Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Cardinal Run

You'd think as an Educator at a Catholic School I would see cardinals all the time, you'd be wrong.

But last night at Croom, they were out. I must have seen 10 (and that's a lot for a fella that's spent most of his days in Central Florida.)

I also saw a red shouldered hawk and Dan Miller, all in all, a good evening for wildlife, hehe.

The run was pretty good as well. 12.5 mile yellow trail, I do love that trail and am thinking of making it home to the Croom 100 (ala the 8 loop Umstead 100) in January, just a thought. I completed the route in 1:55, not blazing, but at least sub 10 on the rolling course (not good for an educator to use blazing and rolling in the same sentence, but anyone who knows me, knows that isn't my issue!)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anger, the Best Medicine

I was running:

It was hot.
My foot was flat putting me in agony.
I wanted to go home.
Problem was, I was still 5 miles from my car. What's a guy to do? What is a guy to do?

Well, I didn't get even, I got mad! I got mad at all the people who have knowingly and sadistically wronged me since the 4th grade. I thought about Greg Miller wrecking my tree fort. I thought about my friend going out with my high school girlfriend (didn't matter if we'd broken up, rules are rules!) and I thought about an ex-boss not reimbursing my expenses when I left the company. I thought about a lot of stuff. I covered some figurative and literal miles.

Well, just getting angry doesn't do anybody any good, so I started plotting my course of action. They were all getting letters telling them how the cow eats cabbage. Oh, these were going to be some good letters. Heaven and Hell were involved. How could yous? And I ougttas were involved. There was going to be a demand to get right with me and to get right with God. I just knew apologies were on the way.

Then the Johnny Cash song, "Tear Stained Letter" came on my I-Pod. Oh, it was perfect.

Dude gets his heart squashed and he writes his ex this real zinger of a letter. He hopes he didn't go so far that she off herself. Of course, just like his ex, none of the John Theofolises or Greg Millers, or them other cats give a crap about my letter. They hosed me and moved on.

Speaking of moving on, when the song ended I was almost back to the car. So here you are a much more lame version of the song that woke me up:

"I can see you sittin' and readin' it,While you hang you head and cry.I just hope you're not so sad,You're gonna go down suicide."

Anyway, that's why I didn't write those "tear-stained" letters. I didn't want these folks, that were friends, employers, acquaintances, whatever, getting so distraught that the went on and got Harri-Karried away or anything. I mean they did help me get through a though patch in my run after all!

And I'm sure most of them are truly sorry, even if they never said it (yeah, it's not that they don't care.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hair today Goon Tomorrow

I don't know man.

I think I need a makeover. All these cats in Ultrarunning are getting so young! Little Lisa is running 100's of miles. My friend Alisa is like 12 and she won Key West outright last year. She was 2nd overall at LOST. She ruled at Badwater. The dude that won Croom this year, in 6:30, is 24. And me, I'm just getting older, and not better.

If I can't be young, maybe I can look young. I just made my appointment with Si Sperling, he's going to set me up. It's not a wig, it's a hair replacement system!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Spitz on Retirement!

Rumors of my dismemberment were greatly exagerated! I ran 16 miles on Saturday with Becky and A2.
I'll run a long way this weekend.
I'm running 12 hours (and several miles!) on May 8, Miles for Moffitt.
Wyoming Double Marathon? Sent my race Ap in today!
Western States, oh, it's on! But after that.....

I am absolutely retiring from Ultra Running after Western States this year!!!!Oh, it's happening!!!

Now what am I going to do with my retirement? .....

Does anyone know the e-mail for Stu for Ancient Oaks? I think I'd like to consider that as my first race when I come out of retirement.

Oh, and Frank Sierra, you ever think maybe you'd like to pace anybody at an Ultra? Maybe at Umstead next year? It's the last weekend in March, and it may be lst race coming out of my next retirement.Anyway, just some stuff I'm thinking about for my retirement time.

Also, I want to run Croom on Saturday, maybe someone can join me?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And This is the Thanks They Get!

Saturday was the Croom Fools Race.

Sunday I volunteered all day at an adventure Race.

Monday I went camping with my BLF (she is the best! I am not lucky I am truly blessed)

I got back at Tuesday night.

I worked on race results all day today, aside from taking my daughter (I believe I mentioned that I am blessed!) to lunch and a movie.

Today I have track districts all day and night, I leave here at 9AM, hoping to be home by 11AM.

