Thursday, July 21, 2016

In the Depths of the Dog Days: Week of 7-18 to 7-24

It's race week (again), and I'm off all week.  Planning to grab a few miles, surf a bit, and get some things done at the house.  The Run With the Beavers 10-mile trail race is this Saturday, and as always, it's a stacked field.  I'm not surprised, either - Bob puts on a great event, and I try to make it to as many of them as I can.  The forecast is for temps in the 80-90+ degree range all week, and hitting 92 on Saturday.  Hmmm...

I also managed to sign myself up for another 50-miler, but it's not until 2017 so I'm not even thinking about any training plans or anything for it.  Here's a picture from the course:

Slot Canyons!

Monday - 0 Miles.

Tuesday - 7 Miles.  Warmup miles and the Dogwatch Fun Run.  Wait, what???  You made it to a fun run?  I sense a disturbance in the force...

Wednesday - 4 Miles.  Hot Lantern Hill Cruise.  Did a double up and down, plus a couple hill repeats on the first climb.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Summer.  Love it.

Thursday - 0 Miles.  Spent the day giving the VW (1966 13-window deluxe microbus) some love, getting her cleaned up and driving around a bit.  Much to do, but she's looking good and getting some much-needed attention!

Almost road ready!


Friday - 0 Miles.  More work on the bus,  Hot out!

Saturday - 10 Miles.  Run With The Beavers race.  What a fun event, hosted by RD Bob Jackman and his team at A Better Pace, who put on an outstanding race.  The forecast had the temps climbing into the low 90's during the day, and I figured a PR was gonna be out of the question.  I loaded up a bunch of craft beer for swapping/gifting, and headed to Chapachet, RI.  After running into a whole lot of people I was looking forward to seeing, I geared up and loaded up on bug spray, although that turned out to be unnecessary.  Already hot in the sunlight at the 9 a.m. start.  Decided to run with John P. today, as we rarely get a chance to run together and always have a great time.  Racing sometimes takes a backseat to just being there, having a good time with friends, and enjoying the experience.  Call it a perfect reason to get together!  So John and I ran the whole 10 miles side by side, getting in at 2:06 officially just as the awards were being announced.  Did some beer swapping and hanging out afterwards, and headed out.  Big turnout at the race!!!  Great to see lots of first time trail runners today, it's too much fun not to be shared.  Next up?  The Run 4 Kerri road race!  George Ross, it's on!!!

Sunday - ?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hot! Week of 7-11 to 7-17

With no races scheduled this week, I'm leaning toward setting up some back-to-back trail runs for the weekend, and trying to beat the heat/fit runs (and maybe surf!) in amidst my work schedule.  Should be very warm this week, so it's gonna be an early or late set of options...

Monday - 0.

Tuesday - 2 Miles.  High tide beach slog, whilst waiting for my daughter and her friends to get back from their walk.  Got home, and as I was getting out of my truck to get the mail, I stepped on a piece of wood, which of course rolled out and sent me down to the ground.  I landed very hard and I'm lucky I didn't break anything.  Sore as anything...
*
Wednesday - 0.  Sore from the previous day's fall, and oddly feeling much like I did when I got Lyme last September...that really better not be the case.

Thursday - 0.  Better!  Might have been a slight case of dehydration, self-diagnosed of course...

Friday - Surf!  Too hot out, I got done with work and decided to just drive down to Matunuck.  Waist-high waves, and I trunked it for 2.5 hours.  Great session to cool off on a hot day.

Saturday - Surf again!  Hot out, and I hit Matunuck again for another 1.5 hours of surfing waist-high peelers.  Funny to get the "Where the Hell have you been?" question from the people I've surfed with for 20 years, as I've been out of the water for a bit.  Nice to get salty again!

Sunday - 9 Miles.  Duval/unmarked trails with Claire.  Steamy, sweltering Summer run with Claire on rolling trails.  I won the contest for most deer flies killed, as we were using the patches on our hats.  Me=30, Claire=0.  Winner!!!

