Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Manufacturing a Challenge

The bane of an explorer's existence is being locked in port, unable to set out on a quest for knowledge or discovery.  Early seekers often did not have a goal in mind but merely a heading.  Pick a direction, set the sails and go.

I have suffered a bit of cabin fever lately.  My most recent journey was truly epic but I believe at heart I am a wanderer ready for the next adventure.

That next adventure is already begun to germinate.  There are logistics to be worked out and permissions to be obtained.  At present there are more questions than answers.  I hope to reverse that course in the coming months.

As an online ultra running mentor once said, the greatest adventures in life are those of our own creation.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cinematic Moments - Fading To Black

"When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him.  He has a millions reasons for being anywhere; just ask him.  If you listen, he'll tell you how he got there.  How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up.  If you listen, he'll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect.  And then he'll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn't perfect.  We're flawed, because we want so much more.  We're ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had."


- Don Draper, Mad Men


Fifty two weeks removed from my first marathon and two weeks since my first 100 miler, I have reached a crossroads.

In regards to running and writing, I have run out of words.  That spark is extinguished.

There are still ideas to contemplate and stories to develop, but they are better told elsewhere.


Thanks for listening.  Keep moving forward.

- Logan/UR





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rockapalooza and the Two Day Dirt Festival

One question I have been asked over the past several months is Why are you going to Texas to run Cactus Rose?  There are other races closer to South Carolina.  There are other races over more forgiving terrain.  I have two reasons.  One, those races are for punks and phonies.  (lol, just kidding)  Two, my good friend and "sister" Melissa asked me to come out.  She is an extremely generous person and offered her time and services to get me through and earn my first one hundred mile finish.  Without her insistence this weekend would not have been possible.

Cactus Rose is held in the Hill Country State Park ten miles west of Bandera, Texas.  While not in a remote area, it certainly gives the impression of being on the edge of nowhere.  The ground is extremely rocky and sandy.  Little grass grows in the region.  South Texas is bone dry due to a long drought and the air felt devoid of any humidity.  Believe me, after living in the coastal southeastern United States my entire life, I relished a brief respite from humidity.

There is lots of scrub oak, mesquite trees and sotol palms.  These squatty little bastards with slice you to pieces if not careful.  I was fortunate to suffer only minor cuts; I hear they can go pretty deep.


Entrance to the Hill Country State Park, ten miles west of Bandera, Texas.

Equestrian Aid Station with a double stop.  Only hot food available other than at the start/finish area.  This was the site of our crew HQ.

Discussing race strategy, logistics and who should be "the boss".  I lost on all fronts.


Cactus Rose race director Joe Prusaitis preparing the finishing  area on Thursday before the race.

At The Lodge aid station.  Served at the race start/finish area, packet pick up, race HQ and source of a volunteer staffed grill.  Wonderful people gave of their time and energies to see the races through to Sunday morning.


Loop One/ Lulled into delusional considerations


At 5am we were off the starting line and charging forward.  As I hit the fork to take the clockwise heading I thought that the run was just beginning.  Quickly I reminded myself the race would probably not start till the first hill, or the fiftieth mile, or even the first bounce off the proverbial wall.  All I could do was stay on course, not trip over any rocks - holy crap there were rocks - and remain as calm and focused as possible.

The red line is the course.  The flat map is no indication of how sadistic the topography is laid out.


Course layout and aid stations - the course was a twenty five mile loop, with aid stations approximately every five miles.  Loops One and Three were run in a clockwise heading while Loops Two and Four were completed in a counter clockwise direction.  That meant we only went in one direction twice.  You had to deal with a really shitty incline or decline twice.  That would prove important later on.

The aid stations in clockwise order were named The Lodge (start/finish area), Equestrian (our crew HQ), Nachos (unmanned), Equestrian (two passes through on each loop), Boyles (unmanned) and back to The Lodge.  We chose to establish our base camp at Equestrian as it would afford two opportunities to comfortably meet with the crew and handle whatever needs arose.  On the counter clockwise loops the runners hit the aid stations in reverse order (obviously).

It is impossible to run the complete circuit at Cactus Rose.  Unless you are a fricking mountain goat.  The constantly changing grade and footing forced one be vigilant for loose rocks, gravel or other hazards that may cause trips, rolls, sprains or breaks.  I only fell once - slipped onto my ass on a step down in the dark - but I saw a few other folks fall on the trail.

On the first morning dawn finally broke around 7:30.  While I was happy to no longer need my headlamp it meant I was forced to acknowledge the beast underneath me.  Rather than only being able to see whatever was illuminated by my headlamp I could now see the expanse of the Hill Country State Park and all that it had to throw at me.

A cool aspect of a long slow trail ultra (relative to road racing at any distance) is the opportunity to talk with other competitors.  I had the pleasure over the first fifty miles of running/shuffling/walking with some really strong runners and exceedingly amazing individuals.  Spent a good amount of time with Reece Catron and Jeremy Day.  We shared observations on the course, races in general, expectations for the weekend and a plethora of topics I promised would stay on the trail.  It was interesting hearing the different people discussing other races, strategy, nutrition and motivation.  On occasion these talks were a welcome distraction from the hellish nature of the course layout.  Other times it was nice to commiserate with others over just how ridiculous such an endeavor truly is.

During the course of the weekend I ate a few peanut butter and honey sandwiches, a handful of Hammer Gel (chocolate and orange flavors), hot ramen, grilled cheese, bananas and gallons of water with Banana Nuun.  I also recommend Boost.  It went down well when solid food sounded awful.

I finished the first loop in a very solid five hours and twenty-two minutes.

Like an ass I began to toy with the idea of a sub twenty-four hour finish.  


Loop Two/ Slogging through

FINISH was the only goal I brought to the weekend.

I hoped to finish healthy as well.  I still had to walk through the airports, on and off the planes.  Life would begin again Monday and I could not afford to be in the gutter physically.  I have no immediate plans for future races so the ability to run post CR was not considered; I just hoped to avoid being carted off the course or being laid up for an extended period.

The final ten miles of Loop One are probably the most difficult of that circuit.  There are some monster climbs with few runnable sections.  Overall I felt really optimistic.  That when out the window on Loop Two.  The first ten miles of the counter clockwise return were fairly navigable.  There was at least one climb in each leg of the course on this heading that were just plain stupid.  I don't know if I could find anything comparable in South Carolina.  Hopping over the rocks began to take a toll.

I continued ahead with Reece and Jeremy.  Separate from our conversations I began to focus on the tightening in my right knee.  The IT strain that knocked me out of Lumberjack was coming back.  Slowly at first, but it was there.  I never mentioned it.  I preferred to show a brave face.  I didn't worry about giving anything away to my cohorts - beating another runner was not the point.  I didn't want somebody else to worry about me.

