Manon and I went hiking in the Mount Rogers-Grayson Highlands area June 14-16. It was Manon's first overnight on the AT and only my second. We had a blast. We summited Mt. Rogers and saw plenty of wild ponies all weekend.
The 1st weekend of June was awesome for me. I met The Goat and Rain Man in Wytheville, VA and rode down to Erwin, TN with them. We slept in the parking lot of Uncle Johnny's Hostel on Friday night. Saturday morning we spotted the motor home at Iron Mountain Gap and got shuttle service back to Spivey Gap where we started our hike. We actually had 2 different shuttle drivers, Sarge and 10K. They were both a wealth of knowledge, (which we took full advantage of). Sarge was really funny. He told us the story of Mary the elephant (google it). He also told us to watch out for the dreaded Hoop Snake, you know the snake that bites it's tail and then rolls down the trail chasing you? Very venomous he said. hhhhmmmm. I think this story probably works best on city folk. ha ha
The weather was really good Saturday. Sunny and hot. We were talking about how that it usually rains when they are hiking. That is how Rain Man got his name. I told them that they could thank me for the nice weather. I always bring the sunshine with me. They both said that should be my name. I like it. Sunshine, it is.
We got a pretty late start, because of all the driving, spotting the vehicle and getting shuttles, so we planed to hike back to Uncle Johnny's and eat lunch there.
We came across this. Apparently there is a lot of Norovirus going around on the trail this year.
Over looking the Nolichucky River Valley.
This was pretty gnarly.
We ate lunch and took off for the Curly Maple Shelter, where we were going to spend the night. We got there about 6 that evening. Plenty of time to purify water and cook supper. We were all tired. We were in our sleeping bags by 8:00
The Curly Maple Shelter
I woke up at about 11:00 that night to a hard rain. I didn't know it them, but that was a sign of what the weather would be like on Sunday.
We got up at 6:30 Sunday and had breakfast and packed up. We were on the trail by 7:30. It was overcast, but the weather forecast was for showers mid afternoon. We thought we would be done by then. Well we were wrong. It started raining about an hour later and it rained the rest of the day. Oh well, it can't always be sunny.
This was a really nice creek that we walked along
All in all it was a great weekend. That is the 1st time I carried a heavy pack. We covered about 15-16 miles both days. I had an awesome time. Can't wait till next time.
I took a couple of months off from running and when I say off, I mean off. I did nothing but work. That is the only physical activity for the entire 2 months. The really sad and scary part for me, was that I really enjoyed not doing any exercise. After all the miles that I have been able to cover in the last 10 years, I just stopped. I lost ALL desire to run.
For several years I have been reading books written by thru hikers. I am very intrigued by their journeys. I have been wanting to do some section hikes, but just couldn't fit it in with running too. Last year I helped a
friend with some shuttling while he was doing a section in VA on the AT. (he did all of VA last year) He invited me to go with him sometime. When I saw him at Promise Land in April he again invited me to go. This year he is doing NC and TN. So a few weeks ago, I started researching backpacking gear. So far I have bought a really good pack and some other essentials and next weekend I am going to do my first section hike on the AT, with Dr. Wortley and Larry Watson.
I am totally stoked. I got my new pack on Friday and I already have 10 miles on it. I have been in the woods every possible minute this weekend, with and without the pack. I am loving it. Walking in the woods doesn't hurt near as much as running and I am enjoying it like a runner, when they first discover and fall in love with trails. I am falling in love again, just at a slower pace.....he he.
Will I run again? Time will tell, for now I am going to enjoy some hikes in the woods with friends. Oh yeh, nest month my wife and I are planning a 3 day 2 night trip, somewhere on the AT.
I feel really good right now and I am really glad to be out there, moving again.
Sometimes you come to a cross roads in life. Well, I find myself there now. One way leads to more running. One leads to cycling (yuck). The others lead to ????????
This Winter was tough. Because of the bad weather, working 3 jobs and my failure to properly manage my time. I have managed to lose my base mileage. And then there were the injuries, because I was still trying to do long runs and races without a strong base. These have not been like my other running injuries. These completely effected my life. For weeks at a time I was in so much pain that I couldn't sleep or work. It's been 10 weeks and I am still not fully recovered.
