Friday, December 19, 2008

Self-Inflicted White Rock Ultramarathon - Not Quite!

If you've been following this blog you know I missed my last race due to illness, then decided to turn the White Rock Marathon into a 56 mile Ultramarathon by running to and from the race (see previous posts below).  Well, it almost happened, but not quite.

I did get up at 4:00 AM on Sunday to start my journey.  I had coffee and breakfast, got dressed, and was out the door by 5:10 AM.  The race started at 8:00 AM so I planned to take about 2 hours and 30-40 minutes, leaving me 10-20 minutes before the official start.

The run to the race was great.  You can see my route here.  It was quiet and peaceful, although it was very windy.  The wind was out of the South so it was blowing in my face most of the time.

At one point I stopped at a McDonald's to refill my water bottle and use the restroom.  I was wearing my race bib (number) at that time.  As I ran through the McDonald's parking lot two women got out of their car.  They were wearing half marathon bibs.  You could tell they were totally confused to see someone running with a race bib about 8 miles from the actual race.  It was funny.

I arrived at the race in plenty of time, stood around waiting for the start, then finally the starting gun fired and there was more waiting to actually get to and cross the starting line.  I started the nice easy run/walk pattern (run 0.9 miles, walk 0.1 miles) that I had been using all morning.  The race was going well until around mile 10, when I started feeling nauseous and full.  My stomach felt tight and I didn't feel like eating or drinking.  This is a consistent problem for me when I eat only sweet things (I was eating Power Gels, Jelly Belly Sports Beans and the new Power Bar Gel Blasts).  I need to find an energy source I can carry that is not primarily sugar.

Anyway, after another couple of miles I needed to find a port-a-potty.  I had to use the restroom and was really feeling nauseous.  Not good!  I asked a volunteer where the next port-a-potties were but she didn't know.  Finally as I approached mile 11 or so I found some.  As I ran to the potties there was a band playing, and this is what they were playing ("Where Did Our Love Go?" by The Supremes):
I've got this burning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad.
Yep, that's about how I felt.  I used the port-a-potty but couldn't throw up (and if a port-a-potty won't make you throw up I don't know what will).  I started walking more and running less.  This slowdown continued through the marathon halfway point (13.1 miles, which for me was mile 28).  I had been hoping to finish the marathon in five hours but I was pretty sure that wouldn't happen.

Around mile 14 I ran into some women from one of my past Team in Training groups.  They were following a 5:30 pace group (an experienced runner runs a preassigned pace and people who want to run that pace can run with the pacer).  They were running five minutes and walking one minute.  I started running with them and that worked well for a while, but I still didn't feel well and wasn't eating enough to maintain the effort.  Finally around mile 18 (mile 33 for me) I dropped back and started walking more.  

I walked most of the rest of the race with occasional bursts of running.  I was really tired and still felt nauseous and a little dehydrated since I wasn't eating or drinking enough due to the nausea.  It was discouraging to walk so much, but at least I was going to finish.  However, I knew I would never have the energy to run home another 15 miles.  I also felt what I thought were blisters on both feet (they turned out to be hot spots, so that was good).  I finally got into downtown Dallas which meant I was within a couple of miles of being finished.  I ran most of the last mile and ran across the finish line.  Finally finished in a time of 5:48:41, my slowest marathon ever (1:26 slower than my fastest marathon and 52 minutes slower than my next slowest marathon).  But I did run 15 miles before, so I wasn't too upset.  Here is a map of my marathon race before the batteries in my watch died.

At the finish I ran into a lot of my friends from Team in Training and I hung out and cheered for some of the last finishers.  Then I caught a ride home, ate a LOT and had a hot bath and a cold beer (both of which are supposed to be bad for you after running, but who cares!).

Total for the day:  41.1 miles, 8 hours, 27 minutes, 1 second, pace of 12:21 per mile.  Pretty slow.