My memory is pretty fuzzy but I think I called Andria at Mile 35 to say everything was going fine.  I lied.  I may have told Melissa about the knee at this point.  Figured I needed to be honest with my crew leader.  Andria was one thousand miles away and unable to do anything but worry.  Andria confessed she could hear the worry in my voice.  That woman knows me too well.

At this point I decided to have fun and threw on the kilt.  Guess how I wore it?  Seriously, I felt ten degrees cooler when I shucked the compression shorts.

I'm a wild and crazy guy!

I started the Loop One in the dark and finished Loop Two in the daylight covering the same ground, though in reverse order.  I have to say that the darkness cloaked the ridiculous nature of the final 2.5 miles back to the The Lodge.  There are two long steep climbs and equally steep drops.  In the dark they were okay.  When I could see beyond thirty feet in any direction I realized that this place is serious shit.  Lose your focus for even a second and your day is over.

I finished the second loop in approximately seven hours, with a total of 12:22 elapsed since the race started.


Loop Three/ This is how it's gonna end?

At some point near the end of the second loop and the start of the third I acquired a stabbing pain in my left patella and a growing stiffness in the front of my left ankle.  I was moving solo at this point - Jeremy and Reece had there own races to run.  I would lose them at aid stations.  Since they have more trail experience (again, I have zero Texas trail experience) I assumed they would eventually pull away.  I'm glad they worked well together and appreciate the time we shared.

This new pairing of pains scared me.  I began to doubt my prospects for finishing.  I never panicked though.  Rather than lose my shit I applied logic to the situation and developed three or four points to present to my crew as to why I should drop.  When I returned to Equestrian at Mile 65 I arrived fully intending to end my run at Cactus Rose right there.  I was not afraid of the pain or a DNF so much as being half way between aid stations and unable to move forward or back.  Any downward motion activated a sharp pain in my knee like a knife and at some point I slipped on a step down and busted my ass.  I lay there for a moment in the dark wondering what the hell I had walked into.

Was I a moron for attempting this course with what I have to train?  People certainly questioned my mental capacity for jumping into such a notorious locale.

I typed a few lines above that I was not scared of the pain.... That's a lie.  I was terrified of what may come.  I over think and anticipate and worry beyond anything that may be reasonable.  I began to project what may come.  I was too fearful of what might happen to ever consider what would happen.  Fortunately I focused so much on building my argument to DNF that I never broke emotionally.  I simply figured it was how it would go.  Getting out before I was completely broken seemed like a good idea.

Remember what I said about deciding who the boss was of our little team?  I obviously lost that vote.  When I presented my case to Melissa she looked me straight in the eye and said NO.  I was sixty-five miles into the race.  It was only 11:30pm.  We still had eighteen hours or so before the end of the race.  More urgently I needed only to cover the next ten miles by seven o'clock in the morning to beat the cut off to start the final loop.

I really thought I had nothing left to give.  I was not tired though I had been moving for eighteen hours.  This was Melissa's time to shine.  Her experience crewing at other races came though in this moment.  She, Grenade and Diana got me food - hot ramen and grilled cheese.  They covered me in blankets.  Melissa and Diana rubbed out my legs to get me warmed up again.

Melissa asked me to give five more miles.  Just five.  They could reach that station by car and she promised to haul me back to our campsite for a brief nap and return me to the same station so I could resume after a rest.

She gave me 600mg Ibuprofen*.  Once I was a ways down the trail I realized my knee no longer hurt.  I did not run yet due to fears of damaging my knee/ankle, but I moved deliberately.  My biggest fear was a steep gravelly drop into a hike-in campsite that I nearly skidded down Saturday morning.  In the dark and with my gimpy knee I anticipated it with dread.

Then I discovered I was at the bottom of the drop.  I didn't realize I had come down.  The Ibuprofen worked.  The dark and limited field of vision due to the headlamp shielded me in the moment from worry.  Fuck yeah!  This was a break I needed.  If you ever watch Bear Grylls and see him start a fire, all he needs is a tiny spark.  I may have just had my spark.  Of course there was still a long way to go.

Melissa and Diana met me at Boyles aid station, Mile 70.  A nap was still on the table, but I was fearful of losing time I may need later in the day.  Also I was worried about clearing The Lodge for my final circuit before 7am.  Joe, the race director, was serious about that deadline and I was not willing to test it.  So Melissa asked me to give five more miles.

The Ibuprofen held just short of Mile 75 and the IT in my right knee was completely silent.  It would never be an issue for the remainder of the race.  Even the usual calf pain and Achilles tenderness never troubled me.

Several people advised me to take the race station to station.  Five mile chunks.  Easy bites.  These bites could choke an elephant, but it's what I had.

Sign on the trail.

I rolled into The Lodge at 4:10am for a nearly eleven hour loop and total time at 23:10.  See how foolish I was considering a sub 24.

Melissa and Grenade were waiting at The Lodge when I completed my third loop.  Someone asked if I had finished the race.  I could only hope.

A couple of carport style tents were set up with three and one half sides walled and a gas heater going.  My crew brought me hot food off the grill - more ramen and grilled cheese.  I popped another 600mg of Ibuprofen.  They cleaned my feet and helped get my socks and shoes back on.  Melissa said that since I had made it thus far, 2.5 hours ahead of the Loop Four cut off, I may as well keep going and bank time for later on.  I think she was reading my mind.  I did not want to stop.  Whereas I was fearful for continuing on earlier in the night, now I was afraid of stopping.

Time to give five more miles and start the final loop.


Loop Four/ A runner possessed

As I made my way out of The Lodge heading back to Boyles I passed several people finishing their third loops.  I wondered how many would make it in before 7am.  Several asked how far out they were and I gave my best estimate of distance.  It was their job to judge the pace needed to cover the distance.  Once I neared the midpoint of this leg I stopped giving distance and merely offered encouragement to continue on.  I was afraid of discouraging anyone.  Then I realized I passed the last straggler.  Maybe this is when my race truly began.

It was still dark.  No moon.  The stairs were brilliant, but did not help light my way.  I was using one lamp on my head and a second affixed to one handheld.

Melissa anticipated me needing two hours to reach Boyles.  She only had one mile to drive from the previous stop to reach Boyles, so she would be on site 15 minutes before I arrived.  The only problem was I beat her there.

Fuck yeah!

I ran - RAN - as much of the flats as possible and reached Mile 80 in 1:45 at 6:27am.  The station was empty, except for race gear, and dark.  I sat on a cot to await Melissa.  The stations each had a table and clock we were required to sign in on arrival so had I simply run through Melissa would have known.  But I am still anticipating her pulling me off the trail for a nap.  They refill my handhelds and feed me.  I keep asking what's the plan.  I want to her what she has to say.  The fire is burning and my confidence is bolstered by the leg just completed.  I want to run.

