Uncommon Race Distances – Running, Racing, Training, Marathon, 5k, 10k and Ultramarathons

Has it become hard to post a new PR?

Is your 5k, 10k, or 50 mile times about at your lifetime best, but you’re still wanting to set some Personal Records (PR) despite father time?

Is your dresser filled with Half Marathon and Marathon shirts and you wish to spice up your running apparel?

Can you do the standard mile/kilometer pace equivalents in your head? Then get off the well wore path of the common race distances and look for a new, unique and one of a kind race distance. Run a 10 miler, a 14k or maybe a 40 mile race. These uncommon race distances are out there, they are fun to run and instant PR material.

medals1(Race bling is nice, but PRs are better)

I have run a few to these uncommon race distances and found them both challenging and fun. The challenge, other than weather conditions, came about when trying to establish my goals and pacing plan. Most of us can map out our 10k racing plan in our sleep. How about a plan a 14k race?

Great Yarmouth 5 Miler:  During preparation for my first marathon, my training plan incorporated running a 5 mile Time-Trial (TT) to build and gauge my speed and fitness. During the build up for the marathon I got my TT time down to 37m03s. After my marathon recovery I found this club race run on a Wednesday night. Since it’s length matched my TT distance I figured it would offer me a opportunity to gauge where I sat. Great Yarmouth, UK is a little ocean side community with a waterfront boardwalk much like Atlantic City, Virginia Beach of the like. Toeing the line at Great Yarmouth, facing a cool and windy conditions I gave this 5 miler all I had.  After coming off the line a bit fast at a 5m47s pace in the first quarter mile I slowed down and settled into a nice pace. 5 miles later I crossed the line at 37m 23s. It was fun to run a local speed race, it was rewarding to battle thru the tough conditions and it was awesome to set a new PR.

South Mountain 8 Mile Race:  Run on Thule Air Base, Greenland run from main base to a point on South Mountain and back. I don’t remember much about this race other then I was not so much worried about the strange distance as I was caught up in a little grudge race with some Danish/Greenlandic fellows who blew by me on the start and offered up some not so encouraging words as they passed. I made it my goal to hang within sight of these two until the turn around point. Then as we headed the 4 miles back from South Mountain to main base I reeled them in and dusted them off. My finishing time and much other details is lost forever with my lost spreadsheet after I left Greenland. What was not lost was the fact I beat those two guys bad and I set a PR.

brianMTS15k(My first and only 15K)

Wellingborough MTS 15k:  This was my first cross country style race while stationed in the United Kingdom. At first I balked at running an off road type event.  Later after thinking about it and comparing the run to the challenges on the popular TV show Survivor, I figured I would jump on the trail bandwagon and give it a go.  After some research and recommendations I found this multi-terrain race. The course consisted of running three loops around a park covering varying surfaces and hills with one good size muddy (if it was wet) hill climb.  My goal: was to finish in less than 75 minutes or less and not be taken prisoner by the hills. The challenge was more than I expected although I finished with mud up to my ankles the clock ticked 73:01 as I crossed the line. I had a great time, enjoyed the challenging terrain and came home with a PR.

St. Charles 10 Miler:  A ten mile race sounded like a nice even number. The course for this event was advertised as a simple 10 mile loop on flat roads with just a slight elevation change. They were right, it was a 10 mile loop but this course was nowhere near flat. Two tough climbs at around miles 2 and 8 made this a fun but tough race. Overall I enjoyed everything about this event, the location, the people, the organization, the support and the nice new PR that I set by nearly 6 minutes besting my fastest 10 mile time in training. There is something to be said about the competitive juices of racing.

VA14k~brianmedal(A 14k for love)

Virginia Is for Lovers 14K: I love unique themed races and this one had it all. Unfortunately trying to figure out my pacing plan was as tough for me as it must have been for race organizers to plan the course for such a strange, but fun length. The conditions during this race were also terrible…with the wind and the cold. Mile 8 was by far the toughest and not just because it was the last mile. This section of the course had multiple switchbacks which had us fighting the wind head on for what felt like forever.  By this time the conditions were brutal, it was cold and the winds were heavy and seemed to be always coming right at you head on.  There comes a time in every race where you just want to be done and today this section was it.  I was so sick of the wind, the cold, and the turns that I only wanted to finish and be inside the nice warm field house to receive my “finishers medal and my new PR!

