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Showing posts from April, 2009

The nature of being

A great thing happened on the way to the movie theater...I encountered the earth.

Disney's new nature flick is worth a watch. Here's a link to the movie trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLz_1LNAuAQ

The film is narrated by James Earl Jones. Polar bears, African elephants and humpback whales are the actors (actanimals?) who share their journeys, triumphs and tragedies.

I pondered life during and after viewing this epic environmental event: Just who am I and where do I fit into the realm of this planet?

Bottom line, I'm quite removed from the happenings of nature and live in a sheltered urban environment. There's only one piece or part of me that connects with wild side - and that's ultrarunning.

I'm thankful that on at least a few occasions, I can go deep into an untapped world that man has not yet consumed. And for that 10 to 30 hour period, I can have a brief yet revealing insight into the balance between plants, animals and man.

See the movie if you can.…

The long view

I have some interesting thoughts bouncing around in my brain. It's a strange convergence of Tim Twietmeyer and Susan Boyle.

Here's the bottom line: Take the long view and don't judge a book by its cover.

Twietmeyer is big stuff on the ultra circuit. I could go on for paragraphs about his laurels, but here's a starter: He has over 20 finishes at the Western States 100 mile endurance run in under 24 hours. And, he's a five-time winner of the event.

I listened to a podcast this morning while running on the U of FL campus. Twietmeyer was being interviewed and stated that his life turned around when he second child was born with Down Syndrome in 1992. It was at that point his running became more integrated into his overall life. And that change in perspective allowed Tim to start winning races.

Boyle is a youtube sensation, the runaway star of "Britain's Got Talent." She was being ridiculed by the audience during her intro; most saw her as frumpy and associ…

Like a hot knife through butter

I've mentioned on several occasions how much I love life on the U of FL campus. Last night was no exception, as I was part of the Midnight Fun Run 5K for the second consecutive year.

This event has traction. Last year it pulled about 400 runners - this year, over 800. It's good to see students investing their late night hours in fitness endeavors. What a stark contrast to events I saw only minutes before on University Avenue, when I stopped at the Swamp for a couple of beers before the run.

I toed off near the back of the pack, actually visiting with a student under the "walkers" sign. But my old guns started to fire on the downhill start and the rusty locomotive picked up steam.

Let's summarize and say the student body as a whole - at least those at this event - doesnt know shamrocks from shinola about pacing. They bust out of the gate like purebreds, then expire about 1000 yards later.

And here's a good one; when they tire, they stop. Cold. Right in the…

Mind games: The force of nature

The photo at left is one of my archives favorites. This is the Mueller brothers playing hammer time, racing to the finish of the Wausau (WI) Triathlon. It's fun day when competing in our hometown and my brother Richard keeps me honest. He was into the tri scene back in the cave man days and actually whet my seed of interest in the sport.

Note my one piece tri-suit and first-generation Oakley sunglasses; all very cool in the mid 1980's.

A while back I started a string on mind games in endurance sport. My thought for today is nature. Sometimes it comes at us hard and fast, pelting us with hail and driving rain into our eyes. On other occasions nature can slowly cook us with direct sunlight while clothing us in humidity.

Whatever nature throws our way, lean into it and embrace it. It's bigger and stronger than we are and our anger won't make it dissipate. If wind is driving into our path and slowing our effort, relax and allow inner calm to permeate your being. Stay…

100 milers back-to-back

Here's a shout out to Rob Apple and Susan Donnelly. The ultra duo came up with two 100-mile finishes - in two weeks.

These hammer heads are out of my league. They made their way through the Umstead (NC) 100-mile on April 4, then backed it up with a finish at the inaugural Zumbro (Falls, MN) 100 on April 10.

It may have been slow going, but for anyone who has not attempted back-to-back 100 miler's...think twice before proceeding.

Susan does an exceptional job with her adventure blog, so check out her race reports and great photos at www.susanruns100s.com.

Good job, well done my ultra friends. Surely top ranked in my master competitor hall of fame.

Silly as we go

Sometimes life seems silly and that's the place we need to be. Serious and intense works on many occasions, but I'm not going to play life with a poker face 24/7/365.

An adviser told me that I'm one of a rare breed, who doesn't get overplayed by the act of writing a dissertation. I may not show it in outward ways, but the stress has manifested itself nonetheless.

