Juggling and Running

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I’ve had the hardest time maintaining consistent training since becoming a race director.  Last year, January 2013 I held my first race as an RD.  After that, I started work on Chase the Sun and Little Tybee Conquest.  As soon as those two were behind me I began working on the 2014 LSM Rails to Trails Ultra.  In between those races I tried to maintain a running regiment while handling the demanding responsibilities of my “real” job as a systems administrator at SCAD.  Needless to say, being an RD becomes a full time job with no benefits.  Well, I should rephrase that.  There are amazing benefits to race directing but they tend to be more heartfelt and inspirational.  There’s no money in it, though.  To this day, I’ve taken no money from the races that I’ve RD’d.  Instead, after all of the overhead is covered for each particular race I’ve donated the profits to causes I truly believe in.

Well, working 40 plus hours a week at SCAD and working unknown number of hours after work on organizing the next race and, still trying to have somewhat of a life, – little time is left for training energetically.  Throw in some lack of motivation and a few injuries and 2013 goes down as one of the most lackluster running years of my life.

2014, though, is different.  I feel I’ve gotten 50% of my mojo back and the remaining 50% is comprised of sheer will.  I keep telling myself, this is my year to kick start my life again and reach new heights, conquer and claim.  Run 4 a Reason will establish itself this year as a premium running event/philanthropy company in the Lowcountry.  I will earn the title of calling myself an ultra runner again.  I’m even flying to France this summer to climb Mount Blanc.  And, I have two new races in the pipe, – the Great Savannah Endurance Challenge 24 Hour Ultra and, in 2015, I’m introducing a new challenging stage race that slightly mimics the Tour de France on feets, the Savannah Grit 175k!  I’m happy to report that the Savannah Grit has opened up for registration!  The S Grit is a very intriguing approach to running.  I think that if you get it, you’ll dig it!

So, although, 2013 proved a difficult year for my training, 2014 is shaping up into a much better training year.  I am rebuilding my running base and have registered for my first ultra of the year, the Running Dead 50 Miler on March 30th.  After that run, I’ve joined a group of local runners doing the Ragnar relay in North Atlanta in April.  It’s a 120 mile relay with each of us required to run a 50k a piece.  Both of those races should be lots of fun, especially the Running Dead as it follows many of the filming locations for my favorite tv show, the Walking Dead! 🙂

during a 15 mile treadmill run

during a 15 mile treadmill run

I’ve even registered for one of the events that I’m holding, the GSE Challenge 24 hour ultra!  I must admit that I am beginning to have some slight reservations about being a runner in my very first 24 hour event as a race director as well.  This is already proving to be tough!  The logistics for any 24 hour event are always tough but having one on a race track and in a town that still isn’t too sure of what to make of ultra running makes it a bit more difficult.  I’ve had to make so many rounds with so many different branches of local government.  Chatham county issues the permit but first the police department has to review my plans for this race with a microscope.  The county signs off, the police department as well.  And then, I have to get permission to have the gates at the race track raised for not only race day but also for measuring the course as we are going to measure and certify the race track course.  Another branch of local government handles the gates at the Hutchinson Island race track!  Any way, it’s been a lot of work trying to get this latest race set up and organized.  So, I fear handing over the car keys to the GSE Challenge come race day while I’m running for 24 hours.  I’m going to continue training for a 24 hour run but in the last minute may choose to sit out the GSEC run and simply manage the timing and other aspects of this race.

So, how is my training actually going?

Between running and concept2 rowing I’m cranking out 55-65 miles per week.  I’d like to bump up to about 70 miles per week but that will be difficult to maintain as my world is so very busy with everything else.  One thing to make note of, -most of my running has been on treadmills.  I’ve been using the treadmill as a mental test and, as a means of keeping a set pace for as long as I can in hopes it will relate to me being a stronger runner mentally and physically when doing ultra distances.   I have no idea if this method will produce the results I hope for but I’m giving a go nevertheless.

In the meantime, I’m dealing with plantar fasciitis on my right foot.  The discomfort comes and goes and tends to be more problematic the first half of the day.  In the evenings, I tend to feel no discomfort.  As I write this, though, there is a lot of discomfort in my right foot’s plantar fascia.  I need to ice more, stretch more and continue trying to strengthen my feet.