After the race Melissa told me the offer of a nap was a lie.  She never planned to allow that.  Her boyfriend Grenade was take aback somewhat by the tactic but she was right.  Coaxing back on the course repeatedly for five more miles gave me time to work back into the flow and regain confidence I needed to believe I could finish.

Slipping into Boyles as I did would become a theme through Mile 95.

Coming off the hill into Equestrian at Mile 85 I chugged across the timing mat and caught my crew off guard.  Olga, the volunteer cook assumed I was a pacer and asked were the runner was.  When I informed her I was in fact the runner and running alone she quickly provided me with fresh ramen.

Melissa got me in a chair and assessed my condition.

STRONG.  I popped another 600mg and noted that the back of my left knee was stiffening.  But that would not stop me now.  Diana had been to Bandera for some coffee and hot food.  You might ask what do you eat now to fuel the final fifteen miles of this hell run.  A Sonic breakfast sausage, egg & cheese toaster sandwich with half an order of tater tots and half a large coffee.  I also think they laced it with gun powder.  I would roll out in thirty minutes after my initial arrival.

I saw Jeremy and Reece come into Equestrian from the other side.  They were at Mile 95 and almost home.  Jeremy's parents came to Bandera with him and his mom gave me a sweet motherly hug before the start on Saturday.  I saw her now and thanked her for that hug, saying my mom would appreciate it.  She asked if I wanted another hug now.  To know I was 85 miles in and covered in dust and sweat I was touched by the offer and gratefully accepted.  With that I was out.

Again I ran as much as I could in the flats.  I hiked the grades with as much determination as I could muster.  And when I felt winded and needed to rest my hands on my knees I did.  I played hopscotch with a few other guys walking the trail toward Nachos.

I am not describing how difficult the terrain is at Hill Country because I feel I cannot do it justice.  Pictures cannot even tell the full story.  You have to experience for yourself.  This leg of the counter clockwise loop featured the longest climb on the entire course.  I was thankful for the ball cap which shielded my eyes from the top of the climb.  This way I could only focus on the ten or twenty feet ahead of me.  I looked up on occasion to check my line then quickly returned my gaze to my immediate footing.

I reached Nachos in good time and better spirits.  Apparently I was ahead of expectations because my groupies were sitting on some rocks reviewing the course maps.  I was making a habit of announcing my arrival at the stations with a loud WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! when I knew my crew was there.  I sat for a few minutes to adjust my laces while they filled my handhelds again.  I was out in seven minutes.

When I rolled into Nachos I was with a couple of other guys.  One messaged me after I got home to congratulate me and say he was suffering a sinus infection during the race.  He eventually finished.  I'm glad to know he made it through.  The other guy didn't look so good and admitted to sleeping on the trail for "seventeen minutes".  As I stepped back onto the trail I committed to putting as much ground between me and these guys.  Not out of spite.  I just needed a motivator to get my ass moving with grim determination.  The leg from Nachos to the final pass through Equestrian saw me run a great deal.  And I ran hard.  Hill Country has horse trails and occasionally I met riders on the hoof.  As I came through the main parking area for day riders I met a crowd whom may have had a runner in the race; they were horse people as well.  Thankfully they shouted encouragement and applauded my efforts.

This leg was largely alone.  My mind was all over the place.  How would I finish?  What would I feel?  How would it look?  How soon could I get to speak with my family?  I also focused on running hard enough to maintain energy for any remaining climbs and not bust my ass (or face) on a rock.

I slipped into Equestrian with my approach shielded by trees.  One guy was standing by the check-in table.  When he saw me I put one finger to my lips to mime SHHHHHH then let out another loud yelp.  I think my crew as taken aback by how strong I was becoming.  The walking over night, when all I could do was walk, was certainly paying off now.

Five miles to go.  You'd be smiling too.  Or not.

There was time to refill both bottles and a quick picture.  Four minutes later I was back to work.  The first half would be fairly easy.  I moved with pace but walked more often as the final two miles would present nasty obstacles to navigate.  I would not let this journey end within earshot of finish.  Actually the trail does pass within a few hundred yards of the The Lodge with about forty minutes to go.  [On Saturday ] I was hard approaching Mile 50 when I could hear the crowd and have another couple of miles to go. Soon I exited the loop and onto the final straight away.  At one point in the distance I thought I saw my parents.  I knew it wasn't possible.  Bushes and trees can play tricks on the mind.

With a few more twists and turns I was almost there.  I jumped the iPod to Kid Cudi's Heart of a Lion and launch my final assault on the finish line.

Suddenly a long straight away revealed one of the buildings at The Lodge site.  I could see Melissa in distance as she scrambled back the line.

I pressed the pace even harder.  Through the gully of a dry creek bed.  The lyrics were pounding in my ears as I crossed final rocky yards.  Then up and onto the grass.  I launched my handhelds to other side of the path and leaned in.  Here is the video of my finish.


Final circuit completed in 8:40.

Total time from start to finish - 32:22:49

Done.


Post Cactus Rose thoughts


I ran through the finish because I did not know how I would react to finishing.  I anticipated a flood of emotion.  When I finally stopped I was hyperventilating, nauseous and nearly spasmodic with tears.  Then I realized Grenade was recording me and I settled down.  The next thing I knew I heard a race official call out to come get my buckle.  MY BUCKLE!!!  Oh yeah.  I have to get my buckle.

After I collected myself and sucked down a Guinness I told the race director I loved everything about the weekend, but there was NO CHANCE IN HELL I would ever come back.  The buckle had been earned.  I proved I could hang on the sickest terrain and survive in spite of zero hill training.  There would be nothing else to prove in Hill Country State Park.  I relayed this conversation to Melissa.  Confidently she said I'd reconsider and get the itch to cut my time on a second attempt.  And dammit if she wasn't right.  On the flight from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach I caught myself replaying moments in the race and how I might have shortened aid stops.  Guess it means I want another crack at Cactus Rose.  I definitely see another ultra in my future.

A good man caring for a dirty foot.

Congratulating my new friend on a race well run.

I tried to chug it before it was replaced with Guinness.

Nothing says Mission Accomplished quite like a sheet cake.  Damn tasty too.

Best crew in the world.

The combination of Altra Instincts, Injinji toe socks and gaiters really helped prevent blisters.  I had a couple of hot spots which were treated with moleskin.  I applied Bodyglide Saturday morning, never again and suffered only one small blister.  My socks and shoes reek like sewage but stayed dry.

