Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
It was a great experience, Vermont. We had it all. Camaraderie (sure was fun being there with Jon, Woody, Becky + 3), Camping (4 days at beautiful Mt. Ascutney State Park in Vermont), cramping (even 72 miles will do that to you), and cramming (yeah, I think Jon was planning to move to Vermont, because I brought all of his stuff up in my Honda Fit, now called a Honda it-may-not-Fit!) Sadly, the race, well, we've all had better. I don't know why it turned bad, but it did. Thank God for Jon carrying the Florida banner.
Becky ran great. I am so proud of her! Yall, she was a downhill maven. I bet she was in the top 10 women when we had to drop at 72. We were running at just under 24 hour pace, and for 70 miles we ran so well. Becky showed no signs of weakness, fatigue, and never complained once, not once! For 70 miles we were just up and down, cruising along. As a matter of fact, between 32 and 36 I hit a bad patch and wondered if I should try to keep up with her or just let her go, I didn't want to hold her back. But I knew that it's never as bad as it seems, so I hung in there and by 36 miles I was feeling great. I felt I could fly. I should have remembered that it's never as good as it seems either. Because when we finished what for me is the toughest climb on the course from 70-72 Becky took one look at the woods we about to head in to and just stopped. She said, "Andy, I can't go in there, I won't be able to come out."I'm telling you I was shocked. This trooper had been cruising with no hint of trouble. I said, "well, let's just walk to the next aid station and then we'll see what's what and who's who."Going to the next aid station meant continuing up a nasty looking hill in the woods, so we decided to take refuge on the porch of an abandoned house right off of the trail. We rested there and tried to nap for about 45 minutes. Still Becky felt no better, she felt worse. I know she was giving it her all so I went for help. I ran into my friend Chrissy Weiss, and her pacer a local gal named Andi. Andi took one look at Becky and suggested she stay on the porch while she ran ahead to the next aid station and sent for help. We agreed to this.
Help came in the form of an extended cab pick-up truck after we'd been idle for about 1 1/2 hours after we'd stopped. At this time Becky was in no better shape than when we stopped. She made the right decision to stop. Becky was so kind, so said, "It's ok with me if you continue."I said "Thanks, but it's not ok with me." There is no way I could just dump her in that pick-up truck. I rode back to the medical tent with her where I called her husband. I sat on a cot next to Becky as they put blankets and hot packs on her. Joe showed up shortly and we went back to the campsite. It was my great pleasure to share her experience.
I have finished 8 x 100 mile races, but I have never given more effort than she gave that day. For 72 miles she was a warrior, that's good enough for me!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
How am I going to jet up and down the mountains in Leadville carrying 21% Crisco? I don't think I'll be able to. I have got to get into shape, pronto! Until then, yall know the secret... loose fitting clothes!
Which One am I?
If you guessed B, then we are not going to have to water you! That's ok, what fun would this whole thing be if my lard content was already in single digits? (a lot more, probably!)
Ok, there hot fudge is ready, gotta scram!
This is a true story!
Anyone that runs or walks with me knows that I have a habit of picking up trash along the road or trail. This can be on a walk between classes at school, during a run around town, or even during a 100-mile trail run. No, I am not some goody-goody, I figure I owe this debt to our Mother Earth as penance for the beer bottles my brother and I used to chuck at signs as Phil Walters zipped us around in town in one POS vehicle or another. Also, as a kid I actually used to say, "it's not litter if you can't see it!" as I slid a soda can into somebody's hedges. So, if you're running or walking with me now, there is a pretty good chance you'll pull ahead at some point as I wedge a Coors or Bud bottle out of a ditch and respectfully place it in the nearest trash receptacle.
