Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Running Season

In life at times we often remember our failures more and tend to forget our successes.  I ended last season nursing an injury and was worried about ever being able to get back to a competitive level.  I had clearly lost a step and it was going to take a lot of hard work to return, but I was up to the challenge.

2013 turned out to be one of my best years, as I was able to hit many of the early season goals that I had set for myself.  Some things that I thought were never going to happen again (sub 5 in the mile, sub 17 in the 5km and sub 2:50 marathon) all came to fruition at the culmination of a long season of sticking to a strict training schedule.

I still haven't determined what I will attempt in 2014, but looking back at this year I am very happy.  I owe much to Rachel who put up with me during the long hours and the constant fatigue of training.  She never wavered once in her support for me.  I feel very blessed to have her in my life.

2013 Season Highlights
  • 2013 Huntsville Track Club Open Male Gran Prix Series Winner
  • Broke 2:50 at Chicago Marathon (2:49:12) and now have run under 3 hours at all 3 US Marathon Majors (2009 2:56:17 at Boston and 2011 2:54:44 at New York).  Was also my 3rd fastest marathon ever and 3rd time under 2:50
  • Broke 5 minutes in the mile (4:57.61) for the first time at the HTC Track Meet
  • Won McKay Hollow Madness 25km by over 7 minutes
  • Broke 17 in the 5k for the first time in two years - 16:57 at Spooktacular
  • Ran under 6 minute pace for a half marathon - 1:17:48
  • Two-time Krispy Kreme Challenge winner, 29:55 in 2013 and 28:53 (course record) in 2011
  • Ran 3,600 miles in 2013* (300 per month) - (projected)
  • Three-peat overall winner at Care Center 5km
  • Summit of Mount Whitney (tallest peak in contiguous United States at 14,497')
  • 13 overall wins, 23 total top 3 finishes and only 3 times finished lower than 8th overall
  • 39 races (average finish in top 1%)
  • 28 times 1st overall in age group M35-39
  • Won two HTC races (McKay Hollow Madness 25km, Fund Run 8km)
  • Logged over a hundred hours of volunteer time for local area races, the Huntsville Track Club or for Fleet Feet events

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Marathon Majors

On October 3rd, 2005 I ran my first marathon; it was an utter and epic failure. On that sunny day in Milwaukee, I ran the first 16 miles in two hours. It took me two hours and 55 minutes to walk the next 10 miles. My debut marathon was a 4:55 and I was in tears.  Any thoughts of running a Boston Qualifying 3:10 were so far from reality that I wondered if I would ever run another marathon.

I did.

In the spring of 2006 I trained smarter, not harder, and ran the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.  On a perfect weather day, I was able to run 3:18 and officially had caught that marathon bug.  Despite the throbbing pain in my legs, I started to wonder if I'd ever been good enough to run at Boston.  Dreaming even bigger, I knew that somewhere along the way I would like to run all three of the U.S. marathon majors; Chicago, Boston and New York.

So I wrote it down on my bucket list.

While I thought that since I was so close to qualifying for Boston that it would be easy, I failed on my next attempt.  In doing so, I managed to complete step one of my goal and finish the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon in 3:16 in October of 2006.

Then on my second attempt to qualify for Boston in South Carolina at the Myrtle Beach Marathon I failed again.  This time I was a kick away from making the mark, as I finished in 3:11:12 and missed the mark by 13 seconds.  I was more heart broken in coming so close than I was in my near five hour finish in Milwaukee. The dejected look on my face tells the story of how I was feeling.

Despite the continued failures, I tried again in May of 2007 at Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.  This proved to be my day and with my parents sitting in Lambeau field at mile 25 to cheer me on, I was able to run 3:07 and finally qualify for the Boston Marathon.  The second leg of my marathon majors dream was not set into motion.

I would go on to run Boston in April of 2008, finishing just under the time I needed to requalify for the following year, notching a 3:09.  Chicago.  Check.  Boston.  Check.  Now was it possible to break 3 hours in the marathon?

In December 2008 I laid it all out on the line and after logging numerous hundred mile weeks and training to the breaking point, I raced Rocket City Marathon to a 2:54.  I felt like I had finally arrived as a marathoner and wanted to take my game back to Boston for another shot.