I cannot say enough about Melissa, Grenade and Diana.  They gave up their weekends, sleep and general comfort to help me see the end as a one hundred mile finisher.  They are forever on The Good List.

Don't call it a skirt.

*My use of Ibuprofen - While at The Lodge at Mile 75 one of the other runners overheard me saying I was using Ibuprofen. He cautioned that I urinate as often as possible to flush out my kidneys.  Renal failure is a definite possible with the overuse of NSAIDS and dehydration.  My protocol was 600mg every ten miles from Mile 65.  At most I consumed 2400mg total.  I drank 80 ounces of water with Nuun between each does and stopped to pee even when I did not feel an urge to do so.  I surprised myself by holding urine even when I felt no urge.  By Sunday night normal bodily functions has resumed and there appears to be no long term ill effects.  I don't use OTC pain killers often and used what my crew believed to be the bare minimum to get through the final 35 miles.  I may have taken only another 2000mg since the race ended (I am writing this on the following Wednesday).

One difference between my first chase for a buckle and this past weekend is that I never felt the emotional break that is expected with these events.  Even a marathon can crush one's spirit.  It nearly happened at my first marathon.  It certainly did happen at Lumberjack.  The potential for a DNF collapsed on upon me like a house of bricks and I carried those scars into this race.  Though I said all the right things and felt good both physically and emotionally, that concern was tucked away waiting for the right moment to pounce.  When I sensed the tide turning against me I tried to be logical.  I tried to think the situation through.  I thought I knew what I did or did not want to do.  Having Melissa refuse to listen to me was the difference between coming home empty handed and coming home to this picture.


Not sure I'll ever wash this off my car.  I know it's a minivan.  Don't laugh.  You know I can chase your ass down.


I have sometimes written about running with an audience.  This race was for me alone.  No dedicated miles.  No ideas I intended to consider on the run.  Hell, I had no go-to thoughts to manage the potential emotional hurdles if and when they came.  Like most things I just went.  However, I always approach my training and racing as if someone were watching me, judging me, observing me to see how genuine I am in these pursuits.  Last night I received this note from Diana, a member of my crew, and think it most appropriate to include here.  I have not asked permission but feel it sums up any sort of race, whether it is a marathon or ultra, no matter how one is involved in the event:

What inspired me, with you, is that were ready to go down.  I think you were okay with being done with where you were.  You weren't convinced, but you were testing the waters and had a good defense behind you.  And out of thin-air, you let something else guide you.  Melissa wouldn't give you the out.  She made it known that every person that was there was standing with you and would go with you, regardless.  And we would have.  You just got up and went.  After that, there was no stopping you.  Your glory was in those final thirty miles or so.
That made me know that when the darkest hours are upon me in my own endeavors, I don't have to rely on myself as long as I have my support group, the people that believe in me, to carry me through.
The brightest hours are often directly on the coattails of the darkest.  You have proven that.  I will never forget that, and I thank you for the experience.
When a person walks in faith, there isn't a thing to stop him.

I did not get up to satisfy some need that was in my crew, to please them or make them happy.  I got up because I knew they would do whatever they could to see me through.  The only condition I made was to go alone.  I had no pacer, having committed to covering the distance alone unless in the company of other racers.  But I always had their welcome arms as I arrived at the aid stations.  We reflected the joy in each others eyes, knowing that each of us would leave Bandera as something more than when we arrived.  I do not how that will translate to my real life, but I know it is a life worth living.

My final advice to anyone considering an ultra, as I relayed to a friend making her first attempt this weekend, goes like this:

Be strong.  Rely on the team you have to help you.  Do not forget - whether it is going good or bad, it will go the other way before you are done.  Unless you break something keep moving forward.  I had people tell me those things and believed them, only to forget at the worst time, when I was most vulnerable to my fears.  Then I was tricked into going back into the darkness and battling the demon of fear, for I was more scared of potential regret [in not finishing].
Remember, no matter what happens, to run for you.  Your family and friends believe in you.  I believe in you.  But run for yourself.  You may discover a strength and conviction you never dreamt possible.

I think this sentiment holds true regardless of the discipline, the event or the distance.  You have to train, prepare and go.  Forever moving forward.

With that, I bid you Hasta Luego.

Post script - if you have any questions regarding topics you feel were omitted or left untouched, please ask.  I will either respond in the comments second or privately, depending on the nature of the question.

Also, it has been pointed out that I made a grave omission in not crediting my wife for her support during the build up to this weekend.  I think such praise requires its own attention.  I shall rectify that soon enough.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Intentions?

I am a licensed REALTOR.  You might say it is my day job.  As a sideline I shall on occasion teach a pre-licensing class.  We do not discuss how to stage a home or hold an open house, but rather cover the material which the Real Estate Commission deemed necessary knowledge.  A large portion of the text examines the law.  One thing I have to remind students is that the law only cares on which side you stand.  Your best intentions, no matter how sincere, mean nothing if you run afoul of the law.

Students will often argue that they would never break the law.  They would never even consider doing something illegal or immoral.  Unfortunately that does not matter.  The law is very clear in this regard.

What is not so clear is human interaction.  The consequences of our words or actions often outweigh whatever good we may hope to achieve.

An ill timed joke may cause more tears than laughs.

Advice may be interpreted as interference when your goal is nothing more than to provide an alternate perspective.

I think often on perspective - how my view of reality may differ from another person's view of the same situation.  The only immutable fact is that once the words leave my mouth (or "send" is pressed) I have lost the ability to control the message.  In many cases the original message behind the words is lost.  After all, perspective is colored by our own experiences. 

The lesson I've relearned is that good intentions don't mean a damn thing when you are suspected of crossing a line, of involving yourself in matters that don't concern you, or in a situation that ultimately is none of your business.

The trick is you may be asked your opinion.  You may be called in to consult.  Your advice may sincerely be needed and valued.  Just know that your audience is larger than any one person.  Your impact extends beyond any one person.

I have had opportunities to offer advice or a differing perspective.  What I have learned (or am reminded) is that someone will not always welcome my opinion.

At that moment intention is squashed by interpretation.  To the offended intention does not overcome misjudged actions.  But by no means take this as a apology.

I do not regret my actions.  I only regret the outcome.

In real estate, good intentions that run afoul of the law cost one a license.  In my case good intentions can cost me friendships and the company of great people.  It seems that losing my license would be easier to accept.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marking Time

Twelve days till Cactus Rose.

So many details remain to be worked out.  So many thoughts to be reconciled before the signal to start is given.

I feel silly some days for how I go on and on about this event.  I know quite a few people who run ultras and barely make a peep about it.  Like Barry Sanders scoring touchdowns - act like you've been there before, and expect to get back.

However, I don't know that that feels like.