So I still didn't achieve my goal of 50 miles to keep me on track with my racing and fundraising.  I may be able to make it up in February, but I'm not sure yet.

Finally, please look at this incredibly inspirational picture taken by the wife of a member of my running club, the North Texas Trail Runners.

That's one of the things I love about running.  There are so many different types of people out there, each testing their own abilities and their own limits.  These guys are dealing with challenges I can't even imagine, but they're out there giving it their all and pushing themselves.  Such an inspirational image.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me, both financially and with encouragement and support.  You guys make my efforts worthwhile!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bid for the Cure: "Archived" American Girl Doll for Sale

My wife has found herself in possession of an extra Samantha doll from American Girl.  Samantha has been "archived" or discontinued and is no longer available.  This doll is in the original packaging which shipped directly from American Girl and has never been opened.  The set also includes six Samantha books.  Everything is brand new and never opened.

If you or someone you know would like to bid on Samantha please visit this eBay page to place a bid.  ALL monies raised will go toward my fundraising efforts on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Athletes for a Cure.  So bid early and bid often!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Self-Inflicted White Rock Ultramarathon

If you've been reading my blog you know that last weekend was supposed to be the third race in my Race Against Prostate Cancer (SunMart 50 mile) but I was sick and had to skip it.

Now I'm well and looking for ways to still meet my goal of one ultra per month for seven months.  Unfortunately there aren't any more ultras nearby this month so I'm going to get creative.

This Sunday I will run the White Rock Marathon.  I'm excited about this race - it's always fun to run in my hometown, and I will see tons of people I know.  That is always a great experience.  However, a marathon is not an ultramarathon.  So to accomplish my goal I will run to the White Rock Marathon, run the marathon, then run home.  It's about 15 miles from my house to the American Airlines Center where the race starts and finishes, so that means I will run about 56 miles in total.

For some reason I'm really nervous about this, even though I've run longer distances in the past.  First of all, it will all be on pavement and concrete, so that will be hard on my body.  But also I'm nervous about running 30 miles alone (I should point out that I'll be running up and down busy streets so I'll never be alone, but I'll be the only one running my "event").

The good news is that there will aid everywhere!  Restaurants, convenience stores, Starbucks.  I'll even run by Krispy Kreme twice.  So I plan to carry my credit card with me and stop frequently for "aid".  

Thanks to EarthRunner on Twitter for the title of my race.  He jokingly called it a Self-Inflicted Ultra and I liked the name.

So wish me luck.  And if you happen to be driving near my route and see me, feel free to toss me some food or a beer (Shiner Hefeweizen is always appreciated).

Thanks again to all of my supporters and donors.  I've received several more donations this month!  I've reached 42% of my goal ($1,844) and I've received another $1,338 in pledges.  That's a total of $3,182 raised or committed, all thanks to your generosity.  So thanks again.

I'll post an update Sunday night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Skipping SunMart

Unfortunately I'm skipping SunMart due to illness.  I travelled to Milwaukee for work this week and Wednesday I started feeling bad.  I started loading up on vitamins, oranges and orange juice, and I got lots of sleep Wednesday night, but I only felt worse on Thursday.  Thursday I did not sleep AT ALL (which is not like me) and by Friday morning I was feeling pretty bad.  I flew back home this morning and am planning to rest and recover this weekend.  I might try to run the White Rock Marathon next weekend if I am feeling better.

However, that leaves my short one ultra in my Seven Ultras in Seven Months fundraising effort.  I may do an extra 50 mile race in February (the Rocky Raccoon 100/50 miler which is actually on much of the same trail as SunMart) to make up the difference.  I'm going to hunt around and see what the other options are.  But be assured that I will reach my mileage goal, and with your help I will also reach my fundraising goal!

Remember that for the rest of this year all of your donations are matched by The Safeway Foundation so if you have been considering donating this would be a great time to do so.  You can double your money!

