Skip to main content

"It's the real thing"

That's the quote from venerable 100-mile runner Wes Fenton, who was working the first aid station at the Cumberland Trail 50K in Tennessee last Saturday.

It was the real thing alright. No kindergarten games at this event. We pushed hard through the dark hours and made that first check at the 5.5 mile mark in 2:14. I knew a tough day was ahead.

The course, designed by Susan Donnelly and Rob Apple, had it all. Rocks, rain, primitive bridges, waterfall crossings, climbs to 3000 feet, then descents to 1400 feet and back to 3000. And at the turnaround point, the race organizers arranged to have a wild elk on the course! Try to find that at most of your local 5 and 10K's.

The race about did me in. Missed a turn leaving Cove Lake State Park off the start and lost about 30 minutes, then got off course again (all this before sunrise) when I made a climb up the wrong trail. Finally got back on course and made the halfway point in 4:47. Not much margin in a 10-hour cutoff.

So, while I was resigned to houring out, I kept plodding forward. However, the return leg of the course gave back more than it took. The terrain offered much more descending than climbing, so we moved at a better pace.

Byron Backer (dude looks like Freddie Mercury) won in an amazing 5:26. A long time after that I stumbled across the finish line in 9:10. Though I was near the back, my day was complete. I hadn't done a technical and tough ultra in almost five years. So, this was a true test of perseverance.

I feel thankful to be part of the ultra community. It was great to see old friends Rob and Susan and to commend them for bringing this event to the sport.


Post a Comment

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…