Not as expected, but the week finished well, and my arms are sore from the surfing!  Legs are good!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hey, Taylor!!! Weeks of 6-27 to 7-3 and 7-4 to 7-10

Yeah, buddy!  I'm working a new job, close to home, and trying to get the hard part out of the way, which is the demolition.  Ripping up old-school plaster walls with metal lathe corner bead, floors down to the joists, cast-iron tub, etc. so I'm gonna get a workout in the predicted high temperatures.

Lots of beach weather also means some TS 10-milers!  Barefoot!  And no bugs!

I also have a hilly 7-mile trail race on 7-10...

The race, the TARC Blue Hills Skyline Trail Run, is a 12k race at the Blue Hills Reservation outside Boston.  Not a very far drive from my place, and my kind of race!  7+ hilly miles split between technical and steep climbs/descents, and rolling single/double track trails.  Oh, and a fantastic view of the Boston skyline on a clear day.  I was 27th overall last year in 1:43.  Interestingly, only one runner has ever finished in under an hour!  So it's a pretty badass, technical course with almost 2,000' vertical, and put on by the well-organized and laid-back crew of the Trail Animals Running Club.  No bibs!  No shirt!  Low entry fee!  You run, and at the end of the race, they hand you a popsicle stick with your finishing number on it, which gets recorded in the results.  Screaming downhill finish on a small ski slope?  Sold!

Monday - Friday - 0 Miles.  Demolition.

Saturday - 10 Miles.  Taylor Swift beach run, Misquamicut.  One of my favorites, and pretty much the only time I run barefoot.  Great Summer run from the Weekapaug jetty out to Taylor's place and back, Peppy pace, 8:20 average, with negative splits descending down to a low 7-minute average.  Good stuff!  And still no Taylor at the halfway point with some cold lemonade...someday :)

Sunday - 0 Miles.

Monday, 7-4 - 10 Miles.  Happy 4th!  Taylor Swift run again, but with Mike B. in tow!  Hot day and a headwind out, nothing but heat and a sweaty negotiation of the massive crowds at Town and State beaches.  Great time!

Tuesday - Thursday - 0 Miles.  More Demolition.

Friday - 4+ Miles. - Lantern Hill, or "Until the Bugs Caught Me!"

Saturday - 5.2 Miles.  Dark Sky Borderlands trail run with Faith.  Her last-ish long-ish trail run before her 100k, and WTF!  I couldn't be more proud!!!

Sunday - TARC Race.  Did a long recap, and it failed to post! - 1900' of gain in 7 miles, slippery from the rain, and I scored a 5+ minute PR on a tough course.  Nice.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Off My Rocker? 2017 Race Planning?? What the Hell??? Week of 6-20 to 6-26

I'm gonna state, for the record, that my 2017 race list does not include smaller local races yet, or anything below a 1/2 marathon distance (except 7 Sisters, but it makes the cut because it's the damn 7 Sisters).  It's a rough draft.  Subject to change.  It's streamlined, like me at 149 pounds after the 50!  If it weren't for the beer, I'd be downright waiflike...(insert gratuitous Eurotrash supermodel photo here)...

I'd also submit this:  I really, really like the longer distance races and anything with elevation, even though I'm a completely average and "middle of the pack," runner.  The races are spectacular and way too much fun...and the destination races rock!  Something about getting way outside of your comfort zone for events like these...

So yes, I'm looking at a 100-miler.  The question, though:  start out with a relatively easy, rolling loop or out/back course, just to get one under my belt (Ghost Train, TARC, Umstead), or shoot straight for a gnarly, kick-your-ass mountain race (MMT100, Eastern States)?  I have to consult some of my people, the ones who have completed the distance, and get a feel for what the Hell I should expect.  I did learn from the CT50 that running the entire time is not an option for me, but that I can walk/run for a long time after the first 25-30 miles, and I think I can build on that base...and I may have some company on the local level, which would be very, very cool...

