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!

10802021_863742833657052_2034941862001881689_n

10367156_850637478300921_1204341500482011388_n

1520628_863754093655926_2541747910126814978_n

10898333_881326195232049_1479427541984753035_n

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!!

 

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!

10625071_834552879909381_6176275274549934767_n

P1000330

10405377_834552789909390_3442513325569803702_n

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! 🙂

Not Yo Momma — finally kicked a little bit of her A$$!

Elevation Chart of the 50k

Elevation Chart of the 50k

Again, I know I’m jumping around but since this run is so fresh in my mind, I figured I could knock this race report out pretty quickly.

This.  Was Not Yo Mommas 2014 – and while I didn’t run the 100 this year because of another run I’ve got planned next week, I did manage to kick a little bit of her ass and complete the 50k!  If you look at the elevation chart the inclines go like this; the first major one is Sugarloaf Mountain, then a small up and down before climbing Mount Ives, down Mount Ives to Sand Hill that plataues off before going down hill again.  Then up dreaded Bald Hill.  While people bitch and moan about Sugarloaf?  I F’N hate Bald Hill!  It may not be as steep, but I’m 99% positive it is taller and I KNOW it is a longer incline.

This is my nemesis course.  I’ve DNF’d her twice; the first around mile 4x in my 100mile attempt the inaugural year of the race (here’s my race report from then) and then the next year around mile 5x (here is year two’s data).  I signed up for the 100 miler this year as soon as I was able to and was planning on knocking this one out of the park!  Yeah — the actions behind that thought didn’t happen as planned though, PLUS my friends and I ended up scheduling another HUGE run 10 days later (more on that in another post tho).

Also this year, rather than getting a hotel we decided to sleep in my car —- or as my friends like to call it my minivan, even tho it is technically a “cross over vehicle”, LOL.  It was honestly much more enjoyable to camp out in the park.  My seats all fold flat so sleeping was not an issue, having a campsite and cooking out/throwing back several beers the night before the race wins anytime over dinner out, and heading to a hotel in which you have to wake up extra early to pack and check out before the race begins.

Our campsite

Our campsite

Ahhhh dinner :)

Ahhhh dinner 🙂

After a nice dinner of chicken sausages, potatoe salad, and several Sam Adams Octoberfests – race morning was upon us.  I actually felt really good going into this race and got to meet some great folks standing at the starting line. The bugle sounded and we were off!  It was really nice knowing exactly what to expect with this course.  I mean, afterall – I’ve seen it two years in a row.  I kept thinking slow and steady, slow and steady.  I was feeling great the entire first loop.  And then I encountered my first problem. ….

When I run ultras I typically consume a GU and one or two S-Caps (depending on how much I’m sweating) an hour.  Problem?  I forgot to go get GUs and only had 3 on me for the entire race.  Sure the course had Hammer Gels, but I was afraid to take them for fear of upsetting my stomach and causing more problems.  so I ate potato chips, coke, and trail mix at every aid station, but I think the mental aspect of not “doing what I normally do” played with me some.  Coming around the backside of the loop, I finally ran into my friend Dawn.  I was so excited to see her!  She signed up for the 100k at this race and while this may sound evil, it was so nice having another friend out there on the course grinding out the miles and climbing these mountains!  I finished the first 16mile loop in just around 3hrs 30min.  Surprisingly enough, I didn’t take too many photos during the run this time.  But here’s a couple I managed to snap off.

IMG_3948 IMG_3954

Sugarloaf is only this big.. how hard could it be?

Sugarloaf is only this big.. how hard could it be?

