Pinhoti: Well . . .

A week or so out from their Pinhoti, Lee and Beth reflect on their race that wasn't. 

LEE: Up until me sitting down to pen this final Pinhoti write-up I haven't spent too much time thinking about last Saturday...other than a few conversations and texts with people. Seems strange since it's been a fairly time consuming part of my life the past few months but I guess that's how this pea brain works. Past is in the past!

Unfortunately, the race didn't go as I would've liked. It definitely warmed up that day and my body doesn't enjoy racing in the heat. Could I have done things differently? Surely. Would I have done things differently? Hell no. I don't care about belt buckles or just finishing. It doesn't make me feel any better or enlightened to just cross a line. I don't know if this is a good way to put it because it seems a bit harsh but when I race I like to crush souls or crush my own. In this instance, mine got dominated. In my 20's I didn't have the short term memory I have now. Nowadays, I don't let some race...or much else...bother me for too long. 

First things first. There are a few people I need to thank for the past few months of selfishness. 

Angela for putting up with this nonsense the past few months. It's tough (and fun) having your job and hobby be the same thing as much of our lives revolve around running running running. I very much appreciate the support during the training and attempt. She told me if I finish I could head out to Oregon and hit up a football game. Nothing aggravates me more than that not happening! 

Eric May (and Astrid) - I can't say enough about this man taking his whole weekend from family to come down and crew. Thank you, Eric! Initially, I was reluctant to have a crew but I'm glad I did (especially with how things ended up). I felt horrible he had to trek down there for me only finishing 52% of the race but am very appreciative of him being there. Probably doesn't want to see any more stomach bile for a long time!

Beth Meadows - Thank you for allowing me to tag along on some runs over the past few months. Lots of miles and tons of laughs sprinkled in. I like to think we had a pretty fun time training for this bad boy. I wish I could've mustered the energy at 45 to run some miles with you. 

Store Crew - I very much appreciate you guys letting me slack off more than normal during this training! I always say that I could die tomorrow and the store would be fine because of you...thank you!! 

Here goes...It'd been a while since I'd raced an "ultra". I felt alive. It was awesome. I love to compete and it was going to be hours and hours of competing! The best and most funny part of the first few miles were a few guys racing up next to Karl Meltzer (legend and eventual winner) to chat with him and love on him. I don't know how any of you are BUT I hate that crap. I felt bad for him because you could tell it annoyed him. I was running right behind him and he just wanted to race. This isn't a social scene, gents...it's a damn race. Get the hell out of the way! He had his headphones in so that allowed him to not hear them or "act" like it. Soon enough, their jonesing ways dispersed. 

The race started out at a decent pace and I was averaging around 10:20ish miles for the first 40 and it felt easy...really easy. Right where I wanted to be because I knew I'd slow down on the back half and potentially average about where I wanted...11-12 min/miles. There was a pack of 6-7 of us running together for the first 10 miles and that soon became five. I decided to run with Johnny Clemons (eventual third place finisher) and we worked together (sitting in 4th and 5th)...chatting, hiking almost every incline and cruising the flats and downhills. I knew he'd raced a 100 before and did well so using his experience couldn't hurt and I knew from the past few years we were a similar level. We ran 15-20 miles together or within probably a minute or so of each other and it helped that time fly by and I just focused on staying hydrated and eating. At the Mile 13 Aid Station my hip that has been bugging me reared up but that quickly went away, thankfully. Eric quickly filled up my water bottle and away we went. I saw a pic of me at that aid station sticking my tongue out and dripping water (that was not sweat, folks, that was an awesome wet icy towel that Phil Zimmerman so kindly handed me to cool off...thanks, Phil!). 

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

In the mid to late 20's three of us (Ryan...eventual 2nd, Johnny and me) seemed hit a 1-2 mile wall. I caught Ryan who had slowed it down. I knew this would be the first of a handful of walls so I slowed it down, regrouped and made it to Mile 27 Aid Station. Shortly after, we passed Aaron Saft who was walking. I asked him if he was ok and he said he'd fallen a few times. I later learned he dropped because he banged up his knee. Unfortunate, because I feel he was the only one that could've given Karl a run for his money. 

The trails were amazing. I was impressed with how nice they were. Pretty flat for the first 1/3 of the race. A ton of pine needles which made for a lot of soft trail. Myself and Ryan were running 2nd and 3rd when we hit Mile 36 Aid Station. Johnny couldn't have been too far behind. The next four miles were a gradual incline to the top of Mt. Cheaha which I planned to mainly hike and conserve. It was heading up Cheaha that I opened up a gel and realized I didn't want it. Crap, I thought, not good. I held it for those four miles and slowly tried to take it down...it wouldn't take...and my body didn't want anything. In the meantime, I tried to drink and that wasn't going too well, either. I was getting a bit worried knowing that if I didn't get anything in me I'd be in trouble. The climb up Cheaha was easy. I hiked almost the entire thing and felt like I could've sprinted up it. About half way up Ryan pulled away which was nice because he liked to talk more than I was in the mood for since at that point I hadn't eaten anything for almost two hours and I was pissed knowing I was behind the 8-ball. Not good at all. It was frustrating because in all of my prep I thought Cheaha would take some energy out of me and it didn't at all...it was the heat and not being able to consume food/water. 

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I got to the top of Cheaha sitting in 3rd place. Once I got to the boardwalk I saw Breck Phillips (Nashvillian and RunWILDer) and told him I hadn't eaten and nothing was going down. He and his friend walked with me to where Eric was located (as well as a ton of friends from Nashville that were there Crewing and Pacing) so it was great seeing them. Along the walk, I was saying a few choice words to Breck knowing from past experience I was in a rabbit hole. I got to Eric and he handed me some grapes and a Gatorade (since my training hydration of Grape Roctane nor water sounded enticing). The Gatorade went down for about 30 seconds...then it all came right back up. I think I ate a couple of small things but can't recall. I stayed there for maybe 10 minutes before I wanted to get going and away from the crowd. I chatted quickly with Eric and he told me just to hike these next few miles to regroup and he'd see me at 45. Sounded like a plan and I was hopeful I'd be able to start drinking and eating as I hiked. Ryne Anderson and Peter Kleuser were nice enough to walk with me for about 1/2 mile, listening to more choice words from me, and sending me off. I was not happy. I knew if I didn't get my gut in the right manner things would not end well. 