I have to figure out whether it is worth all I would have to go thru to build that base back. (long distance runners know what I am talking about). The really bad part is, I am enjoying not running. I have more time to get stuff done and I don't beat my self up constantly, because I got busy and didn't run that day.
What will I do? I don't know yet, but check back later.
Once again it has been WAY too long since I posted anything. I know I have said it before, but I really will try to post more often.
Terrapin Mountain 50K was last Saturday. The weather was really good, bookended by a lot of bad weather. Once again we dodged a bullitt with the weather. The race went pretty well for me. I was really under trained and just wanted to survive. I came out of it with a really nasty blister and a bad dose of runners knee.
Time to heal and then start training for Promise Land
Yesterday was the Eastern Divide 50K. Some things that happened at the race and some things said at Sunday school and church this morning made me realize that I don't give God the credit for how much He helps me and how much he allows me to do. I am a christian. I believe that God is in control of EVERYTHING. I spend a lot of time talking about what I do, how I accomplish this or that and in all reality, I don't have much to do with any success that I have. I am going to start giving credit to the One that deserves it.
Wow. The last 3 months have been quite a ride. Once again I must apologize for not posting regularly on here. To be real honest I haven't known what to say. I keep replaying Grindstone weekend over and over in my head. I know I shouldn't keep dwelling on it, but I just keep doing it anyway.
What went wrong? A lot.
What went right? A lot more. I got to spend a beautiful weekend in the woods with the best friends that a person could have. I had the privilege to run the first half of the race with Jen (thanks Jen). I got to run 80 miles and was on the move for 29 hours. WOW, I feel totally blessed. We made memories that weekend that I will never forget and I hope that others on my crew can say the same thing.
Some of the blessing and some favorite memories from 2011
My legs were healthy for most of the year
I got to run the first three races of the Beast Series. (PR at HL and Terrapin)
I got to run dozens of long runs, some of those have very special memories. 2 of those long runs resulted in 2 very good and probably life long friends. (love ya Jen and John)
I got to volunteer at Highland Skies and met another very special friend. (congrats to Kim, she got into WS)
As a matter of fact that whole HS weekend was special. Manon, Mark and I camped in a national forest. We got to eat fresh trout cooked on an open fire (thanks Mark), then me and Mark had a very soggy run the next morning. That run wasn't really long, but it was one of my favorite runs of the year.
I got to see a friend run his first marathon (congrats KT)
I got to run some really tough 20 mile training runs in the heat.
I got to participate in another Grindstone Training weekend. This training weekend is becoming my favorite event every year. The training weekend is WAY MORE FUN than the race.
2011 was a wonderful year. I am truly blessed. Thank God I can run.
Well, it is just a little over 48 hours till the start of Grindstone 100. The nerves are starting to kick in. The aches and pains, the self dought, the thoughts of "holy crap, what have I done", but I have a wonderful wife that still supports me (even after the failed attempts). Once again I will have a great crew (my bestest friends). Thanks Manon, Mark, Amy and John. I wouldn't even consider something crazy like this without you guys. Love Ya !!
It is even crazier than I thought. I was looking at only this weeks stats. When I looked at "all time stats", I was blown away. People from every corner of the globe have viewed my blog. 146 from Russia, why on earth would 146 people from Russia view my blog. That is crazy.
Blogger has a new interface. I had seen this before, but never clicked on it, till tonight. It has some really cool features. It tells you how many page views you have had and where they are. I have had people from European countries looking at my blog.......I think that is cool.
I have not run in 9 days. Something happened to my left knee. It was hurting and like an idiot, I ran a trail marathon race anyway. Now I am paying for it. I have been taking NSAIDs and icing it. It is feeling much better. I will try to run again tomorrow.
If you pray, please mention me in your prayers. I know it might seem like a very small thing in this big ole world with all of it's problems, but I believe God will hear and answer prayers. I also believe that God wants me to run.........maybe not as much as I have been doing. Maybe I have made it too big of a priority in my life. I always have trouble with proper balance in my life.
