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Showing posts from October, 2010

See how they fly

Just returned home from a brisk 90 minute fitness bike's sunny and 29 degrees here in Boone.  One thing old master man has to deal with is very easily chilled fingers and toes. Seems I can't wear enough fabric to keep them from stinging.  Bad circulation, maybe Guillain-Barre related.  I had it in 1993...if you're not aware of what GBS is, Google it.

Shot at right was taken during girl's regional cross country finals this morning.  Wondered if the athletes might not have worn a bit more fabric in this snappy weather, but they're young and I'm not.  So I watched the pack bust out of the gate and into the woods.  This photo is about two miles in...the fast runners were way off the front and the rank and file runners struggled.  When I saw some of the girls way off the back, I wondered why they were participating.  Is belonging that important?

But as we all know, some must win and some must lose.  Sure am glad I found ultrarunning, where finishing is win…

Fire in the furnace

Been burning my brain over the carb/protein/fat ratio thing I mentioned in my last post.  The 40/30/30 plan was highly promoted by Dr. Barry Sears in the "Zone Diet" several years ago.  But check out the following post, which I located on a message board this morning:

"For endurance athletes i.e. marathoners, tri-athletes, etc and most in-season sports we'll go to a higher carbohydrate 55-65% protein and fat will be 15-20%. Weight loss can do 50-25-25 and maybe even go to a 40-30-30. Weight maintence seems to work best at 50-25-25. Weight gain definitely works best at 50-25-25. But these are all guidelines and everyone is different. Key is to make sure there is enough carbohydrate available to keep up energy levels, provide all needed nutritients ie. vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, as well as, help protein to be utilized properly."
Danielle LaFata, MA, RD, CPT
Performance Nutritionist/Education Specialist
Thanks I'm working with a bi…


Had a wonderful run this morning.  Sunny and 39 degrees.  Just right with shorts, long sleeve tech top, gloves and cap.  Ran up the hill on campus and into the trails.  Found yet another path into woods and followed it to who knows where, but when I saw houses on the ridge I turned back.  I love to run and explore new terrain and there's plenty more at Appalachian State than what I'm currently running.

As always, a stop at the prayer tower.  I hold a list of friends in my mind whom always get my meditation, asking that God would bring them peace in tough situations.  Then always a few words for myself.  I can't explain it but for the first time in about 38 years I'm OK with myself and where I'm at in life.  It wasn't about me trying - I've done that for years - but for some reason I'll never understand, God simply allowed it. So here I am, faults and all, OK with master man.  Never thought I'd get to this place, yet here I am.

I'm getting deeper…

Ultra felon

A bizarre story inside the ultra scene is coming to culmination...and I know master competitor readers want to know.

Charlie Engle, a rather renowned ultrarunner who was featured in the DVD "Running the Sahara" has been convicted of bank, mail and wire fraud.

Ever hear the saying "all publicity is good publicity?"  Not for Engle. It was reported an IRS agent was watching his documentary and had the same questions master man is he financing these epic global adventures when he doesn't work?  A quick inspection of Engle's tax records brought an investigation into play.
Engle, who lives in Greensboro, NC, has been convicted of 12 counts by a federal court jury.  He reportedly bilked banks out of funds through mortgage fraud, in one instance taking a $44K equity loan on one property and then defaulting on the mortgage.  It was suggested Engle used the funds to finance his ultra running efforts.

A detailed news report is listed below:


Slowing down with Motorhead

I'm an old metal head and also a former advertising when those past lives converge in a meaningful way, I have to do a shout out.

Kronenbourg 1664 beer is doing a wonderful and effective "slow it down" campaign where noted rockers dial back head pounding tunes for an "unplugged" application.

The first effort in the mix was Motorhead and their 1980 rock anthem "Ace of Spades."  If you've ever heard this tune, it's a smasher.  I have included links for 1) the original "Ace of Spades" 2) the new beer commercial using the slow version and 3) the complete slow version song.  You really should do the original first, then lean into the slow versions.

I can't stop watching and listening to this tune.  Mesmerizing in a special sort of way.  It's the essense of a great blues progression without the…

It costs how much?

OK, I'm not ever going to tell you this new Specialized S-Works 29er all carbon, full suspension mountain bike isn't cool.

It is and I'm lusting to ride one.

However, I never will.  It's $9400.