Monday - 0 Miles! - On the other hand, I'm officially on the waitlist for the Ghost Train 100...gonna have to reclaim my headlamp from the wife, who's using it when she's knitting...

Tuesday - 5 Miles.  Hot Mystic Run.  I got done working in Wallingford and it was already 85 degrees, but a quick check of the Weather Channel showed Mystic clocking in at 74!  Beat the heat, right?  Wrong, sucka!  Hot all around today.  I banged out 5 miles, ran out of fluids and got the Hell outta there.  Tons of tourists, too.  Mid-run, I heard the bells go off for the drawbridge, and I tried to get there in time to cross, but it didn't happen.  Great place to run though!

 Wednesday - 1.5 Miles.  Lower Lantern Hill trail run with my daughter.  She is, apparently, serious about being ready for soccer season, and specifically requested a trail run to kick things off.  Who am I to say no?  So I opted for the easy, gravelly lower Lantern Hill trail, with an option to hit the harder trails if she was up for it.  1.5 miles in 80-degree weather and she was all set, and I didn't push.  Hope this turns into a regular thing!

Thursday - 0 Miles.  Travel day.

Friday - 7 Miles.  Potsdam, NY trail/campus run.  Weird that I was born in this town, and haven't been here in 43-ish years?  I was in town for a burial service for my grandparents.  They met and went to college at St. Lawrence University in nearby Canton.  They passed away last year, and last week my cousins picked up their ashes and a granite bench with the family tree inscribed on it, and drove them from Oregon all the way to upstate New York (where they were laid to rest in the family burial plot.  An incredible journey.  I could say more, but let's just say that it was an incredibly moving tribute to two very special people.  Military service for my Granddad, who was a P-51 pilot in WWII, with 21-gun salute.  Badass.  I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the veterans who volunteer their time to honor one of their own with a solemn ceremony that hasn't been lost through the years.  It was also really awesome to be there with 20+ family members from all parts of the country to recognize and celebrate the lives of these incredible people, whose thirst for adventure and travel led them all over the world, and to live in every region of the country during their time together.  Incredible.

Oh, and I ran 7 miles.

Saturday - 0 Miles.  Travel day.  North NY through the Adirondacks, Mass., and CT to home.  Would love to check out the Adirondacks it's a 6 million acre state park with a kazillion miles of trails and lakes and mountains and cool shit to see, and I'm the only one in this house who appreciates it...Grrrrr...

Sunday - 6 Miles - Beach run, Misquamicut.  High tide and warm, and tons of people, but hey!  At least I didn't run any little kids over, right Mike?  Hahaha...


Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Breeze! Week of 6-13 to 6-19

It's the first week of Summer vacation for most kids, and I'm already scrambling to juggle a few extra things now, and try to squeeze in a few runs somewhere.  If there's waves, I'm gonna get in the water as well.  Been way too long.  Oh yeah, and get the Taylor Swift beach run in at some point with Mike B.!  That's a good barefoot 10-miler.  And some running with the dog, as he goes to daycare during the week, but hasn't had his trail runs with me in a while.  But the weather's great this week, near 80 every day and a nice breeze blowin'...



A Gazellian Jam?

Monday - Wednesday - 0 Miles.  Work, work, and work!

Thursday - 3 Miles (Hike).  Green Falls pond loop trail with the kids and the dog.  Perfect day, and an impromptu day off, and already bored daughter/nephew/dog = trail hike!  A good time was had by all, especially Henry, who swam in all the water.

Friday - 5 Miles.  Hot Castle Craig run.  Got done with work early, and decided that a Castle beatdown was in order.  Took a fairly direct route to the top, and continued on the Mattabesett (Blue) trail toward the cell towers, then turned at 2 miles, and ran the tricky, technical trail descent above the reservoir, finishing with the auto road back to the parking lot.  Hot, sweaty, and hilly!