Much of the silliness has gone out of me. My uninhibited, jovial nature has been supplanted with a dulled sense of existence. Pushing through structural equation models and pondering why latent variables aren't sharing covariance is putting a nail in my head.

So it goes with ultrarunning. I need to kick myself in the britches for being a dink about the Croom 50 mile. Instead of embracing yet another finish, I was in pout mode over the 10:21 it took me to traverse the course. I'm resilient and had very little residual damage. Went for a 60 minute jog the day after the race and am back to 100% now.

I h…

The Barkley Marathons: Too tough to tame

There's nothing I could do to better acknowledge the toughest ultra in the world, than forward this feature from the Washington Post.

This isn't for the squeamish, read on if you must:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/why-we-compete/2007/04/curiosity_1.html

Fast and furious

I really do enjoy retro photos.

A look back on the past and what once was.

Here's a shot of prime beef - Tommy Terrific in quick form, making it happen at the Greensboro (NC) Triathlon Club track day in 1986.

Dr. Terry Bazzarre was conducting a study on triathletes and I was a subject. We were asked to run two miles on the track and put in our best effort.

Despite the micro shorts, I laid down two 6 minute miles back-to-back.

That may not sound like much, but it's the best my engine could deliver. I was 29 years old and pushing for all it was worth, living on black coffee and rice cakes (that's another blog posting for another day).

But what I do observe from then to now is the resilience my body continues to offer. It's been 5 days since the Croom 50 mile and I'm gold. I dislodged a few toenails and carried blown quads the first few days, but that has dissipated and all that remains is the sense of wanting to do it again.

Most interesting is my weakening right knee…

Trifecta and done

Hello comrades. Despite pain and dragging my cheeks on the trail the final 15 miles, I put the Croom 50 mile away yesterday with a time of 10 hours, 21 minutes.

Slow, way slow, bro.

I have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head that this posting may seem random...it is.

Saw a guy at the start, older dude with huge mutton chops mustache. Had the Nike swoosh and "26.2" tattooed on his left breast...wonder what that was all about.

Went off the start at 6 am. I was lazy and didn't check the batteries in my Petzl light and the thing pooped out on me. It was burning barely dim, so I had to go into a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon stance, taking my headlamp into my hand and holding it 18" from the trail to read the terrain. Finally it dumped for good and I stumbled in the dark waiting for the first signs of light. It finally came and I made the first shorty 5-mile loop in 55 minutes.

From there we went onto the main course - three 15-mile loops. Dummy move #2 was bri…

Stumble man

"OK folks, move it along. There's nothing to see here, let's keep it moving."

So might a state trooper admonish the rubbernecking crowd that gathers around the scene of an accident. And that's what I wanted to say to anyone who observed master competitor's style and effort at my most recent 50K.

Many thanks to Layne Wallace, for his photo support during the 2009 Guana River Trail Run. It's great to have some images from the event, but pictures don't lie and sometimes the truth hurts.

Here's my self-assessment of that day:

Form: Despite intentions to maintain chi stance, I'm bent a bit at the waist. I'm also carrying tension in the arms and my neck is jutted forward. I sometimes wonder why I trip...it may have something to do with the fact I am raising my feet about .75 inches off the trail.

Fashion: It's A #1, can't be better. That's my new Team Brooks racing singlet - I ordered a medium and was finally able to squeeze into …

Download and go

Sorry for the delay in posting again, folks. The old roadie blood came out in master competitor and I went on the road for a 4-day weekend.

First, it was academics then running among the rich and famous in West Palm Beach. Then due north on I-95 to St. Augustine, where I did some beautiful morning runs on the beach.

I felt quite expired when I started my 10-miler this morning. A slight rain was falling and the slick roads allowed me to slide my feet rather than use the effort to lift them up off the ground! Now that's either lazy or tired, you pick.

I've been reading a book called "Brand Hijack" which purports that iPods evoke a sense of identity in their users; if you trade earphone jacks with your significant other, an intimate experience will occur.

I don't know about iPods, but my trusty old MP3 might tell a bit about Tommy Terrific. I'm not much of a collector of music or books or DVDs, so my playlist is rather eclectic - and free.

Just click on the Podcas…