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during yesterday’s tmill run

I am primarily running in Luna sandals but will begin alternating between other running shoes.  I’m thinking of getting a pair of “The One” by Altra.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about this shoe and, it’s zero drop – which is a big deal to me.  I still use Vibram Five Fingers but not much.  My running mileage on VFF’s has become minimal (no pun intended;).  To this date, running on Luna sandals is how I’ve garnered the most miles.  The Lunas can beat up my feet, though.  Especially, on a treadmill.  I’ve developed lots of hot spots on the balls of my feet while running long distances on tmills.  Just yesterday, I cranked out 15 miles on a tmill and my feet were killing me due to these hot spots.  I’m hoping the One by Altra will offer the comfort, durability and flexibility I’m looking for.

This evening after my typical one to two mile walk with Mr. Gypsy I will head back to the Island’s Y and stretch for a good long time.  Then, I will hit the weights for about 15 minutes and then row for 45 minutes.  Tomorrow, is another day and hopefully, 10 blissful miles of running.

Thanks for stopping by.

All the best to you and yours.

peace,

dh

03/03/2014

Rocking Runner of the Week: Drew Rabun

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I’m back at it with the Rocking Runner of the Week.  This week’s RRoW is an incredibly fast and powerful runner, and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  At a race, this guy is probably going to be at the front leading the way.  He is a Savannah Strider with a heart gold.

Please take a few moments to learn a little more about our Rocking Runner of the Week, Drew Rabun.

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  • Name: Drew Rabun
  • How long have you been running?  4 years
  • What brought you to running?  A Divorce and a Brain Tumor
  • What do you get from running?  It keeps me sane! As a bonus, I have made some really good friends for life through the sport.
  • 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 enjoy 10K up to the Marathon. Right now, the marathon is my focus, but I like the shorter races too. Really, races in general keep me motivated and keep the competitive juices flowing.
  • Are you a trail runner or road runner?  Road Runner all the way! I hate hills, and straight lines are definitely my friend!
  • Do you race?  favorite race?  Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race?  I don’t really have a favorite race. I like trying new races and any race that I can PR in becomes a favorite race. I do enjoy Tybee because every year is so different and the camraderie is really something special.
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why?  Boston has been my goal for a long time, and I am going to be racing it this year! I guess I need to think of a new race.
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average?  6-7 days a week for an average of 70-80 miles
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why?  Newton distance. I have 3 unopened pairs at all times. They are lightweight and work the best for my feet and my running style.
  • Do you have any specific running goal?  Run a sub 2:44 marathon
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such?  My 2:48 PR and second place finish at the Hilton Head Marathon was a great one for me. I also qualified for New York Marathon with my 1:18 Half Marathon at the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training).  A rookie mistake of using a GU and Redbull for a 5K.  Let’s just say I could not find a bathroom at the finish fast enough.  My first 5K was 26 mins
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share?  Increase the intensity for your overall training, and always enjoy the recovery days. 

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

  • Mo Waite- Mo is the reason I started training harder. He made me realize the importance of speedwork and tempo runs.
  • Sarah Batt- She encourages me to focus on the little things that can help improve my running.  She is always willing to help and listen to me complain about my running performance. She always keeps it very positve.
  • I really admire the runners that don’t have speed as their speciality.  They run for 3+ hours to get a long run in while I am normally done around 2+ hours.  That is a mental toughness that I really respect!

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

  • I have been very fortunate to have the best group of running friends anyone can ask for.  We push each other to reach our goals, and we are there for one another during the taper weeks, throught the race, and through recovery.

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There you have it.  Our latest RRoW, Mr. Drew Rabun.  He’s an amazing runner, an amazing person.  As you have seen, he has been through the ringer and has come out a stronger man.  Only 4 years of running and has already qualified for Boston and, has garnered pr’s of 2:48 marathon and, 1:18 half marathon.  That’s incredibly impressive!

And, running 70 to 80 miles a week, that technically puts him in ultra-running territory.  I wonder if we could coax him to the dark side of ultra running?  Hmmm…

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to learn a little more about our Rocking Runner of the Week, Drew Rabun.

All the best to you and yours!

