Chase the Sun Ultra & Relay: One Epic Last Hoorah!

Missy Sailer relishing on a medal well earned!

Missy Sailer relishing on a medal well earned!

Well, Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay is in the history books!  This year’s race was as incredible as last year’s!  This year’s runners, my gosh, did they push themselves hard!  Last year, we had sunny skies with temps in the low 80s and light breezy conditions.  This year, the race started off under dreary weather and it got worse before it got better.  Early on, the rain and wind washed in on our timing tent knocking out my laptop and soaking the spreadsheet we were using as a redundancy for timing.  Having a great timing team together we immediately improvised and began recording bib numbers on a white board as runners continued going through the chute.  This created some inconsistencies in the splits of some runners on ultrasignup.  We’ve also have had to update some discrepancies in mileage totals for some runners.  The storm was severe enough that it blew over several tents and caused the collapse of other tents due to the weight of the heavy falling rain! Finally, we got the computer up and running miraculously again and the ultrasignup timing software came back up and we continued.  As the day wore on the spreadsheet dried up and the weather improved.  Ironically, the sun did not reveal itself until sunset as we were wrapping up Chase the Sun! It takes a certain kind of person and runner to show up to run for 6 and 12 hours under any conditions but under these very dreary weather conditions?  That certainly takes a certain type of person!  This Saturday’s CTS runners were all nothing short of amazing, impressive, spectacular (AIS)!!  These guys ran and they ran and, they ran!  Some ran even, though, they were obviously ill – (Missy Sailer & Emily McLaughlin).  Both of these ladies pushed themselves beyond what I expected anyone to do so under the duress they were.  Emily ended up having to go to the hospital to get an IV for calcium deficiency.  Missy has suffered an upper respiratory infection for the past two weeks!  What makes these people tick?

Mrs. Kelly Luckett extending her lead while Mr. Andy Bruner struggles to keep up.

Mrs. Kelly Luckett extending her lead while Mr. Andy Bruner struggles to keep up.

One thing I have come to know, runners are amazing people.  Ultra runners, are crazy, overachieving types.  This race, brought out the crazy, amazing and overachieving types for sure! For the 6 hour solo race, Malachi Williams and Bren Tompkins fought hard for the top spot.  At the end, both finished with 24 laps and 44.88 miles each.  Malachi crossed that threshold first, though, giving him the 1st place spot.  The amazing, Mrs. Awesome Sara Maltby, clinched first place female with 22 laps and 41.14 miles. For the 12 hour solo race, things were equally intense as Mrs. Lara Zoeller and Mr. Thomas Olmstead fought for first place overall and, with Mr. Scott Horton not very far behind!  In the end, there can only be One!  Well, in this case, Lara and Thomas both finished with the same mileage,72.93 miles, but Mrs. Zoeller reached that surreal mileage number a good ten minutes before Mr. Olmstead.  Mr. Horton finished the 12 hour solo with an immensely impressive 71.06 miles!

Mrs. Lara Zoeller after completing 72.93  miles in 12 hours

Mrs. Lara Zoeller after completing 72.93 miles in 12 hours

Lara Zoeller is truly one of the most impressive runners I have ever known!  Every race I’ve witnessed her run in she has pushed beyond limits I didn’t think were humanly possible!  At GSEC 24, she shattered the Georgia Women’s 24 hour record by running 133.184 miles!  The prior women’s record for Georgia was 101 miles in 24 hours.  At Delirium 24 hour ultra 2013, she ran 115 miles under very wet and muddy conditions.  At the SC 24 hour race, she ran 109 miles even while she was terribly ill and had to take a two hour break from the race.  This young lady is incredible!  I’ve never known such a focused, strong-minded, determined runner like Mrs. Zoeller.  It was a great honor for me to have her in CTS Ultra especially, this time around as this is Lara’s last year living in Savannah, Ga and, this is the last year that Chase the Sun Ultra will take place.  I will be sure to keep up with Mrs. Zoeller’s running career when she moves to Washington DC at the end of this year.

Team Entourage, led by Mr. Michael Butler dominated the 6 hour relay

Team Entourage, led by Mr. Michael Butler dominated the 6 hour relay

The fight for the top coveted spot at CTS didn’t end with the 6 and 12 hour solo runners.  The 6 and 12 hour relay teams showed up determined to maximize the number of miles in their respective races! In the end, Team Entourage, 6 hour relay led by Mr. Michael Butler clinched the honor of cranking out the most miles.  The 12 hour relay race was seized upon early by Team RWB and they kept pushing and pushing ever widening their cushion of space until no one could challenge them.

The majest of trees is quite evident at the Whitemarsh Preserve

The majest of trees is quite evident at the Whitemarsh Preserve

This year’s CTS was again held in the beautiful, serene Whitemarsh Preserve on Whitemarsh Island.  If you live in this area I highly recommend running at the Preserve!  The live oaks and pines tower over you creating a large thick canopy that shades you from the sun.  It’s interesting how on the trails you may not feel the rain on you until you exit that canopy of trees and enter the expansive clearing in the northeasterly section of the preserve where the start/finish line for CTS was at.