Have a great weekend, get plenty of rest and avoid those cold and flu bugs!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Race #3: SunMart 50 Mile

This Saturday I will complete my third of seven races to raise money in the fight against Prostate Cancer:  SunMart 50 miler.  SunMart is a great race and one of the biggest ultras in the US (although by normal marathon standards this is a small race; last year there were 172 50 mile finishers and 522 50k finishers).  I've completed this race three times and am looking forward to running it again.  The race is held at Huntsville State Park in Huntsville, Texas.  The course is mostly shaded, mostly soft dirt (and often a lot of mud down by the lake) and not too hilly, so it's a pleasant run.  A great way to spend the afternoon.

Two of my good friends, Susan and Marla, are also running the 50 miler, and many of my friends from the North Texas Trail Runners and Team in Training will be running one of the distances.  It will be a good time to see familiar faces.

My training has been going well so I feel good about the race.  The only negative thing is that I have a busy week ahead at work.  I'll be flying to Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon.  I couldn't get a flight home Thursday night so I have to fly back early Friday morning, then hop in my car and head down to Houston for the packet pickup and pre-race dinner.  I'll get to spend the night with my Dad before heading to the race Saturday morning.  I'll spend the night in Houston again Saturday night and then head back to Dallas Sunday morning.  I'll probably be able to post my race results Sunday afternoon.

As always, thanks to YOU for your support and your financial donations.  The donations and pledges are still coming in but I need more to reach my goal.  So please take a minute to visit my donation page and make a secure online donation.  

Watch for updates on Sunday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rockledge Rumble 2008 Race Report

Today was the second race in my "Race Against Prostate Cancer" series:  the Rockledge Rumble 50k.  As I wrote previously, I've done this race four years in a row (four 50ks, one 30k).  I've never run the 50k (always walked in the past) so this was something new.  The course is the rugged and challenging North Shore Trail at Lake Grapevine.  I didn't have a firm goal, but I thought I might be able to finish under 6 hours, an 11:36 pace.  As you will see, that didn't happen.

First I headed to the last training for the Team in Training group I coach.  Next weekend is our last event of the season, the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon.  After saying hi to everyone I drove down the lake to the start of the Rumble.  I picked up my packet, visited the bathroom several times, then met two new friends from Twitter, rawdomer and triboomer.  Rawdomer was running the 50k; triboomer had to skip it due to an injury but came down anyway to meet up and hang out.

After some announcements we lined up, Race Director Tom Crull counted down to the start and we were off.  I could tell from my Garmin that I was going too fast, sub-11s, so I slowed down several times.  After a short section on asphalt road we hit the trailhead and started running on the trails.  I was able to keep my pace between 11:00 and 11:20 without much effort and stayed in that zone for a while.  The first third of the run was uneventful.  I slowed down on the last section of the trail before the first turnaround, but that section is the hilliest so I wasn't concerned.  I wouldn't have to run it again so I just did my best to walk the uphills and run the downhills without pushing too hard.  I was eating Caramel Power Gel and new PowerBar Gel Blasts.  I really like the flavor and the texture; they are not too sweet and don't make me sick to my stomach.

For the Rockledge Rumble you run about 9.5 miles out, then turn around and run back; then you run about six miles out on the same trail, then turnaround and head back to the start.  This gives you a great chance to pass everyone, see friends and cheer them on .  I ran the 9.5 miles back and could feel myself getting tired but I managed to stay pretty steady on this leg, but slowing a little.  My pace was slipping, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't finish under 6 hours.  So I adjusted my goal and decided to try and finish under a 12:00 pace.

I ran up the brutal steps to the start/finish area, grabbed a small donut and some chips, refilled my bottle and then headed back out.  This last out and back, about 12 miles, was going to be tough.  I had no significant pains, no blister hot spots, no problems other than being tired.  This is a common problem in my distance races so I think I'm doing something wrong, either training wrong, going out too fast, or not fueling properly.  I'm tired of having to walk so much so I'm going to try to figure out what is going on.