In my mind I figured I'd hike for a bit, continue to conserve and just force liquids down. Well, I definitely hiked BUT still couldn't take anything down to re-energize. The backside of Cheaha is slow moving for 1/2 mile with big rocks so I took that easy. I got to the paved road which was quite a long section and I attempted to jog a bit...jog/hike/jog/hike. I finally hit the gravel road leading to the Mile 45 Aid Station. Along that I puked again. These past 2-3 miles were purely frustrating not only because I couldn't get back on top of it but it was flat and a piece of the race I should've been going a decent pace. I tried running again but ended up hiking the rest of the way in. I was still in 3rd and figured I'd sit at 45, rest up, slowly get liquids and food in then get back at it. 

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I could write 10 pages about sitting at Mile 45 for 3.5 hours or so...trying to drink, then puking, trying to eat, then puking. Repeat. Nothing. Watching runners go by. I thought maybe I could regain enough strength to run with Beth when she came by...nope...she comes by going "hey friend" (twice...the first one I ignored because I wasn't in the mood) and about wanted to kick her ass for smiling at me :) She looked good and strong, though, and I was hopeful that she'd continue to crush it and finish well! Then I figured I'd see if I could muster up enough energy to run with Cheyenne. Nope. Hunter. Nope. Zilch. I think it was about four hours into sitting there where I finally kept some broth down. Good sign. I drank some liquids for about 20 minutes with Eric, Peter and Daryl Ann Patton taking care of me. Thank you, Peter and Daryl Ann for helping out...and special thanks to you, Daryl Ann, for the awesome back rub! 

There were many times in those 3.5-4 hours that I wanted to quit but I kept thinking...I trained a decent amount for this, Eric spent his whole weekend to help me, etc so I should see if, at some point, I can go again. Eric, Peter and Daryl Ann were able to get my unwilling self onto the trail to see if I could make it to 52. About 1/2 mile into the trail I felt like turning back. I figured even if Eric had left for the next aid station that I could hitch a ride. I didn't...a small percentage of me thought maybe since it was cooler and dark that I'd snap out of it. 

They say that distance is 6.82 miles from 45 to 52 but I beg to differ. Seemed like eternity. I didn't run a single step. It was dark which made me even more mad because initially that was the part of the race I was most excited about. I love running in the dark where senses are heightened, it's extremely peaceful and the temps are cooler. It was painful hiking to 52. I was cussing Eric, Peter and Daryl Ann relentlessly! I had two full bottles of Roctane and both made me want to puke. I was "hiking' along with one runner for a while and I asked him if I could have a drink from his pack. He said, "if you don't mind my cooties, sure". At that point, I didn't care if his pack was spitting out flames. I needed it. I was hopeful it was water. Nope. It was HEED...and I just about hurled. I told him thanks and he took off. I do hope that he finished because he was a good dude! I wish I would've gotten his name.

Once I finally got to 52 I told the woman who was checking off bib numbers that I was done. If there was an aid station to drop and hang out for a while...52 was it. Those folks (none of them runners, they say) had that place dialed in. TV with football on. Any type of food you'd want. Medical gear up the wazoo. Music. Restroom solely for women. In my opinion, the best part was a sensor they had set down the trail about 100 meters that chimed at the aid station. When it chimed it would allow the volunteers to know when a runner was coming and for them to be ready for anything that runner needed. It was awesome! Of course, as I sat/laid there licking my wounds that chime was the most annoying thing in the world. Everyone there was great and kept asking me what I needed. The fluids they brought kept coming back up so there wasn't much they could do for me, unfortunately. 

Unfortunately, 52 was also an aid station that Crew did not have access to. The next Aid Station was only 3ish miles away but I didn't care if it was 10 steps...I would've rather stayed overnight in the woods. Luckily, there was cell service and I was able to call Angela who then called Eric who was able to come rescue my poor soul. Another thing I won't forget about that aid station were these two dogs that just amazing. They just laid nearby and every time I hurled they'd come my way...partly, because they wanted to investigate my fluids but mainly because they wanted to help. After a bit, one of the dogs wanted to lay by me and I told the owner it was fine. That dog curled up right next to my head and you could tell just wanted to help out any way she could. Very neat! 

Obviously, I felt like total crap from 40-52. I knew there'd be multiple spots during the race I'd feel horrible but I didn't think I'd get dehydrated. I was hoping there'd be a point I'd hallucinate because I've never been into drugs and wanted to see what it felt like. Since I only made it halfway I didn't get to feel some of the pain I was thinking I would and, in a way, looking forward to. I wanted to compare it to some of the other physical pain I've been through in my life.

I've received calls, texts and verbal "I'm sorry" from friends which I appreciate, but there's no need to feel sorry. Pretty sure I'm still alive, although day by day I'm a shell of the man I once was...I don't run as much, I don't party as hard, I don't read as much, I don't work as hard. I'm lazier. I have many goals but my primary focus in life is to ensure that Lila gets her breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath, to and from school, climbing trees, reading books, riding bikes, and getting her in to Stanford ;) Once Monday rolled around it was game on for school and work. Shoes and 100 milers are just a blip. 

Will I attempt another? Probably not. It was fun training and getting some fitness back to run this race. I can sit here and be frustrated forever but I don't do that. It's a waste of time...Dwell and Die!!

It has been enjoyable doing a write-up every so often for Pinhoti. I'll miss that a bit because it allowed me to reflect on the previous weeks and see the good and bad of running, training, selfishness, etc and I hope you guys got a kick out of me and Beth's writing. I guess I could do write-ups on me and Lila's car rides to and from school. Those are interesting and fun most of the time...

 

BETH: Pinhoti had been on my radar since I was still on crutches last summer. Not necessarily as a solidified goal but definitely as an amorphous notion floating around in the ether of my ADD running/racing consciousness. When Lee threw out that he was thinking of doing it as well, I knew that it was perfect timing for me. I’d have a training partner and would at least know someone down there. Little did I know that half of Nashville would have the same grand plan! After months of training, planning, talking about training, and training some more, the first weekend of November rolled around, and the trek to the Land of Champions commenced.

