Not Yo Momma — 2016 Edition

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Another year — and another Not Yo Momma’s 100 race.  This one tho —- was a little bit different.  I was getting comfortable with the idea that, well, this race just isn’t my race.  That perhaps at this time in my life – I don’t really have the time to train or the drive to complete NYM100.  I was honestly not going to sign up this year until Rob messaged me and urged me to.  Rob and Angie are awesome, so really; how could I say no!  This time tho, I thought I’ll sign up for the 100k, and depending on how I felt – finish the 100k and continue on and complete the 100m distance, regardless of whether or not it actually counted.

Training for this one actually went pretty damn well.  I trained quite a bit with my friends and Cato and also a lot with Christa who was also training for her own races (She’s much more badass than I am so she trains much harder!  lol).  We logged tons of miles, but also had fun while doing it!

I felt pretty well prepared for this attempt.  Christa knew what my goals were for this and she isn’t one to give up easily so I had a feeling she wasn’t going to let me quit.  This feeling was solidified by her writing her phone number on my bib with instructions to call her if I attempted to drop!

Like all my NYM attempts this one started out pretty well.  And like all my other NYM attempts it turned sour around the 50k mark.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “50k is a respectable distance!” So when I came back to the S/F attempt #1 to drop was made.  Neither Christa nor Rob nor Angie was having it tho.

Christa suited up and we were off again.  S/F (aid station #1) to the A/S #2 isn’t too bad.  From A/S#2 to A/S#3 though?  Pure hell for me – every single time.  It is a long lonely stretch of about 8 miles.  This section has broken me every time.  This time was no different.  We finally made it there, I sat on the bench shaking and feeling broken.  We sat there for quite a bit but Christa got me moving again tho and we were off.  That wasn’t before one of the aid station workers mentioned something about bears being out there — needless to say I didn’t find it as funny as he did!  I don’t think we did much running at this point.  Christa kept trying to get me moving faster, I kept telling her we had 32hrs to finish this race!  We got back to S/F and I swore I was done.  I took my pack off and told everyone that was it.  Christa gave them different instructions tho.  Changed my shirt, changed my shorts, fed me some food and somehow managed to get me back out!  I was chafing like crazy and at one point even took my shorts off and ran that way for a bit to see if it helped.  My stomach was also rocked.  I could barely stand up straight many times.  Christa affectionately refereed to it as my “demon baby” which at one point she was standing next to me and actually heard it rumbling in my stomach!  Unbelievably we were completing my last loop.  This was uncharted territory for me on this course and we were “crushing” it (in my opinion anyways, lol).  We came upon the last aid station before S/F and there were two giant FEET!  Well — Anne and Lauren dressed up in feet costumes cranking out music!  I think they were excited about me finishing this one as well – they’ve watched this race break me several times already!  It was right about this time when they started playing “Baby Got Back” and we had a dance party!  Onward we went!!!  We finally made it across the finish line in 24hrs13min11sec!

Thanks to Rob and Angie and all the volunteers again for putting on such an amazing event!  Thanks to my family and friends for putting up with me and thanks to my amazing girlfriend Christa – without whom I would never have completed NYM.  I know I am missing a ton of people and I apologize!

Unfortunately this is the last year that Rob/Angie will be putting on NYM100.  However they are hosting a new race — one that I juuuuuust may have to register for!

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O24 – 2017 Edition — Already???

Holy.  Hell.

How could it already be time for 024 again in 2017!!!???  I’ve been sitting at my computer for the past couple nights trying to figure out how the heck I am going to bring my blog current.  Finally I decided to heck with it.  I’ll start with what is fresh in my mind then slowly work on race reports and happenings as I go along.  So — that said, if you are a family member or close friend — PLEASE do not take offense in the order of my posts.  They are not in order of importance (and I have to tell you — there has been some REALLY important things going on in my life lately) I’m just going with what is fresh then filling in the blanks as I go along…  Sorry if this is a little long and wordy…. I’m a bit rusty at this —-

That being said… HOLY. HELL!!!  OUTRUN – O24 2017!!!!start

 

 

Training for O24 this year was going along pretty well — and then… BAM!  Christa took a spill on a trail run and busted open her knee.  I carried her out of the trail and to the road where we were lucky enough to flag down a park ranger.  The ranger drove her back to her car and pretty much gave her all the contents of her first aid kit.  We were only about a mile from our cars and I had Cato so Cato and I sprinted back to meet them.  End result was stitches and a bum knee – for months.  Then as she was recovering I caught some sort of stomach bug, lost 18lbs and was sick for nearly a month.  That kind of derailed our training, but we were going to make the best of it!

