MEDOC Meltdown 50kish – Ultra Marathon 2013

Medoc Meltdown 50k (plus), The Race Report – 2013

Update:  The Meltdown took a pause for a few years, but it’s back in 2016…and I’ll be there again. 

medoc logo(Checkout the Facebook page for this event)

Organizer Frank L. advertised this event as a Fat A_ _ Running Event, meaning it was not “a race.” There was no entry fee, no awards (but a cool finishers rock), no whining and no aid would be provided (yea right, those Popsicles were awesome).  The Meltdown was an opportunity to run with old and new friends (plus plenty of NC horse flies!) and enjoy the hot and steamy beauty of an NC state park in August.

Going into this event, as a Meltdown rookie, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into.  From all the Facebook posts I could tell that this was going to be a tough run and a chance to hang with the Ultra crowd.  I knew it was going to be hot/humid and I knew I would have to provide for my own support.  But I had no idea how tough the Medoc Mountain State Park course was going to be.

Do you like hills, Medoc has them:

medoc hills

(One of the Medoc Climbs…are we there yet?)

Do you like roots, Medoc has them:

Medoc Roots

(Medoc Roots…my ankles loved these)

Do you like rocks, Medoc has them:

Medoc Rocks

(Rocks are one thing, ROCKS going up hill…come on Medoc)

Do you like stairs, Medoc has them:

Medoc Stairs

(The World Famous Medoc Stairway To…more pain)

The course at Medoc was a little over 8.6 miles in length.  The 50K event (4 laps) would have you completing nearly 35 miles in the heat and humidity of North Carolina.  The conditions of the trail and the temperatures made this the toughest trail race I have run.  Being a rookie I never had a good feel of what Medoc challenge was coming up next, so I never knew when to push it or when to conserve. 

Medoc and me

(One of the many Medoc Challenges) 

But I’ll tell ya four laps of this place was all I wanted.  Out of 77 starters I placed 7th with a time of 8 hours and 30 minutes.  That time is slow compared to my previous 50k PR but knowing the trails I ran over….I’m very happy with my performance.

But the best part of the day was the people.  The Medoc crowd and it’s organizers Frank and Cameron were GREAT.  I was blessed to run with some super people, Paul S, Amanda M, Jon H, and Veronica J.  You guys made the day…you kept me going when I needed a push and I hope I made your run a success.  Running is about more than the miles, the trails or the conditions….it is about the people!

If you like cool race bling, Medoc has that too:

Medoc Rock
At one point I told myself this may just be a “One and Done” event for me….now I’m wondering when next year’s Meltdown will be.

Runners Helping Others – Kellyn and Medoc Meltdown 50k

PLEASE HELP a close friend of our family, Kellyn, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The doctors believe it is a low-grade glioma, located in the Broca’s area, on the left side of her brain. Within the past several weeks, it has begun to grow slightly, and the plan of action is to have it removed.  She is starting to experience the effects from the tumor with slurred speech, trouble finding words, tremors in her hands, dizziness, confusion, and seizures. With that said; this is a very frightening and overwhelming time for her. kellyn This is also very overwhelming for her family with the prospect of bills that will far outreach insurance.  And they need our can you, my family, friends and followers help.  Please visit Kellyn’s gofundme page and give if you can (any amount).  If you can’t please share with your friends. Kellyn’s story on ABC 13NEWS If my friends, family or followers can raise $1,000 By Aug 5th I’ll run the Medoc Mountain Meltdown 50k in a pixie fairy butterfly costume. 05062_full_1 Why would I do this….I’ll do anything to help someone who needs help…..she’s a Runner, and A Cleveland BROWNS fan.  I’m in… If you donate pls send me a personal message with the amount and I’ll keep a running total.  I will only post where we stand with our Friends of Brian’s support pledge.

$330.00 in $720.00 to go, at 33%

Roll Call, Thank YOU!
Paul S.
Josh D.
Tom and Kimmy L
Tom. W
Lee. W
Debbie. E

PLEASE help…!

