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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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.

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

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

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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.

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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

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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!!

 

 

 

OUTRUN 24 version 2014

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The third running of O24 took place on April 26th and once again – it. was. amazing.  The turnout this year exceeded what we expected.  The inaugural running of O24 in 2012 had 66 runners toe the line, 2013 there were 85, and in 2014?  ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR!  Love how this race is drawing so many new folks into the world of ultra running.

This ultra trail race is probably one of the most runner friendly, walker friendly, family friendly events there are.  For those that haven’t read my posts before about O24 and have never heard of it; a brief description.

A race for beginners and ultra veterans alike, the unique Outrun 24 Hour Trail Race is held in the Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Reservation in Kirtland, OH approx. 30 mins East of Cleveland. With its distinctive rock formations and mature woodland trails, the park provides a scenic setting for the endurance run. Runners will follow a 1.00244mi USATF certified loop and may run any distance or time up to 24 hours. If you are looking for a great atmosphere to come out and test yourself, come and check it out! Course The USATF certified (# OH11035MW) and IAU Bronze Labeled course is a 1.002445 mi loop on trails that consists primarily (93%) of crushed limestone, dirt, and a short bit (7%) of asphalt. The loop is rolling with one main hill. There is approximately 65 feet of elevation gain & loss per lap. Please see additional tabs for course photos, video, directions, and other information.

Zack Johnson, the RD for this race and the head of OUTRUN,  puts an amazing personal touch on this event.  From before the event starts with email blasts to all registrants, to a prerace video –

 

To running laps along side participants –

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To finally making sure he personally hands each finisher their well deserved medal and takes a photo with them, no matter what time of day, or night, or well… even the next day.  I mean, after all, the race does start at 8am on Saturday and doesn’t end till 8am on Sunday.

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My goal for this race when I registered was 100 miles.  My plan is to run at least one, 100 mile race each year.  Two years ago it was BR100.  Last year it was supposed to be NYM100 – but you know how that turned out.. So, after Yo Momma kicked my ass again, I decided that O24 is the perfect place to knock out 100 miles and ensure I get at least one in and then tackle YM again with a hundo under my belt for the year already.

That quickly changed when my training wasn’t going as planned.  I really hate talking about things that ail me because I don’t want to be labeled “that guy who makes up excuses”, or be “that guy who always has something wrong”, but I couldn’t ignore this much longer.  I finally sucked it up, went to get checked out, and get myself back on track.  I have to admit that it was quite relaxing to go into this race with no goal at all – talk about no pressure!  I charged up my GoPro camera and after my race committee responsibilities were completed I made sure to get some footage.  Here is a glimpse at the start of the race.

Here a few other pics from the race —

No that isn't a real tattoo but an arm sleeve.  I do have three tattoos and actually never wanted a full sleeve.  Hmmmm. until after seeing this picture - now I want one! LOL

No that isn’t a real tattoo but an arm sleeve. I do have three tattoos and actually never wanted a full sleeve. Hmmmm. until after seeing this picture – now I want one! LOL

Peg getting her leg rubbed out...

Peg getting her leg rubbed out…

Cheering on all day and night!

Cheering on all day and night!

Over the last few months, quite a bit of my training has taken place on the road or even worse the dreadmill, so I bought a pair of Hokas to help ease the pain.  I LOVE the Bondis I bought but unfortuantley they didn’t last very long.  I blew both shoes out and took them back with just over 100 miles on them.  They didn’t have the new version of the Bondi’s in (apparently improved because many people were having the same issue) so I took home a pair of Hoka Rapa Nui’s — big mistake.  I started out the race in my regular Saucony Exodus shoes and was feeling pretty well.  Around mile 18 or so I decided to change out of those and put on my new Hokas.  I only wore the shoes walking around a little bit to try and get a feel for them and after only a few miles I started to get a pain in my left foot which progressively got worse; to the point where I was only able to limp around the course now.  I know I didn’t have a “goal” for the race but I had to at least finish a 50k!  So I walked the last 8-10 miles and finished with a new PWR (personal worst record) of 9hrs 58min! YIKES!  Click here for my Runkeeper data for this run.  Took those Rapa Nui’s back the next day and ordered the new Bondi.

So what do you do after you complete a 50k in 9hrs at a 24hr race?  You hang out, cheer on your friends and have a good time.  Also, while your friends are out there trudging along, you get to do this —

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Hey —- I wasn’t the only one!