The morning of the race was upon us –  Christa had her goals and I had mine; A) 100 miles, B) 24hrs and if I didn’t make those —- at least a 100k.  Everything started out just fine — except for the weather, it rained maybe 90% of the time.  IMG_5600

The race started off pretty well.  I shared many of the beginning miles with Christa and our friend Mark.  Their plans were to run 100 miles — mine was well ever changing.  They were running a bit too fast for me so I decided to slow my pace to make sure I could at least continue on for the entire day – and that is when the shenanigans really ramped up….

I ran into the aid station without them, popped my head into the lodge and was immediately yelled at, “SEMICK!  Get the hell outta here!  Get moving!”  (Beth, I know it was out of love… lol)…. so back out on the trail I went.  So many people to talk with during the race and the next several people I came across all made mention of me pooping???  Finally I caught up with Christa again and our conversation went something like;

Me – “Hey!  Apparently everyone on the course thinks that I have been pooping and Facebooking or Facebooking WHILE pooping all the time during the race.”

Christa – (Near uncontrollable laughter) — well have you?”

Me “No! But thanks to you everyone thinks I have been”

One of these conversations took place while someone was running just behind us and he started laughing out loud as well.  To which I just had to reply to him, “Well?  What else are you supposed to do in there?  It’s not like there are shampoo bottles to read?!”  To which he replied, “ya know you’re right.  I may have been the only 10year old who knew how to pronounce Methylisothiazolinone!”  (That’s when I knew he got it too.)

On ward we pressed.  Another quick stop at the aid station every couple laps, getting yelled at to keep going, and sharing miles and smiles with some of my closest friends and family.  Twenty plus miles flew by, but then I started getting that stupid pain in my right hip, groin, inner-thigh, knee area again so I was stopping every few miles to stretch it out.  It got to the point where I resided to complete a 50k and call it a day.  Christa’s friends had shown up to cheer everyone on and run some miles with us.  One in particular, Lee – asked her where I was and of course the answer was “pooping I think.”  Well, Lee decided to come looking – I think she even may have checked the bathroom before I saw her looking in the lodge window at me while I was stretching – and knew I was in trouble.  She came in, we chatted, I told her what was going on, and she told me her ideas of helping – which of course originated from her wife who happens to be a great PT.  So, Tonya?  The advice that you gave to Lee and subsequently Lee gave to me – worked, thanks! 🙂

So Lee got me out, ran with me some and I ended up doing another 19miles for an even 50 miles.  I met back up with Christa and our friend Jay who had been pacing her for many miles said he was going to head on home.  This is when I officially called my event but kept my bib.  I knew I would be pacing Christa during night – cuz she was definitely going to hit her goal of 100miles!

Chirsta continued on and I ended up pacing her every other mile.  I think it was about mile 70 or so when I found out that she was the lead woman!  This had me pretty worried.  I tried to let her know what place she was in earlier and, uh… well… lets just say she didn’t want to know, lol.  I decided to message her friends and ask for advice – “Hey, Christa only wanted to do a 100miles and call it a day.. she’s currently the lead woman.  Should I tell her and then run for cover?”  I knew the answer would be yes.  I knew I had to let her know.  So I did and as expected it was met with some yelling, cursing, some incomprehensible muttering and arm flailing.  When it was over tho — she now had a new goal.  To win.  I continued to pace – jokes and insults continued to fly (mostly at my expense) and when the smoke cleared?  I finished 73 miles and Christa crushed 110miles in under 24hrs for a 1st woman and 3rd place overall finish!  She seriously amazes me in every way!