Is is just me, or are bikes getting a bit pricey?  I wonder what marketing mojo drives this price point.  Maybe it's the almost unobtainable, where most mortals can't go?

Of interesting note is the drive train.  The top line mountain bikes are now going to a double chainring cross country setup.  No more triples...good riders never spin a small gear anyway, right?

Here's the link  so check it out and enjoy.

Beware of the bear

I thought it time to shake up the status quo and transition my anchor image, from a scenic vista on the Seaward Highway to a bear that meandered across my path outside Anchorage.

It's a bit like life and endurance sport; sometimes the world seems expansive and gorgeous and you're sucking in the scenery, while in the next moment your confidence crashes down and the bear bites you in the behind.

That's how nature plays its game.  It can be your friend - if you allow  and embrace it - or your foe if you attempt to fight its majesty and power.

The bear will be there to remind us the great outdoors has many colors and flavors and it's our choice as to how we'll interact.

Calorie reality

I'm quite enthralled with  Already have the system down and it's an amazing program that helps you chart and track food, exercise and related calories.

For instance, I was on my usual drive down to Hickory, NC to teach yesterday and decided to "treat" myself at Hardee's.  Two egg biscuits later, I was satiated, fat and happy...until I inputted that info into My Plate.  Those two little gems racked up a huge 900 calories.  Based on the 2000 calorie food intake I had benchmarked at, my day was pretty much wiped out.

It's quite a revelation to see and understand what one is putting into the old furnace. Though the task to input the foods into MyPlate can seem tedious, it's valuable to understand the content, calories and quality of the foodstuffs we ingest. I ended yesterday with about a 457 calorie overage, due in part to the fact I don't exercise on Tuesdays.

So it's a new day, I hit the gym, and will steer well …

Filling my plate

Was listening to Ben Greenfield's podcast and caught a mention of a great product.

Check out  This free calorie counter and exercise log does it all. I enjoy the feature where you can type in any sort of food product...such as Lance crackers...and My Plate pulls up a menu of all the Lance cracker items...just click and it drops into your daily intake column.

There's also an exercise module where you can choose and set your forms of exercise.  From that point, you simply choose the exercise, add the number of minutes, and it drops into your workout log.

Each day offers a running food intake vs. calories burned and you can watch gains or losses.

Very fine stuff.  I have even included my daily walks across campus.  Why leave any calories on My Plate, right?

Cumberland Trail 50K

It's time to write my report for the Cumberland Trail 50K last Saturday.  I have so many notes and thoughts I don't know where to start.  But instead of delaying any further, I lifted a photo from the 2009 race off the CT50K web site.  One thing that didn't change were the long climbs and descents. So let's start with the brain dump:

Promoter Susan Donnelly is excellent.  Strives to serve.  I made a remark last year about coffee at the this year she brought me some Starbucks instant.  She was going to truck in boiling water but I did just fine with my Coleman micro camping stove.

We went out in the dark at 6:30 am.  It was headlamps and go.  Course markings were excellent, even improved over last year, and we needed it.  A heavy leaf cover sometimes obscured the trail and one needed to search for the ribbons and small orange flags.  This year, weather was perfect with sunny skies and highs around 70. Roaring water crossings at last year's event were most…

Can't keep an old dog down

Despite my whining and pouting and "poor me" attitude, I'm sucking it up and heading for the Cumberland Trail 50K.

Will camp in my CR-V (now with bench seat removed to accommodate sleeping) at Cove Lake State Park tonight, then hit the trail with headlamp tomorrow morning.

This race is not for the timid.  This is where the big boys and girls will play.

Have to see if old master man survives.  I may run off the back with co-promoter Rob Apple; Rob pulls down the marking ribbons on the return leg and I may help with that task.

I'm one lucky gimp to be making it to this race.  Excellent friends, excellent terrain, good ultra environment.

Stay tuned.

Package deal

I've mentioned on prior posts that my current state of being is centered in Boone, NC at  Appalachian State University.

And as part of that relationship, I'm pleased to announce it's a total package deal.  ASU provides a full time salary, my living quarters (faculty in residence) and four (4) fitness facilities that meet every need, inclusive of group classes (i.e. yoga and spin) and recreation clubs.

Photo above is the Mt. Mitchell fitness center, nestled on the third floor of the student union.  What does the university charge me for this complete package?  Well, it's way over the top...$4 pre-tax per month.