Anyway, this habit paid off for me at mile 50 I had to boot scoot it into the woods to do some business, er a yeah, poop, as I climbed over some logs to get well off of the trail I was mortified to see several, 20 - 24 beer cans scattered in the beautiful Vermont woods. When I finished my business and was heading back to the trail I took another look at the trash and discovered that it was not trash at all, rather this was a case of full beer! Knowing that I was to see Woody when I got back on the trail, Becky and I had hooked up with him 1/2 mile earlier, and knowing Woody's love of the suds, yes sometimes even while running (once Candi and I happened upon Woody and Dan at about 7 AM on a Sunday in Croom when we noticed they were walking and knocking back some tepid suds retrieved from an abandoned cooler on the trail), I snagged two of the King of Beers and replaced my water bottles with them in my running pack. Needless to say Woody was significantly impressed that I could turn chicken scratch into chicken salad! However, he was a good boy and didn't partake in those two beers until after the race. We saw his beautiful wife, Trudy, at mile 55 and I handed the brewski's off to her to place on ice. See it pays to pickup litter, even during a race!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Woody, 23:39 He Buckles
Jon, 20:18 He bests my PR by 30 minutes, but still short of Mischa Reblurr
Becky & Andy: this one is tough, but I say we finish strong, I don't think putting a time goal on us is a good idea and I'm not going to do it!
I'll update you on Friday from the bank of computers at the Vermont Finish.
Monday, July 16, 2007
On the other hand (something Tom Dempsey or the real killer in the Fugitive could never say), If you can get by Dave Mathews' crib really, really fast (like before I get back there on Wed. next week) I do recommend the Johnnie Walker Gold (shoot, it's got a cork!)
I'll write again when the JWG has run its course!
ps, I swear this isn't going to turn in to a drinking blog, but I rarely see Dave, and it's not even like he drinks that much (only 3 a day max!)
Sunday, July 15, 2007
In Tampa, FL, I live on Lambright St. Alison lives on Maurine Cove Lane. I have also to lived on Louisiana Ave, Shadecrest, Gateway Dr., N. Lakeview, and Brigadoon. Not a terrible name in the bunch, but nothing great either.
Now, take North Carolina. We can only figure that young William got to name his own street when we passed Billyville Road. I don't care if other people live here, it's called Billyville.
Then there were the food streets: Butterbean, Hamhock, Sugarlikker Lane (Alison's favorite), LickSkillet (Billy probably named that one too before he moved.)
There were roads which describe an event or object that happened on the road: My favorite (and I figure where Will Ferrell and some of Santa's other helpers did some time) Elf School Road, Burnt Schoolhouse (Billy again, though he was never charged), KilPatrick Point (they told him, so they had to!), Kilmore Road (they just couldn't stop at Patrick.)
Churches there also got to name their roads. Extreme Holiness Road, Church on Fire Road (Billy, you'll go to church and like it! Not for long mom!)
There were a bunch more, but we didn't write them down, I reckon I'll just put in a call to Billy and find out what else is in North Carolina!
Best Compliment- From Gordy (founder of the Western States 100), "That was very deft." Comment made after I knocked a fallen branch off of the Western States Trail without breaking stride and using the side of my foot. It's not a kick, rather a seamless scoot. It's almost as if I levitated the branch off of the trail. After my 1st 100 mile race in 2001 one of my students asked me, "Mr. Mathews, is it true?"
"Yes, Brandon it's true, I did run 100 miles in one day."
"No, not that, my mom says that you can shoot a pine cone off of the trail with your foot without breaking stride, even though the pine cone is behind you."
"Yes, it's true."
We don't care about the 100 mile crap, tell us about the pine cone Mr. M! Shoot, not you too Gordy!
2nd Place- "Nice Rocks." From an unknown Asian women during the Great Eastern Endurance 100K in Charlottesville, VA, speaking about my calves. I've always liked that compliment, first and only time any female has complimented my on my legs (Not the only time, just the only time from a female of the oposite sex, but that is another story.)
Honorable Mention- "I can't keep up with you on the Downhills." Chase Squires to me at the Bighorn 100 in 2006.
