Monday, March 29, 2010

Barkley pre-report

Well it's been two weeks or so since my last post. I've done some serious travel. 1300 miles back and forth to Va beach for the Whale challenge. into work for a rough 2 days, then back in the ca for another 2300 mile trip back and forth to THE BARKLEY!!!
I don't even know where to start explaining this. there are so many photos and stories. Hopefully I'll compile something in the next week or two. Until then. Enjoy this cheesy slide show i put together

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Yesterday I needed to do my mile. I put on my shoes, walked out the front door. It was sunny. I had every intention of running a few miles in the afternoon warmth. I turned to my left, there was a cooler full of beer left over from the party over the weekend. On my right was my truck, and within was a list of things that i needed to accomplish before we leave tonight to head to VA Beach to run the Shamrock Marathon.

I walked down the driveway, looked down the road, turned back around and walked back to the cooler. Promptly popped a beer, and took care of my truck. 63 days the streak lasted. Was it fun? Am i glad it's over? At times and yes. The last few weeks where i finally gave up on the house, told everyone to eat one and am still going through the process of getting what money i have invested back. Throwing my St Pats party. Putting in OT at work. Playing hockey two nights a week. Prepping for this trip. Prepping for NEXT weekend's trip that's even further away. Off to Vermont the following to weekends for Easter & RJ's bachelor party. Something had to give.

For a while i was using my mile(s) as an escape. But after awhile it became a chore. The last 7 days were actually dreadful. I'd lost my spark. The sun's been out more, i see more runners on the roads every day, but i never once had the desire to go outside and run. I used to put on my shoes, with a big grin and pass the miles. At day 24 i was thrilled to be out there. I was watching my mileage climb. All seemed well. Now? Who knows, maybe I'm dealing with a small bout of depression. All i know is that the streak needed to end. It was starting to own me and was turning something that i once approached as fun and an escape into a daunting task. Am i going to stop running completely? Of course not, but i'm going to take a day off here and there and NOT feel guilty about it. Will i put together another streak? Sure, at some point. The challenge of it was fun. In the meantime. I'm going to enjoy the miles i do run for what they are, not for the sake of a streak.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peak Snowshoe Marathon

Peak Snowshoe Marathon
26 Miles - 10:15 (unofficial)

On the top of Joe's, high Noon, two laps in. And just before i sat by the fire and drank my first beer waiting for Loni and Rik to catch up.

The course was similar to last year. The exception of having us climb through the Labyrinth vs descend. Which i was ok with, gave me a chance to hammer the uphills in my favorite stretch of trail. On trees throughout the course if you are paying attention you'd have found these signs. For some reason rather then writing up a true race report i wanted to write down how each sign seemed fitting for me personally.

~The feelings i got on lap 2 where Rik asked me about how the house was going. My mind filled with rage and I put my head down and proceeded to put a 10 minute lead on in the next 1 mile back to the farm.

~The frustration i felt when i knew that we weren't going to complete the marathon

~The frustration i felt knowing that Loni was not just keeping pace, but catching up. (For the record, this isn't meant as an insult to loni. She's been training hard this spring. But she's also not "training" for one of the toughest 100 milers in the world in under a month either.)

~"Hey Andy, do you think we can do a couple of extra laps?" - Rik earlier in the week before he knew what he was getting himself into

~Ray Zurbis signing up for the 100 miler and dropping out after 6 laps. When i ran with him he said "i didn't really train for this"

~Me showing up without "training" (putting my snowshoes on in 2 month)

~My desire to go further and leave my running partners in the dust rather than helping them push further then they wanted to.

~Not completing the 4 laps in the appropriate time, and rather then running off into the night, just going home.

~Not running at every stretch that i could.

~Not attempting the 100 miler that had a few people out there for two nights

~Sitting down at each aid station waiting for everyone to catch up

~saying to Rik as we fell in line with the women on the single track in the stretchy pants. "Now just ease back and enjoy the view." and his response with a grin of "i may be old, but i ain't stupid"

Rik and I wrapped up our 4 loops (3 official, 1 pre-race) in about 10 hours and 15 minutes. Loni coming in with her 3 official loops about 10 minutes after Rik. I had watched the sun rise from the top of Joe's on our first lap and i knew if i was going to go out for another one, i would have seen it set from the same spot. I just didn't have it in me. That and i knew Loni would be standing by the fire for another two hours and then into the darkness.

