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!
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!
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. 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.
Nick and Coleen after their finish. Raul works on Coleen while she sips some of my homebrew. 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:
The Elemental Packing Job. Set up crew. Our motto. We had shovels at the aid station to back it up, too. Caleb Chatfield Wynn Davis, just 5 miles prior to his Wynn-Win situation. Runners on the course. Dale Perry needs some of my homebrew to straighten him out. I'm tired! Kyle Amos & family.
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.
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.
I find ways to enjoy life as much as I can. Also, life's too short to treat people poorly.
I'm into long runs in the park, consuming salt, popping blisters,
eating roadkill & tree bark, and burying whiners in shallow, unmarked
graves. I also enjoy designing trail race courses that would make the
Marquis de Sade blush.
A fun time for me would include banging muddy shoes together, setting
broken bones with a machinist's vise, and duct-taping-down any part of my
body that is bleeding or just flopping-about uselessly.
What helps me to be an active trailrunner and grandpa?
1) Daily sponge baths with bovine stem cells;
2) Copious amounts of delicious & nutritious homebrewed beer; and
3) My secret elixir...Bicarbonate of Figleaf.