Monday, June 11, 2012

Vitargo is not just a gimmick.

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to test out Vitargo S2 which is made by GENr8.

Vitargo is a newer product that I heard about through listening to an interview with Dave Mackey the 2011 Ultrarunner of the Year.  I also heard about it after hearing about from Sunny Blende a sports nutritionist and ultrarunner herself.

I will not even make an attempt to explain the science and nutritional terms behind Vitargo.  I only needed to know one thing would this product help me. 

A link to the product label.

I have suffered miserably with bouts of nausea and violent vomiting through the later stages of the majority of my ultra marathons.  For you completely sane folks out there wondering why I continue with these events it is simply another hurdle for me to overcome and to continue to push my physical limits.  I've experimented with all tried and true methods of hydrating and fueling during ultras but I still have the same issues.

The number one issue seems to be that my stomach begins to stop processing all the fluids I'm ingesting and does not make it to the elimination process.  The sloshing begins and nausea sets in only to be relieved by vomiting all stomach contents.  In turn this leaves me way behind in my hydration and salt intake and I try to play catch up and many times the process is repeated numerous times.  It's not pretty!

So along comes a product called Vitargo that is claimed to be a "Super" carb.  For an in-depth article about the science behind Vitargo please read Sunny Blende's article.

Is this just another gimmick muscle product aimed at gym rats for recovery and now finding its way into the rapidly growing sport of ultrarunning?

My experience tells me it is the real deal and worth testing for yourself.  Do you need this stuff?  Probably not but will you benefit from it?  I believe so and it will be on my race menu for a long time.

So I've used this product now at three big events.

Smokey Mountain Relay
Long Cane 50K
Chattooga River 50K

I did experience my typical problems at Long Cane but I believe this was heat related and I pushed to hard on to little training.

I just finished Chattooga last week and I drank a 20 oz. prepared bottle of Vitargo at mile 17 and another at mile 21.  Each of these bottles contained 280 calories and 70 carbs.  Other than one gel and a few small handfuls of boiled bake potato at the aid stations I ingested no other calories the whole race.  I had energy all race and never got sick and bettered my previous course PR by 1.5 hours.  

The ability to drink this many calories in one bottle during a race is a great benefit to me as solid food is problematic for me.  This is not an electrolyte drink so you still need your Scaps or Endurolytes.

I've had the fruit punch and the grape flavor and like the grape the best.  This product is not cheap but neither are gels if you add up the total for a race.  I like that you can buy this at the local GNC and it comes packaged in a 1.7 pound tub or in individual serving packages.

I recommend this product but if you want to continue to try and stomach huge handfuls of gels all race be my guest.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why Haeleum?

What is Haeleum?

It is high performance Insect Shield® apparel manufacturer.  Insect Shield technology has been around for a little bit and is used by ExOfficio, Columbia and several other big brands. 

Haeleum comes from the old English root word hael, meaning sound physical condition, protection against attack and deliverance from unfavorable conditions.  

So what is the technology behind an insect repellant shirt?  Insect Shield uses what is called Permethrin, a man-made version of a natural insect repellant that is found in certain Chrysanthemum plants.  This is tightly woven into the fabric of the apparel and is said to last about 70 washings.  I'm not sure any of my running shirts stay around longer than 70 washings anyway so the longevity of the repellant in non-factor.  

I was intrigued by this concept since Haeleum has introduced this technology in performance apparel.  I'm the type of guy who despises the thought of putting on bug spray or sun block, etc.  With that in mind I figured this product was worth putting to the test.  

The folks over at Haeleum were gracious enough to send me one of their shirts for me to test and review.

So I've now been wearing Haeleum's shirt line named Célan off and on for about a month.  I chose the carbon color simply because I'm tired of all the white and other soft colored racing shirts lining my closet. 

Few things noticeable about the shirt.

It does not smell or feel like bug spray.
It has no harmful junk in it like DEET.
It has a very tight and durable feeling weave.