Worst Comment- At mile 49.5 after climbing Devil's Thumb in the Western States 100 in 2005. Me, "How much farther to the aid station?"
10-Year-old volunteer, "It's just ahead, but everyone else has already gone through, you must be about the last person!"
Me, "Go F. yourself, you f'ing little twerp!"
Oh, that's good Andy, cuss out the volunteers that are your daughter's age, what an F'ing jerk I must be, yeah, well, come on, ask Chase, that climb is tough!
2nd place- After being told, "I can't keep up with you on the downhills," by Chase, "And besides, YOU SUCK on the UPHILLS!" Geez, I guess the F'ing twerp at States was right, I may have been last.
Honorable Mention- Heard many times, "Isn't that more like a hike? I mean 14-minute miles, that's not very fast." Yes, running, er, hiking 100 miles in 24 hours, 4.2 miles an hour, is like a hike, it's very easy, anyone can do it, everyone should try it, please let me know how it works out for you!
Most Humiliating- My Crew to me, "Cover-Up AndyMan." After finishing Vermont in 2005 in my makeshift skilt (combination skirt and Kilt fashioned out of a pair of Nike running shorts, sans the liner) and hanging out (literally, I'm afraid) on a cot in the finisher's tent.
2nd Place- "Oh no, is that poison ivy?" Said to myself in Vermont, 2005, after a rest stop in the woods. The answer came about 10 miles later, yes, it was and it wasn't just on the butt, but well, it's too humiliating....
Honorable Mention- Having to take a cab across the street to the airport after my first 100 mile race (I mean it was just across the street.) The cabbie was surprised, but he was happy to take my 10-spot.
Best Moment- Helping my friend Michelle finish Rocky Raccoon, Texas in 2006. I had often wondered if I should have just kept running, I was on bigtime PR pace, and felt great, but Michelle, who is handsdown a better and faster runner than me was struggling with the 100 mile distance (she was 0-3 in 100's), I chose to stay with her and help her finish. We made it! Michelle has since gone on the beat my PR by an hour! But what really makes it worth it is that my daughter was running the mile at school, and had to run it in under 10-minutes to pass her PE test, she was cruising along when she came upon a classmate that was struggling, she said she thought of me helping Michelle in Texas and she stopped to help her classmate finish the mile. Ali didn't qualify in under 10 minutes that day, but they both finished, and Ali who was 10 at the time, made her time on the next try. Isn't it funny how things work out?
2nd Place- Having Becky sign up for Vermont this year. Seeing someone you care about realize their potential is a truly blessed feeling.
Honorable Mention- Getting a hug from Barb when I finished the Arkansas Traveller in 2006.
Ok, I've got to go back. Please feel free (no feel obligatied to!) post your best, worst, or most humiliating stores as well.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
See, I have balance, it's not all running. (Ok, my brother and I may have gone for a little run this morning, and I may do another short trail run after I set up the tent, all 3 rooms of it, this afternoon, and the campsite is only about 5 miles from the Georgia border, wouldn't it be neat to run from NC to GA? Shoot, Tennessee is only about 12 miles to the west, I could do three states in one run, now that's cool, but wait, I'm tapering, well, I may just stick to burgers (Boca) on the grill and smores...
Monday, July 9, 2007
On July 21 a great crew from Tampa Bay is going to Vermont, and I am among them (well not right now, but I'm running the race, you know what I mean.) John Wood is trying for a little redemption from Western States (he doesn't need any, but he feels he does, and I understand that) Jon Docs is going (he could win the stinking race if he let me train him, but he likes his lifestyle, and I don't blame him), and Becky Diange is going for her first 100 miler, I predict great things for her race, she's a rock. Anyway, we all have one thing in common, about now we start going crazy because the running is over. Oh sure, we'll buzz around the neighborhood from time to time, but our recent 90 mile week will dwindle to about 20 this week, next week it'll be a scant 10 before the big race. It will be particularly tough for me to back off because my daughter Ali and I will be on vacation in North Carolina and I will get to see the mountains, and we will do a little hiking, but I'll have to refrain from too much running. I get antsy during the taper, but it does work. I know the taper is working when I feel fat and slow before the race, but then the feeling melts away as we start the actual race.