Young Master Liam in the bounce house

Young Master Liam in the bounce house

As you may know, Chase the Sun Ultra & Relay is the Savannah race for Liam’s Land.  Liam’s Land is an honorable non-profit furthering the research and funding for lymphatic malformations.  It was named after young master Liam, Joe and Janet Steffen’s son that was born with LM in 2010.  Young Master Liam has experienced a great deal of surgeries to improve his quality of life but that has not dampened his spirit one bit!  That little man was at the race bright and early and helped me kick off the runners at 7:05 am!  After the race kick-off, YM Liam could be seen darting from one place to the next with water balloons in hand, jumping in and out of the kid pool we had out there and bouncing all around inside the bounce house we had available for the little ones! LM, lymphatic malformations, can be a very debilitating condition that if not addressed could prove fatal if not addressed.  With Liam’s condition, he had difficulty breathing after being born.  A tracheostomy had to made in Liam’s neck so he could breathe.  Most of his young life, Liam, had that trach which limited what activities he could do.  Last year, his trach was removed and he was finally able to experience the joy of splashing in the waves at the beach and swimming in a pool.  Liam will grow up looking different than his peers and will likely have many more surgeries to deal with due to LM.

Janet Steffen on the left and Michelle Daniels on the right. Janet is Liam's Mom and CEO of Liam's Land

Janet Steffen on the left and Michelle Daniels on the right.
Janet is Liam’s Mom and CEO of Liam’s Land

I believe in what Liam’s Land is doing and, I hope that one day we will know what causes LM and what can be done to prevent it from affecting another person.  Although, Chase the Sun Ultra is being retired a new race will replace it as the Savannah race benefitting Liam’s Land. Speaking of benefitting Liam’s Land, Chase the Sun generated $1500.00 for this very worthy cause!  Mother’s Run this Town took up a collection of several hundred dollars for Liam’s Land and, Fleet Feet Savannah ran a fundraiser at the store last Friday where they raised over $600 for Liam’s Land.  All in all, Liam’s Land had a pretty darn good weekend, I would say!  The running community is such a generous one! And, despite the rough weather we experienced this final chapter for Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay turned out to be a huge success thanks to the generosity of our running community and the selfless giving of the volunteers that made this race happen!  I cannot end this blog without giving a shout out to the volunteers that gave up a Friday and Saturday to make Chase the Sun Ultra a wonderful success! Bigass Shout-out to the World Most Awesome Volunteers!

  • Mark Waters: I don’t know what I would do without you in the races I’ve held so far!  Thank you!
  • Emily Ernst: My very lovely nemesis that jumps right into the mix of things and carries heavy coolers just like the guys, sets up tents, breaks them down, rises up at O-Dark-Thirty and manages the parking then runs to the aid station and sets it all up.  And when she’s taking a break she’s actually buying pizzas for the runners and other volunteers!  And, she even managed to squeeze in some miles pacing some of the runners.  She even showed her better side to some very fortunate runners which I unfortunately missed out on. :(  She certainly earned her mimosas that day!  Thank you!
  • Nelson Amos: This man is the human computer!  He was a tremendous help with the timing.  He was fast thinking and equally fast in responding!  He can figure out splits faster than the computer can!  Thank you!
  • Bren Tompkins: Not only did he help set up the course of CTS, he also ran the six hour race, tied for first place and then stuck around until the end of this 12 hour event and helped out with the aid station and timing and, breaking down.  That is what you call dedication!  Thank you!
  • Kerry Dulina and Michael Shelly Moody: these two fine folks drove into town, – one drove in from Richmond Hill, the other from Port Royal, SC and handled the packet pickup at Fleet Feet Savannah all day Friday.  Thank you!
  • Michelle Daniels: Despite her very busy schedule stopped by at the race and helped out at the aid station and timing for most of the day.  Thank you!
  • Tony Varney: also stopped by at the race early Saturday and helped out with the aid station and timing.  Thank you!
  • Takis Kiriakos and Lisa Rosenmeier: This awesome couple ran the Ymca 5k Saturday morning and then ran over to CTS and took care of our runners so well that many of the runners have contacted about how awesome Takis and Lisa were during the race!  Thank you!
  • Gregg Geiger, Molly Cohen and Stacie Pottenger: These three peeps stepped in and helped out tremendously in the timing!  They allowed me time to go home and check on my dog, Mr. Gypsy and, gave me an opportunity to walk the course so that I could take pictures of the runners with my two gopros and Lumix GF2.  So, we have lots of cool pictures because these three allowed me to get away from the timing tent to take pics!  Thank you!
  • Cecilia Arango: Thank you for starting us off right with your beautiful voice in the National Anthem!

I also want to give a Bigass Shout-out to our sponsors for making this race not only possible but more enriching!

  • Fleet Feet Savannah: They are there always when needed.  As a store goes, they provide all that you need for starting to run to getting right shoe for the veteran runner.  They offer programs for beginner runners, intermediate runners and, programs for making fast runners even faster.  They are behind practically every race in the Savannah including all Run 4 a Reason races.  FF Sav has built a very strong running community that is not afraid of enlarging their game and tackling everything from a 1 mile run to a 100 miler!  Thank you!
  • Orange Mud: OM was very encouraging on social media, they provided their famous transition wrap towels, a hydraquiver, headbands, trucker running hat, a handheld and, 15% OM discounts for every registrant.  Thank you!
  • Neighborhood Realty: provided financial support. Thank you!
  • Fabrika: provided financial support. Thank you!
  • Celebritees: The gang at Celebritees provided the beautiful black running shirts each registered runner received at a tremendous discount! Thank you!
  • Savannah Yoga Barre: provided a mid-day yoga session for our runners, volunteers and supporters!  Thank you!
  • Hammer Nutrition: provided gels, Heed, energy bars, Endurolytes for this event.  I cannot say thank you enough to Hammer for they have been with me from the very first race I RD’d.  Hammer has been an incredible loyal sponsor!  Their hydration and fuels literally keep our runners going mile after mile, hour after hour!  Thank you!
I am BigFoot!