Saturday - 5 Miles.  Barefoot Beach Run, Misquamicut.  Perfect day!  And an unplanned progression run, felt pretty good!

Sunday - 13 Miles - Father's Day run(s) - 3 on Hewitt Trails w/Jim, and 10 on the beach w/Mike B. - What a great day.  Perfect weather.  Met Jim for a short trail run early, and managed to execute a perfect swan dive into the dirt.  Minimal blood, but plenty of scrapes and filth.  Glad it was there and not at Breakneck or 7 Sisters!  After that, went home, had a monster breakfast and drove down to Misquamicut for another fantastic day at the beach, where Mike B. and I did the "Full Taylor Swift" 10-miler, from Weekapaug to her mega-cottage and back.  Negative splits again, and probably too peppy a pace for me, but a really fun run.  Looked for the elusive Gazelle at Town Beach, but didn't locate him...next week, then!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Got 'Nip? Post Cayuga Hangover: Week of 6-6 to 6-12

So I did the 50, and immediately started thinking "Well...what do you do next?"  The answer is simple:  take a really easy week with several days off, and ease back into some disorganized trail runs.  I don't officially have any races until the Blue Hills race outside of Boston, but I have decided on my "focus" for the Fall:  the CatNip challenge.  Last year it got thrown around as a novelty that anyone who could complete the Cat's Tail Marathon and the Nipmuck Trail Marathon in the same weekend would have done the "CatNip," which is pretty awesome.  And at least two people did!

This year it's official:  the Red Newt Racing guys and the Shenipsit Striders are teaming up to award some kind of special thing (like a pint glass, or a straightjacket) for anyone who's crazy (or fit, or just plain dumb) enough to do it.  Hey!  Over here!  That's me!!!  Crazy, dumb, sort of fit dude!

I'd already signed up for the Cat, as I'm going back for some redemption.  It's a badass, quite beautiful course in the Catskills and I bombed out on it.  I was the 1%, so to speak...of people not finishing the damn race.  I have a killer hoodie with the logo and elevation profile on it that I've never worn.  My wife doesn't get it.  I can't wear it, because I didn't finish it...but I'd rather not relive it, so there.  Driving over the day before, driving home after the race that day, getting a good night's sleep in my own bed, and driving to Ashford for Nipmuck the following morning.  I've done Nipmuck three times already (it was my first marathon), so I know the course well, the drive time is short and it'll be a victory lap if I emerge from the Cat unscathed...

Muddy would go...?

Monday - 1 Mile. - Bertini Park, Wallingford. - Too soon.  My sore legs did construction all day, and I thought I'd give this place a go, as I'd driven past it and it looked hilly and sort of cool.  It was neither, and I should have stayed in my truck and spared myself the trouble.  Few more days!

Tuesday - Thursday - 0.  Work and rest.  Legs feel good.  Chafing spots almost gone!

Friday - 3.6 Miles.  Menunkatuck Trail, Madison.  Part of the New England Trail, which spans 215 miles from the MA/NH border to Long Island Sound, this was an easy commuter choice for me to get a few miles on a glorious weather day and test my legs.  Started at a 10 minute pace and ended in the low 7's (and felt really comfortable), and the legs are 100%!  This may very well be the most unremarkable section of the NET though, it's a rolling, semi-technical jeep trail and part of it is located alongside a Sportsmen's Club, so there were guns blasting through about a mile of the run.  No thanks!

Saturday - 0.