So many of my friends did amazing things – as usual!  My brother Denny, who’s furthest run before this was 22miles knocked out 50 miles!  Michele who’s been out being sick and with an injury managed to bust out a 100k!  Dave finished 100miles and also took the “crazy legs” award.  This is a rolling 5yr award for the most miles in 5 years — Dave completed 526miles!  My buddy Bob, who just started running and wanted to complete his first half marathon just a year ago busted out 77miles!  Mark who “needed” a new O24 buckle because his wasn’t as shiny anymore completed 100miles.  And Troy who set the record last year at 129miles, crushed it by completing 137miles!!  I know I’m leaving out a ton of friends and I apologize — there are just too many to list.  Click here for the entire finishers report and a link to all the race statistics.  They are pretty damn impressive!     Huge thanks to everyone that makes this event what it is – First Class.  Well done folks!!

Now… lets see if I can get some momentum going and get this thing up to date!

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Yes… I’m still here.. and guess what — Yo Momma Kicked my A$$ again….

**** warning —-  long read *****

Hey remember me? Talk about being a broken record…

I have been away from blogging for so long that I forgot my login ID, my password and almost how to start a new post.  I’ve been wanting to revive my blog for some time now, but life being what it is – I just really hadn’t had the time.  I know, sounds like the same old excuse – but seriously, any active, single parent with active kids would agree!  LOL

There has been TONS going on as usual – I want to blog about everything and I kind of feel bad about making this first blog post back about this race, but I would really like to finish it while details are fresh in my mind and I give a long over due thanks and recognition to those that gave up their time – and viewing of an OSU football game to come support me.

So as you could tell from the title; I.  Freaking.  Failed… Again.  I don’t know what exactly it is about Not Yo Mommas; the ruggedness of the course, the newness of the race, or the fact that it is the only one I’ve ever DNF’d, but I think what really keeps me coming back is the fact that it is the only one I’ve DNF’d.  To admit I can’t do something is a tough pill to swallow.

In my two previous attempts my DNF’s could honestly  be chaulked up to a lack of training.  This one?  I trained, well – unfortunately took the training much more seriously towards the end which I think lead to me dealing with plantar fasciitis.

I logged literally hundreds of miles with my dog Cato and my ABSOLUTELY AMAZING friends and family.

denny

NYMblog

Cato during his first 24mile run! 🙂

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Jeremy and Emily helping me train at home

Jeremy and Emily helping me train at home

For the first time EVER I did hill repeats — and enjoyed them??

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I am dang proud of the path I carved out in this hill with all the repeats I've done! :)

I am dang proud of the path I carved out in this hill with all the repeats I’ve done! 🙂

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And at the urging of, well… all of my friends – experimented with my nutrition to get off GU’s.

Thanks Pam!

Thanks Pam!

Tailwind

However – Tailwind and Lara bars ended up being the nutrition of choice

So, leading up to race day… for ONCE I thought I was prepared for this – before the PF set in, but I thought I could deal with it for this race, then take a break and give it a chance to fully heal up.

Finally – on to the race.

I’m not going to go into all the details of the course because I’ve done it several times before.  You can check them out along with the details of my other attempts here.

My first attempt

My second attempt

Last year’s 50k

My friends were there to fully support me for this attempt and I think for the first time also thought that I trained well enough for it.  My buddy Dave committed to pace me for the last 50k or the race, My girlfriend, Ginger (YEP! You read that right.  Much more about her/us later 😊) flew in from Illinois and along with Mike, Beth, and Michele were there to crew me.  This was such a humbling experience.  I never had a crew before.  After coming in from my first loop (NYM course is a 4mile loop followed by 6 loops of a 16mile section), I smiled, waved and ran right passed them and started to fill up my water bottle and get some food.  It honestly never occurred to me to stop so they can do it and while I sit and rest for the moment. Heck – Dave and Beth even took off my shoes, changed my nasty socks, and put my shoes back on me!