Saturday morning, my crew of Phil, Jobie, Khette, and Jess took me to the start line where we promptly saw a lot of the RunWILD crew. I gave a wave to Lee who was scores of racers ahead of me and like that we were off. I was nestled in between Kurt, Lauren, Cheyenne, and Kimmy for the first couple of miles. It felt like a regular Saturday morning run, and as Kurt pointed out, he’d come down there to make friends and not to run with us! We had a nice easy pace going, but after about 4 miles, I wanted to try and spread out some. I moved on ahead and promptly got stuck in a long train. The pace was fine, especially since I wanted to be conservative, but the nature of the train caused a lot of herky jerky, stop-and-go action that was frankly exhausting. After another couple of miles, I tried to separate from the crowd. Somewhere between the first and second aid station, I realized just how good I felt. Obviously, it was extremely early in the race, but this was more than just fresh legs from tapering. It also hit me that I wanted to actually RACE, albeit intelligently. This fire in my belly, for lack of a better phrase, had been absent for so long, and I was more than happy to welcome it back like an old friend. When I came into the second aid station (first time to see my crew), I knew I had crushed it in the crew selection department. They had all my gear and food ready, and I quickly told them what I needed at the next stop. Having a crew is a weird dynamic because I hate telling people what I need or what they should do for me. However, my desire to have the best race possible coupled with the fact they (hopefully) knew what they were in for helped me power through that uncomfortableness. The aid station was located right by some train tracks, and I traded in a train on the trail for an actual train. While we waited, I turned to Phil and Jobie relaying that I wanted this race and I wanted it badly. As Phil later pointed out, it was probably for the best that we had to wait on the train because I was ready to sprint my happy ass up the next hill. Once the train passed, I left them my friends and ducked back onto the trail, happy to have shed the congested conga line of other racers.

Further along, I came up on a group of three guys who were running the perfect pace. I settled in behind them silently listening to their conversations, piping in every now and then if prompted (I mean, not in a creeper sort of way. I just didn’t feel like chatting. They knew I was there. I think.). As we ran, I’d look every now and then at the pace chart Phil made me. I was a couple of minutes ahead of sub-24 pace which was surprising, but since I already felt like I was conserving a lot, I decided to just go with it. The miles rolled on nice and easy, the pinestraw-laden trails only accentuating how good I felt. We made it the mile 18 aid station pretty quickly, and I, once again, found my peeps. They loaded my pack down with goodies as this would be the last time I’d see them until mile 40. I put in my “orders” for the next aid station and took off.

The next miles went down smooth and easy as well; I cruised through the next aid station and then carried on. By this time, it was high noon, and the heat was turned up. I’m so thankful to have discovered GU Roctane drink because I did not feel like eating much. I didn’t feel sick or anything and could choke down gels, but it was nice being able to just sip my calories. Soon, the terrain became a bit rockier, and we made our way to the BUTS aid station at mile 27. I was thrilled to see Season and Jeff there. I asked how Lee was and if he were 2 hours ahead of me – according to Season, he was at least that far ahead and in 5th place. Awesome! I proceeded to tell Jeff I hadn’t peed since before the start. He had me chug some water and gave me a popsicle. I dilly-dallied a bit more before heading out. Even though I felt good going in, it was a nice interlude and reinvigorated me even more.

The next stretch was supposedly the longest in between aid stations, but the miles, yet again, ticked off. I still felt strong, even forcing myself to slow it down. I knew Cheaha would be coming up soon and wanted my legs feeling as good as possible. I also finally peed! (hooray) I filled up with water and Heed at the next station. I’ve never trained with Heed and was a bit nervous about using something different. However, the saltiness was delightful and got the job done. I headed back down the trail until the rocks became more frequent and the grade a little steeper. In my mind Cheaha was quite the climb, but this was pretty gradual. I hiked the whole thing but at a faster pace than I anticipated. Along the way, I kept checking my pace chart. I had slowed down some but still ahead of sub-24. I climbed and climbed some more. I ran most of the previous 5-6 miles solo which was really nice. I’m not a big talker in races, and I was even more focused that day. I also just wanted to be in my own head, work through my own things, and just be stripped down out there without the “comforts” of mindless chatting. After a few more miles, I came up behind a chick who looked strong. I stayed behind her as we made our way to the top. We saw some people hanging out on boulders, and I figured we were getting close. I heard someone call my name – it was Lori who works with my dad. Too cool. Soon, I saw Ryne, and we ran up the boardwalk towards my crew. I passed my mom who was hanging out too. I made it to the crew who took to me like a NASCAR pit crew. I knew I had gained some ground and was currently about 30 mins under 24 pace. This meant I could take my time here, but also made me want to get in and out as quickly as possible to keep up that cushion. I sat down, and all of a sudden, folks went to work. My feet were lubed up and socks changed. My legs were rolled out. My pack was restocked and refilled. All of this while I chowed down on a cheeseburger my parents had brought me. Gyps was there too. Freaking amazing aid station! After a few minutes, Phil gave me a two minute warning. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of being too comfortable and needed to get back out there as soon as possible. I bid adieu to everyone and eased on down the road towards Blue Hell.

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

Blue Hell is exactly that – hellish, rocky terrain emblazoned with blue. It’s slow going, and I simply tried not to break a bone. After that, it was primarily jeep road which, frankly, was pleasant. I was able to run around 9:30-10:00 pace, and before I knew it, I was at the next stop. I wanted some coke, and as I was stopped getting some, I was pumped to see someone wearing a shirt from NRC’s Dark Sky 50 . . . until I realized it was Eric May, Lee’s sole crew member. I yelled “what the hell are you doing here?” to which he responded “let me show you.” We walked out of the aid station, and there was Lee laid back in a camping chair, half asleep, and looking like death. My heart sank for him; I would’ve felt less bad had I seen the circle of puke surrounding him. I chatted with him briefly but was optimistic he’d get back out there. I hopped back onto the trail.

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams

As I ran, I did a mental assessment on how everything felt, pausing to reflect that my ankle didn’t hurt a bit . . . and BAM! Toe hit a rock, and ankle rolled outward. I almost puked myself from the pain. Hoping it was one of those “walk it off” turns, I just kept moving and hiking. And hiking. And hiking. Even a shuffle hurt. The next 5.8 miles were the longest ever. Tons of people passed me; it became dark quickly, and I had to throw on a headlamp. Creek crossings popped out of nowhere, and just staying upright on the slick rocks seemed impossible. I kept waiting for the pain to let up; instead it progressively worsened. I kept hiking. Every minute or so, I thought I could hear the jocularity of the nearing aid station. Most of these were just sounds of my own making, but FINALLY, the aid station came into view. As I came in, the nicest lady asked what I needed. While she was talking, I noticed a dog to her side. All I said was, “can I pet your dog?” bending down to hug this sweet pup. I wanted to never let go. She showed me around the aid station – yes, the aid station was that big and awesome, that I needed a tour. I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since hurting my ankle and still didn’t feel like it. I filled up my water bottle and hobbled over to the big screen tv set up where my Bama boys were playing. The guys offered me a seat, but I knew it was time to move on. All I wanted was my crew. I started my way out of the aid station and off on three dark, lonely, painful miles.