Sunday - 14 Miles.  Nipmuck South Trail Race, #38 of 147 in 2:23.  Ah, the positive effects of peer pressure...after some egging on from friends Faith and Amie, I decided late Saturday night to jump in on the Nipmuck South race.  It was already warm when I arrived at Mansfield Hollow, and I figured it would get to at least 80 by the time we got into the race.  Once we got underway, I cruised for a bit and then increased my pace, and was feeling great!  I opted for a handheld filled with Tailwind, and quickly drained it in the rising heat, and refilled it with water the rest of the way, which just didn't cut it.  I basically bonked at about mile 11, and got it done, but I went from feeling great to feeling like shit in a matter of minutes.  No S-Caps or Tailwind was a contributing factor?  Who knows, but it wasn't good.  Finished with an 8 minute course PR and had a great time after the race stuffing my face and watching the other runners come in.  Good time.  Then went home and mowed the lawn...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

2016 Cayuga Trails 50 Mile Trail Race

Wordy as I am when I get my act together, the "Spring Trifecta" of trail races is officially complete!  I'm pretty proud of this, as it wasn't an easy trio of races, and culminated in my longest and most difficult race yet.  In order:

2016 Breakneck Point Half Marathon:


2016 7 Sisters Trail Race:


2016 CT 50 Mile Trail Race:


Three very toothy elevation profiles!  So here's my first ever 50-mile race recap, and definitely not my last!

I wanted this to be my first 50-miler from the moment they announced it.  After several years of things standing in my way (life, fitness, etc.), this was gonna be the year.  I had a treatment for Lyme in the Fall, had done badly at a couple of long trail races, and the triple I'd chosen was my redemption, culminating in the CT50.  I even downloaded a training spreadsheet!

With my work schedule, I was trying to fit runs in where I could, and I just couldn't get the mileage up to where it needed to be, so I substituted the deficit with shorter, intense technical trail runs.  I think that it worked great for the first two races!  However, I just hadn't been able to get that all-important super long prep run in, and I know that a few people were concerned (Beth! Faith! Ha!), myself included...

Two weeks before the race, I had an impromptu day off, and decided to drop the dog off at daycare, park my truck as an aid station at the beginning of a 2.7 mile trail loop, and run until I had to leave.  30 miles in 5 hours, some help from Faith and some solo time did the trick.  OK, I've got this...fast forward to 6/2:

Arrived in Ithaca on Thursday, got settled in and had dinner at Ithaca Beer Co.  Friday I decided to start with some course recon, and it turned out my hotel was only 2 miles from the park where the race was held.  I previewed some of the Treman State Park trails, steep but not terribly technical:

Lower Falls from up on the Rim Trail

Gorge Trail entrance

Bees!  Had one harass me for .25 mile

Oh, stairs...there's a lot more at the top, around the corner...lol

OK!  Preview #1 done, I went to check out the infamous stream crossing at the Underpass Aid Station, where "swimmies" are awarded for best water crossing photo.  I had just started my recon., when I noticed that another runner was approaching me.  His distinctive mustache gave him away, hey!  That's Matt Flaherty!  We stopped and chatted for a bit, and he was also interested in checking out the water crossing.  We ran over, talked about the race, and he noted that because the water level was low, RD Ian might shift it over to a deeper section nearby...

Underpass

Probably the most mellow, enjoyable stretch of trail I've ever seen, and far too short!

The tracks!  We go under those.

Where the stream crossing was...

...where it got re-routed.  Note the darker, deeper water!


Preview #2 done, I drove the short distance to Buttermilk Falls, and ran up the stunningly beautiful Gorge trail:

The beginning of the Gorge Trail at Buttermilk

Cool, looked like a waterfall flowing into a cave, and out into another waterfall.  Pictures don't do it justice...

Just perfect.

Trails and old CCC walls/steps from the 1930s.  Thanks, FDR!

One more!

That done, I went down to pick up my race packet, socialized for a bit, then drove out to Taughannock Falls, where I shot a picture from the overlook (before I found out the lower trail was closed):

Stunning!  Note the path far below.

I then went and found our family cottage from 35+ years ago (still there!), and had a nostalgic hike up the gorge behind it to the waterfall, went back to the car and returned to the hotel, where I freshened up, had dinner at the Ithaca Beer Co. and called it a day.  Bed by 9:30, early for me!