Under 3 weeks till Grindstone.........at this pace I should be well rested...ha ha
The Grindstone trail work and training run weekend was a huge success.
Everybody else started their trail work at 8:30 am Friday morning. I didn't get to the boy scout camp till almost 11. Clark had asked me to cut the trail around the lake, which I did and then I went around to rt. 42 to do some trimming in from that end. I had just arrived at the road crossing when the rest of the volunteers arrived. We finished our work, got cleaned up and then went to dinner in Staunton.
We all left camp at 5:15 the next morning heading for Redish Knob, which is the turn around point for the race in October. The plan was to run from there to Dowels Draft, about 30 miles.
Brian and I ran together for for most of the day. Mark planed on meeting us at the road crossings and running in to meet us. That worked out really well. Without aid stations, some of those sections were REALLY LONG !! So Mark was bringing some fluids in for us. That was especially helpful during 1 really long section when some jerk decided it would be funny to mess with the trail markings that the front runners were leaving for us. Brian and I were lost for awhile and we still managed to finish the 30 miles in less than 8.5 hours.
Once again we got cleaned up and went to dinner in Staunton. Man was I ready for bed by the time we got back to camp.
We left camp at 6am Sunday morning heading back to Dowels Draft to run the last 20 miles from there to Camp Shenandoah. I really didn't know what to expect from my body on day 2. I have run a lot of back to back long runs, but never 30 and 20. Actually it wasn't too bad Sunday. I took a couple of short cuts on my way back to camp, because I wanted to be back for a special meeting at church at 5pm. Sunday ended up being just under 18.5 miles in just over 5.5 hours. I am totally stoked about the race in October. It is definitely going to go better than the 2009 effort.
"show me the belt buckle"
Thank You Mark. You were a life saver this weekend. Thanks for being there.
I know it has been a while since I posted. I could give you the normal "bla bla bla" about how busy I have been and all that, but I will spare you. The training for Grindstone is going VERY WELL !!!! So much better than this time 2 years ago. I got in 21 on Friday. Took Saturday off to get all our corn cleaned and frozen, then got another 21 on Sunday after church. It was not quite as hot as it has been, but it was plenty hot. I have never gotten 42 miles in over a 3 day period before. It went way better than I expected. I almost quite a half a mile into the run today, but me and God had a little talk about all this quiting nonsense. Well we got thru it and I was actually felling better as the run progressed. Not so good that I wanted to go any farther. ha ha. I am really looking forward to Oct. Nov. and Dec. it is going to be an exciting ride.
I know you can't really see, but there are 2 bald eagles in this picture. This is only the second time in my life that I have seen a bald eagle in the wild. Manon and I were blessed this time to see a male and female together. We were driving thru some farm land. There were some round bales of hay in a field. I saw the male first sitting on top of a bale, when I stopped the car, I noticed the female on the ground near the male. I was soo excited, and made to much noise and spooked them.
Manon and I went to Canaan last weekend to volunteer at aid station 8 at Highland Sky 40 mile race. The weekend started out really rough, but got better. There was some confusion about where we were going to camp. We finally got that all straightened out just before dark on Friday night. Mark had been working in DC last week and since his family was not at home he came over to Canaan on his way home to hang with us and do some trout fishing. We were planing on running Sunday morning before heading back home.
We got up Saturday morning. Manon and I went to work the AS and Mark went fishing. We had a great day at AS 8, working with Kim. Some racers looked better than others, but all were very gracious. Congrats to all of the finishers !!!!!
We were ready to leave the post race celebration, when Mark called to say he had caught our supper, so I went back to camp and got the fire started while Mark cleaned the fish. Man they were good eating. We were setting around enjoying the fire when it started raining pretty hard so we went to bed and finally got some much needed sleep.
It rained all night long and was still raining when we woke up Sunday morning. I was laying in the tent listening to it rain, when Mark texted "want to go get breakfast" (he was sleeping in his car). I said "no, lets go run. then we will eat". It was obvious Mark didn't want to run in the pouring rain and I wasn't looking forward to it, but I really wanted to run while we were here.