Vermont is one of the grand slam races, though this year's version isn't in the my grand slam. I just like the race, plus I like their charity, the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. Ali and have made more than 100 "Don't Quit" bracelets and sold them, donating $500 to the VASS.
Ok, I'll be on Vacation without a Hillsborough County Public Library, nor my own computer at my disposal, so, the blog will be inactive until next Saturday, July 14, but please feel free to post and I'll comment upon my return.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
Instead I submit to you my laundry list: You decide if too much emphasis is on one thing:
Running Shorts (short shorts!): 7 pair
Dinner Jackets: 0
Running Socks: 7 pair
Dress Socks: 0
Tech. Fiber Running Shirts: 3
Dress Shirts: 0
Running/Race T'Shirts: 3
Boxer Shorts: 4 pair
Nice walking shorts: 1
Jeans: 1 pair
Polo Shirts: 2
Towels- 2 Bath 1 Gym
Hanker chefs: 0
Yes, I know, I need more balance, too many polo shirts! What can I say, I like to dress up!
Thursday, July 5, 2007
"Oh man, it was great, I had the day off (I'm a teacher on summer break, I have everyday off!) I slept in (from 8 PM - 11:45 PM on the third.) I met some friends at 2 AM and we stayed out all night and partied till 1 PM."
No, I haven't given up my grand slam quest and turned into a party animal. The friends I met are also ultrarunners. At 2 AM Becky, Woody, and I met up at Croom Forest and by 2:13 Am we had started our 45-mile run.
It broke down like this: 2:13 - 5:10 AM 17 miles on the dirt roads
5:10- 5:40 Bathroom-Food-Drink Break,
5:40- 8:30 15-mile Orange Trail Loop
8:30- 8:45 Food and Drink Break
8:45- 11:15 13-mile Orange-Blue-Orange Loop.
The highlight of the run was during our road portion when a well-meaning local came by in a Jeep (only vehicle we saw on our 3-hours on the road) and asked if we were alright. Are we alright? Well it's 3 AM and we're in the middle of no-kinda-where with lights on our heads carrying several pounds of water and food. Furthermore, we going to be doing this for 8 more hours. Are we alright? As Marseilles Wallace says in Pulp Fiction, "No we're pretty F'ing far from alright!" But only years of intensive therapy can help us!
I'll tell you what though, the 4th taught me some stuff.
John "Woody" Wood, is the toughest man alive! After a horrible experience less than two weeks ago at Western States where he was forced to drop after running 56 miles in the mountains, he was back at it for 45 of the most humid miles imaginable. We are thrilled to learn that Woody will be joining us in Vermont. He'll finish, and I'll bet all takers he runs it in under 24 hours.
Becky Diange is once more the greatest runner I know. Back in 2004 we ran the GEER 100K together, and she was in fantastic shape and I believed then she was as good a runner as I know. Well, she got married, and now she does married people stuff, and she hasn't concentrated as much on running (one day, I'm going to try that getting a life thing, I hope it's not too long from now!). Anyway, since she decided to do Vermont, she has worked very hard and she is ready! She handled yesterday's run like a champ. It will be my honor to run with her at Vermont, I only hope I can keep up. Another bet, Becky will finish and run well, I take any action and give odds on that one!
Ok, my hour at the library is up, I'll post again tomorrow.
In the mean time, happy 5th I guess.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Well, on the last lap, I said, ok, let's go all out, the same distance we had been repeating at 1:15, I now said, let's run in One minute. Still, they couldn't contain themselves, and they ran it in 58 seconds, while I cruised in at exactly one minute.
