Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Training Weeks of October 10-November 28, 2010

Week of October 10

Total mileage: 32
Races: Tussey MountainBack 50 Mile DNF

Sun - Off

Mon - Off

Tue - Afternoon 4 1/2m @~7.15 Total - 4 1/2

Wed - Off (Chiropractor visit)

Thu - Afternoon 3 1/2m @~7.30 Total - 3 1/2

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 24m - Tussey MountainBack - DNF Total - 24

Week of October 17

Total mileage: 34
Races: Ace's New River Gorge-ous(~14 miles) 1st 1:34.04

Sun - Off

Mon - Off

Tue - Afternoon 2m @~8.30 at CC conference meet Total - 2

Wed - Afternoon 4m @~7.30 Total - 4 (Chiropractor visit)

Thu - Afternoon 4 1/2m @7.00 Total - 4 1/2

Fri - Afternoon 5 1/2m @~8.00 Total - 5 1/2

Sat - Morning 18m - Ace's New River Gorge-ous(~14 miles) - 1:34.04 Total - 18

Week of October 24

Total mileage: 25
Races: none

Sun - Off

Mon - Afternoon 6m - FRP 3 x 800 with 4.30 rec.(2.37, 2.34, 2.34) with kids Total - 6

Tue - Afternoon 4 1/2m @~7.30 Total - 4 1/2

Wed - Afternoon 5m @~7.40 with kids Total - 5 (Chiropractor visit)

Thu - Afternoon 5 1/2m @~8.20 with Elvis(7th grader) plus strides and drills Total - 5 1/2

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 4m @~7.30 Total - 4

October Milage: 161

Week of October 31

Total mileage: 66
Races: Gibson Park Trail 4.7 Mile 2nd 29.14

Sun - Morning 14m @~8.15 at FRP with Alison; Afternoon 6m @~7.30 with cory Total - 20

Mon - Lunch 4m @~7.25 Total - 4

Tue - Afternoon 9m - 6 x 300 w/ 300 rec.(.53, .53, .52, .52, .52, .50) w/ kids Total - 9

Wed - Afternoon 9m @~7.33 with strides and drills Total - 9

Thu - Morning 8m @~8.00 on Boone Fork Trail with Ryan Woods Total - 8

Fri - Afternoon 4m @~7.30 with kids Total - 4

Sat - Morning 8m - Gibson Park Trail Race 4.7 mile - 29.14; Afternoon 4m @~7.30 Total - 12

Week of November 7

Total mileage: 70
Races: King Make-a-Wish 5K 1st 17.46

Sun - Lunch - Swim 1/2m

Mon - Afternoon 20m @~7.46 at FRP Total - 20

Tue - Afternoon 10m @~7.45 Total - 10

Wed - Afternoon 9m - 3.4m tempo @5.53 avg. Total - 9

Thu - Morning 4m @7.46 with 4 x 100 strides; Evening 8 @7.30 Total - 12

Fri - Afternoon 4m @~7.50 Total - 4 (Chiropractor visit, took X-rays)

Sat - Morning 10m - King Make-a-Wish 5K - 17.46 - 5.44 avg.; Evening 5m @7.50 Total - 15

Week of November 14

Total mileage: 80
Races: none

Sun - Off

Mon - Morning 4m @7.31; Afternoon 8m @~7.38; Evening - Swim 1/2m Total - 12

Tue - Morning 4m @7.35; Afternoon 9m - 2 x Turkey Ford Hill 1 Mile(~3-4%) (5.57, 5.57)
Total - 13

Wed - Morning 4m @7.38; Afternoon 8m @~7.40 Total - 12

Thu - Morning 4m @7.28; Afternoon 9m - 3 1/2m tempo - 5.46 avg. Total - 13

Fri - Morning 4m @7.34; Afternoon 8m @~7.46 Total - 12

Sat - Morning 18m @~8.20 at FRP w/ Alison Total - 18

Week of November 21

Total mileage: 65
Races: none

Sun - Morning 20 1/2m @7.52 at Salem Lake Total - 20 1/2

Mon - Off

Tue - Morning 4m @7.38; Afternoon 8m @~7.00 with strides(16s) and drills Total - 12

Wed - Off

Thu - Morning 8 1/2 - Pilot Mtn. 2.25m ~9% - 18.53; Evening 4 @8.08 Total - 12 1/2

Fri - Morning 4 @7.52; Evening 5 1/2 @7.50 Total - 9 1/2

Sat - Morning 7m @~7.45 on Tanawha Trail with Ryan; Evening 3 1/2 @7.51 Total - 10 1/2

Week of November 28

Total mileage: 70
Races: none

Sun - Off

Mon - Afternoon 12 @~7.25 Total - 12

Tue - Morning 5m @~7.20; Afternoon 10m @~7.20 with strides(16s) and drills Total - 15

Wed - Morning 4m @7.20; Afternoon 8m @~7.20 Total - 12

Thu - Afternoon 5m @~7.05 Total - 5

Fri - Morning 4m @~8.00; Afternoon 8m @~8.00 w/ Dave Dunham and Paul Kirsch
Total - 12

Sat - Morning 4m @~8.00 w/ DD, Paul, & Nancy; Afternoon 5m @~8.00 w/ DD;
Evening 5m @~8.00 w/DD & Paul Total - 14

November Milage: 288

A 10 Year Anniversary, Time Flies When Your Having Fun?

good-bye


nothing dramatic

basically numb like days before

this day; came, and went

though I seemed to have missed it’s passing

this waiting for words


she packed a few things

gradually more disappeared

there never really was a day

when everything was finally gone

for I’m still here,

at least somewhat

the product of

this slow erosion


the disappearing of days

where time doesn’t heal

time, only yields a slow digression

a stripped down affiliation

marked only by the absences,

no harsh words

time leaves no yelling

just a mute leaving

the consequence of

an accumulation of indifference

leaving each

just wanting to ease


no one giving pause

the days passed too swiftly

for some things take time

even to decay

until nothing is left to say

not even good-bye



I like the poem above and think it is one of my better ones. I tried to capture my view of the slow death of my marriage to Kathy. Several people have said they can identify with poem and it's depiction of the collapse of a relationship. I got divorced 10 years ago today. I did it like most everything I do. I was my own lawyer and Kathy's too, I guess. I did all the legal forms for the divorce. At the court date, I was called up to the stand as the plaintiff, though not sure why I was put on the stand. We were doing a very simple divorce, basically stating that we were married, had lived apart for a year, and had settled all property matters. The judge looked through our legal papers and asked me several nonsense questions.


"Do you live on Twin Oaks?"

"Yes"

"How far down Twin Oaks?"

"Down past Shelton Vineyards, about 6/10 of a mile off 268."

"That's a pretty area. Did you grow up there? On a farm?"

"Yes"

"Are you Willie's boy?"