I really have to do some school work on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

I'm supposed to be on Easter Break. Man, I can't wait to get back to work, I need the resT!

Great news from the weary. I shared a little of the pre Croom race, "What's up with these guys?" correspondence, how about some of the post, attaboy race stuff. I actually got quite a lot of it this year, (thanks to my awesome partner Jim, I can do more with volunteers and PR stuff, that I'm so good at (har har). Anyway, here's my favorite of the attaboy letters from a 15-mile runner:

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you so much for putting on this race. It was honestly the most challenging race I have competed in since I started running 6 months ago. Save me a spot next year because I want a rematch!And a big kudos too all of the volunteers out there. They were amazing! Words cannot describe how supportive and sincere they all were. Hands down the best group crew I have ever met! If I had to squat down to rest---they offered a hand to pick me back up. If I drank all my water, they offered to re-fill my cup. I was honestly touched by how much they reached out to everyone. When you think you're running on empty, they'd say something encouraging which re-energized me for the next leg of the race.Thank you again--to everyone.

Not Bad huh? I already thanked them all on the ultra list, but still, AndyB, Becky, Patrick, Jim, Joe, David, Marc (he's a rock star!), June Bug (can't live without her!), Steve, Allen, Toni (always smiling, always helping!), Trudi, Hazel, Mary Beth (she Toni), Pete, EYA & Dan F, Dan M (you are the man!), I just want to give you all a hug, actually I'd like to throw you a party, but only Dan F got back to me, so I reckon yall don't want my beer and burgers, but that's ok too.

Hey, I may be busier than a stimulus package salesman right now, but still I have enough time to acknowledge the Boston gang that did come run at Croom. They were the most fun to have around and here they are. You guys, you made me laugh, and that's the best thing that can be said about anyone!
Alison, Adam, Mr Le (1st in the Asian Division!), Aimee, Aimee's not as aesthetic half (but what a great guy :), And the out of place old guy (me!) Thanks for spicing things up a bit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break 50 Mile Fool RD No Computer Guy!

Ok, I'm on Spring Break.

Ok, I can't seen to download my pictures (I'll figure it out!)

Ok, I'm up to eyeballs in Croom 50 Mile stuff.

Hey, RD, what's the course record (let me see, hang on while I make something up real quick! Nah, I'm kidding, I gave him the real record)

Ok, I'm heading to the east coast to camp after I work the Fools Run on Saturday and Volunteer for the Croom Adventure Race on Sunday (Kip and Jessica have been very good to the Fools, so it's time for this Fool to be good to them, even if it means putting off camping with my BLF for a day, and I hate to put anything off with her. She's kind of my sunshine :)

Be cool, I'll report back in sometime soon, don't worry it's just a little break.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Believing is Seeing

I believed Frank Sierra was ready to complete a 100 mile race.

I believed Frank would do well.

I saw these things happen this weekend in beautiful Umstead Park outside Cary, North Carolina.
Believing may be seeing, but seeing isn't always believing.

Some things I saw but I didn't believe:

As we were "running" on our 8th of 8 loops, we desperately needed the sun to re-appear over the horizon, because we were flat tired! Frank had already completed 88 miles and I was already at 55. We were dog tired. We weren't whipped, we were whopped! We were as worn out as a one-legged man at a butt kicking contest! I mean, tired! The five-minute nap we had at mile 82 had worn off (I suggested this to Frank when nothing else seemed to work, and it was like I was giving him the winning lottery numbers. He jumped on that suggestion like it was Heather what's her name that was in those night time dramas in the 80's! It took him all of 20 seconds to dose off beside the space heater in the little tent.) This five-minute snooze revitalized him so well that he wanted to try it again at mile 88. When I mentioned that we had no chairs, space-heater, or tent available, he didn't seem to mind, the tree stump on the side of the trail seemed to do just fine. Admittedly I was itching to get done, so I "may" have counted these in metric minutes (about 50 seconds long). So this nap didn't recharge those worn batteries quite as well, which may been the reason that.....

At mile 90 I stopped dead in the center of the trail and threw up my hands when I whacked face-first into a tree. Frank asked, "What was that?" "Didn't you see me whack face-first into that tree?" I asked. About that time I woke up, and realized there was no tree within 40 yards of me (I must have hit it pretty hard, because it was there, I must have vaporized it. Yeah, that's the ticket! I still can't figure out why it didn't leave a mark on me though.)