Me and my badass pacer Dave at O24

Dave and I at O24

My crew - Dave, Mike, Michele, Beth and Ginger

Dave, Mike, Michele, Beth and Ginger

Coming back to the end of my second full loop (approx 36 miles) I still felt amazing – shortly thereafter tho, the wheels fell off.  It started getting dark, my PF started hurting much more, and I subsequently started slowing down.  I took 3 Aleve in a 3 hour time span but it didn’t help.  I got to aid station 3 and pulled the plug – again.  Such a hard decision to have to make again and even though I still feel like I let them all down – my friends being who they are, were all very supportive in my decision. I cannot thank you all enough for being there for me.  The plus side of me dropping?  My friend Eddie who was running NYM for the first time this year needed a pacer and Dave was more than happy to fill the bill.  Eddie was now in great hands for his last 50k of the race and Dave helped him finish in grand fashion – winning NYM100M with a time of just over 28hrs. WAY TO GO EDDIE!!!

To everyone that helps to make NYM what it is – thank you all so much for doing such a great job.  Love this race – really I do.  Rob/Angie.  I may have said I wasn’t going to do this anymore, but I’ll be back.  I plan to run a couple 100’s in 2016 to regain my confidence in my ability to do so and then – tackle Yo Momma again!

Click here for my Runkeeper data of the 48.66 miles that I did complete.  Also, I display my trophy with pride.  How could you not love race directors who know you well enough that after you regain your composure come up to you and present you with this baby 🙂

My favorite race bling so far

My favorite race bling so far

As for some posts to come —–

  • Jeremy and Emily are growing like WEEDS; basketball, volleyball, highschool???
  • My oldest daughter, Leah, is getting married to her long time boyfriend Devon and they’ve made me a Grandpa!
  • Running adventures continue
  • Mountain bike adventures are taking beginning to get more real

and

  • Cooking is starting to get interesting again!

Meet my new running buddy!

When I was a kid, growing up we’ve always had a dog and up until 7 years ago? (I am so terrible with time) I’ve had a dog in my adult life as well.  The kids have been asking for another for quite some time now and I’ve been putting it off.  Well, I finally broke.  Maybe it was the fact that I felt guilty cuz I told them we MAYBE we could get one after I got back from our Grand Canyon run, maybe it was that I really wanted one.  Whatever the case may be — I love our new pooch and am so glad that I caved.

I had an idea of the kind of dog I wanted us to get, the kids did too.  Although their requirement was; it had to be cute.  My requirement was a little more particular.  I wanted a dog that I could run with and I don’t mean 5-10k’s. I wanted a dog that, after properly trained could run a 50k plus with me!  So we started checking all the local shelters and some not so local ones.  There were so many dogs that needed adopted and it was so hard not to just adopt the first few we found.

After a while of searching we thought we finally found one.  It was in a kennel just over an hour away.  He was a Blue Tick Coon Hound and would’ve fit perfectly with our family.  I visited him, told the shelter about our house, our cat and played with the dog for about 20-30min.  I thought it was a good fit, so I told the kids about him and a couple days later we drove back down to visit.  I again told the kennel about our house and cat and we played with the dog outside for about 45min.  I asked the kids if they wanted to take him home and they said, “YES!!”  So we went inside to fill out all the papers.  I filled them out and the kids played with the dog through the glass door he was behind.  It was then when one of the workers noticed our form and quickly came over to let us know we couldn’t take him home because he wasn’t good with cats!  I was kinda pissed and the kids a little heartbroken.  But as I keep saying — everything in my life seems to happen for a reason.

So our search continued.  One night I was on our local “Buy/Sell/Trade” Facebook pages and came across a post from a family that had to get rid of one of their dogs.  I checked out the pictures and their description.  Many people that are getting rid of dogs on those sites get harassed about doing so and a few quite deserving so because it seems they are trying to make a buck or are basically a “puppy mill”.  Not this family.  They adopted two puppies from the same litter and as the dogs got older they began to experience “litter-mate syndrome”.  I’ve never even heard of that before, but apparently male dogs from the same litter will become combative and fight.  Which is what they were doing.  It was obvious that this family loved these dogs.  They’ve already had them fixed, put them through obedience training, had an invisible fence, plus their kids loved them.  They didn’t want any money for the dog, they just wanted to find it a good home.

I showed the kids the pictures of the dogs and submitted our “resume”, telling them about our family, our home, and how we would love to come meet them.