It is hard to test a product like this as you really do not know if you are receiving a placebo effect or an actual positive result from the product.  I have noticed while running in the shirt a serious lack of mosquitoes and gnats pestering on my trail runs.  Horseflys and greenheads seemed kept at bay as well.  Now obviously the wearing of a shirt will not protect you from head to toe but I'm confident this product works as intended.  

The fabric wicks sweat just as any other running shirt does.  The material feels very durable and a bit more resistant to snags and pulls.  I do feel the material may be a slight bit more abrasive feeling than the flimsier running shirts I have.  Guys all this means is play it safe on the long runs and wear some nipple protection!

Now I'm more of a shirtless runner in the North Carolina summer heat but during those times of the day when the insects are at their heaviest I will continue to reach for my Haeleum shirt. 

I do suggest they develop a runners cap or Buff-like product with this technology to give an added bit of protection against the horseflys and greenheads.

I almost forgot to throw in here that the shirt also offers a 50 UPF Sun Protection rating.  

The price point for their products seems very competitive considering the added technology over the standard runners shirt. 

In closing I DO recommend Haeleum products and look forward to many more uses of their products.

Thanks for reading my review of Haeleum now go check them out for yourselves!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Someone to share the trails with...

Over the past three years trail running as become a passion of mine and I run in remote wilderness areas predominately by myself.  I enjoy this solitude and it is was makes running so enjoyable to me.  That aside there is something special about sharing the trails with a four legged companion.  I have run several times with my German Shepherd "Mara" and she has performed well.  Running the long distances I do up and over mountains I desire a lighter and more agile breed that I can train to pace me up those climbs. 

As a professional dog trainer for over 18 years I have come to admire the Border Collie breed for a variety of reasons.  I've always wanted one has a companion but with my years of work as a police K9 trainer and handler my focus was always on the shepherd and malinois breeds. 

My goals for a BC are primarily as a trail dog but also as a demo dog for our work as dog trainers.  I look forward to a new project like this and the look of a happy and obedient BC.  Oh yeah... and I love playing disc with my dogs and the BC is the top breed for this activity!

My search for a BC was not a hard one at all.  A dog training friend in Georgia, Cyndy Douon, has an amazing BC litter arriving soon.  We have anxiously awaited the announcement of this repeat breeding for over a year.  Here is a link to the FB page about the Jiffy Pups

The deposit for a pup went in the mail today and the discussion of names has already begun!  While in Nicaragua a few weeks back we considered several names.  Our preference is for a male puppy but we will be happy regardless. 

The names floating through my head at the moment are...

Nicarao... "Nick or Nicky" for a call name. 

The name Nicaragua comes from a combination of two words, "nicarao" and "agua". The Nicarao are the Indian tribe that were occupying the shores of Lake Nicaragua when the Spaniards arrived in the 1500's. "Agua" is the Spanish word for water.
The Nicarao tribe originally immigrated to Nicaragua from Mexico, after the fall of the Aztec empire. According to legend, the Nicarao were directed to travel south until they found an island with two volcanoes in the middle of a lake. An interesting Nicaragua fact is that the Nicarao tribe found Ometepe Island with two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, realized they had found the promised land, and then setttled on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.  The Nicarao tribe were led by Chief Nicarao.

Ometepe...  "Tepe" for a call name.  (the home of Fuego y Agua ultra marathon)

Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua as well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
The two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hoka One One Bondo B review

The Bondi B is the road shoe made by Hoka One One.  Although these are some wild looking shoes they are quite mild compared to other models and color options.  This is a far cry from the minimalist shoes I had been wearing most of 2011. Out of the box these shoes look huge but are actually VERY light. 