I did a lot of walking on this leg and saw my 12:00 pace slip out of my grasp.  At this point I gave up all goals except to finish.  I tried to run whenever I could but I just didn't have enough energy to run for long.  Even though I was walking up the hills they were very taxing and it was difficult to muster the energy to run down the other side.  But I kept at it, just moving forward.  Somewhere in this section I stopped at an aid station and drank some HEED, an energy/electrolyte drink popular with ultrarunners.  I don't really like HEED, and after I drank it I remembered why.  After leaving the aid station I felt nauseous and had several bouts of gagging/dry heaving.  I never threw up, thank goodness, and the heaving made me feel better.  But my stomach felt hard and uncomfortable, which was no fun.  It made it hard to run.

I finally reached the last turn around, meaning I had about 6 miles left.  I was still walking a lot but I managed to run a little more than I expected.  I was passed by two people and I ran behind one of them for a while, using him as motivation.  Eventually he pulled away and I was on my own again.  

I was again able to see all of my friends on the out and back, which was great.  Everytime I saw rawdomer he looked great and fast.  He was way ahead of me and ended up finishing in 5:33!

Finally I was getting close.  I realized if I ran more I could finish under 7 hours, so 7 hours became the new 6 hours.  I ran more, ignored my fatigue, got to the steps at the finish and sprinted up them as best as I could.  My unofficial time was 6:55:40.  RD Tom Crull gave me my finisher's award, a very pretty ceramic "medal" on a leather cord, and a bottle of "Rock and Guts Ale" microbrewed and bottled specially for the 50k finishers.  My bottle is in the fridge and should be cold by now.

After I got a bottle of water and grabbed a seat rawdomer came over to congratulate me.  He had hung out for about 1.5 hours to see me finish, which I thought was very cool!  I needed to pick up my dry cleaning and get ready for a trip tomorrow so I didn't hang around long.  

So I had a frustrating race, but I'd rather be out on the trails pushing myself than sitting around doing nothing.  Clearly I've got some issues in my training and racing that need to be resolved.  I'll use this as a learning opportunity and figure out what I need to do differently.

And that's the end of my report.

Best of all, this race raised $101.70 for the Race Against Prostate Cancer!  That's on top of the $1,334 that you guys have already donated.  Knowing that every mile, no matter how slow, was going to help battle prostate cancer made the entire day a huge success for me.

Thanks to everyone for all the support.  My next race will be in early December:  SunMart 50 miler.  I'll post additional details as we get closer to the day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Race #2: Rockledge Rumble 50k

The second race in my "Race Against Prostate Cancer" series is this weekend:  the Rockledge Rumble 50k.  This is a great local race that I've done four years in a row (four 50ks, one 30k).  I've never run the 50k (always walked in the past) so this will be a new adventure.  The course is the rugged and challenging North Shore Trail at Lake Grapevine, so it is familiar territory - trail I've run or walked hundreds of times.  This is a great race with a nice course, great support, and lots of friends.

My training has been going pretty well.  The weekend before last I ran the Miracle Match Marathon in Waco, Texas, as a training run.  It was very hilly (and slow!), but those hills should serve me well in this weekend's race.  Yesterday I ran all around the Dallas Running Club Half Marathon with my Team in Training group.  Over the 13.1 mile course I ended up covering about 15.5 miles, and I did them all dressed like a hippie:

Hippie Coach!! on TwitPic

It was a long day (I was on the course for about 4 hours plus another hour of cheering at the end) but it was all worth it to see all of the proud participants completing their goal event.  When the final participant crossed the finish line they had already taken down all of the "official" finish line signs and equipment so we had our own TNT cheering section and held a toilet paper tape at the finish line for her to break.  It was fun and very emotional.

This week I will take it easy and run some easy miles, then rest up for the race.  I won't be twittering during this race but will post an update as soon as I can.

