Add to Technorati Favorites "Going the Distance!": April 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The 40 Runner’s Commandments

Fellow SLUG, Randy Hunt, sent this out today via "SLUG Mail," Good Stuff!

The 40 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly
1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
5. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
6. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
7. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
8. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
9. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
10. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
11. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
12. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
13. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
14. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
15. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
16. Don’t always run alone.
17. Don’t always run with people.
18. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
19. No matter how slow, your run is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
20. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
21. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
22. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
23. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
24. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
25. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
26. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
27. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
28. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
29. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
30. Without goals, training has no purpose.
31. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
32. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
33. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
34. “Winning” means different things to different people.
35. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
36. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
37. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
38. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
39. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
40. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What? I thought Dark Chocolate was GOOD for you!?!

For the past few years it seems like everywhere I look I'm reading about the benefits of dark chocolate and with my focus on health and fitness, I've been doing my duty and making sure to include at least 1/2 oz. of dark chocolate in my diet every day (my preference is Ghirardelli's 60% Cacao Dark Chocolate). Some days are tougher than others but I know that what I am doing is good for my body and that it will pay off in the long run; YEAH RIGHT, I LOVE CHOCOLATE! Sunday long runs are "tough", resistance training is "tough", EATING DARK CHOCOLATE IS PURE HEAVEN! So I must say I was a bit bummed when I read recently that perhaps dark chocolate isn't all it's cracked up to be. According to a double blind, placebo study conducted by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University:

"This investigation failed to support the predicted beneficial effects of short-term dark chocolate and cocoa consumption on any of the neuropsychological or cardiovascular health-related variables included in this research. Consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa was, however, associated with significantly higher pulse rates at 3- and 6-wk treatment assessments."

Say it ain't so!!!! Apparently it was too good to be true and we've been tricked by the marketing geniuses at Hershey's. Of course I may hold out until I see more evidence, it was only one study and they could be wrong; they say there's no "short-term benefits" but I'm in it for the long haul. To read more about the study click HERE.

Two weeks have passed since my 70 mile DNF at McNaughton and as time passes I have become more comfortable with my decision. If you've been paying attention to my upcoming race schedule you may have noticed that one day I say I'm running Kettle in June and the next day it's "tentative"; I haven't signed up yet because I'm a bit undecided. Part of me thinks I need to get right back on the horse and "redeem" myself while another part of me doesn't feel redemption is necessary; "only run it if you truly want to". So that's what I've decided to do, until I'm 100% certain I'm not going to commit.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get my daily dose of dark chocolate :-)
Hope all of you are well,

Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 Double Chubb Results and RD Write-Up

1st Place Female Christine Crawford on her way to victory (photo by George Powell)

Of course I went out to cheer on all the runners at the 2008 Double Chubb Trail Runs on Saturday. The course was re-routed due to flooding making it much more challenging than usual. It was great to see all of my friends and catch up; sometimes it's nice not running and just being a spectator. As always David and Victoria White did an amazing job as race directors; our group is so lucky to have the two of them!

For the full results click HERE and if you haven't already, make sure you page down to read my post from yesterday on Diet and Exercise. Below is the brief write-up from Victoria about the race:

"Let me just say, a great big THANK YOU to all our great volunteers, and to my husband David for dealing with the Park People, and getting them to let us have the race, even though half the park was flooded.

Race day, brought a light rain, while we were trying to get things setup. Having the Granddaddy Lodge was a bonus, as most of the runners stayed under there until I drug them out to start the race.

We had 4 runners that have now completed all 10 races. Congrats to Joel Lammers (WI), Lee Hess (MO), Stuart Johnson (KS) and Al Maiuro (MO). They were all presented with a Denim Shirt embroidered with Double Chubb 10 Year Finisher on it.

A huge Thank You to Jeff Collier for the Start/Finish Banner and the directional sign he made for us. They will both be used for years to come.