Running – Time is not on our side

The race against the clock.  Whether its the race to a new personal record or the race against the end of the day.  In running it always feels like I’m up against the clock.  The same could be said for the clock of life.  Our days are numbered, and were not sure how many days we get.  Within each day and within your life you only get so many hours (days) to be with the people we love and to do what we enjoy.

So how can you win this jelly bean race?

1. Invest your time wisely – it is the most valuable thing you control

2. Be with the people you love as much as you can – You will be, they will be around only so long

3. Do what you enjoy first – pay yourself first

4.  Slow down – don’t miss the small moments

5.  Live epic – make a statement with your life

6.  Sleep less – yes we need sleep, but not as much as you think.

7.  Treat time like money – Don’t waste it

8.  Spend your time where there is a return – Get or give something back

9.  Money is not the end all – in the end you don’t remember dollars/cents your relive moments

10.  And the most important, consider the afterlife. #JesusSaves

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What would you do if you only had one more day?


I would spend it with my family, my pets and take one last run.



Running Shoes – Ten Things You Should Never Do

Runner shoes are our tools for putting in the miles.

A funny look at ten things you should never do to your running shoes or in life.


10.  You should never hold a grudge against your running shoes.  One bad run, one bad race or one failed PR attempt is hardly the fault of your shoes.  It will do you no good to hold a grudge, instead get back to work and go for a run.

9.  You should never expect too much from a new pair of shoes.  Shoe companies sell shoes not by their design but by flashy adds, dramatic commercials and over promising on their benefits.  It’s unfair to hold them to these expectations, after all it’s still you they have to support.

hoka stinson

8. You should never let your eyes wander.  Sure the starting line of a race, or a visit to the running store are good opportunities to check out some other shoes.  Be sensitive, how would you feel if your shoes were looking for a newer, faster…lighter model of you?

7.  You should never talk bad about your running shoes.  Okay maybe they don’t have the zip they used to.  Maybe they don’t rebound like before, but they are yours and they love you.

6. You should never force your shoes on or off without first untying them.  Would you want to be forced to do something?  Your shoes feel the same way…just untie them and they will be happy to hold your feet secure.

5.  You should never make promises that you can’t keep.  Your shoes need rest days and long walks on the beach.  If in the heat of the moment you promise these thing but can’t deliver keep in mind that a broken promise is remembered for a long time.

4.  You should never boast about your running shoes.  Everyone believes their shoes are special and hold the keys to faster running times.  Trying to make everyone believe your shoes are the best will only annoy your friends and not change anyone’s point of view.

3. You should never pay more for your running shoes just to impress your friends.  There are plenty of good deals out there whether at your local running store, online or at the big box discount stores.  Paying to much for anything does not impress anyone.


2.  You should never buy shoes just on looks alone.  For better or worse, for richer or poorer, injury and Personal records your shoes are with you for the long haul.  Do not buy them just cause they look good or are made up of flashy colors.  Your shoes need to support you from 5ks to ultra marathons.

and last

1.  You should never compare your current shoes to your favorite pair of shoes that are no longer available. Seriously, this will make your new shoes feel inferior and undermine their supportive nature.  Always talk nice and respectful about your current shoe partner.

Full Disclosure: I run in Nike, Pearl Izumi, Hoka, Asics, New Balance and Salmon.  For years my go to shoes were the NIKE Air Pegasus.  I presently run in Pearl Izumi 90% of the time…I am a Running Ambassador for their company, not because I get a discount on shoes…but because I love their line of shoes.  I’ve found they fit my feet so much better than NIKE and they have helped my performance, and kept me injury free.


Running – Recovery Drinks and Cocoa Elite

Something has been missing from my running.  I’ve struggle with it since the very start, but now I have it nailed.  I’m proud to announce that I’m a “Ultra-Distance Runner” Ambassador for Cocoa Elite – It’s more than just chocolate milk.

cocoaelitebannerIn an upcoming blog post I’ll reveal how my running road has crossed with this great company and this super recovery drink.  Until then…rest assured I use this drink, I love it and it helps me get “recovered and restored” for my next run.


