Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Desert Runners – Ultra Marathon – Running 4 Deserts

The Desert Runners – a film

Running a marathon is a challenge, a ultra-marathon is a bit more of a challenge. Running 100 miles is an even greater challenge. Running 1000km across some of the world’s most inhospitable places and you may have uncovered the ultimate running challenge.

desert runner title

Now imagine doing that not once, not twice BUT four times in one year! Desert runner follows four racers as they compete in perhaps the Ultimate Ultra-Marathon(s). Four races running in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara in Egypt… and then, the final stage, a 150-mile footrace across the single most inhospitable landscape in the world: Antarctica.

More than simply a movie about four races, this documentary expertly displays the personal and Inter-personal stories of the four runners as they attempt to run the four hardest races on the face of the planet. This film dissect the story line within each race and highlights the un-defeatable human story within each one of us…

I was so gripped by the physical battle, captivated by the mental struggles and transfixed within the emotions of trying to complete this ultimate running Grand Slam. This film is very well made capturing the raw emotions of pushing your body beyond anything you have ever prepared for. The movie transports the viewer right into the race side by side with our four runners. So intense was the draw of this film that when one of the four considers dropping out, I felt a deep sense of loss in my stomach. This movie is more than just entertainment.


Desert Runners…is a must see movie for all runners.

Check out their web site at Desert Runners.

Interested in running the 4 deserts?

Get into shape, Run a 10k, a Marathon or 100 Miles

Do you wish to improve your health, get into shape, and or run a 10k?

Or do you DREAM BIGGER, do you want to run a marathon?


When people find out I got into shape by running they almost always reply in one of three ways:

“I stopped running when I stopped stealing.”

“If you see me running, you better join in because something bad is about to happen.”

Or “I could never run a 10 or a marathon.”

What you don’t hear is…running gave me back my health, running returned fun to my life and running enabled me to accomplish things I never thought I could do. Thru running I’ve ran 14 marathons and have finished two 100 mile races in under 24 hours.

You can Dream About Fitness or you can get moving and run too.

But why should you start running or start any exercise routine?

The number one reason you should start any fitness routine should be to improve your health. When I started running 15 years ago, I was overweight, had high cholesterol and was on a one way trip to the land of future heart disease. 16,000 miles later, my resting heart rate hovers in the mid to low 40s. My blood pressure is low, my bad cholesterol is in check and I feel great. I have not had the common cold or flu in years and although I cannot prove it, I believe all of this is related to the miles I log.

If all the health benefits were not enough, a bonus is that everyday activities no longer tax me. When I was out of shape, when I had a few (25+) extra pounds around my waist it was hard to accomplish even simple tasks. Everyday life and simply moving around got me “winded.” Now when I play with the grandkids, chase the dogs around or hike with my wonderful wife, I’m not out of breath sitting on the side of the trail with my head in my hands. If truth be known, since becoming an ultra-marathon runner, I out last the grandkids, the dogs, and well the Mrs. too.

The second reason for taking part in an exercise routine should be for your quality of life. We only have so many years on this planet; I don’t want my body limiting my ability to do what I want to do. My body will not limit what I can or cannot do. When I was overweight my knees hurt, my range of motion was limited and my ability to get out and do things had a time limit. Today contrary to everything you hear about running being bad for your knees and joints, my body has never been in better shape. My weight is down, range of motion is not limited and my knees (my joints in general) have no issues. Even after 90 race, 34 at or over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles…other than blisters here and there my body and my legs feel great.

Lastly and maybe most important…running is good for my mind and soul. After a tough day at work, stress at home, or in response to world events…a 6 to 10 mile run on some open roads or lonely trails and all my problems melt away.

Take the time today to invest in your health, invest in your fitness and invest in your life. If you won’t….I ask you. Who will?

Plus, contrary to what most people believe, in my opinion, the fall and winter seasons are really the best time to start an exercise routine.

Stop Dreaming About Fitness and get moving, what do you have to lose…

Medoc Trail Marathon – Running – Racing – Training – Friends

Medoc Trail Marathon – A special kind of race

12122819_1104338499577305_9175450641807583063_n(Medoc and I)

Big city races do a great job of handling the masses. For the most part these races go off without a hitch. Thousands of people run their fastest or their first marathon along with 20,000+ of their closest friends. The crowd support and the work of the 1000+ volunteers propel the runners and make the events operate smoothly. With all the clock work type happenings of mega races it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Then there are the smaller marathons that go out of their way to make their races special. These races are often much smaller in size, locally run by dedicated runners and volunteers who go out of their way to offer support you just can’t get on a large scale. At smaller such events, it’s easy to feel like the race was put on just for you. Medoc trail marathon is one of those races.

