Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm officially "Over The Hill"...

I dreaded it.  I tried to hide from it.  I even attempted, without success of course, to lie about it.  But I hit it...with my foot firmly on the gas pedal at full force on Friday morning at 12:00 am.  I am now 40 years old.  As I type that out, it still is hard to accept and be ok with it.  I mean, I don't think I look 40.  I don't have any gray in my hair.  Ok, I have a hair or two in a much lighter shade on my face if I let it grow for a few days but that's it.  My forehead does not have the deep crevasses of time etched into it nor have the crows feet latched on to the side of my eyes.  I'm fairly fit for a 40 year old white American male.  Could I be fitter? Yes, of course.  But I'm sure I'm in a very low percentile of 40 year old men that can go out and run 20+ miles in the mountains on a Saturday morning in the Alabama heat.  

So how did this happen?  You often hear people say "I don't feel (insert a certain age here)." or "I still feel like I did when I was 25."  I understand that completely now.  Obviously, I'm glad I'm not 25.  At 25, I had no direction, no future career planned out, and most importantly, I didn't have my two wonderful boys.  At 40, I have Ian and Noah, I have a wonderful career and I'm a reasonably happy kinda guy.  I have a beautiful home (actually two but one's an albatross that I currently call a rental property in Dallas that I just can't seem to sell) and I have a very small select group of close friends.

So why is this bothering me so much?  I don't know.  I wish I did and I wish 'it' didn't.  But it does.  Quite frankly, I don't want to be 40.  In my 30's, I could still convince myself of my youth and vitality.  40's....not so much.    In my 30's, the future seemed so endless.  40's....not so much.  Where I used to think about working for the love of the job and moving up the corporate ladder, now I guess I work for "retirement".  

Please rest assured that I'm not going to be one of those old tool bags that goes out and buys a hideous red Corvette and drive around with the top down and the Beach Boys blaring from the radio.  (Ok.  Yes, I might get a Porsche and have DMB blaring but come on, it's a Porsche and it's DMB.)  I know that within time, I'll become adjusted to the fact that I'm on the down swing of my life.  Maybe sooner than later.  Doubtful but maybe. 

But right now, at this moment, I am wallowing in self pity and denial with a Ketel One in hand and I plan to reside here for at least a few more days....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bad people have no place on this planet...

I've decided that bad people have no place on this planet.  Ok, I realize that most everyone would say that this is about the most 'well duh' statement I've ever made but I really mean it. 

As I had mentioned on the last post, I was planning on running 25 miles last Saturday and I was set.  New supplements.  New gaiters.  Vespa to try.  Ready to go.  I headed to the park at 5:45 a.m., made a quick stop at the gas station to pick up some bug spray (I really hate gnats), paid the $3 to get in, and drove up to the North Trail head. Funny enough, we hadn't planned it but David and I managed to arrive at the exact same time. We got out, talked for a bit as we got ready, and then headed out on the run.

We ran to the White Trail and up the White Trail hill together but David went back down to do his insane hill repeats (3/4 mile climb up an 800ft ascent x 5 times...holy cow) as I continued on the white trail.  I could tell immediately that my legs were heavy.  I ran a fairly quick 9 mile run on Thursday morning and I think I was still very sore.  The first 12.5 mile loop was ok.  Nothing too bad or too good.  As I arrived back at the car to replenish water, electrolytes, etc...., David was back as well.  We talked for a few minutes and then headed back out.  He went up the Blue Trail and I went back on the white.  About a mile in, I just mentally crashed.  My legs were hurting and the additional 10lbs of replenished water weight on my back just killed my enthusiasm for another 12.5 mile run.  That, and the heat again was unbearable.   I packed it in and headed back to the car.

