Showing posts from 2018

Can't fake fitness

More specifically, I can't fake fitness anymore. So let's address the elephant in the room. I began my 12th Hellgate 100k+ (66.6) at one minute past midnight this morning, and just like that, I chose to quit after a predominantly 25-mile uphill jaunt under the dark, moonless sky. It wasn't like I missed a cutoff. There was nothing really wrong other than being turtle-like and having a few hamstring cramps. The temps were quite tolerable and wind minimal. I was dressed just right. I just decided I had lost interest in the entire affair. I contentedly quit. And to be honest, I felt little guilt or remorse. After 25 years of ultrarunning, how did this happen? It was a novel phenomena in personal experience. For what its worth, the following are not excuses. They are simply the facts. 2018 was a rough year but it had its start in 2017. My father-in-law moved into our home in August, his health requiring increasing levels of care as the months progressed. In early Nove

Face the fear with rock-solid preparation

Fear is an emotion that triggers a staggering series of events. Upon first sign of trouble, a tiny organ in the brain, the amygala, begins to shout out audibles, as screeching sirens blare out warnings. The heart pounds, blood pressure sky rockets, breathing quickens, and stress hormones stream out from their hiding spots. Blood shunts to the extremities to enable flight and the cerebral cortex, the center for reason and judgment, puts out the "gone fish'n" sign. In both acute and chronic situations, poor decisions are easily made. Granted, these responses to fear can come in handy. A guy jumps from behind a bush to attack, and you set a new world sprint record. Or, you come across an upside-down car, righting all of it's 2000 pound mangled frame in an effort to free its passenger. Fear can drive unexpected performance. But, fear can also destroy in a much more sinister way. We talk a lot about fear in athletics; fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fea

The race I did not run

It was the third Saturday in October 1994. As I stood in the dark pondering the day, I was a jumbled mess of nerves gone wild. "Fifty miles? What was I thinking?!?" But then again, when David Horton, the author of this race through the Blue Ridge, chides you with "Bet you can't run fifty miles," there is no recourse but to prove him wrong. That was then and this is now. A lot has happened over the years. I've been on the top of the podium, run sub-9 hours, but I've also finished a mere fifteen minutes under the twelve-hour cut-off. I've had twenty finishes and two unfortunate medically-related DNFs. I've run the entire length sweeping the course, nearly getting stranded in Montebello because  everyone had already abandoned the finish line. And then was the time I left Virginia's borders so I would not be tempted to run too soon after extensive feet and ankle surgery. But today I did something very unfamiliar. I drove around the country

Follow the yellow lines

Jack in his younger days "Well, you know I can't live here by myself. I'm moving in with you." I guess he was serious. Within a couple days we drove down to his place pulling an enclosed trailer behind the truck. That was the beginning of a whole new reality. Gary's dad, Jack, boldly made that proclamation back in August. We were rather shocked to find his house in such disrepair, piles of accumulated trash, (most of which were empty ice cream containers), everywhere. Neglected bills hid under the rubble. His neighbors across the street said his decline from ambitious living to hesitant toddling was rapid. It was obvious the time was right to make the move. We packed what we could fit in the trailer and headed back west, leaving for another day the huge task of cleaning out a house and garage filled to overflowing from thirty plus years of accumulated auction finds. Addy (2) and Great PopPop (92) chat Great PopPop, as Addyson called him, had an insta

How's it going?

"Challenge accepted," I typed without thinking. Oops. Now I was morally bound to follow through. What had I done? Early this morning, before the day's preparations of the Lady Flames Basketball team for their first game in the NCAA Division 1 tourney, I hastily jotted a Facebook note to Jenna, a friend and talented writer celebrating another birthday. I typed, "Sure hoping your day is special in many ways. Write a blog post!" Wouldn't you know it? She did , and then promptly wrote back. "Your turn. Enjoy the first round of the tournament!" including one of those winking smiley faces for added pressure. Hence, I am sitting in the hotel lobby at 10:30 pm pecking away on the keyboard. But there's a problem. What moves me to write is usually a significant event; a race, adventure, or major life occurrence. Tonight it's hard to pinpoint what is appropriate e-scribble subject matter. So I'll begin, but I have no earthly idea where (