I know what it feels like to run a marathon.  I've had only two official finishes, but it seems as though I run them for breakfast.  I recall that within the first three miles of Lumberjack I was enamored with the idea of an ultra.  Until that moment I had hardcore, awake-at-night dreams of running the New York City Marathon.  Cruising into Central Park on a Sunday in November seems like the pinnacle of what I hoped to achieve in running, especially since I hoped to qualify for the even.  I don't believe in lotteries and wanted to make my own luck.

Then I set foot on the trail.  I tasted the wildness of nature; being alone with nothing but my thoughts for hours on end as if I were the only man on earth.  Then I gulped hard on the pain of stopping short.

I DNF'd my first marathon.  I had to stop due to unbearable physical pain.  I was angry at myself and angry at anyone and everything on the planet for several days though pictures from the time may show differently.  Lumberjack ended on a sour note, but it was noticeably free of anger.  There was plenty of emotion, but anger was not one of them.  I knew this was were I wanted to be.

For me the marathon was about speed and the medal.  The ultra marathon is about something different.  I know I can run a marathon with short notice.  It may take 3:30 or maybe 4:30, but I can give you the miles if I get twelve hours to be ready.  One hundred miles is different.  There is no guarantee I will finish.  Hell, with the course topography in the Texas hill country there is no guarantee I'll finish the first loop.  However, if I finish the fourth loop I may learn a few things I would never know after twenty six point two.

I may talk a lot and say some thoroughly stupid shit at time, but I'd rather let it out than keep it bottled up.

In twelve days I plan to let my legs, lungs and heart do the talking.

#DoEpicShit - Whatever you do, make your effort EPIC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Last Day...

I happened upon a tweet this morning linked to a blog about coming to the end.  The writer posed a question about how one might spend a final day on earth, if given only twenty-four hours to live.  Would someone in this position, with knowledge that the clock was running out, continue on the mundane path and inevitable finality or would time stand still with boundless opportunity truly live those final moments?

Deciding how to spend those final fleeting hours would be difficult as I do not know the cause of my demise.  Am I ill?  Or like the upcoming movie In Time will my clock simply stop?  For the purpose of this post I will conclude that the last day for me to live free of physical or emotional discomfort.  It is a day without worry of disease or injury, incident or happenstance.  Knowing that time is short is the only moment we may be truly immortal.  In that moment, when we know the outcome, there is no fear for the future.  Only the present matters.   Being replaced all other things in order of importance.

I know that I would arise early.  Probably before the rest of my family.  Coffee would be made, per the usual routine and I would greet the day by gently waking the rest of the family.  Or maybe I would let them sleep a while longer and go for a run in the predawn stillness.  As I run past homes still in slumber, or with kitchen lights just flickering on, I often wonder what is in store for that person, that family, that household.  Is it a day for living, or another day of simply existing?

Since I have only twenty four hours there is no time for grand plans.  No major sight seeing or jaunts to far off lands and sights as yet unseen.  This day will probably be filled with the familiar.  I will most likely stick with the comfortable, the activities that make me feel alive and power-filled.

If I could do any two things (since this is my post and I deserve to be selfish on my last day) I would spent the day with my wife and daughters and I would run as much as possible.  Maybe they would bike along side me.  I would run till tired.  Occasionally I would stop to rest and take time to hold each one individually, giving them alternating turns being held close and warm.  Grayha, adventurous and inquisitive, living life out loud.  Lochlyn, passionate for reading and introspective.  Lastly, Andria.  The one that stood by me, sometimes confused by me, but always in love with me.  She is the one I most hate to disappoint. [As I neared the end of Lumberjack in April, as I comtemplated dropping out well short of my one hundred mile goal, deciding how to break the news to Andria caused me the most grief.]

I really don't have any final meal requests.  No last kick ass beer of choice.  Probably wouldn't ask for that tumbler of Johnny Walker Blue I always hoped to taste.

Just me and my girls moving headlong to the abyss...

Now, someone may wonder what the fuck I am doing considering such a topic.  Is this a veiled plea for help?  Am I setting up a scenario to intentionally end my life?  On the contrary!  We get so rushed and harried in the pursuit of things that do not matter in the course of our existence that we often forget the very reason we are here - to be in community with each other, whether it is just in a small group friends or family, or larger circles in society.  People constantly bark - my wife included - that we have no time, like the white rabbit slipping down the hole to Wonderland, we chase and pursue and rarely live in any moment.

Over that past few years life has been slowing down somewhat.  I am seeing what is important.  I cannot always provide for life's necessities, or provide to the degree required, but I am realizing what I need to be me, and to be of value to those reliant upon me.

I do hope that my final moment comes on a warm summer day, with long hours of sunshine and warm breezes.  Maybe we take in one last sunset, one more chance to witness the ever changing color palette of natural wonder.

As might comes upon me, and the veil of darkness falls, I take my rest knowing that I moved closer to being someone of substance, integrity and conviction.  Even though the past year or two has seen greater emotional trauma I believe I am stronger know for it.  I believe I have a better sense of what is important to me, a keener sense of direction even if I am not sure of the ultimate destination.

I simply know the footing of this path feels right.

How would you live if given the knowledge of only one day?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Deconstructing Me

This past three (THREE) years have been about reconstructing myself into something new.  Something better.  Something unrecognizable from my past.  I wanted to be far removed from my recollection of a fat, slow, unattractive person with flaws and faults and hang-ups and so many self-erected barricades to personal growth and success.  I assumed running would be the salvation from that past.  For the most part it has worked.

My physical being is not the same.  The scale and my clothing sizes would support that statement.  However I am plagued by the ongoing knowledge that I am still - emotionally - a shell of the person I want to be.  That change is proving to be the tougher challenge.

As I have mentioned before, this spring I became a fan of The Mental Illness Happy Hour, a podcast created by comedian Paul Gilmartin.  The amazing thing about Paul's show is how he has brought together a collection of people that all yield insights into my own life and personality.  I have been struck dumb on more than one occasion upon hearing my own words or thoughts flung back at me by a veritable stranger through the magic of the internet.  Such a thunderbolt struck on Saturday.

The last Friday's interview subject was Teresa Strasser.  You may know her from Adam Carrola's radio show or various programs on cable television.  Which stood out most about Teresa's story is the self-doubt she possesses.  She is capable and successful in her craft, yet holds on tightly to the fear that she is a disappointment to those around her.  In the past she has avoided assignments to avoid failing those whom count on her.  The ridiculous point is that avoiding the work creates the disappointment.

This is something I must deal with as well.  I am clueless as to the cause.  My childhood was not burdensome or pressurized, nor particularly stressful.  My parents were not tyrants.  They were proud of me, though I sensed that I could have always been a tiny bit better.  They saw promise.  They total me I had promise.  Promise that when realized would - should -yield success in my future, in whatever manner I chose to utilize that promise.

