Blog Subtitle

Reverse-engineering the Ultramarathon

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 Mendon Ponds 50K

That's me - in the red shirt left of center - starting near the back of the pack.
(Photo credit - Richard Detweiler)
This year I finished my third Mendon Ponds 50K trail run. That's three for three. I've run Mendon as my last race of the year each year I've been ultrarunning. It's the only race I've yet repeated, so it's become sort of the key annual measure of how I'm progressing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 CanLake 50M

(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)
With the overwhelming popularity of trail races in the ultra world it might be hard for a lot of ultrarunners to believe just how beautiful the CanLake 50 is. On the east coast, trail runs can often be very closed-in. You run deep in the foliage and views can actually be few and rare - if you can take your eyes off the trail long enough to notice them without tripping over a root and killing yourself!

At CanLake you're treated to one vista after another of the lake set in blazing hillsides of near-peak fall foliage - and when you're running on roads you can afford to keep your head up and drink it all in. Increasingly, I find myself loving runs on the roads.

(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Pine Creek Challenge (Crew/Pacer Report)

'T-Rock' getting it done on the Pine Creek Rail Trail
(Photo credit - Brian Newcomer)
On Saturday, September 7th (and into Sunday the 8th) I had the opportunity and privilege to crew and pace for my friend Tiffany Hrach (pronounced "Rock") in her first attempt to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon at the Pine Creek Challenge.

This story is from my point of view. If you're more interested in a race report from the runner's perspective you'll find that on Tiff's blog, "Hrach Garden."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What Makes me Think I can do the LAVS?

Google Map from this year's race.
(RIP symbols indicate where runners dropped out of the race.)
What makes me think it is remotely possible for me - a guy who's never run longer than 50 miles - to go 314 miles across five southern states in July heat? Before I say anything else I have to acknowledge that the bottom-line answer is that I don't know whether I can - and what that says to me is, "Go find out."

That's my genetic defect.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Official - I'm Insane

Image (appropriately) lifted from Psyche Wimberly's blog:
"Run Like Ya Stole Sumthin'"
Imagine this:

You're out running with a good friend who happens to be a pretty experienced ultrarunner with some tough races on his resume: MassanuttenArrowhead 135Badwater, and a bunch more - over 60 ultras in all. Last year he managed to gain entry into the fabled Barkley Marathons, but was unable to finish.

As you run with this friend, you of course talk about ultrarunning. As it happens, another race cooked up in the imagination of the Barkley race director, the Last Annual Vol State Road Race (LAVS), is happening while you're running. Your friend ventures the opinion that the Barkley and the LAVS are the two toughest races in America.

You're an ultrarunner too, but one with just a few races to his credit. What do you do?
  1. Say, "Whoa!" with a sense of awe and wonderment in your voice, and keep running.
  2. Think to yourself, "It's so great there's no end of challenging goal races out there for me when I'm ready for them."
  3. Sign up for the 2014 LAVS as soon as they start compiling the list of entrants (which was yesterday, BTW).
If you chose #1 or #2 you are a sane person. I picked #3.

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Strolling Jim 40M Run

I was just about to click the buckle of my seat belt closed when I heard the loud 'bong' that heralds an announcement from the cockpit: "This is the captain, folks. I'm sorry to announce that we have a maintenance problem. We thought we could get it corrected, but unfortunately we haven't been able to. It is a safety-related issue and we cannot operate this airplane. We're sorry for having boarded you, but we're going to have to ask you to deplane. This flight is canceled."

It was 23 hours until the start of the Strolling Jim 40M Run in Wartrace, TN (about an hour southeast of Nashville) and I was now stuck on the ground at my starting point in Syracuse, NY. This had just become a longer endurance event than I had planned on.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Return

Hard to believe how long it's been since I've posted anything. Pretty poor excuse for a blogger, I guess. The thing is I tend to 'go dark' about my running when things aren't going so well, and then pop back up when the hard work of getting it back under control is well along and I'm feeling better about my running future again.

So what happened? Where have I been? What am I doing? For anyone who cares to know these things, details below.