Stay strong and keep at it.  You’ll get there if you don’t quit!

peace,

dh

02/27/2014

 

Run with the Moai 2014

Me and my Moai

Me and my Moai

I believe I was born with an adventuring spirit.  Ever since being a small child I’ve been fascinated by certain places on the globe, I’ve been fascinated by different people and different cultures.  The antiquities of long ago or lost civilizations have always intrigued me.  I’ve always been fascinated by mountains and forests and oceans and trails that disappear into deep vast unspoiled lands.  As a child I would venture into the woods on my own searching for scampering critters in the forest or, for long forgotten indian burial grounds.  Aside from a few twitty birds here and there I never really saw much wildlife nor ever stumbled upon an old indian burial ground but that did not diminish my interest or crush my spirit for adventure.  If anything, it just fed my curiosity and interest more.

Now, as a middle-aged man, I still hold onto my intrigue of the natural world, a spirit for adventure and, an allure of the splendor of human culture and the lessons the antiquities have to offer.

So, one of the places that I’ve been intrigued by since childhood is Easter Island and it’s giant stone heads called Moai.  If those heads could talk imagine the amazing story they would have to share with the world about it’s builders?  What little is known about these colonizers is that they were brave, industrious, hardy and advanced people.  What is also known is that these early colonizers inadvertently kicked off a chain of events that changed the entire make-up of the island and put the survival of the inhabitants in peril.  Today, Easter Island is almost entirely bare of trees when once it was almost entirely covered by now extinct large Palm trees.  The cutting down of the trees and the small rodents that hitched a ride along on the canoes of the early colonizers changed the environment of Easter Island in perhaps just a few generations.

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Well, staying true to this spirit of adventure, several fellow ultra running friends of mine and I have talked of going to Easter in 2014 and not just explore this small island and learn it’s lore but to go there as a group and run the entire island in one epic run of approximately 57 miles in one day, spanning all three volcanoes which are located at each corner of the island.  When you draw a straight line from volcano to volcano, to volcano you get a perfect isosceles triangle!  How interestingly cool is that?

The extraordinary runners that will accompany me on this truly Epic run are, Karen Jackson, Eric Aditya, and Pam Denson.  Karen is an accomplished ultra runner having earned several hundred mile belt buckles, winner of the Tarheel 367 Challenge, all in Luna Sandals!  Eric is a Visual Effects Artists that travels the globe to run ultras and climb mountains.  Recently, he climbed Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro back to back.  Pam is a Savannah local ultra runner, Luna Sandal’d adventurer that just last month hopped out of an airplane and when she hit the ground ran 50 miles!  Lastly, you have me, the elder statesman.  I’m the oldest in the group and first generation extreme athlete that grew up in the 80s mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing and backpacking.

More will probably join us but for now, that’s the team.

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We will potentially begin the run at Orongo which is at the rim of volcano Rano Kau, southwest of Hanga Roa.  We will follow an established path southeasterly to the bottom of the volcano and will then continue down an unpaved road along the southern coastal line of the Island, away from Hanga Roa.

You can see the potential course on mapmyrun here: Run with the Moai.

The course we’ll run follows almost entirely the perimeter of Easter Island.  We will hit a few out of the way paths in order to see more moai and, to reach the peaks of Volcana Puakatike (370 meters) and Volcano Terevaka (507 meters).

The unpaved roads we will run on will eventually take us back to Hanga Roa and end at Hanga Piko, a seaport on the northern coast of the town.

This will certainly be a truly epic trip!  We plan on taking cameras with us to record this monumental experience with full intention of making a 20 to 30 minute documentary of this endeavor, a running experience like no other.  We hope to bring to light this beautiful, off the beaten path island of mystique and wonder.  With the documentary, we want to highlight the people of Easter Island, their culture, the moai and their plight as time slowly erodes their faces back to stone.  And, we want other runners to experience the amazing experience of running with the Moai!

Hope you’ll join us on this adventure!

peace,

dh

02/04/2014

 

LSM Rails to Trails Ultra – a Recap

With our Title Sponsor, Mr. Ernest Ledesma! He rocked the 25k! From left to right: me, Mr. Ledesma, Michelle Daniels

It is hard to believe that the first month of 2014 is past us!  And with that went the 2nd LSM Rails to Trails Ultra!  This year’s race was a shorter loop at 5.2 miles, but our runners seemed to enjoy that one more than last year’s 15.5 mile loop.

