Monday, December 22, 2008

Goodbye, Dear Buddy

I just learned of the unexpected passing of a dear friend of mine.

My friend Scott Derrick was quite a character. He had kind, joyful, and sarcastically-playful way about him. We met at a birthday party for a mutual friend (way back in 1974), and we hit it off well.

We did a lot of hell-raising and crazy stuff back in those days. When we were together, we were the very definition of Steve Martin's "wild and crazy guys." And for almost 10 years on every Sunday morning in the Fall, we would play full-on tackle football with our "Beer Football League" on the outdoor soccer fields by Albi Stadium. We did this until our poor bodies couldn't take the pain anymore, (and still get up and go to work on Monday). I'm going to miss not seeing him in the emergency of our usual post-game meeting places, (after consuming a few post-game beers at the bar & grill in River Ridge shopping center, of course).

We all had nicknames back then, and coincidentally, I was given the moniker "Bad Ben" for the first (and obviously not the last time). Not because I played football badly, but because I was a bad-ass on defense with quite the sacking record, and was a glutton for taking serious blocks and blind-sided hits, and just shaking them off. My offensive record was not so stellar...I wore glasses back then, and I would always take them off to play. As my (football card) description stated: "Ben has the eyesight of a cave-dwelling fish."

Scott always had a kind word for everybody. Even when his soon-to-be-ex-wife tried to run him over by driving her VW Scirocco in reverse across the football field, (while he was running his ass-off to keep from being killed)...all he said of the incident later was, "Patsy has gotten to be quite the driver! If I were to rob a bank, she'd be my first pick for a wheel man."

Kids loved Scott. Mainly because he always had that kid-like quality about him. Just one look at his smiling face, and kids knew that this guy was a Fun Factory, ever ready to climb a tree or pantomine some crazy gag that would make them laugh their heads off.

Even though Scott and I haven't talked much since I moved away from Spokane, we always knew that we were "out there" and available for each other as friends. I'm going to miss him dearly, but I'll remember his gentle soul fondly.

DERRICK, Kevin Scott
(Age 54)
Scott was born June 23, 1954, in Spokane and died December 11, 2008, in Spokane. He attended Hutton and Wilson elementary schools, Sacajawea Junior High School and Lewis and Clark High School. He graduated from LC in 1972. Scott worked many years for Bestway Fuel and Spray. He formerly owned the Running Iron Tavern on North Freya and was co-owner of Chili Headz Restaurant in Spokane Valley. Scott had special mechanical skills and was known for his outgoing nature. We will miss his entertaining stories. Scott enjoyed cars, fishing, Montana, Christmas, the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the cartoon character Bill the Cat. His dad, former sportswriter Merle Derrick, was his hero. Merle spent his final years living under Scott's care. Scott was preceded in death by his father; mother, VonzaaStoker; and grandmother Eva Stoker, who had a special kinship with him. He is survived by children Zak and Heather Derrick, of Spokane; siblings Mike Derrick and Chris (Denise) Derrick, of Spokane, Kerri (Craig) Day, of Spring, Texas, Staci (Rich) Schipanski, of Bothell, WA, and Shelli (Jay) Schindler, of Vancouver, WA; former wife P.J.Derrick, of Spokane; stepchildren Janine (Kirk)Worthington, Nicolle Burgess and Bradley Burgess, all of Spokane; stepgrandsons Anthony, Justin,Josiah and Joshua; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. Private services are pending. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Spokane.
Published on 12/21/2008

Sub-Zero WyCo Run

Me, on the WyCo Triangle section of trail...bundled-up to the max.
Photo credit: Jim Megerson

Six of us ran Sunday in the nine-below-zero weather at WyCo Lake Park. The windchill was minus-20.

Jim and I ran about 12 miles with some extra bushwhacking: following the cougar tracks that were following the deer tracks (for fun).

Kyle and Caleb did some Super Speedy Nerd Mileage and hill repeats.

Beth and (newbie) Brett did a Turtle out-and-back.

It was a beautiful morning.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

A natural spring in the side of a hill.
Photo credit: Jim Megerson

Life finds a way...a sub-climate eco-system in a stream.
Photo credit: Jim Megerson

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dude, Where's the Trail (and Heat)?