Thanks again to everyone who has donated and shown their support and encouragement.  It makes this whole effort worth it to know I'm raising money to fight Prostate Cancer and am supported by so many wonderful people.  So far, with your help, I've raised $1,284 and have received pledges of another $1,388!  Thanks to everyone for your generosity.  If you know anyone else who has been affected by Prostate Cancer please share my website with them.  I still need to raise $1,720 to meet my goal.  If you haven't donated yet you can make an easy, secure donation on my website.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on Dad

Just a quick update on Dad.  He had surgery, a radical prostatectomy via robotic surgery, on Monday.  The surgery went well and he came home yesterday.  He's feeling about how you would expect to feel after that type of surgery.  The next status update will be in about four weeks when he has another PSA test and we learn if the surgery got all the cancer.  I'll keep you up-t0-date.  Thanks to everyone for the support, encouragement and donations!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

(Almost) Famous!

This is cool!  I was interviewed by author Amy Guth for her running blog, Bonkless.  It's all about my Race Against Prostate Cancer and hopefully will generate some more traffic and some more donations.

Thanks, Amy!

To read the interview, go here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Double Your Donation

The Safeway Foundation is offering The Prostate Cancer Foundation a $1 million dollar matching grant that will double every donation made before the end of 2008!  If you've already donated, your donation has been doubled.  If you are pledging and making your donations over time, remember that anything you donate in 2008 will automatically do twice as much good!  If you were considering donating but haven't done so yet, this would be a great time to do it!

It's easy to donate online.  Just click here.

Thanks to everyone for their support and generosity!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heartland 100 Race Report

"The ultimate goal and the most satisfying reward is not how fast a runner goes but how well a runner manages his or her struggles to find the finish."
~Dave Bursler
On Saturday, October 11, fewer than 100 runners and walkers toed the line at the Heartland 100 and 50 mile races.  Dubbed "The Spirit of the Prairie," the races take competitors across a beautiful and unusual landscape of rolling grasslands and prairies, cows, horses and grasshoppers, occasional snakes, the howl of coyotes at night, and more stars than this city boy has ever seen.

The family and I drove to Cassoday, Kansas, just northeast of Wichita, on Friday.  We attended the pre-race briefing and picked up my race bib and packet, then headed to nearby El Dorado to buy some last minute supplies, get some dinner and get to bed.  I was in bed by 9:30 and slept remarkably well.

Woke up at 4:00 AM, got dressed, drank coffee and ate donuts, then headed to Cassoday for the race.  It was still dark when the race started so I used my flashlight for about one and a half hours.  My goal in this race was to finish within the 30 hour cutoff so I established a very conservative plan.  On flat terrain I would run nine minutes and walk one at a very slow pace.  I would walk every uphill and run every downhill.  By 7:50 I was at the first manned aid station, Battle Creek.  On the way out this is the beginning of the worst hills; on the way back it was the end.  I grabbed part of a turkey and cheese sandwich and drank some coke, then got ready to climb some hills.  Here's a poor quality photo of the aid station taken from my cell phone:

If you'd like some better pictures of the course, check out my 2004 50 mile race report.

I stuck to my plan and walked up all the hills.  I kept moving at a decent (but purposefully slow) pace.  I hit the next aid station around 8:50 and took a beautiful picture of the prairie hills:

I got to mile 16.8 by 9:51.  I was eating at every aid station, usually part of a sandwich or some boiled potato, and I was drinking coke.  In between aid stations I was drinking water and eating Jelly Belly sports beans and PowerGel.  My hydration seemed good - I was urinating more frequently than usual.  I was worried about dehydration because the temps were supposed to be high, so I was more concerned than usual about hydration.

I hit 25 miles at 11:43 AM.