We did not have the numbers this year that we had last year and we didn’t make near the amount of money this year as we did last year but this year’s race proved more successful in managing logistics well and, in the “Happy Runner” meter.  Last year we had a total of 266 runners show up to race. This year we had 187 runners show up to race.

The 2014 medals

The 2014 medals

This year we also had more than enough medals to go around.  Unfortunately, we did run out of shirts again as we had a large number of registrants the week leading to the race.  Like other race companies, I wish we had the means to buy a lot more shirts up front so that we can have shirts for everyone by race day but we are still trying to build Run 4 a Reason and, our budget is small.

The extra race shirts did come in and most are at Fleet Feet Savannah waiting for their local owners to stop by and pick them up.  I have several more shirts at my house that I will be mailing out this week to those out of town runner’s that did not get a shirt.  If you haven’t gotten a shirt yet do not hesitate to contact me at dlh14255@gmail.com!

1st place 10k female: Meg Lego

1st place 10k female: Meg Lego

I’m also wrapping up the plaques for the top finishers of each distance – 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k.  The top finisher’s of this year’s LSM RTT were:

5k:

  • 1st place male: Frank Elsworth with a finish time of :23:19
  • 1st place female Araceli De La Barcena with a finish time of :27:51

10k:

  • 1st place male: John Nguyen with a finish time of :44:41
  • 1st place female: Meg Lego with a finish time of :56:11

25k:

  • 1st place male: Andrew Snope with a finish time of 1:44:53
  • 1st place female: Sara Maltby with a finish time of 1:46:12

50k:

  • 1st place male: Andy Bruner with a finish time of 4:14:05
  • 1st place female: Emily Ernst with a finish time of 4:33:35
1st place male and female 25k runners: Sara Maltby and Andrew Snope

1st place male and female 25k runners: Sara Maltby and Andrew Snope

The top finisher’s awards are custom plaques I made that hang on a refrigerator door with magnets and you can attach the bottle opener rail road spike to it.  They also have the runner’s name and finish time.  It’s pretty nifty.

this is what the plaques look like

this is what the plaques look like

Brandy Mai and her son cranking out the 25k

Brandy Mai and her son cranking out the 25k

Last week, I finally wrapped up the financials on this race and our profit for the 2014 race are a little over $3000.00.  Not a lot but not too little!  Should I hand this money off to Chatham County?  Or, should I wait for the county to do some repairs on the trail with the $10,000 we handed them last year and with the $300,000 that they budgeted for the trail fix?

From a higher up in Chatham County I have heard that  that they are doing a temporary fix currently.  And, I have to vouch for them that the fix is being done!  I witnessed it today when I went to the RTT and ran 6 miles on it.  When you go to the mid-point parking area of the trail and head east, quickly you’ll come upon about 100 feet of trail that is being built up with sand, limestone and medium-sized granite stone.  The western section has not been touched as of yet.  I have also been told that the work on the trail will not go beyond the western-most bridge.  That means that the quarter mile or so of trail leading to the hammock and prayer flags has been written off.  Chatham County has no intention of restoring that section of the trail.

this is where the fix is so far.  If you go to the mid-point parking lot and head east you'll run into this fix very quickly.

this is where the fix is so far. If you go to the mid-point parking lot and head east you’ll run into this fix very quickly.

Here is my proposal…

Since Chatham County has $310,000 tax payer dollars to fix the trail but will not fix the last quarter mile of the western-most trail, why don’t we take that $3000.00 we collected and manually fix that section ourselves?  Is that unscrupulous of me to recommend we do with this three grand?  I truly want to know your opinion, your view, your insight! Please share!

Some may read into this wrong.  So, please allow me to clarify.  What I’m proposing is that purchase the rock, sand and limestone with these $3000 bucks and submit the proposal to Chatham County that we would like to fix the trail to the very end where it meets the hammock.  It’ll may cost a lot more than $3000.00 for materials but what I’m saying is that we buy what we can and, do the labor ourselves – the running community.  I’m not sure if the county would go along with this but dangit, we want the whole damned trail restored!

As for next year’s race, I do have a few things to bounce off of you guys…

  1. Do you want the 5.2 mile loop to return?
  2. Do you prefer that we go back to the 15.5 mile loop?
  3. Should the loop be a little bigger and/or be on the actual McQueen’s Island trail more?  This year’s race only had about a half mile of RTT on it.