As always the Slug's bring out our best volunteers to help with the race, from helping with packet-pickup all the way to loading up the trailer when it is all finished, the volunteers worked tirelessly. Thanks again, I can't pull off the race without you.

We had to change the course, due to the flooding, so the 25K runners did the Double Chubb and the 50K runners did the Quad Chubb. (Janet Whalen said she invented the Quarter Chubb, doing only one loop). Mud was the word of the day, and made the hills slick. 6 runners dropped down to the 25K, having enough of the hills. Not going past the Rail Road tracks, cut out about 12 miles of flat trail.

Chris Wright won the 25K with a time of 2:05:55 with Master Jeff Vanderlinden on his heals at 2:06:53. 3rd overall and Female Winner was again Mary White with a time of 2:14:23. Female Master was Laura Scherff with a time of 2:24:20, on a tough day, these times are impressive. The Senior award went to Rudy Schwarz with a time of 2:31:45 and GrandMaster to George Powell with a time of 3:02:23. On the Female side it was Deb Schopp with a time of 3:41:52 taking the Senior and Grandmaster Joyce Yarger with a time of 5:54:36.

David Pokorny won the 50K in a time of 4:06:58 with Joel Lammers taking the Masters with a time of 4:22:37. Ben Creehan led the race for the first two loops, and was only 2 minutes behind on loop 3, but ended up finishing 2nd with a time of 4:16:06. Christine Crawford won the female race with a time of 4:41:55, and claimed she really enjoyed it (when she turned around, I discovered she was wearing half the course on her back). Starting from the West Tyson end, there are showers for the runners to rinse off the mud, and grime from the trail. When Kat Yarger finished, she asked me "when can I sign up for next year?" I'll get back to you on that one Kat. Gena Bonini won the Female Masters division with a time of 5:53:40. Senior Lee Dougherty beat out Don Frichtl with a time of 5:28:17 with Don's time of 5:29:30 pretty close on that one. Tony Kramer took the Grand Masters with a time of 5:39:22 and Senior Female Kay McVey had a time of 7:20:22.

I really enjoyed the day, having a little party for 100 of my closest friends. It's always nice to see people finish their first trail race, or their first Ultra. The smiles and hugs make all the work that goes into putting on a race worth it."

Victoria White
Double Chubb Race Director

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lose Fat / Gain Strength - A Few Diet and Exercise Tips

Carrie Tollefson - Diet and exercise done right (photo from

A friend of mine emailed me this week asking me for some advice on how to lose weight based on my own experiences and information I've learned over the years. I wouldn't consider him overweight; he's around 6 feet tall and 185 lbs. and would like to get down to around 170 lbs. and be "lean and mean". While I do not claim to be an expert I have been successful in not only losing a considerable amount of weight but also maintaining that weight loss; and, as most of my friends can attest, I've read practically everything I could get my hands on regarding nutrition.

In order to be successful losing fat and gaining muscle both Diet AND Exercise are important and go hand-in-hand. If you are overweight or obese, making simple changes in your diet will result in quick weight loss since you have so much to lose; but, at a certain point the addition of exercise is imperative to continue making progress. I recommend that you make changes in your diet and start on an exercise routine at the same time to supercharge your fat loss and enjoy the mental and physical benefits of an active life immediately. You must also look at this as a lifestyle change and not some temporary diet where you will go back to your old routine once you lose the weight. I'm sure you've heard people say, "I can't wait to lose this last 10 lbs. so I can get off this diet; I miss ice cream so much and that's going to be my reward!" Guess what, this attitude is the main reason 90% of all people who lose weight actually gain back even more than they lost in the first place.