Boston 2009 went much better as I was able to stick with Dink Taylor for the first 16 miles before the Newton Hills and after struggling through to Boston College, was able to hold on to run 2:56.  Two marathons in a row under three hours.

While getting into Chicago was a matter of registering early enough to run amongst 40,000 other people, it took qualifying to run on Patriot's Day in Massachusetts in 2008 and 2009.  To get into New York, I would either have to be lucky and gain entry through the lottery, or I would have to bypass the lottery with a fast marathon time.  That would mean running under 2:55 again and after struggling to a 2:58 at Rocket City in late 2009, I wondered if I could do it again.

So in June of 2010 I started training to run my fastest marathon ever.  I put together a brutal training plan and booked a flight to Sacramento, where I would test my skills at the ultra fast California International Marathon.  After hitting some very fast times in training, including a 1:15:32 half marathon, I felt like I was ready.  Then on race day in early December, everything came together and I was fortunate enough to run a 2:43:40 which would ensure my entry into New York.  The final step of my marathon dream was not one step closer to reality.

In February, I ran a miserable 2:48 at Mercedes Marathon which was part of left over fitness from Sacramento as I had not done any training since December as I was suffering from burn out.  Despite the 1:20 / 1:28 splits, it still was my second fastest marathon ever and 5th marathon in a row under three hours.

With my 2:43 and 2:48, I was able to bypass the lottery and was accepted to New York and ten months later I would be in the Big Apple.  My short distance fitness was tremendous, having run 1:16 on a hilly half marathon in Winchester, TN but I had only run over 20 miles once in training.  So I was in great half marathon shape, but combined with an ailing right knee, shooting pains in my left inner calf and a possible torn rotator cuff, I was worried how the race might go. During the race, I held onto 6:10 pace for the first 10 miles, but was struggling on the rolling hills of Brooklyn.  I split the first half in 1:22 but by the base of the Queensboro Bridge, I was starting to drop off quickly.  I held onto 7 minute pace in the final 10 miles to reach my B goal and run 2:54:44.  That made six marathons in a row under 3 hours.

It has been nearly two years since my last marathon finish, having lost the later half of 2012 to injury.  Other than some minor fatigue from training, I am healthy and ready to finish a dream that started seven years ago. I have trained wisely, focusing on long quality training runs with plenty of miles at marathon pace.

I have been fortunate enough to run all three marathon majors; but now I want to run them all in under 3 hours.  Given my 2:56 at Boston, my 2:54 at New York, all that remains is a return trip to Chicago on October 13th and running the marathon one more time.  Then the Major dream will be complete.

I feel tremendously blessed to have been given the gift to run, the motivation to train hard and the determination to keep trying after failure. These medals have been a dream of mine for a long time, but the glory of finally earning them all goes to God.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

TevaSphere Trail eVent Shoe Review

Part 2: Running in the TevaSphere Trail eVent


In order to properly test the TevaSphere Trail eVent, I wanted to make sure that I ran different distances, on different terrain, in different weather conditions.  Since posting my initial thoughts on this intriguing shoe back in late July,  I put it through the ringer, running on soft sand, technical rocky descents, muddy single track, hard packed trail to gravel roads.  I felt like I wouldn't be able to truly understand the the shoe and the benefit of the unique design unless I tested it in all conditions.


As I previously noted, for trail running, I prefer a shoe that is:
  • Low to the ground for stability
  • Aggressive lugs for traction
  • Sticky rubber outsoles to grip in wet conditions
  • Flexible (no rockplate in the forefoot)
  • Minimal front toe bumper
  • Light weight
  • Mesh upper for fast drying
  • Minimal heel to toe drop (prefer 6mm and less)
  • Minimal to moderate cushion
It was unfortunate that while testing the TevaSphere Trail eVent, I realized that I probably was not the target market for this shoe.  Sometimes that happens when the wear tester and the shoe are just not a good match.

My initial impression taking the shoe out of the box was that it was stiff.  I thought that the design would change my mind but running in them actually confirmed my thoughts.  Regardless of the conditions, but especially on technical surfaces, I found the stiffness to be a detriment of the shoe.  While some people might be looking for a stiff shoe, but I prefer for my foot to roll over the rocks and roots and feel the terrain underfoot.  The shoe does flex well from the toe box forward, but side to side there is little twist flexibility and the plastic rock plate in the forefoot takes the "feel" of the trail away, but for some people that is what they are looking for in a trail shoe.