It just so happened that we had camped just a couple of hundred yards from the Allegheny Trail, so we decided to run to Black Water Falls State Park. It was pretty tough going. The rain had turned the trail into a creek and the creeks into rivers, but it was so beautiful and it quit raining not long after we started running. We run to the park and even hiked down into the gorge near the base of the Black Water Falls. While we were at the falls, Mark told me that this was the very spot that he had decided to start his fight with his weight problem. WAY TO GO MARK. you have come a long way. We didn't run very far, but we had already been gone for almost an hour and a half, so we went back. We cleaned up a little and went to town to get lunch.
Mark was going to fish his way back home and we were going to stop at Seneca Rocks. Manon wanted to hike up to the top of the rocks. When we got there, we saw this sign.
Since the trail was closed, we decided to go to Cass. That was cool. We hadn't been to Cass since the kids were small. We didn't ride the train, we just looked at all the stuff we didn't get to see when we were there with the kids.
Had a 20 miler scheduled for today. I would have liked to have gotten up early to do it this morning, but we went to the Miners ball game last night. By the time we got home and got ready for bed it was midnight. I would have had to get up at 3 to get the run in and get to church. Well that wasn't going to happen. So I went to bed and slept like a baby. We even over slept and missed Sunday School. Opppps. I got on the trail at about 1:15 this afternoon, yeh I know, the heat of the day, oh well. I ran from the house, to Lake Stephans, where Manon was to meet me with a gallon of ice water and a cheese burger at the 14.5 mile. I was really thinking about wimping out before I even got there and then I sat in a chair for about 20 minutes, drinking ice water and pouring a little on my head, it felt soooo good. I was really dreading that last 7 miles. I was really thinking about quitting. I have got REALLY tired of quitting !!!!!!! I told Manon that I was really not wanting to do the rest of the run. She said, get in the car, you have already run 14.5 miles in the heat. You don't need to do the rest. Well that was the perfect thing to say (thanks Manon). I put my camel-bak on and said no. This is a character building day. I will finish this thing even if I have to walk every step. I didn't walk the whole thing, but I took a few extra walk breaks, but by the grace of God, I finished what I started. Thank you Lord, for a wonderful day.
What a great day. Rode my bike to and from the race, my 8th anniversary of running today. The 1st Lewis McManus 5K was my very first foot race ever. It was soooo much fun, and still is. It was a lot easier today, than is was 8 years ago. At the time, I never would have dreamed that I would be where I am at today. Thank you Lord !!!!!!
Thanks to the running community for making races so much fun. I love every minute of it.
I was a little beat up after the week I had 2 weeks ago. I ran a little under 35 miles that week, but around 17,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. It aggravated my Achilles tendons. I iced, took Tylenol and cut back last week. I am better now. Training progresses.
I run 11.5 really tough miles yesterday. I was pretty beat up, so I thought I would go to Fayettville Sunday afternoon and run 16 real easy miles, but Saturday evening my wife asked if I could get up early Sunday to get my run in so we could have the afternoon together.
I really didn't want to get up that early, but I have been training a lot the last year or so and I do like spending time with her, so I thought, what the heck.
I started getting my stuff ready Sat. evening. That is when I got to figuring. To be able to make it to Sunday school and church, I was going to have to hit the trail about 5 am. Normally in this situation I might have tried to make it back in time for church, but not Sunday school, but my buddy Jeff was teaching this morning and I really wanted to be there.
Since time was going to be tight, I knew that I would have to run in the woods behind the house on all the old gas line, jeep roads and trails. As many of you know, I am a little afraid of the dark and I have actually been running back there quite a bit lately. I have been seeing a lot of bear sign and it is very isolated. I was getting a real bad filling about running in the dark by myself.
I was thinking about all this while I was trying to get to sleep. Well morning came. It had been raining most of the night and was still drizzling a little as I ate and got ready. I was still having real bad fillings about this, but decided to suck it up and go anyway.
I put on my headlamp, grabbed my flashlight and took off. I hadn't gone a quarter mile when my light caught something on the gravel road leading to the trails. I froze, then I realized it was a clump of grass. ha ha. I said out load "man this is going to be a long morning". I went another half a mile or so and hit the first trail section and promptly tripped over a stick and fell down. Well this isn't going real well, so far. No harm done so I continue. I had gone about another half mile or so and hit the first jeep trail. I came to the first giant mud hole and slipped and fell right in. All I could do was laugh. I was sitting waist deep in the most stagnant and putrid water you can imagine.