At the age of 24, it was easy for me to lose the weight for several reasons. I was young, a smoker who never worked out and had one of the worst diets you can imagine. Believe it or not, here is what I would eat in a typical weekday:

Breakfast - 3 Mrs. Fields Cookies and a 44 oz. Coke (my office was in a mall)
Lunch - McDonald's Super Size Big Mac Meal with a Super Size Coke
Mid-Afternoon - 44 oz Coke
Dinner - Either ate out at a Chili's type restaurant, Burger, Fries, Chips and Salsa and Soda or if eating at home something else very unhealthy and in large quantities.
Dessert - At around 9:00 pm I'd have a big bowl of ice cream.
I'd also drink about a liter of Coke every evening and drank alcohol probably 3 times a week.

My caloric intake was in excess of 5,000 calories a day while I was only burning around 2500 calories; it really is amazing that I didn't weigh more and I'm lucky that I caught it when I did! The changes I made were dramatic as I cut out all fast food and soda, started a resistance training and cardio program, limited my consumption of alcohol and started planning my weekly meals. I would take my lunch to work, grill chicken breasts on Sunday and freeze them for dinners during the week and carefully tracked my caloric intake so it matched my output (or in this case I was aiming for a caloric deficit to lose weight). But let's say you're like my friend and you don't need a major over-haul like I did; you just want to clean things up a bit. Here are a few tips:

1. NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST - It really is the most important meal of the day and jump starts your metabolism. Try to find a good combintation of complex carbs with high fiber, protein and healthy fats; I start every single day with Nature's Path Optimum Power Cereal with skim milk and I add in a few raisins. If I'm in a pinch and don't have my cereal I usually go for a whole wheat bagel with all natural peanut butter and a skim latte.

2. EAT OFTEN - You really should eat 5 to 6 sensible meals throughout the day. Think of your metabolism as a fire, if you build your fire and don't tend to it the flames will slowly die down but if you stoke your fire it will come roaring back to life; these small meals serve to stoke your metabolism. A typical week day for me looks like this: I eat my breakfast (described above), eat 2 of my Mom's Oatmeal Raisin cookies around 10:00 am, a lunch of Turkey and Spinach on whole wheat bread with whole wheat pretzels and an apple, mid-afternoon/pre-workout snack of an Odwalla or Clif Bar, for dinner a chicken breast or salmon with brown rice or red potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots and then for dessert fat-free yogurt with berries and almonds. Also, immediately after my workout, I grab a skim latte and I usually have 1/2 ounce of Ghirardelli's 60% Cacao dark chocolate thrown in there somewhere.

3. BE CONSISTENT - "But Carey, I need some variety and can't eat the same things everyday." That's OK, I actually enjoy my routine and do break away from it with comparable substitutions but I still ensure I'm making healthy choices and keeping my caloric intake in check. When I say consistency it doesn't mean the same things, at the same time, every single day; it just means don't have yo-yo's in your diet where one day you're making healthy choices and the next opting for muffins and french fries. Even if you eat the same number of calories on your healthy vs. not so healthy days there's more to it than that; remember that the quality is just as important as quantity especially when resistance and endurance training.

4. IT'S OK TO "CHEAT" - Occasionally. Allow yourself one meal a week to fall off the wagon; this could actually help your body so it doesn't get in a rut and shock it back into fat burning mode. Remember that this is a lifestyle choice; if you deprive yourself completely you will not be successful. As time passes and you make healthier choices including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, etc. your body and mind will no longer crave those high-processed, sugary foods that are bad for you; funny how this works, but trust me, it's true.

5. HYDRATION AND ALCOHOL - Cut out all soda and sugary drinks; personally I drink diet soda but there are purists out there who say to cut this out too. Water is always the best choice! As far as alcoholic beverages you should cut these back to a minimum and drink in moderation. If you're going to drink have red wine or a drink like vodka and club soda; stay away from high sugar drinks such as margaritas and mixing your spirits with sugary soda. I do not drink alcohol at all for a few different reasons but I'm not saying you have to completely cut it out, just be smart about it and know that the calories in alcohol can add up very quickly. Not to mention losing your inhibitions and hitting Taco Bell for that infamous "Fourth Meal"; we've all been there...

