Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2010


I have to be truthful to the throngs of master competitor readers and state that I remain torched from the Valle Crucis 15 miler last Saturday. My knees are tweaked and tendons in my feet ache. Most can be attributed to the long descents. Instead of holding back, I went berserk on the downhills and let my feet recklessly slap the pavement with disregard to legs, hips and back. On one section I saw a guy with a "no whining" logo on his back; I blew by while thinking "hope you don't whine when master competitor takes you on the left."
Saw the guy at the awards ceremony when he was awarded a medal for winning the 60+ class. That's when I realized what a dickwad I can least within my own mind.
Had an interesting turn of events this morning. Found two sections of new trail off the greenway in Boone. My off road loop is getting larger and larger, as I am learning to circumnavigate around many of the sections of paved and crushed stone. So instead of…

Dirt Dawg

Part of having fun while running is creating an eclectic menu of audio delights, downloading them on my Zune, then running trail while daydreaming and letting my mind drift across sermons, audiobooks and podcasts.

I've taken interest in the digital diatribes of fellow ultrarunner and Brooks product promoter Dirt Dawg (photo on left), who hosts a podcast available at

Dirt Dawg lives in Detroit and struggles through the harsh winters, then emerges to compete in events like the Burning River 100 mile in Cleveland and the Boston Marathon. I've come to enjoy his product reviews, training tips, and most often his observations on balancing life with ultrarunning.

Hope he figures that one out soon, as I have been trying for 22 years and still don't have a solution.

So here's a shout out for Dirt Dawg...have a listen and let me know what you think.

Pseudo fit

I am getting to a strange place in life. At first, I wanted to capture my feelings and perceptions under the "aging gracefully" tab. But now realize it's not about age, but about desires.
Life has fallen into a comfortable mode. Teaching is good and related academic service work and scholarly publishing are rewarding. But as key components of my life become more valued, others seem to drift back on the priority scale. For me - and for the first time in over 20 years - it's training and fitness.
That's where pseudo fitness comes in. It's a place where I do foo-foo workouts and jog intermittently, sometimes throwing in an easy mountain bike ride. And when days are busy (I teach out of town on Tuesdays) I no longer exercise at all. That would have been totally unacceptable over the past two decades, but it seems realistic now.
I still enjoy the races. This coming Saturday I'll be doing an 8-hour adventure run in Triangle, Virginia. But I'm not do…

Cruisin' Crucis

I'm glad to report that I have completed my annual attempt at speed work this season.
Ran the Valle Crucis 15 mile yesterday. Since it was "only" 15 miles I thought I'd hang it out.
There were big, long uphills and then hip-jarring descents. Several sections of the course included dirt roads with crushed rock that wreaked havoc with footing. But throughout it all, the glory of Valle Crucis was all around. I still find it hard to believe I live in a wonderful mountain community where a calendar-quality views await around every turn.
It's fun to do low key, local events with camaraderie and competition combined. And I'll remember this race for the related swag; the goody bag included a large piece of packaged, processed ham from the Daniel Boone restaurant.
On this day and at this age, my best effort resulted in a 2:15 finish. Nothing magic in that, I didn't even crack the top 3 in 50-59 class racing. But it was a good event for master competitor. I c…

One tube many uses

There are some things in life that are just OK. And then there are others that are added value all the way.

Here's a big shout-out for Trader Joe's Honey Mango shave cream. This stuff does it all. I'm still finding more uses, but here's a few applications:

1) Shaving. Of course, the intended use. Creamy and slippery and always a close shave...even when hot water isn't available.

2) Face conditioner. The moisturizing element of this product is so good I apply the cream all over my face and let it "set" while I'm shaving. My skin has never felt better and wrinkles are minimized - always important for 50+ master competitors.

3) Fragrance. The stuff smells really good and is copacetic with endurance sport. When I smell like honey mango I go faster.

4) Hair gel. No need to reach for the mousse. Just use some of the residue off your face and push upward over forehead into hair. Perfect for my "tip it up in front" style. Holds like glue all…

29er please don't go...

I got in a weird mood a few days ago. Thought my mountain bike days were over due to lack of gonads, so I put my Gary Fisher Cobia 29er on Craig's list.
Had a couple of tire kickers look at the bike. One individual was interested enough to research my price. I was asking $500; my buyer suggested the bike sells new for $1100 and that used ones like mine sell for $990. He then informed me he didn't want to pay asking price.
So with that info in mind, I opted to try my trusty steed yet one more time. Took a drive to Kerr Scott Dam after church today, and did a 6 mile loop on easy terrain.
Some riders blasted by like I was tied to a stump, while others were riding as family units, more on my pace.
The bottom line is that master competitor will never be an exceptional off road cyclist. I have inhibitions deep inside that keep me from taking risks. I don't want to fall and think about more about staying on two wheels than riding well. This mental barrier trails all the way …

You eat it, or it eats you

Been thinking quite a bit about endurance sport, living in Boone, and life.
Regarding Boone, either it's going to eat me or I'll eat it.
Coming here was a massive shift in reality. I thought I was fit while living and training in Florida. Despite the ability to manage heat and humidity, the flat terrain leaves one woefully out of the groove. Boone is up and down all the time and that's a different tune.
I have resolved to take a slow and methodical approach to a comeback. It's hard, it's tedious, and the hills never end. Now that I'm living on campus, I run from my apartment to wooded areas near the windmill. This is it; either I learn to become one with the trails near what is now home, or I go home, literally, to my apartment and stay there. I want to enjoy what I have. It's the endurance sport mecca of the Blue Ridge.
My other observation is that endurance sport is good when life is bad.
Here's my read on it: When life is not going well, running…

Flyin' high

I'm sure some master competitor readers might push back a bit on a post that is topically non-endurance sport related. But it's my blog and I want to go to another place so either read on or drop the link. Of course, I'll try to close with some sort of ultra inspiration, so maybe you better hang in there.
The photo above means a lot to me. It's Sean Bailey, David's son, putting on a roost and air fest during a recent California riding session. Sean is riding a RC500 works replica, one of the few bikes David managed to retain from his illustrious riding career.
If you go far enough back to remember how the big two-strokes snorted, it was something to behold. Bailey was the master, with a hair-trigger response to that sensitive throttle. After his career-ending accident in 1987, life went down another path. But Sean was born that same year and the Bailey legacy continued.
David told me that it was quite a day when they decided to gas up the RC (with mix not strai…