The 5k and 10k lost money.  We did not have enough runners and our overhead was to high.  The 25k and the 50k pulled us into the black.

Here are my questions regarding this dilemma…

  1. Should I bring back the 5k and 10k or ditch em next year?
  2. Should I replace the 5k and 10k with a 50k relay?

So, there you have it.  This may very well be the first blog you’ve read that is expecting BIG feedback from you, the reader!  I will weigh a lot of what we do with the Rails to Trails run next year by what you all have to say!  And, I am very serious about the question regarding the rebuilding of the last quarter mile of the western section of the trail leading to the hammock and prayer flags with the $3000 you all generated for the McQueen’s Island trail. Please let me know what you think!

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As always, I am so impressed and grateful to be among such an amazing running community here in Savannah and the Lowcountry.  You guys came and you produced!  You answered the battle cry and made things happen!  Without a vocal running community the McQueen’s Island trail would of washed away!  That’s a fact!  Chatham County was not going to do a darn thing until we all gathered together and demanded the trail be saved!  That is a FACT!

So, thank you all for responding to the call and making things happen!  This year’s race although, not as financially successful as last year’s was nevertheless successful in continuing the rally to restore and maintain the McQueen’s Island trail, our Rails to Trails!  This year’s race brought a lot of impressive runners that kicked butt and broke through with new PR’s!  This year’s race brought brand new ultra runners into our mix!  This year’s race brought our running community all the way from Charleston to Jacksonville and Atlanta closer together!  We had a runner from as far away as Washington State!

10k overall winner, John Nguyen and his lovely wife, Samantha.

10k overall winner, John Nguyen and his lovely wife, Samantha.

Let’s keep this thing going!  This is a darn good race on an spectacularly beautiful piece of real estate!

Next year, it will be even better!

Thanks so much for all of your support!

See you guys out there on the trails.

peace,

dh

02/02/2014

Rocking Runner of the Week: Kasha Jones

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It’s a new year and with it comes new Rocking Runners of the week.  Well, we’re starting things off right for the new year with passionate, personal trainer and, ultra-runner, Ms. Kasha Jones, and her side kick, Kiwi.  I’ve had the privilege of knowing this lovely young lady for the last two years and have witnessed her reach goal after goal.  She has acquired more bling than Mr. T!

She is a relentless athlete, starting her days extremely early training her clients and then doing her workout. She’s always positive, always encouraging, always smiling.

Late last year she started on a quest to run every single day so that one day she can say that she has run the equator completely, all 12 feet or however long that is!  Running the equator is quite the task but this lady certainly has what it takes to make it happen.

Please welcome our new Rocking Runner of the Week for 2014!

 

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Name: Kasha Jones

  • How long have you been running? 4 years this month
  • What brought you to running? I wanted to see if I could run an 8 minute mile. I couldn’t.
  • What do you get from running? So much. Time to think, a job, and social hour.
  • What kind of runner are you (5k demon, 10k road runner, half marathon madman/woman, marathon zombie, ultra-nutjob, make up your own description)? Lately I’ve loved half marathons just a little more than all the others. Shhh! Don’t tell!
  •  Are you a trail runner or road runner? I can do both, but almost always in a road shoe.
  • Do you race?  favorite race?  Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race? Lately, again, with the halves. I have only run the Rock and Roll Full in Savannah, but I expect to love the half course this weekend.
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why? I’ll eventually run the original marathon route in Greece, and the Great Wall of China.
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average? Lately, I run 5-7 days a week for 30-40 miles a week.
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why? I’ve been running in Mizuno Wave Inspire 8’s for 3 years now. I’m a big proponent of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  • Do you have any specific running goal? Every new 5 yr age group, I try to beat my time in the 5k, 10k, half, full, and 50k.
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such? For the year I was 29, I completed a half or full (back and forth) every month for a year. February 2013 I raced every weekend, in 3 different states, and PR’ed.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training). One of the Savannah State University baseball coaches cheers for “Team Kiwi” whenever I see him.
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share? A bad run always trumps no run. It is perfectly acceptable to go out for 2 miles, think “nope. Not happening,” and go home.