All of the next miles were pretty uneventful.  I was maintaining a decent pace and doing OK considering the distance and the hills.  By 2:36 PM I was at the Ridge Line aid station at mile 36.5.  Since this is such a small race I hardly ever saw other racers - the only people I saw were usually at the aid stations.  Here are two pictures of that part of the race that show how beautiful it is, but also how lonely:

The batteries in my Garmin running watch only last about eight hours.  I wore it as long as I could, and it really helped me stay on pace (not too fast, not too slow).  You can see the map (and check out the hills on the elevation profile) here.

After leaving Ridge Line I started to feel nauseous.  Not sure why, just felt heavy in my stomach.  I walked most of the next section, up to the Matfield Green aid station at mile 42.5.  At Matfield Green I again ate and drank a little, and I took two electrolyte tablets.  That seemed to help a bit and I ran/walked to the 50 mile turnaround.  At the turnaround I still felt a little weak and queasy.  I ate some chicken noodle soup hoping the warmth and salt would help me feel better.  I also took two advil (I try to take advil sparingly and usually don't take any until the halfway point of any ultra).  Before leaving the aid station I grabbed some boiled potato, dipped it in rock salt and started walking and eating.  Something about the rock salt didn't agree with me and I immediately threw up.  Another racer there suggested I head back and rest a bit more.  I was worried because if you throw up too much you won't have enough calories to finish the race.

I went and sat down and talked to the aid station volunteers and a racer who was dropping out due to foot problems.  Remarkably, I felt better, as if I had thrown up whatever was making me queasy.  I had a new attitude and felt more positive.

I should mention that throughout the race I was posting updates on twitter.  Some people call it a "microblogging" site because your posts cannot be longer than 140 characters.  During my time using twitter I have gotten to "know" a lot of other runners, triathletes, and other athletes, and this amazing group of people was following my posts and sending me words of encouragement throughout the race.  It was so motivating and helpful.  I kept my phone off to preserve the batteries, and whenever I turned it on I would get a barrage of encouraging messages.  I was also getting text messages and twitters from my dad (even dad joined twitter!), brother and wife, a couple of coaches from Team in Training, friends from work.  It was like I had my own personal crowd support on a course with no crowd!  Just a couple of samples:

youre doing awesome! keep up the great work!
hang in there, man! you are doing great!
GO GO GO GO GO! You're doing great, and it's exciting to see & hear your progress on twitter.
dude, you're awesome. Hang in there
you're setting an amazing example for your daughter.
rock on brother rock on!

And after I threw up:

geez louise! are you crazy?
Dude, you are an ANIMAL!
you, sir, are the man! KEEP KICKING ASS!!!
think of all of us as a huge crowd around you cheering - we're there in your head!!

The next morning the messages started again, it was just incredible.  I was thinking that the people on twitter are the nicest people I've never met!

I also received a message from an old high school and college friend through Facebook who told me that her brother-in-law had recently had surgery for prostate cancer.  So many people have been affected, and that made me even more motivated to finish this race!

After the 50 mile turnaround it got dark.  I was feeling pretty good and running a little more than I had been.  I got back to Matfield Green and had a cheeseburger and some coke on ice (what a luxury - Ice!).  At this point I just had to keep moving.  At the turnaround I had over 17 hours to complete 50 miles.  I knew I could do it if I kept my head together and kept eating and drinking.  The early morning hours were the hardest of the race.  I was so tired that a few times I was staggering along barely awake.  No fewer than four times did I find a rock on the side of the road to sit on.  I turned off my flashlights, put my head in my hands and took 3-5 minute "micro-naps."  Twice I pulled into an aid station, sat in the nearest chair and fell asleep.  At the Lapland aid station I overheard the volunteers talking, and one said, "So we have thirteen active runners still coming?" and another volunteer said, "Yes, and we have one not very active runner in the tent."  I said, "I know, I know, I'm going."  And I grabbed a bite to eat and headed out.  At the aid stations I had more 1/4 turkey sandwiches, lentil soup, "prairie power pellets" (delicious barbecue beans), and at the last aid station two pancakes and a piece of sausage.  And I was still hungry!

