Saturday, December 14, 2013

One EPIC Run 24 Hour - Race Report

One EPIC Run – 24 Hour Race

It’s always good to end things on a high note! My 2013 Racing season can easily be summed with three little letters: DNF

Going into this year I never started a race that I didn’t finish. This year I logged three: Chattanooga Stage Race, Viaduct 150 and Pinhoti 100.

This meant that I didn’t finish the same number or races that I did finish for the entire year. Luckily, for 2013 I’m able to go out on a high note!

My last race of the 2013 race calendar was scheduled for the weekend of December 7th in Spartanburg, SC and held inside the Camp Croft State park. The 24-hour course was made up of a 3.1 mile loop course and going into the race I had a goal of 86 miles, which was pretty aggressive based on previous performance over the last two years.

I drove up to Camp Croft on Friday and set up our Crew tent on Site #8 to get a spot close to the trailhead and the single aid station. We had a full line-up planning on setting up shop with us: Sara Maltby, Lara Zoeller, Tiana Cain, Dawn Brown, Bo Millwood and Andy Bruner. The weather on Friday was near-race-perfect! Blue skies, upper 60’s with a slight breeze. But the forecast for the rest of the weekend would be anything less than desirable.

I got to meet up with my brother Eric on Friday after and talk about the kids, sports and of course running. Lots and lots of running! Eric just came off coaching a SC State win where his girls beat second place by 127 points. He’s best statement all night. We’re going to be even stronger next year! That’s awesome… and motivating! We snuck out for a quick dinner at Wings, had a beer or two and was still able to get to bed early.

Laying down to head off to sleep, the skies opened up and dumped some serious rain down onto the trail!

I woke up the next morning at 5:00am, I always like to get an early start before a race! I had my two cups of coffee, Oatmeal and Banana – my pre-race routine, and then head to the start. The morning was cool, in the upper 50’s but there was no wind and rain had long since stopped falling. The race didn’t kick off until 9:00am so there was plenty of time to dig through my chest of race gear and try to organize everything for easy access later. As much as I bring to a race… I very rarely touch, eat, drink or wear more than 5% of everything I bring. I’m a race horder.

I checked, double-checked and then triple-checked my headlamp (the root cause of my last DNF at Pinhoti) and then hung it up in the tent in plain sight.

30 Minutes before the start of the race, the skies turned blue and I thought, maybe, just maybe we’d luck out. But by the time Race Director, Angela Merrill sent us on our way, we were back under gray and dreary skies.

The Start

The start of the race sent us on a small loop around the campground before heading out on a single track trail. This gave the runners time to spread out before bottle necking onto the trail. There was a nice downhill as the trailhead began, which meant each lap would end will a long up-hill climb (that got longer and longer as the night wore on!) Then you ran over a beautiful river and began climbing again. The trail was wet, but still in great shape. There were a few sloppy spots early on in the race but the quickly dried up with the 170+ runners forming new lines around the deep spots.
The race staff took great means to mark the course and even added a metal bridge across one creek crossing, which I dubbed: The bouncy bridge, for course location purposes. It was perfect and kept our feet out of the creek.

The first 5 (15.5 mile) laps I ran with Sara and Lara as we all had the same goal of 86 miles and it’s a lot easier to work together especially as the night wore on. Then my body began to tighten. I dropped back trying to relax my back, stretch out my legs and just get my body under control. At that point in the race I caught up with Dawn, Tiana and Bo. A couple of good laughs and “are you ok” – I mentally agreed to help Dawn get to her 100K goal if my body wasn’t going to play “nice”.

The Recovery

Starting my 7th lap, Tim Worden (One of the race Directors for Leatherwood and Annihilator) was about to take a break. I pulled him out on the course to walk a lap with me. Mentally, I was ready to pack it in. What’s another DNF in my long list of shitty races this year?!?! Tim and I had a great conversation over the next 3.1 miles and met up with Richard Abernathy toward the end of the loop and the merry-three of us meandered closed out what would be my slowest lap of the day at 1:37:16 (yes, it was still only a three mile loop) High-fives and fist bumps later, we parted ways and I hobbled back to our tent to decide where do I go from here.