Running unique race distances is fun, entertaining and an instant PR. I know a few people who make it a point to search out and find these gems. Some events have unique distances:

Round the Bays Run, Auckland, New Zealand is 8.4 kilometers, Link here.
Falmouth Road Race, Falmouth, Cape Cod is 7.1 miles, Link here.
City to Surf, Sydney, Australia is 14k, Link here.
Great Aloha Run, Honolulu, Hawaii is 8.15 miles, Link here.
Charleston Distance Run, Charleston, West Virginia is 15 miles, Link here.
Marine Corp 17.75k, Prince William Forest Park, VA, Link here.
Uwharrie Mountain Run, 8, 20 or 40 miles, Ophir, NC, Link here.

Just to name a few. Looking to spice up your running log entries, looking for a unique distance no one else in your running circle has run or an instant PR? Go out and run an race with a unique distance.

What unique distance races have you run, post a comment and tell us about them.

Time away from running – Recovery, Achilles, Injury, Forward Progress, Healing

Time away from running proves to me…

#1  I need the routine that running provides.

#2  I keep a better watch on my diet/healthly eating when I’m running.

#3  I really miss the “Post Run” feeling after a good run.

#4  The body is a flickle thing.

#5  I gain weight just looking at food.

achilles( The Spot of The Pain)

It has been 23 days since my left achilles got a bit cranky during the 24 Hour Ultra Run (April 26, 2015) and it is just starting to feel like I can run again.  I need to run.

What has time away from running proved to you?  Post a comment and tell us about it.

The Art of Running – Steve Prefontaine, Pre, Stop Pre

Some stories are best told and heard a number of different ways.

During his brief 24-year lifespan, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed Olympic track star. In a similar span of years since his death in 1975, Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend.

Run long enough, and you’ll eventually learn about the legend that was Steve Prefontaine. I’ve read a number of articles about the runner from the little town of Coos Bay, Oregon. I’ve watched two different movies (Prefontaine and Life Without Limits) about his life and visited a few web sites documenting his track exploits. I had thought the story of the rock star runner from the United States had grown cold. Then I was asked to review the graphic novel “The Art of Running” by Matthew Crehan, which details Pre’s extraordinary life.

Art of running cover

From Matthew Website: As Prefontaine always saw running as a work of art, his love of the sport is beautifully told through the graphic novel medium where the movement of running can be explored and detailed perfectly. Covering Pre early days in Coos Bay and attending the University of Oregon, to his visit to Munich for the 1972 Olympic Games, and his unfortunate and tragic death at the young age of 24.

When asked about The Art of Running project, the author Matthew said: “I wanted to show the sport of track and field as a real art form, as Prefontaine always thought of it, and give athletes a book that was something different but also inspiring.”

I found “The Art of Running” an outstanding read and a great media format to tell Pre’s life story to a new generation of runners. The brief and concise text provided the perfect story line to follow Prefontaines’s rise to track star glory. I found that Pre’s personality jumped off the pages and captured my attention. The powerful and dramatic illustrations drew me into the story, set the mood, and breathed new life into the legend. The graphic novel format provided an excellent canvass to re-tell this story This format is excellent for young readers and season runners who may have grown up during Pre’s rise to fame. I enjoyed the story, the rich illustrations and the format the material was presented in very much.

Art of running page 59

The novel will be launched to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Prefontaine’s death. I recommend it to all wanting to re-visit Pre’s life or for those who want to discover this running phenomenon for the first time.

You can order your very own copy of “The Art of Running” here and available May 30th on Kindle at Amazon.com and the Kindle store.

You can follow the artist Matthew Crehan on Twitter:

You can like the artists’ page on Facebook:

Running Questions – Running With Pain, Marathon, Ultrarunner, Racing, Training

Running Questions – Running with pain

running with pain

At mile 75 of a recent 24 hour run I was right on target for a 100 mile finish. Everything other than the weather was in my favor. What started off as a picture perfect day turned cold, wet and ugly when it began to rain a short 2 hours into our day. 17 hours later I was in the dark, soaked to the bone, muddy up to my knees, and on the far side of the course. Then things got worse. I felt a twinge on the backside of my left leg.

