-race briefing.  Not a huge deal.  I got off the plane and it was HOT.  The sun was shining and I thought I might melt.  I took the shuttle over to get my rental car which would also be my camper for the weekend.  When I made reservations I upgraded to the next size up so I would have room to sleep in it.  I got the keys and found the car.  It was this lime green thing, not much bigger than a smart car.  There was no way I could fit in any direction in this car.  I went back to the counter. The woman said that was the larger car and if I wanted to pay $15 per day more I could get a bigger car.  Back out I went to see if there was any way I could fit.  Right next door was a larger car, the one that I thought I was getting and was listed on the reservation so back to the counter.  The woman was busy so I talked to some guy.  He was very accommodating and said sure; you can have one of those.  With a quick phone call and some new paperwork I was finally out of there.  More lost time.  I drove straight out to Bandera as I wanted to at least get in a little run in daylight to see what the trails were all about.

I was feeling better as I had finally made it which was questionable for some time.  After a little trail run I headed back to the town of Bandera to find some dinner.  I was supposed to be meeting up with David Ploskonka from Baltimore, Maryland.  I met David last year at Bull Run Run and thanks to David’s efforts we were part of the wining men’s open team.  As it turned out David’s flights were also messed up and he hadn’t yet arrived.  In Bandera I found a great little pasta restaurant, John’s Pasta House.  I had a table outside and David would meet me there a bit later.  Sitting alone, I was invited to join some local Texan’s who were adjacent to me and also running Bandera.  We had a great dinner and David finally arrived to enjoy the local pasta house.  After dinner it was back to the start/finish area which was also the camping area.  I set up my Hotel Nissan, folding the front seats all the way down and retired for the evening.

Hotel Nissan

The race start was at 7:30 AM, right around sunrise, much better than a 4:00 AM start in the dark.  It was cool out but you knew it would heat up and the forecast called for near 70 degrees and sunshine.  Not really what I was hoping for but it is what it is.  At the start I met up with David and saw some other familiar faces.  Yassine Diboun was there and Liza Howard.  I saw team Pearl Izumi all ready to go.  There was an excellent field of runners for this National Championship and also part of the Montrail Ultracup with 2 spots available for Western States. I knew they would be fast out of the start.  My plan was to go out at a reasonable fast pace until the pack thinned and then settle in and do my own thing, just run at a comfortable pace and enjoy it.
This was a two lap course.  The terrain seemed very runnable.  Some hills, nothing too bad and rocks but again, not that technical.  Not like the slippery rocks and roots back home.  And plenty of nice single track to cruise on.  Shortly after the start I could hear a familiar voice behind me.  It was Liza running along with local Steve Moore.  I ran quite a bit of Nueces with Steve and Liza last year.  They soon caught up and the three of us ran a good part of this loop together, many times back and forth and pacing off one another.  I could also see Darcie Africa just behind.  There was an impressive women’s field this year including Liza, Darcie, Pam Smith and Cassie Scallon and all capable of winning.

At some point on this first lap, I spacing out, tripped on a rock and went down hard.  Nothing unusual for me.  Landing on rock is no fun.  But the other alternative is landing on cacti, equally as bad.  The usual tuck and roll technique doesn't work either as you hit hard on rock and then roll on cacti.  Something you want to avoid altogether.  I got myself up, scrapped and bruised and continued on.  About mile 16, I came into the Crossroads aid station and stopped to find my drop bad and pick up a fresh bottle of Gu Brew and some more GU gels.  I saw the familiar face of Meredith Terranova who helped me get through which was great.  Another 5 mile loop and I was back to Crossroads again.  At this point I could feel the heat increasing and made certain to increase my fluid intake as well as electrolyte pills.  Continuing going back and forth with Liza and Steve, we all arrived at the halfway point somewhere around 4:28 which I thought was right on, trying to be a bit conservative.  After refueling at the Lodge and grabbing a replenished supply of electrolytes I was on to lap 2.  Right from the get go, I could feel twinges in my lower extremities, signs of cramping.  The heat to me when not acclimated is like kryptonite to Superman and can take me down.  I increased my electrolytes again and backed off a notch on pace hoping these adjustments would help.  The climb up Ice Cream Hill was in full sun and just after I passed a distressed runner, a big calf cramp kicked in and stopped me in my tracks.  I stomped on my foot to get it to bend, took another electrolyte pill and kept on moving.  This seemed to be the pattern for a while.
Jack coated with salt wearing Headsweats Super Duty Race Hat
As I came into the second aid station, I saw another smiling familiar face through my now fuzzy eyes.  It was Meghan Arbogast.  I was dizzy and had to sit for a moment.  Meghan helped replenish my electrolyte supply which was needed and off I went while munching on a pb&j sandwich.  I continued on doing the slow run for a while when suddenly I felt a weird sensation in my left foot.  My entire ankle cramped and then my right foot cramped causing me to collapse right across the trail.  I laid there like a corpse and couldn't move as the pain shot through my body.  I could see another runner coming up and thought for sure they would think I was dead on the trail.  So as this runner approached I lifted my head up to say, “I’m not dead”.  As my eyes cleared enough to focus I could see it was my friend David from Baltimore.  I think he kind of chuckled as he saw me there unable to get up.  With a little boost, I was able to finally stand and we both moved ahead slowly.
David relaxing the morning after the race
David has experience with heat issues himself as he has run Badwater the last 2 years.  Before long, David was far ahead and out of sight as I still had to move slowly, but move ahead I did.   The rest of this second lap was more of the same with continued cramping, slow running and ingesting up to 8 electrolyte pills each hour.  I forced myself to eat at each aid station knowing that my body needed fuel and kept drinking, all the while feeling nausea and wanting to hurl but didn't want to lose what I already had in my body for electrolytes.  I thought as the day progressed, the heat would lessen and I could continue on at a faster pace but the heat and the cramps continued for most of the race.