On several occasions I ran in the shoes at the end of a longer road or trail run to see how the weight of the shoe would feel on tired legs.  At 12.1 ounces, they are nearly a third heavier than the shoes that I would normally wear and I have to say that I did feel the extra weight.  They really are not that heavy of a trail shoe compared to similar models in their category so this really is not a positive or a negative.  I believe that the target customer for this shoe is not necessarily running ultra-distances with supremely tired legs, so for an average trail runner the weight would not pose a problem.

The spherical heel did seem to help some of the heel to toe transition by allowing the foot to roll through the stride well.  This is a crazy looking design, but for a heel striker, it would really help propel the runner forward.  This didn't seem to matter much on wet muddy trails, but on the harder packed surfaces it proved to function very well.

The support pod served the purpose of promoting stability on technical terrain.  I actually practiced stepping on rocks and roots on a way that I would not normally, just so I could see how they would help with the side to side stability.  Landing unevenly which can at times create an awkward foot motion seemed to be totally corrected with the support pod.  I think that for the new trail runner, or an experienced trail runner who might not have the best form would benefit most from the rigid footbridge as it can almost correct a bad foot fall.

The grip of the tread was not overly tacky to the touch and proved as such when landing on wet, mossy rocks.  There was some slippage on these types of surfaces, which most runners tend to avoid anyway.  I was a little disappointed on a few technical climbs that the shoe would slip with small, loose rocks.  This did not create much confidence when I turned around and ran down the same trail.

I did also test the shoes after heavy rain storms on a few trails that can be ankle deep with water and covered in thick mud in other places.  The mesh upper on the top and sides seemed to allow water to seep in, but also allowed it to wick away pretty quickly.  They did feel just a tad heavier when caked with mud, but this was too be expected.

Overall, I think that this shoe might be a good match for a heel striker who tends to run mostly on gravel roads or hard packed surfaces.  

I do have to say that I really like the approach that Teva has taken with the development of this shoe.  It might not have worked out for me, but the amount of scientific research and the number of prototypes they went through before delivering this model was tremendous.  I think that with some positive user feedback, the next models will be that much better.  

I was very happy to be asked to test out this shoe and I encourage you to live off the beaten path and "unfollow" with Teva shoes.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TevaSphere Trail eVent: Initial Impressions

Part 1: Initial thoughts on TevaSphere Trail eVent

My Background

In order to understand this review of the TevaSphere Trail eVent, I think it is important to first understand the background of the wear tester.

I started running at age 27 and within the first 10 years of running had logged 25,000 miles.  With 19,500 miles coming in the last six years after moving to Huntsville, Alabama I tend to be a high mileage runner.  I have competed in nearly 300 races during that period with 38 races being marathon distance or longer.  I have won more than 50 races which is a result of hard work and dedication to quality training sessions.  I fare well in road races but my true passion is running trails.  In fact, I was a selected as a member of the U.S.A. inov-8 ultrarunning team in 2010 and 2011.   

I own the fastest known time for the 40.4 mile Greenstone Ridge Trail on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, running unsupported from Washington Creek Trail to Hidden Lake Trail on July 10, 2012 in 8:47:36.90.  I also own the fastest known time for the 28 mile Trapp Hills Traverse and the 2nd fastest known time on the 171.3 mile Alabama Pinhoti Trail.  In 2012 I ran Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon (41.8 miles, 21,100' of elevation change) in 11 hours 9 minutes 58 seconds, for fun!

Trail Shoe Preferences

I've worn over a hundred pair of shoes from just about every brand in the market so I know what I like when it comes to footwear.  I started off wearing high cushion stability shoes and over a three year period, I transitioned to mostly lightweight trainers or racers.  I mostly mid-foot strike but as the pace slows I will heel strike from time to time.