The sensation was not painful. The errant feeling got my attention more for its location then the degree of pain. The area of concern was located at the point where my left Achilles tendon connects with the back of my heel. By mile 78 the sensation was now a full time hitchhiker and although it was getting worse I was still able to run.

By mile 80 my stride was suffering, the pain was constant and very intense. My foot strike was all over the place as I tried to find an alternative way to land my foot that would not bring on the pain or aggravate it. My 100 mile goal was so close and yet so far. Reaching the starting line for another loop, 82.5 miles into the run with over 5 hours remaining I had to make a decision do I keep running or do I shut it down.

ice sleeves

I’ve been asked a number of different times/ways about the same topic. Do you run with pain? Or more to the point, how do you know when to stop running when something hurts?

Run long enough and sooner or later something is going to hurt. Pain in running comes from two (in my mind) different sources. The Good Pain and The Bad Pain.

The Good Pain:  The source of good pain comes from pushing your muscles to perform at new levels. Establishing a new long run distance or setting a new race PR. Asking your legs to do things they have never done before is painful. There is pain involved in running fast, and running long distances. To do these things you have to accept that pain is part of your running life. Pain is a part of expanding your limits. I categorize this as good pain. What makes this good pain vs. bad pain? If my leg turn-over, foot strike and stride do not change as a result of this pain. I consider this good pain. In a weird way the pain is the reward for my efforts.

The Bad Pain:  The source of bad pain comes from something in your gait, your normal running stride or foot strike going wrong; either from injury, over taxing your muscles or by a traumatic event i.e a slip, trip, or fall. This pain has to be dealt with.

Once bad pain has become part of your run, you have to figure out if this pain is temporary or more serve. You have to determine is this pain something you can run with or is it something more serious and you need to shut it down. I’m by no means a doctor, coach or expert, and I’m not giving medical advice. I’m simply sharing with you my rules on how I treat pain and how I make the decision to keep running or pack it in and go home.

Once I experience pain, I have two very simple questions I ask myself to decide if I should keep running.

Is the pain getting worse? If the pain does not get worse or if it tends to go away I’ll continue to run (assuming the answer to my second question is no.). I’ve had runs where a painful sensation will show up but I’m able to run in my normal stride, then the pain fades never to be heard from again. If the pain gets worse, its magnitude increases, or it changes from a dull sensation to a stabbing pain then I call it a day and pack it in.

Does it alter my stride, foot strike or does me cause me to compensate my leg turn over to deal with it?  If the answer is yes these questions, I shut it down, pack it up and live to run another day.

Above all if you have any questions on running with pain don’t get your advice from a blog, see your doctor.

Motivation – Become a Spartan, Run, Race, Fitness, Change Your Life

You get a sense of pride when you do great things…

WHEN you see your children do great things your heart explodes with pride and emotions.

1 year ago my daughter Jessica, by her own confession fell into the stay at home mommy fitness trap.

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12 months ago Jessica was struggling with her weight, could not run a mile and was not fit.

365 days ago she took her life by the throat and said something to the effect, “This has got to change.”

jess

But what is more important, Jessica did not just lose weight, she did not simply run a mile.

Jessica took back her life and became an athlete.  Anyone can simply lose weight…it happens everyday.

Jessica challenged her body, mind and soul to be a better person. She transformed her body into a strong, capable, and fit machine able to do more than simply moving from point A to point B. Jessica fought thru self doubt, she went to battle with fear and she defeated a world that tells you “you can’t”….Jessica became a role model for her two children, her husband, her friends and for me.

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May 10, 2015 my daughter Jessica ran her first Spartan race, 12+ miles over 25 spartan obstacles and kicked its butt.

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JESSICA is my Rock Star and Spartan 7467

My Very First Running, Racing Event – Not A Marathon or A Ultra Marathon

The very first running event I ever remember taking part in was a “shuttle run” in elementary school sometime between 1971 – 75. I don’t remember what year it was. Try as I might to link this with some other event in my early life I just can’t put a date stamp on it. If I had to guess I would say the year was 1975 and I was in the third grade.