Again, the whole time, I thought I could hear the aid station in the distance. My ankle and foot started hurting worse. The fact that I, stupidly, didn’t eat or drink anything for almost 10 miles was taking its toll. I was out of it and didn’t have much energy to even hike. Just make it to the aid station. About a mile to go, I heard “hey lady” and knew Kimmy was behind me. I had been waiting on her to pass me for a while. She sweetly asked what was wrong and if I wanted her to stay with me. She looked so strong, and I told “no way. Go crush it.” She basically skipped off, and I kept hiking, hoping the aid station wasn’t far. When a lady appeared with giant lighted mardi gras beads, I knew I was close. Phil and Khette grabbed me as soon as I was off the trail and led me to our set-up. I sat down, telling them what was wrong, and I lost it. I hate crying, and it makes me uncomfortable when others do it. However, I couldn’t stop the tears as we tried to figure out next steps. I was terrified because it was the ankle I’ve struggled with and had surgery on less than two years ago. I tried walking around which hurt. My crew was great and didn’t push for a decision either way. While the pain was rough, I didn’t want to irreparably damage my ankle. As I sat there trying to decide DNF vs. keeping on, I saw Cheyenne, Lauren, and Hunter come through. . . and my dream of that day come to an end. I nodded to Khette who knew what that meant, and she turned my chip in for me. Peter and Daryl looked at my ankle. Nathan gave me a brace. Jobie and Phil strategized for me. Phil walked with me as I tried to decide, letting me cry it out. Jess and Khette rubbed my back. Season came over, and damn if she’s not going to make a great mama, giving me some amazing words of encouragement. Jeff gave his sage and reasonable input and validated the fact that maybe I wasn’t just being soft. Eric offered support before going to whisk Lee away from the previous aid station in his Crosstek carriage. Sam and Robert gave me score updates (we won, but more importantly Ohio State lost!). Chris and Brian provided kinds words as well. I’ll forever be grateful for all of them. And so, I sat there disappointed, pissed off, and inspired.

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams 

Photo Cred: Jobie Williams 

My race had started so well and so fun, and just like that, it was over. I’ve replayed the scene at the final aid station over and over, second guessing myself, wondering if I was just being a wuss and should’ve pushed through. But, what I’ve replayed more, are those first 45 miles, where I felt amazing, felt like I could do anything (except math so thank god for Phil’s pace chart), felt like the old Beth. Now, I’m simply taking a break to get my ankle healed up. After that, I’m ready. Ready to hit the ground running, ready to build up my fitness even more, ready to see where this body can go. I had a blast training this time around, and I can’t wait to get back at it. Maybe I con Lee into at least training with me for something else, even if he is retired. Jobie was right, the fire is running red hot right now, and I’m ready to light the world up. (and by world, I mean local trail races every now and then).

The biggest of thank yous go out to my crew – I couldn’t have made it 55 miles without nor would I have wanted to. You all are amazing.

Pinhoti 100: T-Minus 1.5 Weeks and Current Status Check

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It's less than two weeks until the Pinhoti 100 Mile Race, and heavy training is over for our trusty Race Team members Lee Wilson and Beth Meadows. Let's get a current status check on them, shall we? 

LEE: Less than three weeks out from this 100-miler. I'm typically not one to do more than bullet point write-ups because I typically delete emails much more than that (be it from an old boss or current vendor). It's probable that mentality will haunt me come Nov 4th!

Yet, as I take on this endeavor, I feel a few more bullet points are pertinent. If you've been reading along the past few weeks, I don't follow a specific training plan, but I feel like I'm 87% physically ready for this race and anything over 51% anymore is great news. Mentally, we'll see. I haven't run this much since college, and luckily, I've stayed injury free throughout even with more road running than I would've liked to do. As great as Nashville is, if you haven't noticed,  the traffic has increased so it's much easier to run from the front door than spend an hour dealing with the worst drivers I've ever seen on my way to a trail to get miles on the dirt. 

These past few weeks I've been able to hit 80+ miles/week three of the last five and four of the last nine. I'd never hit 80 in my life prior to nine weeks ago. Like most of us, I'd always like more of a base and more miles/week but the hays in the barn at this point. Injury free is key, and I'm tired so the taper over the next couple of weeks will hopefully make me feel 15 years younger. Every morning I wake up...sore, need more coffee, aches...rinse and repeat. Going into some of the bigger, for me at least, training days is always a drag for me, but I've been pretty happy with them -- a couple of 20/10 runs where I'll do 20 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. Those have gone well and running on tired legs for the 10 has hopefully made me stronger. This past weekend I did 40 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday. With the continuing humidity I was pleased with both runs. 

I ran with Beth for the majority of both runs this past weekend and tried to really hone in on nutrition during the 40...using what I'll use race day...GU Roctane Energy Drink with 250 calories and a combo of Spring and Huma gels. I took down a PB&J and some jerky to mix it up and all went well. My main focus on the 40 was to run slower and try to stay at an 11+ minute pace, which happened. It's difficult to run at a pace that isn't my typical speed because it works so many different muscles and parts of the body hurt that I haven't utilized in years. 

As for gear, for shoes I'm going to end up starting the race off with Inov-8 Parkclaw shoes...they've got more cushion than I typically use, decently wide toebox and great grip. I love Inov-8 shoes, although I'm a bit worried I might need a bit more shoe than the Parkclaw provides. At some point in in the race I assume I'll want pillows under my feet so I'm going to have the Brooks Caldera on reserve, if needed. I've used that Caldera on the back end of my 20/10s and the plush feel has been nice. As you might know, I've trained with the Salomon 5-set pack and that pack is money so that'll be my go to. I hate wearing a pack especially in the TN heat...just something extra to make me even hotter than it already is...but, it'll be needed for the majority of the race, if not all. My shirt and shorts will depend on weather...maybe sleeveless shirt with arm sleeves if the weather is cool. 

I say cool weather, but I'm going in to this race assuming it'll be 85 degrees with high humidity, I'll have 15 blisters, I'll puke 10 times, need a full roll of toilet paper, and want to quit after mile 10. So, I'm preparing for that the best I can. I hope it's cooler weather...snow would be great. If it's warm, I'll start out very slow, hike more than I'd like, and stay on point with hydration. I've tried not to overanalyze what the past Pinhoti runners have done and dive into where I should be at a certain mile because there are so many variables in a 100 it won't help me to do so. That doesn't mean I haven't listened to tidbits of recommendations from ultra finishers. I'm throwing the competitive nature out the window for this bad boy unless it's me vs Karl Meltzer coming around the track at the end...then it's elbow to the ribs...circa 1999. 99.9999% chance I won't be near the top, let alone beat Karl Meltzer, but if, by chance, it happens I can guarantee he won't out kick me! 

