Thursday, July 12, 2018

Yes, I Still Run

It's been a long time since I posted about races or any kind of running. I still run "socially", meeting about 3 times a week with my regular running partners Monique and Gene, and sometimes another run during the week, usually on my own.  I have not trained to race since spring of last year.  But I have run in some races.

Last September I joined some friends in the Chambersburg YMCA sprint triathlon relay. I ran the 5k in an "okay for not training" time of 23:48.  Our team was second in the masters coed division.

I also ran in two hilly trail races during November for social reasons.  One was the Twisted Turkey Trail Run 15k because a co-worker and her husband were running.  My time was 1:46:55.  The following week I ran in the Hex Hollow Half because my nephew Jason was volunteering.  My time was 2:46:37, good enough for 1st of 2 in my age group.

In May of this year I ran twice with my great niece Ada.  We did the mile in the Hustle for Health and Ada finished first.  Except for me, the other participants walked. A couple weeks later we ran in the Go Girls Go 5k.  She participated in the after-school program which included some run training.  We finished in 35:35.  Ada likes to put on a late unannounced sprint to cross the finish line ahead her Uncle Chuck.
Before the Hustle for Health

In early June I ran in the Race Against Poverty 5k at which I usually volunteer.  I thought I was running at a training pace as opposed to race pace, but by halfway it was feeling like race pace.  My 26:06 was third fastest of 10 or so in the 60+ age group, so now I have 1st, 2nd, 3rd place trophies from this race.  Of 16 5ks in my log, only one was slower.  That was 26:39 at my first race back in 2007 as a brand new runner.

I think I am ready to train again for goal races.  I have not registered yet but my fall racing wishlist is below.

September 8 - Old Forge Marathon or Half near Watertown NY.  The son of a church friend is doing his first marathon there.
October 14 - Mount Desert Island Marathon or Half at Bar Harbor Maine.  I've been hearing how beautiful Maine is and this would make my first visit.
November 4 - D & L Half Marathon goes from Slatington to Northhampton PA on a rails to trails route.  My run partners are considering this too.
November 10/11 - One Day 24 Hours at Sussex County Fairgrounds near Augusta NJ.  My one other 24 hour race was at the same place about 2 years ago.

I might also repeat at the Y Tri relay 5k on September 29.

I have gotten soft in my training mentality, often resetting my alarm for more sleep on days I intended to run if I didn't have plans to meet someone.  This will need to change for me to prepare properly for these races.  However this turns out, I plan to run regularly somewhere.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Strokes, Spokes, Strides Sprint Triathlon - June 10, 2017

I completed a sprint distance triathlon last weekend with a 300 meter swim, 11.8 mile bike, 5k run.  I finished in 1:22:04, 23rd of 40. Swim 9:18, transition 1 in 2:18, bike 44:33, transition 2 in 0:36, run 25:23.  As the only person in my age group I was both first and last.  This was my first triathlon as well as my first swim or bike event.

The big question mark for me with the triathlon was the swim portion.  I never had swim training or participated in anything more than fun swimming in pools, creeks and ponds.  Riding a bicycle and running don't have the same breathing challenge as swimming.  And in a race swimmers are not supposed to just stop and stand up when out of breath.

Poster that Matt and Katherine (and grandbaby) gave to cheer me on
So after my spring marathon (Boston) I began swimming twice a week.  After about a month it seemed I would be ready for the Waynesboro YMCA's Strokes, Spokes and Strides triathlon June 10th.  After registering for the race, I did a race rehearsal in Waynesboro with training partners Monique and Gene.  I had a surprisingly difficult time with the swim that day, including panicky hyperventilation.  This prompted me to begin swimming in a deeper pool and to research the mental part of completing the swim.  I prayed a lot too.  On race day, I arrived early so I could do a practice swim before the race.  Happily it went well.

