Thursday, February 28, 2019

Elitist Lottery Races Can Eat A Dick


I started this blog in 2013.  At the time I was new to the sport of MUT running and I was full of excitement and optimism.  What was great about this scene (to me at that time) was the laid back and egalitarian nature of the sport.  When I finished my first 50 mile race in 2012 I was blown away that no one in my running circle seemed very concerned about how fast I ran.  They didn’t ask how tough it was.  They really just wanted to know if I had a good time and if I want to do more.  I did.
I dove quickly into all of the races in the trail running world and quickly determined that my #1 goal in life was to run the Hardrock 100.  And my number 2 goal was to run Western States.  And I set out to do this ASAP.  I even added the following to my blog title: “This is a blog about an ultra runner trapped in the city of Chicago training towards the ultimate goal of participating in the Hardrock 100.

Here I was, running and training on the mean streets of the south side of Chicago.  Running on sidewalks with broken glass and chicken bones.  No vert to speak of.  Nothing resembling a mountain.  But in my heart, I knew I wouldn’t be complete until I ran Hardrock 100.

Then, reality set in.  

Although I did enter the lottery a couple of times (Western States too) I quickly learned that running a States and Hardrock Qualifier regularly might not result in the kind of running year I really want to have.  Add to that, the fact that more and more people are applying every year.  At 45 years old it really didn’t seem like a likely goal. 




But still, I tried.  Year after year joining that group of people that will have to “wait and see about the lotteries.”  And now I’m talking about even more lotteries, AC, Leadville, etc. etc.  I wondered how it might feel to just look at the list of races and do the ones I feel like doing or that look interesting and ignoring the “qualifier/lottery shuffle.”

You know the races I’m talking about.  The ones that don’t qualify you for anything and when you bring them up to your friends, they all say “well, I’ll have to see what happens with the lotteries” or “I need a ______ qualifier.”  The ones that are the “have nots” of the scene.  Because, as you may suspect, there are people who cannot afford on a time or training basis to do several 100 mile races in a year.  There are people with jobs and families and physical or financial limitations.  So, sorry Ozark 100, I need to try to go do Javalina or Kettle.  Because I need my qualifier. That goes for you Stagecoach and Salt Flats.  And I’m sorry Pony Express.  Back to Rocky or Burning River I go.  You know what I’m talking about.

And then, one day I thought about it. There’s really two kinds of people.  People that easily and consistently get into and/or qualify for the races, and those that do not.  Well, that’s not really true.  There’s a third group: the ones that have privilege and get in because they are fast or famous or in the veteran lottery.  They’re the friends of the RD that get automatically picked and the sponsored runners.  They’re the special picks, the media favorites and the winners from last year.

And then there’s the rest of us.




It’s awesome that the top ten people get to go back to Western States every year.  I’m touched that Hardrock maintains a good vibe with a mix of veterans and first timers (which is greatly appreciated and defended by only those people privileged enough to be in that group).  It’s a cool perk that some of the “in” runners are automatically slotted into races like AC or Leadville while the rest of the applicants pray they get picked. Plus, sponsored runners, ____ ticket runners, RD special picks etc. etc.  The list of the lucky ones goes on and on.

But don’t for one second try to tell me that it’s fair or egalitarian.  I have watched the races that aren’t qualifiers struggle to get by while others which are full every year with hopefuls.  I watch my friends plan their race schedule specifically to qualify and be one of those people that get a chance to be one of the lucky ones to get a spot after the haves get done taking care of each other.

And when it is all said and done I see people posting about their 15th Western States finish or their 20th Hardrock finish and I puke a little in my mouth.

Until they are fair and just, these lottery races can eat a dick.  I’m going to run the races that interest me and if I qualify, I’ll put my name in and if I don’t, so be it.  So hello Ozark 100 and hello Salt Flats!  It will be nice to see you and I promise not to have any regret!




One other thing.  I’ll promise you one thing right here and now, if I ever do get in to these races, with their high demand and limited slots.  It’s one and done.  Because everyone should get a chance.
Oh, and I’m changing my blog title.  Because I no longer dream about competing in Hardrock.  I dream about handing you your first 100-mile buckle.  The times have changed.

Note: Some people will argue this is jealousy or sour grapes.  Or just me whining because my running sucks lately.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What brought this post on was the juxtaposition of hundreds of my running friends planning their whole lives around races that really prioritize taking care of the elites, the famous and their friends over giving you a chance to experience their race and be the miracle that I know you are.