IMG_3952

On to loop two.  Up Sugarloaf Mountain and down the other side.  I felt really well on the switch backs on the back side and then problem number two occurred.  It was heating up and for the first time EVER I got a calf cramp.  To make it worse, my calf cramped up as I was gingerly trying to navigate my way down a steep, rocky downhill.  It must’ve cramped up just as I was stepping on my left or just after but BAM!  down I went.  I slid down the hill (aka mountain) for only about 10-15ft but ended up laying there for several minutes writhing in pain trying to rub out the cramp.  Finally it released and I got back up again.  The next couple miles went by pretty slowly while I was still recovering.  I think my problem now became more of a mental game.  Thoughts kept running through my head, “was the lack of GUs and S-caps the reason for the calf cramp?  Am I taking in enough at the aid stations?  Why is there always SOMETHING with this race!?  Damn do my feet hurt!”  I walked quite a bit of the second lap and was sooo glad to hit the road section – walk up the hill towards the half mile marker to the start finish and run through the finish line!  My second loop took me nearly 5hrs!  My finish time?  8Hrs20min flat.  Or as I like to say — 3rd in my age group (nevermind the fact that there were only 4 of us!).  Click here for my data of this run.

DSCN0506

There is something to be said about an RD who stays awake at the start finish all day/night to personally hand out finisher medals to everyone

DSCN0507

A small token for my efforts... next year it'll be a buckle!

A small token for my efforts… next year it’ll be a buckle!

Here are some other stats from this race —

  • Distance 25K – 47 of 52 people finished, times ranged from 2hrs30min to 10hrs20min
  • Distance 50K – 23 of 33 people finished, times ranged from 5hrs23min to 11hrs49min
  • Distance 75K – 6 of 8 people finished, times ranged from 10hrs16min to 17hrs18min
  • Distance 100K – 6 of 13 people finished, times ranged from 16hrs30min to 25hrs11min (BTW – my friend Dawn?  FIRST place women’s finish!  So proud of her!!)
  • Distance 100m – 10 of 28 people finished, times ranged from 19hrs38min to 31hrs59min.

I’ve said it many times. This is a course I love to hate and will continue running it till I complete the 100mile that I’ve DNF’d.  Looks like I’ll have to wait till 2015.

Rob and his wife Angie

Rob and his wife Angie

Thank you again Rob and Angie for such an amazing event!  Everything for this race was perfect!  You guys rock!

Well, that’s about it for now.  I’ll work on my blog posts when we get back from our next adventure.  I also need to work on my race team’s blog site (click here to visit it) and add runner bios along with links to race reports that others are doing.  What’s our next adventure you ask?  My friends and I are running R2R2R – a double crossing of the Grand Canyon in one day!  I’m so crazy excited about this trip.  Here is a sneak peak of the trails.  We are starting at the South Rim and running down South Kaibab across the Colorado River.  Then up/down North Kaibab and across the Colorado River and up Bright Angel.  Here are some of my favorite videos others have taken of these trails.  My next blog post will be my personal videos!

South Kaibab

North Kaibab

Bright Angel

I think one of my next posts is going to have to be a “bucket list” post.  I’m starting to tick off so many of them!!

 

 

 

Time to play – I mean train, ah… run — Oh what the hell — PLAY!

Hey there folks!  Remember me??

Things have been plugging along lately and the weather here has been torturous which has really sapped me of quite a bit of my motivation to get outside and run.  I did manage to cover just over 150 miles of running in January including my first 50k of the year.  This was the Art More Fatass 50k, recognizing the contributions that Art Moore has made to Ultra Marathoning.  This was a pretty flat course on all clear multipurpose trails, so it made for an easy first one of the year.  It ended up being just over 32 miles (click here to see my run data) at which I averaged 11:49min/mile pace.  In typical fashion I did take a few pics during this run…

Clear and easy trail

Clear and easy trail

Scenic run through Rocky River

Scenic run through Rocky River

Bad ass "Big Sis" and I

Bad ass “Big Sis” and I

After this – the bottom fell out of our weather.  Temps were so frigid that schools were closed and they had to petition for extra “calamity days”.  Of course with this being some of the coldest temps we’ve seen in years – I couldn’t resist getting out for a few runs!

Time to stop your run when your water freezes

Time to stop your run when your water freezes

Dress properly!

Dress properly!

Starting temp of this night time run

Starting temp of this night time run

Not a soul on the roads made for an eerie run.

Not a soul on the roads made for an eerie run.

Ending temp -- yes that says -02deg F

Ending temp — yes that says -2F

So while some of my friends have been pushing through and getting their runs in — I.have.not.  And I’m not feeling too good about it.  Honestly, I feel like I am in the worst shape I’ve been in a LONG time :-/  BUT that IS changing!