Yesterday, I had quite the run at the Dude, Where's the Trail 50K.
This race has a lot of woodsy bushwhacking, running through tall grass, and orienteering involved...hence the name.
This year, we had snow and steady strong winds to contend with. It's normally a very beautiful run, but with the snow it was even prettier.

I was developing a cold prior to the race, and it's in full-swing, right now. I bruised my right heel last week, and it's a little ragged today. I'm feeling pretty good (considering), other than that. Lou Joline's races are "quirky," but always a lot of fun. You get a lot of bang for the buck with Lou's races.

I'll let the photos tell the story. See the rest of Dick Ross' photos.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vet's Day Run, Haiku, Limericks

We had another fun little Vet's Day 4-mile Trail Run this past Saturday.

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The eventual winner, Juraj.

Like all of our low-key short races, this one has a $8 entry fee. But this one is a little different: If you are a veteran, or current member of the armed forces, police, fire department, park ranger, or EMT emergency services, your entry is FREE.

The course itself is a real ass-kicker, and you have to be a world-class runner to finish it in under 30 minutes. This year's winner came within a minute.
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We also had some "wordy-fun," too -

Vet's Day Run Haiku's and Limericks:

Chilly, Breezy Morn
Crunchy leaves hide rocks, roots, mud
Oh-Eight Vets Day Run
(by Bryan Hay)

It was the vet race of o-eight
In the chill we tempted our fate
We ran in the cold
Breaking the mold
To all the volunteers I think that you're great!!!!!
(by Nick Lang)

They trod the trails for Vets Day
Though skies were cold and so gray
But rocks, roots and miles
produced nothing but smiles
As a Vet, I was honored, I'll say!
(by Gary Henry)

A man ran WyCo in a trance,
The hills stepped on him like ants,
But it didn't matter,
He lost control of his bladder,
And on the finish line he Uta Pippiged his tight pants.
(by Ben Holmes)

2008 Results

2008 Race Action Photos by Dick Ross

2008 Fun Photos by Dick Ross

2008 Photos by Ben Holmes

Web Page

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Our Trail Nerd Family

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't Sh*t Yourself

Seen at the top of "Doomsday Hill" at the Spokane Marathon in October. Uta Pippig, eat your heart out!


Photo courtesy of Scott taken at the 2008 Spokane Marathon.

By the way, I've got a fundraiser going on. Believe it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rock Creek 50K

Finisher's Medal

Well, another ultra is in the books. The October 25 Rock Creek 50K at Lake Perry, Kansas was once again a heck of a lot of fun. Not only is this one of the most perfect courses for it's mixture of beauty, technical trail, fast trail, and runnable hills, but the way Willie Lambert and the volunteers pull this off is TOTALLY FIRST CLASS!

I won't go into a detailed race report, but here are some facts: The Trail Nerds did well, all-around. I was 30 minutes faster than last year, and finished first in my age group, at 5:46. Caleb smoked the course in a record 4:14. Trail Nerd women finished 1, 2, and 3. Jim Megerson and I stuck to our plan of running together for the entire race. (We finished within a minute of each other). My next door neighbor (Ray) paced with us for 19 miles, and then blasted the last 12 miles to finish in 5:19!

David Wakefield also posted a report from the "front runners" point of view.

I'll let the photos tell the story:

PreRace: Ben, Phil, Gary
Three Old Guys getting ready to rock the course: Me, Phil Sheridan, Gary Henry

PreRace: Ray, Ben
My neighbor Ray Millard, about to run his 2nd 50K this year.

PreRace: Jim, Colleen2, Ben
Pre-race: Jim Megerson, Colleen Janner (Colleen2), Me.

Caleb at Halfway Point
Caleb Chatfield at Halfway Point

Debbie Webster at 1/2 way
Debbie Webster at 1/2 way

David Wakefield with Caleb
David Wakefield with Caleb, after Caleb smoked the course in 4:14.

Jim Megerson, Ben Holmes, Ray Millard Post-finish
Finished!!! Jim Megerson, Ben Holmes, and Ray Millard

Chocolate Milk!
Finishers get Chocolate Milk! Yum, that hit's the spot!

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Ray Millard, Stuart Johnson, Paul Schoenaub

Pat Perry
Pat Perry

I like this photo of pretty Laurie Euler, AKA "Nerdo"

Deb Johnson, 2nd Place Female
Deb Johnson, 2nd Place Female

Tom fell down
Tom Detore - Tom fell down.