I knew I had a bad filling about this run..ha ha ha
The sun came up a little later and the rest of the run went without incident. I got 16 miles and had plenty of time to get to church.
I have been trying to write a race report this morning. I have started it several different times, but mostly I have just been staring at the screen. While I was staring at the screen, a guy from my past sent me a message on face book. Joe and I became friends when Mom, Dad, my brother and I used to mud race (drag racing cars thru mud). He sent me this question. “I have to ask, how did you go from mud racing, to running marathons?” That is a good question. We all have our stories. You can read my story. Just read my profile.
To all my running buddies, if you would be interested in sharing your story with me contact me at email@example.com be sure to let me know if it is ok to share your stories with others on my blog. Your stories might be inspirational to someone else.
Well I guess I should write about the race now. This was my 3rd PL. I love this race because it never gets any easier. After setting new PRs at HL and Terrapin this year I was feeling a little cocky (ok, a lot cocky), I went out way too hard and I paid for it in the middle of the race. I really felt bad from Sunset Fields till I got back to Corneilus Creek the second time, it seemed like 100 people passed me in that section.
I loaded up with water and all the food I could carry in my hands before leaving Corneilus Creek to head up the falls; I had no idea how long it takes to get up that hill, so I noted the time. I talked to one guy near the bottom, he had not done this race before, so he was asking if this was the hard section everybody talks about, I told him he better be loaded up, because this was it. He was moving well and pulled away. The farther I got up the hill the better I felt, then I saw a woman standing on the bridge and knew right away, it was “icy-hot”. I hadn’t seen her since last year, she is now married and lives in Texas, she offered me a bottle of ice-cold water. I don’t usually like cold water when running, but on this warm day it felt really good in my belly. (Thanks Robyn)
I thought I was moving up the hill pretty well, when I heard somebody coming up behind me fast. He was running hard and went right by me. I said something to him, but I don’t remember what it was. He turned and looked at me. He asked if my name was Kenny? I said yes, who are you? That is how I met Adam. He said he was a fellow West Virginian and recognized me from my blog. Well I guess somebody does read it. Thanks Adam, glad to meet you.
I had already passed the sign that says .9 mile to the parkway when I caught up to the guy that I talked to at the bottom. He said “man you were not kidding about this hill.” He said he had run out of water I offered him some of mine, but he declined. Soon we came to the aid station. 1 hour 15 minutes to the top.
I grabbed more food and water. Kissed my wife and told her I was glad she was here today and then started across the parkway. I came upon a couple of guys at the gate that were moving real slow. I asked if they were ok? They said they were pretty nauseas. I told them I had ginger chews if they wanted one. They both took one and we started running down the trail. We ran together for a while, but I was going a little faster so I pulled away. I continued down the hill, feeling pretty good. A couple of miles from the end those two guys blew by me and thanked me for the ginger. They said it worked very well to settle their stomachs. I had found a young guy having cramps a couple of hours earlier and given him a couple of salt pills. He blew by me also. Every time I help someone they end up passing me. Oh well. I know they would help me too.
Before I knew it, I was finished. I got my handshake and ice cream sandwich from Dr. Horton and picked up my finishers shorts.
Thank you Dr. Horton for another great race. Thanks to all the volunteers. Thanks Mrs. Horton for the wonderful after race feast.