One thing I didn't do months ago but wish I would've started is lift a few weights. The goal wouldn't have been to gain mass but build a bit of muscle and feel stronger going in. I've only been on a weight training plan once in high school and it seemed to work for me. Some runners use weights, some don't. To each their own. Same as runners and yoga...if you feel like it helps you and you remain injury free then do it. Maybe for Georgia Death Race, if I qualify, I'll get back to the gym.

I'd also like to point out that I'm not throwing these brand names out because I have a store and like to sell their products. Over the years, I've had multiple brands ask me if I'd like to race for them with their gear and I've declined. I like to rep NRC and those that support us. Maybe someday I'll sell myself back to the MAN!

BETH: Well, I never thought I’d be the shorter-winded of the two in this friendship/running partnership, but Lee summed up everything really nicely. My “current status” is tired. And sore. And did I mention tired?

I can’t believe it’s less than two weeks away. I’m simultaneously underprepared and ready to go. I haven’t put in the super long runs like I intended, but I’ve hit a handful of 80+ miles. I was able to get in 35 miles of red loops (some with Lee, one glorious one with Scott Bennett) followed by 16 the day after. That topped off an 88 mile week which is the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever hit.  However, the week after, which was supposed to be another high mileage week, I hit a whopping 28 miles. So, I’ve been more inconsistent than I’d like, but it is what it is.

A couple of good things came from my long weekend which gives me hope and a little bit of comfort:

  • My ankes held up pretty well. After 35 miles, you’re going to feel your feet at least a little, and with my past history of ankle mishaps, that’s always the case for me. I could certainly feel some twinges, especially in the OG hurt ankle, but it was definitely an improvement from years past.
  • I finally found my race day shorts! Short liners are the bane of my existence as nothing can bring you to your knees quite like chafing from your liner. Luckily, it’s Oiselle to the rescue with their Stride Short of the no-ride compression variety. This seems pretty unimportant, but it’s something I’ve been worried about during my training.
  • My nutrition and hydration plan is as dialed in as I’ve ever had it. GU Roctane every 10 minutes with a Spring Energy or Huma gel every 40 minutes. I didn’t bonk once during my 35 miler which is HUUUGE since I would bonk on 15 milers with Lee earlier in training.
  • The Altra Lone Peaks are still the best shoe for me. The 3.5s threw me off at first with a seemingly higher stack and slightly less wide toe box. Coming back from ankle surgery, my proprioception has been off, and the more “minimal” shoes have been better at compensating for that. However, for the distance, it doesn’t get better than the Lone Peaks. I’ll start with those and have an extra pair or two in the car.  
  • Other gear will include: Balega socks to start, Swiftwick 12s in the crew bag, Salomon 5 pack, and Petzl Nao headlamp. Food will include: Little Debbie cakes, clementines, grapes, chips, and Cheetos.

I had a stellar crew going into Pinhoti last time, and I have an equally awesome one lined up now. Phil, Jobie, Jess, and Jobie are all skilled and knowledgeable in the art of ultras and crewing, and if something good and magical happens next weekend, it’ll be because of them. I’m lucky that they’re willing to give up their weekend to come schlep around in the Bama woods for me (and thank you families for letting them come!).  

My race day strategy is threefold: Conserve, Struggle, and Survive. Finishing is the only goal; digging deep into the pain cave and coming out the other side is all I want to do.

NRC: Enjoy the taper time, guys, and good luck!!!

 

Bigfoot 200: A Retrospective by Jeff Davis

Race Team Member Jeff Davis recently tackled the Bigfoot 200 endurance event. (no, 200 is not a typo). Here are his musings on this grand adventure.

JEFF: This is my long overdue attempt to make sense of my longest run to date.  The Bigfoot 200 is a 206.5 mile (to be exact) point-to-point run that begins at Mount St. Helens and finishes in Randle, WA traversing a section of the Cascade Mountains.  This run has 50,000+ feet of elevation gain and endless views.  I can’t say enough about Destination Trail and volunteers that truly made this a life changing event.  Everything was world class from start to finish.

Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Photo Cred: Howie Stern

In summary, the run took me 71 hours and 43 minutes.  During this time I got roughly three and a half hours of sleep and some great hallucinations.  A mile-by-mile account of such an event would be terribly boring and wouldn’t capture the essence of this adventure.  Instead, I attempted to highlight some of my takeaways from the run.  If anyone would like advice on longer races, feel free to contact me.  Or if you want the full story, I’d be glad to grab a beer and tell the long version.

Mt. Adams; photo cred: Howie Stern

Mt. Adams; photo cred: Howie Stern

After three days of running, here are my thoughts:

·         Fully embrace the highs and lows.  Sometimes you can’t change the situation, but you can direct your outlook.

Lava Fields; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Lava Fields; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

          One must be pushed past their preconceived notion of what’s possible in order to get a clear view of reality.  Our self-prescribed limits are often based on fear and projections of negative outcomes. 

·         If you’re uncomfortable talking to yourself or being alone with your thoughts, this distance is not for you.

Johnston Ridge; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Johnston Ridge; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

          Once you’re tired enough, a pile of fir needles or a partially decomposed log can look like a luxurious king size bed with 600 thread count sheets.  These runs are a great exercise for distinguishing your needs from your wants.

·         Negative speak has no place in endurance runs.  Venting may make you feel better for a moment, but it has no lasting effect and wastes valuable energy.

Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

          Nothing happens in a vacuum.  Even a 200 mile run without pacer or crew is built on the sacrifice and support of family, volunteers, and race officials.  Remember to be grateful for everyone you encounter out there.

·         Don’t project the enormity of the task ahead to your present situation.  Assess your present discomfort and objectively ask yourself if you can endure this moment.  The answer will most likely be yes.

Before the Finish; Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

Before the Finish; Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

          A sage quote from Steve House says, “The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes.”  Don’t pack your fears for a run/adventure of any distance.  You need much less than you think.  Packing the appropriate gear is a constantly evolving art.  The goal should be to balance safety and reasonable comfort and still attain a raw experience in nature.  The more you cling to stuff you believe you need, the more baggage you carry with you.