Based on predicted swim times, we were arranged with faster swimmers first.  The swim would go in a serpentine fashion through 6 lanes, with a new swimmer starting every 15 seconds.  I was lined up near the end of the swimmers 5 or 6 from last.  I had estimated a 10 minute swim time based on my

It seemed like a long wait at poolside until my turn came to cross the timing mat and jump in at the deep end to start my swim.  While waiting I noticed some swimmers not doing so well and thought about not being the only one like that.  My swim started as planned, counting my strokes, focusing on
kicking, exhaling, relaxed breathing and rolling a little further to breathe in. 

YMCA photo
Shortly after the first turn I was closing in on the lady swimming in front of me.  Before the end of that lap I had to slow to not swim over her and that really disrupted my rhythm.  I forgot to tap her foot to indicate I want to pass, but I pushed hard off the wall and swam strongly until I passed her.  I tried to settle back into a relaxed stroke and the swim methods already mentioned.  There were a couple times I took in some water when breathing and paused to cough and clear my throat.

After another lap a male swimmer was resting at the wall and let me pass.  From then on it was just a matter of continuing to complete laps, looking ahead for other swimmers and checking progress toward the end.  It felt like I should be closer to done.  I remember noticing a shapely lady in the next lane and her two piece swimsuit and immediately wished such sights didn't distract me - I still had to survive my swim!  Finally only one length remained and I tried swimming faster but soon had to settle back into my standard rhythm.  I remember noticing the lifeguard standing at the side of the last lane.  I had decided one of my goals was to finish the swim without lifeguard assistance and it seemed I would make it.

At the end of the pool I scooted over to the ladder to get out, leave the building and run to the transition area to prepare for the bike.

I sat down to dry my feet and put on socks and shoes.  I took a swallow of my coffee and honey mix and then some water.  There was a shirt to put on, then race belt with number, helmet, glasses, adjust my mirror and push the bike out to the road.  Once on the bike I started my watch and thanked the police officer who stopped traffic for each of us crossing the main road.  At the first turn several friends were waiting to offer encouragement.

For the most part the bike portion was uneventful.  I passed a few people on the out part of the course.  But at the one sharp turn I heard a scuffing sound, then saw a bike go down and the cyclist tumble across the lane.  He got up right away and was picking up the bike as I approached.  I asked if he would be ok and he said he would.  Every turn had a volunteer stopping traffic and directing riders along the course.  I drank regularly from my bottle with sport drink. 


After the turnaround (almost a mile short due to bridge work) the course was mostly downhill and I picked up some speed.  I passed a couple more and was passed once myself.  There were a couple times I stopping pressing the pace to rest my bottom which was getting sore or to drink from my bottle.  At one spot on the return I was checking my turn sheet and a car passed surprisingly close - I had drifted out near the center of the lane without noticing them approaching.  I should have paid better attention.  Soon I was approaching the main hill near the end and shifted to the smallest front chainring and the chain came off.  I had to stop and get it back on before I could continue.  The brief rest made the climb easier than I remembered from previous times.

Once over the hill I saw the same friends again and began thinking of making the transition to run.  Cross the main street and thank the officer again.  Stop on the street and push the bike into transition.  The run motion there was really awkward after pedaling hard on the bike.  Park the bike, remove helmet and glasses, take a drink and pick up sunglasses.  I started running out of transition the wrong way but realized it in a few steps.  When out on the course I hit the lap button on my watch and adjusted my race belt so the bib/number was visible in front.


Less than a half mile out I passed the cheering friends again.  One particular phrase I remember hearing was "pace yourself".  I was already breathing hard due to the adjustment from bike to run and the hill at that point.  But I don't think I took that advice seriously.  I remember thinking it was less than a 3 mile run from here, I've done this before.  Soon I realized I was overexerting and had to ease the pace.  There was a water station with a little girl offering water before the 1 mile mark.  I didn't want any yet but thought I'd be sure to accept the offer on the way back - just to be nice.