Our first glimpse of the dogs

Our fist glimpse of Cato and Finn!

Finn

Finn

Cato

Cato

We scheduled a time to come meet Cato and Finn and at this time weren’t sure which one they were going to part with.  When we got there the kids and I were so hoping it was going to be Cato.  Not that Finn wasn’t cute or playful, but it was something about Cato.  Maybe it was his two different colored eyes but when they said it was Cato that they were willing to part with before we even said anything — I had a feeling he was going to be ours.

The kids played with the dogs for a little while, while I chatted with their current owners (Joe and Lisa).  Well… long story short (yeah right, huh?  Too late.)  We took Cato home.  Their kids were pretty sad to see him go, but I think since they knew he was going to a good home they were able to deal with it easier.  Not to mention that I’m now Facebook friends with Joe and Lisa and their kids are Instagram friends with Jeremy and Emily so they’ll be able to see what Cato is up to.  Plus we suggested meeting up from time to time with them at the dog park for visits.

Well… without further ado.  Let the barrage of photos begin — say hello to CATO!!!!!

Cato's first night at his new home

Cato’s first night at his new home

Cato is an amazing puppy.  Well behaved (except maybe barks a little too much), attentive, obedient (as much as a puppy could be) and is turning into quite the runner!  I’ve started him out slow.  First with just a few miles building him up to where he is now — 10miles.  He won’t be a year old till the end of March so I’m not going to let him go any further till after he’s one and gets a check up.  Properly trained, he should have no problem busting out a 50k with me!

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I’ll end this post with a quick little video of Cato testing out one of his new harnesses.  Such a well behaved dog – love him and yet again, proving what I always say — Everything happens for a reason.  More exciting news along those lines later, very exciting happenings!!

 

And the 2015 season is underway!!!

So in my typical fashion, it seems that I would start a post out with something along the lines of, “holy smokes!  I am behind!” or something like that — so, I’m going to skip that cuz you are already expecting it.  (See what I did there?)

After the Grand Canyon last year, 2015 wasn’t supposed to be a very big year.  I mean, yeah – Yo Momma’s is a given that I was going to do, cuz I have to kick that bitches ass!  But, it’s the kids’ turn to take a vacation.  Not quite sure where we are going to go, but we’ll have fun!

However, the way this year seems to be shaping up, it is going to be one of my highest mileage ones yet!  So far this year my schedule looks like this;

  • January — I already ran a Art Moore Fatass 50k.  Actually, my second fastest ever with a time of 5hrs47min!! (more on this one shortly)
  • February —Winter Run for Regis 50k
  • March —  Pilot Mountain Marathon — North Carolina, St. Patrick’s Day Fatass 25/50k
  • April —  Mohican Forget the PR 50k
  • May — O24, and Maybe 50’s for Yo Momma?  Plus I’m planning on going to cheer someone on in their first 70.3 tri
  • June — Aside from my Leah having A BABY!!!!  Looks like we are doing an Ultra Ragnar Relay in the Appalachians
  • July —
  • August — BikeMS
  • September — Woodstock 5k, Woodstock 50k, Woodstock 5k, Not Yo Mommas 100 Miler
  • October — Javelina 100 Miler — Arizona
  • November — Bills’ Badass 50k
  • December —

The months I have nothing to do should still be pretty big.  Planning on training for Not Yo Mommas hard this year.  Then December?  Maybe that could be a rest month 🙂

So.  I ran the Art Moore Fatass 50k again last weekend.  I’m not going to go into how this Fatass started, I did that in an earlier blog post since I’ve run this before — click here if you would like to know more)

The weather was a little warmer than it was last year but this year instead of cold and snow, it was chilly and rainy.  I ran the first 14 miles of it with my buddy Eddie, who by the way is a much stronger runner than I am — who I probably owe a bit of my finish time to him.  I don’t race at all, especially a fatass, but I have to admit it was kind of cool to finish this one in my second fastest time and in 5th place!

