Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Blistering Pace

Well - - - - - - - Mother Road 100 (Part 2) is now behind me & I have learned a lot from my experience. Taking off at 9 AM on a beautiful Saturday morning gafe no hint of what was ahead of me. As the miles clicked on, I met & talked to many, many wonderful people from all different places. I had a warm feeling inside that I was not alone in my crazy, off kilter world of ultra running and that there are actually other beings who share in this love.

The countryside was beautiful & many passer byers (hmmm, is that a word?) honked or waved. The small towns that we ran through were great. They obviously had no idea of our lunitic tendencies. My friend & neighbor (Craig J.) was a life saver as we played leap frog all day with me running & him keeping all of my needs (E.g. Powerbars, drinks, pretzels, gloves, headlights, etc.) in his car. One thing that mere mortal runners NEVER think of when running is "the call of the wild". Needless to say, toilet paper was not one of the things in my goodie bag & restrooms are defintely not conveniently located. You can imagine (maybe you can't) how difficult it is to run with your legs crossed. Anyway, you can use some of your imagination for the rest of this story.

Most of the day I was about an hour ahead of my drop dead time. This went on pratically all day & into the night. The strange thing though, is that sometime between 9 AM Saturday morning & sundown, I must have overlooked that warming feeling on the bottom of my left foot. By the time I got to the 1/2 way point at the aid station in Weatherford, OK, I realized that a blister was a stong probability. Luckily there was a doctor there (a marathoner as well) who took a look. He asked me to sit down & take off my shoe (this was very funny as I could not even come close to bending over & removing a shoe). The look on his face when he looked at the bottom of "mi pies" was enough. A HUGE blister over most of the ball of my left foot. He did what he could, taped me up & wished me luck. In addition to this, I have strange shaped toenails as well from all the pounding mileage.


Getting back outside (after my body temperature dropped from sitting inside) caues me to shiver uncontrollably. I could not recall ever having been so cold. I jumped in the car & cranked the heat. "This was going to be tough" I told myself. Eventually, I got myself out & going but by now, everyone was gone, it was still dark as it was now after midnight & my foot was toast. Craig informed me that I was no longer ahead of schedule but was "right on schedule" That meant that I could not slack any more & had to keep a pretty steady pace the remainder of the race (50 more miles). After another mile, I realized that this was not to happen today & that it was time to have a reality check.

Although I chose to pull out here, I did best my previus 50 mile time by an hour!

Looking back now & talking to others, I am taking notes as to what I need to change in my training & planning. Different socks for one, & possibly changing out shoes a few times throughout the day.

I am now taking some needed rest for the ole' tootsies but am scouring the internet for another 100 mile with which to redeem myself & once again, push outside one's boundaries.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mine Your Step

Well it is just two days until the Mother Road 100 - Part & a real test to push my boundaries. I am anxious, excited, scared & everything in between. Have I trained enough? Have I spent enough time preparing? Am I ready? I believe that the answer is obviously NO. We are never truly ready to step outside our comfort zone but that is just it, we need to know the feeling of crossing the boundaries, to feel the exhilaration of overcoming a previously set limitation or boundary.

For the past several months, I have been running & preparing. Unfortunately my job takes me out of the USA so I cannot always get in that important "long run" every week. Last week was one of those times. I had been in Egypt for 10 days & was approximately 5 Km from the Red Sea. What a view & what a chance to run along the Red Sea; to stand where Moses had stood (or at least close). I asked the guys at the camp where I was working where to go & they pointed to graded dirt road that curved around & supposedly went all the way to the Read Sea.

Just before heading out, they ran over & told me to make sure to stay on the graded road. I wasn't sure so I asked "Why?". Well, back during the war between Egypt & Israel, this area contained many land mines (Yikes!). The area that had not been graded may still contain un-exploded mines! That will surely put a crimp in your running, eh? Well, I took off & after about a kilometer or so, the road seemed to fade away. Visions of missing limbs (my limbs) came to mind & rather than try to find where the road actually went, I quickly turned around & headed back. What's a few dozen 1 km loops back & forth. Oh well, so much for a good last long run before MR100.

My next blog entry should be very interesting as I will be able to share my experience of "going the distance" & "knowing no boundaries."


God Bless You.