Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2010

100 miles and the mind

Hard to believe but I'm one month out from another 100 mile attempt.

I'll be headed back to the Umstead 100. This year's race sold out in about five minutes, so it's clear a bunch of die-hard athletes have an appetite for "easy" 100 milers. Umstead is near Raleigh, NC. It's a rather forgiving 12.5 mile loop, which turns your brain to mush as you circumnavigate the course eight (8) times.

I was walking across campus on a snowy day last week, pondering the outcome of what might transpire. Just what's the attraction? For me, it's the overwhelming validation that comes with the completion of these epic journeys. Knowing that I had the spit to stay on the course and keep going is a big component of my life. But, that perspective is not all upside. It has risks.

Looking back at Umstead 2008 makes the case in point. I finished in 27 hours and change, but it came at a high personal, emotional and physical cost. This time around, I'm taking a laid…

Rock solid

Well, you'd have to understand that the rock solid I'm speaking about is in my mind, not part of my squishy belly.
I'm not everything I want to be, but at this stage of the game (53 years old) I'm happy and content. The Umstead 100 mile is about one month out, and facing 100 miles isn't an easy task. But this time around it's about a casual approach, 4-5 good audio books on my Zune, and slow methodical forward progress.
There are a few fine tuning adjustments I can still make to my diet; thinking about going to protein smoothies for dinner, which in turn will wash down all the super Hammer Nutrition supplements my brother Richard gave me for Christmas. This array of capsules is supposed to rocket charge my rear end, so I'm hoping that dedicated doses going into the race will give me the push I need.
My training isn't bad, but it's surely not optimum. Heck, I'm sure you understand that life sometimes gets in the way of best intentions. I did get…

Snow and go

The Holiday Lake 50K is now in the record books...and I had nothing to do with any records. It was an interesting day of ever changing trail conditions as the sun warmed the 5-10 inch snow cover around Holiday Lake near Appomattox, VA.

Racing legend and ultra elder statesman David Horton was the race promoter...when I saw Horton, I reminded him that my first ultra was his infamous Mountain Masochist - in 1988.

"Wow, you're old!" said Horton.

And so my weekend adventure began.

Many strange and interesting things occurred in this event. We started on a road section and then threaded into long pace lines through the snowy underbrush. Approximately 200 ran in the event; another 100 who were pre-entered stayed away due to the conditions.

About three miles in I spotted a woman wearing only tights and a sports bra. She was struggling and breathing heavily and I knew not much good would come out of the day for her.

Soon after that event, I came around a turn to find a female entra…

Lovin' the slush

Check out this link for a great winter running adventure:

My ultra friends Susan and Rob took on the Louisville Lovin' the Hills 50K this past weekend.

Racing in snow isn't really my thing, but I received an email from race promoter David Horton for this coming weekend's Holiday Lake 50K. Horton, a record holder on the Appalachian Trail and one of only a few finishers (ever) at the notorious Barkley Marathons, has stated that you have to take a finish to claim one of his very cool hi-tech running shirts.

Pending another storm front, I'll make my way to VA for some slip-sliding fun just like Rob and Susan.

Check out the pics in the link...Susan is the best at capturing an event in photos. The click to her web site ( in a day or two for a full race report!

Motorist madness

Unless you're living under a rock and that little dark place doesn't have cable, satellite or wi-fi, you're aware of the major snow event moving through the eastern USA.
Some areas such as DC are bracing for two feet or more; here in Boone, we saw snow last night and now rain...which will produce a glazed over mess in a few hours.
In an effort to push back on becoming stir crazy in my small apartment, I opted for another 90 minute run this morning. The only way to make it happen is to run along the edge of plowed roads, always facing traffic. I took an out and back approach, heading into the country and away from the few cars that were out.
Most drivers were giving me a wide berth, so I rewarded each one with the traditional Tom Terrific thumbs up. Many seemed to embrace it, including the county sheriff who went by twice.
I was on the route back, slugging up a steep, slippery incline when a large black SUV pulled near and put down the passenger window. The driver, cup of co…

Leaves not seeds

Just wrapped Michael Pollan's "manifesto" on food, entitled In Defense of Food.

I listened to it on audiobook while running. It was a good combo, doing the exercise piece while trying once again to get my arms around an optimum diet. This time, I'm committed to making long term food intake decisions that benefits and enhances my health.

In Defense of Food delivers a ton of reviewed research and can sometimes become tedious. But other gems are delivered, such as:

1) Eat leaves, not seeds. When our country moved to higher production with longer storage opportunities, we moved to diets high in corn and soybeans, and derivatives of the same. Leafy vegetables have been minimized. I'm trying to push a head of lettuce through my system every couple of days, so should you.

2) Science and technology has become adept at isolating various nutrients from food products, then marketing and selling the value of those nutrients. But what food scientists have also learned is th…

Snow in my shoes

Life in the North Carolina mountains isn't a bad deal...if you're the type of individual who can embrace a two day white-out, and its residuals.

Went out for a morning run on Sunday before church, but turned back about ten minutes from my apartment. I've been on thousands of runs, and God willing I'll be on thousands more. Why not use the beautiful day for snow shoeing?

I went to the garage and dug around in some storage boxes; there they were, still in the packing paper from my move to Florida. These units hadn't seen the light of day in years, and it was about time I lashed them on for a journey through the woods.

So on that day, it wasn't about time or speed or progress. Just forward motion, walking and observing the landscape blanketed in frosting. Hope the photos resonate in some small way, letting you know what's out the back door from the place I now call home.

So that's master competitor's report from a snowy Sunday. Hope you don't mind…