The above is just the tip of the iceberg; as athletes, nutrition is extremely important to ensure we are not only performing our best but also keeping our immune system strong and our mind functioning properly. A book I highly recommend picking up is Eat Right to Train Right by Chris Carmichael; I consider it the nutrition "Bible" for athletes. is a great website for evaluating the nutritional value/content of foods and also determining your caloric expenditure; DO NOT let this tool create a food obsession where you record and analyze everything. My recommendation is to track your food intake for a period of 3 days which will give you a baseline to help determine what changes you need to make and where the holes are in your diet.

Over the past year my view and approach to workouts has changed quite a bit and evolved from focusing solely on cardio conditioning (running) to a combination of resistance training, yoga and cardio in order to be stronger and healthier. Also, since studying for my CSCS Exam, I've learned much more about the importance of resistance training and the downsides of following an aerobic only conditioning routine. While aerobic conditioning is effective for burning calories and fat it is not the most effective way to build muscle and in fact many studies suggest that it may do just the opposite. The amount of muscle you have directly effects your metabolic rate; more muscle means more calories burned, it's as simple as that and the most effective way to build muscle is through resistance training. Resistance training does not only mean weight training; pilates, yoga (power yoga in particular) and boot camp style workouts are other great ways to build muscle if you're not a big fan of pumping iron in the gym. As an endurance runner, having a strong core is imperative to improving performance; when you're deep into a race these core muscles help you maintain your form and avoid injury. Since incorporating yoga, pilates, ab-work and weight training into my routine while maintaining my cardio component (running 50 miles per week), I have been performing better and feeling stronger than I ever did when running was my sole focus. My goal as an ultra-runner is not to add bulk but to add strength; there is a major difference. Yoga, pilates and lower-weight/higher-rep resistance training allows you to do this without adding a ton of mass.

As most of you know muscle does indeed weigh more than fat so if you are only using the scale to measure your progress you may find yourself disappointed. Last Fall I weighed 165 lbs. and after a winter of relatively high mileage and adding in resistance training and yoga I am 175 lbs. My diet is "cleaner" than ever, I'm working out on average 10 - 12 hours per week and feeling/looking stronger than before so I am happy with where I am because I know that the weight gain is due to increased lean muscle and loss of fat. It took me a while to stop focusing on the scale and simply look in the mirror; once I did I liked what I saw :-)

As I said in the beginning I do not claim to be an expert here and continue to learn more and more each day in my experiment of one. Some of the above may work for you and some of it may not; the method of losing weight seems quite simple, burn more calories than you consume. But, as I've found out through the years and in my studies, there's a lot more to it than that. Conversely, many of us do have easy fixes we can make in our every day lives to produce quick results. Of course, the less you have to lose the more complicated it gets.

Please share any thoughts or comments you have as I (and everyone else, I'm sure) would love to hear them!

Hope all of you are well,

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Randomness at the Charlottesville Marathon

Chris in the jungles of Colombia (South America, not Missouri :-)

My good friend, Chris Wynne, ran the Charlottesville Marathon today in Charlottesville, VA. I ran Chris' first marathon with him back in 2006 at Chicago and of course, he ended up beating me; I chalked it up to beginner's luck :-) This was his third marathon and he finished in a time of 3:32:04 which is very impressive considering he's also a full time law student at UVA. What's so interesting about his run today is the email he sent me this afternoon:

"You'll get a kick out of this -- I ended up running with this guy who told me he was partial to ultras....after about a few minutes, I found out that not only did this guy recognize your name from your blog, but he was the guy whose girlfriend you talked to at McNaughton -- the guy who slept for 11 hours during the 150 miler and got up and kept going (I think he said he wound up finishing 6th). His name is John and he's from here in Charlottesville. Small world, right??"

I don't know what's crazier, the randomness of Chris "running" into him or the fact that he is running a marathon less than a week after the McNaughton 150!?!