 

No matter how many times I run past this sign, it always cracks me up (and scares me a little)

No matter how many times I run past this sign, it always cracks me up (and scares me a little)

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10686882_880877421943593_1270064549169009541_nI was very happy with this run!  I’ve been having a difficult time on long runs lately and I know my problem stems from not taking in enough calories.  I’ve experimented with Perpetuem this time and while during a 50k I would normally take in about 700-900 calories (6 GUs + food at an aid station), this time I took in nearly 2000calories!  I felt great — my legs were a bit tired from being under trained, but that is something I know how to fix!  Click here for my data from this run.

I really am going to try and keep my blog updated better.  I was supposed to be entering our runner profiles for Team OUTRUN but the website is being revamped.  I’ll post a link to it soon.  Also have so much more to blog about already this year!

Stay tuned, there are some REALLY exciting things happening!

Perry Newburn – Badass record holder for running across the US and all around hell of a guy!

For those in the running community, you may have heard of Perry Newburn.  He gained notoriety this year as the newest honorary member of OUTRUN.

Perry Newburn - Honorary OUTRUN member

Perry Newburn – Honorary OUTRUN member

Oh yeah, he also achieved another “little” feat — HE SET A NEW WORLD RECORD FOR RUNNING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES!!!

Perry’s interview #1 – When he came up with the idea

I don’t remember when it was exactly that I heard about Perry and his plans on breaking the world record for running across the United States.   But I did read that he was making an attempt to complete this task in 46 days to help raise money for a couple children’s charities (Sunshine Heros and Koru Care New Zealand).   I also read that during his adventure he was turning 60!  How many chances do you get to meet someone with so much drive and motivation.  Someone who is doing this not just for himself, but to motivate others all the while raising money for a couple children’s’ charities?  Exactly.  I knew I wanted to meet him, and play a small part in helping him complete his task.

I had a lot going on this month;  Woodstock and Not Yo Mommas already eliminated two weekends out of the month in which I would be able to meet up with him, so as my window of opportunity was closing the morning of September 13th had to be it.  I messaged Angie, Perry’s crew and told her that I would like to join Perry in the morning.  She gave me their planned route for the day and where I should meet them in the morning.

My friends and I had planned a night training run on September 12th.  We met at the park at 9:00pm and planned to run at least 2-3hrs.  It had been a long time since I ran through the night and it was a nice change-up from my usual runs.  We finished up almost 14 trail miles in 2.5hrs.  So at 11:30pm I headed home to get cleaned up, change and start my 4hr trek down to Springfield Ohio.

I left my house as soon as I was done getting cleaned up.  The drive was a bit long but pretty easy.  I pulled into the gas station that Angie told me to meet them at and managed to sleep for nearly 30min, whoohoo!!! LOL!  Perry ended up sleeping in a little bit as well, I cannot imagine why he was tired…

Here’s his morning video from our start. Morning of our run

After a brief introduction, watching Perry record his video and telling them that although I would LOVE to hang with him for a ton of miles, I really only had time for four, we were off!  Four miles out, then I would have to run four miles back, then make the four-hour drive back home to make it to my cousin’s wedding in time.   One would think that if I was going to make a 4hr drive to go run with someone that I would read up on them a little bit… but one would not no me so well and be wrong!  Everything I know about Perry I learned on our brief run from Springfield Ohio heading West on Rt. 40.  He is really a remarkable man and to try to summarize his trials and accomplishments in my little blog post would not do him justice.   This was his very first time in the States and after hearing his story, directly from him, I admire him even more.  I urge you to check him out.

Our four miles BLEW by quickly, stopping a couple of times to take in his surroundings and to discuss his route with Angie.  We hit four miles and Angie suggested that if I wanted to, I could run another four with him until he hits a long straight section of the road, and she would drive me back to my car.  Now how could I say no to that!
Checking out some Springfield Ohio history

Checking out some Springfield Ohio history

 We came to the end of our eight miles and Amber from Springfield was there to meet up with us.
Amber and Perry.  Thanks for the ride back to my car Amber!

Amber and Perry. Thanks for the ride back to my car Amber!