Yet nothing stirred me.  I did okay in school so long as I was engaged, but I rarely chose to excel.  In my professional career I set my limitations based on the expectations of others and my other perceived weaknesses. If I could not envision success I did not pursue the dream.  Just getting by was my code.  Not a great code by which to live a life.

The fear inside me was that I am truly not a capable or talented or gifted as people perceive, and that when I fail they will realize as much and either pity me or worse, realize their mistake and cast me aside as some loser not worth their time or effort.  The fear is that I am really a small person inside - mentally, intellectually, emotionally - and that everyone around me has overestimated my abilities.

Then I became a runner.  On the course is the only time I don't fear disappointing people.  Sure, the lead up to a race may be a source of nerves or jitters.  How will people respond if my time is slower than expected, if I am not able to finish the race?  The first mile is usually burdened by these stupid thoughts.  Then slowly they are supplanted by thoughts of chasing the other runners ahead of me, like a dog after the mail truck.  I forget that I am in danger of showing weakness.  I realized that I am not running for anyone but myself.  On Saturday I raced no one but my own inhibitions and the clock.  And I won.

The truth is that no one every pushed me to run.  Physical activity was not a focus as a kid.  I tried team sports but that is different.  Had I felt the true thrill of running as a kid, a teenager or even a young adult there is no telling how differently I may see myself today.  Maybe I would feel more capable, more complete.

The epiphany of Saturday is that my running is not able to disappoint anyone other than myself.  I have to live up to expectations established by me alone.

If I had but one desire in life to be fulfilled, it would be to walk as tall today as I did Saturday.  To be as fast and determined and dedicated in my non-running life as I am when barreling toward that finish line.  To know that I am what other people see when they look at me.

_____________________________________________________________________
I do fear that I am becoming redundant in my writing of late.  I may have trouble recalling the subject and tone of previous posts and am probably repeating the same tired drivel.  In truth I rarely read (i.e. proofread) my posts once they are published.  Call it a shotgun approach.  Double barreled buckshot.  Sawed off.

There is a lot of good anxiety at the moment in my life.  I have been working with clients and making a little money.  I am selling stuff only and emboldening people to tear down self-imposed obstacles.  I have been communicating with friends and family on a somewhat better level, really getting to the root of matters and trying earnestly to learn where I became the me that struggles to be anything other than me.

Cactus Rose is drawing close.  Beyond that I do not know for certain.  The road is twisted and I do not see clear of the bend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finally! The #DoEpicShit Technical Tee Shirts Are Here!






















Here they are!  Two quality tech tees with a truly epic statement to live by in all that we do.  The shirts are available in men's and women's sizes.  Please note the alternate spelling on the second layout.  I have offered two versions to appeal to those of you that believe in the sentiment but do not want to present such an in your face statement.  Some people may still be offended.  But they need to get over themselves.

Click here to visit the order page and secure your #DoEpicShit (in either version) today!!!  Free shipping also.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reader Mail


I titled this post Reader Mail.  Its not actually mail from a reader; more of a question answered about running after a marathon.  Turns out that the query came from a fellow runner through dailymile.  This guy is a hellacious runner and much faster than I could ever be.  In the past year he has lost 50+ pounds, ran a 4:46 mile and a 2:55 marathon.  And this guy turns to me for advice???  Needless to say, I am humbled.
At any rate, read my take on running after the marathon and see how it sets with you.
__________
How quickly any runner can return to the running after a marathon is a product of that person's particular physiology, long term training, individual goals and mental resiliency.
I do not like extended breaks whatsoever and try not to "rest" more than two day consecutively. Since February I have concentrated on running high mileage and found that my body responds well. One key for me is that I don't really aim for speed work. I run fast when I feel capable and slow when I don't.
Aside from refueling and hydration, muscle fatigue and mental fog, how soon you get back to running is up to you alone. Books, coaches and even friends whom do not run all have their own opinions, but those opinions are based largely on the experiences of others. Again, I say to each their own.
A few weeks back I ran 64 miles over 20.5 hours. I finally stopped when my ankles tightened up. I didn't run again for 4 days, mainly due to mental fatigue and personal issues that made running seem impossible. It was all from the neck up. My body was fine.
Two weekend ago I ran 35mi with a single rest day before and after. Then last weekend I ran 25mi on Sat and 24mi on Sunday while taking Monday as my rest day. I did run the preceeding week from Tuesday on, so I didn't rest up prior.
The point to remember is that my goal through ultra training is time on my feet while aiming for a mileage number. There really is no pace goal. I have a fixed number of hours I would like to go for, them a total number of miles I hope to hit. But the survival aspect of running a marathon plus kicks in so I incorporate numerous walk breaks and sit-downs to keep the mind sharp. A focused mind can overcome many physical ailments.
To answer the question of how soon to run after a marathon is larger subjective and individualistic. What are your career goals in running? How often do you want to run a marathon? How long do you want to be a marathoner? Do you have aspirations of running further than 26.2? Are there time goals on your list? All of these questions are important to consider.
As for "losing" anything, you could lay out with only moderately paced running or walking for a few weeks and not lose anything.
I am curious about your background - average weekly mileage, regular pace versus top end pace, number of races you have completed, etc. If you are just starting out just listen to your body and do was feels good. If something begins to hurt that is the time to evaluate the variables in your running form/training to determine the source of discomfort.
Good luck and let me know how things work out.
Between me and you, I love to run long ridiculous miles and thumb my nose at the people who say I (or people like me) are crazy. I think "crazy" would be to not even try.
__________
So readers, I have a question for you.  What is your recovery routine after The Big Race?  Do you take time off or do you stay in the saddle and keep chasing the horizon?  I would love to read your answers in the comments.
As always, thanks for finding your way over here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Clearing the Air

So I saw a guy about a thing the other week.  Like most things in life it turns out to be a smaller deal than I expected.  But its my thing so it can be a big a deal as I want to make such a thing.

Confused yet?  Me neither.

Over the past year I have experiences a lollercoaster (borrowed word) of emotion.  Bright highs and fog-induced bottom-of-the-well lows.

Chilean miner lows.  But their experience was a party compared to how I felt.  Of course their lives were in constant danger, and people died as a result of the cave-in.  I only felt like I might die.

What a drama queen.

My dress is at the cleaners.  So no pics to be posted tonight.  Sorry boys.

Back to the point of this post.  I went to see my general practitioner.  He dug some crap out of my foot last December after I tried a little barefoot run on Thanksgiving Day.  He did not give me crap about it.  He ran a few marathons in his past so he could understand my need to run.