I didn't run for several days after Terrapin. I went for a short slow run Thursday evening, just to make sure everything was ok. Good news !!!!!!! Everything seems ok. I was a little concerned about this race. This is the race that I got injured in 2009. That knocked me out for the next year, so I am super glad that the wheels didn't fall off this year. On to Promise Land 50K April 23
This was my 3rd Holiday Lake Race in 4 years (I was injured last year). I had 2 goals going into this race and I was really confident that they were achievable. #1 was to finish. (I hadn’t finished a race over 26 miles since Promise Land 2009) The 2nd was to run faster than my buddy Mark had run it in 2009. He ran it in 6:29. My fastest HL was in 2009 in 6:55. I know 26 minutes is a lot to make up, but I had trained really hard for Hellgate, so I was bringing all that and a new fueling strategy, which I had learned from the failed attempt at Hellgate. Mark is my best friend, but man would I like to outrun him. Now to the race. Usually before a race everything goes as smooth as silk, not so much with this one. Let me explain. My wife and I got to the motel in Appomattox, got checked in and went to the pre-race check-in and dinner. Everything went smooth there. We had great food, got caught up with old friends and Dr. Horton was in rare form during the pre-race briefing. We went back to the motel and I made my final decisions on clothing for the next day. I laid everything out so I could get dressed quickly in the morning. Everything was going so smoothly that I even set both alarms 15 minutes later than I usually would have. We read for a little bit and about 10 o’clock it was lights out. It was about this time that things began to unravel a bit, because it was about this time that I realized that I had packed the wrong shoes. Right brand (Solomon), just wrong model. I didn’t get all stressed over this. I had a pair of shoes for backups that were the correct model, they are just very old and starting to fall apart. After the normal night of fitful sleep before a race, I finally got tired of watching the clock and got up a couple of minutes before the alarms were set for. I went about my normal morning routine and when it came time to put my shoes on I decided to go with the wrong model rather than the old shoes. We drove to the stating area and found a parking spot. I always like to get to a race 1 hour early, just in case. This has always drove my wife nuts. She thinks we should get to the start about 1 minute early, well an hour this morning wasn’t enough. We decided to stay in the car for a while to stay warm. I got to thinking about my goals. I thought I might be a little quicker in the lighter shoes (the old ones), so I changed shoes. I was putting my gators back on when I realized that one of the laces was broke. Anybody that has ever tried to tie a Kevlar lace knows that you can’t do that. This was still not totally devastating, because I had a repair lace somewhere in my race bag. By this time it was 35 minutes till the start, so I hurried to the pre-race check in, while my wife dug around in my bag to find the repair lace. I rushed back to the car and started replacing the lace. If you have ever tried to do this on a Solomon shoe, you know it is very difficult to do, then you add in the fact that the clock is ticking, well, you are starting to get the picture. Needless to say I ended up putting the other shoes on and just barely got to the start line in time. I asked my wife to finish up the repair and I would change shoes at an aid station. Dr. Horton said go and we were off. The first ½ mile is uphill, but it is asphalt, so I pushed a lot harder than I normally would, because I didn’t want to get held up once we reached the single track trail. This worked pretty well and before I knew it we were at AS1. My wife was there, but she had not had time to finish the repair. Crews were not allowed at AS 2, so I said I would see her at AS 3. When I got there, she had gotten some help and it was repaired, so I changed shoes. Other than the shoe change, the 1st half of the race went really well, it took 3:01 to complete. I felt so go that I really thought the second half would be 3:20 or less. For the next 8 miles I was practicing my smack talk, getting ready for Mark. Then the wheels started falling off. I made it to the last AS and I knew that it would take a miracle to finish in under 6:29. I REALLY would have liked to beat Mark, but hey. 6:35 ain’t bad. It was a 20 minute PR. I finished a race. The weather was beautiful. The trails were great. My wife was there to share it with me. God is good. Mark. Watch out at Terrapin. I will be ready for you.
Everybody that runs races has a different definition. To some it is finishing 1st, for some it is being in the top 5 or top 10. For some it is just being out on the trails enjoying the experience. For some it just finishing, even if it is in last place, but maybe if you learn something, no matter what the outcome, it is still a successful race.
Going into HG, I just wanted to finish. Training had gone well, enough. (You always wish you had run more) I had run most of the course over the last few weeks. I had the utmost confidence that I would be able to finish. I was not stupid enough to think it was going to be easy, but I really thought it was doable. I had my strategy; I had the best crew ever (thanks Randy, Mark and Brian). I arrived at Camp Bethel Friday afternoon. I had plenty of time to make final preparations and relax. My crew and I went over some last minute details and then it was time to head to Natural Bridge Station for the midnight start. By the way, the race starts at the parking lot for the Glenwood Horse Trail near Hellgate Creek. That is where the name of the race comes from and there is even a gate. That is where we all gather. Horton says a quick prayer for our safety, we all sing the national anthem and we are off. We had been running about a mile or so, when I realized that I was, dead last. I have no problem finishing last, but I thought I probably shouldn’t stay in last place this early into the race, so I picked up the pace and started passing people. The first few miles pass uneventfully, even the infamous creek crossing wasn’t so bad.