Unfortunately she wasn’t able to run with Perry, but she brought him a care package.  We took a couple of pictures and rather than Angie leaving Perry on his own, Amber, even though she never met me nor even talked to me before, gave me a ride back to my car.  Runners are really some of the best kinds of people 🙂
Perry continued on his way; day in day out running between 40-60+ miles per day.  Here’s a couple of pics from his Facebook page.  For more click here to check him out and for additional links to donate to his cause.
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And I would be remiss to not also congratulate Angie and her Sister-in-Law Becki for crewing for Perry.  It was with their help and support that enabled Perry to achieve such a huge goal!
Job well done ladies!!

Job well done ladies!!

 And while he missed the overall world record of 46days 8hrs and 36min set by 28 year old Frank Giannino in 1980, he did break the Masters Record of 52days 11hrs and 58min set by Marshal Ulrich in 2008 and finished his run in 51days 16hrs and 40min.  Way to go Perry!  You are a serious badass, whom I am grateful to have met.
#goperrygo

#goperrygo

OUTRUNning the Grand Canyon

This, by far, has been my biggest running adventure yet!  I don’t really recall who thought of the idea for us to head out to the Grand Canyon.  All I remember is us talking about it for months on end and at first when it was in discussion, I think we were all probably several beers and a couple of shots into a good night.  I guess the saying still holds true – Some of the best ideas are conjured up whilst partaking in debauchery… or something like that.  We talked and talked about it, then when airfare was at its cheapest and the trigger was pulled, it got real.  Airline tickets were bought, hotels were being planned, I was figuring out who was taking care of my kids while I was gone, and then gear was being assembled/purchased.

I think the last real vacation I took was in 2011 when we went down to Florida to be in a friend of mine’s wedding.  Sure I took long weekend running trips but not a real vacation so the planning and the anticipation leading up to this trip was off the charts!  There ended up being so much that I purchased for this trip.  Some I never used, and probably never will.  Some I probably could have done without, but who doesn’t need a new SJ Ultimate Direction vest and trekking poles, right?  In addition to those I bought a water filter, emergency blanket, new mount for my GoPro, and new shoes (Saucony Exodus of course).  Then more of my usual consumables – enough GU, E-caps (only cuz I couldn’t find S-caps), NUUN, trail mix, and uncrustables to last for the planned 18-19hr journey.

Gear for just a day?  But STILL wasn't enough...

Gear for just a day?  hard to believe all this fit in my SJ vest!  But STILL wasn’t enough…

As far as training went, I didn’t really train too much differently for this run than I do many others, (which really isn’t a good thing) although I did do some hill repeats vs. no hill repeats.  I increased my mileage a little but that was about it.  I know it sounds like excuses – and probably is, but training time is still hard to come by.  The kids are still not huge fans of being home alone while I run, whether it’s at night or the early morning while they sleep and I still feel terribly guilty if I sneak in a run while they are home.  Although Emily did help me get more miles by joining me on her bike. I made one last training run with a full pack and Mike S. at North Chagrin and then the time to go was upon us.

Emily helping me get some miles in

Emily helping me get some miles in

Ten of us ended up going on this adventure; Mike and his wife Beth, Des and her husband Glenn, Laurie and her husband Paul, Dave and his wife Sandra, Michele and myself.  Michele’s husband isn’t a runner and I think is convinced we are all nuts.  Sandra used to run, but I know she’s convinced we are all nuts!

So the time had come.  All the planning has finally come to a head.  I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon before and WOW!  It was amazing!

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After a little bit of sight-seeing we had a nice dinner together then it was off to bed.  We had to catch a cab at 4:30am from our hotel to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

We arrived at the trail head on time, hoping to beat the mule train so we didn’t get stuck behind it, but we didn’t.  Luckily the mule train headed down the trail a half hour before we got there so even though we didn’t beat it – we didn’t have to worry about getting stuck.

South Kaibab Trailhead

South Kaibab Trailhead

My favorite sign as I'm sure it is anyone's who ran across the canyon in a day

My favorite sign as I’m sure it is anyone’s who ran across the canyon in a day

Our run started out amazing.  Unfortunately it was so dark that most of my pictures all looked the same.  The only thing that I didn’t care much for was the dust.  The dirt on the trail was so fine that while running behind someone you literally ran in a cloud of dust.  So much so that we had to place our bandanas over our faces to keep from breathing it the entire time.  Two days later, I was STILL coughing this stuff up!