I am BigFoot!

Lastly, I want to give a special shout-out to a group of ladies that have truly touched my heart.  The Savannah chapter of Mothers Run this Town are made up of some of the finest human beings I know! These ladies juggle a lot!  They are mothers and wives and athletes.  They take care of their families’ needs, they run and still find the time to encourage and mother those around them.  MRTT have been a part of everyone of my races as not only runners but volunteers and spectators.  Always, they encourage and push hard!  Before the race at O-Dark-Thirty they presented me with a very special gift that I sincerely treasure!  A Huge thank you to Mothers Run this Town!  I promise you that your gift will be displayed at every race I RD!  Thank you! :)

Thank you all for making this year’s Chase the Sun such a wonderful, memorable experience!  I am so fortunate and blessed to live among such outstanding people!

All the best to you and yours!

peace,

 

dh

 

09/23/2014

Chase the Sun and Other Stuff with Run 4 a Reason

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It’s hard to believe that the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon has come and gone! And, here we are approaching mid-September and Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay in a week and a half!  Also, the start of the Fall quarter at SCAD -which is a very big deal for me as it marks the busiest time of the year where I make my livelihood from.   It’s also almost a month ago since I was in France climbing Mont Blanc!  Where does the time go?  Upon my return from climbing Mont Blanc I was confronted with the shocking reality of my very sick Australian Shepherd, Mr. Gypsy.  Having my dog, Mr. Gypsy sick consumed my world and emptied out my bank account.  I truly thought I was going to lose the little guy and my heart was broken.  It’s amazing how a trip of a life time became so inconsequential upon seeing my beloved best buddy so ill.  As soon as I returned home from France Mr. Gypsy is all I thought about.  Mr. Gypsy, though, proved himself a fighter once again and convinced me that he is not done living yet.  My furry little buddy still has things to do before putting his grey head down for good!  Thank God!

Mr. Gypsy, feeling so much better after being sick a week with a prostate infection

Mr. Gypsy, feeling so much better after being sick a week with a prostate infection

So, just as I was catching my breath from these significant life events I am hurled back into the mix of chaotic business with Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay and the September 15th start of the Fall quarter at SCAD during the same week!  Talk about timing!

I’ll admit that I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie but I didn’t realize what a glutton for punishment I am until this last month and a half!  My life seems to fly by as quick as a meteor.  No rest for the wicked, eh?

the CTS 2014 medals are slick!

the CTS 2014 medals are slick!

Moving right along…

CTS Ultra & Relay is coming up September 20th.  Every race I have held so far has been special but this one is the most special and that’s because it’s for a cause that I so strongly believe in, – Liam’s Land.  Liam’s Land funds research in what causes lymphatic malformations in hopes of one day preventing this from occurring on another living soul.  Liam’s Land is a 501c3 that was started by Janet and Joe Steffen, two wonderful people who’s child, Liam, was born with LM.  I know this family.  All are wonderful people, from mom and pop Steffen to young master Liam and his big sister, Amelie.

Young Master Liam

Young Master Liam. (photo courtesy Joe Steffen)

CTS is nearly sold out.  At the time of this writing there are 2 unsold spots available.  So, if interested in running CTS while at the same time supporting an amazing and worthy cause then, grab one of these last two spots!  You can register here if you’d like: —> ultrasingup

 

I really want this race to sell out!

Why?

1.  I want this race to sell out for the obvious.  Who doesn’t want to have a sold out event?  It’s so cool having a sold out event!  So, yeah!  I want this race to sell out!

2.  This is for Liam’s Land.  I want to raise as much money and exposure as possible for Liam’s Land.  I believe so whole-heartedly in this cause and the people that operate it. And, I want to live in a world where lymphatic malformations no longer exist.  Liam’s Land will help that become a reality.

3.  I don’t want any spare medals.  Sounds kind of weird and selfish but it’s true.  I want to go home Saturday, September 20th after the race empty handed, – sans medals.  So, I hope we sell out.

4.  This will be the last time Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay will be run.  For that reason, I want it to sell out.

2013 Chase the Sun Ultra & Relay

2013 Chase the Sun Ultra & Relay

Last year, we had 133 runners for CTS.  This year, we’re barely scratching 100.  This race is on a downward cycle.  It is losing to other ultras that are more popular and it is losing to a local 5k that is part of a race series that recently had it’s date change to the same date as CTS.  Last year, we raised $3,500.00 for Liam’s Land.  This year, even though, I’ve reduced race expenses greatly we’ll only generate a fraction of that former total.  So, in the end, cancelling CTS is simply a business decision.  This format is just not working.

Those are the breaks, unfortunately.  Running is a competitive sport not just between runners but between races and race organizations.  You win some, you lose some.  So, after Sept 20th, Chase the Sun Ultra will go the way of the Dodo but, something else will grow from it’s decay.  Liam’s Land will continue and, a race will rise from the ashes of CTS to carry on the torch for young master Liam and the cause with his name!  What race will that be?  I don’t know for certain.  More than likely, though, it will not be an ultra.  And, if I may add, it will not be a 5k nor 10k either.  I have nothing against those two distances.  There are just too many of those here in Savannah.  The race that will replace the CTS Ultra will be a challenging race. I can assure you of that!  I’m kind of thinking (at the moment), that I might like it to be a half-marathon through my beloved Thunderbolt.  Maybe, a trail half-marathon?

Yes, I’m kind of stuck thinking a half marathon may be the right distance but not completely sold on that.  I will discuss this in greater detail with Janet Steffen along with my fellow running colleagues, Bren Tompkins and Sara Maltby to see what they think.

Bren, upon finishing Lowcountry Ultras 2014 Cremator 50 miler

Bren, upon finishing Lowcountry Ultras 2014 Cremator 50 miler

Speaking of Bren Tompkins, he will be the race director for next year’s Little Tybee Conquest half marathon.  Bren has a very impressive running record, a good head on his shoulders and, has worked with me on several of the races I’ve held and, has proven himself indispensable.   With Bren at the helm of LTC Half, this race can only succeed!  He knows his shiz!

There, you kind of have it!  The latest and greatest from Run 4 a Reason.

The last Run 4 a Reason race for the year and the last Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay is going to be a blast!  We’ll have lots of food for the runners, great swag and something for the kids and the entire family to enjoy!  If you get a chance come out and support Liam’s Land on Saturday, September 20th between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm…even if you do not run.  There will be lots of festivities for the kids and lots of miles to be run by the bigger kids!

Next year, we’ll start things off fast with the Savannah Rails to Trails 50k/25k.  And, from there we’ll head strong into the 2nd GSEC 24/30.  After that, just as summer is popping up we’ll have the Savannah Grit 175k stage race, the 3rd Little Tybee Half with Mr. Tompkins running the show.  And, some where in 2015, we’ll have a race benefitting Liam’s Land!

One more thing to share with you guys…

I’m rolling an idea around about a multi-day point to point race in 2016 with the following distances: 400ish miles (5 days), 225 miles (2.5 days), 112 miles (1.5 days).  All three distances will finish in downtown Savannah, behind city hall.  I’ll keep you guys posted as the details get more fleshed out.  It’s gonna be killer.

Thanks for stopping by.

peace,

dh

09/11/2014

 

parting shot from Mont Blanc

parting gopro shot from Mont Blanc

The Little Tybee Half Marathon is Almost Upon Us!

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The Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon is right around the corner! Wow, how time flies! This is the second year for this race and I’m just as excited and scared about it as I was last year! Last year we had a few logistics failures. This year, we have more experience & a very sharp crew helping to execute this race. With this year’s race we’re increasing the mileage from a 10.8 mile run to a 13.1 mile run.

This year’s race also has 25 registered runners over the 15 registered runners we had last year. Twenty-five is the most runners this race will ever. That’s the deal the DNR and I worked out, and, a deal I intend to adhere to as I believe in the vision of the DNR regarding Little Tybee Island, – to protect it and to keep it wild and beautiful. Another part of the deal that the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and I worked out for allowing me to hold a race on Little Tybee is to use this race to promote education about the need for these wild places for endangered coastal birds and sea turtles and, the importance these barrier islands have not only for nature but as protection from storms for coastal Georgians.

horseshoe

So, one of the things we advocate during the race is a clean up of Little Tybee while we’re there. Last year, we filled and hauled two large bags of trash off the island. We’ll do a clean up again this year. Also, in the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon program booklet, we highlight some of the wildlife that inhabits Little Tybee island.

I’ve been asked if the LTC Half is an adventure race or a Triathlon. The answer is quite simply, neither. There is no cycling in this race and their is no team aspect or multi-disciplines incorporated in this race as there are in adventure races. The LTC Half Marathon is exactly what it claims to be – a half marathon! Throw in an uninhabited barrier island off of Georgia’s coast, lots of beach and sand, and four channel crossings of which two will entail a short jaunt of a swim.
This unique race will ignite your sense of adventure, will delight you with this island’s natural beauty and, will challenge you physically as any race should especially, a half marathon! This may very well be one of the toughest half marathon’s you’ll ever run and, one of the most fulfilling races you’ll ever do! At the end of this race you will aptly feel very accomplished.

The race starts two hours before low tide to ensure the runners have enough beach to run on. That means, the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon begins at 11:00 am, Saturday. Doing this, allows even the slowest runner to have a beach to run on and, shortens the swim sections that under a high tide would be miles long to what now constitute a total of about 1.5-1.7 miles of swimming and/or wading.

This is Tree Beach

This is Tree Beach

The LTC half marathon runners will begin at the northeastern section of Little Tybee Island and run east then south, following the sandy coastline until it literally expires. Along the way they will cross four channels of varying depth and width. The second channel they’ll cross will require about one third of a mile of wading chest deep and swimming. The fourth channel will require a swim that’s roughly one-third of a mile as the shoreline quickly drops when you enter this fourth channel.

Boxed water for runners at the other side of the 4th channel

Boxed water for runners at the other side of the 4th channel

The northern shoreline of the 4th channel crossing will have life preservers available to any runner that desires one for this crossing. Upon reaching the other side of the channel fresh drinking water will be available to runners. The runners must continue following the coastline until they come upon a volunteer that will direct them to run up the southern shoreline of the 4th channel they previously crossed. They will follow the shoreline for approximately a mile where they will reach Jolly Roger Beach. At Jolly Roger Beach the runners will find a large plastic container which will have their running bibs. Each runner must find their correct bib number in that container and safely secure it upon themselves. As they head back down the beach to where they came from they must shout out their bib number to the volunteer that initially directed them to Jolly Roger Beach. Then, the runners will again cross the fourth channel and work their way back up the beach to where they started.

The runners must finish with their newly acquired race bib numbers. Any runner that does not produce their bib number at the finish line will be dnf’d.

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Of the four channel crossings that the runners will cross two are of significant width and depth. The other two will just be splash puddles to run through. The two wide and deep channels will have kayakers and a motor boat in the middle of each to watch all runners and be ready to offer assistance to any runner should it be needed.

All of the LTC half finishers will get resin medals with shark teeth that were found at Shark Tooth Island by myself and other friends which are also volunteering for this race. The medals are very slick and unlike any medals from any other race out there. Each is unique and hand made. The first place male and female will each get a beer horn trophy and a beer. Every runner will also get 2×3 foot Jolly Roger flag.

These are the medals for the finishers of the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon.  The first place male and female will each get a beer horn.

These are the medals for the finishers of the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon. The first place male and female will each get a beer horn.

The Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon is a unique and special race. It is the only race offered on Little Tybee. It is the only race offered on any of the uninhabited barrier island’s off Georgia’s coast.
It takes a lot of work and cooperation between the DNR and Run 4 a Reason to make this race happen. It commands a lot of work to pull off this race successfully! Everything has to be taken into consideration for this race. There is no infrastructure on Little Tybee. Portable toilets must be transported there. All gear, food, water must be carried there by boat. This race is a huge challenge but so very worth the effort! With this race we try to spotlight the importance of these precious wild places we’re so privileged to have in our backyard. We emphasize the importance of being good stewards of this land that we are blessed with and, of the critters that call it home. One of the things that I always say about Little Tybee is that when we travel there we need to remember that we are visitors there and that we should mindful and respectful of the critters that call that island home.

We did a lot of sifting to find enough shark teeth to make 25 shark tooth resin medals!

We did a lot of sifting to find enough shark teeth to make 25 shark tooth resin medals!

Endangered coastal birds nest on Little Tybee. Several sea turtle species nest on the expansive beaches of Little Tybee. Little Tybee island is a stopping place for thousands of migrating birds. The waters off Little Tybee are teeming with life! Crabs, conch, sharks, stingrays, starfish, sand dollars, porpoises, etc. can be seen near the shoreline of the Little Tybee beaches.

I keep the registration price of this race moderately priced at $65.00. Last year’s race had a deficit of $600.00 plus. This year’s race is breaking even after tallying all of the race expenses. I do not want to increase the registration fee of this race. I think $65.00 is fair and to charge more than that for this race is just uncool to me but, I am trying to figure out a way of actually making some money on this race as the proceeds (if any) of this race will go to the Nature Conservancy, Georgia Chapter. My goal is to get sponsors to foot most of the costs of this race in the future and have all of the registration fees go to Nature Conservancy.

I have prayed for the well-being of each runner and the support and volunteers of the Little Tybee Conquest but we’re also taking every precaution we can think of to make this a fun, safe, memorable event for all!

If you are running this year’s Little Tybee Conquest Half I wish you strength, stamina and success in completing this challenging race.  If you are spectating, have fun, cheer on the runners and be respectful of all the wild things on Little Tybee.

If you are a volunteer, I whole-heartedly thank you for your time and hard work in making this race a wonderful experience for all!

Let’s have fun this Saturday on Little Tybee Island!

peace,

dh

08/07/2014

Continuing the Road to Recovery…

some of my rowing on the concept 2

some of my rowing on the concept 2

I have now completed my fourth physical therapy session with Ernest Ledesma of Ledesma Sports Medicine and can honestly say that I feel better than I have all year!  This past Monday, I had my first pain-free run of 2014!  That’s right.  Every run I had done this year was always an exercise in discomfort sometimes, severe discomfort.  So, I welcome each pt $30 copay sessions!  That is money incredibly well spent!

Actually, I’m feeling so good and pain-free that I’ve gone as far as registering for my very first 2014 race!  Yep, I registered for the November 8, 2014 Rock n Roll Savannah Marathon!  It was exciting!  It was expensive too!  I wish that race wasn’t so stinking expensive.  That’s another story, though.  For now, I am very happy that my comeback run after a year and a half of painful rough and tough running will be the RnR 2014 Savannah marathon!  RnR runs always feel like celebratory runs.  So, this year’s Savannah RnR is going to be my great celebratory run with thousands of people lining the streets to cheer just me. ;-)

You know how RnR registration asks for a projected finish time?  Well, I thought about that question hard and finally typed out “3:40″.  Finishing with a 3:40 means that I will have to run an 8:24 minute per mile pace.  That seems reasonable, -doable…at the moment.  Let’s see if I can make it true.

The two runs I’ve done this week have ranged from 3.34 miles to 3.73 miles.  Each of those runs have been pain-free.  And, each of those runs have averaged an 8:40ish per minute mile pace.  I have felt pleased with those paces as I have not been able to run below an 9:00 minute pace all year!  An 8:40 pace is still a far cry from my former 7:00 minute per mile pace for half marathons just a year and a half ago but considering where I was just a month ago, -I’ve come a long way!  So, I’ll take that 8:40ish pace with pride and, with a commitment to keep plugging along!

I’m going to continue running short, slow runs for at least the next two weeks.  If, after two weeks I still feel good and strong I’ll begin pushing the envelope both in speed and distance.  For now, though, it’s going to be slow and easy and more physical therapy.  Next week, I  begin one pt session per week.

exercise2

I’m going to continue blogging my progress in hopes of staying focused and also, in hopes it may encourage someone to keep going and not give up.  Believe me, at times I have felt like quitting as I’ve sat on the sidelines watching friends and others make great strides forward in running and overall health and fitness.  This episode in my life has been discouraging.  I have gone from being somewhat of a swift runner to a runner that is not so swift.  Along the process too I’ve gained more weight than I thought possible and, I have found it difficult to shed these extra pounds.  Nothing more discouraging than working your ass off for an hour on a stair stepper and realizing that you only burned enough calories to nullify the candy bar I had eaten earlier that day!

So, onward!  My recovery has begun and I will continue to move forward!

Thanks for stopping by.

All the best.

peace,

dh

07/18/2014

 

 

Dealing with a Running Injury…

One of the stretching exercises that Mr. Ledesma has me doing

One of the stretching exercises that Mr. Ledesma has me doing

Yesterday, I felt, as though, I finally began the road to recovery with my bummed out hamstring on my left leg.  This hammy has been problematic since November 2013.  Since then, it’s been back and forth between leg feels good, leg doesn’t feel good.  Initially, the problem seems to stem from my attempt at the Pinhoti 100 where after 52 miles I was pulled off the course for being too slow.  I took a week off from running and with my next run I felt a tremendous pain in my mid-hamstring.  After that short 5 mile run there was to be no more running until the last week of December 2013.

I brought in 2014 with a good 35 mile week and no pain.  I slowly climbed back to a 45-50 mile week by the end of January and, by mid-February had to have a mileage retreat as the pain resurfaced.  By mid-March, I seemed to be back in my game but it was more of learning to run with pain and ignoring the consequences.  By mid-April, my running ground down to a mere 20 miles per week.  By May, the pain in my left leg would get so intense between miles five and six that I was no longer running more than that.

Frustrated, finally in June, I made an appointment to see my doctor about this nagging problem that originated in my left hamstring and was now impacting my entire leg especially, my left calf.  In the waiting room of Dr. Catalan’s office I mentally prepared myself for the news that was certain to be bad.  “Dan, I’m afraid you have blood clots, plural!”  Or, “Dan, cancer is the culprit.  You have six weeks to live.”  Finally, I was called in to see the good doctor.  I was escorted to a small sterile room.  I had my blood pressure checked and temperature taken and then left alone.  I sat and waited in that little room in the back of the Memorial Hospital outreach on Whitemarsh island wondering how bad my condition would be and how long the road to recovery would be (if there was to be a road to recovery).

Dr. Catalan walked into the room and greeted me pleasantly.  We caught up since the last time we saw each other,  which was 2 years ago, in the same room.  She then asked some questions about the problem at hand followed by an examination.  After that, Dr. Catalan gave me her prognosis as I held my breath.  ‘Dan, I’m afraid you may have tendinitis.’  I blinked…dramatically, about 12 times.  “It’s not a blood clot nor cancer?”  Dr. Catalan assured me I that my self-prognosis was indeed wrong.  She made a recommendation of not aggravating the problem by refraining from running for at least six weeks and recommended that I see a physical therapist.  Before she could name a PT, I blurted out “Ernie Ledesma?”  She smiled and said “that’s who I was going to say.”

So, yesterday, July 8th, I had the honor and privilege of having my leg problem addressed by Mr. Ledesma, a physical therapist that I highly esteem.  After a thorough examination followed by a deep tissue massage and ultra sound my left leg felt better than it has in months!

Mr. Ledesma’s assessment is that I probably had a tear in my hamstring during the Pinhoti 100.  Eventually, it healed leaving scar tissue.  This spring, as my mileage increased I re-ignited the problem as my mileage base began to increase weekly.  The hamstring not having healed right just caused further aggravation, not to mention those 15 to 18 mile runs I was pulling off this past March and April did me no good.  And, adding injury to insult, it seems that I subconsciously altered the way I run as to alleviate the stress on the hamstring and in the process shifted that stress to my left calf.  That is why my left calf has been such a beesh.

some of my rowing on the concept 2

some of my rowing on the concept 2

Ernie is going to work through the scar tissue and reasonably thinks I should be running strong again in the next 2 to 6 weeks.  In the mean time, he’s advised me to continue doing endurance training as I’ve been doing – stair stepper and Concept 2 rowing as those two exercises do not seem to aggravate the problem.  Mr. Ledesma did say that I could run but to keep the running to a minimum with low mileage and slow pace.  That should not be too difficult to fulfill as my running is very slow and very short-winded as of late.

For the first time in a while I feel that I may be back in my game again soon!  I cannot wait to build up my mileage base again and start racing again.  I’ve refrained from registering for any races until I feel strong and healthy enough to run like I was back in 2012 where a 7:00 minute per mile pace was comfortable for any distance under and including the half marathon distance.  That day will come soon…I am certain of that.  The question, though, will be what is going to be my first race when I’m back in my game?

Will keep you posted.

Thanks for stopping by.

peace,

dh

07/09/2014

 

Rocking Runner of the Week: Tina Nelson

Tina with her daughter, Savannah

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting our new Rocking Runner of the Week a little over a year ago at the first CAF 24 hour run held at Daffin Park.  The more I got to know her the more I liked her.  She is a lovely lady, an amazing athlete, an admirable human being.

Please take a few minutes to learn a little more about our Rocking Runner of the Week, Mrs. Tina Nelson…

 

Tina during the GSEC 24 Hour Ultra

Tina during the GSEC 24 Hour Ultra

~~~

  • Name: Tina Nelson
  • How long have you been running? This is my fourth year of running.
  • What brought you to running? My daughter was a cross country runner in high school and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when she was a sophomore. My doctor advised me to lose weight and get some exercise, so she helped me get started by coaching me to my first 5k. She is still one of my biggest fans although she thinks I am a little nutty for continuing to run longer and longer.
  • What do you get from running? I get a tremendous sense of peace. It clears my head and helps me make decisions. I feel a connection with the earth that grounds me and lifts me up all at the same time. It’s a glorious feeling. Physically, I feel amazing after a run. My high blood pressure cleared up and I lost the weight. I rarely get sick now and have more energy than ever before.
  • What kind of runner are you (5k demon, 10k road runner, half marathon madman/woman, marathon zombie, ultra-nutjob, make up your own description)? I am a road warrior! Give me a hard and fast 5k any day of the week.
  • Are you a trail runner or road runner? Road runner for sure! I love pounding the asphalt through the city! I’m really new to trail running and find a lot of joy in it, but I will always love a hard, fast run through the city streets. I get distracted when I am on the trail by all the beauty of it but it’s the road that gets me.
  • Do you race?  favorite race?  Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race? I love to race! I don’t think I have a favorite, although I do the Tybee 5k every year because it was my first.  It is the one race that I judge how I progress from year to year. I look at each race differently and try to embrace the challenge that each one offers.
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why? Oh gosh, I want to run them all! I’m still chasing that elusive Boston qualifying time for a marathon & would love to run that, just for the atmosphere and the epicness of it being Boston. I’m looking at something like Vol State being my big adventure next year.
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average? I go out 4-5 times a week, averaging 50 miles total.
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why? I like New Balance 1600 right now. It’s a great lightweight shoe with a big toe box. All of the blistering and gross toenail issues I had previously cleared up when I started wearing NB. I do wear Hoka One One on longer training runs for more support.
  • Do you cross-train?  If so, what do you do for cross-training? I alternate between swimming and cycling to cross train a few times a week. I recently added weight training twice a week to build some upper body strength. I’m adamant about doing core work 3 times a week. I practice yoga nearly every day.
  • Do you stretch before/after running? Why or Why not? I do some dynamic stretching during my warm up before a run. I’ve always been taught that you don’t stretch cold muscles and have found that I perform better when I am warmed up.  Stretching after a run promotes flexibility because your muscles are good and loose but I am not good about sticking with it. I’m usually way more interested in finding a cup of coffee and some food after a run.
  • How do you fuel during a race or run (gels, real food, etc.)? If I am running 1-2 hours, I use Tailwind in my water and won’t need anything else. For anything longer, I eat a Bonk Breaker bar about every 2 hours to supplement. During a race I will nibble on a few pretzels, chips, or m&m’s from time to time.  Ginger chews are my best friend if my stomach gets a little queasy.
  • Do you taper leading up to a race?  When do you begin your taper & what does it entail? I do a 2 week taper if I am going marathon distance or longer.  I stick to my usual weekday runs and distance but cut the long run in half or so about 10 days out.  I focus on hydrating well and eating really sensibly more than anything.
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share? You have to train smart and do what works for your body. There is a reason why there are so many different types of successful programs out there for runners. Find out what works for you. Get properly fitted for shoes. Get out of the rut. Stop listening to music. Or start. Cross train. Change your cross training workouts every quarter. Find a partner. Drop your partner. Sign up for races!
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such? I recently completed my first ultra and rocked out 100 miles! The Great Savannah Endurance Challenge was completely off the charts for me. I can’t even say the words without tearing up again. To earn a buckle – to run 100 miles in just under 24 hours for a first time, was amazing. I have never felt stronger, more powerful, or more beautiful than I did that day.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training) I met my now sister-in-law (Vanessa Stroud) for the first time at mile 10 of the Pinhoti 100 two years ago. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was slated to crew her for it and brought me along on the trip with her blessing. He was so nervous because it was her first 100 (he kept thinking she was going to keel over!). I had never even heard of an ultra. She came off the trail into the aid station, Jay was a mess over the whole thing and it was like she & I were kindred spirits. You would never know that we hadn’t met before that moment. We still laugh about it and say that you meet the best people running.

Please name three inspirational runners to you and why they are inspirational (they can be famous, family, friends).

  1. I have a client, Damon, who is the most wonderful young runner. He’s a teenager and runs for the pure joy of it. As a coach I love working with beginners because I get to experience that first love of running all over again. Damon brings something special to it beyond anyone else I have ever seen.
  2. Lara Zoeller and Sara Maltby inspire me with how hard they work. Both are so super humble about everything they’ve accomplished and are always looking out for others at races.
  3. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my ultra-sister, Vanessa Stroud. She’s the one I turn to when the taper demons start talking trash to me or I wonder if my training has plateaued or whether I can handle another race. I never would have been able to train for ultras without her advice.

Any favorite quote that lends itself to your running and/or philosophy on life?  Please share.

  • ” I walked a mile with Pleasure;
    She chatted all the way;
    But left me none the wiser
    For all she had to say.
    I walked a mile with Sorrow,
    And ne’er a word said she;
    But, oh! The things I learned from her,
    When sorrow walked with me. “ -Robert Browning Hamilton
    We learn more about ourselves from what we think are mistakes or failures than we do from successes, if we can just look for the lesson in it. There is beauty in everything, even failure.

As a runner, where do you see yourself one year from now?

  • I don’t think my pr’s have plateaued just yet so there is no telling where I will be in a year. Running faster and longer and hopefully coaching a fresh new crop of beginners.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

  • The running community is like no other. We come from all walks of life, all areas of the world, and all paces to become one family. We love on each other when times are tough and celebrate each other when we win. Runners are the ones you can always count on. This little family of ours is phenomenal and a blessing to be a part of.

~~~

Tina after earning her first 100 miles in 24 hours or less buckle.

Tina after earning her first 100 miles in 24 hours or less buckle.

There you have it, our new RRoW, the awesome, Tina Nelson!

I am exceptionally proud of this lady’s achievements!  And, I was so honored that her first ultra and buckle happened with a race that I RD’d.  BTW, the picture above makes it look like I have a bigass belly!  Is my belly really that big?  After this blog it’s gonna be eye of the tiger for me!  No more big belly!

Thank you for stopping by and getting to know our Rocking Runner of the Week, Tina Nelson.

peace,

dh

07/01/2014

Rocking Runner of the Week: Jason Edenfield

Jason and Verity Gray

Jason and Verity Gray

Our newest Rocking Runner of the Week is Jason Edenfield, a good friend of mine.  I met Jason after the 2013 LSM Rails to Trails Ultra.  We were both beginners…That was his first ultra, that was my first race as an rd.  Man, has he come a long way since then!

Jason is one of those rare runners (rare to me) that started off as a minimalist runner and hasn’t looked back.   I have to tell you that one of the proudest moments I’ve had has been when I handed him his GSEC 24 hour belt buckle!  That’s right.  This man ran 100 miles in less than 24 hours in minimalist shoes!

Jason is a good-hearted, strong man!  I’m proud to call him a friend – even if he cannot kayak worth a flip…”flip” being a key word!  This is an inside joke. ;)

Jason and Dawn Brown during last year's CAF run

Jason and Dawn Brown during last year’s CAF run

~~~

  • Name: Jason Edenfield
  • How long have you been running? About two and a half years.
  • What brought you to running? I was overweight, out of shape and looking for a change. I ran track one year in high school and remembered how much I used to love running, so I decided to give it another try and haven’t quit since.
  • What do you get from running? A release of energy and stress plus the promise of getting a little bit faster or running longer and farther than I ever have before.
  • What kind of runner are you (5k demon, 10k road runner, half marathon madman/woman, marathon zombie, ultra-nutjob, make up your own description)? Definitely an ultra-nut job.
  • Are you a trail runner or road runner? I run both but I prefer trails. Roots, mud, gravel, I’ll take it over a road any  day.
  • Do you race?  favorite race?  Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race? Rails to Trails is my favorite because it was my first and introduced me to this great sport and to many friends. I missed the second annual R2T, but I don’t plan on missing the next!
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why? Probably Western States, and I think it’s just because it’s the Western States race.
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average? Three to four times a week and I average around 30-50 miles.
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why? I don’t think these are considered shoes but lately I have been running in Luna sandals. The reason would be comfort, my feet stay relatively cool and I don’t have to worry about black toenails from my toes pressing up against the toe-box. Although black toenails seem to be a runners right of passage.
  • Do you cross-train?  If so, what do you do for cross-training? On non-running days I try to work on my core and upper body. Just the basics like chin-ups, pushups and sit-ups.
  • Do you stretch before/after running? Why or Why not? No, but I probably should after a run.
  • How do you fuel during a race or run (gels, real food, etc.)? Junk food! Gummies, cookies, candy bars etc.. I do like grapes as well, so that’s at least one healthy thing I eat.
  • Do you taper leading up to a race?  When do you begin your taper & what does it entail? My taper starts about a week and a half out, but I usually throw in a couple of short maintenance runs in up to two days out before a race.
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share? Carry a water bottle on every run no matter how short. You may plan on running a short distance only to change your mind during the run to go further. It also makes holding a water bottle seem like an extension of you on race day rather than a heavy foreign object.
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such? 100 miles at the Great Savannah Endurance Challenge.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training).  During Chase the Sun, Tiana Marie, April Groves and myself pretty much got tired of running and decided it would be more fun to walk around with solo cups drinking beer for the remainder of the race. After several hours and who knows how many beer laps, someone comes up to Tiana and informs her that she was either one lap ahead or one lap behind Karen Jackson. Tiana hands me her cup and just takes off, after who knows how many beers! That was the funniest damn thing I ever saw.

Please name three inspirational runners to you and why they are inspirational (they can be famous, family, friends).

  1. Karen Jackson because of her many running feats.
  2. Sarah Maltbe because she is fast as hell and can maintain that fast pace for so long.
  3. Tim Waz because he’s the man. Not only does he race, he also puts on several race events during the year and has created this LowCountry Ultras family down here. He’s also like a bee farmer or something.

Any favorite quote that lends itself to your running and/or philosophy on life?  Please share.

  • If you’re going through hell, keep going. In other words, don’t quit.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

  • Yeah, that while running to push myself through a goal is great, running with friends and sharing the experience is far more enjoyable.

~~~

Jason and Tiana Marie

Jason and Tiana Marie

There you have it, our latest Rocking Runner of the Week!

Jason has come a long way as a runner but not a kayaker.  I look forward to seeing him smash through new barriers and achieve new personal records!  The sky’s the limit, bud!  Keep plowing through, man!  Keep going after belt buckles!  I’m pretty sure that soon you’ll have a huge collection belt buckles!  You’ll have more belt buckles than Daryl has zombie ears hanging from around his neck!

Thanks for stopping by.

All the best to you and yours.

peace,

dh

06/09/2014