When you sign up to run Medoc it’s more than just another race you’re joining a community. A race at Medoc mountain state park is a gathering of like-minded people who enjoy running, enjoy a challenge and work hard to make your marathon something to remember. To make the race special each Medoc runners gets their own specialty chosen trail name which is emblazoned upon a unique race bib. During the race the runners are challenged by a tough looped course but well placed volunteers are close enough to help with any race related need that may arise. The workers are always upbeat and ready to help out to ensure each racer has a great finish. After successfully covering three laps of the park and avoiding an encounter with the “Medoc” monster himself the finished chute is a welcome sight. Each finisher is presented with a large and heavy Medoc medal sure to capture the spirit (and namesake) of the race. To recover and refuel a victory meal (bowl of awesome potatoes soup) and snacks are waiting. For a small race Medoc has all the runner support and swag to rival even the largest of marathons.

Medoc also has Rocks, Roots, Hills and the Legend itself.

12141739_10153769350781495_1387762191324273552_n(Part of the Run4Life, 24 hour team

Medoc has Rocks – Medoc is run over a three loop course which is partially fallen leaves, pine straw, dirt and grass. The other portions of the trail provide the challenge. There are the rocks which are believed to have been strategically placed by Medoc himself. These rocks jump up and snag your toe at just the right wrong place and time. Other rocks are set up on edge ready to move about when you have selected them for a safe landing spot. Medoc’s favorite rocks are those that stab at the bottom or sides of your feet when you’re lucky enough to catch a sharp edge. If you do happen to fall, the rocks are there to ensure you remember your little tumble.

IMG_4941(Medoc Rocks..some say he plays with these at night)

Medoc has Roots – If the rocks are not tripping you up…keep an eye on the tree roots which meander all along the course. The roots around Medoc tend to grow in height and gnarliness with each passing loop. On lap one it’s easy to navigate the rooted sections avoiding any missteps but on successive loops it becomes almost unavoidable to not trip at some point. Laps two and three demand that you stay keenly focused on your next step unless you want to risk a flying encounter with the ground or a random tree. Once pronate on the ground, runners have recalled hearing Medoc laughing in the distance.

Medoc Roots(Medoc roots…they get bigger as the miles get longer)

Medoc has Hills  They sneak up on you….and some just punch you in the face. Medoc has hills, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Most are calm roller types with mild elevation changes, some cause you to down shift into a lower gear and the 25 step staircase climb, well it sucker punches you each and every time. Let’s not forget the equally crushing decent, step by step down another staircase. A course preview map lists the elevation change at roughly 350 feet per lap…but somehow it feels like much more than that.

Medoc Stairs(Medoc stairs…they do not lead to heaven)

And Medoc has….well Medoc.  (From The Race Web Site) In the early 70’s a young doctor by the name of Leroy lived just outside of Hollister, North Carolina. The young man was not only a doctor, he was also a rising star on the road racing scene. Whenever he was not in the office, you would see him running the roads around Hollister training for the next big event. Doc Leroy, as he was called, was obsessed with his diet; always trying to find what foods, herbs, and fluids would help prepare him best for his next race. You could often find Leroy trying to eat just about anything he could get his hands on hoping to find the secret ingredient to make him faster. Being a doctor, Leroy often wondered if a blended liquefied version of some foods would be digested faster and therefore provide a quicker burst of energy.

Long before the invention of GUs or Clif Shots, Leroy and his trusty blender were always mixing up a new concoction. Originally, Leroy would use things like fresh fruit and coffee beans. Before long he then started adding new things like pine sap, and tree slugs. Sadly, he didn’t stop there.

Doc Leroy eventually opened up his medicine cabinet and began to experiment. Much to his delight he seemed to have found the magic formula. He became faster and stronger. His pace dropped by 50 seconds, and his endurance seemed endless as he would complete eight hour runs and never tire. He became addicted to his formula and drank more and more. Over time his muscles began to swell, and he had terrible headaches, but he still couldn’t stop.

Finally one day Leroy’s body simply had enough and swelled beyond recognition. He literally burst out of his clothing, and one eye swelled shut. Even his tongue swelled to the point where he could barely speak. About this time a patient of Doc Leroy’s entered his office. She screamed with fear as she saw the disfigured beast in front of her. “What did you do with the doctor?” she shouted!

