Grindstone 100 – My First DNF

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding” – Proverbs 3:13

After successfully completing 5-100mile races, I finally achieved my first DNF (Did not finish).  Now that I can be honest with myself, I am not surprised after spending time reflecting on the events of 2014 and the days leading up to the Grindstone 100.

Course Elevation Profile or Jaws of a Monster!

Course Elevation Profile or Jaws of a Monster!

2014 In Review

Unlike 2010 when it seemed like everything went perfectly when it came to running for me, I have faced numerous challenges this year. Despite starting 2014 with a new 5k personal best in March, I ran my slowest marathon since my first one over 8 years ago.  This wasn’t a surprise since I had been diagnosed with pneumonia just weeks before the Boston Marathon. However, skipping this historic race wasn’t an option given the importance of this race after the bombings of the year before.

Weeks later I lined up for the Dirty German 50 miler and after going out too fast, the wheels came off and my breathing once again was a challenge. I dropped from 3rd place after the first loop to finish 24th and wondered if this new pattern of not being able to finish strong would continue.

At the end of June (7 weeks later) I lined up for the most iconic ultra in the world, the Western States Endurance Run. Continue reading

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Eastern States 100 Race Report: STATES SLAM COMPLETE!

“So do not throw away your confidence, because it has great reward” –  Hebrews 10:35

Eastern States 100 Offers a Beautiful and Challenging Course!

Eastern States 100 Offers a Beautiful and Challenging Course!

Awesome! Running a race its inaugural year can sometimes be a gamble as the kinks are worked out and lessons are learned. Fortunately the Eastern States race directors and volunteers did an incredible job hosting a premier event.

The transformation of the trails in the “Grand Canyon” of Pennsylvania over the last several weeks was absolutely amazing. I had run the last 70 miles over the last couple of months and on race day the Stinging Nettle and other shrubs were completely removed from the trails. The course was well-marked and the support from the aid stations was world-class. Fortunately they left plenty of roots, tons of rocks, and enough stream crossings to keep us crazy runners busy on our journey. It is a great course with over 20,000 feet of elevation gain and a couple of extra miles for no additional cost.

Images from the course thanks to David Walker (FB)

Images from the course thanks to David Walker (FB)

I am convinced that the combination of a great name with a beautiful and VERY challenging course has the potential to have this race draw some of the worlds greatest runners in the future. Continue reading

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Pre Eastern States 100 – The calm before the storm

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” – Psalm 31:3

Awesome views on the ES100 course (Photo thanks to the ES100 FB page)

Awesome views on the ES100 course (Photo thanks to the ES100 FB page)

It has been over a month since the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. It was an amazing experience but one which I had hoped would have had a better result. Since then I have been preparing mentally and physically for my next major race in 2 weeks, the inaugural running of the Eastern States 100 (ES100).

The Approach

My primary goal for the weeks between these races was to get out on the ES100 course. I have made a couple of trips out there in recent weeks and covered most of the last 70 miles of the course. It is the first time I have done this before a race but was motivated by fear based on what I had heard about this unknown course. Continue reading

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Western States 100 – Race Report

126065-05-353“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

The Western States Endurance Run (WS100) is like no other Ultra-marathon for so many reasons. In addition to being the oldest 100-mile race in the world, it offers amazing views and follows trails steeped in American history. The race attracts the best runners from all over the world on a course which offers a challenging mix of altitude, heat, water crossing and various types of terrain. Continue reading

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Reflections: A Black Belt, The Dirty German, and Western States

“Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go” Joshua 1:9

Amazing View from the WS Course

Amazing View from the WS Course

Since December of last year I have been focused on one race, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (WS100) scheduled for June 28th. It is the oldest and most prestigious 100-mile race in the world. The course is beautiful and challenging as you climb 19,000’ through the snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada and descend 23,000’ through the America River where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. The last 6 weeks have been challenging and exciting as the race quickly approaches. Continue reading

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Boston 2014: Hopes, Expectations, and Prayers

Boston2014bA man may have many plans in his heart. But the Lord’s purpose wins out in the end –Proverbs 19:21

HOPES

BOSton 26_2_STARTThe Boston Marathon is a race like no other and holds a special place for those of us who enjoy the pain of challenging our bodies over 26.2 miles. It is rich with history and the need to qualify with difficult times make the “BQ” (Boston Qualifying time) a goal many pursue and few achieve. Continue reading

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Linking the Physical and Spiritual

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

It’s funny how we can sometimes experience something old in a new way or with a different perspective than we had previously. As a child in school, I never really cared for history but now I can’t get enough from books or on TV. When it comes to my faith, I am amazed how I can read the same piece of scripture and get a completely different message based on where I am in that point of my journey.

I had this type of experience recently when I read an article about a protein called Laminin that I had heard about a few years ago. My faith has grown in ways I could have never imagined since then. The result was that this information was very exciting to me in this season of Lent. Continue reading

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