I pulled out my Doterra DeepBlue Rub and rubbed it into my calves, quads and lower back. At this point I was mentally and physically…done. Andy pulled into the tent with Dawn and they were both laughing and “still having fun”, then Sara and Lara came in for a quick grab and go and took me back out with them. I never got the chance to tell them that I was done.

The Middle

Half way through my 8th lap, now back running with Sara and Lara, my body finally began to relax. My legs felt loose again and most importantly… I was running. The conversation between the three of us kept us moving at a very good pace. We all right “there” together. If someone needed an extra minute in the aid station we waited, if someone was cold we waited to put on more clothes, if someone had to pee we stopped. We were working well together, clipping away the miles and we were still on track to meet our goal… 86 miles.

The only thing that kept going through my head was… We are all running together, but I’m still a full lap down.

The Douche

Finishing lap 16, I mentally decided that I was going to try and make up the lap I was down on Sara and Lara. Coming into the Aid Station Lara said she needed to run to the bathroom and that Sara was going to grab a jacket. I didn’t say anything and immediately turned around after getting my lap counted and headed back out onto the trail to start lap 17. My body felt great and I was making up a good amount of distance… or at least I thought I was as I continued to ask the lap counters to let me know how far back (or at this point still ahead Sara and Lara were) as I ended each loop. I wasn’t very smart as I was only focused on making up that lap. I wasn’t eating or drinking right. Then I started having my “bladder issue”. I couldn’t give up at this point and pushed out for one more, hard loop.

Coming into the Aid Station after getting my 21st lap counted, I saw the greatest thing ever! Lara was standing under the tent, which meant I was back on the same lap as them. I felt like a douche, but more importantly I was glad that I was back with my friends as the coldest and wettest part of the night was about to begin. We all decided to walk/ run the next loop and that sounded perfect to me! It was more of a run… but the walk breaks were welcomed!!!

Over the course of the next few loops, I continued to deal with what I call my “bladder issue” where I feel like I have to go, but I can’t. So I focused on drinking as much as I could to see if I could help get things flowing again. It was lap 25 that we all celebrated with a full flow! I know, I know… I need to get that checked out.

The Darkness

Sure enough the rains came it, and at one point snow began to fall. It was cold, dark, wet and the trail was getting worse as the night went on. We were still focused on meeting our goal. The ladies were now well in first place and I was sitting in second with Deano fast approaching after a nap break. We kept each other moving and it was beginning to get hard now. We were all tired and very cold. But we kept going.

On lap 25 I hit rock bottom. I felt nauseated as the lap began, and couldn’t tell if it was from being tired or if my stomach was turning sour. Whatever it was, it got worse as the lap continued. I began getting dizzy, and wandered off the trail 2 or 3 times before I just sat down… twice. I tried to each a Snickers bar I had in my jacket pocket, but it was frozen and very hard to crew. We finished that lap in just over 1:10:00 and I was finally feeling better and hopefully the sun would be coming up on this next loop.

The End

As we closed out loop 27 Sara and Lara agreed that they were done. I still had time left and was in a very close second place. I had to go back out for at least one more to meet my 86 mile goal and to try to holding off getting passed. That last lap was very cleansing. The air was cold and crisp the water was rushing in the river. I could see my breath, thick and white every time I exhaled. But most importantly, I was running. I felt smooth and relaxed as I sloshed through the mud. The trial was very quiet that last loop as I didn’t see another soul the entire time.

I was happy that I didn’t quit back at lap 8. I was thankful that I had two great friends to burn away the miles all night long. I was excited that the race was almost over and that I’d be heading home to the family and that I’d be sleeping in my own bed that night. I was impressed with how well the volunteers took care of us and that Angela was still standing after taking care of all the runners and two sick kids in the camper. I was thrilled that I met my goal of 86.8 miles and I was shocked that I ran away with a second place finish.