Leroy tried to speak, but couldn’t because of the swelling in his tongue. He wanted to tell her that he was the doctor, but the only sounds he could muster, were “ME DOC! ME DOC!”

The town folks stormed the doctor’s office with torches and pitch forks and chased this creature that they now called “Medoc” out of his office, and into the nearby mountains. Leroy could hardly believe what had happened. Angry and frustrated, he has lived in the mountains of Hollister ever since. The area is now known as Medoc Mountain. Leroy (now referred to as Medoc), is rarely seen. He normally only comes out after dark to hunt and occasionally run. Some believe he is still searching for the magic formula to turn him back into a normal man.

12074519_1104323369578818_1917120894189448421_n(Coolest race bib yet…)

Medoc is a well-run, great supported marathon for all competition levels. What Medoc is not is easy. If you up for the challenge, if you up for a good time and if you want to join the Medoc family…come run in the woods of Hollister, North Carolina and earn your trail name.

Runner – Marathon – Ultra Marathon – Sometime You Don’t Have To Run

Sometime you do not need to run.

A couple days this past week, I just did not feel like running…and that was okay considering.

I’m not a doctor, but sometimes your body needs the rest and recovery…you don’t have to run

I’m not a Psychiatrist, but sometime your mentally burned out or feel to much pressure to run…you don’t have to run.

I’m not an Olympic coach…but sometime you have nothing to prove and just want to have a day off…you don’t have to run.


Sometimes your son comes home early from sea duty and surprises you.…And you get to watch the Browns play and they WIN!  YOU don’t have to run

Browns Win

Sometimes your son in law comes thru town on his way to the desert while serving our country, has a 24 hour layover and wants to go fishing.  YOU don’t have to run.



But now it’s time to get back after it…and it’s time to #run.

What was a good reason for you to take some time off?

Run Safe – Crossing Intersections – Run – Be Aware – Runner – Be Safe – Marathon

Run Safe – Crossing Intersections – Run – Be Aware – Runner – Be Safe – Marathon

Unless you run all of your miles on the treadmill.

Unless you always run on trails.

Unless you have your own private Olympic sized track to run laps on, sooner or later you’re going to have to venture across a four way intersection, a traffic circle or some other juncture where your running path and the roadway meet.


The difference between a successful run and one that ends in tragedy can very well be how you approach crossing these intersections. The difference between a run that leads to a personal record or one that may lead to a near death experience could be in the clues you missed while standing on the sidewalk or approaching one of these crossroads. To avoid the latter of these examples use your natural senses to help you arrive alive on the opposite side of the street. We were created with the five senses. The sense of sound, sight, touch, taste and smell help us make our way in and around the world. It could be how we use three of these senses that just might keep us upright and alive.


SOUND:  Pay attention to the sounds around you. The sounds of the vehicles on the road and those sitting at the intersection you’re wishing to cross hold valuable information. This may not make me popular but…running with music in their ears may just hide these clues. I get that it makes the time fly, I get that it helps the mental side of running and the tunes can improve the flow of your run. BUT, music also makes me lose touch with the sounds of the world around me. When crossing an intersection, I pay particular attention to the sounds of the traffic at that intersection. I note the overall sound, does the crossing sound active or at rest. Once I determine that the intersection as a whole is still I turn my attention to the path that I must cross and the vehicles along that path. Is the engine of the vehicle, whose path I must cross, idling or is it accelerating. By noting the sound of the powerplant which propels the car, truck or bus, I get a better gauge on the intent of that driver as I consider stepping foot into the intersection.

SIGHT:  Ensure you make eye contact with the driver(s) to ensure they see you, don’t assume anything. As I approach an intersection I look for a few key visual observations. One is the driver themselves…I want to ensure they see me and I see them. I want to see that they are engaged in operating the vehicle they are in control of. I want to see with my own eyes that they are not distracted by a cell phone, CD player or GPS device. I want to see that they see and acknowledge me. I also pay close attention to the visual clues of the car, truck or bus, do I see movement of the wheels, and an intent displayed by the turn signals.

Along with sight I always remind myself, its the car truck or bus that I don’t see will be the one to kill. Sight perhaps your most important sense but don’t over value it…be cautious of what you don’t see and expect the unexpected.