Great job Chris on a strong finish! For the full 2008 Charlottesville Marathon and Half Marathon Results click HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The 2008 McNaughton Park 100 Mile Trail Run - My First DNF

The Heaven's Gate Crew

I met fellow SLUG, Travis Liles, at his home in Troy, IL at 11:30 am Friday morning and then we continued on the 2 hour journey to Pekin, IL for the 2008 McNaughton Park 100 Mile Trail Run. It was relatively warm but windy as we left Troy but that all changed as we headed north.

We arrived at McNaughton around 2:30 pm, ate our Subway sandwiches and then made our way over to see if we could pick up our race packets early. The 150 mile race had already begun and many of the runners were coming through the start/finish area as they completed their first 10 mile loop. The McNaughton Park Trail Races have three distances; the 150 Mile Run (15 loops) started Friday at noon and the 50 mile (5 loops) and 100 mile (10 loops) runs both started at 6:00 am Saturday morning. We found Andy Weinberg, the race director, and he said the packets wouldn't be ready until 4:00 pm so Travis and I headed back to town to check into our hotel and relax a bit at Starbuck's. When we came back to pick up our packets around 5:00 pm it had gotten even colder and the wind had picked up quite a bit.

"Thank goodness we aren't running tonight," I said to Travis.

Little did I know that was the best time to be running since the overnight rain and additional 150 runners would turn the course into a "you'd have to see it to believe it" mudfest by Saturday afternoon. Travis and I headed over to Applebee's to grab our dinner to go and I saw fellow SLUG, Don Frichtl, having dinner with three young ladies. I didn't want Don to have all of the fun so I made my way over to chat with him a bit and, of course, to meet the "Valpo Girls" (Sarah, Katie and Cara). Don said he had run a loop earlier in the day and that the trail was in good condition; but that was before all of the additional runners and rain. The "Valpo Girls" were there supporting Ellen Erhardt and said they would cheer me on too.

"What do you want us to say when you come by?" they asked.

"Just tell me I'm looking good no matter what," I replied.

I wonder if Katie is single? I digress, on with the story...

We woke up around 4:45 am Saturday morning and began our preparations for the race. With the mud and 2 creek crossings per loop I knew that my feet would be wet for the entire time so I decided to try out a tip I learned from Jeffrey "Sam" Rogers to coat my feet in diaper rash ointment (zinc oxide) which would serve to "waterproof" them. I actually did this the night before and slept with socks on and then added another coat in the morning; this tip is brilliant as my feet looked fresh with no pruning whatsover after running for almost 17 hours in the muck that was McNaughton. Also, per the advice of David Horton on the Ultralist, I applied Balm of Gilead to my areas that are prone to chafing in the front and the behind; this too worked wonderfully as I had no issues whatsover during or after the race.

At 5:30 am we arrived at McNaughton Park and I made my way over to the drop bag canopy to stash my gear and listen to the pre-race briefing. I chatted a bit with friends and made a few new ones who knew me from the blog; they joked about how I probably hear that a lot at races and actually, I do. It's nice to know that someone out there is reading this :-) The temperature was in the low 30's with a blustery wind but it was not raining, yet. As the first light of dawn began to creep through the clouds the Mayor of Pekin welcomed us to their city and wished us luck, followed by a few last words from Andy and at precisely 6:00 am we were off.

My plan was to average 2 hours and 15 minutes per loop which would get me well under the 24 hour mark with a 22:30 finish. Usually it takes me a while to get into my groove but I was feeling good from the start and running fast. Before long, Mark Carlson, a friend from the blog running the 50 miler, caught up to me as we approached the Heaven's Gate aid station to the cheers of the "Valpo Girls."

"Yay, Carey! Looking Good!" they yelled.

I gave them the Rocky pose and a big smile, "You probably say that to all the guys," I said.

Mark then teased me, "What's this? You've got your own cheering section!?!"