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Click here for a full list of 2014 race results.  There was a new record set this year. Jim Van Orman cleared 120 miles!  Every time I saw Jim he would smile and wave.  He made it look so easy!

Huge Congrats Jim!!

Huge Congrats Jim!!

Amanda Mowry completed the most miles for the women.  Covering 84 miles

Amanda Mowry completed the most miles for the women. Covering 84 miles – Way to go Amanda!!!

Once again there were so many amazing people who came out and pushed themselves to their limits.  There were those that were running the race to raise money for charities, those that were walking the entire way to a distance PR, to the Grandmother, Mother, daughter trio that rocked it!  I could go on and on but rather than taking just my perspective of it, here are a several other blog posts about it.  Enjoy!

HOLY CRAP!!!  I almost forgot!  As was the case last year, this year Chef Bill catered an OUTSTANDING breakfast for everyone again on Sunday morning after the race.  Check him out here at Playing with Knives and Fire.  Have an event you want catered, a party with some friends that you want a rockin’ meal for, or a date with that special someone — he’s your man.  Look him up.  Plus, he’s a fellow ultra runner – as the other half of Bills’ Badass 50k.

Breaking the Pace

Through a Running Lens

and

Kim’s Low Down on the Runs

 

Woodstock 2013 – For most, what happens in Woodstock…….

I’ve been anxious to start using my new toys to catch up on my blog and have been experimenting with the GoPro, trying to figure the best settings to use while running.  I know what you are thinking, “videos of running?  Boooorrrriiiiinnngggg…”.  Sounds it, I know, right?  But just wait.  Quite a few of our runs are pretty technical, very scenic, and always ridiculously fun!  So much fun that, recording some of them is highly forbidden.  You’ll understand in a moment.

I’ve been trying to decide how I want to approach this post.  Should I make it a tell all about this weekend of running, or should I keep it more serious, discuss the run and SOME of the fun……  I’m not shy – I’ll tell all for my part, but leave everyone else out of the shenanigans…

Run Woodstock is a weekend long event consisting of a crazy amount of fun.  North East Ohio was very well represented at this run.  Not just from our OUTRUN group but from quite a few of our other friends that just happened to be there.  We camped out all weekend – drank well, ate well, and RAN well!

This run is at Hell Creek Ranch in Michigan.  We arrived Friday afternoon, pitched our tents and were ready to start our weekend.  There are a number of events that take place over the course of the weekend.  You register for either a 100 miler, 100k, 50k, marathon, or half marathon.  Also taking place over the weekend is a “Hippie Hike”, yoga, “Hippie Dipping”, tie die t-shirt making, the “Natural 5K”, and the “Trippin 5k/10k”.  All of the events you get a button for and part of the weekend challenge is to collect all the buttons – I got the important ones 😉

Tents pitched and time to soak this all in

Tents pitched and time to soak this all in

Once the task of setting up our campsite was done, we did what usually follows — broke out some drinks and went checking out the place.  The 100k and 100milers started their race Friday evening — crazy huh?  Go away for a party/run weekend and run all night Friday??  No thank you — in addition to the other activities, our “main event” for the weekend was split between the 50k and the half marathon.  We wanted to make sure we maximized our “vacation” while squeezing in some quality running 🙂

Ummm... Yeah, that's me onstage :)

Ummm… Yeah, that’s me onstage high fiving our MC for the weekend — this was the start of day one, shortly after we arrived.  Any guess as to how the rest of the weekend went??

The weekend kicked off with the National Anthem being  played by Lemon James.  Lemon is an incredible guitarist/artist.  Inspired by such icons like Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Booker T, Janis Joplin, and Stevie Wonder she performed all weekend long and even participated in some of the events.