Laurie, Christie, Coleen, Colleen, and Mary Ann (in front)
Laurie, Christie, Coleen, Colleen, and Mary Ann (in front)

Caleb Chatfield
Caleb Chatfield is Baaaack!

Caleb's Winnings for First Place
Caleb's Winnings for First Place

He said he was going to spend it all on INOV8 trailrunning shoes, "wholesome" porn, and Red Bull.

More photos
Gary Henry's photos
Coleen (Cynical Mud Babe's) photos of the Rock Creek and Blue Springs Races
Bradley Trimble's photos

50K Order of finish:

MYERS RANDY, 4:45:41 2
HERN BLAKE, 4:53:30 4
EMERSON ANDY, 4:59:07 5
NYBERG CHRIS, 5:13:21 6
MILLARD RAY, 5:19:24 9
PERRY PATRICK, 5:24:17 10
KING JOHN, 5:26:14 11
BURGER GREG, 5:28:08 12
HOLMES BEN, 5:46:42 13
MEGERSON JIM, 5:47:28 14
SPENCER SOPHIA, 5:48:28 15
SHERIDAN PHIL, 6:03:03 16
HENRY GARY, 6:25:33 17
WELLS JEFF, 6:26:48 18
JOHNSON DEB, 6:26:49 19
MONAGHAN ADAM, 6:29:27 20
WEBSTER DEBBIE, 6:29:28 21
MUELLER SARAH, 6:43:12 22
PHILIP ROB, 6:47:12 23
SPEARS TRAVIS, 6:49:49 24
PRUETT GREG, 6:54:35 25
SMELSER L.ALLEN, 7:25:16 28
DETORE TOM, 7:26:12 29
DIETERICH JOHN , 7:26:13 30
MURPHY CHRISTA, 7:27:14 31
PHILLIPS KYLE, 7:40:39 33
CHANDLER CHRIS, 7:40:47 34
YIN HUI-QUING, 7:50:00 35
YUE MUN-SANG, 7:50:01 36
WOHL ROY, 8:01:13 37
PRUETT RACHELE, 9:10:27 39

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Get To Run One!

The Trail Nerd group has matured enough that I don't have to be involved in the planning of each and every one of our many races. Kyle Amos has been race directing for quite a while, and Gary Henry did a wonderful job with the Pod Trod. This weekend was no exception. Caleb Chatfield directed our Fall Fell trail race, with Jim Megerson providing course support. To make a short story shorter, I got to run in one of our races!

The race was our annual Fall Fell trail race, on Sunday, October 19th. This course is a fun one. It has everything; from very runnable flatter sections to very rocky technical trail, and even two 40-foot wide river crossings! About 1/2 of the trail consists of running on sharp, loose rocks, with lots of overhanging tree branches and fun obstacles. I think I surprised a couple of people by finishing 9th overall, with an 8:23 minutes per mile pace. I didn't even get chicked!

It was great seeing many of the familiar faces that I always see at our races, and some new faces of Trail Newbies, too.

I'll be doing the beautiful Rock Creek 50-kilometer race this Saturday. I'm finally feeling like my 100-mile training is coming along well. I can't wait for the next Rocky Raccoon!

Results. Dick Ross' Photos.

All Photos by Dick Ross:
My technique:
The trick to stream crossing is look straight ahead, and go like hell!

Leaving Water

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heartland 50 & 100: Good Times!

October 11, 12, 2008:
Well, for the third year in a row, Raul Flores and I set up our "Mirage aid station" at mile 95.2 of the Heartland 100-mile course. This year, we had help.
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Raul, Christie, and Debbie await 50-mile Nerd Finishers, Nick and Coleen..

Also, some of the "Nerds Crew" and finishers of the 50-mile race helped to setup the aid station.
Speaking of which, Coleen and Nick did well in their first 50-miler, too. Coleen rocked 2nd place female overall, and Nick was 10th in the entire field, overall. We're proud of our Nerds! Wynn Davis (from Wisconsin) won the 100-miler, with our Nerd (Caleb Chatfield) pacing him the last 30 miles.
AND, Nerds Co-founder, Kyle Amos took 3rd overall in the 100!!! Kyle looked awesome at mile 95, too! Gary Henry was out there again too, providing aid station support and course cleanup.