"Ok, let's do a one-mile cool down." Off we ran, I said, "Now you get to listen to one of 'Coach Mathews' stories." This is the one about my 16th try at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Here I am in Duluth, MN, the crowd takes off fast, I have a plan for 7:20 miles, I run my first mile in 7:20. 5 miles in I want to run faster, but I decide patience is the way to go, I stay with 7:20's. In my previous 15 attempts, I was always fine through 20 and even up to 22 miles, but then I always crashed, due to too fast too soon. At mile 10 I really want to take off, but I tell myself, if you still want to take off, you may reward yourself with three fast miles starting at mile 23. Well, when I got to mile 23 I was still running 7:20's and no longer had the desire (nor the ability) to "take off." However, I was able to grind out those last three miles and run a qualifying time of 3:14:11 (a full minute and 48 seconds under what I needed, thank you very much!)
So, I told my team that the last lap proved that we were all fast, but that there was a time for fast and a time to stick to the plan. I told them in any race during the last 1/2 mile if they wanted to take off, go ahead, but until then, let's stick to the plan.
Of course, I don't always take this advice. I really don't think I was more capable of running 3:14 at 39 then at 29 (I was 29 when I ran my first marathon). I just always forgot to use my own advice. I would tell myself at the beginning of each race to run my planned pace, but then I'd always "take off" in the middle to crush some imaginary challenger. This method could only end in tears. Shoot at Avenue of the Giants in California, I even turned my head, looked the dude next to me dead in the eye and said, "Now is when I make my move!" I went from 7:30's to 6:30's, no problem except I was at mile 12 when I did this. I walked the last 6.
Of course, having a mush-brain memory isn't all bad. After every single Ultra I pledge, "Never Again!" I plan to pledge "Never Again" on July 22 after Becky and I finish Vermont. I plan to pledge "Never Again" after Chase and I finish Arkansas on Oct. 8. Then next year I plan to pledge "Never Again" on the Sunday after Labor Day when I am finished breaking the Florida Record for the Grand Slam.
When the pain, the sacrifice, the fatigue is so fresh, there is no way a sane person (or any ultra runner for that matter) can say anything but, "Never Again!" Happily, we humans are blessed with a short attention (hey, my father had a watch like that! If Jesus Christ and Superman got into a fight, I wonder who would win?) span. While I'm in 'Never Again' mode for several hours after these ridiculous conquests, by the next day I am planning the next one.
I guess I can't be too hard on a couple of high school kids for not remembering to run slower, that faulty memory may just propel them to great things one day!
Monday, July 2, 2007
In: Come-On Nails, you are tough as Nails
Out: Move it Fatass, you suck,
In: No-One messes with the Kid! This trail can't take 15 Rounds with Kid Mathews.
Out: Candyass, wussie, whimp, numbnuts, freakazoid, giant baby man going poo-poo in his diapies
In: You're a Rock, you're doing great, come-on AndyMan, you rock, Rock!
Out: Freakin' weak, limp, whiny, not, can't, don't, won't, wouldn't, couldn't, didn't, not gonna do it, too hard, too hot, shouldn't, milquetoast, sorry sack-o-gawea!
In: Come on Pig (Pig? What's up with that? Years and years ago, before Chase was born, there was an episode on Twilight Zone, where this dude was hypnotized. The 'tizer convinced this fella that his hand were made of Pig iron and that he could punch his way through a brick wall. The guy commences to hitting the bricks until his hands are hamburger. I often picture the trail as that wall and my legs as made of pig iron, strongest thing on Earth. My mind sees my legs slicing through the trails not stopping till I say stop, no little brick wall gonna stop the Pig, Go Pig Go.)
The moral of the story, keep it positive!
Yesterday: 15 Miles at Flatwoods with Becky at 7 AM
Temp 90, Humidity 90 (Fun, fun, fun, till her daddy takes her T-Bird Away!)
Today: Gym- Legs and Abs