Friday, January 29, 2010

Morning, alas, how I miss you

In college, anything before 10 am was considered ridiculous. 

By the time law school around, 8 am classes were the norm, allowing for more afternoon time.

Now, in the real world with a wife and a two and half year old boy, 5:30 am is the standard waking hour.

Sometimes, I miss the old days.  Yawn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clea "tagged" me to write about 10 things that make me happy.  In no particular order, here are just a small sampling of the many things in life that make me smile.

1. Ezra's laugh.  I love the pure joy expressed in his two and half year old giggle.

2. Nights out with Nell.  Just Nell.  (Sorry Ezra.)

3. Skipping out early on a Friday afternoon to play golf.

4. The feeling that comes after a long run.  Particularly after a shower.

5. The arrival of college football season.  (Go Longhorns!)

6. Saturday afternoon naps.

7. Concerts. With a dad in the music industry, I grew up going to live venues.  If memory serves me correctly, I've seen just about everyone live. Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Debbie Gibson, M.C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice, the Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, U2, Better than Ezra, Jackopierce, Dave Matthews Band, the Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Hole, Van Halen, Guns N Roses, Faith No More, Metallica, Garth Brooks, Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, New Kids on the Block, Nsync, Pop Poppins, Dada, Tripping Daisy, Tone Loc, The Refreshments, Willie Nelson, The Toadies, Kermit Ruffins, Jimmy Buffet--and tons more I can't even remember. 

8. Being able to play music.  I love my guitar and my piano.

9. Going out for breakfast.  Old South Pancake House, Mac's brunch, Yogi's, Blue Mesa, even IHOP--breakfast out rocks!

10. Encouraging friends to run.  I've finished marathons with Nell, Dave, Kyu Chan, Shana, Jballs, Michael, Toben, and Julia.   

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another 100 miles -- Mother Road 100

Well, it didn't take long...
[R]unning ultramarathon distances requires something beyond patience. Patience implies an expectation of something to arrive, pass, or to end. There is a sort of hope in patience, and hope is not what ultramarathoners need, because hope is a false promise you can all too easily betray yourself with, mile after mile. Despite our hope, things happen and keep happening. Ultra runners need what a lizard has as it sits on a rock through sun and rain, what our rosemary bushes have as they cling through burning summers and freezing winters. They need acceptance, and, beyond that, the ability to recognize acceptance as something other than defeat or weakness, to stand on the dark howling brink of the Tao and simply fall into the present, second by second. At mile 71 of a 100 mile race, when your hamstring is failing, the cold rain is turning the narrow ribbon of dirt you can’t really see in front of you into slush, and you’re imagining a hot bath and warm bed a little too vividly, you need to accept it all and simply let it pass through you, over and over, big and wide and free. You need to accept acceptance.
- Ed (aka Bad Budha via Run with Mu)
Well said, my friend.  Well said.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DNS, nah, how about WNS -- Will Not Start

<==== This is the primary reason I have decided to bag Rocky Raccoon.

About six weeks ago, I was running east of downtown Fort Worth when I stepped on the manhole cover pictured on the left. At that time, the manhole cover was not shifted in any way, and appeared for all intents and purposes to be securely over the manhole itself. There were no gaps or openings, and everything seemed to be in working order. That is, of course, until my foot came down on the manhole cover, which suddenly gave way and sent me flying into the street, where I braced my fall with my left palm. As the impact traveled from my palm up my arm, the brunt of the fall jammed into my left elbow, causing the radial head to crack. At the time, I wasn't aware of the break, as I was dealing with two bloody knees, a bloody forearm, and bloody palms imbedded with gravel. Only later that evening, when I discovered that I could not bend my arm, did I realize something was wrong.

Since then, I have not done any upper body weight lifting. While I continued to run, my mileage has decreased, and I've pretty much been in a funk. Yes, I ran Bandera, but it was a long, cold slog that was nearly 45 minutes slower than my previous times. Had Toben not been running his first 50 km and Jballs his first 100 km, I probably wouldn't have been out there.

Now I'm a few weeks out from Rocky Raccoon, where pre-injury I had planned a redemption run after last year's DNF. I'm undertrained, I still can't straighten my elbow, and my left knee has been nagging me since Bandera.

Somebody is trying to tell me something.

And, in quite a departure from my usual response to such omens, I'm going to listen.

Rocky, it's just not in the cards. Hopefully, I'll be back next year.
It's time to heal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost.  That is where they should be.  Now put foundations under them."
- Henry David Thoreau

Have you ever noticed how every event is the biggest event of your life until the next one?  Think about it.  Your first day of school.  Your first date.  Your sixteenth birthday.  Graduating from high school.  Turning twenty-one.  Your first marathon.  Your first ultramarathon.  Your first 100 mild run.  Your first day on the job.  Your wedding day.  The birth of your child. 