After thanking Andy who had gotten into a fight with the garage door earlier in the day we promised to return in June to run again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

No Power, No Problem 50k

February 27, 2010
32 Miles - 6:40

Leah, Loni, Steve John and myself start out up the hill through the slush. Spending the first few miles talking about how bad the storm was and commenting on the downed lines. "so'n'so de-friended me on facebook." Steve was curious and that lead to the retelling of a great mile melting story of the first ultra back in January. Steve and Loni hearing it all for the first time.
At 3 miles and change Leah turned back fearing another overuse injury. but it was a personal best on distance. I was very proud of her. No much further up the road Loni did the same, thinking that if she left some gas in the tank she'd have an easier time keeping up on Lap 2

The views were amazing. The fresh few inches of snow sticking to the trees and power lines. Occasionally blowing off and catching us all off guard with a blast of snow on the head. "It's all down from here" John announced as we turn off the road we'd been on for the first 6 slowly climbing miles. He kept Steve and i amused telling us his Ultra plans of Leadville, Wasatch, Vermont and Western states this upcoming summer

As the road rolls into Raymond a rottweiler comes screaming out of this trailer-trash's yard. the fat sloth owner hardly making a valiant effort to stop it. As i yell "GO HOME", and John turns to kick it in the head it focuses on fearful Steve. Maybe those little bastards can sense it but it was obviously who he was going for. Thankfully between the kicking motion and me yelling it kind of was stunned. I thought for sure if one of us wasn't going to get bit, that the traffic passing us doing 40+/- mph would have flatted it. The degenerate owner, who still had hardly moved from his deck was still yelling when John said "it's called a leash law!"

We chat and the miles pass by rolling through countryside and an alpaca farm. To whom John immediately demanded he needed some socks from. When we finally reached center of Raymond the once almost peaking through sun had disappeared behind dark clouds, then the scattered snow showers turned into a full fledged white out. I yell ahead to John that this "SUCKS!" and he responds with an, "I know. I can't see anything!" We run the next few miles single file heads down following the white line.

The next stretch of road is on a well traveled long straightaway. With the exception of one 500' stretch was closed off. Several trucks and workers trying to fix the at least 5 downed telephone poles. We trotted through without any of them giving us a look. Hoping over the wires carefully. As we crossed over the final bridge back towards John's apartment it's impossible not to notice the roaring river. Which appears WAY beyond flood stage.

Loni jumped back in on the second lap and the day had certainly gotten warmer. The once lively snow covered trees and lines now just cold damp and dreary. John hopped off the road and made himself a couple of horse friends as Loni and i walked up the dirt road.

We chatted away the miles running to the hum of generators for what seemed like most of the second loop. Waving at the constantly rushing power crews. And each going out on our own paces from time to time and eventually circling back. We all fell into each others stride with about a mile to go and finished up together. It was a good day to run.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Five-Oh

Two nights ago the streak turned over the half a century mark. I didn't want to run. I'm burned out, physically, emotionally, stressed. More bad news on the house front had made me just want to curl up in bed and hide from life's problems. Luckily i have two great women in my life that helped push me out the door. We clicked on our flashlights and headlamps and trotted out on our usual 1.1 mile loop through the neighborhood.

With a collective groan we all start working the kinks out of our joints and sore legs in the first 1/4 mile downgrade. As we turn the corner we run past our friends house and wave not knowing if they could see us. But having run this route probably 20 times in the last 2 months it's just habit. I wonder what their daughter would think seeing 3 bobbing lights run by through the darkness.


"What the hell was that!?"

I focus my mini-mag light onto the noise. It's a dog going bananas in front of someone's driveway ahead. My heart races and i slow down so the three of us can get by in a pack and not separated. Loni, who's trot is generally about 5' slower then Leah's and mine quickly catches up. I've see this dog before. Generally the owner yells at it and he runs back to the house. Tonight, not so much. As we get closer it circles back from within the driveway and straight towards me. I do what i normally do which is yell at it as if i was it's owner.


it slows briefly and then charges. I think about John's dog story and i know what i needed to do. I planted my left foot, hauled back and punted the dog in the face. Now i've never kicked a person, nevermind a dog. The closest i've come to this was a soccer ball. For those familiar with kicking a soccer ball there is a firmness, a small amount of give as the air compresses in the ball itself, and then lift. Well a 20lb dog doesn't really have that kind of feel.

I can feel the side of my foot make contact with it's jowls, then jaw, then skull and the dog stops dead in it's lunging tracks. With a frightened yelp it turns and runs back toward the house. I can only hope the owner saw this all go down and heard me yell.


The ladies run quietly and quickly ahead. When i catch them the adrenalin is pumping through me like morphine. I'm high as a kite, gitty even. I spend the rest of the run laughing about it. It felt so good. To be put in the fight or flight position and for once in my life, i chose fight. There are already enough roads i can't run down in the neighborhood because of shitty owners and their shitty dogs. I'll be dammed if I'll loose another one because of a smallish one with an attitude.