The weather has also been messing up not just my training plans but my race schedule.  We were supposed to run the Pilot Mountain Payback again this year (click here for my race report from 2013) but North Carolina got hit with nasty weather as well so they wouldn’t let us on the mountain.  The race was rescheduled for April 12th, but I already have the Forget the PR Trifecta that weekend in Mohican.  After finding out our race was canceled I quickly shot Tanya (RD for Winter Run for Regis) a facebook message.  WRFR was my first 50k attempt and a race I’ve run for the past three years (click here for 2011 data, 2012 data, 2013 data, and 2014 data).  This race is typically in early January (click here for last year’s race report), but she changed the date and it happened to fall on the day we were already registered for PMPB.  I explained to Tanya that I just wanted to run a little bit of the course and play with my GoPro camera.  I was going to start with the half-marathoners and carry my own aid and record a bit of both loops.  Tanya explained (for those that know her well – in the nicest way Tanya could, ehehem… LOL) that she was not happy about me banditting the course.  Luckily tho she said someone dropped from the half and I could buy her bib – so I bought the bib, started with the 9:25am wave of half marathoners and made my first real GoPro running video.  I’m pretty happy with my first real attempt, there is a lot to get to know about this camera.  I’m excited about getting better with this thing as I make more and more. —-  Here is the entire Run for Regis course – enjoy 🙂

2013 in a word — “Learning”, 2014? “Training”

Well, New Years day has come and gone and I’m sure I’m THE last to blog about it – same thing as being “fashionably late” no?  Ok, no – I’ve just been a bit lazy.  Then again, it is still January – I’m OK 🙂

With all of the things that I am excited about and need to update my blog about —- my running plans for 2014, and oh yes… 2014 is going to be epic!  Several destination runs (including a run across the Grand Canyon and back), my first 50k of 2014, what the kids are up to, and then several other more serious topics that are stirring in me which I have to get out!  I decided it’s just easier to start with a new year’s type of post…..

2013 was a heck of a year, aside from learning more about outward things such as: running, cycling, swimming, finances, gardening, home repairs, and unfortunately our judicial system, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself, relationships, about parenting and which battles to stand firm on and which really, in the grand scheme of things – are not all that important.

While the term “failure” sounds pretty harsh for lack of a better, more encompassing term, by definition, it is the best fit.  In each one of these areas, in one way or another I’ve learned something through failures.  Be them in DNF’ing a race, blowing my budget, a non-existent garden this year, in who I am and my take on things, in looking back at a journal I used to keep and realizing a real root cause of a problem I was having, or even in silly arguments I used to have with the kids over things that in hindsight were no big deal.  With each failure I’ve grown and learned something.

So with 2013 being summed up as “learning”, my goal for 2014 is “training”.  Training as in, not learning through failure but being properly prepared for success.  A couple of nights ago I was laying in bed watching TV – The Aresenio Hall show.  It’s sandwiched between two of my favorite things to watch – Fox 8 News and The Big Bang Theory.  While the show is usually on just to pass time because I’m too lazy to reach over to grab the remote and change the channel,  a segment came on that couldn’t have been more aptly timed.  Malcolm Jamal Warner came on and I wasn’t reallypaying much attention at first but then, then it spoke to me.  I thought “That’s it!”

Sorry about the video quality – the original link from the show for some reason switched to “private” and was no longer viewable…. This is the only other one I found.

Click here — sorry about the quality, original link was gone and this is the best I’ve found.

“It’s only 25% physical.  It’s really about the 25% mental, the 25% spiritual, the 25% emotional that I need to make sure that I could endure this obstacle course that the game of life leaves before me.”

I’ve been working on only 25% of the training I really need.  It’s about time to strive for the other 75% that I’m missing out on.