Ten Junk Miles Gear available here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TenJunkMiles

Monday, January 14, 2019

St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra

This weekend I participated in the St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra  in Hinkley MN.  This is a new winter ultra race put on by Jamison and Lisa Swift, really nice folks who have been involved in the winter scene for some time.

Winter ultras are a completely different beast with unique challenges.  They tend to involve extensive required gear like a specific caliber of sleeping bag, bivy (shelter), fuel, emergency food and other things to survive the winter.  Most people place this gear in a pulk and run with it.  Generaqlly you can ski, run or bike the distance.

Loading my pulk

 Years back the Tuscobia Winter Ultras had a 35/40 mile option but discontinued it.  So in terms of actual winter endurance events, rookies had to do something like the Frozen Otter (64 miles) or the Tuscobia 80 miles.  Both of these are in cold to extreme cold temps with very little outside support.  As times you can go tens of miles alone with no place to seek shelter should things go wrong.  While it is true that if you have the required gear and some knowledge of using it, these are both quite big events for a rookie.

In short, there was a need for a good introductory winter ultra.  So this was a great idea.

To add fuel to the fire, St. Croix included a couple of skills tests that needed to be performed as part of the race.  First, we all started in our sleeping bags and bivy.  Tucked in.  (Sidenote, I've participated in 9 winter ultras and I have never used my sleeping bag and bivy).

My first bivy
Also, we were required to get out our stove and boil water in the middle of the 40 mile race. (Sidenote, I've participated in 9 winter ultras and I have never used stove).

As you may be guessing.  This is a perfect event for someone new to or interested in winter ultras.  The 40 mile distance is challenging while not overwhelming.  The skills tests are cool confidence builders.  Also, ts a water only checkpoint at 20 miles so you aren't doing a 30-40 mile section without aid.  

We started at 6 p.m. and the event has a 16 hour cutoff.  I started with Adam, but he took off about 5-10 miles in and I spent the rest of the event alone.  I found my all day hiking pace and cranked out a book (Artemis by Andy Weir) and a bunch of podcasts.  I settled into some classic rock in the end and finished comfortably around 12 hours.  Other than a few blood blisters from a problem I am developing on the side of my foot in these Hoka Bondi's (yes, I for some reason ran in road shoes) I didn't have any issues.

For nutrition I ate 2 RX Bars, 2 Nutty Buddy's and a bag of cheese munchies.  I drank 80 ounces of water.  Memory, I cried a little during Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven.  

So 14 hours of driving, no hotel.  And a nice stop at Culver's later.  team ASS (Adam, Siva Scott) came home victorious.


If you are considering winter ultras or curious about them, this is your obvious first step.  A great taste of what the sport has to offer in a safe environment which requires you to perform a few of the skills essential to it.  I highly recommend it!

Thanks for the support, and thanks for listening to Ten Junk Miles!!!

Sidenote: the first price increase for the Badger Trail Races is coming soon.  So get signed up so I can see you in the tunnel!!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Put a fork in 2018


2018 is done, put a fork in me


Some years I’m the dog and some years I’m the tree.  This year I was the tree. 

I was looking forward to ending 2018 with a couple of strong performances at the Yeti 100 and the Backyard Ultra. Instead, we’ll, I didn’t do much.  



Yeti 100 is put on by one of my favorite people in the ultra world, Jason Green. Jason is ultra running.  He’s community. His spirit and attitude is 100% what I love about this sport and I was looking forward to a huge hug from him at the finish line after a strong 100 mile performance.  Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t well trained.  I wasn’t in good shape. I wasn’t even running well. I guess I just thought based on my experience and the fact that the course was flatish and smoothish I should be able to finish. 

The course is, staggeringly beautiful. 33 miles gently down a 3,000 ft. mountain, then back up it about down again.  46 trestle bridges for each out, back and out again. Amazing aid stations. A really cool vibe. A skateboard deck, shirt and hat for all participants...and the feeling that you are part of a community that is really in this together.  Yeti knocked me out. 



So what the fuck happened?  Well, at mile 33 I noticed a hole the size of a fingertip in the center of my foot pad. Which caused some blistering and a little rot foot.  So I stopped (Thanks Ami!!!) and changed socks, freshly applied Trail Toes and headed back out with the Grant Maughan mentality of “blisters ain’t shit.” In retrospect the foot pad blister changed my hair which caused more blisters and blood blisters and all kinds of, well, fucked up shit that dropped me to my knees around mile 80.  And my day was over.  