Heading down the trail

Heading down the trail

... And down....

… And down….

Capturing some of the dust particles in the air.  This was even after we stopped for a few moments and it had a chance to settle.

Capturing some of the dust particles in the air. This was even after we stopped for a few moments and it had a chance to settle.

After reaching the bottom, and crossing the Colorado river, we made it to Phantom Ranch within a few hours.  After filling up our water bottles, and getting something to eat, we said our goodbyes to Beth, Glenn, Paul, and Laurie.  They were making the turn at the ranch and headed back up to the South Rim via the Bright Angel Trail.  Mike, Dave, Des, Michele and myself headed up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim.

Eating at Phantom Ranch

Eating at Phantom Ranch

Mike, Dave, Des and myself - heading out onto North Kaibab

Mike, Dave, Des and myself – heading out onto North Kaibab

This is where my run took an unexpected turn.  Problems late into my runs seems to be the norm lately and I think this was finally the eye opener I needed to make an adjustment.  Apparently my nutrition plan that I’ve been clinging to since I ran my 100 miler was no longer working.  I started getting dizzy and had to eat a GU and take several E-caps.  I would feel decent and this held me over for about a half hour at best after which I would get dizzy again.  It was VERY unnerving to get dizzy heading up the North Kaibab Trail.  One side of me was the canyon wall, the other was sheer drop into the canyon (you’ll see what I mean in Dave’s video below).  Several times the others would say, “My God.  Look at that!”  A couple of times I turned to look but that wasn’t a good idea.  A helicopter even buzzed the us in the canyon and landed to bring supplies so they could fix the water line break, but I had to keep blinders on.  After about the third time this happened, I realized that I was blowing through all of my supplies and at this rate, I would never make it back.  I made a quick check of my watch and was quite relieved to realize that I was going to make it to the North Rim in time to hop a shuttle bus back to the South Rim.  We made it to the North Rim in about 8hrs.  I climbed out of the canyon just as the shuttle bus was pulling up.  Luckily my friends had my back and gave me the shuttle fee.  I ran up to the van and my conversation with the drive went like this;

Me:  “You’re going back to the South Rim?”

Drive: “yep”

Me: “Can I get a lift”

Driver: “Do you have a reservation?”

Me: “No, but I will pay you ANY AMOUNT of money to give me a ride!”  It was the best $90.00 ($85+tip) that I spent in my life!.

I actually felt quite defeated not being able to make it back with my friends as planned.  But I had an hour to wait for the next shuttle to the South Rim and then a four and a half hour ride back, to think about it and deal with it.  I came up with my reasoning for not running back.  I decided that rather than say I didn’t make it – I would just say, “Eh, I ran all the way across the Grand Canyon in 8hrs.  From the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, down South Kaibab trail, across the Colorado River, and up North Kaibab Trail on the other side, and you know what?  It was nice and all, but it didn’t really impress me so I didn’t feel the need to turn around and see it again.” 🙂

Mike, Michele, Dave, and Des made the turn and headed back down the North Kaibab Trail, back to Phantom Ranch and then up Bright Angel.  It took them a bit over 16hours round trip.  Amazing.

I had my GoPro, Dave had his, and Glenn had his.  Most of my videos were taken at the start and looked very similar.  With the dull lighting conditions and all the dust that accumulated on my camera that I didn’t realize was there, a lot of the footage came out grainy.  Dave got some great shots on his.  Love the ones on the North Kaibab Trail.  You could really see how close to the edge you were running the entire time — you’ll see why being dizzy there wasn’t good.

Here’s mine.  The song I chose was from a guy in the lodge at the top of the South Rim when we were done.  He played this and I thought it fit our trip perfectly.

Here’s Dave’s.  Love the shots he got on the North Rim.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Glenn’s footage yet.  I think we are still planning to get together and put all of ours together.

UPDATE!!!!!  Here is the video Des made from the video and images Glenn captured on his camera.  Nice job Des!

We are already planning our next big adventure in 2016.  What’s one of yours?

 Hope this all makes sense and I don’t have too many grammatical errors or anything.  It’s late and I’m going to bed! 🙂