Interested in giving it a try? Use: Briansrun16 for a special discount.


Run – Run Fast and It Will Be Over Soon

Running and running fast comes with its rewards.

After our Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run, I asked Lori (our speedster and Nutritionist of the bunch) how she was able to run the canyon so fast.  Her reply uncovered a training and racing secret so simple that it often gets overlooked.

“When you run fast, the pain does not last as long…”

So simple…the faster you run, the faster you race and the shorter the time you spend in the “pain cave.”  It’s that simple…focus on running your best in training or on race day and the miles will zing by.


Have a great run…”Run it fast.”






Running – When I First Felt Like A Runner

When learning a new task, a new skill or developing a new way of life.  We have all had that moment in time when we feel like we have mastered the skill or transformed our old selves into a new image of who we want to become.  For we that was leaving being the old mental image I had of myself.  An image of the “short, fat man jogging” and becoming an athlete.

This is a letter I wrote to Runners World Magazine back when I first felt like a “real runner.”  Nearly 16 years later, 17,000 miles…and I’m still going strong!

This letter was written in June of 2001.  I received an reply from one of their editors concerning this letter, they were going to feature it.  But after the first contact, I never heard anything more.


(Running on a Treadmill, Thule Greenland, 2001)


Runners World
33 E. Minor St.
Emmaus, PA 18908

MSgt Brian Burk
PSC 1501  Box 1223
APO  AE 09704

1 Jun 01

Dear Runners World,

I write you this letter from “On Top of The World” Thule Air Base, Greenland.  I’m Master Sergeant Brian Burk serving on a remote tour in the United States Air Force.  I’ve been a runner on and off (mostly off) all my life.

Serving in the military is a challenging profession but couple that with remote tours (one year separation anyway from family) and being constantly on the go it’s hard (at least for me) to stick with any exercise routine.  The result was gaining 30 pounds over 7 years and falling out of shape.  One day you wake up and say “Gee I’m not 29 anymore and boy I sure look like it”.  For me that day happened 03 Aug 2000 when I set foot at Thule Air Base.  Looking in the mirror I made a pac with myself to not leave this place the same way I got here.  The challenge: lose 30 pounds and get my life back (fitness wise).  Being in the high arctic (900 miles south of the North pole) much of my running was going to be done indoors during “the dark season” on a treadmill.

They say any journey begins with the first step; my first step was a hard fought 2 mile run last Aug.  Now after a Artic Fall, Winter aka “the dark season” (Nov till Feb in 24 hour darkness), Arctic Spring (temps below –30) and our approaching summer (temps a mild 40 degrees) my 2 mile labors have blossomed into 20 mile long runs with monthly mileage averaging 125+.  I’ve lost 32 pounds, and regained my self pride.  Most importantly, although claiming to be a runner (jogger) all my life I now claim to be an athlete.

What got me through this…well my family number one (e-mail is great) with guidance and inspiration from your magazine and on line site.  Every month I scanned the pages looking for advice, inspiration and all the pictures of runners running outside.  After each successful long run my reward was to cut out a picture of someone running outside which I hung on my refrigerator.  Thank you for producing such a great tool.

Running is no longer something I claim to do…it’s me.  I borrowed this from Lance Armstrong and tweaked it to fit my lifestyle.

“This is my body.  And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my treadmill busting my ass everyday.

What are you on?”


Brian Burk

(Near the end of my Thule Tour, Aug 2001)

FYI:  At the time I thought Lance Armstrong was innocent.

Running – Racing – Ultra Marathons and My First DNF

It was going to be my 100th finish.

It was going to be my June race.

It turned out to be something totally different.

dnf face(My Instagram post with my DNF Face)

The 2016 edition of the Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 Mile endurance race turned out to be something ugly, and something I had never faced before. Turns out for this year, I was not mentally tough enough. I decided to drop out just 15 miles into the race.