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

  • Ali Sibley runs Boston-speed for fun and never looks down on anyone else’s time. She always speaks to me as if my speed is as fast as hers.
  • Rob Santoro believes you get out of running exactly what you put into it and is an incredibly humble person. Unless someone else tells you, you won’t know he’s the guy who wins the Savannah Bridge Run or chases down criminals on his shift.
  • Rebecca Acuff manages to run at least every week while raising 3 children alone, including one with special needs. She has also let each of her kids develop as an athlete of their own.

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

  • You can learn a lot about yourself by the people you run with. If you spend miles with someone, you really get to know them. Enjoy that.

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06092013-73There you have it, – our first Rocking Runner of the Week for the year 2014!

Kasha is a splendid young lady with a heart of gold and a lot going for her!  Expect great things from this young lady!

That’s it until next time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Run Strong, Run Happy, Run Free!

peace,

dh

01/23/2014

A Year of Running in 2013

my last run of 2013

my last run of 2013

I finished off 2013 with a short run starting out my front door, up to the middle of the Thunderbolt bridge (where I dropped a flower I picked off a bush along the way) and then wrapped it up back at my front door, just after the sun had settled down for the night.  It was a great way to end a year that has been quite amazing for my LLC, Run 4 a Reason and, decent personally for my running especially after an injury at the beginning of November that left me with a nasty hamstring injury that took about a month and a half to heal from.

With Run 4 a Reason, I made ambitious goals that paid off well!  I started 2013, with the Ledesma Sports Medicine Rails to Trails Ultra as my first race director gig and, thanks to many people especially, Michelle Daniels and Tim Waz of Lowcountry Ultras the race was a hit!  Without those two people the race simply would not have become reality.  And, without Ledesma Sports Medicine and Fleet Feet Savannah the race would not have materialized.  AND, without Volunteers this race would of been the worse event in Savannah history.  What I’m trying to say is that without certain people in our running community this race would not of happened.  And, if this race had not happened then there is a very good argument to say that the McQueen’s Island trail (rails to trails in Savannah) would of been doomed and soon have washed away. Instead though,  the running community,up and down the lowcountry came together and made their voices heard by joining the cause of Saving our Rails to Trails and now in 2014, the restoration of the trail will begin!  That’s quite significant, I would say.

the lovely Ms. Emily Ernst after completing the 2013 LSM RTT 50k

the lovely Ms. Emily Ernst after completing the 2013 LSM RTT 50k

I rd’d two more races in 2013, the Little Tybee Conquest and, Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay.  Chase the Sun was a hit but Little Tybee Conquest proved more a labor of love than a success story.  Both of these races will be returning in 2014 along with the Ledesma Sports Medicine Rails to Trails Ultra which is less than two weeks away!

As for my personal running, 2013 was a mix of great personal accomplishments and some signicant downers.  I started 2013 with the Delirium 24 hour race my first and, 39 miles into that race I couldn’t keep my focus and dropped out.  That was certainly a big downer for me. The next month I ran the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon and got a pr of 1:32:07.  That was over two minutes faster than my previous half pr.  After that, I fell into a loll that took all summer and almost the entire Fall season to get out of.  I just couldn’t seem to stay focused on running. Running started becoming a chore for me.

Tim Waz and me in the Jabba da hutt suit after Bad Marsh 50k this past summer

Tim Waz and me in the Jabba da hutt suit after Bad Marsh 50k this past summer

I signed up for the Bad marsh 50k (which was a lot of fun) but the running morale only lasted for a couple of weeks.  I then signed up for the Pinhoti 100.  Signing up for that one should of gotten me to focus more but I didn’t take it serious enough and come race day I was ill prepared for a race of that magnitude…and it showed!  At Pinhoti, I was swept up by sweepers after 52 painful miles.  After Pinhoti, I vowed never to enter another race ill-prepared.

A week after Pinhoti I went for a 5 mile run thinking I was super man and wound up injuring my left hamstring.  That injury put me out of the game until just days before Christmas.  While I was nursing my injury, though, something quite amazing happened that kick-started my love of running again.  My good friend, Karen Jackson, took on an amazing challenge of running a 367 mile ultra.  I had the distinct honor of crewing her for two days.  And, witnessing this amazing person take on this challenge for those two days reignited my passion for running.  Karen clearly showed me that with determination, strong focus, great attitude and lots of beer you can accomplish anything.  The word “impossible” dissipated from my mind as I watched Karen confront this challenge and tear away at it day after day until she made that race her bitch and won it after 7 grueling days.  I’m telling you, watching Karen do what she does inspired me like nothing else has in a very long time.  After witnessing this amazing feat, I just wanted to run. The problem was that I was still injured.

the lovely Karen Jackson during the Tarheel 367 mile Ultra

the lovely Karen Jackson during the Tarheel 367 mile Ultra

I have to say, Karen’s sheer determination, her grace and amazingly cheerful, playful approach to such a difficult challenge reignited that thing in me that had gone cold and had stolen my joy of running.

