Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trying to Post More!

Ok, I am really trying to post more often. I missed a couple race reports last year and would like to find the time someday to go back and write a little something on them. The main one was Landsford Canal 50k in South Carolina in July. My good friend Stack was there to volunteer in general and run a few miles with me. With his help, I was able to "RACE" a 50k and it really deserves a write up. Until I get time to do that one, I want to focus on my training and upcoming schedule.
It has been difficult getting into a groove. I am usually getting 5 runs a week but not many are very quality runs and I am struggling to get a real long run in. I keep going out to try and get 15-20 but never seem to get past 10. I am going again this weekend with the same goal out in Alva w/ Jim Rickards. I feel real good about this one! I am glad that my next 3 races are just training runs (MTC 50k, Croom Fools 50M and Wickham Park 50M). I also have some other long runs built into there as well such as pacing Andrew Berster at Iron Horse 100k and Tammie Wonning at the Double Ironman. Just added to the plans over Spring Break is a 24 hour run on Hollywood Beach put on by the man Eric Friedman! This should be 6 ultra distance training runs to prepare me for the main goal this year-Viaduct 100M July 7th in PA. If all goes well, I really want to get back up to UROC and get that buckle that I left up there last year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Volunteering is so much fun!!!

For the 2nd year in a row, I went up to Brooksville to volunteer for the Croom Zoom 100k. The good part is that I am not injured this year. I just decided to volunteer rather than race. It also allowed me to pace if I wanted to. This trip could not have been scripted any better. Jill and I left out of Fort Myers w/ Jim Rickards towards our first stop at Olive Garden in Sarasota for lunch w/ Kyle Durr and John and Toni Pyle. Jim is a badass veteran ultra runner going for the 100k. Jim has 4 100 milers to his credit, and it's not a shabby list: Superior Lakes, Hardrock, Leadville and Western States. No DNF's either! So after a great lunch w/ some of the FUR finest idiots, we head up to Brooksville to check into the hotel and meet up w/ the other Ft. Myers crew: Shannon Carlino in her 1st trail run away from Alva in the 25k and Jami Maxwell and Maria Andrews going for the 100k. We head out to Tucker Hill for them to check in and to hang out w/ the RD's Andy Matthews and Jim Hartnett, as well as Andy Barrett. These guys are FUR legends with huge race schedules this year. Andy B explains the trail very clearly to us because he has 1000's of miles on these trails. Then we are off to Papa Joe's for Carb Loading! A nice dinner w/ good friends and then back to the hotel to relax....well, Jim relaxed while Jill and I found the Cork & Tap downstairs in the hotel. We figured we would just hang out there until 2 so he could get some sleep!
Alarm at 4:30, wide awake and headed out to the race start. Set up is very easy and the 100k is off at 6am. Andy Matthews (A1) and I take a table and water out to the the starter out and back for the 25k. I drop Andy back off at Tucker Hill and head back to the hotel to grab Jill, who is actually up and ready! We get to the water table a few minutes before the 25k runners get there. A few took water, some exchanged high fives and they were headed back to get on the 10 mile loop! We pack up and head back to Tucker Hill to man the Main Aid Station for the rest of the day. The 100k runners were just starting to come through at this point. They will have 6 laps to complete while the 50k runners have 3. The 25k runners will be finishing the next time that we see them.
Many runners are just taking water/Heed and getting on their way as it is still quite cold! We also have Mountain Dew and Pepsi to drink as well as peanuts, M&M's, Animal Crackers, Oranges, Bananas and Pretzels for Jodi. Dave and Sharon were also at the table to help out all day. I'm gonna say it was probably a toss up between our AS and Sara Jackson/Toni Pyle's down at the road crossing for the best Station on the course! I am just gonna say that we had so much fun refilling bottles and handing out cups of water/Heed. A couple hours into the race Jill and I started making PB&J sandwiches. We had a great system. I made them and she cut them w/ this sweet knife that A1 stole from Patrick Bene's RV! This thing could barely cut warm butter but it did the job.