Waiiiiiit for it………

Once again – my typical type of greeting it seems lately – I haven’t blogged in what feels like forever!!!  We’ve been crazy busy (as usual) and our craziness is well documented (surprise, right?)  But now, I’ve removed all excuses for not keeping up.  My computer was a piece of !@#$ making it painstakingly difficult to blog how I wanted.  Some of you may or may not have (yeah right) have noticed that I like to include pictures and videos 🙂  I was trying to blog using a crappy Acer 10″ Netbook with a processor that moves at the speed of tar pitch (and then even slower when I synced it with my phone (that is what I used to take all the pics and videos)  Well NOT ANY MORE MY FRIENDS!  I am now the proud owner of a new laptop AND a GoPro camera, oh yeah — this is gonna be fun!

California Adventure / Western States 100

Alright, it took me much longer to get back at this than I had anticipated.  So after downloading pictures and videos from my phone for over an hour, I’m gonna try to get caught up by Sunday —- here I go.

I am friends with quite a few amazing people.  One of which, Kevin T.  was lucky enough to get picked to run in the Western States 100 Mile Race.  This is the oldest 100 mile race.

In 1955, the late Wendell T. Robie with a party of five horsemen rode the Western States Trail from Squaw Valley to Auburn, proving that horses could still cover 100 miles in one day. Through his energy and vision, he subsequently founded the Western States Trail Foundation and organized the annual Western States Trail Ride, also known as the Tevis Cup “100 Miles – One Day” Ride.

Wendell Robie during an early Tevis Ride In 1974, with the inspiration and encouragement of Drucilla Barner, 1st woman to win the Tevis Cup and Secretary of the WSTF, Tevis veteran Gordy Ainsleigh joined the horses of the Western States Trail Ride to see if he could complete the course on foot. Twenty-three hours and forty-two minutes later Gordy arrived in Auburn, proving that a runner could indeed traverse the
rugged 100 miles in one day. 1974 Western States Trail Ride Start List In 1975, a second runner, Ron Kelley, attempted the same feat, only to withdraw within two miles of the finish with ample time remaining. In 1976, Ken “Cowman” Shirk ran the 100 miles, finishing just 30 minutes over the 24-hour mark. In 1977, 14 men from four states participated in the 1st official Western States Endurance Run, which was held in conjunction with the Tevis Cup Ride. Runners were monitored by Dr. Bob Lind at the three veterinary stops set up for the horses, and although the race organization transported the entrants gear, runners were responsible for producing all of their own supplies, except water. Three runners finished the course: Andy Gonzales, age 22, in the record-breaking time of 22:57, and Peter Mattei and Ralph Paffenbarger, ages 53 and 54, who tied in 28:36 (and the 30-hour award was born!).
Founding Runners, Gordy Ainsleigh and Cowman Shirk In the fall of 1977, the Board of Directors for the Western States Endurance Run was formed as part of the Western States Trail Foundation. It was made up primarily of the handful of runners and riders who had helped monitor the progress of the 14 pioneers earlier that summer. The Run organization later became its own entity and is now known as the Western States Endurance Run Foundation. 1978 heralded a dramatic increase in both interest and participation in the Western States Run. Culminating a year-long effort by the inspired Gang of Four (Phil Gardner, Mo Livermore, Shannon Weil, and Curt Sproul) to create an independent event, the race took place in June, a month earlier than the Tevis Cup Ride. The event mushroomed to include 21 aid stations and six medical checks, thanks to an ever-growing corps of loyal volunteers and the support of the Placer County Sheriff ‘s Communications Reserve and the Search and Rescue Unit. 63 adventurers ran the race, and the first woman, Pat Smythe, finished in 29:34.
No Hands bridge circa 1970 One hundred forty-three runners from 21 states and three foreign countries attempted the course in 1979. Since then, the Run has reached its full entrance quota and draws athletes from across the nation and around the world.
Now that you’ve had your history lesson……
I was trolling Facebook one evening and noticed Kevin posted about looking for a pacer for the last 40 miles of the race.  I immediately messaged him and told him if I could make my schedule work, I’d love to do this for him.  As it turns out, I was able to get things situated — with much help from Kevin and his wife – and join him in this adventure!
Kevin and his wife Janet, were staying at a bed and breakfast in Truckee and headed out a few days earlier than I did.  I was staying at CalNeva Resort and Casino in North Lake Tahoe and headed out there on Friday, the day before the race.  I’ve never been to California before which made this trip that much more exhilarating!  CalNeva was a fantastic place!  It is an older place but was a hangout of Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack and friends and is full of history.  It’s called CalNeva because the state line runs right through it.