I should say now that our first encounter was pre-ultra bug.  I had not yet contracted the virus.

So there was a certain comfort in visiting his office again.  My current issue was not liable to show up on an x-ray or blood test.  Certainly no need to shove a tongue depressor down my throat.

A few days later I returned to spend two hours of my day taking a 567 question computer assessment to build a psychological profile of yours truly.  In a style that is all my own I walked out in 45 minutes.  Nothing like running a marathon in a slow 10k finishing time.  I should tell you that my haste was mentioned in the opening paragraph of the assessment result I received on Tuesday.

Damn that computer program is smart.

I have to say how much I love my GP.  The review appointment did not feel rushed.  It was a conversation.  An actual talk with listening and understanding and interplay between two people.  God it felt great.

From the moment he began to explain the assessment results I was chortling.  It seemed to nail me dead to rights.  A lot of my quirks, mannerisms, aversions, etc were uncovered by the glowing box in the back room the previous week.

I hate social settings.

I hate crowds.

I dislike some aspects of my personal life and feel a flight response in dealing with certain situations (the spark to run per chance?).

I am overly critical of myself.

I diminish my abilities and hide in a corner.

The one surprise is than I am merely obsessive-compulsive.  It seems that my OCD is not manifest in physical actions or interactions - I'm not Jack Nicholson from the open of As Good As It Gets.  Now that dude was wack.

My tick is mental.  I replay and overthink and analyze into the dirt situations that have yet to happen.  Much of my anxiety comes from perceived interactions, dialogues that have yet to take place.  So I preplan and rehearse and anticipate the worse possible outcomes.  Then I employ evasive maneuvers to avoid that situation.  No direct eye contact.  No sound.  No crossed paths [certainly no crossed streams].

The good news is that my assessment does not indicate any bipolar tendencies.  Maybe the OCD allowed me to over analyze myself into thinking such a condition existed where none does currently.  For that I am pleased.

It did say I am predisposed to delusion or paranoia.  If you've read my blog or followed my dailymile posted you may have pieced that one together.  The delusion part at least.

Before the doctor stepped in, the check-in nurse talked about her experience with the assessment.  She had been the office guinea pig when they bought the program.  She joked that it identified narcissistic tendencies in her personality, which sparked a brief discussion of narcissism and how such a condition may manifest itself.

Guess what the program did not identify in my profile.

Yup, narcissism.  Not a trace.

Guess the damn thing isn't so accurate after all.


_____________
For those of you with interest or need, the assessment I took is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2).  Inquire with you healthcare provider should you desire such a screening.

I look forward to finding a therapist so we may dig into my profile and my psyche.  Should be interesting.  For now I'll try to focus more on training, my upcoming adventure in Texas hill country and my fledgling entrepreneurial endeavor.  Tee shirts, anyone???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making the merch!

#DoEpicShit tech tees will be available for pre-orders very soon.  My goal is to have the first batch available for shipping prior to the Marine Corps Marathon and New York.  Hope your training is on target for whatever fall races you have planned.  Being #Epic should not happen by chance.  It certainly won't happen every day, but with solid effort you can #DoEpicShit when the time is necessary.

http://theunarunner.blogspot.com/p/merchandise.html

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making the Call

If there is one thing you ought to know about me, it is that I do not ask for help.  The very ask of seeking help is a chore.  I believe that I am making a burden of myself on anyone I would even consider approaching.  I do not know what this stems from, but it was a feeling ground into my psyche by nine shitty years working for a particular group of people in my previous career.

At times there were problems or obstacles beyond my control.  Outside my pay grade.  Above my skill set.  So I would do what any normal person might do.  I approached my supervisor, laid out the situation and asked for assistance.  Hell, I even begged.  On one occasion I was in tears due to the frustration of my situation not being remedied.  It took me seven years to realize these people were only out to protect themselves.  It took me seven years to realize that my sanity would be shattered if I stayed employed there, because I understood that I did not matter.  Just a sqeaky wheel that was never greased.

Then one day life went sideways.  Upside down.  In the ditch and head long into a tree.  But this incident pressed me to ask for help.  I was forced to seek professional help and try to rebuild me.

Soon thereafter my circumstances changed and the emotional triggers ceased to be.  Or so I thought.

In reality the triggers never left.  They simply lay dormant for a while.  Though the reasons for my depression are different today, the fact that I still have these swings has not changed.  So today I asked for help.

The difference between today and last time around is that except for my immediate family I was alone.  I hid from sight.  I held unreasonable concerns that my therapist would adversely judge me.  I could not surrender to the act of being repaired.

Now I am ready.  I have a support network of people that knows how I feel and speak of my issues from their own experiences.  And this blog has peeled away any fears I had about revealing my true self.

The next task is to find a therapist prepared to deal with me.  Wish me luck.

 - Logan


As I post this I have 47 days till my next race.  I want to congratulate all the incredible runners around the country doing #epicshit every time I peek out of my hole.  You people inspire me to become better on every level.  Thanks for taking me under your wing and into the family of that is the running community.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anywhere, Any Time, Any Distance

At some point in time I decided that my life goal in running would be anywhere, any time, any distance.  I did not want to have limits other than what my finances would dictate.  Run long and often enough and I may be able to as long as I want as often as I want.  Simple enough concept.  What this lifestyle requires is an wavering view that running is fun, that running is capable of healing, and that running is capable of giving me more than I could ever return.

I may not always be able to run the locales I desire, but that does not preclude me from running the locale in which I reside.  That was the case this weekend.  The plan to participate in a twenty four hour trail ultra fell apart.  Poor timing and poorer planning on my part.  But it is what it is.

Since I couldn't go to the trail ultra, I decided to make my own ultra, of sorts.  From 6am Saturday, September 3rd to Sunday, the 4th, I would try to run as many miles as my body would allow.  This would be a self-supported effort, carrying my supplies or making stops at my house to reload and/or rest.

Before I get into the meat of the run I want to thank everyone from dailymile that offered support and encouragement over the last two days.  This run was a necessary part of ultra training for me.  The problem is that I know of no other ultra runners in my area, and an probably running companions have their own lives and families with which to contend.  Thus my effort would be a solo one.

In the pre-dawn quiet of Saturday morning I began my march.  There were no written goals, no concrete objectives.  My lone desire was to still be making forward progress by 6 o'clock the next morning.  The plan called for long runs with occasional breaks to regroup.  The morning run was an out-and-back south to Litchfield Beach.  I made one stop by my youngest daughter's school to refill my hydration pack.  As the summer climbed higher in the sky so did the temperatures.  I believed that this run would be the most important; while still my freshest I wanted to knock out an many miles as possible.  After five and a half hours I posted 32 miles.  To date this was my longest training run ever.