"Yeap"

"You and Mrs. Bryant don't live together?"

"No"

"Your documents look good, take them across the road and register them with the clerk's office."


It went something like that, simple and neat. Except that I tend to grin or laugh in awkward situations, such as on the stand in a courtroom. Kathy was sitting at the defendants table, crying and crying. So you have me grinning and laughing while my soon to be ex-wife is crying. I'm sure I looked a bit like a jerk. As we walked across the road, I asked Kathy why she was crying. She said she didn't know, it just seemed kind of final. I think I said that is kind of what divorce is. Thing is she was the one who really wanted out of the marriage, I didn't. Anyway I found the situation comical, Kathy did as well. We are still friends and talk regularly.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Training Weeks of August 15-October 3, 2010

StumpJump 50K Race Strategy or JB Hieroglyphics


Week of August 15

Total mileage: 37
Races: Taos Up and Over 2nd 57.08

Sun - Off, Back very unhappy

Mon - Lunch 9m @~7.24 on Boone Fork Trail with Ryan Woods Total - 9

Tue - Evening 8 1/2m - 3 1/4m tempo @~6.00 avg. with high school kids Total - 8 1/2

Wed - Lunch 4m @~10.00 in mountains Total - 4

Thu - Evening 5m @~12.00 in bigger mountains Total - 5

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 10 1/2m - Taos Up and Over - 57.08, split 35.49 up;
cooldown with Jason Taylor Total - 19 1/2

Week of August 22

Total mileage: 18
Races: Continental Divide Trail Race 10th 46.44

Sun - Off

Mon - Off

Tue - Afternoon 6m - 4m tempo @~6.05 with high school kids Total - 6

Wed - Off

Thu - Afternoon 2m @~7.30 Total - 2

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 10m - Continental Divide Trail Race - 46.44 Total - 10

Week of August 29

Total mileage: 39
Races: none

Sun - Off

Mon - Lunch 3m @~8.00 Total - 3

Tue - Morning 1 1/2m; Afternoon 5m @~7.30 at Fisher River Park Total - 6 1/2

Wed - Afternoon 5m @~7.30 Total - 5

Thu - Afternoon 8m - 3x 5/2 minute fartlek on trails at FRP; 2 x 600 on grass
with 5 min. rec.(1.50, 1.52) Total - 8

Fri - Morning 6 1/2m @~10.00 or more; up and down mountains Total - 6 1/2

Sat - Morning 10m @~10.00, maybe 12.oo; up and down big mountains Total - 10

August Milage: 149 1/2

Week of September 5

Total mileage: 52
Races: Fisher Farms 10 Mile 1st 1:09.06
Caldwell County CC Inv. Coach's Race 2500 meters 2nd 8.07

Sun - Morning 11m - Fisher Farms 10 Mile - 1:09.06, 6.55 avg. Total - 11

Mon - Lunch 5 1/2m @~10.00 Total - 5 1/2

Tue - Morning 2m @~7.30; Afternoon 8m - Caldwell County CC Inv.
Coach's Race 2500 meters - 8.07 Total - 10

Wed - Evening 8m @~10.20 up and down Fisher Peak from Low Gap Total - 8

Thu - Afternoon 8 1/2m @~7.40 with 4 x 100 meter strides(16.0, 16.0, 15.4, 15.3)
Total - 8 1/2

Fri - Lunch 9m - Bluff Mtn. up @ 12.00, down @6.10;
Grayson mtn. up @ ~10.00, down @ ~6.30 Total - 6 1/2

Sat - Off

Week of September 12

Total mileage: 63
Races: none

Sun - Morning 14 1/2m at Stone Mountain SP - lots of up and down Total - 14 1/2

Mon - Morning 2 1/2m; Afternoon 7 1/2 - 4 x 1 mile with 1 min. rec. (5.49, 5.47, 5.46, 5.43)
@Fisher River Park; Evening 2m Total - 12

Tue - Lunch 12m @~9.15 Total - 12

Wed - Lunch 5 1/2m @~10.00 Total - 5 1/2

Thu - Off

Fri - Morning 8 1/2m; Evening 3 1/2 @~7.10 with 4 x 100strides(16s) Total - 12

Sat - Morning 7m @~9.15 at Hungry Mother SP, VA - up and down Molly's Knob Total - 7

Week of September 19

Total mileage: 30
Races: Greensboro XC Inv. Open 5K 2nd 17.23

Sun - Off

Mon - Afternoon 15m @7.36 at Fisher River Park with high school kids Total - 15

Tue - Afternoon 6m @~7.40 Total - 6

Wed - Afternoon 1m @~8.00(felt crappy and unmotivated to hurt for a slow run) Total - 1
Evening - Canoe 1m on Yadkin River - 30 min.

Thu - Afternoon - Bike 22m @19.5 mph

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 8m - Greensboro XC Inv. Open 5K - 17.23 Total - 8

Week of September 26

Total mileage: 51
Races: StumpJump 50K 1st 4.21.01

Sun - Off

Mon - Afternoon 6m @~7.40 Total - 6

Tue - Afternoon 11m @7.10 with Tanner Total - 11

Wed - Afternoon - Bike 13m @20.1 mph

Thu - Off

Fri - Morning 3m @~8.00 in Chattanooga, TN Total - 3

Sat - Morning 31m - StumpJump 50K - 4.21.01 Total - 31

September Milage: 191 1/2
Week of October 3

Total mileage: 16
Races: none

Sun - Off

Mon - Off

Tue - Afternoon - Spin bike 30 min.

Wed - Afternoon 3m @~8.15 Total - 3

Thu - Afternoon 5m @~7.45 Total - 5

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 8m @~7.30 at Beeson Park Total - 8

Blah, Blah, Blah!! It's been a while to say the least. Just posting this in case someone is bored or wants to see my crazy training. Alison thinks my training is messed up, I'd have to agree a bit. I stopped forcing my running over the last few years, I just ended up hurt a bit and raced poorly or not at all. I'm probably still injured a bit, but racing better. Some of the training ups and downs have been because of my back. It has literally been a pain in the ass since April. A lot of the pain is in my glutes, either the right or left depending on the week. Some of the my training insanity has been because of work and working on our Continental Divide Trail Race. Life is a balancing act, so running is a balancing act. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As for the races, Up and Over in Taos was fun. I wanted to win, but that Bernie Bottecher. The race is pretty simple, up 3 miles at 17%, down 3.5 miles at 14.5%. I had a gap on Bernie at the top, he got me coming down. I was actually closer the results show. Bernie had just gone out of sight when came upon a confusing spot about 3/4 mile from the finish. There was a rope across the road with a sign "closed" on it. There was a bridge to the right and another road going down. Which way should I go? You got it, under the rope. I roamed a bit, until directed correctly under the rope? No worries, I wasn't catching Bernie. After the race, Bernie and I both said we thought about tying and wish we would have, especially me since I was second. So I finished 4th in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, but got bumped to 3rd Open since Bernie took the top Masters spot. I meet a guy at Taos, Jason Taylor. He heard of me through a friend, Nate Bosey. I stayed in a playhouse in Nate's backyard before La Luz Mountain Race in NM in '07. I meet Nate on MySpace asking for someone's yard to sleep in. Now I just find places when I travel, but that was fun. Jason and I had interesting conversation on faith and church. Our stories were interestingly similar.