Here is Hoka's Story:

Hoka One One is the brainchild of two gravity sports enthusiasts Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud. Both men have been adventuring for as long as they can remember, and their trail running experiences have taken them across the globe.
Both Jean-Luc and Nicolas are committed to the values of freedom and enjoyment and feel that this is integral to the running experience whether running on the trail or in the city. With this in mind they started to look at the variables that affected the performance of different types of runners.
They quickly came to an important conclusion; fatigue, impact and muscle strain were challenges that runners of all stripes had to deal with every day. So Jean-Luc and Nicolas came up with a brilliant idea, why not design a shoe that would help to alleviate these problems - so that freedom and enjoyment could be guaranteed every time you go running!
From that idea Hoka One One was born. The word Hoka is derived from the ancient Maori language and roughly translates to "now it is time to fly". That's just how it feels to run in a pair of Hoka One One shoes; with each and every step your foot takes flight.
Today runner's from around the world are learning about the benefits of Hoka One One, they have been used by marathon winners. 50 mile, 100 mile and even 2000+ mile ultra-runners as well as runner's just like you or I who want to enjoy running, perform at their peak and feel that important sense of freedom whilst maintaining top physical performance and protecting against shocks, jolts and injuries.
So put your best foot forward, it's time to fly!

So when these shoes first hit the ultra running scene I was very skeptical and even found them humorous.  Months pass and I see more and more reputable and far more experienced distance runners swearing by these shoes.  I'm speaking of average joe's like myself not the sponsored runners with a vested interest.  I mean why would an average ultra runner by a shoe that retails for a whopping $169.00 and run ultra distances in these shoes if they were not very satisfied. 

I stayed away for a while hoping it was just a fad but my future race plans made the Hoka's worth a closer look.  I'm training for my first 100K, the Fuego y Agua, in Nicaragua.  I am needing to increase my weekly mileage quite a bit and I'm prone to injury when doing so.  I'm not comfortable running roads and I hit the trails 90% of the time.  I hoped to try the Bondi B's to increase my road miles. 

I purchased the shoes online as there are no retailers within a few hours drive of my home.  At this price I was quite nervous about the fit.  I wear a 10 in basically everything I slip my feet into.  The Bondi B's are sized strangely and I was advised to go a half size up to a 10.5.  I did just that and the fit has been perfect so far.

I know enough already... how did they perform?

Day One: 
I hit the treadmill for two miles to ensure fit and comfort before heading outside.  I followed this up with a bit over 4 miles on the road with a good bit of ascent and descent.  Initial opinion out of the box was they have zero flexibility.  Once on the foot the flexibility seemed a non factor.  First mile outside seemed overly cushy and strange and almost felt like I was cheating.  The feet seem confused by all the cushioning.  I bombed down a paved hill with no shock to the normal areas.  This was a definite plus.  I did experience an unexplained tingling in my feet almost like a going to sleep feel but this went away on future runs.  6.2 miles total on this first day.

Day Two:
First trail run was taken on my favorite trails at South Mountains.  I found they soaked up gravel and smaller sharp rocks like they did not exist.  I was careful on the roots as I was leery of turning an ankle.  I found a little difficulty in climbing steep mountain trails with these shoes.  Keep in mind this is the road version and traction is not designed for this use.  They just don't climb like my Montrail Mountain Masochist that usually run in.  I was heading down the most technical and steep trail in my area and found these shoes are horrible on trails covered in leaves.  That is leaves on steep descents.  Feet slipped out from under me and I came crashing down the hill.  Finished with 6.32 miles with just under 2000' of vertical gain.

Day Three:
My first true road test.  Remember I hate running the roads.  I heading into town at night and ran 10.55 miles at an 8:34 pace.  I never really pushed it to hard but this was very nice pace for me.  I ran the entire way with pure enjoyment and no discomfort.  I never cursed the roads like I always do but instead just wanted to keep running all night. 

Day Four:
I hit the mountains again for more trail testing.  Just over 10 miles and 2300' of gain.  Hoka's did very well but I took the leaf covered downhills a bit more cautiously.  Most of the run I was experiencing a great deal of tightness in my lower back and found myself with bad form and hunched over most of the run.  At the time I no idea what this was and thought maybe I was just fatigued and my form was causing my back to go tight.