Before the sad saps get all pissed, I've never been one to hurt an animal. If it was possible i would have shot the owner first. Realistically, based on the neighborhood, and the current dilapidation of the owner's house, I'll be the one that's shot on the next run.

...wonder what the kick would have felt like in my vibrams...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thanks Post Office

When i said this wouldn't become a rant blog, well i lied.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Today was the last straw. Not only did none of the cock suckers involved with this house deal NOT get back to me. Nor when i drove past the house had ANY progress been made. I get home to this gem.

If you are wondering what you are looking at. Yep, that's right, that WAS a birthday card. But see, even though they ruined the ONLY card i get from my memere' and pepere' a year. They were able to wrap it in plastic and add a little note

Text from note reads as follows:
Dear Postal Customer:

We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during handling by the Postal Service. We hope this incident did not inconvenience you. We realize that your mail is important to you and that you have every right to expect it to be delivered in good condition.

Although every effort is made to prevent damage to the mail, occasionally this will occur because of the great volume handled and the rapid processing methods which must be employed to assure the most expeditious distribution possible.

We hope you understand. We assure you that we are constantly striving to improve our processing methods in order that even a race occurrence may be eliminated.

Please accept our apologies


Your Postmaster

Inconvenience me? F off! Why couldn't you wreck the 1,000 credit card offers i get a year. Or how about those Verizon yellow page phone books i get that i just fling into the road and watch get run over for the next week. Who the hell even uses a phone book anymore? Thanks for delivering those dry and crisp, good work.

You know, "constantly striving to improve" really gets to me. REALLY? you mean charging more and more to do the exact same thing (Thanks Unions) that you've done since you did it on fucking horseback? Wow, good system, way to plan for the future. I can't wait until post is eliminated from service and everything has to be done online so all of you worthless post-vasectomy testicles can be forced out of existence like the dinosaur.

The thing that pisses me off the most. Because some a-hole wrecked my card. Accidents happen, that's fine, just own it. Write a note "Hey Josh, i fucked up your card, sorry about that, i was delirious from having smoked so much pot to tolerate this shit end job." At least there would have been some kind of hint of truth in that. I'd have still been bummed, sure, but i would have gone, "well at least it was a person and he owned it." Nope, thanks to our new age American slogan of, "cover your ass and not own your mistakes." Now, you and i the taxpayer get have to pay for some other dumb dick to take the time to put in a generic apology and then gift wrap the damaged item in plastic as if preserving the damage would make me feel that much better.

If you work for the post office, please go postal and kill your coworkers. The less of you on the planet the more i can stop caring about my "carbon footprint." Dreaming of post office killings is just my way of "going green."

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Recap

When i wrote my January recap i said i was coming into February with higher hopes and positive thoughts. I was able to link 28 straight days of running, along with knocking out one ultra, and helping my running ladies get back on track with their training (Leah towards her first half marathon, and Loni to her first Snowshoe Marathon). But as February comes to a close i can't help but feel downtrodden. Part of me wonders if i just need a day off, or a day away, but i'm stuck in this holding pattern. I can't just quit running because I've got a lot of time and money invested into the early part of this race season. I can't just walk away from this house because if i leave now, i'm not only just out a couple of grand, but i'd have wasted so much of my energy in the last 3 months on nothing.

So i go towards March with a heavy heart, but there is a lot of positive that could come out of this. I've got 4 awesome weekends planned. This weekend i return to Peak to try battle Joe's Hill once again on snowshoes. A week later i'm throwing my 8th annual St Patties day party that is the biggest one to date. The 3rd week of the month i'm off to VA Beach to run in Neptune's shadow. The 4th weekend I'm heading to Tennessee to hopefully survive a lap at The Barkley. And to top it all off between my trips to VA and Tenn i'm supposed to close on this house.

This month is a make or break month. Either i'm going to stay positive and somehow juggle all of the stresses of training and trying to run 3 big time races, including all of the travel. The added stress of trying to buy this house. And the normal stresses of just life in general. Or i'm going to snap and go AWOL.

I just "Got to leave it all behind you, Give the sun a chance to find you, let it go."

Book List:

Born to Run (Audiobook) - Needed something to fill the miles. I recommend the audio book, it was well read and it was fun to hear someone else read it instead of how it sounded in my head

A Walk in the woods (Audiobook) - A well written story by Bill Bryson about his trek on the AT.

By The Numbers:

Miles Run: 102.3
Miles # of Runs: 28
Average Miles: 3.7

Month Starting Weight: 175 Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 175 Lbs
Weight Change: 0

Race Results:

NP, NP 50k+ - 6:40

Upcoming March Events:
Peak Snowshoe Marathon - March 6
Shamrock Whale Challenge (50k) - March 20-21
Barkley - March 27-28