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Nick and Coleen after their finish.
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Raul works on Coleen while she sips some of my homebrew.
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Nick gets equal treatment. Ouch!!!

Working the aid station was a blast. I was very tired to start with, because I'd been called into work at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, and had missed out on at least 4 hours of sleep that night. Going into something like this with a sleep deficit is not a good thing. Luckily, I got a couple of hours of sleep at about 9 to 11 p.m., prior to the big surge of runners coming through. Check out the photos:

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The Elemental Packing Job.

Set up crew.
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Our motto. We had shovels at the aid station to back it up, too.
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Caleb Chatfield
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Wynn Davis, just 5 miles prior to his Wynn-Win situation.
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Runners on the course.
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Dale Perry needs some of my homebrew to straighten him out.
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I'm tired!
Kyle Amos & family.

More Photos.

Gary Henry's Photos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Heartland, Here I Come!

No running for me this weekend, but I'm doing "running-related activities." I'm once again setting up and staffing the "Mirage" aid station at mile 95.2 of the Heartland 100-mile trail race (in Cassoday, Kansas), tomorrow and Sunday.

This will be the third year in a row for Raul Flores and I to do this. (Previously, there was an unmanned station at this point in the race). This year, we have a lot of help, so we don't have to drive back "dangerously tired" on Sunday. Morrie will be there, and several folks will help after they run in either the 50-mile or 100-mile. Nick Lang (50M) will be there, Laurie, Wynn Davis (post-100-mile), and Caleb Chatfield. Kyle (100M), and his wife Stacey.

It should be a blast. Last year, we had a lot of fun doing this. Photos from 2007.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Fine Week

I had a nice week of running. It was probably the best and strongest week for the past six months. And not only running; I also had 4 very good weight training sessions in the gym with my personal trainer, Igor.

I ran a 64 miles total this week, and all of them were “quality miles.” This weekend, I ran 23 miles on the rocky North Shore trails of Clinton Lake at a decent pace. Then on Sunday morning I decided to run the Sandrat Trail Race in Lawrence. Yep…10 miles of running on “dead” legs. Well, even though my legs were dead from a 53 mile week (with a long run the day before), I still had lots of energy (for some reason). Dead legs, but with energy? I decided to keep pushing my legs to turnover, and ended up finishing with a 7:56/mile pace.

On a super cool note, I got to run for the third year in a row with my grandson in the Rug Rat race, following my event.

Afterwards, I still had lots of energy; with no sign of having had quite the training week. This week will be a “rest” week, in that I will not have any long runs next weekend, due to being an aid station captain at the Heartland 100-mile trail race. So it’s nice to be going into this week with some good training under my belt!

On a more serious note:

I have decided to dedicate my next Rocky Raccoon 100-mile trail race to the American Cancer Society. I've finished RR100 six out of the past six years' worth of attempts. I'm dedicating Lucky Number Seven as a fundraiser for cancer. Just days prior to running my first Rocky Raccoon 100, I found out that my dad had inoperable systemic cancer throughout his entire body. They gave him 3 months to live, and he lasted 10 months, with a horrible, "lingering death" that my family and I witnessed.
So, I always have him on my mind when I run this race, and I also think of all of the friends, family, and coworkers who have battled this horrible disease; many of whom are no longer with us. If you can find it in your heart to donate something...anything, it would be appreciated. I don't think there are any of us who haven't been touched by this killer, either physically or emotionally.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spokane Trail Run & Don Kardong

While I was in Spokane last weekend, I got to go for a trail run. I ran in the rain on Sunday morning on the trails in Riverside State Park, downriver from downtown a couple of miles.

I always gravitate to these trails when I'm in town. While running, I ended up hooking-up with Don Kardong and a father and son from Oregon...(John & Brian Sniffer???). Even though they were running in the opposite direction, I figured it would make me run farther than I wanted to, and it worked. It added 8 miles or so to my run, and I got to run with and talk to a legend.

Don Kardong is probably the best-known runner from Spokane. He and Gerry Lindgren, anyway. (Spokane is definitely a runner's town).

Don Kardong was the fourth-place finisher in the 1976 Olympic marathon. He's been a running journalist and helped found the annual Bloomsday Run (12K) in 1977. (I started running in it in 1978 and have run it at least 18 or 20 times). The Bloomsday Run now attracts more than 40,000 participants, and has had up to 60-thousand-plus runners. He has been everything from an elementary school teacher to a magazine writer, is now responsible for shepherding the event through the long months between its annual event time in May.