Mckeanch(Mckean Elementary School)

What I do remember was that I was attending McKean Elementary school which was just down the street from our home. I assume to burn off some unwanted winter energy, the school held a spring track and field day. Somehow, I don’t remember how, I was signed up to run the shuttle run.

The shuttle run was a foot race where you ran 15 to 20 yards. Opposite the starting line on the floor was an eraser. When the whistle went off you ran as fast as you could torwards the eraser.  Then you stopped picked up said eraser and then sprinted back to the starting line, which now was the finishing line. Running this race has remained etched in my brain for over 40 years. Strange. I can still recall the feelings of nervousness before running that race. For competition you were pitted against another runner (classmate) in an elimination format. This was before the days of everyone getting a trophy, the faster runner moved forward.

shuttle_run(The Shuttle Run, as I remember it)

I also remember that I came in second. I don’t recall any feelings of disappointment, what has remained with me all these years is how happy I felt when I recieved the 2nd place blue ribbon.  I could not wait to get home and place that blue ribbon on the refrigerator for my whole family to see. I was so proud, that event left me thinking that maybe I was destined for the Olympics.

brian mckean(Wow, Time Flies…)

I wish I had some pictures to go along with this post…the best I can do is one of me from around the same time period.  There were other running related events as a kid. The big race at the school bus stop, 2nd place in a JV track meet and blistering the 40 yard dash in football camp.  My running career took some big detours along my lifes path, but I still look back on that first running event with found reflections. I didn’t win. I didn’t make a run for the Olympics. I found running again later in life, but that event will forever hold a special place in my life’s story.

How about you, what was the very first running event you took place in? Post a comment and tell us about it.

A Weekend Without A Long Run, Marathon, Ultra Marathon, Training or Running

A weekend without running, what do I do?

UPDATE: It’s two weekends since the 24 hour run and my achilles is feeling better but still on the recovery wagon, so what to do with a second weekend with no running….

overheadstorage1

Add some additional storage in the garage…

Weekend #1 without running: Work on some projects: I added a “two in one gate” to make our deck safe and secure for our puppies.

doggate

Spend time with new friends: If you don’t have a house on the lake, make friends with new neighbors who have a house on the lake. We met a bunch of nice folks. Congrats Kris and Wally on your retirement and 34th anniversary celebration.  We hope to hangout with you more in the future!

krisandwally

Play kissy face with your wife: Never gets old, and watch Star Wars!

kissyfaceAnd go fishing…Michele and I caught some nice Bluegills, a few black crappie, some white perch and one cat fish.

crappie

And in the spirit of the vacation commercials, “Just one more day” I took just one more day and went fishing again.

 bassfishing

 bassfishing1

 6 nice Bass, and a lot of fun

 Just one more day

I enjoyed my weekend off my feet but I’m also looking forward to getting back after it.  I’m a runner, it’s what I do….I run. My achilles feels better but not yet ready to get back on the road. I hope it won’t be too long back to recovery mode.  Enjoy your running time and your off time!

 

 

Running Questions – Recovery – Marathons – Ultra Marathon – 100 Mile Races

Running Questions – Recovery

After a long run or a really hard race your body needs to recover from the stress and strain of the event. During the course of a fast race no matter the distance, over the double digit miles of your long run, or after the elevation climb of hill repeats or scaling new heights your body needs to recover. Your body needs to rebuild.

The damage done by asking your muscles to respond to the task put in front of it comes in the form of micro tears in the muscle fibers, depletion of energy stores, inflammation in the connecting tissues i.e. tendons, ligaments and joints. and overall dehydration.

I’m not a doctor, nor a coach, but I’ve read a lot of material about the need to recover after gurgling workouts or difficult races. I’m not saying my recovery program is the best. I’m sure I could do more, in fact I feel like I could work harder on recovery. I do feel like I do a good job of getting my body back on the road in fairly good shape. What does my recovery program look like?

REST:  After a long/hard run, either racing or in training, you need to give your body some time off. I’ve read different opinions on the length of the recovery period. If I’ve run a hard race, less than marathon distance, I give myself a few days i.e. two to three days. During this time I do no running and maybe some lite walking. For a marathon or longer I give myself at least a week off my feet. This week has no running and limited walking. I have a long walk to get to my office from the parking lot at work I use that as my recovery walks. For ultra-distances (> than 26.2 miles) and 100 milers, I’ll take two weeks down with only a short recovery run in the second week. You need rest. You need down time.