My last six runs have been pain-free and, I have not enjoyed running so much as I have these last six times!  I simply cannot wait for my next run.

So, 2013 was a mix-bag of pros and cons for my running and a pretty solid performance for Run 4 a Reason.  I’ve learned a great deal this past year.

Again, the running community of the Lowcountry has impressed me immensely.  I’ve met some wonderful runners this past year.  I witnessed amazing feats by inspiring people.  I am so happy to be a part of this amazing running community here.  And, I cannot wait to see what new challenges and adventures 2014 usher in!

I’m sure I’ll see many of you guys out there tearing it up on the roads, the trails, the races.  Stay at it!

Stay strong, Run strong!

peace,

dh

01/01/2014

 

2013 Rocking Runner of the Year: Karen Jackson

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I’ve tallied all of the votes that you all submitted either by email, comments on facebook or at end of the initial blog post for the RRotY and, the overwhelming choice turns out to be the Smiling Sandal Runner, Ms. Karen Jackson!

For a couple of days it was a close race between five runners but Saturday, the Karen horde showed up and pulled her to a clear lead and crowned her the Rocking Runner of the Year.

Many of you expressed that it was a tough choice.  And, it was!  The group of runners showcased this past year as Rocking Runners truly are inspiring, amazing people, – each and everyone of them.  Each one has inspired me in more ways than they can ever imagine!  I have been truly blessed to have gotten to know each of these runners.  If you don’t know these runners personally, go introduce yourself to them next time you see them in a local event. You will see that they are approachable, warm and friendly.

Here they are!  all of the Rocking Runners showcased on my blog.  Choose which of these is the Rocking Runner of the Year.

Here they are! all of the Rocking Runners showcased on my blog.

I’ve had the honor to have run with each of these runners and share in their goals and accomplishments.  I have watched them dig deep and find the strength to overcome extreme fatigue, cramping, hurting bodies and finish what they started – strong!  I’ve watched many of these runners selflessly give of themselves to help other runners achieve their goals without expecting anything in return but instead, remove themselves from the lime light to let their friend’s light shine brighter and let them bask in the glory of great achievements.

These amazing people have given up their precious time to ensure the success and realizations of other’s goals and dreams.  Yeah, that’s what these Rocking Runners have done.  They are a humble, friendly, approachable bunch that care enough to include you in on their goals and ambitions. They’ll run with you and encourage you to dig deep and find that strong that you posses and then cheer as you come across that finish line, a different person.

Karen Jackson is all of that above!  She is inspiring and beautiful and amazing.  She epitomizes the Lowcountry running community – a lot of heart, a lot of grit, – a lot of Awesome!  She drinks a lot of beer too!

In the short time that I’ve known Karen she has run over a dozen ultras and has accomplished a lot of amazing feats.  Here are some:

  • Kinston, NC 250k 2012 – 1st place overall 
  • Delirium 2013 24 hour overall female winner
  • Chase the Sun Ultra 12 hour overall female winner
  • Tarheel border to border 367 mile challenge 2013 – overall winner

The vote for the Rocking Runner of the Year, based on the Rocking Runners showcased on my blog was very tough, I know.  All of the runners showcased are over-achievers by definition.  They each have left an indelible mark in the Lowcountry running community.  They have certainly left an indelible mark on me.

Karen after finishing the Chase the Sun Ultra with a total of 54.23 in 12 hours

Karen after finishing the Chase the Sun Ultra with a total of 54.23 miles in 12 hours

Any way, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about these amazing people and, for taking the time to support the runner that impacted you the most this past year!  You all payed it forward well and, I thank you!

Our rocking runner of the year, the amazing Smiling Sandaled Runner, Karen Jackson!

May you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Kick ass in 2014!  Take no prisoners!

peace,

dh

12/22/2013