On to Continental Divide Trail Race, I ran it. Race directing and racing the same race was tough. I found myself think about race directing during the race instead of about the race. I felt good about my race with the mental absence and general fatigue. Our team, Appalachian Mountain Goats, won the open team division, so that was cool. The Fisher Farm race was part of the NC Xterra Trail series that I won, with two 1st places and one 2nd. The two cross country races were just speed work really, but I ran both flat out.

StumpJump 50K turned into a rather rewarding race. I put together my race strategy, stuck to it, and things turned out well. I wanted to be steady for the first 20 miles. I planned to take the climbs fairly easy through 20 miles, but wanted to really run "brake free" on the downs. I wasn't sure the quads would hold up, but that is kind of the point of racing. I planned to push the last 10 miles and really push the two big climbs in this section. The idea behind the easy climbing early was to prevent my back from tighten up for as long as possible. I also had heat patches on my back and right glute to help keep the back loose. At the race start Josh Wheeler, '09 winner, went out fast and several others were out of sight soon as well. I think I was in about 10th place early on. A few miles in there was a small pack of us in about 6th place(Bryan Dayton, Mark Lundblad, Jay Curwen, me, and maybe another guy or two). At 10 miles Mark and I were together in 4th, 8 minutes behind the leader. I thought then that if I could maintain that gap through 20 miles, I'd have a chance to catch Josh in the last 10. At 20 miles Anne, Mark's wife, said I was 2 & 1/2 minutes from second and 7 from first. I was encouraged that I had gained a little in the middle 1/3rd. I was guessing that I had only 30 seconds to a minute on Mark. I was through the 20+ mile aid station so time to push and be the hunter. I was now thinking in just small fragments of time. I caught 2nd in about 2 miles. At the next aid station around 24.5 miles, I was only 3 & 1/2 behind Josh. I hammered the next climb of about a mile. I figured most guys would have to hike some or most of it, so I ran all of it. I caught Josh on the next descent. He ended up having a rough finish as he walked a lot of the last few miles. Now I was concerned about Mark, I knew he was a threat to run me down. Plus I began to tank about 3 miles out. I held on for the win in 4:21.o1. I had hoped to run a good bit faster. Though as you can see from the sporadic nature of my recent training, I really wasn't to sure what to expect. As I expected Mark finish second. Fellow La Sportiva runner, Nathan Yanko, had strong finish. He went from 9th to 4th in the last 2 miles. He blogged about it at La Sportiva Mountain Running.

Hopefully I get back to a more regular blogging pattern now. I'll try to write something stupid again soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Training Week of August 8, 2010

Total mileage: 50
Races: none

Sun - Morning 4m @8.01 Total - 4

Mon - Lunch 8m @~8.00 at Tanglewood Park Total - 8

Tue - Evening 8m - 3 1/2m tempo @5.46 avg. Total - 8

Wed - Off

Thu - Evening 10 1/2m - 4 x 1200m(3.59, 4.00, 3.59, 3.59) with 600m rec. Total - 10 1/2

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 19 1/2m @7.52 Total - 19 1/2

This past week was pretty good. The back was feeling much better. I got in two good workout and a long run. Then a new week started. Early this week, the back started acting up again big time. Only now the problem has swapped sides???? I am having the exact same issues, it's just on the left side now??? The low back hurts some. But sharp pains and significant weakness in the left glute with some pains traveling down the back of the leg. I had been planning on doing the 24 Hour Championships, now that looks a bit doubtful. I feel like I'm straddling the yellow line, standing in the middle of the road, just waiting to get hit from either direction. Of course then I wouldn't have to worry about what to do. But I haven't gotten run over lately, so why not limp through a race in New Mexico. Taos Up and Over 10K, ~16% up for 3 miles and ~14% down for 3.5 miles. Maybe I'll feel better after that, or worse, or the same. One of those. At least I'm still running even if it isn't pretty. Then again I've never been accused of being pretty.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Training: Week of July 25 and August 1, 2010

Week of July 25

Total mileage: 60
Races: Tsali Xterra Trail Race 11 mile 1st 1:12.54

Sun - Morning 6m @14.28 on CDTR course with Crystal and Alison Total - 6

Mon - Morning 4m @7.49; Evening 5m @~7.45 Total - 9

Tue - Morning 3m @8.00; Evening 9 1/2m @~7.50 with 4 x 100 strides Total - 12 1/2

Wed - Evening 7 1/2m - Pilot Mtn. 2.25m 18.06 Ouch! Total - 7 1/2

Thu - Evening 6m @7.30-9.00 Total - 6

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 15m - Tsali Xterra Trail Race 1:12.54 @~6.40 avg.;
Evening 4m - up and down Elk Knob (~1100' in 1.3m) with Ryan Woods Total - 19

Week of August 1

Total mileage: 35
Races: Squaw Valley Mountain Run - 3.6m 4th 31.17

Sun - Off

Mon - Morning 4m @7.58; Evening 5 1/2m @~8.00 with 4 x 100 strides Total - 9 1/2

Tue - Morning 3m @7.52; Evening 8m - 3 1/2m tempo @5.50 avg. Total - 11

Wed - Off

Thu - Off

Fri - Afternoon 7m @~8.30 Lake Montez Trail in Soda Springs, CA Total - 7

Sat - Morning 7 1/2m - Squaw Valley Mountain Run 31.17 ~11% climb Total - 7 1/2

The Pilot Mountain workout on the 28th stunk. The back was still getting progressively tighter as I went up. The first half mile was okay, but started to fall off after that. By the end, I was just slow. The Tsali race went okay, there were not any particularly big climbs and nothing long. I was glad. Abnormal for me to be glad there was no big climbs in a trail race.

Squaw Valley went just as expected basically. I hoped for some sudden change, as us runners often do. I was actually climbing very well the first 1/2 to 3/4 mile, right at the front. Then the little twinge in the low back and it was over. I didn't change effort and nothing felt any different except a small area in the low back. But right away the top two guys started pulling away. Eventually another guy passed as the back continued to tighten up the right side and I continued to lose pace. I was actually able to gain some ground back on a couple of short flat sections. I could also gain a little when the grade would first go up, but then tighten back up after about 30 seconds. I am actually encouraged by those two things. It says my back will loosen pretty quickly once the grade levels out. I'll call it progress. Also, I wasn't too bad through almost 3 miles, but slowed significantly after that. Good that it wasn't a long hill climb. I think the back is coming around. At least that got me 5 races in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. I do planning on doing the last race in the Cup, Taos Up and Over. Alison needs one more race to get in 5 races. At least Taos is only a 3 mile climb or so, then down steeply. In two more weeks I might be able to do a 3 mile climb and I actually look forward to the descents nowadays. My speed is actually good right now. I'll let you know in two weeks.