And I again thought...why am I doing this? How can I make this sport a part of my life when I have a year like this?  Who would want to listen to me talk on a podcast after this terrible year of DNF’s and failures? What the fuck is wrong with me?



I remembered back to a time when I felt like I could finish everything and everything.  When I attacked each race and trained my ass off.  When I felt like the kind of person people admired as a runner. And I was a little sad. 

I decided to just pull the plug on 2018 and look ahead. To take some time to train and work on diet and nutrition. To get in good running shape and unfuck myself. To make 2019 a better year and stop trying to force things.  

And to go back next year to see Jason Green in Damascus and get that fucking hug.  

I’ll be back.  I have some training to do.  


I should probably work on writing a bit during this period too!



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Why you should just shut up and leash your fucking dog

Why you should just shut up and leash your fucking dog

or

ODE TO EDWARD SANDOR’S DOG LEASH POST




           
            I pulled this quote out of Edward Sandor’s blog post because I have come across this scenario far too many times:

"Leash your dog!"
Why? Aside his base existence off-leash, he isn't doing anything wrong. He isn't hurting anyone. He just wants to laugh and frolic in the woods, just like you.
"You're breaking the law."
Thanks.
"Asshole."
Though truth be told, upon confrontation, I just smile and say, "Have a nice day!" and we keep on as we were, minding nobody any business at all--and in a way, that's asserting dominance, taking powers”

            This encounter always leaves me flabbergasted (old timey word).  I kinda feel like a person would feel if every time they approached a green light they had to worry that someone might be disregarding the light going the other direction.  I long for a “leashed” dog park or area where I can spend time with my leashed dog with confidence that everyone is following the rules.  But this post isn’t about me and my unique circumstances.  Nonetheless, in the interest of full disclosure I have a large Doberman that doesn’t really like other dogs.  He loves all people.  He’s not viscous or a danger.  He just had an unfortunate early life and we rescued him. (who rescued whom?).  He’s my best friend and main running partner.  (two ultra finishes – a 30 and 50).  Ask anyone who knows him and they will tell you, he’s a good dog.



            I should also disclose that I have a keen interest in animal rescues, having given some time and money to the Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus, and I am a member (and Secretary Nominee) of the Illinois State Bar Association Animal Law Section.   Yes.  I know a little about animal law and I give my spare time to it and its causes.

            But this isn’t about me, my dog and my credentials.  It’s not about you either.  You see, in answering this question it’s a mistake to reflect on that time you got bit.  That time a friend of yours was attacked.  Or the time an off leash dog bit your dog.  Nor is it about your subjective fears and allergies or your love of cats and hatred of dogs.  None of these are relevant to the discussion.  Nor is the fact that you have the greatest, kindness, god-like dog that wouldn’t hurt a fly.  Nor is the fact that your dog is under your complete and utter control.

            It really comes down to two concepts.  1) common sense (we could also say “logic”); and 2) courtesy.



            Let me say first – if you live in a place where dogs are allowed to be off leash, or if you are in an off-leash dog park, this isn’t directed at you.  ENJOY!  If off-leash is legally permitted none of this applies. 

            Let me say second – I wish we lived in a world where every dog was good, every person was good, no people were scared or allergic, and no dangers existed to off leash dogs and they could all frolic in lawless harmony to their hearts desire.  But Elvis isn’t cutting records anymore and I stopped believing in Santa, so that isn’t possible.  In point of fact, Mr. Sandor (who’s blog post this is a rebuttal to at the following link:


himself realizes these limitations.  I know this because 1) I’ve never actually seen him with his dogs off leash; and 2) he has a door to his house, and he doesn’t allow his dogs to do whatever they want….if he did, they would likely do what any free dog would do…..travel to the nearest Burger King and wait out back for scraps. 



            So the reality is, we live in a world with:

1.     Problem dogs.  (Mine technically being one of them); and
2.     Problem people which fall into the category of bad dog owners, people that can’t be around dogs and people that just don’t like dogs.

If anyone has a practical solution to eliminating these two things, problem solved.  But again, I stopped believing in leprechauns long ago.  So, as a consequence, some jurisdictions have imposed laws that require dogs to be leashed when in the public sphere.  These laws exist to protect good people and good dogs from problem people and problem dogs. 



If you don’t like leash laws move to a place without them or fight to change the law.  But if you live in a jurisdiction with a leash law or are in an area which requires a leash and you don’t use it, you’re either selfish or rude.  There’s no way around it. When you ignore the law and just do whatever you like you are like a person that says “stop signs are for other people” or “someone else will pick this garbage up” or “I’ll choose whether or not to vaccinate my kid.”  Sure, you’ll get away with it for a while but everyone you effect just thinks you’re an asshole. 

