Sunday, July 15, 2012

Many Paths to the Summit

I often think of the Buddhist phrase "Many Paths to the Summit" when running in the mountains. In the case of the Tour De Virginia that wasn't the case. The rules stated "entrants must run past every AT paint blaze from the VA/TN border to Harper's Ferry." I couldn't blaze my own path, had to follow the AT the entire length of Virginia. After running the Over the Top run with Eric Grossman and the Iron Mountain Trail Runners crowd on 12/31/11... I got the following text message from Eric on 1/1/12 at 9:22 a.m. "Would you dare to try the AT thru VA in 15 days?" My response? "Tell me more... Sounds like my kinda adventure." So it began... soon I received a facebook event request. I looked at the invitee list and was immediately intimidated. Karl Meltzer (all time 100 mile winner), Dave Mackey, Anne and Mark Lundblad, Troy Shellhamer, among others... a who's who of elite ultra runners. I quickly asked my employer if I could spend 2 weeks on vacation and didn't even ask my wife and family. Sara just shook her head and said "you are so gonna do this".... I was in from the moment I got Eric's text. The weeks and months leading up to the TDV were full of planning, gathering gear, picking shoes, spending long hours hiking and running. So many details to think about, from work plans for my extended absence, plans for the family, fueling on the run, what gear to bring, new tent, hydration packs... I write this on the day after my 54th birthday. To cut to the end of the story, I planned on spending my birthday moving on foot into Harper's Ferry after 560 miles on the AT. It wasn't to be... An achilles injury forced me out after Stage 6. It's been a really hard week for me.... 2nd guessing, beating myself up over not trying it one more day, thinking of things I could have done differently, following the others on their successful trek. It's been tough, but I'm also proud of what I did accomplish. Over the course of 6 days I "ran" for 68 hours and 48 minutes.
My ankle on Saturday 7/7/12 when I decided to head home
Sexy legs from my time on the AT Since the TDV ended yesterday with 3 runners completing the adventure in Harper's Ferry, I finally feel able to put down some of my thoughts and feelings down in my blog. Initially, I couldn't think of much to write other then I started but didn't complete the event. I've never DNF'd a race so this has been difficult. Maybe make me stronger in the end? I'll have to write this in installments, so stay tuned.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


My son Kane is studying abroad this semester at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in Quito Ecuador. He's become quite the mountain adventurer. He reached the summit of Pichincha (over 15,000'), camped at the base of Cotopaxi, climbed up the snow/ice covered summit of Iliniza Norte (16,784'), hiked part way up Chimborazo at over 18,000', and hopes to summit the 19,347' Cotopaxi before he heads home at the end of May. Here are some photos of his adventures.

Deep in the Amazon Rainforest

Camping at the base of Cotopaxi

Snow covered Cotopaxi looming

Mount Chimborazo, highest peak in Ecuador

Kane on the left @ Ilinizas

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Micah True

"Don't fight the trail. Take what it gives you... Think easy, light, smooth and fast. You start with easy because if that's all you get, that's not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don't give a shit how high the hill is or how far you've got to go. When you've practiced that so long that you forget you're practicing, you work on making it smoooooth. You won't have to worry about the last one -- you get those three, and you'll be fast."

-Micah True (Caballo Blanco)

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Balance MT110 Review

I really really love the latest trail shoe from New Balance.... the MT110. I've grown quite comfortable with a fairly low profile, minimal shoe both on the road and trails and the feel of the 110 by far is my favorite. I've gone from the NB 100's, to the 101's (used the 101's in 2 of my MMTR's and the Umstead 100)and now the 110. The MT110 is built on the same last, I believe, as the Minimus line with a 4mm drop from heel to forefoot. Although the shoe generally has the same feel as the earlier versions, this was the most comfortable. I've only taken one run in them, a hard 20 miler this past weekend. I wasn't on overly technical trails but I think they will do really well. The outsole seems a little stiffer and maybe more protection yet I can still feel that connection to the earth below my foot (sorry if that sounded a little corny but the more you run in low profile shoes the more you get accustomed to that "feel").

I didn't wear any socks and absolutely no problems other then my feet were a little cold early in the run on a cold morning. I'm going to give them a try at the Mount Mitchell Challenge in 2 weeks with Dry Max- Maximum Protection socks and see how it goes.

This past week I felt a bit burned out so was really pleased with the 20 mile run I did on a windy Saturday in the MT110's. It is one of my favorite Jack Daniels Q1 workouts. This is how it played out:
2 mile easy warm-up
2 miles hard @ 6:40/mi
1 mile easy
2 miles hard @ 6:34/mi
7 miles easy @ 7:48/mi
3 miles hard @ 6:50/mi
3 miles easy
Total= 20 miles continuous running in 2:31:16 (7:35/mi)

My son Kane at 15,496' elevation outside of Quito, Ecuador

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012 Plans

I'm beginning to do some planning for 2012 but first a few photos from the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012.

12/31/11 at the "Over the Top" run with the IMTR group

With the boys being silly at Elk Garden post OTT Run

Looking a little sleepy w/ Sara after a nice Vegan meal (running with Eric Grossman and the IMTR's will do that to you)

With Anton in Carrboro, NC

After not getting into Umstead 100 this year I decided to change things up a bit. Since late December I have been doing more marathon training than ultra training. Averaging mid 80's most weeks with more quality runs and fewer really long runs. I realized after the New River 50k that I might have one more decent marathon in me having gone through the marathon mark in about 3:12-3:14 very comfortably and continuing on for 5 more miles. So the plan is to run the Mount Mitchell Challenge in 2 weeks then taper for a late March marathon at either Tobacco Road in Cary or Wrightsville Beach (same weekend).

During the first two weeks of July I'm entered in the Tour de Virginia, a 560 mile stage race the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 14 Stages, 14 Days, 137,000' of climbing, 560 Miles. 6 runners have entered thus far and should be an exciting adventure.

I hope to run the Iron Mountain 50 and a 3rd Mountain Masochist in the fall. I'm sure I will find the starting line at a few more races but nothing set and on the calendar yet.

A few more photos from late 2011...

Treadmill was unavailable this day

First trail run for Patrick (w/ Dad)at Hanging Rock

LSU - Arkansas game in Baton Rouge

Sunday, January 1, 2012


3,179.4 miles

481 hours 13 minutes 25 seconds

6 Ultras
Frost Fifty (50k)
Holiday Lake (50k)
Umstead 100 (100 mi)
Iron Mountain (30 mi)
New River (50k)
Mountain Masochist (50 mi)