Great job to everyone that ran, thank you for all the cheers and support! My 2013 Racing season ended on a high-note which has me motivated for my next race: The Pistol 100 on Jan 4, 2014 in Maryville, TN. See you on the trial!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pinhoti 100

My 2013 Pinhoti 100 race was more of a learning lesson than anything else. It was a lesson about myself, about my gear, about my family and my friends. I didn’t finish the race, but I walked away feeling great and even more confident. I would have never expected my race to end the way it did, but I’d like to think that I’m a better runner and person for completed what I did.

Prior to this years Pinhoti 100, I got a Facebook message from Kelley Wells asking me if she could crew for me since she was unable to run due to an injured hip. I immediately said yes was excited to have someone else at the race as I was originally planning on running it unassisted and using only drop-bag for my gear. Then I got an unexpected surprise that one of my running heros, Joe Fejes would be joining along too!

I drove my truck to Columbia and picked up an exhausted Kelley before heading to Sylacauga, AL for packet pick up and the pre-race dinner. Kelley just got off a three day night-shift rotation was slept most of the way as I chipped away at the 6 hour drive ahead of us. We rolled into the Sylacauga Rec Center as packet pick up was kicking off. I grabbed my bib, #253 and then we settled in for the pre-race dinner and briefing.

We met up with Dan Hernanadez, Bren Thompkins, Karen Jackson, Brian Reddish and a slew of other local runners and their crew. After a big pasta dinner and some good pre-race information from RD Todd, we decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel and get everything laid out and set up for the morning. Joe Fejes was running late after a long day of traveling home, but he rolled in and we all crashed.

Bright and early at 2:30am the alarm went off and we were all up and ready to go. Then Kelley walked in the room white as a ghost. “You locked the keys in the car, didn’t you” I said. 20 Minutes later we were on our way to the start. A quick Waffle House stop and a few missed turns we rolled up to the start (from the wrong direction) with 15 minutes to spare before the raced started. I said my quick good byes and headed to the start. I finally got to meet Tim Worden and took a few quick pictures with Lara and Tiana.

The race kicked off right on time and the masses quickly aligned single file into a kanga-line as we headed out on the single track. I was able to grab Lara’s arm and pull he in front of me as the trail shrunk down and we clipped away the frist few miles together.

The aid stations burned away one after another. Kelley and Joe met me at every station ready to keep me rolling onto the next. My race was right on track and I was well ahead of the 24 hour cut-off pace and feeling great. As I rolled into the 13 mile aid station my stomach gave out and I tossed my cookies as I climbed up the waterfall into the aid station. I told Joe and he soaked my shirt in ice water along with my bandana. That turned me around quickly and I was back on my way.

Everything was great. My body felt good, I was eating right and taking in enough fluids. I was having the race of my life and having fun doing it! The temperature was starting to drop as the sun went down so I began adding layers and grabbed my headlamp and headed out from mile 65 heading over the shortest leg of the day. Just prior to reaching the 68 mile aid station I ran into Andy on the trail heading the opposite direction as he was heading out to meet up with Bo. I asked him if he had an extra headlamp and a jacket I could borrow as mine was burning out and I needed some additional layers on before I headed up Pinnacle.

Andy gave me a long sleeve shirt, jacket, pants and a neck sleeve and the lamp off his head and I was heading out. Within a few feet up the trail, the lamp began flashing three times fast and little did I know, but that meant the lamp was about to die. Before long I found myself in complete darkness, trying to follow what I thought was the course through the woods and over rocks. I tried to stay on course as long as possible before completely getting myself lost.

Not wanting to lose any time I decided to backtrack and try to find my way to the course. I was officially lost. I went left. I went right. I went up and I slid down a lot. I could not find a blaze, a flag or anything! At this point my emotions began to get the best of me and at one point I considered burying myself with leaves until the morning and walked out when the sun came out. But before I set up my bed I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Where the F$%# are all the damn headlamps!!!” and still no reply. At this point I knew that I was trying to get up Pinnacle so I decided to just start climbing up, but I had no idea what side of the Mountain I was on but I couldn’t just stay where I was and freeze.