By now my feet were hurting, and I thought it was just from the pounding and the rocky course.  It turned out that I was developing blisters on the bottoms of my feet right behind the toes, and one on the heel of my right foot.  

As I left Lapland I knew that the worst part of the course was ahead of me.  The hilliest miles are from Lapland to Battle Creek, and they are non-stop rolling hills.  Here is a picture of some of them:

As I turned onto the road that heads to the hills I saw something strange on the side of the road.  As I got closer I shined my flashlight over and saw that it was another racer taking a "micro-nap."  I checked to make sure she was OK, told her I was glad I wasn't the only person doing that, then headed on (I saw her at the awards ceremony and she did finish the race).  At 6:35 AM I had only 12.7 miles to go (by noon).  I was really tired and having a lot of pain in my feet, but I felt good knowing I would almost certainly finish this race.  I actually passed four or five people before the finish and was only passed by one person.

At 9:06 I had only 4.5 miles to go.  My blisters were painful and I kept stepping on rocks that made it worse.  But I was going to finish!

At Heartland you can see an old smoke stack at the start/finish area from about five miles away.  So for the last five miles I could see the goal.  Then I knew I was almost there when I had three more turns:  right at the cattle gate, left at the pond, right at the paved road and then there is the finish.  I mustered all the strength I had left and ran the final .75 miles to the finish.  Race volunteers were ringing cowbells to cheer me in, and I could see my wife and daughter running to the finish line to greet me.  The official finish line was a greasy spot in the road - I crossed it, kissed my daughter and collapsed into a lawn chair.  28 hours, 25 minutes, 21 seconds!  It felt so good to be finished!!!

Here's a pic of me and my daughter at the finish:

I got a ton of congratulatory messages from friends and family and all my twitter friends:

Wow! Way to go! At this, I think you need a beer or seven!
WAY to go!!! 100 miles in 28 and 1/2 hours. That is very amazing. You should be very proud of yourself as your Dad I'm sure is!!!
congrats, man. you are truly a hoss. way to go!
Excellent excellent excellent!!! Congratulations!!!!!

I can't thank everyone enough for all the encouragement.  Running is such a solitary sport in many respects, but it's the support of friends and family (and sometimes strangers) that make it possible.  I could not have done this without everyone's support and encouragement!  I especially want to thank my wife and daughter for listening to all of my talk about pacing, shoes, gu, electrolytes, fueling strategies, etc., etc.  

And special thanks to Dad for making this all worthwhile.

This race raised $327 in per-mile pledges, on top of the $1,189 that you guys have already donated.  Thanks to everyone who has donated or showed your support through postings on your blog, facebook, emails to family and friends, etc.  You are all helping in the fight against cancer!  One race down, six to go.

Here I am holding my finisher's Belt Buckle:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Last Post before Heartland

This will be my last blog post before Heartland.  I've packed all my drop bags, planned my race, planned the drive, etc., etc., etc.  All that's left now is to get there and do it.

I will try to make small updates to my Twitter page throughout the race:

Posting will depend on my level of energy and cell coverage (there are only two towns on the race course; one has 98 residents, one has 32) which may be spotty.

Thanks to everyone for the phenomenal support and donations!  With your help I've already raised $1,189 in donations and another $1,387 in per-mile pledges.  That's a total of $2,576, almost 59% of my goal.  But I still have a way to go, so please share my emails/posts with your friends and family, anyone who may be affected by Prostate Cancer.

Thanks again, and I'll post again on Sunday or Monday after the race.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Preparing for Heartland

I'm starting my final preparations for the Heartland 100.  This weekend I will get all of my gear together and prepare my drop bags.  For those of you who are not familiar with ultramarathons, a drop bag is a bag of gear, food, drinks, clothing, whatever I want, that the race officials will take to a point on the course and leave.  Runners can stop at their drop bags to change clothes/shoes, get flashlights, treat medical issues like blisters, etc.  The race is well supported, but it's nice to have some of your own stuff.  To get an idea what goes into my drop bags you can see my checklist here.