I wake up the next day and my back is totally screwed up!  I keep telling myself it can't be the Hoka's.  I've had lower back injuries in the past and felt confident this was not a reaction to the shoes.  My best guess is the day I slipped on the leaves I strained my back on the fall.  I was forced to take a week off from running as the pain was that bad. 

I'm back to running a week later in the Hoka's although still with some back pain.  I can't remember the last time I fell on the trail and then the first trail test in the Hoka's I fall and get injured. 

The lessons learned here for me are that the shoes have limitations on the trail and technical terrain.  I will stick with the Montrails for now for much of my trail running.  As far as the road, fire road, and treadmill running I absolutely love the Hoka's up to this point. 

A few more things about the shoes design before I close. 

Not a big fan of the laces as I find them to burly and stiff and hard to get a tight knot. 

The colors and overall appearance of these shoes still have a long way to go. 

For a road shoe they perform very well on trail other than traction issues described above.

The price point is tough to swallow but others state they last many more miles than the average shoe.  The verdict is still out on this one. 

I end a run with legs feeling fresh and no foot pain.  I wake the next day feeling ready to run. 

The folks over at Hoka are definitely onto something here and I'm looking forward to what is up next for this company.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Drymax socks review

A very long overdue review of my now go to sock for trail running.  I guess I started using Drymax socks about a year ago.  At that time I was still very new to running and was running in the Injinji toe socks.  I was offered some free socks to try out from my friends over at .  I was very comfortable running in the Injinji socks but I'm always ready to try different gear. 

I've now been wearing the Lite Trail for hot weather use and the thicker Trail Running version for the cooler season. 

The Lite Trail has seen extensive use by me and has lasted a long time with no wear holes but after a year they are starting to thin out in the heel and need replacing. 

The thicker Trail Running version are 1/4 crew high.  They always seem like to much sock when I put them on but they are very warm and comfy and have never given me any problems.  While I have not put has many miles into these they are certainly durable.  They look brand new after a years use! 

I'm not one to have a lot of blister problems but with these socks I've not had a single blister.  I've run about five ultra marathons in Drymax to date and will continue to use them with my upcoming races. 

I've yet to try the Maximum Protection model and I'm eager to see if they live up to the price tag.  I still have several pairs of Injinji socks around but they seem so flimsy they see little use these days.  If I'm not running in Drymax it is because I have not got around to doing the laundry and had to resort to whatever else I had clean.

Stand out points for me are:

I've been blister free
Socks have great durability and longevity
Designed specifically for trail running
Manufactured about 30 minutes from my home.

I highly recommend these socks for trail running and ultra running. 

Check out for Drymax socks and other cool products. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Duncan Ridge Trail 50K

Race director Robert Lewellen described this course as possibly the toughest 50K in the southeast.  This was enough to get my attention.  I guess I will never learn!

I came into this race pretty comfortable with my training.  I knew this would be a tough day with tons of climbing so I placed no time goals or pressure on myself.   My gear choices for this race would prove to be both good and bad by the end of the day.  I wanted to experiment with the use of trekking poles and thought this course would be perfect testing grounds.  With my hands tied up with the poles I needed to utilize my Nathan hydration pack for fueling.  My ultra running experience while using a hydration pack to date as been horrific... why did I expect today to be any different?

I loaded the pack down with two liters of Gatorade and a handful of Gu's and Scaps, etc.  Arriving at the starting line I knew I was carrying more weight than I should with a 4 mile climb in the first seven miles of the race.

The race started on time and me and my buddy, Tim Worden, cruised out of Vogel State Park trying to stay in front of the majority of runners.  The race would turn to single track after the first quarter mile and we did not want to get log jammed in.  Tim and I knew we would have our own demons to deal with all day and both understood we would run our own race.  I never anticipated we would split from each other so early but I guess I pushed forward early on due to adrenaline.

The thing with a single track course is that you can easily get sucked into running a faster pace than expected.  With runners on your heels you keep on plugging away.  I passed quite a few runners early on as the downhill sections were very easy for me and I just let it flow.  Aid station #1 was around mile 3.5 and AS#2 was about 8 miles in just after the major climb.  With cool temps and 2 liters of Gatorade in the pack I cruised through both aid stations without slowing down.  This was part of my plan however the other part of the plan was to be drinking some of that 2 liters rather than just hump it over these mountains all day.  This error would catch up to me on the back half of the race.