Almost four hours had past since I left the last aid station and then I finally heard the sounds of boomin’ bass coming from the top of the mountain. That HAD to be the aid station! I continued to traverse the side of the mountain sliding down as much as I was going up before I feet landed on a very flat section of trail. TRAIL!!!! My gut immediately said go left and that is when I saw it, a bright orange flag under a tree with a big blaze right at eye level! Not to much longer after that I saw a poster board that hung on the side of a tree that said the aid station was only a ½ mile away. That half mile felt like a life time.

Once I got in the BUTS guys got me some warm soup, fresh batteries and I was back on my way. At the point I was still 30 minutes ahead of the cut-off time and didn’t want to waste another minute. My legs were now cold and my body was very stiff from not moving much over the last few hours but I refused to give up.

I continued to press on until the 85 mile mark when I rolled in just past the 30 hour cut off and was told that I was done. My first reaction was disappointment. I have never had a DNF and this would now be my third of the year.
I used one of the aid station workers phones to call my family to let them know that I was okay and to see if they could reach Kelley to have her come pick me up. I stood in front of the fire and tried to warm up slightly before the truck pulled up. I was already ready at that point to register for next years race and knock out those last 15 miles.

The race was everything that I had hoped for and there was no way that I would have ever guessed that I would end up lost for hours on end before making my way in the darkness to the top of the mountain. I learned a lot about myself in those few hours and decided that my wife was right:

Sent via text: “You have nothing to be disappointed in, you tried your best” 

Looking forward to trying again next year!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FATS 50K... kinda

This past weekend, I ran my first ever FATS 50K. Except it really wasn't the FATS 50K because the course wasn't actually run the FATS 50K course.

Let me start over...

David Nance recent took over the long lived FATS 50K which has been part of Terri Hayes Ultras on Trails Series and was faced with something that no one would have expected. The trail system that FATS lives on is other words known as Fork Area Trail System was shut down over night due to the recent Government Shut down. In a last minute attempt David was able to move the course and ensure that the race still took place.

The event, now known as the "Not-so-FATS 50k" would now be held on private land and would be made up of 8 laps to round out the 31 mile course.

Not what I was expecting but, it would be 31 miles of training as I get closer and closer to Pinhoti less than a month from now. I made the drive up Saturday afternoon and met up with Bo, Andy, Doug and Tiana for a pre-race dinner at Mellow Mushroom. I'm always a sucker for the Big Dog Cheese Dip! Great conversation about the Foothills Trail 77 Mile "race" which I need to get on my schedule for sometime in the first of the year!!!

An early bedtime and an earlier wake up (due to the race being move to Aiken, 30 Minutes north-east from Augusta) got us all on the road heading up to the course. A few missed turns and we were back on track pulling into a private drive way, up a long clay road and out into a vast field which was covered in a thick blanket of white fog.

I checked in as number 42 and broke several safety pins trying to pin my bib to my shorts. I complained to the RD as any Ultra Runner in their right mind would, but my complaints were ignored as I threatened to sue. Oh well, I know how little Ultra RD's actually make!

A few chuckles here, a couple of meet and greets there and we were ready to line up and get the morning started. A simple 3,2,1 got us on our way.

The course started out in front or our "host family's" home and rounded their horse pens as we set off into the fog The sand got deep quickly and most runners shot to the outside edges of the trail to find firm ground. The sand would get thicker and thicker as the day wore on. As we blindly ran through the horse pastures we kept the flag on our right-hand side changing from wet-grass to deep sand, to gravel, back to sand, to perfectly laid and packed trail before we came up to our first short climb up a power-line break which was covered in mesh grass netting which had not completely taken root yet. We joked as we ran up the hill the first time about getting traction, but it really did get bad as the day went on. Hopefully we didn't do too much damage to that hill!

A quick down hill brought us to the bottom of the only second hill on the course which was made up of packed sand. Later on in the day Kelley Wells and her kids would be standing at the top with their Cow-bells cheering us to "charge up that hill!!!" Can't wait to hear that at Pinhoti!!!!