Oh yea, I should share the story from Friday's run up to Lake Montez. It was a nice little trail climbing up to a crystal clear, mountain lake. When I got to the lake, there were a couple of guys sitting on the big rock by the lake. One of the guys was completed naked. I'm not afraid of naked people and I wanted to
go up on the rock for the view of the lake. Once I got up there, there was another guy and two naked women there as well. I talked to all of them for about 15-20 minutes waiting for Alison to get up as she was just hiking. None of us acted as anything was abnormal. By the time Alison got there, they were mostly dressed, one woman was still topless, the other still bottomless. They were about to mountain biking back down. I took a short dip in the lake and headed back myself.


Lake Montez

Top of Squaw Valley with Lake Tahoe in background

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Actually, I miss being Naive.

This blog comes with one of those warnings. You may not want to read this! Seriously, unless you want a good laugh. I'm not too ashamed to laugh at myself. It's one of those stories folks may want to hear, but don't want to know the person involved. Too bad, it's me. So you choose, read a funny story and know I was a somewhat normal teenage boy. Or skip this blog, pretending I am a normal modest adult. I think the warning is unnecessary, but some of my friends say I tell too much. You've had your warning. So are you going to read this, Crystal, I'm sure you husband Jay is going to bust?


I was a rather naive kid about a lot of things. I grew up in a devoutly Christian home, though not prudish. I was a very trusting child and stayed that way into early adulthood. But life eventually knocked most of that out of me. Many people aren't good or trustworthy, though I do try live with this motto: Trust first, but not blindly. Then forgive those who wrong you. I'm not naive anymore, but try to act that way. I'd rather act as if people are truly good than be a pessimist. I'd say that I am positively cynical or cynically positive.

Okay this is a funny blog, but you have to earn it first with a little of Jason Philosophy. Plus it gives some of you more time to retreat. So my best example of my naivety is my sexual knowledge as youngster. (Run away, run away.) I knew my parents had sex, a lot, but hadn't a clue what that meant. My first real sexual knowledge of any sort came from my sister, Theresa, when I was in the 8th grade. I can still tell you exactly where we were. She was telling me about being pregnant and realized I knew nothing. The only difference I knew of between girls and guys was that girls developed these lumps on their chest. We did have a sex education class one day in the 6th grade, but obviously I didn't get much of an education. (The real funny is coming, but I've got to set it up first. But imagine a 13 year old boy eagerly listening to his
sister explain the basics of sex.) Theresa explained that girls had a hole where I had a stick. You get the rest, or not maybe. Anyway I knew more than I did before. You may ask about friends talking at school, I hung out with the "good" kids. Or basically I had one good, best friend, Jason, and he was about as naive as me. (Jason lived just up the road from me and later got the nickname JL to delineate all the Jasons.) These were the days before the internet. So all this sets up a 16 year old, high school junior alone in bed in the dark before falling asleep.


Yes I was masturbating, though I didn't know that at the time. You only get a few opportunities in life to masturbate without knowing it. We'll say that I was just messing around. Suddenly I messed around a little too much and I hadn't a clue what was happening. My mind began to run wild. What was I going to say, I thought I was a good Christian boy. How was I going to explain this to my parents, the doctors? I had done something very wrong and now, in the dark, blood was spurting everywhere. The end of my stick must of exploded and come off somehow. I squeezed the end hard for those few moments trying to contain the bleeding, but it kept coming. Growing up on a farm, I'd had lots of cuts and accidents that I'd hidden from my parents. I had chopped my foot with an axe, cut my thumb to the bone. Maybe I could bandage myself and hide this, though I'd never spewed blood like this before. This was going to require medical attention. Just imagine the fear raging in this pitiful kid's mind. I'd be ridiculed at school forever, the kid who exploded the end of his stick doing naughty things. I had no clue such things happened. Within a few seconds the bleeding eased up. I got up to turn the light on, afraid of what I'd find. Flick. I could see. I still had a whole stick, but there was some strange white sticky crap everywhere. As I looked curiously at my hand wiggling my fingers, many pieces of the sexual puzzle finally came together. Suddenly, some jokes made sense and some concerns were alleviated. So I hadn't been spilling my seed every time I went to bathroom. I wouldn't someday urinate in the woman that I loved. I'll admit I was stupid. I was naive. I just didn't know anything else. The only thing that had ever come out of there before was urine. No one every told me anything else could spew from there. By the way, I started running about a month or two later. Maybe there is some connection.

You could say I came of age that night, though not completely. I was still uneducated on some things. I'll spare you a more detailed explanation. Though I did learn how I functioned very well over next few months, years. I didn't fully understand the other side until I got married at 21, almost 22. Yes, I was a naive virgin all the way through college. I was a very excited young man on wedding night. There was a show and tell first. The sexual world made much more sense after the honeymoon. I did remain a little naive, Kathy was the only woman I'd even seen topless in person until my 28th summer. Personally, I miss the naivety I once had. Maybe not all of it.

Training: Week of July 11 and July 18, 2010

Week of July 11

Total mileage: 50
Races: None

Sun - Lunch 4m @7.49 Total - 4

Mon - Morning 5m @~8.00; Evening Bike 16m @20.1 mph Total - 5

Tue - Evening 8m - 3 1/2m tempo @5.45 avg. Total - 8

Wed - Morning 4 1/2m @7.50 with 4 x 100 strides Total - 4 1/2

Thu - Morning 3m @8.00; Evening 12m @~8.05 Total - 15

Fri - Morning 4m @8.15; Evening 4 1/2m @8.05 with 4 x 100 strides Total - 8 1/2

Sat - Evening 5m @~7.40 Total - 5

Week of July 18

Total mileage: 48
Races: Xterra NC Beech Mountain Trail Run - 2nd - 46.15

Sun - Morning 11m Xterra NC Beech Mountain Trail Run 10K (~6.5m) - 46.15 Total - 11

Mon - Off Massage with Michelle

Tue - Evening 8m - 3 1/2m tempo @5.46 avg. Total - 8

Wed - Morning 4m @7.37 Total - 4

Thu - Evening 8m - Hill workout 3 x ~1100 meters(2 up, 1 down) with full
recovery ~5-6 minutes ^3.58, 3.31, ^3.54 Total - 8

Fri - Off (Spent all day laying rock around foundation of the house, tough!)