The climb up to the parkway was absolutely gorgeous. I had been here a few weeks ago in the daylight. I thought it was beautiful then, but God had something special planed for us this night. The stars were so bright this night. It was hard for me to look down. I couldn’t take my eyes off the sky. The 1st major climb ended at the parkway. I grabbed some PB&J and started down the other side. I don’t really remember much about this section. It seemed like it was a really long way from AS 2 to AS 3 at Camping Gap. The section from there to Headforemost was going to be one of the longest of the race, but I had some incentive to get there. That is the 1st place since the start that I would get to see my crew. I made it to AS 4 in good shape. I was glad to see my crew and I was about 30 minutes ahead of the cutoff. It sure would be nice if I could run faster.
The next 20 some miles were pretty uneventful. I got to see my crew a few times through here, but what I was really looking forward to was, getting to Bear Wallow Gap. That is where Randy would get to start running with me. I finally did make it, but I was only about 15 minutes ahead of the cutoff. I knew that I had to hustle the rest of race, but now I had Randy to run with me. Man, this was a tough section. It was a really long way between Aid Stations. Even Randy became silent for long stretches of time. When Randy stops talking, you know that he’s suffering. At one point, Randy was trying to get me to hurry, but I said the “tank” is empty. In the days after the race I realized how profound this statement was. I just continued to grind down. I was moving and I was even running, but I was so slow at this point. Randy said we needed to get to the last AS by 5:00 pm to have a chance to finish in the 18-hour time limit. I had figured the same thing in my head. The problem was. I was just barely moving. I began to realize that I was not going to be able to finish by 6:00 pm. That means that I would not be an official finisher. There was a lot of stuff running through my very tired brain.
We finally made it to the last AS. It was 5:15. I figured that at my current pace, it might take me 2 hours to cover the last 6 miles. I had a decision to make. Do I finish, do I put my crew though a couple more hours of this, do I put myself through a couple more hours, just to be “NOT AN OFFICIAL” finisher? Do I put the volunteers through this? I decided NO. Was it an easy decision? No, but I think it was the right one
So I did not finish, but I had a successful race, because I had a great time with great friends and I learned a lot.
Here are just a few of the things that I learned.
I learned to pee while walking. (I am getting older, so I pee very often) I have to eat more high calorie food while doing these long races. I have some REALLY good friends. Thanks guys. I can run 60 miles in about 17 hours. If I can double that, I should be able to finish Grindstone.
Wow !!! I can't believe it has been over a month since I posted anything here. Time flies when you are busy. Johnna's medical emergency's seem to be over for now. Please continue to pray for her health everyday. I turned 50 on the 12th and me and Manon celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on the 24th, well we really didn't get to celebrate, sorry Manon. Randy (our Marine) finally got back, just before Thanksgiving. Thank God for his protection while he was away. We had a really nice visit with him and Kristin and the babies over the holiday. They will be back for Christmas too. Training for Hellgate has gone very well. I am tapering now. The race is 1 week away. Hopefully this time next week I will be sleeping in, trying to rest as much as possible before driving to Camp Bethel. I need to get ready for work, so that is all for now.
Training for Hellgate is going well. I am mixing my workouts well, I think. With cross training, speed work and long runs. I ran the Ace Half Marathon Trail Race on Saturday. I had a great race, 13 minutes faster than last year and then I was able to get a 20 mile run in on Sunday at Glade Creek. God really smiled on me yesterday. I was pretty sore after Saturday. I didn't really know if I could run Sunday or not. I almost went back home, glad I didn't, because I had a wonderful afternoon on the trail. I started a race report for Grindstone, but have not had time to complete it. I guess I will finish it someday.