Skip to main content

Ultra memories...and the new generation

Check out this dude.

Kyle Skaggs.

In July, he won the Hardrock 100 Endurance Race in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Skaggs won the race in 23 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds destroying the old record of 26 hours and 8 minutes.

Hardrock has an average elevation around 11,000, a total of 33,000 feet of climb and 13 peaks over 12,000-feet; finishing is a feat in itself.

This ultra man runs around 150 miles a week, mostly on the trails he races on. He represents the new generation of ultrarunners, those who are taking the sport to the next level.

It's a long, far cry from my ultra existence. I have yet to break 24 hours for 100 miles (24:32 is my best) and I was racing on relatively "flat" ground in places such as Ohio, North Carolina and Vermont.

But it's all good nonetheless. The great thing about ultrarunning is that most of us don't compete against each other, but rather ourselves. It's the war against our own inner spirit; many times quitting or finishing rides on a razor thin line.

So, I wanted to wax on a bit about my great ultra memories. Here's a portal into my mind, the wonderful elements that make this sport so epic and exciting:

  • I was racing Mark Carroll at the Michigan Trail 50 mile. We were only a few footsteps apart through the first half, when we made the turnaround (around a tree) on the out-and-back course. Mark was about 25 yards ahead of me, and we stared into each others' eyes. Mark got further ahead, and I ran beyond my limits, hoping to catch sight of him at the road section of the course where it was possible to see a few hundred yards ahead. When I got to that place, he was long gone. I chased him into the finish, and was a bit pouty about his win. Mark admonished me, and made me realize this was about fun and the overall experience...I never forgot that day.
  • Running the JFK 50 mile in Maryland, I was holding a brisk 8-hour pace through the early sections of the Appalachian's rough and rocky, and I was racing with Kim Martin, one of the fastest female racers in the sport. Just as I complimented Kim on her great trail pace, she took a terrible fall on a rough, rocky downhill. She knocked the wind out of herself and was disoriented, and ordered me to move on without her. Did I jinx her run? I felt bad until she blew by me late in the race, while we were on the towpath next to the Potomac River.
If you like some of these old-time anecdotes, drop me a comment and I'll rant on a bit more in the next entry!


Popular posts from this blog

Nothing to see here, folks

It's been a long time since I've been active on my blog. To be honest, I got tired of putting in the work, creating content, with so little feedback or response. Time to divert to other things...such as my new fiction book, coming out soon. Part horror story, part steamy romance. You'll definitely want a copy.

There's another reason I haven't been posting. My endurance spirit is broken.

Some medical issues, some sadness is loss of speed. I don't have much range left in my pulse rate and I have put on a blob of weight.

I "ran" my 10 mile loop this 2:18. Is that ugly, or what? An overall fatigue follows the run. I remember a few years ago, I'd bang it out in straight 9's for a 1:30 - and at that time had a long section of medium effort trail included, too.

It's the new normal. It's age appropriate. I'll be 59 in two weeks. Let's get real.

Rode my mountain bike Sunday after church. Don't know what I hit but I went…


You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…

Fitness setback? Use the healing power of plants

Maybe you're like me. You had achieved a fitness and nutrition peak, but then slid off the mountain. Hey, most of us aren't professional athletes and we aren't paid to be ripped and shredded, right? Life got in the way. I produced my dossier for tenure, then finished several academic publications. And, there is always teaching and a responsilbity to the student experience. I'm not proud of the outcome, but that's how it works for me. When I wrote "Mind Over Diet" the key premise was self-negotiation. You must create your own scenarios that drive action. It's time to start over. My advice is to build your comeback with food, not exercise. Everyone wants to run to the gym and crank the big long does that usually last? I'd suggest the food is the ultimate change agent. Eat as close to "alive" as possible; take the processing and chemicals out. Fresh food will bring life back into your body. That's the foundation. Here…