Lake Tahoe - from my hotel window

Lake Tahoe – from my hotel window

Main ballroom showing the state line

Main ballroom showing the state line
It was nice with the time change, I arrived in the morning and had plenty of time to hang out with Kevin and Janet, visit the start finish line and take in some sights.
Squaw Valley - start of course

Squaw Valley – start of course

This place was AMAZING!

This place was AMAZING!

We even took in a gondola ride to the top of the mountain.  This is the way back down.  Wish we were sitting on the other side of the car because the drop off view was spectacular!

Afterwards we headed off to our hotels so Kevin and Janet could get a good nights rest while I did a bit more sight-seeing around Tahoe.

Race day — dun dun daaaaaaaa…..

To give you an idea of the course, Click here for the Google Maps flyover of the course.  I must have watched this a hundred times building up to our trip.

I was planning on seeing Kevin off from the start, but quickly decided since I would be running through the night with him, I’d get a little more sleep then meet up with Janet and catch him at aid stations.  There is live tracking for these races so we are able to gauge where and when we will be able to see him.  Kev started out great and made the first few aid stations well within the cutoff time.  Janet and I headed to crew access at mile 23.8, found a spot to park our butts cheer incoming runners on and wait for Kev.  It was HOT – as in temps +100 deg F. w/o the heat index added in!  After watching a number of our other friends come through the aid station, incoming runners started getting further and further apart and we were getting a bit worried about how Kevin was doing.  I refreshed the screen on my phone about every 2 minutes to make sure we didn’t miss him.

Then it happened —  The next update I received was he dropped.  In actuality, he didn’t drop, he was pulled off the course by the medical team.  Janet and I raced down the mountain to where we could pick him up and anxiously awaited his arrival by the aid station crew.  When he finally arrived he was being helped towards us; his speech was slurred and his demeanor was that of someone who had way too much alcohol.  After bringing him down to lower elevation yet and letting him acclimate, he was telling us about how the aid station at Duncan Canyon (mile 23.8) came running out to meet him, asking if he was alright.  Apparently he was no longer running straight and meandering down the trail.  He was responding to them and to him sounded clear as a bell — but in reality his speech was slurred and incoherent.  The sat him down and he kept going in and out of consciousness.  The diagnosis was altitude sickness.  One of the medical team members said to get him to lower elevation and that he should be fine in a couple of hours.  I felt terrible for him.  This was such a huge adventure, one in which not only did he have a tremendous amount of time involved with training but other personal time and money as well.  Kev kept apologizing to us for not completing the race — totally unnecessary.  This entire trip was about him.  We were there for him no matter what the outcome was; unfortunately this time the outcome wasn’t what we had anticipated, but better to be pulled off the course on your own two feet, than to be medically evacuated from the course in a stretcher!  You did awesome Kev, very proud of you brother!

Now the positive side of dropping this race at mile 23.8 vs. any later?  It was only 1pm!  Kev could get a chance to rest up some and take in the beauty of the area.  After he got a chance to recover the three of us went out exploring.  We found a few trails to hike.  I apologize, but I took too long to get this post done and cannot remember for the life of me what the names of these trails were — I do have the pics tho…

Kevin and Janet - chilling at Lake Tahoe

Kevin and Janet – chilling at Lake Tahoe

1013825_597989186899086_1571980480_n 1045251_597989203565751_478365017_n

Kev and I 1045251_597989203565751_478365017_n 1017606_597989543565717_1508028168_n 1013915_597990793565592_969735515_n 1010236_597991090232229_1540545143_n 1002831_597990930232245_578034718_n 1000766_597989373565734_1914948158_n

After exploring we found a fantastic place to eat on the water and called it a night.  Although Kev was pulled off the course and didn’t finish the race, a DNF is much better than a DNS.  Mad props Kev – not anyone could just get into Western States.  So very thankful to have a ROCKSTAR friend like you!

Standbye …. more to come 🙂