ICE:  Most elite athletes have full ice baths as part of their daily maintenance routine.  Not being at that level I normally go to an icing routine after races where I have some swelling or pain in my legs. I spot ice any trouble areas as soon after the run as I can. I have read and believe a full ice bath would be a better option, but I have yet subjected myself to this. I have flexible ice packs which I use to spot ice any trouble areas. I’ve also used frozen bags of peas as they easily conform to the shape of the body part. A paper cup filled with water and frozen can be used to spot ice areas tearing away the cup to expose the ice. This can get a bit messy as the ice melts away. I avoid the typical ice cube filled ice packs as the hard edges of the cubes makes the trouble areas more cranky. The best approach I’ve found is to fill buckets/coolers full of ice and water then submerge my feet, ankles or other body parts. I believe this works the best. I try to ice my trouble areas at least two to three times a day, 15 to 20 minutes per-session.

ice sleeves

COMPRESSION:  Leading up to my first 100 mile race my legs were feeling beat up, ragged and just plain tired. I was looking for something to help. I ordered my first set of compression tights and instead of wearing them during a run I wore them to bed and around the house after long runs. I found they did wonders easing the pain/tenderness. I also believe this aided in recovery as my legs regained life much after then in the past. Everything I’ve read about the benefits of compression gear is that their use increases blood flow which in turn speeds healing. I have a pair of calf sleeves that I also use after long or hard races. Not really compression related, but I also roll my legs with hand rollers (stick rollers) and compressed foam rollers. Rollers do wonders to work out “hot-spots” trouble areas and any “knots” that may be lingering. My legs afterward feel much improved. I should do this more often and make it a regular part of my training routine.

rolling

ELECTRICAL STIMULUS:  A friend of mine posted a picture of her legs being treated with an Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) unit. At first I was a little skeptical. After talking with her I decided to give this method of treatment a test drive. EMS is used to prevent, or reduce, muscle atrophy. Atrophy is the weakening and loss of muscle tone. EMS also helps by increasing blood flow to muscles, increasing range of motion, increasing muscle strength, as well as enhancing muscle endurance. EMS has pain management attributes in helping muscle related pain, such as a spastic muscle, sore muscles, or tight muscles. After a few uses I am sold that EMS treatments combined with all other recovery methods speed up the body’s ability to heal itself. I use EMS treatments two times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. My legs feel better much faster since I have been using my EMS unit.

EMS

After a hard race or a long run your legs need some downtime. Don’t get caught up worrying about what miles you may be losing during this downtime, instead consider that you’re investing in your legs. Give your legs some much deserved time off for rest, icing, compression and electrical stimulus. The investment will pay off when your legs come back stronger.

24 Hour Ultra Run Against Cancer – My 6th Running

I’ve run the Virginia 24 hour ultra-run against cancer SIX times, and NOTHING, no amount of miles, no time on my feet, and no conditioning could have gotten me ready for what we had to overcome. It was a wet, cold, and muddy mess!

10379907_617726664995691_2469713185856281525_oSandy Bottom Nature Park, a great little park

During the course of the event and for 22 hours straight, it rained, the temperatures dropped, and the trails around Sandy Bottom Nature Park decayed into an overused, water soaked cattle path. For 75 miles I made my way around the 3.75 mile course working on my ultimate goal of logging 100 miles.

sandybottommapThe red line high-lites the course

I was winning the war and everything was falling into place. I was ahead of my plan. My lap times were holding strong. My stomach and mental attitude were in a good place and the conditions as bad as they were, had not been a factor. My gear including my Running Buddy kept my phone dry, myself and my shoes that was another issue.

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The trails before The trails after, and this was a good section early on in the day, trust me they got much worse

PRE-RACE:  7 a.m. the traditional run brief was given by the Race Director. This year, George 60’s birthday and the 12thinstallment of the race saw the largest gathering of runners and teams competing for the 24 hour title. 215 runners came from states all over the union to rack up the miles. This would also be the third year I would captain the Run4Life team. We won this event the first time out (2013), came in second last year and although we had to make numerous substitutions leading up to the race, we felt good about our team chances.