            There’s a million ethical, social and metaphyisical arguments around the fringe of the issue.  (“My dog is different” and “This is my way of contentious objection” and “Dogs want and need to be free” etc. etc.).  I get it.  There’s also plenty of places for you to lawfully have your dog off leash and plenty of places where leash laws don’t exist.  You can also fight to change your local law. 


            But seriously.  If it’s the law where you are, just shut up and leash your fucking dog.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Band of Runners Trail Camp

I spent last weekend in Virginia at the Band of Runners Trail Camp. It was a mind blowing experience where veterans and gold star families gathered to learn about trail running, trail running skills and get introduced to trail running culture.


But let's back up a second.

This is ultra running superstar Liza Howard:



I first met Liza at the NFECSF a year ago.  I was really impressed by her as a coach very very concerned about how her runner was doing (that she came to surprise pace).  I was also impressed that she knew what Ten Junk Miles was.  She told me about the camp generally and I offered to help in any way I could.

Shortly thereafter I recorded a long run interview with her for Ten Junk Miles: 

(Available on Itunes): LINK TO LIZA INTERVIEW

After this interview I think I had fully drank the Liza Howard Kool-Aide.  This is a special person who really cares about making the world around her a better place.  My kind of people.  I wanted to help the project and Liza in any way I could....so we did some raffles and posts on Facebook to get behind her project so that it could be funded.

Then she invited me to camp.  Seriously?  Me?  The list of mentors included legends of the sport, elite runners and really accomplished people.  I'm none of those and have very little connection to the cause.  But I went anyway.  And so glad I did.

I can't begin to explain to you all what took place.  Imagine vets and gold star family members exploring the trails and trail running life with these legends of the sport.  They learned about stretching, form, nutrition, blister care, trail etiquette, and so much more.  While some had experience and used this to refine their skills and learn more about the sport, still others took their first trail run, their first night run and met their first trail running friends.



I met a lot of new people and made a lot of new friends.  From Joe Prusaitis (for sure my new brother from another mother) to Jamil (Jam Jam) Coury (who didn't challenge me to an eat/run event).  To Liza and her amazing family (especially Ruby) and everyone in between.  I got to go on legend Dave Mackey's first trail run in a long time.  I heard AJW give an inspirational speech.  and I may, just may have been talked into another stupid running event or two (Brian Ricketts will be Whataburger Champion no more).  I want to thank each and every one of the mentors.  It meant a lot to meet you, spend time with you and get to know you.  You're all very special people.  


But most of all.  More than anything.  I got to see first hand how therapeutic trail running can be.  How it can connect us and make us vulnerable.  How our stories and memories can inspire and open up others.  And how being with other trail runners, nature and having a common purpose can form an extremely powerful bond and connection.  When I left I knew I would want to do more to help this cause.  I also wondered what other groups could benefit from the magic of this community.  I already know it works wonders for addicts, trauma survivors.....who else.

The end of the year is coming and I always reflect on what more I can do.  Yes, medals are fine and I like having cool ultrasignup results, but at the end of the day I want to be able to look back and say that I had a positive impact on the world.  Things like this make me hungry for more.  It's not just running and trails.  It's not just finish lines.  It's humanity.  And we can really make a difference if we open our hearts and minds and look around.

Do you want to help?  Even a small donation would make a big difference, so here's a link if you want to donate to the Band of Runners so that future camps can take place: DONATE  If even 10% of the people that read this left $5.00 it would make a HUGE impact.

PS: I also took a class on Wilderness First Aid.  So if you get hurt on the trail, I stumble upon you and I say I have medical training DON'T LAUGH :)

PSS: I'm off to run a 100 mile self supported turkey trot for ALS next week and a 225 mile jog around Texas to see churches the following week.  So if I die, please tell my wife to tell my dog that I loved him.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Run Across Illinois For Mental Health


Just wanted to check in because, as a lot of you may know, I'm currently running across the entire state of Illinois.  I wanted to explain why and let you know how you can help.

Defeat the Stigma is a project that aims to raise awareness and money for issues effecting mental illness.  They have a podcast ("Defeat the Stigma" on Itunes).  They shed light on a whole host of important issues and it is an extremely inspirational project.  You can read about it an learn more at www.defeatthestigma.org.

