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Showing posts from April, 2012

Burnsville Metric Century: The rookie peloton crashed

I had a exemplary time today with some of the Boone mountain contingent, riding the Burnsville (NC) metric century.  It was a big event with hundreds of riders; Burnsville has a roundabout in the town center and riders were twirling around it waiting for the starting gun to pop. This is an excellent civic event that serves the community, participants and local businesses in the area. A shout out to the event promoters for adding a special event spiff... embroidered wool cycling socks rather than the time-tested t-shirt.

What concerned me was the attitude of some riders.  The ride out of town was a bit sketchy with cyclists shifting from left to right, accelerating/decelerating with reckless abandon, and throwing in a bit of wheel-overlap to boot. That's not my scene and my crew tried to find a sweet spot where we could spin without risk.  My buddy Jamie and I jumped on pace with some older guy on a orange Seven bike.  This gent didn't shift much, just locked into a high gear an…

Mike Morton is a Green Beret who crushes 100 milers

Mike Morton is a big name in east coast ultrarunning. He was hotter n' hot in the 90's and the big story was Mike's win at the 1997 Western States 100. He went out fast and the west coast runners let him go...who could hold a pace like that over the brutal Western States course?

Mike Morton could. Went all the way out front to win in 15:40 and set a course record.

There's more to Morton's story.  He's career military, first as a Navy diver from Maryland, then later as an Army Green Beret who deployed many times after the 9/11 attack.  There's a lot about Mike Morton we don't know...and never will.

But what is public is his running prowess. A nagging hip injury and his military commitment took him out of the sport for over a decade...but he came back with all cylinders firing. Here's a quick rundown of the damage Mike inflicted on the ultra community in his last few races:

Umstead 100 mile (NC) - 13:11, overall win and course record
Long Haul 100 mil…

100 miles: What are the essentials to finish?

Here's a pic from the 2001 Mohican 100 mile in Ohio. It was my PR 100-miler, 24:31. I was never able to go sub-24, but I got close.  On that day, it rained the first six hours of the race, which in hindsight kept my pace down and conserved energy for when I needed it late in the race.

I am somewhat of a dork.  Gray Brooks jacket and brown shorts...what's up with that? I'm a bit on the pudgy side but there's one thing you can't see that was very brain.

100 milers are run in the mind.  I am now more fit, 20 pounds lighter, and in some aspects stronger...but the power of my mind wanes.  Not in an intellectual way  but in the "must finish at any cost" dimension.

I'm still toying with the concept of running the Georgia Jewel 100 mile this fall.  I'm initially taking a "start the race and see how things unfold" attitude. That mindset in itself can breed defeat.  One must make the commitment to finish and for me that has to be an al…

Tour De Lure delivers on many levels

I was just about to write the event promoters for today's Tour De Lure, but instead I'm opting to give them a major shout-out on my blog and in turn I'll send them the link.
Today's event featured the picturesque Lake Lure and was hosted by the Corpening Memorial YMCA in Marion, NC. Some events are a dud, others are so-so and a rare few are outstanding in all dimensions.  Here's how Tour De Lure gets it done so well:

1) Affordable pricing...early entry was $25 for Y members, $30 for others.  With a T-shirt.  And swag bag. And free fresh-brewed coffee when you arrive. I'm not against free enterprise, but other for-profit promoters, take note.  If you're going to charge more, benchmark against an event like this and then deliver added-value.  That's a tough proposition.

2) Great opening ceremonies.  Professional PA system with speakers for pre-event music, then opening comments you can actually hear!  Heartfelt rendition of National Anthem and then a pray…

Meet Mr. Swim Smooth

I enjoy listening to Ben Greenfield's podcasts and learn a ton about training, fitness and diet.

A caller had a question about how to build swim technique for triathlon...the Total Immersion method has been widely regarded for years, but Ben took us in another direction to

Check out the animated "Mr. Swim" in the YouTube segment above.  If you watch this guy long enough, I guess it will burn into your brain and you'll hit the water like a dolphin.

Despite the fact I'm master's + age, I enjoy all the latest twists and turns in training.  Nothing totally new, but the packaging sure is sexy.

Gender bias in Nike running spot?

Here's a recent Nike promo video...which is cute but skewed.  The female in this segment Forrest Gump's it across the USA to run to her boyfriend; while the male is depicted as a lump in sweats who doesn't have the chutzpah to make it even a few miles.

He cries out for morphine;  she smiles and jogs and breaks nary a bead of sweat. The female finally goes the distance to find her boyfriend rehabbing in the local hospital, where private and personal events ensue.

I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek...but does anyone else see a bit of gender slamming here?

SlimKicker: Can you "point" your way to weight loss and fitness?

I received a few emails from Christine Chew, announcing the launch of her new web site and app, It's a place for individuals to gather on the web and compete in diet and fitness competitions - based on points awarded for improved foodstuffs and/or sport performance.

Thought I'd share this link with Master Competitor readers...but I must admit, I don't get it.  Can some of you help me understand how winning in a virtual world has relevance? I've been at the game of endurance sport for a long time and for me, the motivation comes from personal effort during morning training sessions, or an extra burst over the crest of a hill during a cycling event.

An essential part of the social media environment is engagement.  I'm having a tough time transitioning from what we do on the roads and trails, to what happens in in cyberspace.  Maybe it's time for me to become a SlimKicker type of dude, but at present I'm too busy getting in shape to &qu…

Oak Mountain 50K - 8K; Brooks PureGrit toned my butt

Had quite a day at Oak Mountain 50K.  The event was held is the most-excellent Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, Alabama.  The park boasts over 50 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trail with solid infrastructure such as camping, picnic areas and of course a runner's most important asset - bathrooms.
Here's a link for the park:
Seems like I got dropped off the back like a hot rock only a mile or two into the run.  Terrain was mighty tough through the first 1/3 of the race and it was slow going for old master man.  Wasn't sure if it was in my head or in my body.  Just didn't have the push I needed.  Good grief I'm down to 153 pounds, 3.5% body fat and I'm the speed of a slug.
Since the pack sorted me out and put me in the rear, I clicked on my Zune and engaged an enthralling audio book called "Etta"...on the woman who dated the Sundance Kid and robbed trains with Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall gang.  …