THE RACE:

After a fitful night of attempting to sleep, I rolled out of bed, ate a quick breakfast and made the short drive to Robert H. Treman State Park.  What an electric atmosphere at these races, it's really something to see, as runners, crew, family and friends all get ready for the day.  I quickly stowed my drop bags (loaded with changes of shirts, shoes, extra handhelds, etc.) and met up with Janet and Brenda, and looked around for Claire, who appeared to be in stealth mode.  Found her right before the start, got a quick picture, and before I knew it we were off!  As it was supposed to be warm, I opted for a singlet, shorts and light hat, and had my CamelBak filled with Tailwind.  After a short stretch running through the field at the campground to spread out the field, we entered the woods and climbed a service road on our way to the Gorge trail.  

Miles 1-7:  Everyone was still bunched up and still very chatty.  Yeah, that'll change...I'd previewed this trail, and it rolls and climbs up the gorge, ascends and descends Lucifer Falls (so many stairs!), and passes through the first aid station (Old Mill) at the top on the way to the Underpass AS.  Feeling good!  My goal was to finish, so I kept a conversational pace and carried on.  From the Underpass, the first major stream crossing was coming up, and it was waist+ deep.  Cool, clear, and now I had wet shoes AND wet shorts...and six miles to the turnaround at Buttermilk Falls.  Squish!

Miles 7 to 12.5 - After the stream, runners enjoy a false sense of security in flowery meadows, before hitting a very steep, seemingly endless climb.  This one wasn't fun at all, switchbacks, taped off so you couldn't go straight, and relentlessly UP.  Once that was finally cleared, there's a level-ish section of single track, some meadows, and a couple of quick road crossings before you enter Buttermilk Falls SP.  The meadows were great!  You could see other runners ahead and behind, and I was able to catch a few of the leaders as they flew by.  The descent into Buttermilk was uneventful, but the temperature was slowly climbing.  At the aid station, I refilled my pack, grabbed some munchies (PB&J, bacon, pickle slices), changed my shirt and was off!

Miles 12.5 to 19 - Getting back to the Underpass was no problem.  Always somebody to chat with, the usual ebb and flow of runners, and I saw two friends who I've seen before at races, John and Juan, who always race together.  I also ran into Janet, who was doing the marathon distance (they started 2 hours later), and she looked good!  Said Claire was up ahead.  I got to the Underpass AS, chowed and filled my pack and was off!

Miles 19 to 25 - Climbing out of the Underpass, through Lucifer Falls and back to the Start/Finish was much slower.  I could feel the stairs and every climb was taking longer.  On the way there, I ran into Claire.  She was having some issues but was pressing on, and looked determined.  Way to go!
I was determined to do whatever I could to finish this race, and my only thought was "Get to the turn, load up and get the Hell out of there as fast as possible!"  And that's what I did.  Got to the turn, reloaded, chatted with Mike S. from Red Newt briefly, and changed my shirt and hat. Big milestone getting out of there, as it was getting really warm and humid.

Miles 25 to 32 - Now it really begins.  Let's see how we handle a double marathon with multiple steep climbs.  My goal at this point?  Get to Buttermilk, no matter what.  If I got to Buttermilk, I knew I had it locked.  I felt hot and fatigued.  The Sun was out in full force, and unbeknownst to me, runners were dropping left and right.  Ran into Brenda on my way out of the Gorge trail, and she wished me luck!  I kept it steady on, loaded up at Old Mill and Underpass AS (the strawberries at this point were epic), and kept going...get to Buttermilk!

Miles 32 to 37.5 - Lots less people on the trail now...I found myself alone quite a bit.  Fortunately, I ran into Claire in the meadows between the parks and she looked great.  The #TrailsRoc crew sat her down and hydrated her until she was ready to crush the last 20k!  Unfortunately, the "easy" section of the course was in direct sunlight, and actually worse (at least how I felt) than the hilly sections in the shade.  I arrived at the Buttermilk Falls AS with a big smile on my face.  I was wiped out, in uncharted territory now (my longest run ever was 32.5 up to this point), and knew I was gonna make it back no matter what.  The AS crew at Buttermilk hooked me up!  Filled my pack with GU brew and ice cubes, put ice in my hat, and hustled my ass out of there when I decided to go look at my drop bag.  Smart people!  And great volunteers!  I saw one of my on/off running buddies from the race, Scott G., chilling in a lawn chair and thought "No Way, he can't be done here!" (he wasn't).  And up Buttermilk Falls I went.