Julio Salazar is the founder of the Defeat the Stigma Project.  He's also an ultrarunner who decided to run across Minnesota in 2015 to bring attention to this project. (he also snores...I have learned).  Last year he ran across Wisconsin and a few other runners joined him.  This year he's running across Illinois to raise money for NAMI (The National Alliance for Mental Illnesss.  It's roughly 140 miles so the run is broken down to 35 miles a day.  I decided to join him, along with ultrarunners Erica Wagner, Kevin Chem, Cheryl Zwarkowski.  At this point we're halfway there. 







You can follow us at www.defeatthestigma.org.

There's a lot of reasons to run.  This has been one of the best.  We hold signs to dedicate miles to people that died from mental illness or suicide.  We talk to people and groups about mental illness. We've also learned about people that have taken their own life, during the run. We can see the impact first hand.  We see in the faces and eyes of people that they understand.  And we are transformed. It's a great project.  100% of the funds we raise go to NAMI.  Thank you for following g and supporting!!



Friday, February 3, 2017

Arrowhead 135 Race Report - Fueled by Irrational Fears and Junk Food

Earlier this month i finished the Tuscobia 160 Mile ultra. That report was gear-centric. This week i completed the Arrowhead 135 Mile race in International Falls Minnesota.  This report will focus more on the mental and nutritional aspects of winter races.

Photo credit Scott Rokis


Sidenote: I am attempting a "slam" of three races in one year.  Tuscobia 160, Arrowhead 135 and Actif Epica 120 KM.  If you complete the three in one year you are entered into the "Order of the Hrimthurs"  Only three people have ever done all three on foot in one year.  

Background 

Arrowhead is generally referred to as one of the hardest foot races period.  It starts in the "IceBox of America" International Falls, MN. Like Tuscobia, runners (you can bike or ski as well) are unsupported, no crew or pacers. Runners are allowed 1 drop bag of food.  The only other gear you get to have is on your sled (pulk) which you pull behind you.  My sled weighed about 30 pounds.  i had much of the same things i had from Tuscobia.  There is a store you check into at mile 35. A cabin at 70.  A tent on the side of the trail at 110 and very little other than trees, hills and snow in between.  You are given 60 hours to finish.  Usually less than half of the starters finish.

Photo Credit Thomas Woods


Race Plan

My strategy was to try to get to 35 in 10 hours. Get to 70 in 25 hours. And then take it easy the rest of the way, finishing before the cutoff. I was going to run with my friend Tim again at least until halfway unless one of us was holding the other up.  My "reach" goal was to finish in 55 hours, and not be chasing cutoffs.  Last year I quit around mile 50.  Excuse, sheer gutlessness. 

Nutrition

Although I have been eating NSNG (No sugar no grains) I loaded about 10,000 calories on my sled and drop bag of bad food.  Gells/Waffles, Lara Bars, Reeces Cups, Pringles, Trail Mixes, Mixed Nuts and then, just for fun because they weigh nothing, a large bag of cheetoes (regular, not puffs).  My goals to cram 200-500 calories into my mouth per hour, no matter what.  When I wasn't hungry or it made me sick, I ate it anyway saying, out loud, "It's medicine."

The Race

Tim and I started strong and hammered the first section to Gateway.  We were even under 15 minute miles for some of the time and I was impressed with our progress.  It was in the 10's to start reaching the 20s, so warmish and snowing.  The trail was nice and we ran into many old and new friends.  We got to Gateway around 10 hours and I was thrilled.  We took a rather long stop because I had feet issues to cure and I really wanted to eat some warm food while I could.  I had a hot dog, a sloppy joe, chicken tenders and two cokes.  I also bought another bag of cheetoes (puffs), Twinkies (no idea why) and more cokes and a red bull for the sled.  (This is totally grossing me out as I write it).

Over the next 35 mile section something happened to Tim.  He started slowing.  Then he puked.   Like 500 times in a row.  This was bad.  Without food and water this race is impossible.  Dehydration causes cold.  Lack of food causes the sleepies.  I knew we were in trouble.  After several discussions he told me to leave and that he was going to "bivy" (camp on the side of the trail) and try to "unfuck himself."  I didn't think there was a good chance of that by the looks of him and I was sad.  Tim was in the slam with me.  We were really pushing and I thought a couple times that I was going to be holding him back.  This was a big shock.  I became lonely and all in my own head, which is a bad place to be.  I got out my coke and put it within my gortex jacket to thaw it out.  I also got out a large bag of cheetoes.  New nutrition strategy....every 5 miles, 10% of the coke and 10% of the cheetoes and 8 gulps of water.  Why 8?  Who knows?  Things aren't really making sense.  At this point I could hear packs of wolves howling everywhere.  That's interesting.  Creepy.