I had no idea how many runners were out in front of me since so many made the turn for shorter 30K race. I wondered how Tim was doing with this being his first ultra.  A tough choice for a first ultra but with the trails we train on I was confident in him.  The climbing was tough for sure but I felt my training had me well prepared for that.  The most challenging part of the course for me proved to be the leaves and how difficult it made the descents.  Aid station #3 came and I stopped to refill my pack and grab some grub they had on the table.  I'm not sure how much fluid I drank up to this point but I was getting way behind on intake and not even aware of it.  I hate using a pack for this very reason because I never drink enough.  I'm usually to conservative fearing I will run out and never really knowing how much is still in the pack's bladder.

The turn around point was only 2.5 miles from this aid station but it proved to be the longest 2.5 I can remember.  My spirits were still very high though as I had yet to run into the race leader heading back and new I must be doing pretty well as far as positioning goes.  As the leader comes into sight I start counting each runner that I cross paths with till I get to the turn around point.  I figured at the half way point I was running somewhere around 15th-20th position out of about 70 starters.  It felt cool to be running this well but my body was starting to declare that it could not keep up with my enthusiasm.  Oh yeah why should it when I failed once again to properly fuel it during a race!

I started to get those ever so familiar muscle twinges that come with dehydration and muscle fatigue.  I mistakenly considered this was the toll the climbing was taking on me rather than a hydration issue.  I stopped for a pee break around mile 20 and was surprised to see my urine was dark orange to light brown.  From here on my race went all to hell!  I started getting passed quite often as my running became very uncomfortable for me.  The discomfort I was feeling was in the bladder and in my junk!  I did not panic but I was very concerned.  For the last 12 miles of the race I had a constant feeling like I had to urinate but I could not even make a drop.  I starting trying to up my hydration but it seemed the damage on this day was already done.  I just wanted to get this race over with and drink a beer!

I spent the last several miles just really mad at myself for all that had gone wrong with what should have been one of my best race performances.  I got "chicked" in the last 1/2 mile to add to my frustrations.  I shuffled along into the park and crossed the finish line with the satisfaction of finishing the toughest 50K in the area but still completely frustrated with the way it all worked out.  I crossed the line in 33rd place with a time of 8:37:52.  With about 70 starters only 54 finished before the cut-off.  The winning time was 6:10 which is slow by 50K winning standards which only proves just how challenging this course really was.  My Garmin showed just over 10,000' of elevation gain spread over 31.86 miles.  A good day or a bad day I still walked away with the opinion that this was the toughest 50K in the southeast!

I changed out of my cold and soaking wet clothes into something warm.  I grabbed a few micro-brews from the cooler to have ready for Tim as he crossed the line to celebrate his first ultra.  I was of course also hydrating heavily with the proper fluids to try bring me back to normal.  The four hour ride home for Tim and I was a tough one after a long day in the mountains.

I highly recommend this race for those sadistic folks like myself that search out those extra challenging races.  You will not be disappointed by how well this race is put together.  I can't end without stating how awesome all the volunteers were.  I left the race forgetting that this was it's it first year... it was run that well!

As soon as Tim and I got in the truck we both said this was a one and done race.  In true ultra spirit I decided about two days later I must return in 2012 and correct where I went wrong and tear this trail up!

Note to self... don't procrastinate on writing these reports!  There was so much more detail to be shared about this race but I'm ready to move on to the next adventure.

Gear note:
The trekking poles used were Leki Micro Sticks.  I plan to put together a review of these in the coming weeks.