For trail running, I prefer a shoe that is:
  • Low to the ground for stability
  • Aggressive lugs for traction
  • Sticky rubber outsoles to grip in wet conditions
  • Flexible (no rockplate in the forefoot)
  • Minimal front toe bumper
  • Light weight
  • Mesh upper for fast drying
  • Minimal heel to toe drop (prefer 6mm and less)
  • Minimal to moderate cushion
Initial Impressions

I will be honest that my initial thoughts on the TevaSphere Trail eVent were that they were drastically different than what I had been wearing.  That said, I put aside my preconceived notions so that I could give them an honest review.  The folks at Teva were kind enough to ship me a pair to test out, along with some gear from GoPro and Camelbak to help in the wear testing process.  The shoes launched earlier in the spring of 2013 and can be found on the Teva website at a retail price of $140 USD.

I read through all of the marketing material and being a techie by nature, I appreciated all of the scientific testing that had gone into research and development for this shoe.  I also like the notion of "unfollow" and "livebetterstories" which appeal to my sense of adventure and living off of the beaten path.

Out of the box the eVent felt very heavy.  In fact at 12.1 ounces, they were nearly a third heavier than then 7.5 ounce inov-8 x-talon 212's that I have been wearing for the last few years.  I have worn heavier trail shoes in the past and from experience I know that any extra weight means extra work, which can add up during the course of an ultra marathon.  

The spherical heel looks like it would work well for most heel strikers to help with the heel to toe transition.  When walking in them around the house, I could feel how they did seem to help roll through the foot strike.  I would describe the overall fit as comfortable and the sizing was true to what I normally wear.  The heel counter is hard molded so while it should cradle the heel properly, it may be a little stiff for some trail runners.

The most noticeable feature is the support pod that is directly under the mid foot.  The website describes how it will help to promote stability on unpredictable terrain.  When examining the shoe from the bottom I can see how it extends out more than on a normal shoe, widening the shoe through the middle section and giving it more surface area on contact.  It does create rigidity through the footbridge which will prevent the shoe from twisting easily under landing pressure.  I was unable to twist the shoe from front to back, mostly due to the support pod.  The grip seems to be fairly tacky, while the lugs are not overly aggressive.  These look like they will be best for hard packed surfaces.

The upper features a mesh membrane called eVent which should help to allow the foot to breathe through wicking.  The true test will be how well they keep water out and hoe efficiently they drain once getting wet.  These panels are on the sides, and on the toe box.  The overlays on the upper seem a bit excessive and while they may help with the construction of the shoe, might just add weight. The collar on the heel cup is fairly high in the back with deep grooves on the sides, which should alleviate any potential for rubbing on the ankle bone.

The collar around the ankle is quite padded as is the tongue of the shoe.  The length of the tongue and overpadding may rub on the front ankle joint and create irritation.  Excess tongue padding also can make it difficult to fit in an after market footbed for proper arch support like a SuperFeet or a PowerStep.  True story that I once had a pair of trail shoes that I ran in once and then demoted them to grass cutting shoes because the tongue was too thick and with my inserts in them, they created upward pressure on the top of my foot.

Stay tuned for part 2 in which I will bring the shoes out to some of my favorite trails and subject them to rocks, roots, mud, climbing, fast descents, water crossings and all of the things that make trail running so much fun!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

2013 RC Cola Moon Pie 10-miler

Pretty pleased with my effort this morning! Wasn't quite sure what to expect as my legs have been zapped lately and have generally felt sluggish and tired with the heat.

After an early morning (4:30!) departure I had some abnormal stomach issues that had me still in the porta-potty line at 6:54am for the 7am start. Glad I got it out of the way but skipped stretches and just ran over to the start. Was surprised by the lack of talent on the men's side, while the women's side was stacked pretty well. I went out conservatively as the course has a mostly downhill start leaving town for 5:57.17 first mile. Felt like it was confortable so stayed there for mile two as the course started to roll some. Split second mile in 6:00.32 and was in 2nd place with the lead runner 30 seconds in front. Mile 3 seemed to be my hardest mile as the south TN hills kind of got to me and I split 6:15.17 and was no longer feeling very well, but it quickly changed as the course started winding downward (and shaded) and I got a 5:58.47 back. The "hill" was in next mile and I didn't really remember how steep it was from my last time in Bell Buckle back in 2008, but it wasn't too bad. I slowed significantly but after the crest reengaged my legs and still split 6:27.72 for a first half of 30:39.