Sat - Morning 17m @~8.28 at Fisher River Park, much of run with Alison Total - 17

The back is doing better, or at least hurting less. The Beech Mountain Trail Run was interesting. It was the first race of the Xterra NC trail series, I guess I'm doing the series. The course was surprisingly real trail racing. About 3/4 of the course was tight, technical singletrack. They posted that there was about 1500 feet of climbing for the 10K, I'd estimate it wasn't quite that much. But the course ran through Beech Mountain Ski Resort, so it was a mountainous course. There were two younger guys that I was chasing for first 5 miles. I was still not climbing well, but felt okay otherwise. I was warned that the one guy was a flyer on the road. I finally got in the lead at about 4.5 miles, but both guys stayed close. Then one of the bigger and longer climbs came at about 5 miles. I thought surely I can stay in front or get a little lead. Nope, I got passed by one of the guys and could hear that the other guy closed on me. After the climb was another steep, technical singletrack descent. I passed the guy back and built a small lead. Then we came out of the trails and onto the road with about 1/2 to go. The one guy came by and I couldn't match his speed. He beat me by 4 seconds, but I held off third by 16 seconds. Talking to the guys after, the winner was a grad student, Patrick Morgan, who ran a 4.01 mile for Appalachian State in February. Not surprising he outkicked me, but frustrating. Who likes getting outkicked? The other guy, Jared, had run for App State's cross country team I believe. Maybe I'll be able to climb again at some point, but I was pleased with my trail speed. My training shows I'm fit, my back just tights up badly on climbs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gypsy Moth Hunter

I've been asked what it's like to have such a fringe, semi-secretive job. A restricted few can handle the pressure of the hunt. You may spend days alone in the woods tracking a single moth. Sometimes you think that you've finally got a male lured in, when he suddenly flutters away with shocking speed. You made the mistake of lock eyes. A secret of some of great gypsy moth hunters, such as Martin Killingsbeeworthsome, is the female pheromone carefully dabbed behind the left ear. But one must be careful in using the correct amount when employing this dangerous tactic. One unfortunate hunter was found without pants, reciting Mont Phyton's Swallow Debate, after a pack of males had severely molested both his kneecaps. But it is worth any peril to finally capture an elusive alpha male that you've stalked with out food for 2 to 72 hours. To say my job is dangerous is an overstatement... sometimes.


So on with the real story. I basically hang cardboard boxes in trees with a female gypsy moth pheromone scent and sticky goo inside. Mostly the traps are spread 2 kilometers(~1 1/4 miles) apart along longitude and latitude lines. I had 2000 to hang this year, which is a lot. Some of the work is dull, some not as much. Most traps are hung along roadways in DOT right of way, some are not. I try to contact landowners or at least leave an information card with note for the off road traps. Sometimes I say that I am a professional trespasser. I've gotten good at not getting into trouble with landowners or at least talking my way out of trouble. Actually, I've worked most of the areas for several years so many recognize me and call me the "moth man." Leaving the road though is where work does often get interesting.


First, driving off-road can be interesting. Heck, driving on some roads can be interesting. I drive a small 4 wheel drive SUV for the hunt. I have been on state maintained, or not-maintained, roads that required putting my vehicle in 4 wheel drive. There were ruts knee deep in one road and when I got to the end, there was a stop sign. I've driven up absurd mountain driveways to find a beautiful house out of nowhere. But 4 wheel drive was required to get there and there was no way they went anywhere when winter weather came. In fact, one lady said she went to town only once a month. I drove one road or private road, if you could call it a road, that topped them all this year. It was absurdly rocky, rutted, and steep in places. I got out of the vehicle a couple of time to scout my way through a section. I felt like I was canoeing. One of those places I stopped because it dropped off so steeply I could not see the road over the hood. I could see the stream I was going to drive through 20 yards down but not the road to it. My under frame got stuck on a rock at one point, forcing me to back up and reroute. I did meet another 4 wheel truck creeping up this road. Some of the off, off-road driving is even more treacherous. I was driving up a mountain on an old wood road that got so steep my vehicle would no longer go. That got my heart rate up, but I told myself getting excited was not an option. It was so steep that if would have gotten sideways, my SUV would have rolled over. I had to back down to straddle a small drainage cut that keeps the path from washing out. I knew I had one shot to back it in right or be stuck, or turned over. I got it in right, then out of the vehicle to hike on to hang the trap and get my heartbeat to slow down.

I hike or run to the traps that can't be driven to. I get to see many remote and interesting places doing this, especially in the mountain areas that I work. I see lots of rock outcroppings, streams, unique trees, and other plants. I saw a tree in middle of woods a couple of years ago that with two 12" diameter trunks that joined back to one trunk 20' up to make an unique loop. I was hiking over a steep ridge in a state park this year to come up on a 50'+ waterfall that virtually no one ever sees. There is always wildlife. Deer are just common, but I did get to pet a probably day old fawn in the wild this year. I came up on a doe and fawn, so they both start to run. The fawn was too small and wobbly, stumbling only 10' or so, then lying flat in the weeds. I had never seen a fawn that small. Lying flat on it's stomach it was only 3-4 inches off the ground. If I had not seen where it went, I would have never seen it when I walked by. I squatted by it and it never moved. I stroked its back twice and not a twitch. I was running straight off the side of mountain this year as the last sunlight was vanishing. I spooked three bears who hauled ass straight up another ridge. I wish I ran uphill as fast. There are also plenty of turkey. I nearly stepped on a turkey nesting in the grass a few years ago. I've jumped a hen and her diddles as they run and disappear in the grass. They hide well, too. This year I jumped over a rattlesnake running up a deer trail. I get warned about them often as well as bear and coyote, but that was my first rattlesnake encounter. I had been told you won't see them until you are on top of them. I found that to be true as I saw the rattlesnake as my next step would have been on it. I leapt up and over. The snake never moved. Most of the snakes I encounter do move. In fact, I think that has kind of become one of my skills. Identify critters by the sounds they make moving in the woods. That's a snake, a lizard, a squirrel, a rabbit, a deer, a bear, bird in the leaves, a turkey. I also do that with the insects that crawl on me constantly. I feel something crawling and know if it's tick, spider, granddaddy, or inch worm. Oh the skills of the Gypsy Moth Hunter.