Tim Worden's podcast about the race
Race Results
My Garmin Data

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Laurel Valley Ultra

I could try to describe this course but I would not be able to do it justice.  I attached this description below as it is fitting.  Make no bones about it though Laurel Valley has to be experienced to truly understand it!
"Laurel Valley Whitewater Ultra is not for the faint of heart. Claude Sinclair, self proclaimed leader of the Runner from Hell running club, conducts the Laurel Valley Ultra every August. It is a very tough and grueling course that traverses over 5000 steps and several major climbs on the Foothills trail in North and South Carolina.
However, the runner is rewarded with many beautiful views of water falls and scenic trails throughout the event. By all means the fact that you have to provide your own aid does make the event rather challenging. It is almost required that you either use iodine tablets or filter your water in some way while out there on the course. There is also supreme camaraderie throughout the event. The trails are always gorgeous and surprising. There is lots of foliage, rocks, roots and rivers crossed by beautiful suspension bridges.

Of course, that is the beauty of Laurel Valley, you have to finish. There’s not a way out, no short cuts or turns to get you off the course. Once you leave Rocky Bottom, S.C. you have to continue on until you reach the parking lot above White Water Falls. People do get into trouble out here. It is rumored that some participants slept on the course last year. There’s always the threat of rattlesnakes, bears, boars, bees, falling and a really good case of giardia. " 

 I might add that there is about 8000 feet of vertical gain over the course which is somewhere between 35 to 40 miles long.  

This race was not on my calendar this year but it pulled me in a little over a month before it's running.  I have not run an ultra or any race for that matter since Mount Mitchell Challenge back in February.  I suffered a tibial stress fracture during the winter and had to take about 6 weeks off from running to heal up.  My return to training came to another halt when I was hit with achilles tendinitis holding me down for another few weeks.  With injuries stacking up I kept the calendar clean and just focused on enjoying running through the summer with no plan.  
Around the first of July I got hit with the Laurel Valley itch and was eager to attempt it for the first time.  For those unaware to run this race you must apply and meet the race directors prerequisites.  One of those prerequisites is to have completed a 50 mile ultra.  I'm still a novice at all this ultra stuff and have completed three 50K's, a 40 miler, and a 50 mile effort during a 24 hour event.  So technically I had never competed in a 50 mile race.  I gave it a shot and sent in the application anyway and hoped for the best.  

Race director, Claude Sinclair, was gracious enough to let me run but as with all rookie entries you must run as a race sweep.  I did not mind this at all as this would keep my adrenaline in check  and keep me from going out there and bonking which could be life threatening on this course.

Skipping ahead to the night before the race where I went out with family and threw back some high gravity IPA's and a table full of appetizers.  The perfect pre-race diet... for disaster.  I was able to get to bed around 10PM but unfortunately I would be getting up at 2:30AM to make the drive to Rocky Bottom for the start at 5AM.  It was going to be a long, long, day but one I would not soon forget.  

I picked up John Gregg, a runner from Alabama, who needed a ride to the start and was staying at a hotel in Easley.  We chatted about running and what we might be in store for today on the trip to the start.  We had never met before but I enjoyed his company and the conversation.  John and I would both be running as sweeps as we were Laurel Valley virgins.  

 We arrive in the middle of no where and it is pitch black out.  Head lamps are turned on as soon as we exit the vehicle at the Laurel Valley trail head.  I meet Will Brown who is 65 years old and has run this race about 15 times.  This guy is a retired Coronal in the Marines and has run all 35 Marine Corps Marathons!  Will Brown (sweep captain), John Gregg, Greta Dobe, and myself would be the 5AM sweep team.  After a history lesson from our race director about outlaw John Wesley Hardin he aims his six shooter in the air to fire a shot to signal the start.  Oops... the humidity affected the powder charge and the gun never went off.  I was hoping that would not be a bad omen of things to come.  
We started up the first of many steps into the darkness of the never ending trail.  As sweeps we must help all runners needing aid and stay behind the last racer to ensure everyone makes it out ALIVE.  I understood it would be long day but the pace we were moving at concerned me as we would never make it to the finish before the park gates closed for the night.  We walked the first 8 miles which took us almost 3.5 hours.  Shortly after sunrise the 6AM sweep team caught up to us and it was decided by the two captains that those feeling perky could go on ahead at their own pace.  