Johna, Brenda, Rebecca, Amy
I had passed one runner by this point and had seen several coming back the other way finishing their run.  I was struck by what seemed like less than impressive paces.  Shortly before the halfway turnaround I saw Monique coming back and then saw Gene making the turnaround ahead of me.  There is a bit of a hill approaching the 2 mile mark and I walked some of that.  I was now demonstrating some unimpressive run paces myself.  There were a couple of corners to turn then a half mile downhill/uphill section.  Back past the cheering friends who were saying ridiculous sounding things like "looking strong".  I was feeling spent.  One more hill and around a curve to the finish.  I usually like pushing to finish lines but I don't think there was any pushing this time.

And I was done.  What a hard thing that was!

The race was done well by the YMCA and Racine MultiSports.  Since the race field was small, the announcer was able to announce each person's name as they entered transition from swim or bike and when coming to the finish line.  That was nice. 

Note: photographer credits to my friend Brenda for race photos.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Meeting Bruce Clark for his BBC Documentary on Charles Thomson

Last week Rose and I made a quick overnight trip to Jim Thorpe, PA. We met with a small crew doing a TV documentary on Charles Thomson for the BBC in Northern Ireland. Thomson was a US founding father who came here as a child from Ireland about 1740. He eventually got connected with Ben Franklin and the Continental Congress.  And he designed the official seal of the U.S.  He also had some interaction with the Indians who were tricked into the Walking Purchase land deal and he took up their complaint of unfairness.  So his story has a connection to my 6th great grandfather, Edward Marshall.
I was interviewed to tell about Marshall and the Walking Purchase of 1737. And I was filmed running in the forest near the end of the Walk to help viewers relate to his run/walk of 65 miles through Pennsylvania forests and mountains.

There were 3 questions to set the outline of the interview.

Bruce asked "What are you doing?" (to follow some video of me running in the forest) 
My answer was to describe my Grandfather Marshall's involvement in the Walking Purchase and how it was part of a land deal between the Pennsylvania government and the Indians.  The answer included how I learned of all of this and went on to research and plan my retracing.

Bruce then asked "What was retracing it like as a run?"
My answer described the distance and the terrain involved as well as the difficulty of running for 12 hours one day and 6 hours the following day.  It was also an opportunity to contrast my run with the original by Edward Marshall in terms of gear and apparel, running surface, logistical support.

Bruce asked "Having retraced his run, what do you think of Edward Marshall and his accomplishment?"
I answered with my admiration of his athletic achievement to cover 65 miles in those conditions.  And I related my opinion that he was used by people in power to accomplish their own objectives.  He did not receive the rewards or payments that were promised.  I admire his attempt to run as far as possible to gain something that would benefit his family. This helped motivate me going up the last mountain during my run to retrace it.  And when it ended up costing him the lives of some family members, he went on with life and did the best he could in the circumstances.  He even testified in a later inquiry that the Indians were cheated by the government.

Go here to read my post about the Walking Purchase

They said the goal is to finish production before year end. I'm pretty sure my little part will be just a minute or so, since there is lots to tell about Thomson for a one hour program.  They said they will send a DVD copy to me.

Links to info about Charles Thomson

 In late February we found a message on our phone answering machine.  A British sounding man gave his name as Bruce Clark and said he was calling from Northern Ireland.  He wanted to talk to me and hopefully interview me about my Walking Purchase run for a BBC documentary about Charles Thomson.  My first thought was that this must be some kind of prank, since my Walking Purchase story couldn’t be of interest to someone in Northern Ireland.
I did some google research and thought I found a Bruce Clark who could be the same person.  He had written a book related to Greece and had connections to Hellenic studies. This made me think maybe our son Keith had spoken to him at a recent conference in Greece.  I asked Keith and he said no.

A couple weeks later Kathryn Baird called, also leaving a message, but then called back and spoke to Rose.  And then she called back to talk with me.  There followed several dozen emails exchanged to cover all the details about my little part in the project.  Program overview, interview content, meet up place, filming location. 