I was physically and mentally strong at this point, though a bit creaky.  I tried to eat but was not real hungry.  All I could manage was a Boost and a few bananas.  A quick cold shower did wonders to cool me off before laying down on a camping mat to rest a while.  It would be three and a half hours before I left the house again.

The next run was to be three hours for fifteen miles.  That was a manageable goal.  I would be lapping a retention pond in my neighborhood.  In spite of the blind geriatrics I'd be fairly safe from traffic and never further than a half mile from home.  The loop is nine tenths of a mile.  I would manage the rest of the event by walking the first .2mi and running the remaining .7mi.  The walk break would ensure I did not get too winded and would keep my pace over the ten minute per mile range.

Ten miles came and went easily.  The two were tough.  The afternoon heat began to sink in.  My mind wandered and my body felt very loose and jangly.  Fearing that I might loose my grip on the run.  I aborted at eleven miles and when inside to increase my hydration (I did drink from two handhelds during this time which I refilled every five miles) and get some food in my belly.  I lay down for a while again; however, I didn't shower first and lay in my own stink.  Not pleasant.

By 9 o'clock I was back on the road with Andria.  Time was drawing short and I figured that I would not have much time to break and still hit my pace goals as I ran through the night.  At the start of this run I sat at 43 miles. I hoped to reach 85, if not then I'd be happy with 75 miles.  This was Andria's second run of the day, a first for her, and after four miles she was ready for a shower and bed.  Running with her would provide the only companionship I would have for the entire event.

I did text friends and tweet on the hour to maintain a connection with the outside world.  Seeing my kids and Andria when I'd stop at the house during the was a huge boost.  If anything, it helped to keep things normal.

The only thing that truly concerned me for this event was injury. There are less than fifty-five days till I fly to Texas for my next one hundred miler, the Cactus Rose 100.  A debilitating injury or physical setback is the last thing I need right now.  This run is a part of training.  A confidence builder.  Practice for most of what I'll deal with as part of running for twenty four or more hours.  Any crack in the confidence or trust in my ability would be difficult to overcome.

The end would come gradually and somewhat unexpectedly.  I have had uncomfortable scar tissue in my left heel at the base of the Achilles tendon for eighteen months.  I am not sure what caused the build up, other than a severely twisted ankle six or seven years ago.  At this point the regular discomfort comes with stiffness in the tendon when I awaken in the morning and during the first mile of a run.  As evidenced by recent races and training runs it does not hold me back much.  That changed overnight.  Suddenly the pain became more focused.  There was an increase in the intensity.  My mind wondered how are removed I was from tearing the Achilles, thus ending any attempt at earning the buckle, at Cactus Rose or forever.

Around 2am I stopped to chill and respond to a few texts.  By the time I rose to my feet thirty minutes later the ankle was practically frozen.  With that I felt all the fatigue of the previous day since I woke up at 5am.  Running, walking rather, for another three and a half hours was not going to happen.  If my experience at Lumberjack taught me anything I know I can walk for thirty plus miles if given enough time.  No need to repeat that experience this morning.

So rather than quit I decided to stop.  Sure, I stopped short of the time goal, but ultimately that was not the goal.  Twenty four hours of running this weekend may have been like the belt buckle at Lumberjack.  It was time in that moment to stop chasing.  At 2:30 this morning an imaginary finish line on a clock did not matter.  Hell, no one who followed me or reading this blog gave a shit whether I made it to the end or not.  The people that really mattered and encouraged me only wanted what I needed most - to be safe, to stay healthy, and to have a good experience.  I know this because the same friends that urged me onward so stridently congratulated me on a smart decision immediately.  The right move was waiting to be made.

To review:

  • I attempted a twenty four hour run without an organized event staff or experienced or otherwise dedicated crew.
  • I attempted a twenty four hour run in an uncontrolled environment, relying on the driving ability of motorists to see and not kill me.
  • I attempted to run solo for twenty four hours.  Most people doing this have pacers, companions or at least a crew of people at a local high school track to monitor progress and provide for basic needs.
  • While I may be off, I am not afraid of the distance or the time.  Just give me a reason and I'll give my mind and body, my heart and soul.
  • Thirty-two miles with Vibrams Five Fingers Bikila LS
  • Thirty-two miles with Altra Zero Drop Instincts
  • Total distance of sixty-four miles run in 11h33m over the span of twenty hours and thirty minutes.  Rest break reflect the difference in running time versus total time.  The distinction is merely for clarification.
If I preach anything with regards to running, it is to not be afraid.  Do not be afraid of that first step, that first mile.  Find what you limits are.  Physical limits are real.  You can feel them.  Thrash against them.  With luck you can tear them down and push them back.  Emotional limits are imaginary.  You control them, but you must accept responsibility for that control and maintain your voice over the cacophony of noise inside your mind.

I have fears, real fears.  Things that scare me shitless.  Long distance running is not on that list.

Run on.  Run long.  Keep moving forward.


Epilogue

When I die, I would like it noted that "This asshat once [or maybe twice] ran sixty-four miles around his neighborhood just for kicks.  Who the fuck does that?!?  Oh yeah... Logan Hejl does."  That would be some #epicshit for real.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Craziest Idea Yet!

The last thirty-six hours have been pretty dark.  Lots of bad thoughts have rattled around my brain and left me feeling rather shitty.  But as these things usually go, I eventually settle back, evaluate the situation and begin to isolate the reasons for the fog.  Sometimes there is no identifiable reason.  This time there is.

As part of training for Cactus Rose I was planning to participate in the Woods Ferry 24 hour trail run.  I have not run a timed event and really need to practice for running through sunrise since I flamed out at Lumberjack.  However, finances being what they aren't, I cannot make the trip to Chester, SC for Woods Ferry.  

When the realization hit that I could not make the trip I went into a spiral.  Did not understand why till this afternoon during my ten miler.  A twenty-four hour run is not a 5k nor a marathon.  An entirely different level of epic shit.

Like a bolt of lightning from the heavens, a flash of inspiration hit.  A dear friend willing to listen and commiserate suggested I do my own 24 hour run around town.  What the Hell?  Why the Hell not?  I think I shall!

The details have yet to be worked out.  I still have to obtain final approval from the Home Office.  On Saturday, September 3rd I hope to run a solo 24.  I'll do what I can, as my body and weather permit, taking breaks when necessary.  Click the link below for the challenge on Dailymile should anyone want to join me virtually.

Does this dance have a name?  Of course...


The Do Epic Shit 24 Hour Non Jog


**UPDATE**


The top male and female finishers, on foot and/or wheeled, will receive a Do Epic Shit tee.  Quantities are limited so winners will receive what I send them and like it!