11124485_1008632309147925_5967563728340585244_nTeam Run4Life, 2015

Planning for this race I did an honest and complete review of my five previous starts. I reviewed aspect of my previous races and made sure I corrected each of my shortfalls. I was in the best shape of my running career, fully recovered from my 23 hour Graveyard 100 finish. I had gotten over the serious blister issues that had plagued me in previous 24 hour runs. Gear wise I had reviewed all of my running kit to ensure I selected only the best and most reliable components for this installment.  The Hoka Rapa Nui shoes and Injinji toe socks fixed that isse. I examined my refuel/rehydrate plan and corrected all the time wasters. Toeing the line for this great event, I felt like my “A Game” had finally came all together.

11140182_10206606114500427_5244895512707917605_oMyself with Paul making early laps

RUNNING KIT:
Gray long sleeve technical shirt
Black Opedix compression shorts
Injinji performance black low rise toe socks
Hoka Rapa Nui trail shoes
Dirty Girl, puppy dog gaiters
Running Buddy
Garmin 201 GPS watch
Nathan, quick shot hand held water bottle
Fenix HP30 LED headlamp
Apeara performance duffle bag

For some great race photos check out Sunsets, Oceans and Sports Photography

THE RACE:  For 2 hours it was a near perfect day, for 2+ laps everything was falling into place. As I made my way along the back side of the trail rain drops began to fall. What started off as a slow and sporadic rain turned into a steady all day long soaking. Us endurance nuts hated it, but it was the type of rain farmers dream about. Hour after hour the trail conditions worsen. Lap after lap and into the night the majority of runners continued to battle the elements and themselves. Of my five prior attempts, today would be by far the hardest to remain out on the course. It took some guts and gits to choose to go out there lap after lap.

run24Somewhere around mile 30

My race plan would follow much of the same plan that worked so well for my Graveyard 100 run. I would run/walk a 25/5 minute ratio for 50 miles then drop back to a 20/10 minute ratio and continue that as long as I could. From the very first segment I felt very strong, in control and working my way through the day. It is always tough during the opening stages of a long race when you begin counting the laps and realizing you have a long, long way to go.

Somewhere around lap four I remember thinking, “wow I have a long road ahead of me, many challenges are going to take place between now and lap 26 or 27.” The one thing for certain was that my legs were up to the task and my Opedix compression shorts kept everything together.  My thighs, IT band and hamstrings, body parts that are always subject to constant strain during an endurance event were never an issue.

Early on many people found that their race did not start off on great terms, the real battle(s) would come in the dark hours. One thing that was consistent during the day was the pace of Steve S. and Megan S, the male and female winners of the event. These two rolled by me time and time again in the best of conditions and the worse and never lost a stride. These two ran 133 and 131 miles respectively and made it look if not easy, routine.

My course record at this event was 75 miles and my goal for the day would be 100 miles.  I wanted to log another century race, just a scant month from my last. I was mentally and physically ready to do battle. With such a grand plan I was not ready for a relatively small body part to give up on me. Making the turn for 75 miles I felt a slight sensation at the base of my left heel, the point where my Achilles tendon connects to the heel. At first I thought it was just going to be a slight inconvenience, but as I closed out 75 miles…my tendon was angry and getting more and more out of hand.

As the night rolled on and it got dark, footing became a major issue.  The trail was so torn up, pot-holed and water logged that at one point I thought the Park Rangers may cancel the race in fear of the damage being done to the trails. Thanks to my HP30 LED headlamp seeing where I was stepping was never an issue. At one point while trying to find some dry ground to run on it became apparent that it was easier and burned less energy to simply run straight ahead no matter the depth of the puddle pond lake in front of me.

11196358_10153357611756495_8437203665910693572_nAndrea’s legs after her state record setting run

Working lap 22, when I was the greatest distance from the starting point the pain on the back of my left heel got to be nearly unbearable. I tried to ignore the pain. I tried all the pain management tricks that had worked in the past. I tried to separate the pain from my body, I tried to embrace the pain, and I tried to simply believe it did not hurt. Nothing worked, when I could no longer manage the pain I really feared my Achilles could rupture or tear. With each step/stride forward it felt like someone was pinching my Achilles, not with their fingers but with razor blades. I tried to adjust my stride, slow down my leg turnover, and or running faster. Those adjustments did nothing and in fact made my Achilles crankier.