The filming location was the toughest detail to settle on as they wanted some place that would look like the forested mountain in 1737 where Edward Marshall finished the “Walk”.  And it was important to be able to secure permission for filming there.  The location decided upon was on the outskirts of Jim Thorpe PA on property adjacent to Mauch Chunk Rod and Gun Club, that is owned by the Jim Thorpe Water Company.  We would be guided/accompanied by Drew Benyo who is the Cross Country coach for Jim Thorpe High School.  The high school XC course uses the same area.

We eventually came to know that when researching online for the program, Mr. Clark had found the newspaper story of my Walking Purchase run.  He wanted to include the Walking Purchase story and my perspective as part of showing Charles Thomson as the ‘man who tells the truth” according to the statement by the Indians.
Filming the interview with Bruce Clark (in blue blazer).  Also from left Mal Marken producer/director/cameraman, Kathryn Baird producer, Sam sound tech, Blane Scott cameraman.

Filming the interview with Bruce Clark (in blue blazer).  Also from left Mal Marken producer/director/cameraman, Kathryn Baird producer, Sam sound tech, Blane Scott cameraman

Benyo, Clark, Baird meeting
Action shots…


Email/letter from producer Kathryn Baird to editor of the magazine which owns rights to my Walking Purchase story.

I am writing from Belfast as the producer of an hour-long television documentary on the Founding Father, Charles Thomson, which will be broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland later this year. 
Thomson came from Ireland and the programme will be presented by a distinguished journalist and author who grew up on the site where Thomson himself was born and who, sharing many interests with him -  including the Irish linen industry, international politics, religious affairs and the Greek language - has become something of a specialist. 

Following the notorious Walking Purchase, Charles Thomson was involved in the negotiations at Easton, acting as adviser and secretary to Teedyuscung, the Indian chief known as the ‘King of the Delaware Indians’. Part of our project is to consider the role Thomson played in this affair, for which the Indians gave him the name, 'The Man Who Tells the Truth.’ It would be a wonderful addition to our programme to have Chuck run part of the route for us and to hear his considered and thoroughly researched views of his sixth-great-grandfather and the deceit behind the Walking Purchase. Congratulations to you for having had the foresight to see the interest of this in the first place. I imagine it partly derived from your having grown up in Jim Thorpe (which is where we would like to film) and knowing the story of the hoax.

 Their overview of the documentary:

The Man Who Told the Truth

Is an hour-long landmark television documentary, commissioned from Imagine Media Productions Ltd by BBC Northern Ireland and the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund/ Northern Ireland Screen.

The subject of the film is the Founding Father, Charles Thomson, the facts of whose life are remarkable: born in Ireland, the young Charles arrived as a penniless orphan in the New World, managed to join the elite of Philadelphia, became part of the revolutionary struggle and was one of the only two signatories to the original Declaration of Independence. As the first Secretary of the Continental Congress, he played a pivotal role in the young American republic, earning the respect of men like Franklin and Jefferson and designing The Great Seal. His last public act was a week-long journey from New York to Mount Vernon to tell George Washington that he had been chosen as the first President of the United States. In his retirement, to a farm at Harriton House, Thomson translated the Septuagint and corresponded vigorously with Thomas Jefferson.

Before he left for the New World, Charles Thomson grew up in a small farm at Gorteade, Co. Derry where the distinguished author and journalist, Bruce Clark, now lives. Bruce has developed a keen interest in Charles Thomson. This programme is his voyage of discovery, during which he follows in Thomson’s footsteps to uncover the story behind the man who was named by the Indians, “The Man Who Tells the Truth”, and who left his mark, quite literally, on the New World.



1. Co Derry, where Thomson was born. Bruce meets Thomson’s biographer, Boyd Schlenther.

2. New Castle Delaware - the port into which Thomson sailed and became apprenticed to a blacksmith.

3. Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton, Virginia - where three of Thomson’s brothers went and near which one brother is buried.

4. Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church –the Presbyterian community of Staunton.

5. New London, site of the Academy of Francis Alison, where Charles Thomson was educated.

6. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, developed from the group of young men, including Thomson, who clustered around Benjamin Franklin exchanging ideas on science and religion. 

7. Wrightstown, Jim Thorpe and Easton – sites associated with Thomson’s involvement with the Delaware Indians.

8. Philadelphia: Independence Hall, the new Museum of the American Revolution, William Penn Charter School.

9. Washington – the vicinity of the White House, the National Archives, the Great Seal, the Trumbull painting of the Declaration of Independence

10. Harriton House – to which Thomson retired.

11. New York – a contemporary copy of Thomson’s Enquiry into the Alienation of the Indians. …

Short youtube documentary of Thomson's life by Bruce Clark

Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon, Monday April 17

My goal for this race was to average 8:35 per mile for a 3:45 finish time, but the weather was warmer than I could overcome.  I finished the marathon in 4:22:09.

The forecast was for mid 60’s and sunny at the start, climbing to low 70’s, then becoming overcast for my last hour or so and cooling into the 60’s again.  From reports that I have seen, temperatures were a little higher than forecast.  There was a brisk wind, mostly as a tailwind. 

Before the race I hung out in the Athlete's Village with friends Jill and Laurie.  As much as possible I stayed in the shade and let the breeze cool me, even to the point of mild shivering.  I didn't want to feel warm before even getting to the start line.  Just before getting to the start area, I made one more porta potty stop.  While waiting in line I could hear the announcements counting down to start time and the wave actually started before I got to my assigned corral 5.  I was able to walk along the outside of the later corrals a little quicker than the crowd inside and caught up to the back of my corral just as they were breaking into a jog.

Poster I found on my hotel door, made by Karlyn (Jill's daughter)

I was in the 3rd wave which had a 10:50 am start time; I crossed the start line just before 10:55.  Due to the warm temps I decided to adjust my goal pace slower to 8:40-8:45 per mile for the first part of the course, hoping I might tolerate the conditions and be able to speed up some in the later miles.  I ran at the left side of the road so that I would get a little more of the breeze coming from the back left.  And I carried a high evaporation cooling cloth to wipe my face and neck.  Along with drinking water and gatorade, I dumped water over my head and torso for cooling effect.

After about 10 miles my average pace was about right for that plan but I was feeling the effects of both the temperature and the early steep descents that cause quad soreness.  And the fluids I was drinking were sloshing a bit in my stomach.  So I adjusted the effort and pace hoping I could hold a 9 minute pace. That would also prove to be unsustainable.


A little past mid way I stopped off to the side to rub my thigh muscles to relieve some soreness.  Almost right away a race volunteer came to check if I was okay or needed help.  I later read that nearly 10 percent of runners had received medical assistance either on the course or at the finish area.

My secondary goal had been to requalify for Boston with a 3:55 or just under 9’s.  My pace continued to slow as I was trying keep the discomfort manageable.  But I felt hotter and my muscle soreness increased.  I walked more at the water tables that were at every mile, and when the hills started around mile 16/17 I was walking about half of the uphills. 

The crowd was amazing, cheering with great enthusiasm.  I don’t think there was any part of the course where no spectators were visible at least at some distance.   Some places they were 3 or 4 deep.  Families were out along the road handing out water, ice, orange slices, gummy candy, ice pops and more.  I probably got/received a few hundred high fives, mostly from little kids.  There was music at several places.  One of those places also had children bouncing on mini trampolines.

Keep going Stonie!