Heartland is one of my favorite races.  It was my first ultra when I did the 50 miler back in 2004.  You can read my race report and see a lot of photos of the course here.  I've also paced friends in the 100 miler twice (meaning that I joined them in the second half of the race and ran/walked with them to keep them motivated and moving) so I've seen the entire course and know what to expect.  That may not help much, but it's better than having no idea what the course and terrain will be like.

I'm a little nervous about this race because I'm not really prepared/trained adequately.  This was one of my goal races for the year but my training wasn't going well so I had decided to skip it (even though I had already registered).  When my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer it reminded me that you can't always put off your goals; you need to go for it, do the best you can do and try to make it happen.  Since I had already registered I decided to go ahead and give the race a try, and to use it as the opening race in my effort to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Next Friday the family will drive up to Cassoday, Kansas, for the pre-race briefing, packet pickup and pre-race dinner.  The race will start Saturday morning at 6:00 AM.  The cutoff for the race is Sunday at noon.  That means I have to finish the race in 30 hours; my goal is to finish in 29:59:59.  :)  I just want to finish.

Thanks to EVERYONE who has donated and pledged money towards my goal.  You've all been incredibly generous, and as a result I have raised $450 and have received pledges of $3.01 per mile, equaling $1,321.99, for a total of $1,771.99!  Because of your generosity I've already reached 40% of my goal.  Each mile at Heartland will earn $3.01, and the entire race will earn $301!  That will give me motivation in those later miles when things are tough and I don't feel like going on.

If you haven't donated yet and would like to, go here.  If you want to make a pledge, email me with your "per mile" pledge and I'll let you know my mileage after each race.  That will allow you to spread out your donation over seven months.

There's a quote I heard from some of my friends with Team in Training that I will keep in my mind as I race:

"I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can't run, what they'd give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me."

Thanks again to everyone for your support.  Check back for an update on the race on Sunday, October 12 or Monday, October 13.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's this all about?

My dad, Jesse, was recently diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. I want to help but don't know how; I'm not a scientist, or a doctor, or a nurse, and I feel helpless. About the only thing I know how to do is run and raise money. So support me in my efforts to raise money and race over 400 miles.

The statistics on Prostate Cancer are shocking.
  • This year, over 186,000 American men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
  • 1 man dies every 19 minutes from Prostate Cancer.
  • 1 in six men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
These are our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, sons, husbands. Prostate Cancer has a high cure rate, but only when caught early, and only because of treatments made available through ongoing research. Money donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation helps support these research efforts. That's why it's so important that they receive our financial support.

To raise awareness, and to raise funds, I will complete seven ultramarathons over seven months:

Heartland 100 mile (October)
Rockledge Rumble 50k (November)
SunMart 50 Mile (December)
Bandera 100k (January)
Cross Timbers 50 Mile (February)
Three Days of Syllamo (50k/50 Mile/20k) (March)
The Texas Marathon (x 2) (April)

My goal is to raise $4,392, which is $10 for every mile I will race.

To reach my goal I need your support! No amount is too small (and, of course, no amount is too big!). There are two ways to show your support:
  • Donate now! Make your donation using a secure website:
  • Make a pledge per mile! After each race I will send you my race results and you can make your donation based on my race. This will allow you to spread your donation out over seven months. To make a pledge, just email me with your "per mile" pledge. For example:

    $1.00 per mile = $439.20
    $0.50 per mile = $219.60
    $0.25 per mile = $109.80
    $0.10 per mile = $ 43.92
    $0.05 per mile = $ 21.96
Keep checking my blog for updates on my fundraising, training and racing.

Thank you for showing your support!