Then there are the people. Go to unique places and you'll meet some unique people. The "ordinary" unique folk are common at this point. This Memorial weekend I was looking for a way to get to an off road trap. I pull up to a short driveway up a mountainside. There is older car parked there. I get out and see a path up the hill. A roughly dressed guy walks down to meet me. I try explain what I'm doing and he says to come up, sit, and we'll talk about. I walk up the path to fully landscaped hillside under the trees. It is mulched with various shrubs and perennial plants. There is a deck with a small fish pond on the side of this very steep hill. He has a small flattened out area with a canvas shelter and a couple of chairs. There are two calico cats lounging. He talks about area as he turns on a fountain in the pond that shoot water 15' in the air. He has tapped into a spring far up the hill, piped it down to create the pressure for his high spouting fountain. We sit and he offers me a beer to join in his lounging. I am fairly sure he is also smoking marijuana. They're hand rolled and their scent gives them away. We talk a little about what I'm doing, but he talks mostly about other random stuff. I finally say that I need to be going, but he invites me back later in evening to sit a while if I'm interested. There is no house anywhere around. Not sure if he lived there or not, but it was obvious he is there often. The whole thing was just really random. I do see many unique living situations. I pass one guy's place every year that is really just a shed/shack. Not sure if he has electricity or not.

I am often warned of landowners, as I inquire how to get to some remote place. Often the warning is of a landowner carrying a gun. Rarely do I have a problem, though it is not uncommon to meet someone with a gun on their hip. This year's gun story was funny to me. I'm hanging a trap at the end of this dirt road off in the mountains. A older guy, 60+, comes walking down out of the woods with an old western style holster and revolver. I explain what I'm doing back here and he says no problem. He's just out for hike. He's say that he is getting some exercise, trying to stay fit. Maybe I'll show up to a race later this summer with a revolver on my hip. I can say that I'm just trying to stay fit... with a revolver. Might encourage some of the competition not to pass me.

Well that's enough stories for now from this gypsy moth hunter. August is coming and I'll back in the woods stalking the elusive brown and white tree killer.

A Male and Female "Playing"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Training: Week of July 4, 2010

video
A Mountain Runner Pole Vaults

Total mileage: 34
Races: Grandfather Mtn. Highland Games - Mile, 440, 880, 2 Mile, & Pole Vault

Sun - Lunch 4m @~7.34 Total - 4

Mon - Morning 4m @~7.34; Evening Bike 25m @21.2 mph Total - 4

Tue - Evening 8m - 3m tempo @5.46 avg., plus 4 x 100 strides Total - 8

Wed - Off

Thu - Evening 10m @~7.40 Total - 10

Fri - Off

Sat - Lunch 8m - Grandfather Mtn. Highland Games Track Meet: Mile - 5.08, 440 - ~.90, 880 - ~2.36, 2 Mile - 11.45, Pole Vault - 10' Total - 8

The back is doing a bit better. Pick a cure as I have been trying a little of everything, so maybe it is taking all of it. The new mattress seems to help as does the massages,
chiropractor, exercises, an inversion table, ultrasound, heel lift for short leg, supplements, hair cut, vaulting, and butt rubbing? Okay got crazy there at the end, but hopefully something will work. Hope to gradually ease my milage back up some the next couple of weeks.

The Highland Games on Saturday were a blast. Several of my old vaulting friends were not
there, but a few were. I went up hoping to win overall performer of the meet and big pewter platter. I signed up for 5 events, my first event, the Mile. I quickly noticed a high schooler, Andrew Vandenberg, that I knew
was good. Andrew, and his younger brother, had beaten me a couple of years ago at a 5K. I stayed close through halfway, but wanted to keep it as easy as possible. I split 2.40. The high schooler pushed a little the third lap and hard the whole last lap. I was never more than a handful of yards back and pulled up to his shoulder in the last 100 yards. He surged and I sprinted hard. I won with 5.08 and 2.28 last half. My goose was also cooked, my legs were immediately heavy. I would guess that was worth sub 5.00 on a normal track. I was up to vault in less than 2 minutes. I told myself to just be a sprinter and somehow cleared, but was ugly. Then I had to go straight over to the 440 yard, I was just jogging, 3rd of 3. The winning time only 1.15, but my legs were shot. I had my last lap of Mile under 70. Next was another couple of vaults with no legs and no chance of clearing. Then on to the 880 yard. I was leading at halfway with a pedestrian 1.2o. Another young guy went by and I thought, "The pace is slow, just hang on and you can out sprint him." The pace was slow and I got dropped at 300 out going even slower. The four events had taken place in about 40 minutes. I was done for the rest of the day as soon
as I won the Mile. I talked to Andrew some before the 2 Mile which I ran a little slower
than my normal tempo pace. I did not feel like another hard effort and didn't mind seeing Andrew get one of the small platters for winning an event. It was good to really race something short and fast. I didn't think I had that kind of speed in me. So I feel good about my fitness and cycling often seems to help my speed. My high school vaulter also went up and pole vaulted well, tying her vault personal best. Then she ran the 220 yard and won, a platter for her as well.


MacRae Meadow with Grandfather Mountain in Background


Bagpipe Competition


Heavy Athletics - Caber


Heavy Athletics - Tossing the Sheaf


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fireflies, Lightning, and Water Towers




Dancing with Fire Flys

went walking nude tonight
an inadequacy of enough drink
watching fire flys in the night
this provocation to reflect and think
life is complex and confused
it’s good i got a clear head.
you know, i sure wish my ass glowed





I have a group of poems that I call 7 Lines of Foolishness, maybe that's what I should call my blog sometimes. Anyway, guess what, this is one of those poems. I have thought of the poem several times over past month as summer and fireflies have returned. I say the last line to Alison periodically and to myself or God often. Depending on your perspective, it's either a good thing or bad thing that God does not answer this prayer. Some of you must admit it would be pretty cool though. I would be the King of mooning. One other firefly story from a couple of years ago. I was on a night run up and back on Twin Oaks road, when I pass through a drove of fireflies. I had never seen that many fireflies at one time in one place before, nor have I since. There literally had to be tens of thousands fireflies. It was a truly remarkable sight. Just another reason to do things differently from most people, such as running at night.

Which speaking of doing different things. I climbed a water tower again this week. Someone asked if I wanted to join them and I couldn't resist. I had been thinking of climbing one somewhere again as it had been quite a few years since I had done that. The conditions might not have been best, or could have been considered perfect, as there were thunderstorms in the area. As we met for our middle of the night excursion, we quickly decided lightning was a minor and worthwhile risk. We got some popsicles and headed for the tower. No better place to eat popsicles. This was first time I had ever climbed with someone. As he said, you need to choose the right person for such an activity or you're better off alone. Viewing the distant lightning from the high vantage point was quite a show. I plan to still sneak skyward periodically when I'm 80 or 90. There is just something exciting about being so high above everything around and being unrestrained. I don't think it is for everyone. But as my friend and I discussed, we enjoy the sensation of our hearts pounding and gripping things more tightly than normal. Furthermore, maybe I get a different view of my world from this rarely seen viewpoint, literally and metaphorically. It's good to survey our surroundings from an unique perspective sometimes.