I ran with Mark and his pacer, Scott, for loops two and three and was stoked to see my parents as I entered the start/finish area at the end of 30 miles. This was the first 100 mile event my Mom had been to and I was really excited for her to experience all that is a 100 mile race. I then continued on the 4th and 5th loops as the course got progressively worse from the wear and tear of the runners and the rain. There were spots where the muck was probably 12 inches deep and practically sucked your shoes right off your feet and it was as though the hills were coated in oil; you'd take one step forward only to fall three steps back. I didn't have any issues with the downhills and I credit that to Yoga which has helped my balance tremendously.

My approach to nutrition during the race was simply to eat; whether it was gels, solid food, soda or soup it really didn't matter, I just needed calories. Whenever I would start to feel off I knew it was one of two things; either I was low on salt which I could tell by looking at my hands (they begin to swell when I'm low) or I needed calories. Although I didn't feel like eating I would force myself to down a gel; in the beginning this was tough to do without a gag reflex but as I continued it got easier and easier since I knew that it would make me feel better. This was a big triumph for me in regards to running ultras as the nutrition aspect has been the hardest thing for me to get down (literally).

I finished my 6th loop at around 7:30 pm and stopped for a minute to talk with my parents, grab my new Petzl Zipka Plus headlamp (loved it!) and down some Pepsi.

My Mom and Dad were great, "Do you need anything? How are you on gels? Salt?" they asked.

"I don't know, I'm trying to figure it out," I replied obviously distracted and someplace else.

In actuality I was thinking about what a mess the trail had been and how difficult and slow it would be trying to navigate it in the dark. I completely spaced and didn't grab anything but the light and headed off for my 7th loop. After I finished the first mile my parent's met me at the top of the hill with the remainder of my can of Pepsi.

I quickly downed it and said, "The trail is going to be ridiculous."

They replied, "That's OK, you've been running strong and look great, just go out there and give it a shot."

And with that I dropped into the woods for what would be my last lap.

During the day the mud was definitely challenging but you could see where to step in order to best navigate the uphills and not just slide backwards or fall flat on your face. This was much more difficult in the dark and the frustration mounted as I sloshed around slowly making my way along the course. About a mile before the Heaven's Gate aid station I ran up on Ellen Erhardt and her pacer, Christine Crawford.

"Is that Christine?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied.

"It's Carey, Have you ever seen anything like this?"

"Yes, at Clinton Lake; but it was only 30 miles," Christine replied. "I'm having a hard time keeping upright with my runner and I have fresh legs!"

"This section is really depressing and makes you want to quit," Ellen chimed in. "I keep telling myself it will get better, it will get better."

"I just don't know if I want to do this anymore, it's getting a bit ridiculous," I replied as I moved past them and continued up the hill.

Going into the Heaven's Gate Aid station I had pretty much made up my mind that this was my last lap. I walked up and began talking with the aid station captain, my friend and fellow SLUG, Brian Kuhn, about the conditions and the fact that I just didn't want to do 3 more loops under those conditions.

"I ran a loop and I know, the conditions are tough; possibly the worst I've ever seen. You don't have anything to prove so the decision is yours; I'm sure you'll make the right one whatever that may be," he said.

"Thanks Brian, I don't know if I'll be back around, I appreciate your help and advice," I said.

"Only one more lap to go, right?" asked Katie who apparently thought I was much faster than I actually am.

"I think I'm done after this loop," I replied in a sad tone not because I was upset about my DNF but was more down that I wouldn't be able to see her and everyone else at Heaven's Gate three more times.

As I passed back by Heaven's Gate aid station heading back to the start finish I quietly continued on in the darkness; I had already said my goodbyes and just wanted to get the last 3 miles done. I walked the last mile or two with Julieann Bergman and her husband, Marc; they had decided to call it a day also and we talked about the unbelievable conditions and rationalized our impending DNF's to each other.

