Tag Archive | "CHarlie Taylor"

Charlie Taylor Hope Shull Award 2014

Charlie Taylor is RIF’s 2014 ‘Hope Shull Inspirational Runner Award’ Winner

Charlie Taylor - Run It Fast Pistol - Hope Shull Award

I’m honored and happy to announce that the 2014 ‘Hope Shull Inspirational Runner Award‘ goes to RIF #353 Charlie Taylor from Gallatin, Tennessee.

Last year’s winner RIF #5 Lisa Gonzales beautifully captures why Charlie Taylor is this year’s winner of the ‘Hope Shull Inspirational Runner Award':

Last year, I was honored to be named the 2013 Hope Shull Inspirational Runner Award. When RIF #1 Joshua Holmes asked me who I felt was deserving of the 2014 award, quite a few RIFers came to mind but one runner stood out – RIF #353 Charlie Taylor.

Charlie is an ultra runner and a survivor of cancer. Having survived cancer myself, he was inspiring to me because he not only battled it with determination and humor but he also didn’t let it stop him from living life the way he wanted to.

Many of my friends in Run It Fast are friends with him and I would see his posts or posts about him and I got to follow his story. Charlie is a survivor of colon & liver cancer. He went through surgeries to remove first the colon cancer and then the liver cancer last January. Once he was recovered from that, he then had to do 12 rounds of chemo but as soon as he was given the all clear post-surgery, he was back to running. He was a running machine!

If you have never gone through chemo, let me tell you what it’s like: Chemo is like having your life ripped out from under you. Everything, and I mean everything, changes. It makes you feel like you’ve aged 50 years in a day. Every detail of your life is focused on not getting sick from the treatment, surviving the treatment, and then recovering from it. You feel like your life has been hijacked. You are exhausted and food tastes like crap and things don’t work the way they used to. You have to worry about white blood cell counts and not getting a cold because your immune system is shot. And then there’s chemo brain – forgetfulness and not being able to focus. Honestly, if given a choice, I’m not sure I would do it again. That’s how bad it is.

I had to stop running for a while because of my tumor and the surgery to remove it but I ran a little through chemo. Mostly though, I was happy that I could continue to work and function on my own. I was so excited when my 6 rounds of chemo were done because I thought I would immediately bounce back and start running long again. But that didn’t happen and I was tired for months after my last chemo treatment. I was trying to get back into running but was this close to giving up. I was just too tired and frustrated.

Charlie Taylor PWB w Wife - Run It Fast

But then last July, I saw that Charlie was going to run the Vol State 500K (314 miles across Tennessee) as part of 3 person relay team. I remember thinking how can he do that? How can he run that much? I was barely running 5Ks and I’d been done with chemo for months. But he did it and he and his team set a course record! Then Charlie ran a 50K in August…the same month he finished his last chemo session. Charlie was running ultras in the midst of 12 sessions of chemo! How could he do that? Where did he find the energy? Or even the desire to do it?

In the year since Charlie had his surgery last January, he ran 12 races including 8 ultras (one of them being the Pistol 100 Miler!). As I started back running , posts about him would periodically pop up and I would tell myself to “Suck it up buttercup!”. Surely, if he can do all that, I could run a half marathon, right? And if he could do ultras during chemo, I could run a marathon a year after I was done with chemo, right?

Seriously, I still don’t know how he did it. He is made up of some strong stuff! He inspired me to be that strong too and to push myself.

The great thing about Charlie is that he is always smiling or cracking a joke in his photos. The cancer that he is dealing with is scary and has daunting odds but Charlie is positive and squeezing all he can out of this life. I think where I had seen myself as a victim of cancer, Charlie didn’t even give cancer the power to affect him at all. That was what was most inspiring to me. He battled it on his own terms and in his own way and inspired me to do the same.

This year, Charlie will be running the Barkley Marathons (one of the toughest, most insane 100 milers in the world). I look forward to seeing what he does there! If you want to be inspired, you should follow him too!

Thank you Lisa for those powerful words that summarize why Charlie is the winner of the Hope Shull Award for 2014.

Charlie Taylor Hope Shull Award 2014

The other Run It Fast members that were finalists for the award this year included Mark Hellenthal, Nathan Bass, Amber Goetz, and Marj Mitchell. They all inspired us in 2014 and continue to with their drive and indomitable will to be stronger than any obstacle they might face.

What is the Hope Shull Inspirational Runner Award?

In January 2012, we presented Hope Shull with a membership to Run It Fast – The Club at the Race for Hope 5K in Henderson, Tennessee.