TOUCH:  You don’t have to reach out and feel the traffic, but you can feel the vibration of approaching traffic. Whether running down the road or at an intersection. Tune into the vibrations of the traffic around you to help keep you safe. Pay attention to the vibration of the road. Likewise the vibrations at the intersection can help you determine whether that car, truck or bus is truly at a standstill or is it just beginning to move. To keep myself safe, I will not enter an intersection unless I can sense that all vehicles in my path and those which may enter my path are at a state of zero movement.

I will add in the sense of awareness, I-Pods, work and personal events, day dreaming or becoming totally lost in your miles can take away from your awareness of the situation your run has put you into. Just like a quarterback in the NFL needs to have “pocket awareness” to feel an on rushing linebacker before he gets hit blindsided. A runner must be aware of the forever changing world around them. Like the NFL QB runners must be hyper aware of anything that is or could possibility encroach on their personal space.


A run along a country road or one weaving among city streets does not have to be an outing that threatens your health or your very life. Buy paying closer attention to your basic senses of sound, sight and touch with awareness you’ll be better equipped to avoid an unfortunate mishap at the intersections we must all eventually cross to continue on our run.

Ideal Race Course – marathon – Ultra marathon – Running _ Racing

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nichlaus, and now Tiger Woods are world class golfers who eventually turned their talents towards course design and construction. Who better suited to design and build challenging, and beautiful courses then the champions who competed on them? Their works are more than 18 holes of golf haphazardly laid over top an urban or rural county side. These designers web and flow their courses within the offering provided by the landscape which will house and feature them.


During a recent long run while my mind aimlessly counted away the miles, I began to wonder what a marathon course may look like if I could design the perfect marathon course. What would it look like, how would I challenge the runners and what would the 26.2 miles offer in the way of visual attractions and experiences?

My ideal course would start in the city center of a small(ish) country town. The starting line would be at the cross roads of city hall. These streets would be lined by small shops, old homes with side walks featuring old fashion street lights. The starting line would be marked with a banner hoisted from two old tree draped over head of the running field.


The early miles would weave in and out of charming small town streets and country neighborhoods as the route begins to leave town and meander deep into the countryside.

The first third of the course would run thru rolling hills over a network of tree lined country roads. These old growth trees stand proudly towering along the edge of the road with thier mature branches creating a canopy over the paved surface below. When the course is not lined with trees its bordered by fields  full of blossoming flowers offering a rainbow of colors to excite the most oxygen depleted senses.


The middle miles would rambled among local farms. Bordering both sides of the course would be fields filled with live stock, both mature and newly born. On one plot of land would graze an herd of horses that follow the race pack gingerly running along with the marathon field.


The final third of the course would wind over and around a network of local fishing streams where the sounds of cascading movement and small water falls can be heard off in the distance. Where the roads can not avoid a collision with the natural path of the creeks the runners cross over the water features thru a number of wooden bridges. Each one unique in design and wooden architectural foundations.

bridges wood

The closing miles beyond the wall would direct the marathon field back to city center where the finish line would be established in front of a fountain in the middle of the War Memorial park.

If you had the ability to design the perfect marathon what would your ideal marathon course look like?

Marathon – Top Ten Missed PR Excuses

We have all been there, the race that did not go so well. A race where you missed your goal or just plain missed performing in any recognized performance image of yourself. After crossing the finish line…depressed and depleted you only have a few moments to come up with a good excuse before your pummeled with “What Happened…We expected you 25 minutes ago?”

MY Top Ten EPIC Marathon Excuses

1. I was right on track for a PR before I saw the two for one burrito sale at Jimmy Johns


2. I got a wedgie at mile 16 and it took 10 miles of butt cheek squeezes to get it out.

3. I took a left turn for Albuquerque.

4.  (Said in my best Cheech and Chong voice) CUP CAKES MAN, this aide station had Cup Cakes! It was groovy man.

5. The pacer went home.

6. Did I mention it was raining sharks?

7. There was a clown standing at mile 20 and you know how I hate clowns.


8. At mile 6 someone yelled you’re almost there so I figured I could walk it in….man I’ll get that kid.

9. The library was holding a blood drive, so I gave…that was a really bad idea.

10. Did I mention the pirates?


Sometime the day is not ours.  We have all suffered with marathon defeat…if your going to make an excuse, make it EPIC.

What is your best marathon crash excuse?

Excuses that did not make the top 10.

I thought it was the NASCAR marathon so I only made left hand turns.

I saw a sign for the longest parade ever…so I stopped to watch.

I decided to stand on the corner of Winslow, Az.