The second half was completely different... more downhill and mostly flat with some winding roads back toward the highway. I did slightly feel like I was running too fast for my current conditioning but I rolled with it trying to stay in the top 5. I split miles 6 and 7 in 5:58.82, 6:03.64. I could hear someone closing in on my during mile 8 and I really thought it was Jason Reneau; but was surprised to see that it was a runner from Nashville which in my head meant that Jason was still there and probably closing in! I fell to 3rd but that was the wakeup call that I needed to start digging in. Mile 8 was 5:56.92 and mile 9 was 6:05.77 as the course rolled along some hills ont he highway. I refused to look back at anyone, and just tried to keep at around 6 minute miles as we climbed the final hill toward the edge of town. It turned out that there was a 2 minute gap between me and the next runner which opened up further as I ran a 5:51.05 final mile coming back downhill into town. My second half was 29:56!

So I feel great about the time, having run much slower than that this spring on a flat course in Mooresville and today being much warmer, more humid with hills. The top 3 finish was just a fluke as no one else was really there and Jason was back in the pack just taking it easy. Ironically I ran 1:01 something here in 2008 and was 4th overall. I guess you can't control who shows up for a race and you just have to run your best and see how the chips fall.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 McKay Hollow Madness 25km

Last year after McKay Hollow, I put together a list of the 25 best races I have ever run, having put forth a hard effort in pretty good conditions, and managing to hold onto 2nd place overall in 2:06:08.  That was the last time I felt like everything came together for me at a race, where I was healthy, uninjured, properly trained and focused on a goal race.  I ranked that performance as #8 all time for me.

Going into this year I felt like things were slowly coming together where I could put myself into a position to have a good race.  My training had been pretty specific for this race, having focused on hill workouts, technical footing, trail tempo running and adding in just a few road races as tune up.  McKay Hollow is the perfect course for me; plenty of climbing, not too short, not too long and conditions that typically favor my running ability.  Change any of those conditions and there are plenty of guys who have my number.  So when I saw the weather on race morning of rain and cold temperatures, I wasn't sure how that would impact everything, but I hadn't trained this hard to mail it in, no matter who was running.

My warmup consisted of some high knees and butt kicks for about 30 seconds.  It was right from there to running 6:30 pace out on the road section with Brandon Mader.  He had been recently injured, but after a very fast half marathon last weekend and national class trail running talent, I am no where near his class.  Together we pulled ahead slightly, and after dropping off the mountain, he pulled ahead by a few seconds as we rounded Logan Point.  The pace on the trail portion was in the low 7's, but slowed once we started to climb into Super Cuts.  We again ran together, meaning hand climbed through the rocks and then down along Stone Cuts Bypass.  I lengthened out my stride coming off of the ridge and confidently ran down the rocky downhill toward 3 Benches.  Mader had  pulled away to where I couldn't see him anymore, but likewise, I did not see anyone behind me as I made the turn onto Mountain Mist.

I remember looking back at my pace from last year heading out on Mountain Mist and thinking that it was way too fast, trying to keep up with George Heeschen and Brad Schroeder.  But chasing Mader and staying right at 7:30 pace to the point felt very comfortable this year.  I didn't climb up War Path Ridge very well, but I kept a running motion while trying to preserve enough energy to be able to get right back to it when I reached the aid station.

Conditions were really this bad.

I thought maybe I was loosing it when I reached O'Shaugnessy Point and saw Mader talking with Brandon York.  I shook my head trying to clear the sleep out of my eyes and just ran past.  By the time I reached Rest Shelter, he had caught up and told me that the race was just an experiment to see if post injury he was ready to run trails again.  We pushed the pace pretty hard down Rest Shelter, probably harder than I would have alone, knowing that that he was behind me and it seemed like he wanted to go faster.  Our 6th mile split was 7:17.  Just about the time we reached Kathy's bench, he said that he wasn't feeling it and wished me luck.  I said thanks and rolled on down to Slush Mile.

Ok, time for a reality check.  Now I was running in the lead with plenty of better trail runners behind me.  Normally I would have let my head get to me; buckled under the pressure; wondering how long it would be until they caught me and I faded late.  Not today.  Not that I didn't have a little bit of self doubt, but I quickly squashed it and dropped the hammer.  I wasn't about to let up and in fact I actually found another gear as I continued to drop into the Hollow.  I had no idea where anyone else was and with the fog, they probably had no idea where I was.  I made up my mind that I was just gong to push as hard as I could.