My goal for the day was to get 20 miles in at an 8:30-8:45 pace and then mix up the last 10 miles with some short stents of walking into my routine over the course of the last 11 miles. I stuck to my plan pretty dead on and my body held up great through out the day. I finished in 4:46:05 which was exactly where I wanted to be.

It was  great day. The weather got a little hot as the fog finally burnt off. I didn't take any Salt during the race and may have skimped a little on my fluid intake because I did not want to stop at the aid station every lap. I was at a lost for word when I finished and had a hard time asking Kelley for a Mountain Dew even though I could think it in my head. But after a quick rinse with a little ice-water and a long gasp... I regained control of all my faculties.

The body felt great and had a spring in my step as I walked back to my truck to change and grab some well earned adult beverages! Doug gave me the best tasting muffin I've ever had and I rejoined the group hiding in what little shade we could all find.

Once I was fed and rehydrated I said my good byes and started the long haul back home. Even though I still have not run on the FATS course, I'm glad that I was able to get up to Augusta... I mean Aiken, for the 2013 Not-so-FATS 50K. Good times!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DN-DNF Chase the Sun Ultra

DN-DNF Explained

This past weekend I race in the inaugural Chase for the Sun Ultra in Savannah, GA put on by Run 4 a Reason, aka, Dan Hernandez and Tony Varney. The race included a 6 and 12 hour option over a 1.87 mile loop course with a single Aid Station located a the start/ finish line.

I registered for the 12 hour Race the night that registration opened. I looked at this race as a great end of summer build-up that would take me into the Fall racing season. After a dismal summer in which I logged my first two DNF’s back-to-back at the Chattanooga Stage Race and the Viaduct 150, I decided to back down to the 6 hour event and make sure that I had a good run.

My goals for the race was simple, break it up into six 1-hour segments.

My race plan would look like this:

            Hour 1:           4 Laps
            Hour 2:           4 Laps
            Hour 3:           3 Laps
            Hour 4:           3 Laps
            Hour 5:           3 Laps
            Hour 6:           3 Laps

Logging in a total of 20 laps or 37.4 miles. At least that was the plan.

When the race started several relay teams took off flying! Two team in the 12 hour race had goals of logging a 100 day. I settled into comfortable 8:00 mile pace for first two hours and felt very fresh. The heat turned up fast! I started shedding layers on the first lap and it only got warmer as the day went on.

I held onto my race plan until the 5th lap and only completed 2 laps. But I realized that I was having fun, chatting with old friends and new as we went around and around. The fun part was something that I really needed after not finishing my last two races.

I wrapped up my last lap with 5 minutes to go until the race ended, but was pleased with how I felt and didn’t feel the need to head back out for “just one more”. I logged in a very comfortable 33.66 miles and was please with my first DN-DNF of the Summer.

Next up I have FATS 50K on October 6th and Pinhoti 100 on November 2nd. See you on the trail!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

What's up BIG BOY...

The week after our Delirium Ultra this year, I got a call from my good friend Alfred from On On Tri saying that he was considering bringing in a new line of shoes and wanted to know if I had ever run in “Hoka’s”. My response was no as I typically train and race in very minimal shoes including the Brooks Pure Project line and Green Silence (whenever I can score a pair through since they decided to get rid of this amazing shoe… but that’s another conversation!)