I jumped at the chance and John, Greta, and I joined Bill Keane over the next several miles for some nice running.  Bill is 67 year old and was competing in his 255th ultra marathon!  Our group stayed together until a water stop before the big climb up heartbreak ridge.  Someone must have lit a fire under my ass because I accelerated all the way up this climb and then bombed down the extremely steep descent towards the first sighting of Lake Jocassee.  I was feeling great and moving with ease but soon realized I was all alone.  I questioned my options but decided that I rarely feel this well in an ultra and kept pushing on.  

I really felt like from mile 15 to about mile 30 that I was running at my best.  I was quite surprised by how many runners I was passing as this is not a common occurrence for me.  My training over the twelve weeks prior to race week was very light.  I averaged just 21 miles a week over that period.  My guess is that all my heat training and the fact that half my mileage is running up and down mountains had really paid off.  

I actually enjoyed all the stairs, climbs, and downhills.  I was running along ticking off the miles and hills thinking how this course was the perfect for me.  You will never see me running a flat ultra as that type of running is flat out boring to me.  I'm really a better hiker than runner so it is these tough mountain ultras that suit me best.

I must have crossed 20 bridges over this course and took many opportunities to lay or sit in the raging waters to cool off before moving on.  I was filling my bottles up with river water whenever needed and treating the same with iodine tablets and a NUUN.  Somewhere around mile 30 I entered that nauseous state I have visited in ultras previous.  It starts with no longer being able to stand the taste of the GU's or my NUUN flavored water.  I trudge along with the expectation of vomiting at any moment.  The moment does not come soon enough and my pace begins to slow quite a bit.  Several miles of suffering go by and then it arrives.  No not the finish... but me vomiting four times followed up with a few more dry heaves.  Then the fear sets in that I just lost a ton of fluid and nutrition and dehydration will creep in.  All the while it is relentless forward motion even while still heaving!  

I recover from the nausea partially and pick the pace back up.  Wayne Downey and Tom Gabel are not far behind me and even though I started an hour earlier than them I do not want to be passed.  I bomb down a descent and create some separation and I'm feeling good once again.  That is until I have to stop on two occasions to let them catch up to me because I'm at a trail crossing and do not know which direction to go.  I've lost my momentum now and nausea is setting back in and fatigue is heavy overall.  I know the end is near but it never seems to arrive.  

At last I make it to the boulder scramble crossing over Whitewater River and begin the final ascent up to the parking lot.  During this period a heavy rain rolled in and took me from overheating to being chilled to the bone.  The trails were like little flash floods.  Every climb on this course was enjoyable to me but this last one just whooped me.  I sat down on a rock halfway up and felt helpless.  That was short lived when I heard other runners a few switchbacks below me.  One foot in front of the other.  It is almost over.  I arrive at the Falls overlook and just at that moment Jason Sullivan appears right behind me.  I ask him how much further and he states "where here".  We run in the last 1/8th of a mile together.  

I think I may have been the first of the 5AM starters to finish.  I think back on how much I loved this course and how it suits me.  I realize that my training mileage was very low and how much time I believe I can take off my finishing time next year!  Despite the nausea and getting sick I suffered no cramping and my legs felt incredible all day.   My legs seriously felt ready for 50 today but my head and stomach disagreed.  

I was glad to be done but actually missed being out there as soon as it was over.  I continued feeling sick for about the next hour.  Once I was able to get some solid foods down the nausea went away.  I had a 2.5 hour ride home and was dreading it.  The day began at 2:30AM and I arrived home at 8:30PM exhausted.  

 Waking up the day after my legs still feel great and I do not feel like I ran more than a 5K.  As luck would have it though I did not walk away injury free.  My nagging bout with sesamoiditis has flared up to the extreme now and I can't push off with my left foot at all.  I will be taking a week or so off from running to let it heal before training begins for the next adventure... Duncan Ridge Trail 50K down in Georgia.