I approached the climb of Natural Well thinking that after the short 1/3 mile to the well, and 1/2 mile to the summit, that I would have nearly six miles of fast running before the final climb.  I did have to walk just a few steps on the ascent, but they were on the technical wet rocks as we crossed the stream.  Otherwise I felt better than I did on my tempo run of this section just 5 days prior.  In fact, it was that tempo run that gave me the confidence I needed to stay strong.  I was taking Powerbar Gel Blasts (just one at a time) about every 20 minutes, which seemed to be perfect to keep my energy stores topped off.  I had choked one down just before the climb and I think the small amount of caffeine was just what I needed for a pick me up.

At the large climbing rock on the plateau, I was able to recovery quickly and surprised myself at how I was able to get right back down to pace.  This is where I believe that the race was won; coming across the top of the mountain, I was able to hold 7:30 pace and then on the very rocky Arrowhead extension trail out to the parking lot at Trough Springs.  I came across friend John Nevels who was checking the course and he wished me well.  From there I picked it up and ran a 7:23 split back down to Son-of-a-bitch Ditch.

Even the minor ascent back up to the top of Arrowhead, I was able to run with even effort, occasionally looking at my watch and seeing the instant pace still in the 7's.  By the time I started to drop down toward the cistern, it was again the memory of my tempo run a few days ago that gave me the confidence to scream down this hill.  I clocked a 7:15, followed by a 7:34, which included the drop down and back up Big Cat Hill.  I had just under 3.5 miles to go.

I ran pretty hard across the new Slush Mile, which is the section after Big Cat and before the 4-way intersection.  I nearly lost my shoe twice and the amount of effort to hold 8 minute pace was intense.  Plus my stomach was starting to act up, really making me think that I might have to go to the bathroom.  I talked myself out of it and just pushed on.  It was a nice uplift at the intersection to see some friends climbing up Natural Well, as I was about to start the most difficult part of the course.

When my legs get tired, I don't lift my feet very well and the last drop down to the creek nearly gets me every time.  But today I ran with confidence and never slipped once, thanks to the extra grip on my inov-8 x-talon 212's (which were the perfect shoe choice for this course on this day).  I came out of the hollow and started up Cry Baby Hill, wanted to cry, slightly.  I had to back off a little and walk a few steps as my breathing was slightly labored.  I still had no idea where any one was, nor did I care.  It wouldn't have changed anything, as I was running as hard as I could.

Now the final climb; where the race has been won and lost, where people have fallen and broken bones, where I first saw George last year and had to bust my tail to stay ahead to the finish.  I am not going to say that I shattered any of my personal records, nor that I ran every step, but I pushed hard.  When I felt myself slowing down, I dug deeper and pushed harder.  After coming through the plateau rock and begin half way up, I knew that it was not much further.

I ran the final switch back section before the waterfall, and for the first time all day I smiled and it started to sink in.  In a race where I had finished 5th, 4th, 2nd (to David Riddle), 3rd, and 2nd (to Brandon Mader), I was about to win.  I was rising out of the fog on the waterfall, out of the mud, up from the depth of the hollow and running toward the finish, in first.

I can't describe how blessed I feel to have had such a good race.  I fought through the self doubt, I fought off the demons, the stomach issues and the desire to walk that normally get me during races. I held on strong and with a little Divine help, emerged on top.

Pretty exhausted at the finish.

At the finish.

My time was 2:03:52, which was over two minutes faster than last year, when I thought that I had a good race, and the conditions were much more favorable.  I am not going to say these were the worst conditions ever, as I remember some muddy years in the hollow, but it ranks up there with them for sure.  Since the race was extended to 25km in 2011 (course change and also cancelled by weather), I have run the second two fastest times, behind Brandon Mader's killer 1:57:05 last year.  If he was healthy this year, he probably would have run away with the win again.

I am not going to lie; this was my spring goal race.  It meant a lot to me, and I took it very seriously.  I am fortunate that things worked out so well and hope that in the process I have been able to place the Glory with Him, where it belongs.  I don't know where this race ranks on my best performances all time; I think I need a few days for it to sink in.