So, I use it all and I use it often.  I figure that if ASU gives away its fitness facilities at almost free, it wants to encourage me to "be all that I can be" and I plan to do just that.

This morning I was a bit lazy, so I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, hit a few resistance machines and then jumped into the yoga stretch class for an hour.  Someone p…

Is Ironman "yesterday's news?"

Was listening to an interesting podcast on, the weekly multisport edition with commentator Barry Siff.  The discussion was about last weekend's Ironman finale in Hawaii.

Part of that content focused on the lack of big name sponsors in the sport and how the top competitors are trying to understand why consumer products companies don't leverage triathlon to market products.

Somewhere deep inside of me a book exists, on the fallacy of sponsorship and how most sports have already seen better days as far as sponsorship revenues.  From NASCAR to powerboats to motorcycles to billiards to bicycling, I've been there and done that.  And for many of these notable yet underfunded entities, I have one common response:  Promotions have been executed  many times before, it's no longer sexy, and marketers have developed other ways to do business.

Sport promotion is about innovation.  Sticking a company logo on the backside of a triathlete may garner exposure b…

Famous and 26.2

Blog reader Ken Martin dropped master competitor an email.  He wanted a shout out for

If you're having a hard time making the jump from nursing to night runs, so was I. But Ken noted he posted a story of famous people who had run a marathon, at

So I said what the heck.  Here's a shout out, Ken, and thanks for letting us know about celebrities and 26.2.  But fact of the matter is, we're all rock stars here at the master competitor blog and most of us have gone well beyond the marathon.

When you get the time, why not send those celebs an email and tell them to check out our site to see how the big boys and girls get 'er done.

We may not be well known, but we play in a big sandbox.

New River 50K and other life updates

Slugged my way through the New River 50K this past Saturday.  Great sunny day, great event, and not so great results.

I hate being old and slow.  I was whining to a new running friend, David King, about my current state of oldness and disability with this side/hip/IT band thing. He stated, "you have to know your limits" and then charged ahead to beat me by 4 minutes.  Saw his name in the results, he's 64!

Race was a gentle, flat out and back on the New River and Chestnut Creek paths in the New River State Park. Annette Bednosky, an elite ultrarunner and event promoter, was on top of the details.  She awarded each runner with a Nathan hand held bottle and each aid station offered a cornucopia of PowerBar products.  My new favorite were little cookies and cream sampler packs. Guess that good taste took some attention away from my side ache. Each step was a hassle and it was pretty bad at the turnaround...that left my 15 miles to get back to the car!

Anyway, I gimped in for…

I have a funny feeling...

Remember that horse elixir I was telling you about?  The pain is my thumb and hip have decreased, but there seem to be side effects that were not listed on the product information. My thoughts seem so small today...

We're still getting some gorgeous fall weather in the NC mountains.  I was headed for the pool today, but instead was outside my apartment at 7 am changing a rear flat on my commuter bike.  Once that was done I rolled and what a wonderful ride.  Met an older guy who was out on a retro bike, doing his one hour loop.  We visited, rolled slow, and let the fresh air and sunshine enter our bodies.  How much better can it get?

I know the bad climate will be upon me soon, so I have been prepping for indoor exercise such as swimming. I really don't like the cocoon-like silence that comes with swimming, so I bought a new gadget that allows me to put the Zune in a water-tight case with special aqua earplugs. I picked up this Airhead Dry Pak model from…

Culpeper Cycling Century

Here's old master blaster himself geared up and ready for the Culpeper (VA) Cycling Century this past Saturday. Please hold the comments on my flamboyant apparel...I'm a notorious under-dresser but on this day the gorgeous fall weather brought out the dapper side of me.

The ride was well produced, a fundraiser for the local Parks and Recreation Department.  Course arrows were abundant and rest stops were plentiful and well crewed.  The 65 route was actually 68 and change, but all around fun rolling hills in a picturesque countryside.

Now for the bad news.  The riders I encountered were unfriendly.  Many of my "good mornings" went unanswered.  One guy ignored me, then berated the crew at the next rest stop for poor course markings.  He had missed the 100 mile loop turnoff...guess he missed the large six foot sign and multiple turn arrows and decided to blame his issues on the organizers.  That didn't sit well with me so I talked to a rest stop leader and told her …