Ski Pulk - Photo credit Scott Rokis


Also, Tim was worried about a long lake crossing.  The idea of running on a frozen lake probably doesn't scare many people but for some reason it really scared Tim.  I wasn't thinking about whether it scared me because I was going to enjoy scaring and laughing at him.  Now, alone, on my own, going across the frozen lake without a person in sight, seeing all those tracks, and hearing the cracking noises I got really scared.  I called my wife and just asked her to talk to me.  My god.  I was so scared.  It made no sense in retrospect.  :)

I got to Melgeorges (mile 70ish) at 24 hours (ahead of my plan) and people basically laughed at me for being scared of the lake.  I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and some soup, served by Kari's sweet mom :) and changed my socks.  I refilled my coke, which had become a main source of happiness on the trail, stored in my inner pocket and swigged each 10K while I pounded more cheetoes.  My feet were BAD.  But you know what, I knew that was going to happen when I signed up, so I crammed them in my shoes again and pushed off.

The next section was the scary lonely hilly section.  I didn't see any people the entire time, it was snowing in my face and the hills were crazy, extra crazy with a 30 pound sled on your back.  Then there was the sledding down the hills which I was adamantly opposed to prior to this race.  Now I was sledding everything with reckless abandon.  Taking chances.  At many points completely unaware of my path.  I started to have a little fun in between the hills that I hated.  These hills weren't extreme by any means, but with the sled, over and over.  At some point I just decided that it was never going to end, it was going to be hill after hill and, well, whatever.  I turned into a cheetoe eating coke drinking zombie.

Photo credit - Eric Bloomquist


Those Twinkies came into play around mile 100.  They were slightly frozen.  I haven't had a Twinkie in a very long time.  They were, glorious.

I hit the last checkpoint at Ski Pulk (mile 110) around 11:00.  My plan was to leave by midnight so I would have 19 hours to go 22ish miles.  I would finally feel like the race is in the bag and I will finish.  I took off my wet shoes and tried to dry my socks and nothing was helping.  In fact, my feet felt like frozen blocks of ice and my shoes were freezing up.  I was really scared I was going to get frostbite.  Eric and Tim saw me at Ski Pulk and got me moving.  I actually left before midnight.  My feet and shoes warmed up a bit once I got moving but I was worried because everything was wet and the temps were dropping to below zero and this seemed like the perfect cocktail for frostbite.

Sidenote: I know nothing about frostbite.  I've never had it, never read about it.  I really have just seen scary pictures.  On a scale of 1-10 my knowledge of frostbite was equal to my knowledge of frozen lakes.  0.

Photo Credit Burgess Eberhardt

So pulled my last coke and bag of Cheetos (if something is working and you are eating why change, right?) and all I can think about is frostbite.  Over and over again.  So I called my wife and she googled it.  We decided I could change my socks, but that might do little with the wet shoes.  At the end of the day I came to the decision that my best course of action was to start running.  To get to the finish ASAP and then they would take off my boots and my feet would be black and blue and I'd need an ambulance to the hospital, but I'd still be in the slam so whatever, right?

Sidenote: I didn't sleep during this race at all.  I took a 5 hour energy and two caffeine pills.  I hallucinated most of the last 24 hours but after Tuscobia I was used to that. My initial reaction to everything, real or imagined was "that's not real."

So I cranked up the tunes (hip hop) and did the Cheeto/coke thing running every other song.  I was scared, miserable and in a complete state of panic.  All I though about over those last 15 miles was frostbite.  I pushed as hard as I could.



Sidenote: I did the first half in 24:01; the second half in 24:09.  Weird!!

When I finally finished I wasn't happy.  I just needed to know if I had frostbite.  I didn't, of course.  Just some really gross blisters.  It was all irrational.  Maybe my mind needed an excuse to make me run.  Maybe I did.  Maybe I just had more in the tank and needed an excuse to use it.  Or maybe I'm a wack job crazy person junk food addict.  Either way, at 7:13 I crossed the finish line to finish in 48:09:00 in 13th place.

There is so much more I could say and so many stories to tell and people to thank.  But I need to thank the Kruegers, Sue Lucas, Tim Kruse, Eric Bloomquist and most of all my wife Kylia who took my phone calls and never once accused me of being insane.

I guess anything is possible.

https://www.strava.com/activities/853309921