Archive | October, 2010

Extreme Marathon Runner Beth McCurdy

Run While Injured or Wait And Heal?

Beth McCurdy


I remember a time not so long ago when I didn’t get injured from running. Even though I have never been a super fast runner, I have been able to run extreme distances without any problems; I guess I thought that I was gifted in that respect.

But, here I am 41 years old, done countless races including a 100 mile road run in Key West on asphalt and concrete, and had no problems as a result except for a few (or so) lost toenails. But a few months ago, I bought the wrong shoes. Who would have thought that buying the wrong shoes would cause so many problems-but it did and now I’m struggling.

After I read “Born to Run”, I thought, wow, I would love to run effortlessly with little on my feet. So, I went for a run on the beach without any shoes and felt what it’s supposed to feel like. It felt good. But, could I run a marathon barefoot like Matt Jenkins on the pavement day after day? I’m not sure.

But the day that my injury took a turn for the worse was when I ran with barefoot Matt in the Tupelo Marathon. I really wished I was him on that day. Running barefeet and feeling the Earth with every step looked so appealing. But, instead I was running with a bad foot and feeling pain with every step. I could have DNF’d the marathon and in fact, should have. It’s not like I really cared about the race or my time. But, something kept me running. I don’t know what it was but something kept me running.

Was it the shoes, my stubborness that wouldn’t let me slow down, or my age that caused this injury? Or is 5 years too long to go without an injury. Was I due? These are all questions that I want answered. But regardless, the reality is that I have a problem that is keeping me from doing what I love to do.

For now, I can’t run the way I used to run. My foot injury is a distraction from what I love. Unless you are a runner or athlete, you cannot truly understand how devasting this can be to a person.

My passion is running outside short and long distances. Right now, I’m lucky if I can run short. Meanwhile, I need to figure out what the lesson is that I am supposed to be learning as a result of this injury. Maybe I am a fool for thinking that I am indestructable. Maybe I care too much about running. Maybe I need to think about other things in my life right now besides when I’m going to run my next ultra. Maybe I need to be grateful that even with this nagging injury, I am still a runner and am blessed to be able to do what I love.

Finishing Tupelo on my bad wheel

Posted in Injuries, Marathon, Running3 Comments

Race Report: Ulman Fund / Team Fight Half Full Tri Relay (Half Marathon Run Leg)

I spent this weekend in Maryland at the First Annual Half Full Triathlon.  This event was the brain child of Brian Satola at the Ulman Cancer Fund to help raise money to assist young adults diagnosed with cancer.

Pre Race:  Several months ago, I was picked to run the half marathon relay leg on team Bec and Friends.  Bec Wassner is a pro triathlete.  Her twin sister, Laurel, is the only pro triathlete that is also a cancer survivor.  Both were racing as part of relay teams to show their support of the Ulman Fund.

Bec was our swimmer and Mark Raynault, also a cancer survivor, was on the bike.  Mark is about 6 years out from his blood cancer diagnosis.   I meet Mark at the Team Fight luncheon.  He is a wonderful guy who I hope to see again in the future (maybe I can talk him into teaming up again next year!)  At the luncheon, Brain presented a very moving video showing just what Team Fight is all about.  I hope a link becomes available.  Many were moved to tears.

Just before the video, I was asked to say a few words about my journey from cancer to over 110 miles in 24 hours.  I enjoyed sharing with Team Fight  just how running has helped me through my own recovery and has shifted my self image from one of “cancer patient/survivor” to “athlete/survivor”.   I also explained how the Ulman Fund personally helped me get back on my feet by giving me a scholarship.

Race Day: There was over 1000 participants.  100 were cancer survivors! The start was a time trial wave start which meant swimmers were release in pairs every 2 seconds and sent off in group by age bracket or other designators.   The wave for Relay was one of the last to go.  Bec is incredible and swam her .9 mile leg in around 21 minutes, passing many of those released into the water well before her.

Mark took off on his 56 mile bike leg.   Mark was undertaking an incredible feat by racing the longest race of his life for our relay.   He did ride the course two weeks ago in about 3:45.  We were hoping that he would be back by that time or sooner.  I showed up in transition at 11:10 am, just 3 hours after he set off on the course.

While waiting for Mark, the leaders came in much later than anticipated due to a very strong head wind slowing everyone down.  I was hopeful that Mark could still pull off a 3:45.  At the 3:30 mark, I got ready to race and tried to stay that way.  It is terribly hard to be ready to race when you don’t know when you are going to start.   Like most bikers, Mark was running late and by 4 hours I began to worry.  Chatter started about flat tires, popped chains or other things that could go wrong out there.

Then suddenly I felt a sharp pinch under my arm, like someone stuck me with a safety pin.  Oh man! I just got stung by a bee (twice!)   Not sure if I was allergic, but knowing my dad is, I began to have a mini panic attack.  I watched the area and I felt fine while standing.   I was just not sure what would happened when I started getting my heart rate up.  The double loop run course had lots of police and volunteer presence and that helped me feel a bit at ease.   About 20 minutes after the sting, Mark came explaining that he did get a flat.  (I’m so sorry that happened Mark)

I wasn’t the least bit disappointed in the delay because I knew that I was feeling less than prepared to crank out a speedy half.   My ACL was not perfect and I was told the course was challenging.  I truly just wanted to finish the race with a good effort and hopefully stay sub-8 pace, chalking this up as a nice training effort.  Generally I don’t worry about whether or not I will finish a half, but if my ACL got too painful, I knew I would have to stop.