So the day went on, refilling bottles, chatting with runners, encouraging all of them, then cheering on the finishers of the 25k and then the 50k. Patrick hammered out the 50k in 4:23 and then provided the laughs well into the dark of night. His best line was a chant of "One more lap" to one woman finishing the 100k. I kept missing Tammie Wonning as she came thru on the 1st and 2nd laps of her 50k. Just a training run for her as her Double Ironman is in 6 weeks! This, in addition to her 30:30 at Ancient Oaks last month!! I finally got to meet Shannon McGinn. She was down on vacation and wanted to get out and have fun w/ the FUR before traveling the state and running the Keys Half next weekend! Shannon and John ran a lap together then she picked up her 4 legged pacer Enzo for her last lap. John asked if I wanted to join him. I said sure, changed into running shorts, filled a bottle and we were the wrong direction. He wanted to run the loop backwards so that we could see other runners and cheer them on. We had a blast talking with other runners as we came up to them. Many were on lap 4 and some were experiencing some pain. We did the best of provide encouraging support as we chatted for a minute or two with most. Then we saw Tammie and I told her to stick around after the finish! She did, her and Jill were chatting away when John and I got back. So I got to hang w/ her for a little bit before she headed home.
Once John and I were back, I took up my position at the Aid Station table. There were a handful of 100k runners still out there with 2 laps to go. Patrick noticed the 100k winner coming in and started a chant. Wayne Gaudet from Canada came down to run Croom because the course was similar to a race he has back home on a similar course later this year. When A1 took the trophy over and said "Here's your trophy" Wayne said "For what?" A1 said "For winning and Wayne's response was "Oh, no shit." He had no idea that he was out front all day. We didn't really know either, we just noticed he was moving thru camp pretty quick each time. Around mile 48, David House passed Krystle Martinez to move into 2nd place and cruise on to a runner up finish. David is just warming up for his Grand Slam this summer. 4 100 mile races in 12 weeks, including Western States! Krystle finished a solid 3rd place for the Women's title. Over the next 3+ hours the rest of the field would come in to huge cheers of support for their efforts. It was so amazing to watch my friends come in to finish this great race. Smitty and Bacon got a free pass to head out on their last lap just 3 minutes over the alleged cutoff. They gave it their best but came back about an hour later to get their bacon cheeseburgers, minus bacon for Eric and Veggieburger for Smitty.
Jami and Maria looked great all day. They worked together for 62 miles and then hooked up with Long Haul 100 RD Jen Pearson for the last 9 miles. They came in at 14:08 looking like they were ready for another lap. Jen and Jami outsprinted Maria, giving Maria the honor of DFL. DFL may not seem cool, but it is great for 2 reasons. Maria got to experience the race longer than anyone else, thus officially getting her money's worth and DFL is better than DNF any day! Another highlight was Heather Davenports Lululemon Cartwheel across the finish line. Jill got it on video, we just have to figure out how to get it into the internet world! Jill was also hooked on the Lululemon skirts and got really excited when I told her there was a store in Naples. Yeah, we headed down there yesterday and she picked up a bunch of stuff! She has even talked about maybe doing the Fools Fun Run in April!!! That really excites me!
Jim got a solid 42 mile run in and today he told me that he thinks he will go for 50 in April. Jim continues to amaze me. His accomplishments speak for themselves but those were 15 years ago and he still continues to train for and run ultras at 64. I hope I am still able to get out there and mix it up in 30 years! This was my 3rd race traveling to with Jim and I am already looking forward to the next one! When I packed to truck to head home, I cleared out the left side and put the seat down and made a bed for Jim. I also put the passengers seat down for Jill and they were both out cold before we got off Croom Rital Rd. We dropped Jim off and were home, showered and in bed by 12:30. Then we slept until 10am! Amazing weekend overall! We are just sad to see Andrea Risi leaving us for the Rocky Mountains! I told her that all of the FUR's are coming out on the same weekend but she wasn't sure her place was big enough for all of us!