Thanks to Blake Thompson for organizing a great event and to the other runners who braved the conditions, broke bones and gave it their best effort in the Madness.

Now time to rest up these legs.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mount Cheaha 50km by the numbers

The Numbers

Here is my on going analysis of the fastest times posted at Mount Cheaha 50km. This year there were 2 more finishers under the 5-hour mark, making it a total of 47 in the 13-year history of this race.  William Ansick's 4:48:20 was the 4th slowest winning time in race history, but the 7:34:15 was also the slowest average of all time.

Fastest Course Times (5 hours and under)
Overall winners for that year highlighted in bold.

01 - 4:00:25 Dane Mitchell, 2010
02 - 4:05:08 Darren Thomas, 2017
03 - 4:18:39 Darren Thomas, 2016
04 - 4:19:39 Darren Thomas, 2015
05 - 4:20:10 Rudy Rutemiller, 2014
06 - 4:22:25 Johnny Clemons, 2012
07 - 4:32:23 Jamie Dial, 2008
08 - 4:32:39 Leif Van Acker, 2017
09 - 4:32:40 Darren Thomas, 2014
10 - 4:35:09 Owen Bradley, 2011
11 - 4:36:00 DeWayne Satterfield, 2010
12 - 4:37:41 Caleb Denton, 2017
13 - 4:39:22 Alex Darth, 2010
14 - 4:40:17 Brandon Sullivan, 2015
15 - 4:40:31 Tim Vinson, 2010
16 - 4:41:42 Brandon Sullivan, 2017
17 - 4:42:48 Jason Hanlin, 2011
18 - 4:42:52 DeWayne Satterfield, 2008
19 - 4:43:04 Henry Wakley, 2012
20 - 4:44:24 Eric Gilbertson, 2010
21 - 4:44:45 Dink Taylor, 2013
22 - 4:46:14 William Ansick, 2015
23 - 4:48:20 William Ansick, 2018
24 - 4:48:49 Clay Hickman, 2013
25 - 4:50:24 William Ansick, 2014
26 - 4:50:25 Robert Pritchett, 2006
27 - 4:51:17 Dink Taylor, 2007
28 - 4:53:10 Mike Consentino, 2007
29 - 4:54:07 Eric Charette, 2010
30 - 4:54:14 John Lampley, 2016
31 - 4:54:45 DeWayne Satterfield, 2011
32 - 4:55:12 Vince Molosky, 2012
33 - 4:55:17 Robert Youngren, 2007
34 - 4:55:27 Ron Brooks, 2018
35 - 4:55:55 Dink Taylor, 2008
36 - 4:55:57 Vince Molosky, 2014
37 - 4:56:29 Thomas Boyd, 2008
38 - 4:56:53 Tim Pitt, 2016
39 - 4:57:17 Vince Molosky, 2013
40 - 4:57:47 Matt Sims, 2008
41 - 4:58:18 Dink Taylor, 2009
42 - 4:58:45 William Ansick, 2012
43 - 4:58:46 David Howe, 2010
44 - 4:58:47 Dink Taylor, 2006
45 - 4:59:29 Vince Molosky, 2015
46 - 4:59:47 Jason Hanlin, 2014
47 - 4:59:51 Marcus Farris, 2011

2 finishers under 5 hours
69 total finishers
7:05:27 average time

3 finishers under 5 hours
106 total finishers

5 finishers under 5 hours
113 total finishers
6:49:53 average time

2 finishers under 5 hours
124 total finishers
7:03:11 average time

7 finishers under 5 hours
149 total finishers
7:01:08 average time

4 finishers under 5 hours
182 total finishers
7:09:01 average time

4 finishers under 5 hours
179 total finishers
7:05:03 average time

3 finishers under 5 hours
197 total finishers
7:11:40 average time

5 finishers under 5 hours
228 total finishers
7:24:10 average time

4 finishers under 5 hours
213 total finishers
7:23:07 average time

3 finishers under 5 hours
151 total finishers
7:20:07 average time

4 finishers under 5 hours
230 total finishers
7:16:36 average time

2 finishers under 5 hours
178 total finishers
7:34:15 average time

Totals for all 13 Years
47 finishers under 5 hours (2.22%)
7:11:12 average finish time
2119 total finishers

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monte Sano Hills(s) Climb Challenge

Resurrecting this old post...