Maybe someday my ass will begin to flicker in the night. I'll keep asking.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Highs and Lows of the Past Month or So of Running

In typing up my running milage from the past several weeks, it was fairly frustrating to look back at my messed up training. My training log, which is a Curious George calendar and has been for quite a number of years, had as much info on what hurt as what I had been doing running. But it was also good to see all the notes of "good run", "fun run". Those were all runs that I had done with friends. Almost every time that we run together, Cory says that it is almost like not running. I have to agree. I did a 3 hour and 45 minute run with Mark Lundblad at the end of May. It felt more like an hour. My back felt good that day, or maybe I was enjoying Mark's company too much to notice the back. Then Mt. Washington was a disaster, but a fun weekend. I ran with a friend, Shiloh, on Friday before the race and warming up before the race. Then we lamented our poor performances after the race. Shiloh is a fun guy to hang out and run with. Alison and I stayed with a couple in their 70s, Richard and Joann Fedion. They are a blast. I could write a whole blog on them, but I don't think it would do justice unless you know them. Also at Mt. Washington, I got to visit and talk with several other running friends. Several of us went to dinner together that evening after the race. The mountain running scene is a great group of people. An added bonus is that Jacqueline Gareau, Boston Marathon winner 1980, was assigned to ride down with us. Alison and I ended up hanging out with her on Friday evening, then Saturday before and after the race. Maybe I could say we're friends with Jacqueline Gareau. The people and friends I interact with around running are a big high, so much so that the lows don't seem as bad. I admire the CMS crowd as I read Dave Dunham's blog and blogs of some other CMS guys. Sounds like they have a lot of fun.

Anyway, on with a quick recap of my actual running and racing. At Rock2Rock, my back and right glute were feeling better. I climbed well as I hit the top very close to last years split, but I didn't have the legs to descend. But third was still helpful for my Mountain Cup standings. By RothRock Challenge I was feeling a good bit better physically. Michael Selig was there and I knew that I basically had to beat him to have any hopes of top 3 in the Mountain Cup. The course was tougher than I expected, which I didn't mind. The first climb came early and was steep. I was close to Matt Byrne on most of the climb, but had decided to take it a little easier early in the race. So he pulled away a little at the top of the climb. I expected the race to take close to 3 hours and I wanted to be running well in the last hour, not just the first. Reaching the first descent I knew this should be a good course for me. It was steep and overly technical, super rocky. I closed on Matt on this descent. Then there were several rolling miles, some technical, some very runnable. So not being a guy with speed, Selig caught me. We went back and forth for several miles, me pulling away on the climbs, Selig overtaking me on the descents. The 3 miles leading up to the aid at 12.8 were gentle rolling and very runnable. Selig went by early and I thought of trying to hang on to him. That thought was brief as I knew I'd be straining to match his speed. I thought, "Just be Jason and run your own race. That will be sufficient or it won't, but that's how you'll run best." I knew Selig was building a significant lead. During this part, I was really thinking that my Mountain Cup year was over. I thought of just running in, obviously I was struggling mentally. I prayed some as normal and the thought hit me that just running in was not very glorifying. I had to give my best and let the results be whatever they were.

The final descent into the aid at 12.8 was crazy, kind of scooting down on you butt stuff. The climb out from there was crazier. It was just a long boulder climb. I was told that I was 1.30 behind Selig and 3.00 back of Matt and the other guy. I could hardly imagine that I was making time on anyone here, but I kept telling myself that I good at this stuff. Sure enough I made up like 1.15 on Selig in about 1 1/2 miles. The next 1 1/2 miles Selig pulled away a little again down to the last aid station. From there it was a 5K to the finish with about a 9% 1 mile climb, then a mostly down and runnable 2 miles. I didn't think my chances of beating Selig were good with the down finish. I was climbing quite well and caught him near the top of the climb. As soon as I passed him, I looked up to see Matt Byrne. I went by and kept the hammer down on the final part of the climb. Then I knew the last 2 miles were not my thing, but more my thing after a couple hours harsh climbs and descents. I just kept scream inside to run crazy, reckless. Surprisingly, I held onto second and kept my Mountain Cup chances alive. I did that last ~5K in just over 19 minutes. I ran straight thru the finish, out a pier, and into the lake. I had been thinking about the lake since the middle of the race. I left RothRock feeling good about where I was at.

Now for the lows. My body didn't seem to leave RothRock in as good a condition as my mind. The next two weeks didn't go so well. My back was getting progressively achier. By Mt. Washington I was quite unsure what to expect, but got myself believing in the possiblity of a good race on the drive up. You have to believe. I didn't start as well as I'd have liked, but kept believing until just past mile 2. I felt the right side of my low back tremble, that is never good. I had slowed 1 minute in mile 3 off what I'd have expected. My back just got tighter and I got slower. It was downright laughable by mile 5. It was the 50th Mt. Washington and I wanted to finish. Glorifying to God? I don't know, but maybe. It was all my body had that day. Maybe I need to clearly see my frailty some days. I can live with it. I did run from the bottom to the top. So a running high or low?

The back is still exerting its control on my running. When it's okay, I can run good workouts. Some better than last year at this time or ever, some tempo I've done since 1989. When it's really unhappy, I just take the day off. I'm fit, just not so healthy. I'm seeing two chiroprators, one is Ryan Woods the Mountain Cup leader at this point. I've got a massage or two, plus some self massage. Icing. Bought a sleep number mattress. It'll come around at some point. So that's my running story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Training: May 23 - July 3

Week of May 23

Total mileage: 64 1/2
Races: Rock2Rock 10K 3rd 47.18

Sun - Hike La Luz trail in Sandia Mountain east of Albuquerque

Mon - Lunch 2m @~8.00 Total - 2

Tue - Evening 8m @~8.00 Total - 8

Wed - Morning 8m Beech Mtn. ~9% - 3m in 24.10; Evening 4m @~8.00 Total - 12

Thu - Evening 6m @7.35 Total - 3

Fri - Evening 10 1/2m Rock2Rock 10K 47.18 Total - 10 1/2

Sat - Morning 26m @~8.39 Bent Creek Trails with Mark Lundblad Total - 26

Week of May 30

Total mileage: 62
Races: RothRock Challenge 30K 2nd 2:51.33

Sun - Lunch 6 1/2m @~8.30 Total - 6 1/2

Mon - Lunch 12 1/2m @~8.30 Total - 12 1/2

Tue - Evening 6 1/2m @~8.00 Total - 6 1/2

Wed - Evening 2m @7.37 Total - 2

Thu - Morning 9m Pilot Mtn. workout 5 x 1/2m & 1 x 1/4m going up mtn.
(1/2-3.12, 1-3.32, 1 1/2-3.45, 2-3.38, 2 1/4-1.48); Evening 5 @7.45 Total - 14

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 20 1/2m @~8.39 RothRock Challenge 30K(18.9m) 2:51.33 Total - 20 1/2

Week of June 6

Total mileage: Run 50; Bike 20
Races: None

Sun - Morning 5m @~9.00 Total - 5

Mon - Morning Bike 20m @17.2 mph; Evening Aqua jog 45.00

Tue - Evening 7m @~8.09 Total - 7

Wed - Evening 5m @~9.00 at Continental Divide race course Total - 5

Thu - Morning 4m @~8.30; Evening 7m @9.45 at Continental Divide race course Total - 11

Fri - Morning 4 1/2 @8.12 with strides; Evening 8 1/2m @8.05 Total - 13

Sat - Morning 4m @7.59; Evening 5m @7.55 Total - 9

Week of June 13

Total mileage: 27
Races: None? Or Mt. Washington 59th 1:16.28 - Whew, that smells!