I wore my name on the front of my shirt and must have heard "Stonie" a thousand times.   My Dad was called Stonie by his friends and my brother Jim goes by this too, so I was feeling the family connection and being reminded of both of them throughout the race.   Several times apparent college age guys would repeat the name chanting "Stonie! Stonie! Stonie!".  Most of the time I was able to smile at anyone calling my name.
My wife Rose and son Keith were along the course at the 22.4 mile point, shortly after the last of the hills.  I stopped to visit for a minute or two before finishing the day’s work.  
Stopping for a family visit

From this point the course was almost completely downhill and I walked only a little more.  I was able to pick up the pace over the last half mile to about my original goal pace.  Making the final turn was an amazing thing with the crowd cheering wildly.  It’s a few blocks to the finish line and because of the cheering it feels like racing for an Olympic win.

About 1 more mile
Final push

The whole experience was great and I am happy to have had the opportunity to be there.  The physical part got to be pretty unpleasant and I’m disappointed to miss my goal time.  I had been training for this race since Christmas.  

It was nice sharing the experience again with friends.  Our families were at the same hotel, so we did dinner and breakfast together.  Plus, Rose and I got to spend a couple days with Keith.

I'm not sure whether there are more marathons or Bostons in my dreams, but I have some cherished memories.

Recovered & ready to walk to the train station
BAA data: 5k 0:26:55; 10k 0:54:15; 15k 1:21:42; 20k 1:50:21;Half 1:56:38; 25k 2:20:4;
30k 2:54:3; 35k 3:33:2; 40k 4:08:37;Final 4:22:09 10:00 pace
Overall 19873 of 26,000+, Male 60-64 661st of 1000+

Garmin mile splits (watch measured 26.47 miles):
8:52, 8:38, 8:22, 8:31, 8:42, 8:51, 8:36, 8:54, 8:39, 8:56, 9:10, 9:06, 9:27, 9:28, 9:40, 10:07, 10:58, 11:14, 10:41, 11:48, 13:17, 12:03, 12:25, 10:57, 10:07, 10:28, 4:01(0.47)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Viaduct Trail Ultra 100 Miles

Saturday August 13-14, 2016  Lanesboro, PA               

Photos mostly by Ralph Pisle

I dropped from the race after completing 75 miles in a little under 23 hours.  The heat forced a slower average pace because of more walking, and drained both my ability to process food and my desire to continue to the finish.

This race is held on a 12.5 mile course, mostly a rails to trails route.  Runners in the 50 mile race do 2 out and back round trips, 100 milers are in for 4 round trips.  There is aid available at the start/finish area, at 7 miles out, plus water at the midcourse turn-around.  The turnaround is unattended and had a list of runners on which we were to record our arrival time at each visit.  There used to be train bridges around 8 and 10 miles from the start/finish.  With the bridges now gone the course drops, then climbs back to its normal track.  One of these is shallower and gradual through grassy land.  The other is deeper and rocky, with steeper inclines.  This one crosses a stream near a scenic waterfall.

The race website describes the course this way:
"Beginning at the Starrucca Viaduct in Lanesboro, PA, the course is a somewhat challenging series of out-and-back laps, mostly on stony, unimproved rail trail. Although four-wheeler traffic has made two nice gravel tracks along much of the course, rocks are impossible to avoid in some places. Because of the many rocky sections, decent trail-running shoes are probably the best option.

Gaiters can help to keep out the gravel and cinders.
The overall elevation change is gradual, and there are two dips where trestles (bridges) used to be. Including the hills in Lanesboro and Bucks Falls, the total elevation change is about 1000 feet for each lap. From the start to the turnaround, it's up, and it's down for the return. The course map has a profile graph below it."

The weather was warm and humid at the start - low to mid 70 degree temps.  The forecast was for a high of about 90 degrees, possible thunderstorms, Saturday night temps down to about 70.
I wore shorts and a short-sleeve shirt with a running vest holding a 1 liter hydration bladder.  I started out wearing Inov8 295 Roclites with gaiters and switched to Altra Olympus after 25 miles.

My longtime running friend Ralph was accompanying me on his bike for the whole run.  He carried some extra food and drink items and was there to support me in whatever I might need.  This was a huge help to me and provided some comfort to my family members who were worried about me doing the race in the hot, humid conditions.