Alfred responded that I NEEDED to try these things out so I opted for a pair of  Trail Mafate 2. For those of you not familiar with the Hoka One One brand, think “Butt firming shoe” meets your grandmothers “walking” shoes. At least this was my first response…visually.
The Mafate 2 sole features a 39mm heel height and a 35mm toe height at a super light 11.46 oz. The upper of the shoe fit my crazy foot to a “T” with a slightly larger toe box and I found myself stepping up a half size over my typical Brooks. The first time I stepped up onto the shoe I was impressed. I anticipated feeling clumsy or awkward because of the additional thickness of the sole but I did not. The first thing I noticed on my 100+ mile in 24 hour tired feet, was how comfortable they were… not the bulk.
My first run in my new Mafate 2 was almost perfect. I really found the shoes to be very stable and extremely comfortable. The Mafate 2 is designated as a “trail” shoe but with 5mm lugs, I was able to transition from the trail to the road very easily and could transition without feeling like I was running on spikes.
The second time I laced up my shoes and headed out the door I didn’t miss a beat and was completely in LOVE. I could see the benefit of additional cushion, while still keeping my foot in a forward position which was allowed by the minimal 4mm degree drop (yes, the same as the Kinvara). Adding in some quick turnover was not an issue either nor did I feel like the extra “bulk” was holding me back at all. Our friends at Hoka explain it best:
In 2010, Hoka one one, introduced the idea of oversized running footwear out of the founder's desire to have running shoes that would allowthem to fly down the hill. Their quest in simple terms, was no different than previous other sport equipment makers like Prince tennis rackets or Taylor Made Golf, who introduced oversized equipment to perform better in their respective sports. What was discovered in those similar introductions, as well as Hoka one one, was the benefits of their idea were far broader than could be imagined. What has been discovered by thousands of Hoka one one committed ultra-distance athletes, is that the amplified midsole geometry technology of Hoka one one allows them to go further with less effort, run more relaxed, and finish less fatigued.
Being the original oversize athletic footwear company allowed Hoka one one to engineer a patented midsole that features more volume of softer density and higher rebounding midsole foam, allowing for optimum cushioning, and an energizing, stable ride. Hoka one one understood from the beginning that natural foot motion was extremely important for uniformity of stride and incorporated minimum drop geometry along with a rolling rocker design to promote consistent rhythm in the runner’s foot strike.
As word of mouth spread through thousands of testimonials, it inspired countless runners who had been faced with the idea of not being able to run due to injuries or legs that simply couldn’t take the pounding anymore to now have hope.Hoka one one allows for active recovery with its oversized, increased forgiveness. The faithful swear they have been saved. now hundreds of Specialty Running accounts across the globe prescribe to all runners Hoka one one running footwear for those planned long-low intensity runs that are part of a successful training program. Hoka one one is a shoe for all seasons and disciplines.
Several friends in the Ultra Running community have been running in Hoka’s for a very long time so I decided to reach out to them and get their input too.
Beth McCurdy:
How long have you been running in Hokas?  A little over a year.
Which model are you currently wearing?  Bondi B
What is the biggest benefit you’ve found from wearing Hoka’s during Ultras?  My feet don’t hurt nearly as much at mile 75+
 Joe Fejes:
How long have you been running in Hokas? I have been running in my Hokas since I ran the Chattanooga Stage Race in June 2011.
Which model are you currently wearing?  I have always worn the Bondi's for both road and trail. I haven't tried any of the other models yet.
What is the biggest benefit you’ve found from wearing Hoka’s during Ultras? The Hokas have revolutionized ultra running with their super cushioned sole. I ran 329 miles at Across the Years on 1 pair with no real issues. I wear my Lynco 405 metarsal pad insoles with my Hokas to help alleviate my metatarsalgia and I’ve cutout the toe box to help avoid blistering issues and I find it to be much more comfortable. I would probably still do it even if Hoka widened the toe box. I also poke a hole in the sides of the shoes to help alleviate my sesamoiditis that results from my sesamoids rubbing against the side. Love my Hokas though.
Karl Meltzer:
How long have you been running in Hokas? I have been running in Hokas before they hit the market in 2009. I tried them on, ran around the block, almost instantly dropped my previous sponsorship and have been in them since, and have been watching them evolve.
Which model are you currently wearing? I wear the Bondi Speed. but have been running in protos for about 6 months now, the Bondis fit my foot well. The EVO, although it has better traction for trail, don't work for my feet that well.
What is the biggest benefit you’ve found from wearing Hoka’s during Ultras? Best benefit is just the ultimate cushioning, it really helps the body go longer. They aren't heavy, actually quite light, and a shoe fitting so much like a glove, being soft, there is no comparison to the comfort they give.
Like I said, don’t just take my word on it! These folks have been wearing, racing and winning in Hoka One One for a very long time and to me, that speaks louder than words! All in all I give my new Mafate 2’s two thumbs up and if you can get past the visual aspect of the sole you’ll be glad you did as your mileage continues to increase!
Be sure to check out On On Tri’s webpage for ordering information for a pair of the most comfortable running shoe you will ever put on!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How I didn't get into the Barkley Marathon, and what I learned.