As I was leaving the park, I thought about going to the store and getting some meat to grill on my Big Green Egg so I headed to our local market.  When I parked the car, I opened my center console and my wallet and $37 was missing.  After a few minutes of searching, I thought maybe it dropped out back at Oak Mountain so I headed back quickly.  Unfortunately, it wasn't there and then I realized that there was no way both the cash that was loose and the wallet 'fell out'.  I phoned the state park police and filed a report.  I then called the first of my credit cards.  Wow.  There was a $1089 charge on my MasterCard at Best Buy.  I immediately called the other cards and shut them down.  When I arrived back at the house, I called Amex to see if anyone had tried to use that card after it was closed and low and behold, someone went to Home Depot and tried to buy $1000 worth of stuff there.

Long story short, I apparently left my car unlocked somehow and there were campers there that broke in a stole it.  More specifically, a middle aged heavy set white woman. I know this because I've seen her on the surveillance tapes as she used my card.   The anger someone has inside of them watching someone else use their stolen card to purchase a Sony TV, a Sony PS3 and games is astonishing.  If I could have found that woman at that moment, I would have turned into one of those bad people myself.  To answer your question:  No.  The clerks at the stores did not ask for ID.  Amazing.  $1000 purchases and they never asked for ID.  They haven't caught her yet but they're pretty sure they know who it is.  Just building a case now.  Keep your fingers crossed.

So, I'm heading back out tomorrow morning for another attempt at the 25 mile double loop.  Keep your fingers crossed that I complete it and no decides to take what's not theirs again.  BTW, I never realized any benefit from the $6 per packet of Vespa.  Hmmm.

Bad people really have no place on this planet...

Friday, August 12, 2011


Well, obviously I haven't been keeping up with this blog thing as much as I thought I would but my training runs are definitely more consistent.  I've been getting in my long runs on the weekends and have started to up the miles for my runs during the week.  So far, so good.  Ran 9 miles yesterday early morning and at a good pace.  So, with the 22 I did on Sunday, 6 on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, and 9 yesterday, that puts my weekly miles so far at 40 miles and I'm planning to try and do 25 tomorrow.  65 miles in a week will, without a doubt, be my highest mileage in a week ever.  Sad thing is, I have to run almost that far in just one day.


So, about that heat thing and my 22 on Sunday.  I left out on the White Trail at Oak Mountain at 6:20 a.m and did the 11 mile White to Blue and back loop.  The first loop felt great.  Nathan 70 oz hydration pack kept me hydrated and I think I ate effectively the day prior.  However, 6 miles into the second loop, my calves started to cramp again.  I hobbled along for 10-15 minutes hoping it would work itself out but it didn't so I had to resort to some fairly deep muscle tissue massage with my knuckles (painful to say the least) to see if I could get the calves to relax.  It helped a bit but not 10 minutes later, they returned in full force..and I do mean in FULL FORCE.

The last 4 miles were absolute torture.  I was walking at a 20 min/mile pace and even that was hurting.  The constant climbs and descents of the Blue Trail were excruciating.  I tried to run the flats and the descents and was able to on the flats but the descents have just a high grade with so much rock and roots, my legs just weren't able to safely keep my footing.  There was one section of the Blue Trail that I had to sit for about 5 minutes because of the pain and the dizziness.  I think I was pretty close to heat exhaustion.  I didn't really realize it at the time because I had already consumed about 130 oz of water with electrolytes but now it's pretty evident that's what was going on.  When I finally got made it back to the car, I seriously started to worry that I had bitten off more than I could chew with this first 50 Mile Ultra.  I didn't know if it was the heat, my supplements, or just a lack of endurance. 

I reached out to my ultra 'mentor', David Tosch ( who luckily for me lives and runs with me here at Oak Mountain.  To my relief, David was sure it was the heat.  He also had a pretty tough weekend at Oak Mountain because of the heat and this is a guy who just did the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Ultra a month ago.  I think I just need to not worry so much about the time and take it a bit slower when it gets hotter.  I'm just so worried about this 14 hour time limit and with my stops at the 9 aid stations, I now will have only about 13.5 hrs to finish a Grade 4 Ultra.


Tomorrow should be another warm one, 90 plus, but hopefully with the new Vespa supplements, the Nathan Pack, new Electrolyte tabs, and my knowledge that I just need to slow down, I can complete this 25 miles and not have to be airlifted off the mountain...