·         There are two types of hallucinations.  In the first, you realize you’re hallucinating and your rational brain knows what you see/hear isn’t real.  The second type is a complete break with reality.  Obviously, you should try and sleep before the second type arrives.

Truly amazing and awe-inspiring. The highest of fives and biggest congrats, Jeff!

Pinhoti 100 Training: Strategy Time

It's been a couple weeks since checking in with Lee and Beth on their training for Pinhoti 100. In those couple of weeks, they've tackled Hurricane Harvey during a night run of 5 red loops, taken on the Defeated course, and suffered a couple of falls and stitches (ok, the latter was just Beth). Here, they elaborate on their training strategy, including nutrition and hydration. 

NRC: What’s your longest training run before the race?

Lee: I’ll shoot for 35-40-miler one day followed up with a 20-miler the next. I’m not following any specific plan but will plan to hit 80ish miles/week a couple of times between now and race day.

Beth: At least a 50k, with my preference being a 40 miler.  I’d definitely like to get in a couple of super long weekends, solid back-to-back runs.

NRC: How will you train/prepare yourself for being out there overnight?

Lee: I’m assuming having a young child and her periodic midnight “wake up” calls will be fine. In all seriousness, I’ll probably go run some miles one or two nights before the race. I’ll be so tired at some point in the race it’ll all feel like running in the dark!

Beth: I think the best way to do that is to hit up Percy late at night after working and being up all day for some nighttime slogging through the woods. It’s not just the running in the dark that I need to get ready for, it’s the running in the dark on tired legs. So, hopefully, I can get out a couple of times for some overnight runs.

NRC: Do you have any tips (for yourselves/others) that you’ll use to help you from getting lost?

Lee: Stay calm. I grew up playing and hunting in the woods and have been a bit lost multiple times. Like anything, once you lose focus things typically don’t end well. Missing a turn in a trail race happens all the time so if it happens in this race hopefully I’ll notice within a short time and turn back. The body and mind get so tired that keeping an eye on flags and signs will be key.

Beth: Pinhoti, from what I can remember, is very well marked. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything at 2am and 65 miles into the race. I’ll probably have a pacer/safety runner for the later miles in case I start going off course. The last time I did it, Jeff Davis and Ryne Anderson definitely had to keep me in check and on course.

NRC: Are you planning on training on the course at all? Explain.

Lee: If time allows, I’d like to. Seeing some new scenery will be nice. If I can get down there to run 20-30 miles and see one of the big climbs that’ll be nice but I won’t get bent out of shape if I don’t.

Beth: I’d really love to get down there, not just to practice for the race but also because they’re great trails. We’ll see if it actually happens though!

NRC: Beth, how will your training for Pinhoti this year differ from your training last time?

Beth: I’ll probably add a couple of longer runs. The last time I trained for it, my longest training run was a 50k so I’d definitely like to increase that. Other than that, I’ll probably stick to a relatively similar plan.

NRC: What’s your overall nutrition strategy (e.g. how often will you eat, how much per hour)?

Lee: I’m working on that right now. I’d like to take in 350 or so calories an hour. I’ve been working with Skratch, Tailwind and the GU Roctane on the liquid side of things and I’m leaning toward GU Roctane because it’s 250 calories in one packet and has been good to my GI. I’ll work in some Huma gels and Spring gels since they’re easy to take down and haven’t wreaked havoc on my GI yet. At some point, I’ll want something totally different so I’ll probably bring some beef jerky and have some chips and whatever saltiness I can get from the aid stations.

Beth: Right now, it’s basically non-existent. I’m so bad at nutrition which is something I really need to dial in during these next couple of months. Typically, the goal is to take in about 200 calories or so every hour. For the race, I think I’ll stick with GU Roctane and/or gels early in the race, and then just eat off the aid stations and according to feel later in the race.

NRC: How does nutrition differ from training to the actual race day?

Lee: Well, with this damn inferno we have to run in during the Summer, I’m hopeful I won’t have to take in as much liquid. By the time race day comes around, it better not differ too much. As I mentioned, at some point in long races I like to get some aid station love and eat something different.

Beth: It’s pretty similar, at least in the early portions of the race. Mostly, liquid calories and/or gels, gummies, etc. Later in the race though, I’m all about the aid station goodness that would be hard to replicate on training runs. Quesadillas, potatoes, soup, brownies, and more.

NRC: Favorite food, or drink, on the trail?

Lee: Do Alabamians drink beer? If so…game on! In all seriousness, when Beth and I were marking our Dark Sky 50 race earlier this year, she saved me by having some chips and grapes. Tasty and easy to get down. I love beef jerky, and since it’s a bit more substantial, I’ll bring some of that. Almost anything with sugar or salt! I’m not that picky nor do I follow any dietary plans so that opens things up as far as what I want/can eat.

Beth: I’m the least healthy eater ever, on the trails and off. But on the trails, nothing beats a Coke. It’s my absolute favorite and a must-have for me. I also love gummy bears, Little Debbie cakes, clementines, and some Hawaiian King rolls with cheese. Weird, I know. I’ve tried eating T Bell on a run, and it was disappointingly bad. So, I save that for post-run.

NRC: If you could have anything at an aid station, what would it be and why?

Lee: I always think beer or whiskey would be fun, but every time I’m in a race, I couldn't care less about that SO I’m going with beef jerky once again (going to be impossible to send in a cheeseburger from Burgerville back home). This is assuming Salma Hayek or Halle Berry are not available, correct?

Beth: Definitely Coke. Grilled cheeses are also spectacular. It’s always interesting to see what tickles your fancy later on in the race. You may see something that you’ve never wanted in your life, but at mile 80, you need it like you need air. I do remember, from last time, the most glorious brownies in all of the land at about mile 90 or 95.

NRC: How do you carry water with you and make sure you’re hydrated?

Lee: I currently wear the Salomon 5 Set vest and will probably have a soft flask on each side. As brutal as it is to do long runs in this recent heat, I do have to admit it forces you to stay hydrated which, in turn, will be a benefit on race day. I’ll need to remember to keep drinking, though, even in the cooler weather. Getting behind the 8-ball won’t be good.

Beth: I wear the Salomon vest, and two flasks are usually enough for me -- at least for race day. Longer summer runs, I’ll throw in a couple of more flasks, some with Coke and some with water.

NRC: Most importantly, what kind of beer do you want when you cross the finish line (hopefully your crew notes this)?

Lee: Tough call. I have to lean toward nostalgia and go with my favorite brew from back home...a Deschutes Mirror Pond. At that point, though, a Bud Light will do.