Following the Rules:
Just to get your name considered for the Barkley Marathon you need to know the secret hand shake, bat signal and location of the safety deposit box to submit your 4-page race application along with your blood and hair sample. Once you have that part down, it’s up to pure luck. When a race only allows 35 runners, your chances of getting in are slim to none. Each year “Lazarus Lake” reviews the hoards of entries (on a secret night) and places 35 runners on to the List. The next 35 get added to the “weight list”. This year, my first year entering, I made it on to the weight list. Only one “virgin” is allowed into the top 35 slots and this year my cards just were not stacked properly.
Over the course of the last two months however, I moved up 21 slots on the weight list… YIKES! So, following the rules, playing the “man’s” game and doing what you’re told, can in fact get you ahead every once in a while. A lot of people have asked me how did I get my name so far up on the list?

Answer: I listened
I didn’t get my name on the “weight list” by my self and that IS THE TRUTH. A lot of people helped me but at the same time a lot of people lied to me (a LOT of people). With a race size of 35, most people do not want you to know how to get in because you could in fact be taking their spot. So, before you ask anyone to help you “get in the Barkley” ask yourself one simple question… do you trust this person?!?!
The help I did get was VITAL to my “almost success” at getting into Barkley this year and without it I would not as miserable as I am today as I watch more and more names fall off the “weight list”. I’m not going to name the folks that were key to getting me this far this year, but you ALL know who you are and your help means more than you could ever imagine!

One day (after I run the race) I’ll help someone else get to this point, but until I see my name in the top 35… consider EVERYTHING I tell you about the Barkley one big lie!


Being signed up for an Ultra that you know you are running AND you know the distance you are training for AND you when you know the course, that’s easy. On the other hand, being on a “weight list” and not knowing if you might be running in a few weeks is nerve-racking.
With an Ultra looming out there that you may or may not run, it kind of keeps you on your toes and forces you to training like you’ve never trained before. I was injured for almost all of last year and was unable to training for most of the summer. This year, I rebounded quickly after my last 100+ mile 24 Hour event and kept that base rolling through today.
Living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina does not leave a lot of options for elevation training outside of a day spent running back and forth over a bridge, so I will typically push miles and mix in a lot of speed and core work. Over the course of the next year (as I work towards the 2014 Barkley since my hopes of a 2013 race continue to look bleak) I will plan my race schedule accordingly to ensure the time I spend on my legs are filled with enough elevation to get me up and down those East Tennessee mountains.
So, I was not one of only 35 people to get into a single event the FIRST year that I tried to get in. But I did find myself on front end of a very long “weight list” which has made me more determined to be race ready for when the time comes. The words or Eminem, yes the rapper, come to mind:
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it or just let it Slip? Yo”.
Those words have been muttered by higher intellectuals throughout the years, but you can’t argue that the back-beat that comes with his message doesn’t drive the point home! In running as in life, if we are willing to work hard enough to get there, why would we not be willing to be ready to take the bull by the horns. Not getting into the Barkley has energize my training and brought me out of a huge injury-driven-slump with new found energy and determination. When my opportunity comes around and I see that cigarette light, I’ll be ready and you can count on that!

(Seeing your name on the Barkley Marathon "weight list" brings all kinds of emotions)

Anyone interested in not getting on the list for next year, please email me directly and I will be sure to tell you exactly how not to get on it, or maybe I'll tell you exactly how too. Guess it'll just depend on how much I like you and how much you think you can trust me. Either way good luck!