Just before 11:00 pm, after 70 miles and almost 17 hours of running, I crossed the line finishing my last loop.

"I'm done," I said, "Had enough and don't want to head out there in the mud again."

"Why don't you take some time, rest, even get some sleep and then give it a go later. The trail will get better and dry out as time passes, you can finish it in the morning," the volunteer said.

"My boyfriend slept for 11 hours and is now out there passing people; you can totally do that," another woman said (her boyfriend was running the 150).

"It's not a question of whether I can do it; I just don't want to do it, I don't need the finish that bad. Give me a second and let me talk it over with my Dad."

"It's ridiculous out there, Dad. The thought of doing three more loops in that mud, two of them in the dark, is just too much. I'm done, what do you think?"

"That's fine with me; you ran well and had a good race. You don't need to go back out there to prove anything," he replied.

And with that I took off my timing chip and turned it in officially taking my first DNF.

How do I feel about it today? I'm a bit mixed, it's very easy to play "Monday Morning Quarterback" when you're back sitting in the comfort of your own home typing away on a computer. This was perhaps one of the best races I've ever run; I nailed the nutrition, was running very strong, felt good mentally and physically and was in 3rd place when I dropped. You may say, "How could you drop when you were in 3rd place if you weren't hurt?" For me the mud was just that bad, it hadn't become a race anymore as much as it had just become a test of who could endure the mud the longest; I think the winning time of 27:06:58 pretty much tells the story there. Could I have finished? Without a doubt and now that I know what the winning time was I may have won; all I had to do was complete those last 3 laps in 10 hours or less. Sounds easy, right? That's a big IF. Would it have been better for me to take a rest and give it a shot at dawn when the trail was in better shape and I could see again? I can answer that with a definite no. For me, when I set out to run a 100 miler it's all at once; no breaks, no naps, just one foot in front of the other until it's done. Was it OK for me to quit because I was sick of the conditions and wasn't going to achieve my sub-24 hour goal? I'm still not sure...

David Goggins ran an incredible 150 mile race finishing in 33:36:20; I am astounded by his performance and truly cannot comprehend doing that even in the best of conditions. For the complete list of the 2008 McNaughton Park Trail Runs Results click HERE. Congratulations to him and all of the other finishers, thanks to Andy and all of the volunteers and thanks to all of you for your prayers and positive thoughts on Saturday. I hope you understand why I stopped at 70 miles, whether you agree with my decision or not may be a different story. I have been honest here in my thoughts and rationale and hope that you can at least respect me for that.

Hope all of you are well,

101 Year Old Man Completes London Marathon; or Is He Really ONLY 94???

Martin with a smoke after the marathon

Buster Martin ran the London Marathon yesterday in just over 10 hours but there is some question as to how old he really is. Below is from the UK Times Online:

On Saturday The Times disclosed that Guinness World Records had refused to verify his claim to be the oldest marathon runner. Now it has emerged why the world record guardians will not be featuring Mr Martin in its celebrated publication. Internal correspondence between senior officials at the organisation, obtained by The Times, shows that Guinness has evidence that Mr Martin is a mere spring chicken of just 94.

To read the article in its entirety please click HERE.

I hope to be able to run a marathon at his age, whatever that may be...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 McNaughton 100 DNF

Just a bit before 11:00 pm last night, after 70 miles, I decided to call it a day and dropped out of the McNaughton 100 Mile Mudfest. These were by far the worst conditions I have ever seen; if you'd like to check out the few who finished and when the rest of us dropped please click HERE. Overall I ran a good race; felt good mentally and physically but decided to hang it up and live to fight another day. Thanks to Andy and all of the volunteers and congrats to all of the runners who trudged through to the finish! I'll post a full race report later this week.

Hope all of you are well,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let's Do This!!!