Honorary finisher award - presented by Ralph

The details:
75 miles 22:54

Lap 1 - 5:00 am to 10:33 am (5:33 elapsed)
According to my plan I ran the first 3.5 miles except for the short uphill to the trail entrance 1.25 miles from start.  Then I began a run/walk
pattern of run 7 minutes/walk 4 minutes. I walked the uphill at the deeper dip in the trail about 10 miles out.

I spent about 5 minutes at the beginning running with Nora who I had met at a course preview run 3 weeks earlier.  Around the 4 mile
mark I nearly fell in the dark when trying to avoid an overhead branch and so not seeing a steep sideways slant on the trail.  I was
thinking about avoiding ticks on vegetation.  So I quit avoiding contact with plants after that.  The course soon ran near a home and we heard roosters crowing as dawn approached.  At most road crossings we saw someone waiting to meet a runner.

About mile 6, still looking fresh.
We stopped at the Melrose aid station (mile 7 & 18) to refill water and food items.  My nutrition plan was to eat a Lara Bar or Cliff Bar and a pack of cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches on the way to and from the Melrose aid stop.  That would be about 400 calories including carb, protein, fat, salt.  Additionally,  for variety and supplementation I hade some chocolate milk, V8 Energy drinks, lunchpack cups of peaches, ready to eat Progresso chicken rice or noodle soup. These were in my dropbag at Melrose and my storage bin at the start finish. So my plan was for a minimum of 1200 calories per 25 miles.
On the way out we passed the 50 mile lead runner coming back - perhaps 4 miles ahead already. 

At the turn around there was a small table with a list of the runners.  Beside out name we were to use a sharpie to write the time we were there.  It wasn't so easy since the plastic page protector was wet.
Mid-course turn around point
Steep climb on the inbound side at Buck Falls
The return trip was really routine.  My watch gave the signal for switching from run to walk and back to run.  The temperature was rising and the open areas had more sun exposure.  I felt a blister developing on the small toe of my left foot.  I thought it was early for that, perhaps due to the heat and moisture in my shoes.  The last mile to finish the lap is along Main St in Lanesboro. There were some yard sales going on and other small town things to see.

Transition 1 (49 minutes)
I changed shoes and socks. My left foot small toe was crowded, blistering underneath.  I sat for a while with my bare feet up, taking
time to eat & drink.  I replenished my food and water and started back out.  Ralph would soon follow after charging up his electronics.

Ralph's bike is not camera shy like he is
Resting my feet after 25 miles

Lap 2 - 11:22 am to 6:30 pm (7:08 elapsed)
For this lap I added a wide brimmed hat for sun protection.  My plan was to continue the 7/4 run walk for the first couple miles where the 
course is more downhill.  Then I would reverse to 4/7 until it is too warm.  It turned out that I walked most of the outbound miles due to heat.  I abandoned the timed walk/run plan because I wasn't getting cool enough during the walk period to run without overheating.  I had left the transition with more in my stomach and it was a while before I could eat much.

After the turnaround I tried a little running with the slight downhill terrain.  During this part of lap 2 we connected with Amy Winters who had fallen, gotten skinned up and developed problems with her prosthetic leg.  Nora's crew person Vera was able to help get her fixed up.  But Amy stopped after 50 miles since the stump of her leg had been bleeding inside the prosthetic.  Amy has quite the story and some fame.  Check her out:

Running behind Amy
A few miles from the end of lap 2

I could feel blisters forming at the back of my left heel.  And my feet were hurting from the rocky places and being on them more than 13 hours.  Toward the end of this lap that had involved so much walking, I wanted to keep the possibility of finishing the race within reach. So I ran for 10 or 15 minutes straight toward the end of the trail portion of the lap.  For some reason this triggered some strong emotions in me that had me on the verge of crying.  The long stretch of running and the sniffing caught Ralph's attention and he asked if I was ok.