Beth: The most important questions! I think Founders All-Day IPA would be phenomenal. Or maybe a pumpkin beer. #Basic

Thanks, lady and gent! Good luck on this next round of training! 

Pinhoti 100 Training: Beth's Weekend of Highs and Lows

While Lee was gallivanting in the Smokies, Beth had her own, somewhat eventful, training weekend. Here's what she had to say about it.

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A Weekend of Highs and Lows

Last week, the realness of Pinhoti began to set in, and I decided that I might, perhaps, need to start doing some runs in the 20 mile(+) range. Aside from scouting and marking Dark Sky 50 back in the Spring, it had been well over a year since these old legs had seen 20 miles on them. Knowing that the RunWILD group was headed to the Walls of Jericho on Saturday, I decided to do my long run Friday afternoon. I gave myself the audacious goal of 4 progressive red loops (with a couple of extra miles to even it up to 20). I’ve bonked each and every long run I've done since training started. Figuring this was the perfect opportunity to work on nutrition and hydration, I loaded up on an assortment of gels and Gu Roctane drink mix, along with my brand spanking new Salomon pack from Nashville Running Company. Nothing like new gear to get you motivated and out on the trail!

My strategy was to fill one flask with the Roctane mix and one with water, sipping on the Roctane every 10 minutes and eating a gel every 40. I took it really easy on the first loop and was surprised when I had completed it, plus extra on the road, in under an hour. The next loop, I picked up the pace only slightly and finished in 55 minutes. For my third loop, I wanted to go around 50 minutes without blowing my legs out for the fourth. The next 4.5 miles were some of the greatest of my life. I felt so good, especially on the flats, and was pretty (and happily) surprised when I checked out my pace. I tried slowing myself down but said screw it, run how you feel. It felt amazing to “unleash” the legs a little bit. It was a feeling I haven’t had in a long while. That feeling you wish you could bottle and bust out when runs are the freaking pits. I kept thinking “I can’t wait to see my Strava for this!”* I came in on the third right around 47 minutes. I thought the fourth one might really suck the big one after that, but I felt just as good as I had on the one before. Maybe Lee had been right when he told me I just needed to eat on all of those runs where I bonked. I finished out the 4 loops and 20 miles in under 3:30. I felt damn good. For once in my life, I followed something to a T . . . and by golly, it worked! Perfection.

*My data file was corrupted between the Suunto app and Strava, and this glorious run of mine will never be able to be shared with the world. Womp, womp.

The run that never was

The run that never was

On Saturday, the RunWILD crew traveled down to the State of Champions and ran the Walls of Jericho in Alabama. Right off the bat, we started a three-mile descent which would take us to the shining star of the Walls of Jericho, the waterfall. Three miles of toe-catching rocks and gnarly roots on some pretty steep downhills and switchbacks quickly woke us up. We all anxiously ran towards the freaking stud of a waterfall . . . except the waterfall was nowhere to be found. The majesty that had rained down on us only a couple of months earlier was now bone dry. Luckily, there were still some pools of water around so Phil could get his swim on. After frolicking in the water and rocks, we headed a mile or so back to the 3rd Saturday in October split in the trail. One way leads to glory (Alabama); the other leads to defeat (Tennessee). Some of us took the steep but less technical climb towards the Tennessee trailhead of the park. There was a lot more hiking than running on those four miles, and by the time we made it up to the trail head, I was spent. I took the wuss way out and headed back on the road towards the Bama state line. At 10ish miles for the day, eating gummy bears in the sun was a more enjoyable decision. . . though I’ll probably regret that come November 4.

Here's the video from winter semester of RunWILD:

My legs were pretty dead on Sunday so I decided to stick to the roads. I lazed around all morning long, and it was lunch time by the time I got out the door. I have a normal 10 mile loop that I do, but this time I decided to reverse it. After the first mile, I was surprised at how good I felt. Just as I was thinking about how many miles this would give me for the week, I stepped off a curb wrong, my right ankle turned, and I fell Superman-style in front of Rosepepper and its lunch crowd. I jumped up, brushed the asphalt from my torso, and gathered my pride from the street. I tried to flee the scene as quickly as possible, but my ankle was angry and wanted me to simmer in my humiliation a little while longer. I hobbled the rest of the way home, my ego, spirit, and ankle all in pain. Worst part – I didn’t get a free margarita or a shoutout on Rosepepper’s sign.

Me in front of Rosepepper

Me in front of Rosepepper

It was definitely a weekend of highs and lows, the best run I’ve had in a long time, Strava stabbing me in the back, a great run with RunWILD, an invisible waterfall, and a (briefly) sidelining injury. Highs and lows – the epitome of ultrarunning. And the great part of ultrarunning is it's a microcosm of life. Highs and low, good and bad, darkness and light, beauty and pain. All we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

 

Pinhoti 100 Training: Lee's Smokies Trek

Last weekend, Lee took off to the Smokies with fellow race team member Ryne Anderson for some solid Pinhoti training. Here's his tale of adventure.

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Seems a bit odd, but it's not often that I take a running excursion outside of Nashville. Luckily, my friend and trail guru Ryne Anderson was nice enough to ask me again (wasn't able to go the initial go-around) to hit the Smokies for some running this past weekend. 

When I say odd...it's more along the lines of 'hey, I already have been lucky (and somewhat selfish) enough to start a small business revolving around what I love to do and have knowledge of, feel guilty if I'm not either at home with the family or at work on a weekend, and/or feel bad if I'm out running for 3-4 hours for some race that further takes time away from what's actually more important in life.' 

But, my mind, like many others, wouldn't click if I didn't at least take a bit of time to run where I have time to dream about how much I love social media, think about how there aren't any problems in the world, and dream up plays I can relay to Uncle Phil where he can then relay them to the coaches of our Ducks' upcoming championship season! 

I digress...

I've been to the Smokies before (one to get boiled peanuts and one to help assist Jeff Davis and Jim Fleming to conquer some crazy overnight run they had planned) but never to actually get in some running miles so I was stoked about what was to come. 

Ryne and I left Nashville early Saturday morning and got to the Cosby Campground a bit after 10am EST. I feel, as an Oregonian, being one with nature comes hand in hand, but it's been almost 15 years since I've lived there so I felt like a toddler setting up camp (the hunting/camping I did with my Dad, running in the woods, or jetting around the forests on 4-wheelers has long been forgotten). We threw on our running gear (Salomon 5 Set for a vest and Salomon Sense Ride for shoes), filled up our packs, and headed toward the trail head. 