Photo of Winston Churchill taken by Yousuf Karsh

"If you're going through hell, keep going." ~Winston Churchill

"Watch a man in times of... adversity to discover what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off." ~Lucretius, On the Nature of Things

"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey." ~Kenji Miyazawa

"Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are." ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

"When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity." ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959

"Adversity introduces a man to himself." ~Unknown

"We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one." ~John Updike

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant." ~Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires

"When you're feeling your worst, that's when you get to know yourself the best." ~Leslie Grossman

Signing off until Sunday...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Weather Forecast for McNaugthon

Jeremy and Sara after the Sylamore 50K

Most of us have been checking the forecast for days now but in case we may have missed it Ryan Dexter just sent out the email below to the Ultralist about the expected conditions for the race this weekend:

"Similar to last year - I think the weather is going to cause this race to become an epic adventure yet again.

- There is a flash flood warning in effect in Pekin, IL until early Friday morning with rain in excess of 3 inches possible.
- Friday - showers possible/cloudy - High: 57 (wind chill 47) Low: 35 (wind chill 21)
- Saturday - showers possible/cloudy - High 42 (wind chill 31) Low: 29 (wind chill 15)"

My friend, Jeremy Bolt (also running the 100 mile race and pictured above with Sara Kniffen), sent this proverb to me some months back:

Traveler : What kind of weather are we going to have today?
Shepherd : The kind of weather I like.
Traveler : How do you know it will be the kind of weather you like?
Shepherd : Having found out, sir, that I cannot always get what I like, I have learnt always to like what I get. So I am quite sure we will have the kind of weather I like.

My hope is to have this same attitude Saturday!
All the best,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Yes, Running Can Make You High" - NY Times Article

Photo from

I meant to post this earlier when I saw it on the Ultralist but simply forgot; I know, hard to believe, but it happens :-) Interesting article in the March 27th edition of the New York Times:

"Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect."

To read the article in its entirety please click HERE.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

McNaughton Park Trail Runs Next Weekend

One of the McNaughton Hills - photo by Mark Carlson

The McNaughton Park Trail Runs are next weekend near Pekin, IL and include 50, 100 and 150 mile events. Originally I had signed up to run the 150 mile race but after much thought and consideration I decided about 6 weeks ago to drop down to the 100 mile distance and give it my best effort to try to break the 24 hour mark. Here's a short blurb about the course from the event's website:

Do you think Illinois is all flat cornfields? Wise ultra-runners will get some serious hill training in before coming to McNaughton Park! We don’t have mountains in Illinois ... just a few rolling hills with elevator shaft downhills guaranteed to warm your quads on a chilly April evening. Here’s how one satisfied customer described the terrain: ‘I now know why Illinois is so flat. They took all the hills that are supposed to be there and put them ALL into one spot in Pekin, IL ... and called it ‘McNaughton Park’.”

If you'd like to take a McNaughton Virtual Tour created by Ollie Nanyes please click HERE.

The "only 150 mile ultra race in the United States" begins at noon on Friday with the 50 and 100 mile races starting Saturday morning at 6:00 am. Fellow SLUGs Jeremy Bolt and Travis Liles will also be tackling the 100 mile distance and SLUG, Tracy Thomas, is toeing the line for the 150. If any of you would like to track the runners as the race is happening there is a webcast you can tune into by clicking HERE. If you see that I'm "stalled" say a quick prayer and send me some positive vibes! I'll post a full race report next week after the race.

Today was the Go St. Louis Marathon and I went downtown to cheer on the runners and enjoy the amazing weather. Last Fall in my Yoga class, my friend Larry Hook and I were talking about running and he said, "I've run a few half marathons and someday I'd like to run a marathon," to which I responded, "Why don't you do it next Spring?" Well, today was "someday" for Larry as he rocked the course with a sub-4 hour finish! Way to go Larry and congratulations to all of the finishers! To view the full 2008 Go St. Louis Marathon Results click HERE.

From today's weather it certainly seems as though Spring is here; hope you're outside enjoying it!
Happy Running,