Slow but steady I continued on, had another hard fall somewhere and reopened a wound on my hand from earlier in the day.  I ran through some more sotol plants and felt the thorns rip my legs but it really didn't matter at this point.
Sotol Plant with sharp spikes
Sotol damage to skin

As I looked at my watch I could see this second lap taking almost 2 hours longer that the first, not good.  Trying to better that I was able to pick up the pace a bit, on and off for the last 9 miles.  I also wanted it over, that’s always a motivator later in the race.  Finally, just before darkness set in, I crossed the finish line.  I was immediately greeted by Liza Howard who gave me a puffy coat to put on as the temps were quickly cooling as was my body.  Liza ended up with a stellar run finishing 2nd for the women just behind Cassie Scallon with Pam Smith not far behind in third.  Also greeting me was Charles Corfield, another awesome master runner from Boulder and Dave Mackey who finished second for the men just 10 minutes behind Tim Olsen.  Thankfully Charles brought me some fluids while I sat on the ground trying to regroup.  It didn't take long and afterwards I headed over to the heated tent to find some food.  I ended up hanging out there for hours with Steve Moore, Liza Howard, Tim, Chris and many other local runners while finishing runners came in.  I truly enjoyed the overwhelming southern hospitality while exchanging war stories over some cold ones.  Thanks to Steve for supplying the Lone Star beverages.

Steve Moore & Dylan Bowman
In the end, I didn't have the best race result based on my inabilities to deal with the heat but still I finished, had a lot of fun and had a wonderful experience revisiting with familiar faces and meeting new folks from around the country.  It's amazing what we ultra runners consider fun :)  The heat and course also took its toll on others as of the 215 starters, 56 dropped down to a 50k with only 153 runners finishing the 100k.  I finished with a time of 10:46:32 which was good enough to place first for the USATF National 100K Championship in my age group and set a new age group course record and finished 13th overall in the men’s division.  Click here for full results.

Thanks to RD Joe and Joyce Prusaitis for putting on this fabulous event and to all the volunteers who made this race possible.  Put this one on your list of to do’s!  These guys put on a whole series of races which can be found through Tejas Trails.  And thanks to Headsweats for supplying the Super Duty Race Cap which worked wonders on this hot and sunny day.

Liza and family at awards with RD Joe Prusaitis
One final note, the trip back to VT was mostly uneventful, hurrying as usual to catch flights on a three airport journey to get home.  On the last leg from LaGuardia to Burlington I was in this short bus with wings waiting to take off among the huge mega jetliners.  As we were heading to position for takeoff I could see some of my fellow passengers getting nervous.  This 37 passenger bus with wings had propellers and only one was working.  Finally one of the passengers spoke up and questioned the flight attendant with hand signals as the noise was too loud to hear anything.  He motioned that the propeller wasn't working, how are we going to get off the ground?  The flight attendant very calmly said they will turn it on when they are ready.  Just before the final takeoff stretch on the runway, they did turn on the propeller, it worked and off we went.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.