Transition 2 (60 minutes)
I again changed socks and tried to adjust my shoe for new blisters on my left heel.  I think now that the extra
walking changed my foot movement in the shoes.  And a week before the race I had added some heel raising inserts that been tested for only an hour.  Maybe that was involved too.  I rinsed off by pouring water over myself, then dried and changed my shorts and shirt.  I ate some chicken and rice soup, drank chocolate milk, sat with feet up for a while.  And I had a bit of turkey sandwich and some gatorade and grapes.  It took a long time to take care of everything.

Lap 3 - 7:30 pm to 03:54 am (8:24 elapsed)
On the way back out another runner was coming in and asked about me going back out.  I said yes, thinking 'of course - I have 50 more
miles to do'. She said she was coming in because she didn't want to be out there alone with only 3 others still on the course.  I
suggested she could run with me, but she had decided she was done.

I started out expecting temps to drop to a comfortable level and to be able to get back to my planned run/walk pattern. It was no longer really hot, but it was not cool.  I resumed run walk but within a few miles was discouraged that conditions had not cooled more.  Too much walking was still needed to keep from getting too hot.  I was walking more than even a run 4, walk 7 pattern.  During much of the out portion of this lap we were seeing lightning flashes and hearing thunder ahead of us.  We never reached the storm though.

Gradually I was allowing myself to consider the possibility (or eventuality) of not finishing 100 miles.  And I also began expressing it out loud.  Trying to resist this, I remembered a quote from another race about "not letting pain turn you into a coward".  It seemed I might be watching that happen in myself.  At one point Ralph said that if I had decided not to finish we might as well turn around now. (It had a kind of parental tone the way I heard it.) I wasn't ready for that, saying I at least wanted to finish 75 miles.

By the Melrose aid station I felt the need for a longer stop. A volunteer asked if I needed anything.  I asked for some "want-to" to go.  After a little thinking the she said she believed that I already had enough if I would use it.

We stopped at the Buck Falls road crossing for me to sit down and refill water on both outbound and inbound passes.  I did occasional running until returning to Melrose.  I sat again and ate some soup there, while again taking a longer break.  I was asking about sending my drop bag back to the start if anyone drives that way.  I guess I told them I wasn't doing the 4th lap.  Someone there was saying how much of a factor the heat and humidity were this year.  These breaks consumed time that would be important for a runner planning another lap, but didn't matter to someone ready to be finished.

Last break at Buck Falls around midnight
Late night running
I believe I walked the remaining miles from Melrose.  My painful feet and lower legs made the walking more unpleasant.  Ralph was mostly walking too since riding slow wasn't easy.  We talked about how long it was taking and how good it would be to stop.  With about 2 miles to go the 100 mile leader caught up and passed.  His pass took several minutes since was walking a long stretch there.

Finally we were off the trail, onto the pavement for that last mile or so.  I jogged down the hill to Main St, then walked the road to the finish.  The cutoff to start the last loop was 4 am and I signed in just before that.  I marked an 'X' in the column for my lap 4 time.  I had not finished, but I was done.

Several days later, I question whether I did the best I could have in the circumstances.  For example...
  • My 2 transitions between 25 mile loops were about an hour each.  I wasn't working so hard that I needed that much rest.  If I had cut that time in half, things may have looked better during lap 3.
  • During the third lap I allowed longer stops as if it didn't matter that time was ticking away, even before I had decided/announced I would stop at 75 miles.
  • Mentally I took the race for granted.  I had done 100 miles in a race back in May.  I had 31 hours to make the distance - I thought I could walk most of it.  I had company to keep me from getting lonely or in trouble physically.  I didn't prepare myself for a serious mental challenge.
  • My nutrition plan was rather limited.  I hadn't prepared for switching to mostly fluids for nutrition if heat made eating difficult.  And that did happen.
  • I had staked a lot on cool temperatures over night.  When they didn't arrive it seemed my hope was gone.

More photos