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Just looking around during the hike out of camp, I knew it was going to be fun. It's gorgeous over there! Thankfully, Ryne knew the area like the back of his hand. I try not to think much, in general, so it was nice to simply run and not worry too much about directions or which trail to turn. Every trail we were on was marked very well which was extremely nice. We hike/jogged uphill for five miles on our way to Mount Guyot. I knew it'd be a long day so hiking for the majority of five miles was good for two reasons...slowly get the legs moving after the car ride and great training for what I'll be doing a ton of at Pinhoti. I'm not a big fan of hiking; it's boring to me. I want to get moving, get to where I need to go, and focus on what I need to do next. That will be a struggle for me as I train and hopefully finish this 100 because, if I don't change my mindset, I'll be in big trouble. 

One of my primary focuses for the day was going to be nutrition, and I think I did a pretty good job of managing that. I used a variety of the Spring gels and some beef jerky as well as GU Roctane mix for my drink. I was pleasantly surprised at actually liking Spring's new flavor titled Mcraecovery (chocolatey/cherry flavor) because usually, I like the fruitier gels. This bad boy has 150 calories, though, and I could definitely feel it kick in. Although I'm a fan of Sally McRae and her love of one of our local brands...the name Mcraecovery is a bit "eh". Maybe "Sallery" or "Mcraecrae"...something. Or..."Mcraecraving"....boom!! Spring...call me...I'm for hire! 

Although the nutrition went well, it sure didn't mean I was without low points along our 30-mile trek. The lowest I felt was heading up to Mount Sterling. Just tired and ready to be done even though we had 10 more miles to go. Once we got to Sterling, though, all was good. We climbed up the fire tower and rested and took in the views...clear day and beautiful! Plus, we knew we had 5+ miles of downhill coming up so we could get some energy back. After that downhill, my legs were about shot. We climbed a bit more then back down for 2.5-3 miles to camp, and I'm glad Ryne wasn't in the mood to go sub 6's or something crazy because I probably would've lost some teeth. My legs and feet were toast. I know better than to use a brand new shoe for a weekend like this, but I did it anyway...the Sense Rides held up well. Although I'm used to more flexible and lighter trail shoes, I know I'll need more shoe for the 100, thus the Sense Ride. This shoe is fairly new to the market, and compared to Salomons I've worn in the past, it has a wider toe and not quite as rigid...which I enjoyed. My feet held up well, and I know I could get through a 100 in them so they're in contention! 

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Ryne had us dialed in and was gracious enough to take it easy on me...I didn't even have to yell out I needed a hike break because every time I wanted to pass out, he somehow stopped and started hiking. The man is a mind reader! He's fresh off finishing the Bighorn 100 so had some great insight for me and asked what I was most worried about going into Pinhoti. Number one is nutrition, and second is "running" again after stopping and/or hiking. I found it harder than usual to run after we stopped to hike. That'll be tough to do once I make it, hopefully, to the higher miles in the race. The body will want to walk or stop and the mind has to be strong enough to keep the body moving. We'll see! 

Once back to camp we licked our wounds before heading over to what we'd been waiting for all afternoon....the frigid creek!! That creek was the saving grace! It's like, what I assume would be, drinking a Deschutes Mirror Pond (Oregon brew) and Smith and Lentz Mosaic...together...at the same time...just pure magic! It was cold, refreshing, and readied the legs for another run the next morning! Plus, it supplanted a shower! I'm actually going to Kentucky next month and am going to purchase some Mirror Pond (somehow it's sold in KY and not TN) so I can do my taste test! 

Ryne fried up some bad boy quesadillas for dinner while we chatted about the day and set our alarms for an early morning run up Mount Cammerer to catch a glimpse of the sunrise! One of the best things I noticed that night...no damn mosquitoes...unreal how thankful one can be not to have those pests flying around. Guess it could be worse...could be an Alaskan caribou getting swarmed by mosquitoes every second of your life! 

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It was about five miles uphill on Sunday morn to get up Cammerer...another great long hike with a bit of running tossed in. Once at the top, we were able to catch the sun at it was coming up over the mountains. Chilled out at the rock lookout tower at Cammerer before making the 10 mile downhill back down to camp. That downhill had some awesome trails on it and was mainly a smooth ride down...other than the black bear we saw hightailing it down the trail in front of us. Ryne was a couple of seconds in front of me, and I hear him yell "hey bear". I think he's joking...then "hey bear" comes again...joke's on me as I speed up a second and see the tail end of that bear scooting around a corner of the trail before it headed up the mountain. We probably smelled so rank it decided not to get too close. That's another thing I noticed out there...lots of warning signs that bears are around. One might assume that Winter might be safer to head over there! 

Got back to camp and hit the creek again to soak the legs and rinse off! The nostalgia of soaking the legs...reminded me of a cold ice bath back in the day, which was both haunting and funny. Then we hit the road back to Nashville! Home, safe and sound by 2pm. 

Overall, it was a phenomenal and memorable weekend! Getting into the wilderness, especially when running, is a thing I love doing and don't do enough of it anymore. When it's with such a great dude like Ryne, it makes everything that much more awesome. It's nice running with someone where the conversation isn't forced, and the trails are second nature to him so it made for some non-stressed running. The 45 miles we ran in the Smokies were a big part of the 86+ miles for my week. That's the most miles I've ever run in one week, and I felt it for a couple of days afterward. Hopefully, these miles will translate into a successful finish at Pinhoti. If not, made for a damn good weekend to remember!

Stay tuned for Beth's recount of her training weekend tomorrow!

Pinhoti 100 Training: Lee vs. Beth

Pinhoti 100 Training:  Lee vs. Beth

Two NRC Race Team members, Lee Wilson and Beth Meadows, are tackling the Pinhoti 100 down in Alabama this November. As occasional training partners with differing takes on running and training (Lee, relying more raw talent and dancing how he feels; Beth, a little more anal and obsessed with what the elites are doing), we thought it'd be fun to get their individual takes on preparation, the race, and more  throughout the next couple of months.

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Farewell, Steven McNeal!

Farewell, Steven McNeal!

So, by now, you probably know that NRC Crew Member and RunWILD Coach extraordinaire, Steven McNeal, is leaving Nashville and heading on the Oregon trail soon. Since we don’t have the mad videography skills that Steven does, we wanted to do a short write-up on just how awesome he is. A few of Steven’s friends and running partners have taken the time to share just what makes Steven so special!

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