At this point in the night I did not want to even consider dropping out of this race. For such a simple and flat course the race at Sandy Bottom always gets my goat. Even though I had reaffirmed my plans to never give in, to make the turn for lap 23, as I approached the turnaround point I paused to ask for a second opinion.

The door was open.

19 hours had ticked off the clock. It took me ten minutes to finally tell the volunteers at the scorers table I was done. In that ten minutes of deliberation my body temperature had dropped to the point that I began to shiver violently. I had to admit the obvious, I was done and it broke my competitive heart. I’ve toed the line at this race SIX times and I’ve never made it 24 hours. I wanted to continue, I wanted to reach 100 miles and yet my body gave out on me. I’m the team captain and I’m not out there with my runners. 48 hours later and I question my decision, maybe I could have been able to continue;. I can only tell you that at that moment, I made the right call.

POST RACE:
CONGRATULATIONS,
Team Champions for 2015:

Steve S. a running machine and won the event out right with 133 miles
Paul. 89.25, another solid performance
Andrea. 88.25, she set a new state record, after a very bad race start
Shannon. 75, a new distance PR
David. 75, in his first 24 Hour run
Chris. 60, a week before his “Run for the Fallen” run
Ally. 57.25, a 24 hour PR
Steve J. 52.5, a distance PR
Hank. 50, a distance PR
Kim. 41.25, Always a smile!
Steve D. 30, Thanks for stepping in at last minute!
Team Run4Life = 834.25 miles 

6 yearsRunning total at this event

I will be back in 2016, I’ve totaled 406 miles at this race. George awards a special jacket for everyone who runs 500 miles at this event…I want that Jacket. I want to be there again with team Run4Life and I want to run my best at this race, my very first ultra. I honestly believe if I had continued to run, being back in 2016 may be in question.

Product Review Fenix HP30 24 Hour Run Ultra Marathon

Lightening Your Way:

What I’ve learned from running long distance races, i.e. 50 miles, 100k, 100 miles and 24 hour races. Unless you’re an elite runner, the majority of us will be pressed into service after the night time sky rolls in.

For my 6th running of the Virginia 24 Hour Ultra Marathon I was able to test drive the new Fenix HP30 LED headlamp. The HP30 throws off up to 900 lumens of light. Let me tell you on this wet, cold, and dark night it really lit up the trail.  After 15 hours of rain, where the trails turned to soup it was nice NOT having to worry about seeing where I stepped.  The Powerful LEDs penetrated the night, lit up the trail, and clearly showed the way.

headlight

From their Web Site:  The new Fenix HP30 Headlamp employs high capacity, belt-mounted18650 cells to generate a powerful  900 Lumens in Burst mode and 500 Lumens in High mode.  An extended 764-foot/233-meter beam distance reaches farther.  The battery box USB port stands ready to power critical navigation and communication devices.

hp 30

What I liked about the HP30. Right out of the box I could tell this set up was well made and up to the challenge of extreme night time running.  When it was time to put it to use, in the middle of a monsoon, during a 24 hour run this set up was easy to use and simple to rig up and adjust.  Once in position the generous amount of light delivered came with no extra burden on weight or complex operation.  At dusk I retrieved the headlamp out of my running bag, placed it on my head, turned it on, and then I ran. I didn’t have to worry about my lightening equipment after that. The HP30 offered simple, and hands free use.

The HP30 not only provides an awesome amount f light but also an ability to charge other USB powered items.

If you’re looking to upgrade your lightning gear or if you’re looking for your first night time running outfit, one stop to their web site is all you need.

You can check out the HP30 at Fenix Store
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My only regret is I did not get any in use photos, but this at no fault to the HP30, it was so wet, and I was so waterlogged that I did not want to pull out my camera.  I’ll be sure to get some photos at the Boggie 50 Miler in June where we start running at 6 p.m. BUT I have no fear of the dark…my HP30 will again lead the way.