Sun - Morning 8 1/2 Pilot Mtn. 2.25 17.52(Not so good.) Total - 8 1/2

Mon - Off

Tue - Evening 5m - Tempo 10 minute(slow) Total - 5

Wed - Off

Thu - Off

Fri - Lunch 4m @~8.00 with Shiloh in NH

Sat - Morning 9 1/2m Mt. Washington 1:16.28 Total - 9 1/2

Week of June 20

Total mileage: Run 16; Bike 114
Races: None

Sun - Off

Mon - Evening Bike 19m @20.1 mph

Tue - Evening 8m - 20 minute tempo(Dobson) @5.44 avg.

Wed - Lunch Bike 16m @20.3 mph; Evening Bike 22m @20.3 mph Total - Bike 38

Thu - Evening 8m @~8.00 with 6 x 10sec. uphill sprints

Fri - Lunch Bike 16m @20.7 mph; Evening Bike 25m @21.1 mph Total - Bike 41

Sat - Lunch Bike 16m @20.7 mph

Week of June 27

Total mileage: Run 23; Bike 61.5
Races: None

Sun - Off

Mon - Lunch 5m @~8.00; Evening Bike 25 @ 20.8mph

Tue - Evening 7 1/2m - 20 minute tempo(Cody Tr.) @5.47 avg.

Wed - Off - Massage at Balanced Body

Thu - Evening 5 1/2 @~8.30

Fri - Evening Bike 25m @20.4 mph

Sat - Lunch Bike 11.5 @~19 mph; Afternoon 5m @~8.00 with Cory



Friday, June 18, 2010

An Odd Running Talent, An Odd Basis for Faith

Alison and I are driving up to Mt. Washington Road Race. Mt. Washington is my type of running. After 200 yards the rest is all up, 7.5 miles at 11.5%. Alison and some close friends are probably the only people who really understand the oddity of my mountain running. I started running the first week of December 1988 in high school. I got serious fairly quickly and won the small school NC Cross Country State Meet the following November, running 16.37. That is still my 5K personal best. I struggled with plantar fascitis for the next 10 years. After my quick cross country success, I felt there was a good runner lying dormant inside throughout those years. I ran, but never more than 25-30 miles a week. I finally got the fascitis resolved and returned to training seriously for about the last 10 years. Through my early 30s I basically just proved I was not as talented as I believed I myself to be. Yet, I remained delusional, I could be good if I could just find what was limiting me. I did run 16.46 for 5K this past fall, so maybe I'll improve my PR someday, but I doubt I'll ever break 16. My half-marathon personal best is 1:18.10, marathon is 2:43.42. Times that say I'm okay, not nothing great.



Then I discovered running uphill. In my early 30s, I ran Pilot Mountain at home periodically just for fun. I knew my times up it were relatively good, but I was only running a bit faster than 8 minute pace. I didn't know that was good for ~10% grade. Then I met Alison and we started running together. She wanted to know why I was running the hills so hard. My response: I am taking a break on the hills, running easy. I did a local NC hillclimb at 4% and did rather well. I was racing with guys I was never close to in regular road races. Looking on the internet, Mt. Washington looked seriously steep, plus it was the Mountain National Championship. The logical step, right. So June 17, 2006 I woke up a decent local road runner. Then I ran Mt. Washington and I was a mountain runner. At Mt. Washington, and other uphill races, I can race with much more broadly talented runners than me, i.e. generally faster. For example, that first Mt. Washington I was racing with a former US Mountain team member who had 14.20s 5K on his resume. I had discovered my running talent, an odd talent, but I'll acknowledge a natural running talent. I hadn't really done anything to develop my uphill running talent. It was just laying there undiscovered. Looking back, it was there from the start as I had always hammered people on the hills. Good for cross country.



Why I run up mountains so well is hard to put a finger on. My best guess is that I have some biomechanical difference that can't be obviously seen. When I discovered this talent, I couldn't help but think what if? What if I had the same natural ability of some that guys I race and my uphill ability? I'd be seriously good. Maybe. I would now say that is foolish talk and worthless. I'll take the talent that I have, develop it, and make the most of it. What ifs are dead end roads. Since there are a limited number of uphill races and many off road. I discovered that was good as well. The rougher, more technical the terrain is, the better I do. Longer races, ultra races are better for me. Repeated climbs in races are good. The bounds of my running talent seems to have expanded, maybe. My running talent: Not slowing down. I just seem to not slow at the same rate whenever there is something that causes running pace to be lost. An odd talent. It is still most dramatic climbing mountains.



So how does this relate to my faith in God? My faith in God has been a struggle since high school. I tend to believe what I see. I like being able understand things, prove the basis of things. God does not lend himself too well to that. God is a something you can't quite put your finger on. There is no proving God exists, just seeing the evidence of God. (There is also no proving God does not exist, or any other possible origins of life.) Running has always been a somewhat personal connection to God for me. But my uphill running talent made God make more sense to me. I believed there was a running talent inside me even in the years it would have been impossible to prove. Even after discovering my talent, it is hard to define or explain. I am still nothing especially fast for anything flat and easy. (Side note: Sometimes I wish my talent wasn't doing hard stuff. It means I get to hurt/suffer a lot. But "ifs" are still dead end roads.) If I could believe in my running ability, I can believe in God. My running experiences has made a passage from Hebrews 12, thus faith in God, make more sense for me. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith or belief is often required to take the steps to see the evidence of something.

So Mt. Washington stands before me again tomorrow. To be honest, I'm a bit unsure of how it'll go. I like to predict my time at races. A little hard this time, since the last two months training has been all over the place. I finally settled on 1:05.30. Two months ago, I would have said a good bit faster. Two days ago, I would have hoped at least sub 1:10. Whatever it is, I'll run hard. In fact, I pray often that I glorify God with my running. Not sure what that exactly means, actually. I don't pray that just for races. I say that prayer on workout days that no one sees, long runs, slow easy runs in the woods. I hope my running is a thing of beauty. To be honest, when I picture myself running, it is to me. I had a thought yesterday that I want to place well for myself. I think that's okay, but I still come back to back to glorifying God regardless of place. I'll just plan on making the most of the opportunity to turn uphill once more.