Why did I give up some would ask? My only answer is that I was never really committed to the race in the first place.  I signed up about two months prior to the event, just before my Grand Canyon run.  I did so more to see some friends and to get a another Boogie (I ran in 2015) hand crafted mug. I did not enter the race for some larger purpose, such as testing myself, to prove to myself that I could run the distance. I signed up for the mug, a nice mug but not nice enough to run 50 miles in June when I really wanted to be home. Plain and simple I was not mentally into the race.  From the first step, I kept thinking of being home…spending time with my wife and not wanting to suffer again.

Five things I learned From My DNF.

1.  You must be committed to a race, if you’re going to stick it out when things turn ugly.  It is so easy to sign up for a race, but are you really committed?  This race will make me think twice before I click and sign up.

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2.  Every race does not have to be an Ultra.  Lately every race I’ve run tends to be in the ultra distance.  I need to get back to running races of varying lengths.  I can still view myself as an Ultra-runner and run 5ks, 10k and half marathons. 

3. To finish some of these long races under difficult conditions you have to be ready to visit the pain cave.  To finish the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run a month earlier I had to go deep into my pain cave, and I was not ready to go back in to that dark place again…at least not this soon.

4.  It’s okay not the end of the world to DNF.  Driving home (3 hours) I was very down on myself.  I was not happy with my performance or my being.  Then it hit me, my 17 year running career will NOT be defined by one event.  It simply was not my day (night).

5. I would run again.  The world did not end, the sun came up the next morning and my legs worked during my next run. I’ll learn from this tough night and come back ready to run again.

Have you had a bad race.  Have you signed up for a race for all the wrong reasons?  Have you dropped out just because you were not into the race?  Share your experiences with us.

Things Non Running People Have Said To Me About My Running

It’s a strange world we live in.

Once people figure out that I’m a serious long distance runner they normally fall into one of two categories.  #1 Non runners, who are interested and supportive of my efforts, and fellow runners, some with more experienced and others who seek out information or conversations with me about running.  #2 The non runners who either want to convince me that running is bad for me or equally want to persuade me that they could run at the same level that I do (or longer and faster) if they just had the….(choose one) time, motivation, genetics, money, cool shoes, physical gift, and etc, etc, etc.

13119962_10209293162754954_3322676477634451765_o(In the middle of a 24 hour run)

I’ll admit it, if I can do this (run ultra marathons)…anyone can.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite non runners quotes about my running.

1.  “You’ll need those knees when you get into your 50s.”  After hearing this unsolicited comment, I simply smiled and continued on my run, FYI I’m 52.

2.  “I could run a marathon, if I wanted to.”  I agree with you, with the right motivation anyone can run a marathon…likewsie, anyone can run an ultra marathon, but isn’t life about motivation?

3.  “Running is bad for your heart, it (running) is going to put you in the grave early.”  That might be true or not. There have been a lot of contradicting studies published lately, but my lazy, ding dong eating, 24 Pepsi a day lifestyle before my running life took off was without a doubt going to kill me at a young age.

finish(Finishing at Umstead, 2014)

4.  A week after my first 100 mile finish I had a family member call me to inform me…“You can’t run a 100 mile race.”  I paused for a moment after they informed of this great piece of information.  After growing bored with the dead silence on the phone line I replied, “thanks, but I just did in 22 hours 51 minutes and 5 seconds.”

5.  Maybe the best one, “God, did not intend for us to run.”  Really……

I’m still amazed at how far I’ve come simply by putting one foot in front of the other. I’m equally amazed every time someone e-mails me about running.  Or when someone seeks me out at a race. Or simply asks me a question or wants my opinion on any running related topic.  Running has brought me a long way.

If you are not a runner, I respect that.  Enjoy whatever it is you do.  I have great respect for those who lift, do cross-fit, swim, bike or do whatever it is that keeps you fit.  If you choose not to be fit, that’s great too, but please don’t try and convince me to join you in that lifestyle…been there done that.

5mileronfortlee(After a run it’s fun to look to the future,
what does it hold for you?)

“We all have a different path in life…I choose to run mine.”

What is the craziest thing a non runner has told you about your running?