As the original post read, "my good friend Brian Robinson is a true believer in measuring your performance based on time trial trails and he has me sold. I love to climb!"

Waterline (Alms House to Bluffline) = 0.76 miles and 569' of climb
  • Time: 8:53 (updated on January 2, 2012) in the middle of a 13 mile run with Will Barnwell and Laura McCrain
  • Times: 9:53, 9:30, 9:21 (updated January 1, 2012) doing repeats in the middle of an 8 mile run.
  • Old best was 9:43 from January 10, 2009 while chasing David Riddle
Death Trail (Bottom to overlook) = 0.64 miles and 655' of climb
  • Time: 8:48 (updated September 11, 2011 with James Falcon and Eric Fritz)
  • Time: 8:55 (updated Saturday, February 23, 2013 running solo)
K2 (or Flat Rock Connector from Flat Rock intersection to Goat Trail) = 0.40 miles and 262' of climb
  • Time: 4:33 (updated Jan 17, 2008 with E. Schotz and J. Elmore)
Sinks (Start below 3 benches at lowest point up Sinks, across Mtn Mist Trail to Stone Wall at bikers lot) = 0.50 miles and 292' of climb
  • Time: 4:26 (updated Jan 17, 2008 with E. Schotz and J. Elmore)
Natural Well (from Natural well trail intersection with Arrowhead trail to the actual Natural Well) = 0.33 miles and 326' of climb
  • Time: 4:21 (updated Jan 18, 2008)
Bankhead Challenge (1.23 miles from the top gate at the overlook at 1,570' to the bottom gate at 1,335' along the closed section of Bankhead Parkway and then back up, totalling 2.46 miles containing 235' of drop (3.6%) and 235' of climb for 470' of elevation change.)
  • Down in 6:30 (5:17 pace) + Up in 7:58 (6:29 pace) = 14:28 (5:39 pace) on September 8, 2011 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2013 NCAC Superheroes Run

Where will I be on April 13, 2013?  Chasing that elusive sub 5-minute mile that evaded me last year by twelve one-hundredths of a second at the National Children's Advocacy Center Flash Mile.

I hope to see you there.

2012 Race Recap

I went out hard, taking the first left into the 400m mark just ahead of plan in 1:13.77.

The second 400m was a struggle as the course took 3 more turns and topped out on elevation.  I felt like my goal was slipping out of my hands.  My split was 1:18.80, putting me at 2:32.57.

I kept trying to push the pace in the third 400m but with tired legs my split was 1:18.76 and through three-quarters of a mile, I was now 6 seconds off of my pace at 3:51.33.  I would have to run 13.29 miles an hour, or a 68 second quarter mile coming home to make it.

Mentally I began to give up.  Physically I pushed on harder than ever.

As I approached the finish line my friends who showed up to cheer me on gave me a great lift... I could feel the acid building up in my calves but I just had to hold on for a few more seconds and it would be over.

I ran the final 400 meters in 68.78 seconds.  To break 5 minutes, I needed to run it in 68.66 seconds.

I missed my mark by twelve one hundredths of a second.

2013 Race Details

The Second Annual Bike-A-Fun-Run and Family Block Party will be on April 13, 2013. This family friendly, fun event celebrates April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The entire community is invited to our campus to enjoy and participate in the Bike-A-Fun-Run which includes the "Flash" 1 Mile race USATF, a 5K run USATF, 1 mile fun run and a 10K bike. The Family Block Party will be from 8 AM - 1PM and will include moon bounces, games, food and fun!

Schedule of Events
  • 7:30 AM: On-Site Registration begins
  • 8:00 AM: the "Flash" 1 Mile race USATF begins
  • 9:00 AM the 5K Run USATF begins
  • 1 Mile Fun Run to follow the 5K Run
  • 10K Bike to follow the 1 Mile Fun Run
  • Awards
National Children's Advocacy Center‎
210 Pratt Avenue Northeast
Huntsville, AL 35801
(256) 533-5437‎

Registration Details
Online registration is open now through April 10th and accessible via this link. On-site/Late registration will be on April 13th beginning at 7:30 AM.