Lemon meeting Peg, Mike and I

Lemon meeting Peg, Mike and I

After playing an incredible rendition of the National Anthem we watched the 100milers and 100k’ers start their races and went back to our sites for a few adult beverages, some great grub and to change into running clothes for Friday night’s run.  Tonight’s run was called the “Natural 5K”.  I left the shirt on that I had in these pictures but donned my kilt (and yes it was properly worn — could you tell where tonight’s run got it’s name from??  There was roughly 25-30+ of us that ran the Natural Run.  It was a 5k run like none I’ve ever run before.  It started out normal – well, as normal as it could be when you are properly wearing a kilt!  After running about 1mile into the woods a choice needed to be made; turn one way and continue on as a normal 5k, the other – run natural.  Given the theme of Woodstock, I would have seriously regretted not making the turn to run natural. So I made the turn.  We had to run down the trail about a hundred yards or so till we came upon the “aid” station.  This aid station was fully stocked with kegs of beer and wine – not a drop of water!  In order to get a drink and continue on, you had to disrobe – completely.  Luckily, thinking ahead, my kilt has a velcro waist and is easily removed.  After quickly undressing I grabbed a beer and hung out talking to some of the other folks that made the turn.  It really wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would have been.  I had a couple more and headed back out on the trail – and yes… naked.  It was the oddest feeling ever, but at the same time, the most freeing.  We had to run about a mile before circling back to the aid station at which time you could drink all you want – as long as you are still naked.  I had a few more beers with some of my newest, closest friends, got dressed again and headed back to the start finish to collect my button.  Note to self — when running naked — body glide, body glide, body glide!  Don’t judge till you try it! LOL.

Here is my Runkeeper data from this 5k.

After finishing  and partying it up with everyone we headed off to bed to get up early for our main races for the weekend.  Mike, Brooke, Laurie, and myself were running the 50k.  Beth and Paul were running the half marathon – and oh yeah.. this was Paul’s first half marathon!  They started later than we did – sorry, no prerace pic 😦

Start of our 50k

Looking surprisingly good for the start of our 50k after a night of hydrating with vodka and Gatorade

I couldn’t believe how well I slept!  Brooke and I shared my tent, which is close to being big enough to sleep my entire high school senior class, so we had our own divided rooms.  Now it was time to run!  I’ve said it a number of times, I don’t race.  I like to run these things and just have fun and Laurie didn’t have a real time goal in mind either, so we decided to just run it together as if it were a normal training run.  Click here for the data from this run.  The course is awesome; lots of single track, some regular bridal trail type paths, and a little bit of road.

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I did mention I don't run these things to race, didn't I?

I did mention I don’t run these things to race, didn’t I?

Never pass up a photo op!

Never pass up a photo op!

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After completing this race we got cleaned up, I tried slack lining for the first time – believe me WAYYYY harder than they make it look!  Laurie and Paul smoked an incredible brisket and we feasted like kings!  Then after eating our fill we changed again into running clothes for tonight’s run – The “Trippin 5k/10k”.  I donned my same attire that I did for the Natural 5k and well — ran again “naturally” for the Trippin 5k this time with even more folks! Ridiculously fun!  Runkeeper data from the Trippin 5k.  Finished up and checked out some of the other festivities….  Not sure how to get these types of links to work, but you should be able to click on this one and hear a bit of Saturday night’s band and fire dancer..

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=628814713816533&l=294691597157012106

We were planning on doing the Hippie Hike Sunday morning, but decided to pack up our campsite, grab a decent breakfast and head on home.   I have some more videos and pictures from this weekend but have already rambled on long enough. Woodstock 2014 is already in the planning stages. Not sure how it is going to top this, but you bet you ass we’ll try!

So, what is the craziest / oddest running event you’ve participated in?

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!

Since I’ve been so lazy….

I thought I would take a different approach this time in trying to catch up with things the kids and I have done over the past couple of months.  What better way to do it than a video, right?! 🙂

To quickly summarize some of the photos in the movie —

  • We did a TON of fishing this year
  • Jeremy made the all star team for baseball
  • Emily pitched and played catcher for her fastpitch team
  • They ran two more races so far – The Fox Trot 5k and Shatter the Silence 2miler
  • I bought them season tickets to the Lake County Captain’s games this year
  • Jeremy turned 12 years old!
  • We took my Dad to his first Cleveland Browns football game in nearly 24 years!
  • and School started and we continued in our usually silliness.

The background music I chose is by Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole.  I just love his voice.  My first choice was his medley of “Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World”, but alas I only have it in a protected mp4 format that would not upload to my movie making software.  Anyways — hope you enjoy it

That about catches up some of what we did recently.  I have more, but I wasn’t shooting for a full length feature film 😉

Now, blog updates about The Fresh 20, BikeMS, and Run Woodstock … I’m not going to be caught up by tomorrow night!

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

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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 🙂