I really enjoy his writing style. One of my favorite books by him is Hills, Hawgs and Ho Chi Minh. Most recently, he has written for Runner's World and now for Marathon and Beyond.

Anyway, running with Don and two other experienced runners was a wonderful way to start-out my Sunday right. What's interesting: every other time that I'm in Spokane and run on those trails, I seem to run into Don. In fact, he doesn't remember me from when I lived there, but he seems to know me as the "guy from Kansas City who runs trails." Which, coincidentally, is about as apt as a description as I can come up with for myself.

Something many do not know about me:
My running lifestyle is all due to my grandfather and Don's Bloomsday Race. Back when I was 30 years younger, I used to be a "weekend runner" and wasn't in the best of shape. When Bloomsday would come around (every first Sunday in May), I would train hard for 2 to 6 weeks leading up to the race. I would then run the race, puke, and recover slowly over the next week.

By the end of my twenties and into my 30s, I was training less and puking more. My times got so slow, that when I'd look my "official" time up in the Spokesman Review the next morning, my 80-something Grandfather's time was closing-in on my time. (And sometimes he had pushed my Grandmother in a wheelchair through the entire course). In fact, my Grandfather placed well in his age group, all through his 70s and eighties. (He ended up running it until a few of years prior to his death at 96).

So staying in shape to stay ahead of my Grandpa was a HUGE goal, but I also wanted to get in good enough shape to be on my company's Corporate Cup Team, which would give me a better starting position in the well-attended race. I trained in earnest, and eventually finished the race in under an hour. I finally got onto the Corporate Cup Team, and had a few good years (until I moved away), with finishing times between 50 and 53 minutes. Which is fast for me, anyway.

Bloomsday led to other things. My first marathon was the CoeurD'Alene Marathon in 1990. And then Seattle. And then Portland (6 times), and many others to come. And then in 1999, I gave-up running on pavement (mostly), and now stick to mainly doing 50Ks, 50-milers, and 100s on trails. And now I shepherd my own running group and have my own set of races. My group is catching on, is expanding faster than I ever thought possible, and even has huge female following and subgroup.

So thank you, Don Kardong! You have inspired so many to take-up running and shuck the sedentary lifestyle. Even though I didn't want to say it while running with you (for fear of sounding corny or disingenuous), you are one of my heros.

Pod Trod

The Trail Nerds have been busy!

Last weekend, we hosted the first-ever Pod Trod MP3-Mile Challenge. Gary Henry was the official Race Director. (I was out of town for a family gig in Spokane, Washington).

This race had three different courses, but started and finished at the same place and time.
All courses were approximately 3.1 miles in distance.
Participants did not know the courses in advance.
They downloaded one of the course's instructions in MP3 format (from our web site) the night before or the morning of the race. It was their choice which course they picked, and it was the "luck of the draw" as to which course was more difficult.
All entrants wore IPods (or other brand MP3 players) and followed the instructions given, to complete their selected course. (Runners had to provide their own IPods or MP3 players). They were required to pick-up "Trail Tokens" along the way to prove they completed the correct course.
If someone was "IPod Challenged" and couldn't figure-out how to download the attached files, they could run with someone who had an IPod, but were supposed to be wearing a shirt that had the words "I'm with Stupid" written on it.

This race had some fun categories and awards for:

Trail Savant: 1st place M/F for each different course
Special Idiot
Blind as a Cave-dwelling Fish
Instuctionally Hearing-impaired
Rock-banging Neo-Luddite
Lost beyond all Possible Reason

Other News:
We've also had some really good press, recently...besides a newspaper article, podcasts, and a one-hour radio show, we had a 5-page article from an "embedded reporter" who ran with us.

We also had a lot of fun at the Mud and Muck run.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Friend Otto

I flew up to Spokane early this morning for some fun family stuff.

My first stop in Spokane is always at my friend Dave "Otto" Mueller's house. Otto and I have been friends for 20 years now. He's a reclusive artist, and has had a tough time with his advanced arthritis, but this year he's been prolific, artwise.

I want to share some of his work in his house which is an art gallery in itself, even though photos can't do justice to:

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Many more, click here