The 5K was held to honor Hope as she had terminal cancer with just a few weeks to live. She died shortly after the race was held.

Hope Shull with Marj Mitchell Race for Hope

Hope was a personal friend to myself and many other of the early members of Run It Fast. I ran several of my very first 5K races with Hope and her good friend Marj Mitchell in West Tennessee.

I wrote Hope a letter to be presented to her at the Race for Hope 5K last January that Marj read to her at the race.  The letter included a permanent membership to Run It Fast along with a few other words that included the creation of an award in her honor –  ‘The Hope Award.’

January 12, 2012

Hope,

I’m amiss that I can’t be at the race today.  I’m in Los Angeles, but you are on my mind as you often are.

I asked Marj if it would be ok ,and she thought it would be, so I want to proudly announce you as the newest member of Run It Fast – The Club.

You will always be RIF #225, a special number to me as 25 has always been one of my two most favorite numbers.  You will always be a part of the club no matter what transpires from this day forward between any of us.

I’ve always wanted you to be a part of the club because you embody EVERYTHING that Run It Fast was created to become. Run It Fast is a club full of members that have this deep down desire to overcome obstacles in life and limitations that most others let hold them back or down. Run It Fast members don’t let their situation or hardship in life dictate their life for them.

Instead they go out and conquer life by digging deep to train hard, run races, and forge friendships along the way that inspire others to do things that perhaps they didn’t think were possible either.

Also, I want to announce that starting this year, at the end of the year, the Run It Fast – Club will annually give one member the honor of being named the Hope Shull Inspirational Runner of the Year!

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the example you’ve set for me not only with running but with life.  I’ll never forget sharing the car ride back to the start of the Labor Day 5 Miler with you a couple of years ago. That was a beautiful day and a lot of fun.

With my utmost love, respect and admiration,

Joshua Holmes

Run It Fast ® (RIF #1)

Congrats to Charlie on joining Lisa as the winners of this prestigious award. Thank you for the inspirational you have and continue to provide for Run It Fast members and runners all over the globe.

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2013 Delano Park 12 Hour Ultra Race Report – Charlie Taylor

2013 Delano Park 12 Hour Race Recap
March 9, 2013

When I read the description of this race, I knew that it would be a good test of how ready I am to run my first 100 miler, so I signed up early in January.

Training had not gone according to plan most of the first of 2013, I am about 100 miles behind last year at this point, but last year wasn’t what I had wanted it to be either. Other than the 2 races I have run, a 50K and a 100K, I have not run but about 2 runs over 20 miles. Some of it was due to injuries that I had in early December and some of it as just plain lazy I guess. Last Saturday, I had intended to knock out a 20, instead, went on a trail run with my friend Doug Boomer on our pipeline course. We had discovered a new trail and as we ran through the woods, we came upon a property line fence. Boomer climbed over it and as I stepped on the bottom wire to cross and swung my leg over the top wire, the bottom wire broke, hurling me directly to the ground with 2 of the barbs gouging a big place from the back of the knee all the way up into my butt cheek. I was bleeding like a stuck hog and I know Boomer wanted to laugh, but I think he didn’t because he thought he might have to come over and help me get out of the clutches of the barbed wire. Well, we went on and finished our run, seeing that we were still 5 miles from the car, with my leg throbbing with every footstrike. So now, I have a 12 hour race a week later and I have cut the crap out of my leg. Just what I needed!

Fast forward to Friday night, March 8th. Because I am cheap, I decided to drive down to Decatur, Alabama the night before and try to get some sleep in the truck instead of leaving early Saturday morning. Terri thought that I might be uncomfortable trying to sleep in my Ford Ranger so she graciously offered me her van. It was only 140 miles away and I made it to Delano Park around 11PM, was happy that I could park within 20 feet of the course, and did so. It was about 35 degrees, not terribly cold, but I figured that I would be ok with a little bit of cover. I crashed pretty quick and sometime around 2AM, woke up freezing. At that time I decided that I probably should put on a few more articles of clothing and went back to sleep, having covered up a bit more. I must have slept pretty darn good because the next thing I remember, It was daylight and there were cars around me everywhere. I didn’t hear a one of them come in. Sure was glad I had the best parking spot on the entire place!!

