Skip to main content

Rattlesnake and bake

The 16th annual Rattlesnake Trail 50K was, as usual, a very tough affair. The ultra is in the Kanawha State Forest near Charleston, WV. Ten climbs totaling 5000 feet of drop and climb wore me to the bone. I last did this race about 10 years ago and ran 6:30. This time around it was 7:11 and I had to take it to the bank. Check out the photo of master competitor at right; this semi-prone position was the best I could come up with for over an hour after completing the course.

Temps were steamy, in the 80's with heavy humidity. I was soaked and dripping by the first aid station. It was time for a Hammer Gel and a bottle of Heed before heading back on the trail.

In short fashion I was alone in the woods so opted for my Zune. First listen was a new (audio)book by Sarah Silverman. After about an hour of a half on bed wetting and bowel movements I had enough and shifted to the album shuffle mode. Things were great until 4:25 into the race, when I sweated out my headphones and the left ear pod went south. From that point forward I could hear partial song, partial footstrike and heavy breathing.

After each aid station, race promoter Dennis Hamrick sends runners up a new hill. The climbs are taxing, footing is tough (many rocks and roots) and the descents can be dangerous. One fact I must admit is that I'm not the descender I used to be. It's simply age and fear. I don't have the confidence to charge down a trail with bad footing. Catch one toe and it could lights out. I'd rather stay in the game and live to race another day.

Rattlesnake is one of my favorite 50K's. It's challenging, has plenty of terrain and excellent event management. I'll say this almost every post, but I thank the good Lord for the opportunity and each finish is a gift.

Now it's time to look forward and plan. There are new bike rides and ultras to run. It's great to be part of the endurance world.


  1. Nice work. Not a bad time compared to 10 years ago. Congrats.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


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…

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…

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…