Life is a series of breathtaking experiences.  Enjoy them, friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 Bandera 50 km

I don't have much of a report from Bandera this year.  It was chilly at the start, but the sun came out and the wind stayed away, which made for great conditions.  I did my 50 km loop at a conservative pace, paying close attention to the terrain to avoid falling and causing further damage to my broken elbow.  Jballs, Toben, and I stayed together for the first 20 miles or so, at which point Jballs pulled away.  Toben and I hooked up with Bill Choppa, a real smoker of a triathlete, and finished in just over seven and a half hours.  We got cleaned up and grabbed some grub, then waited for Jballs to finish his first 100 km, which he did in about sixteen and a half hours.

What's next?  Rocky?  Is that you?  I'm just not sure....

Here are some pics of the trail that Bill took.  Looks fun, huh?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Running Water Frozen in Bandera

The weather lived up to the hype.  Bandera was COLDVery, very cold.  Think I'm just a soft Texan exaggerating about the frigid conditions?  Well, check out a picture of the fountain in the courtyard of our bed-and-breakfast. Yes, the running water is frozen, friends. 12 degrees at the start.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

It's Gonna Be Frigid

The temperature is predicted to hover around degrees in Bandera this Saturday.

Seriously?

Um... suddenly running a 50 km with a cracked elbow seems a lot more foolish.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Thanks to Dave and The Body Firm

Dave Fannin, owner and found of The Body Firm, worked tirelessly with me over the past year to help me finish my first 100 mile race.  In addition to my running, I cross-trained with Dave three days a week.  He customized workouts to supplement the miles and maximize my potential.  With Dave's guidance, I was able to log 30+ mile training runs with minimal soreness, allowing me to stay strong and active as the distances grew.  And it worked.  Thanks, Dave.

p.s. I ran 1,165.52 total miles in 2009.

p.p.s. Dave posted about my Heartland success on his blog.  I am both honored and humbled by his kind words.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Year in Review

Goodbye 2009.  Hello 2010.

Because this blog is (mostly) devoted to my quixotic quests to cover increasingly farther distance under my own power, I'll take a moment to look back on several "firsts" that took place last year.

January 10, 2009 -- Bandera, Texas -- 1st 100 km
"Upon leaving The Lodge, the enormity of running another 31 miles of such ass-pounding terrain began to overwhelm me. We trudged along, but I had definitely hit the first low point of the run. Jballs tried to keep the mood light, and every now then we came atop a hill and took in the beauty of the surrounding. But, again, for the most part--it SUCKED."


February 7, 2009 -- Huntsville, Texas -- 1st 100 mile attempt and 1st DNF
"I stopped around mile 65 and pulled off my shoes to discover an enormous red stain around the middle of the toes on my left foot. We made it to the Dam Road aid station (mile 72.2), where they did their best to tend to the huge blisters that had formed on the balls of both feet, in between two of the toes on my left foot, and on the big toe of my right foot. Nell and I slowly made our way to the Park Road aid station (mile 75.61), but it was a death march. I sat down and again contemplated dropping, but my sister had come to pace me for a bit, and I decided to try to keep moving. I had to walk on my heels to avoid the blisters. It was brutal We made it 2.2 miles down the trail before calling it. At that point, I was averaging more than 30 mins per mile and, assuming I could even keep that pace (doubtful), I wouldn't make it under the 30 hour cutoff. So... DNF at 77 miles."

February 28, 2009 -- Fort Worth, Texas -- 1st time serving as an official 50 km pacer
"Around mile 23, the ultra course split off from the marathon course, and we were on our own for about 5 miles. From mile 23 to 26, the five of us (me, Jason, Jeff, Mike, and Dave) banded together as we fought a killer north wind that did everything it could to knock us over....  We steadily passed runners--marathoners and ultramarathoners--over those last 5 miles. I won't lie; it felt good to be feeling so good while others were clearly suffering."

October 10-11, 2009 -- Cassoday, Kansas -- 1st 100 mile run
"Finally, I turned down the last stretch—a quarter mile straightaway to the finish line. There weren’t many folks out there, but those in attendance clapped and cheered. I tried to run—or at least look like I was running—and limped my way across the short, white chalk line painted on the side of the road as a few cars whizzed by. It had taken me 28 hours, 53 minutes, and 31 seconds to cover 100 miles on foot.... Looking back, I am convinced that Anton Krupricka had it right. Running 100 miles if f*cking hard. I am still somewhat shocked that I made it. There was no runner’s high, no sense of euphoria during or after the run. It was hard. Plain and simple. In the end, I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m not sure if I ever want to go through it again."

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