I took off out of transition and I was moving well.  It felt good to run fast until I started up the first little hill.  I could feel my heart pounding and hear my wheezing.  I started to get scared!  Oh no, is this anaphylaxis!  There isn’t even another runner nearby to help me!  I looked at my arm and the swelling had appeared to have gone down.  Then I hit mile marker 1 and saw it a 6:57 on my Timex.  Ha ha!  That explains it.  My heart is pounding and I can’t breath because I am running a lot faster than I should be.   I just needed to slow down.

Soon, I caught up to some others and tucked in behind a guy with a smooth stride.  We hovered at 7:30-7:40 per mile until the next water stop where he slowed and I passed.  The course was rolling with some truly substantial hills, the kind that make you question whether you can run to the top without walking a few steps.  I was pleased to never need to resort to that.  But if I had just come off a 56 mile bike ride, I probably would have walked half that course!

By the second loop the down hills and any sharp turns began to take a toll on my knee.  I slowed down my pace to see if I could reduce the strain that was starting.  It pained me to see some splits well into the 8’s on those last climbs, but today wasn’t the race for me to damage myself.

But when I saw that 12 mile mark, I decided to just open it up until the finish.  As I approached mile 13, I suspected I was in the mid-7’s.  I was happily surprised to find my last split was 6:53 and my fastest of the day.  I kicked hard into the shoot to finish in about 1:42.  There really is nothing more exhilarating than finishing strong and one thing Triathlete do well is set up a finish line!  Carpet, flags, flowers, fences and a gigantic framed in digital clock!  This sure beats the old standby shoot made from a few traffic cones and some police tape that I’ve seen show up at few good ol’ foot races. 😉

Overall, Brian did a fantastic job directing the first Half Full Tri.  Sarah was incredible at the Ulman Fund info table, interviewing and posting videos of willing participant explaining why they are at this event.   Katrina was another amazing Ulman Fund person I got to meet as she ran around with her camera snapping race day photos soon to be published online.

I feel honored to have been a part of this event and hope to return next year ready to rock those hills.  It honestly almost makes me wish I owned a bike!  🙂

(Please keep the Ulman Fund in mind when considering which cancer foundation to send a donation. or represent  Team Fight at your next event!)

Posted in Events, Half Marathon, Race Reports, Ultra Marathon2 Comments


A Special Guest at a Special Race

- Photo by Kathy Piper -

This I didn’t know when I went: Each year they have a “special guest,” and this year it was little four-year-old Emma Smith, who was born with spina bifida and who is my great niece.

I’d never been to the Race for Jordan, had never run any race in Carthage, Tennessee. Driving down that morning I could not have known I was heading for an intersection of racing and family.

It was not the normal date for the race. The seventh running had originally been scheduled for the first Saturday in May. That was a day of storms. Dangerous lightning forced cancellation, and the race was re-scheduled for June 12th.

But I had not known any of this prior to the Sunday before the race, and the way I discovered it then was unlikely: I went to a family reunion…

To read more of Dallas Smith”s story: CLICK HERE ‘Turnaround’

Posted in Running0 Comments

Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon Finisher’s Medal (2010)

2010 Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon Medal

2010 Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon Finisher's Medal

Here is the official finisher’s medal for the 2010 Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon that took place in Winchester, Tennessee on October 2, 2010.

2010 was the first year for the marathon, but as you can see, the bling for this inaugural race was top notch.

The race was won by Josh Hite in a time of 3:00:30.  Rebecca Murray took second place with Chris Estes taking the bronze (More Results).

Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon Website

View More Marathon Bling

Posted in Bling, Featured, Marathon, Medals0 Comments

Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon 2010 Winners Josh Hite, Rebecca Murray, Chris Estes

2010 Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon Results

Josh Hite, Rebecca Murray, and Chris Estes

Here is a look at the Top 20 Results from the Inaugural 2010 Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon in Winchester, Tennessee (Event Website):

Name City Time
1. Josh Hite Cookeville, TN 3:00:30
2. Rebecca Murray Franklin, TN 3:15:27
3. Chris Estes Murfreesboro, TN 3:23:04
4. Drew Randolph Chattanooga, TN 3:25:45
5. Rodney Walker Ooltewah, TN 3:26:17
6. Robby Callahan Prattville, AL 3:30:16
7. Mohamed Hassanein Madison, TN 3:31:39
8. Joshua Holmes Jackson, TN 3:34:56
9. Mark Pierett Franklin, TN 3:35:38
10. Ryan Taylor Murfreesboro, TN 3:39:18
11. John Thompson Birmingham, AL 3:46:46
12. Tony King Athens, AL 3:48:50
13. Stan Mullins Athens, GA 3:50:14
14. Nathan Meek Hendersonville, TN 3:51:51
15. Byron Haitas Nashville, TN 3:53:05
16. Mircea Basaraba Winchester, TN 3:53:36
17. Lance Jones Pearl, MS 4:02:32
18. Robert Knies Winchester, TN 4:04:38
19. Danny Staggs Livingston 4:05:14
20. Robert Raydor Collierville, TN 4:06:07

View Full 2010 Southern TN Plunge Marathon Results

Posted in Marathon1 Comment

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