At mile 92 I had stopped on the side of the trail to take care of a little business when Frank came running by me, snoring the whole way. I was like Frank, "What's up?" to which he answered by snoring again. Frank came to a sudden stop about 20 yards in front of me, and said, "Mathews, where are you?" I answered, "I'm back here taking a pee break." He said, "I feel great, I think I just had a nap." I confirmed that yes, he had a nap, I knew because he was snoring as he ran by me.

Mile 93 was the car-wash mile. This time I was lucky enough to be awake, I think, when I saw three of my school track athletes, in their uniforms washing cars by the side of the trail at 6 am. My first thought wasn't, "What are they doing here?" It wasn't even, "What are they doing here in their track uniforms?" Neither was it, "What are they doing here in their track uniforms washing cars at 6 AM?" My first thought was, "How did they get water out here in the middle of the park to be able to wash these cars at 6 AM!" A legitimate question, don't you think?

Happily the sun came up soon after that and the trees disappeared from the middle of the trail and the car washes disappeared all together (which kind upset me, because my car was next!) When the sun had it's second rising of the race, as we predicted, our spirits soared and our legs turned back on and we ran. Frank ran, and I hung on. We ran downhills again, and we ran uphills. We ran flat spots (both of them!) and we ran past water stops. Frank was smelling the barn (he certainly smelled like one!)

We received another boost when Frank's better half, his beautiful wife, Theresa, his rock, joined us for the last 3-miles. What a great sight that was. This really put a hitch in his giddy-up, and she had trouble keeping up with him on those slight uphills even tough he'd been out there for 97 miles and 26 hours.

The three of us sailed into the race HQ and finish line in well under 27 hours. Frank was now a 26-hour hundred mile ultra runner. He earned it, he fought through the bad spells.

I'm going to end here except for adding pictures later today, and I'll let Frank comment on his troubles in loop 7, I know that was tough for him, and the fact that he kept the forward progress going impressed me greatly. I'll let him tell us about the grilled-cheese and light lady dressed like a tennis pro who finished about a dozen minutes behind us.

I'll say this, like my brother said, "It's a good thing he finished, because now no-one can say, Sierra missed!" You want Sierra Missed, I'll give you Sierra Mist!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Now That's How you Run a Hundred!

I'll write a long post later, including but not limited to: cool pictures: grilled-cheese sandwiches, car washes, ill-placed trees and snoring on the run.

But for now just let it be known that Dr. Frank cranked out a very impressive belt-buckle worthy debut at Umstead on Saturday/Sunday in North Carolina. The man is tough and trained and is in line to become the new Energizer Bunny (though not all the pictures will illustrate that!)

I was, and I am impressed!

More later I promise.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Wanted to Eat a Cookie so I Did!

I just had a wonderful thought, I'd love a Cookie. So with the money I make as an employee of an institution, I bought a cookie.

This cookie was so good! I ate it all, but I am not sad for I have the memory of the cookie on a beautiful day!

Oh, a glorious day and great time to be alive!!!

Heaven hath no luck like a lucky cookie on a Friday.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You N.C? Me N.C!

Geez, it's Thursday already? If I hadn't already worked like 12 days this week I wouldn't believe it!

Ok, that means two days from this second, my buddy Jon Docs will be picking me up to drag me to the airport so I can drag Dr. Frank around the Umstead, North Carolina loop for 50 miles so I can help him complete his 1st hundred.

What an honor to help somebody with that. You'd think that I wouldn't be good at the main skill needed to pace somebody in a hunert, but I'm not bad at it. Oh, it's not running 25 -50 miles that is the hard part, usually your runner is worn out enough by the time they get to you that that is the easy part. No, it's not keeping someone on the right path, usually these courses are marked well enough, and this is a loop course anyway.

The key to pacing someone is knowing when to shut the heck up! There comes a time in these 100's where every runner goes deep inside and being social is the 96th thing out of 50 that one wants to do. To be a good pacer you have to be able to recognize that in a runner and you really have to respect it. I've been so blessed with the few pacers I've used. I would not have won that silver buckle at Western States without my excellent pacer, Deborah Wedge. Deborah talked my ear off for about an hour, and I needed that, but there came a point when she looked at me and just knew, "This guy needs to go inside." And on we ran in silence for hours. When I came back out, she was there for me. She reminded me to run, she reminded me to eat. She let me know that we were making progress.
I hope I can do this for Frank. I know my foot will hold up. I know my legs will hold up. I just hope my brain will hold my mouth closed.... enough.