Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mattamuskeet Death March Race Recap

Mattamuskeet Death March:

2014 MDM Badasses
The 2014 Mattamuskeet Death March is listed as "the most miserable 100K race you will  ever attempt". "MDM" takes place in Eastern North Carolina and is the dream-child of Brandon Wilson and RacENC. Seven runners finished the race in the first year and we started year two with 14 brave souls. 

I ran this race with Karen Jackson and Bo Millwood after deciding very late that I would make the trip with them thanks to a very gracious Race Director. We all met at the Host Motel, Carawans on Friday evening for dinner, a pre-race briefing and to receive our 50mm Ammo Cans that we would be required to carry through out the event. 

Bo, Karen and I with our new friends
The rules stated that as a first year runner you could not add or remove anything to your can... Karen and I speculated on the seven hour trip up what the "add" might mean but never would we have guessed that Brandon would be adding 50 marbles in to all the virgins' boxes. As the Ammo Cans were being awarded one-by-one, the race director would give a few little tie bits of information and have a good laugh with each runner before moving on to the next. Then he pulled out a "pretty princess pink" can and began to dump the 50 marbles and then says, "but race directors get special treatment here, so this can get 100 marbles" as he spins the can around and I see my flaming Lowcountry Ultras logo on the side of the box.... despair sets in. 

The race course was set up as a figure 8, running around both sides of Mattamuskeet Lake and back to Carawans Motel. There are no port-a-potties or aid stations so a crew is required. We were lucky enough to have Dylan & Kyle (Bo's Daughter and Karen's son) crew for us. They were AWESOME! Fun, high energy and ready with what anyone needed in seconds! I'll have them back to crew me at any race any time. Actually I believe that they are going to set up their own "Crew for hire" business if anyone is looking.

The race it self was long... 66ish miles but they were LONG miles...

Lowcountry Lunatics
At any given time you could see a mile down the road (unless you were running through corn fields then the turns were just mind-numbing) and the entire course was exposed. It made for a long day, but the heat was better this year than last (or so they say). It was great to have Bo and Karen to burn away those long miles, but running with three people is hard. Heck, running with another person for 18 hours is hard. We all hit low spots at different times but worked well together trying to get everyone through it and on to the finish.

All in all the race was great. The ammo can and noise factor were something that you really cannot ignore, but become white noise as the race goes on. The MDM is a challenge that will test every aspect of your strength and will to continue. For me having great friends every step of the way made it possible. 

The first 56 miles of the course before my watch died:

This is why people want to punch Race Director, Brandon Wilson in the face

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Don't judge me by my inseam

There is a long standing stereotype in running that has not been addressed, but I cannot stand by and let it continue.

Inseam Flash Judgments or IFJ happen everyday at group runs, every weekend at starting lines and even at running speciality stores. When a guy reaches for a pair of split cut 3 inch running shorts, people immediately begin to pass judgement. They don't even bother looking at your rankings before they immediately start thinking that you're "one of the fast guys". It's not fair and quite honestly... it hurts. Please take a second and think twice before passing IFJ because it may just be the guy standing there in basketball shorts that takes the win. Together we can make IFJ a thing of the past!

One of my favorite things to hear during races is, "what are you doing back here?" and I'm never really sure how to respond to that. I'm pretty consistent with my races 4:30-4:45 50K, 20-21 hour 100s so I typically respond with a "yeah, just cruising..." But "back here" is where I find the balance of pushing myself and still having fun. I like being the "Tall-skinny guy that wears the short-shorts" but my 3 inch inseam doesn't translate to speed, at least for me. Don't forget to have fun guys, we are supposed to enjoy this!

See you on the trail!