Miles 37.5 to 43 - Really uneventful.  Other than the back and forth partnership with Scott, before he pulled away, and meeting Steven, who, like myself, had slowed to a walk/jog combo and was feeling the effects of the distance and heat.  We chatted, I kept a brisk walking pace with fits of jogging, and was determined we'd finish the race no matter what.  The photographer was gone at the deep stream crossing, and we took our sweet time there, as it was hot out and the cool water was a gift at this point!  Chafing aside (and there was!), it was awesome.  We arrived at the Underpass with 7 miles to go, and the volunteers were there and greeted us like rockstars!!!  They hooked us up, told us we were not, in fact, dead effing last, and sent us on!


Miles 43 to 50! - Steven and I walked, talked, and enjoyed the fact that we were going to make the cutoff.  I maintained a brisk pace, we negotiated the stairs up, through the Aid Station, and the stairs down.  The last couple miles, he encouraged me to go ahead and finish as fast as I could, so I sped up a bit, and managed to cross the line at 14:00:41 officially, #160 of 173 finishers, of 249 starters, of 300 registered to race.  

Can't wear the shirt if you don't finish the race!  
(Note the nifty plaque and stainless steel pint glass)


On the surface, my numbers would be pissing me off!  The reality?  It's probably the race I'm most proud of.  Here's why:

Did this for 50 miles.  With Superman as one of my co-pilots!

I was mentally positive throughout the entire race, and never thought I'd quit.  I just knew I wouldn't quit, it wasn't an option.

I was smart about the race/pacing.  Hardly ever happens for me.  I stayed slow and steady, not knowing what the back half of the race would have in store.  It worked.

50 Miles! My longest distance by a long shot!  My previous long was 33 miles.  And this was hilly, haha...

The Volunteers.  I'm proud of them!  Saved my ass, encouraged me and made me feel important, looked after me, and hustled my ass out of Dodge when I was taking too long...It's a gift and a blessing, those aid stations, but a DNF waiting to happen, and they were the key to success on Saturday :)

Helped a couple people who were struggling, and made a difference for them?

When the volunteer at mile 32 said to me, "This is your first 50?  You picked a muthafucka!" and he was totally right.

When my wife, who was tracking me, texted me to say she was worried because I hadn't been heard from since mile 32, and I was at mile 40!  Ha!  Imagine her surprise when I called...(she later told a colleague who's into this nonsense, and he confirmed that it was a bitch of a race, so there's that!  I think she's proud, anyway!).

I enjoyed the whole damn thing.  Mile 1 to mile 50, I really, truly enjoyed every minute of it.  The course, scenery, runners, volunteers, the aid stations!  Ithaca.  Damn.  Loved every minute of it.  It's really a magical place.  Ask anybody else who was there.  I'm either completely full of shit or right on the mark that it's a perfect destination race...

So there it is. The CT50, my first and not my last.  Here's a link to the results, couldn't believe how many DNF's there were, some quite deep into the race too:


And my Strava data:


I'm gonna forget something.  I'll add it later, but here's the bottom line:  I made this a big deal, and did it.  Loved it.  Made friends and strengthened other friendships.  Traveled, got way out of my comfort zone, pushed my limits, and will continue to do so.  It's a good way to be.  The Red Newt Racing events are what it's all about, I'm here to tell you.  Legitimate beast-level races, in places that make you stop mid-race to pull out a camera for a picture, and also really put it on the line.  Worth it on so many levels!

50 Miles.  I'm already putting the race on my calendar for 2017, no doubt at all...oh, and I almost forgot: