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

Great Savannah Endurance Challenge 24 Hour Ultra Recap

Kelly Luckett & Tony Varney.  I forgot his dog's name, unfortunately.

Kelly Luckett & Tony Varney. I forgot his dog’s name, unfortunately.

The Great Savannah Endurance Challenge 24 Hour Ultra is quickly fading into history but it’s impact is still being felt…mainly, in my house.  My house and yard have not quite recovered from the neglect of putting on this race!  There is still some race paraphernalia strewn about my living room! Speaking of history, though, we made some during this race!  The highest mileage run during the GSEC 24 was 133.184 miles by Mrs. Lara Zoeller, smashing the Georgia 24 hour open female record by 33 miles!  And, the amazing feats didn’t end there!  Ten runners crossed the 100 mile threshold in 24 hours or less and earned some pretty nifty belt buckles.  I only had eight buckles on hand!  So, I’ve had to order two more.

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this event.  I witnessed amazing feats and accomplishments.  Many personal records were met and exceeded at GSEC 24.  We had several first time ultra runners crank out more miles than they thought they ever could! Last week, I showcased first time ultra runner, Ms. Emily McLaughlin as the Rocking Runner of the Week.  She picked GSEC as her first venture into ultras ran an impressive 33.2 miles in 6 hours!

Our poster child for this race, Mrs. Kelly Luckett, got a personal record at GSEC by running 100k (62.1371 miles) in 20:28:17!  Think about that for a minute.  This lady has a below the knee prosthetic leg and was doing lap after lap at the race track on Hutchinson island for 20 hrs, 28 minutes and 17 seconds!  And, in that time frame cranked out 62.1371 miles!  Is that not amazing and inspiring?  This run, benefitted the Challenged Athletes Foundation.  Mrs. Luckett represented quite well for CAF!  Major props to Kelly Luckett!

The amazing Kelly Luckett, our GSEC 24 hour poster child.

The amazing Kelly Luckett, our GSEC 24 hour poster child.

Approximately 75 runners ran the GSEC in temps that reached 85 degrees.  Running on this asphalt race track the temperature felt like 100 degrees from noon til 6:00 pm.  A lot of runners were weakened by the unrelenting heat but they continued to push themselves, digging deep and tapping into a strength they did not realize they had!  With the evening, came a cooling relief from the heat but not from the humidity.  The mosquitoes were also pretty bad at night despite Chatham County Mosquito Control spraying prior to the race.

I don’t have a lot of races under my belt as a race director but I can honestly say that the GSEC 24 has been the most difficult race for me to manage to date.  There were so many obstacles to overcome just to get the runners to the starting line.  Number 1, we knew from the very beginning that getting the Hutchinson Island race track measured and certified was of utmost importance.  GSEC 24 was after all a 24 hour ultra billed as a flat, fast course to set personal records and break local, state, regional, etc records.  To make the records official, the course would have to be certified.  So, that was one of the first big tasks to do.  With the guidance of ultra race director extraordinaire, Tim Waz, of Lowcountry Ultras, we took on that task this past March.  We measured and calibrated a calibration course and then measured the race track.  I got all of the numbers down, forms filled out and sent off to Mr. Woody Cornwell (state of Georgia certifier).  A week after submitting the forms we had the Hutchinson island race track certified at 2.213 miles.  Getting this task completed was a huge weight off of my shoulders but the work didn’t end there.

Garth Peterson and I after he completed GSEC with 119.5 miles

Garth Peterson and I after he completed GSEC with 119.5 miles

Getting the permit and permission to hold the event at the race track for 24 hours was another tough task.  A lot of people still find it difficult wrapping their heads around the idea of a 24 hour running event.  Just about everyone I sought out for permits and permission had so many questions about what the GSEC 24 was all about.  “For real? People are gonna be running 24 hours?”, were common questions asked when explaining this race to city and county peeps.  Regardless of all of the questions, though, Chatham county and the City of Savannah were incredibly friendly and accommodating. Because this race took place on a car race track that is owned by the City of Savannah and, is a race track that is open to traffic, there was some bureaucracy to deal with.  All came together, though, and the race happened.

I’m very grateful to all of the people that helped bring this race to fruition.  Obviously, no one man is an island and this race could not have succeeded as it did without so many generous, friendly, selfless people and, without the branches of local government that patiently worked with me.

Sara Maltby with her medal and sponsor gift of Orange Mud towel

Sara Maltby with her medal and sponsor gift of Orange Mud towel

I want to give a big shout out to the following awesome people that made this race happen and succeed:

  1. Sara Maltby.  She ran the GSEC 6 hour race, was first place female with 39.83 miles and after her win she hung around all day and night helping other runners with pacing and encouraging them during the difficult parts of their race.   When she wasn’t pacing other runners she was working the aid station.  On Friday, she was helping to set up tents at the race location.  The night before, Sara cut fruit, boiled potatoes and made sandwiches for the runners.  Mrs. Maltby, again, has demonstrated that she has a heart of gold and a heart of a champion.  Thank you, Sara!
  2. Mark Waters.  Helped lay out the traffic cones and stantions the day before the race in 95 degree heat!  That was a very tough task!  On race day, Mr. Waters was there helping out with the timing for most of the day!  Thank you, sir!
  3. Michelle Daniels.  Mrs. Daniels got us a lot of ice!  A LOT OF ICE!  She made the connections so that we could resupply ice and water thanks to Westin.  She helped out at the aid station all day and most of the night ensuring our runners were well taken care of.  She also helped pace runners.  She filled water coolers throughout the day and the night before the race made dozens of sandwiches for the runners.  I am very grateful for all of her help.  Thank you, Michelle.
  4. Tony Varney.  Tony met me at 3:30 Saturday morning and helped get us to race time!  He worked with me the entire day and most of the night with the timing.  We could not have executed this race without Mr. Varney.
  5. Michele Timmerman.  Mrs. Timmerman drove all of the way from Greenville, SC to Savannah just to help out with GSEC!  She stayed all day and most of the night before driving back up to her home.  She kept our runners well fed and hydrated and ran many miles pacing our runners. Thank you, Michele!
  6. Kelly Luckett.  Kelly wasn’t only a runner at GSEC but the inspiration behind this race.  She was a tremendous source of wisdom for me and helped me keep seeing the bigger picture whenever I felt overwhelmed with the roadblocks that would surface.
  7. Beverly English.  Beverly showed up bright and early on race day and had indicated she would only be able to help for a few hours and yet she stuck around all day and a great deal of the night helping out with the timing and the aid station.
  8. Linda Leake.  Linda is a friend from way back that I haven’t seen nor talked to in many years.  Yet, when I first placed a call for volunteers she was one of the first to answer the call.  She handled packet pick by organizing all of the swag bags by alphabetical order and placing shirts in the bags.  She was a tremendous help and I’m very grateful for her help.
  9. Verity Gray.  After finishing up her 6 hour run where she got a new PR, Ms. Gray then showed up early Sunday morning and paced Lara Zoeller to her finish and then stuck around and helped breakdown after the race including picking up traffic cones that had been laid out for the race.  Thank you so very much, Ms. Sexy-Ten! ;)
  10. Tharon Lambert & Savannah Striders.  President of Savannah Striders, Mr. Tharon Lambert helped out in more ways than one and I greatly appreciate all of his help.  Not only did he arrange for us to use a lot of Strider equipment for the race he filled up water coolers for the runners and helped resupply us with ice.
  11. Kenny Linton.  Kenny ran for six hours and hooked us up with 500 pounds of ice!
  12. Cecilia Arango & Matthew Roach handled the packet pickup at Fleet Feet with Linda.  Thank you both!
  13. Tim Waz.  Tim got me into this crazy, cool world of race directing.  I’ve learned a great deal from this man on how to organize, promote and run a race.  He helped me with the measuring of the race track and promoted GSEC every time he had a chance.  I am so very grateful for Tim’s help and guidance.
  14. Jane.  I wish I could remember Jane’s last name.  Jane was kind enough to pickup breakfast and coffee for us on Saturday morning and deliver it to the race location.  That was very awesome of her.  She dropped off the food and then left without expecting anything in return.  She’s such good people and I’ve done her such a disservice by forgetting her last name.
  15. Nancy Mauldin.  Late into the evening Nancy came in at the right time to help out with the timing as we were getting tired and proned to mistakes.  So, a big thank you to Nancy!
  16. Jenn Duvall.  Jenn came in late Saturday night and handled the aid station.
  17. Chris & Melissa Ramsey.  Power couple, Chris and Melissa, helped out with the aid station and timing and, provided some much needed and appreciated beer!
  18. Troy Butler.  Troy handled race day packet pickup and then helped out with the timing.
  19. Stacie Pottenger and Molly Cohen helped out with the timing and getting the pizza to us!
  20. Stephanie & Brad Coy showed up at 3:00 am on Sunday and prepared breakfast for everyone.  How awesome was that?  They then cleaned up and packed the aid station when the race was over.  And, the leftover food that was left over they took to Feed the Hungry at Forsyth Park. Thank you!
  21. Stephen Henry of City of Savannah made sure that the gates at the race track were lifted before the race.
  22. Jessica of Fleet Feet helped out at the aid station on Saturday night.
  23. Barbara Baucom & Monica Middleton of Chatham County.  Both of these ladies were very helpful in helping me get the permit for using the race track.  Thank you.
  24. Melissa Milligan watched and took care of Mr. Gypsy when I couldn’t during the race.  I thank you, Melissa!
  25. Lynn Childress of Westin hooked us up with an endless supply of water and ice throughout the duration of the race.  I’m so very grateful.
Mr. Tim Waz

Mr. Tim Waz

If I’ve missed somebody that helped make GSEC the success that it was I do apologize.  There were so many that made this race a success! Without the help of so many we never would of pulled this race off!  So, I thank you whole-heartedly!

After the GSEC 24 I have truly questioned whether I will continue to put on races.  Every race I’ve put on has been a tough labor of love.  GSEC has been the toughest.  I don’t pay myself for putting on these races and yet they consume so much of my time.  We live in a society where we think of our time in monetary standards.  I know that I have.  But, putting on these races and having so many people give so much of their time without expecting a financial return has humbled and impacted greatly.  Witnessing volunteers give up precious time away from loved ones and from the things that are important to them just to ensure that runners can achieve their goals and to take care of these runners as if they were their very own family has impacted me greatly.  It has changed my perspective.

What am I trying to say?  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I did not get into race directing to make money.  And, I didn’t get into race directing just because I want to make money for particular charities.  I got into race directing because I wanted to bring a new dimension of running to Savannah by introducing ultra distances, relays and other challenging events to this town. I wanted us to have local ultras.

Bren Tompkins during the GSEC 24

Bren Tompkins during the GSEC 24

In the process of putting on the races that I have I’ve learned a great deal about people and the human spirit.  I’ve learned about charity to your fellow man and to your community.  I’ve learned that it’s not about the race but about the people that make the race – both the runners and the volunteers!  The great achievement of a runner at a particular race has a direct relation to the volunteers that are there, ensuring that the very runner can achieve all they set to achieve.  The volunteer is just as great and important as the runner.

During these races I have watched athletes push themselves through barriers they never thought possible for them.  I’ve witnessed friends achieve amazing results!  One runner, a good friend of mine, Bren Tompkins, broke the 100k open male record for the state of Georgia when he pushed through that threshold at 9:41:08!  Just a year ago I used to leave Bren in the dust when running with him.  Today, I cannot stay within sight of him because he has gotten so fast!  Through running, it seems to me that Bren has learned that there isn’t much that he cannot accomplish.  And you know what?  I believe that about him!  That man is going to do great things!  Just you wait and see!

Lara and Alec Zoeller during the GSEC 24

Lara and Alec Zoeller during the GSEC 24

I have watched one young runner blossom into an amazing elite athlete!  I witnessed Lara Zoeller cross the 100 mile threshold May 26 2013. Since then I’ve watched her push the envelope even more as she continues to grow as a person and athlete.  On May 24th and 25th of this year, I witnessed Lara break 133.184 miles in 24 hours!  Despite the exhaustion, the heat, the pain, this young lady found a strength in her that has inspired me so greatly.  As I watched Mrs. Zoeller run down the clock I felt I was witnessing greatness.

Putting on GSEC, Savannah Rails to Trails Ultra, Chase the Sun and Little Tybee Conquest has been a labor of love for me.  It has also been a great enhancing lesson about overcoming obstacles and perseverance.  The runners at these races have demonstrated to me that the human spirit is so much stronger than I ever realized.  Being an RD has shown me that greatness is in each one of us.  We just have to dig deep for it and tap into it.  At GSEC, that greatness was demonstrated in all 75 runners and, in all of the volunteers that helped make this race!

With the lovely Ms. Verity Gray

With the lovely Ms. Verity Gray

Thank you all!

See you at the next run.

peace,

dh

06/09/2014

Rocking Runner of the Week: Emily McLaughlin

Ultra Runner Emily McLaughlin

Ultra Runner Emily McLaughlin

The newest Rocking Runner of the Week is a young lady new to the ultra running world that I just met last weekend.  This past week’s GSEC 24 Hour Ultra marked her first venture into this realm of long distance happy-go-lucky running subculture.

Aside from cranking out miles running, the young lady Emily McLaughlin, also runs her own business called Fabrika Fine Fabrics.

Please take a few minutes to learn a little more about our latest Rocking Runner of the Week…

During GSEC

During GSEC

~~~

  • Name: Emily McLaughlin
  • How long have you been running? I’ve been running since I was 8 years old (almost 20 years) with my dad and 2 sisters.  He would take us out on road runs after school and sign us up for whatever races were going on in the area.
  • What brought you to running? I’ve always been an avid soccer player, and I’ve used running to keep in shape for soccer.  It’s only been in the past year or so that I’ve switched it around and made running my primary focus.  Before that, I never had any need or desire to run for more than 3-6 miles, but I’ve really been enjoying seeing how far I can push myself during my runs.
  • What do you get from running? I use running to clear my mind.  After a long day, when I’ve got a million things bouncing around my head, going out for a run always helps me cut through distracting thoughts and get to the good ideas.  As a business owner and designer, this is super helpful!
  • 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 would’ve always said 10k road runner since that’s generally been the most comfortable distance for me, but lately I’ve been loving longer runs. I’ve found that I can get into a groove after about 6 miles in which I get my best thinkin’ done!
  • Are you a trail runner or road runner?  I’m more of a road runner- that’s what I grew up doing- but one of my goals for the summer is to experiment more with trail running. I’m excited about a change of scenery and some shade from the trees.
  • Do you race? favorite race? Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race?  My favorite race is the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I started running that race with my family when I was 10 years old and have a lot of good memories of that day.
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why?  I’d love to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in Wales. That’s where my dad lives- along with lots of my family- and it would feel incredible to cross the finish and see them there.
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average? About 4 times per week.  Lately I’ve been averaging about 30 miles/week.
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why?  Pearl Izumi EM Road H3.  They’re what I trained for the 50k in, and what kept me running for 6 hours with no blisters.
  • Do you cross-train?  If so, what do you do for cross-training? Soccer!
  • Do you stretch before/after running? Why or Why not? Yes.  I hate stretching and I’m the least flexible person of all time, but especially with my increased distances, it’s makes such a huge difference.  When I’m diligent about stretching, it doesn’t take me the first 3 miles to loosen up…
  • How do you fuel during a race or run (gels, real food, etc.)?  I love Clif Shot Bloks.  They’re delicious and candy-like, so when I’m struggling to finish a lap, I tell myself that if I can run a little faster, I’ll get to the aid station quicker and get some candy!  Also, the energy boost I get from them is almost instantaneous.
  • Do you taper leading up to a race?  When do you begin your taper & what does it entail? I taper about 2 weeks before a race.  I try to keep running often, but I go shorter distances.
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share?  Talk to people who have done it before! One of the most helpful things I did before running my first 50k last weekend was getting advice and some inspirational words from Jason Edenfield, Verity Gray, and Dawn Brown. Without some of their race day tips, I would’ve had to discover a couple things the hard way that could’ve really ruined a good race day (i.e. butt paste..)
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such?  My first 50k at the GSEC 6hr race. I completed 33.2 miles.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training)  Just a few weeks ago, while I was running at Lake Mayer in the middle of the day, I crossed paths with an angry looking and very pregnant (and possibly rabid?!) raccoon. We stared each other down for a few seconds before both deciding to run in the opposite direction.

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

  1. My dad. He was a professional soccer player and has always been an incredible athlete, and he would say that the thing that has kept him young all these years has been his running habit. He’s been running several times a week for as long as I can remember, and he continues to do that now, at the age of 71.
  2. Annie Carobine & Lacey Hartigan.  These girls have been my running buddies for the past couple of months, and they’ve made this transition into distance running so much fun!  From help organizing a training schedule to motivational talks to post-run pizza parties- these girls are the best training partners I could’ve asked for.

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

  • “90% of running is mental…the other 10% is all in your head.”

Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Thank you, Dan, and all the incredible runners and crew that I met at the GSEC track last weekend for being so inspirational and supportive! Such an awesome group of people :)

~~~

After completing her first ultra!

After completing her first ultra!

There you have it, our newest RRoW!  If you see her in future races go introduce yourself to her and make her feel welcome in our awesome running community.

Thanks for stopping by.

All the best to you and yours.

peace,

dh

05/30/2014

Savannah Mile and GSEC 24 Hour Ultra: Running for a Reason

savannahmile

Some serious running is going to happen this coming weekend in Savannah!  On Saturday, May 24th, a few thousand runners will line Drayton Street and will blast out on a one mile sprint starting at 8:00 am for the Savannah Mile.  This run is hosted by Fleet Feet Savannah and benefits the “surviving spouse and children of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty while protecting their communities.”

2014-01-26-new-logo-for-Dan5rv2 (1)

At the very same time a very different set of runners will be toeing the start line on the Hutchinson Island race track for a long distance endurance event that will challenge each runners mental and physical fortitude as they embark on a mission to run either for six hours, twelve hours or twenty-four hours, – trying to accumulate as much mileage as they can muster in their respective timed slots.  These ultra runners, as with the Savannah Mile runners, are not only running to push well beyond their comfort zones but to raise awareness and funds for Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), an organization whose mission is “to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.”

The race on Hutchinson island is hosted by Run 4 a Reason and called the Great Savannah Endurance Challenge 24 Hour Ultra (GSEC24).

The ultra runners of GSEC24 are a varied group coming to Savannah from as far away as Virginia, North & South Carolina, Alabama and Florida to challenge themselves and test what they’re made of.  The age ranges are from mid-twenties to late sixties.  Gender is almost split down the middle with 39 females registered and 33 registered males.  The gender breakdown becomes even more interesting when you look at the 24 hour relay where Mothers Run this Town dominate with three teams.  There are 18 ladies to 6 men for the 24 hour relay.  In the 6 hour time race, there are 13 females and 8 males.  In the 12 hour time race there are 2 females and 1 male.  And, in the the 24 hour individual race there are 19 males and 6 females.  See what I mean about an interesting gender breakdown for this race?

The GSEC24 is the first 24 hour running event in Savannah and, in it’s inaugural run has 72 registered runners.  That’s not a bad number for an event that will surely test the mettle of each runner participating in it.  Ultra marathons are gaining popularity in this country but will never be mainstream simply because of the nature of ultras, – high mileage runs that may last any where from three and a half hours to multiple days.  Ultra running is a completely different beast from the standard marathon running down to 5k running.  Ultra runners and standard (normal) runners are usually on two different paths that run parallel to one another, sometimes intersecting here and there but mostly, worlds apart from each other.

gsec24bren

There are some absolute certainties in ultra running.  One certainty is that  you will experience discomfort and pain in an ultra unlike you will in any other race that is not labeled an “ultra.”  Ultras are difficult, – plain and simple.

An ultra runner will push his or her body up and down mountains where trail exists or not, across deserts, will run through frigid cold water fifty times if that frigid stream is part of a loop course that you have to run over and over until the timed event you registered for is over.   Some ultras will have you run through unshaded roads in the hottest time of the year (Cremator) just for the challenge of it!  Ultras seem to be about pushing well past the limits of comfort and tapping into that primordial, mostly dormant side of us where we’re running through woods chasing down prey or being chased by predator.  It’s about living in the moment, every wonderful and painful moment.  Ultras make it abundantly clear that you are alive and you relish that!

Being an ultra runner is a reminder that you are a part of the natural order of things, that you are a creature of the Creator.  Running ultras are wild and freeing experiences…something we desperately need in the 21st century trappings of a first world country.  Running ultras are not easy but they are essential to our souls.  I think that’s why many of us continue to run ultras despite the discomfort that comes with the territory.  We need ultras to know we’re alive.  That’s another absolute.

So, this weekend, as thousands of runners burst out like machine gun fire from the starting line on Drayton Street near Forsyth Park  and run at their very fastest for 5280 feet there will be 72 runners on Hutchinson island that will take more of a tortoise approach to running but will continue their run late into the day and through-out the night and, at 8:00 am Sunday will mark the end of their running journey for those that registered for 24 hours of running.

gsecrunners

If you get a chance please stop by the Hutchinson Island race track this weekend and watch some amazing athletes push themselves beyond their comfort zones and witness as they break into new territories.  I guarantee that you will be impressed!

I wish all of the Savannah Mile runners and the GSEC 24 runners much luck, strength & stamina!  You all make me proud!

All the best,

peace,

dh

05/19/2014