The race started at 6AM and it was still in the mid 30’s. It is pretty nice on these kind of races because you have your stuff right beside the course and every mile, you pass your spot. I decided to start out with a bunch of clothes on knowing that I could shed anything I wanted any time I wanted to. I had set all my stuff out so that it would be easy to grab whatever I needed as I passed, wasting very little time. One thing I consistently see in these kind of races is runners spending a lot of time stopped at their spots. I don’t think many of them realize how much overall time they are wasting and if they could just cut the stops by a minute each, they would be able to get more miles in. My goal was to spend about 20-40 seconds at my stops.
6AM and the race is on. The course was one mile long and kinda wove in and out, backtracking itself in one place-separated by a banner, then a couple little rises (about 10 foot of climb in the entire loop), around a water tower, past Decatur High School, then back to the start/finish where you crossed over the timing mat to start all over again. I intended to start out at a respectable 8:40-9:00 pace and never get any faster than about 8:30. My mileage goal was 65 miles. Having never run a 12 hour event before, I was not sure how I would feel in the latter stages. I had run 54 miles last summer in a 10 hour event and was sure I could do it, but I do remember “falling apart” the last couple hours.

My first miles were right on target, 9:04, 8:44, 8:37, 9:01, and 8:36. At Mile 8, I took my first it stop and that one came in at 10:15. I hit the 10 mile mark in 1 hr 30 min, feeling pretty good. I continued back on my goal pace, stopping again at mile 13 and was at 15 miles in 2:18. It was getting rather warm, the high was supposed to get to 70 and I made sure to drink a lot of water and shed more clothes. I had also drank about 6 oz of ASEA before starting and intended to drink 2-3 oz every 30 minutes. I hit the 20 mile mark in 3 hours 3 minutes and felt like I might be able to top out at 70 miles instead of the 65 goal I had set.

I took a little longer break at mile 21 and stretched the legs a bit. My miles were starting to be in the 10:00-10:30 range and I crossed the line for 26.2 miles in 4:06, not a bad time considering that I still had almost 8 hours to run. My 50K split was only 15 seconds over 5 hours, which would have been a great finishing time on some of the 50k’s that I have run, however, some of them are crazy hilly and this race was flat.

My mile splits are getting a bit slower and this is the time in ultra races where the little demons start talking to you, making you want to quit and telling you how stupid you are for running. I pressed on, ignoring them as much as possible. When one runs ultras, there is a lot of time to think of things and if you don’t find something positive to think about, the negatives will kick your butt. My trick is to constantly do the math on the percentages of how far I have gone and what percentage I have left. When the clock hit 6 hours, I had just crossed the line for my 35th mile and from there it was downhill, halfway to the finish. Now as I’m sure everybody can imagine, this is easier to talk about than to do but it does do something in my mind, knowing that there is less time to go. Mile times crept into the 12 minute range and during this point, I took a 5-6 minute break and really stretched out. This 20:12 mile turned out to be my slowest mile. I hit 40 miles in 6:57 and then 45 in 8:04. I started feeling better and getting the splits back down into the 11’s. I remember thinking that I had 4 hours to run 20 miles and hit my goal. That should be easy. Should be, but then again, I had already run 45 miles. I started concentrating on getting 5 miles per hour, including my stops, which were coming more often. A lot of times, I would stop for 10 seconds and drink some more water. One good thing about running mile loops is that I did not have to carry anything.

As I got closer to 50 miles, I thought that I might be able to break 9 hours (I had run 8:55 in my 10 hour run last year), but crossed the line for 50 miles in 9:03. Now the finish was getting closer, but still a long way off. Mile 55 was at 10:07 and I hit 60 in 11:08. My last 4 miles were 10:31, 11:50, 10:03, and 8:50. When I crossed the line at mile 62, I had 23 minutes left and knew that I could get 2 more with an outside chance of 3. When I completed mile 64, there was a bit over 5 minutes left and I went on, thinking that I might get close and they might count it, but ended up being 3/10 mile short, officially finishing 64 miles.

I always knew how far I had run and occasionally later in the race, the race director would call out the distance as I crossed the line, but I never knew what place I was in. I did know about the guy who was first overall, heck he lapped me 14 times, but I knew there were several others that I had not lapped and had not lapped me and I figured there were several of us that would be close to each other. Turns out, first place was 78 miles, 2nd was 68, 3rd 66, and 4th thru 7th had 64. I was the last of those 4 and ended up 7th overall and first place Master division (over 40).

I felt good at the finish, however, I had finished pretty hard and immediately went to my chair and sat for 10-15 minutes. 12 hours continuous running really takes a toll on the human body! As I mentioned earlier, I have been drinking ASEA for year now, and drank about 16 ounces during the race and I attribute this to my amazing recovery process. After finishing, I had relatively little pain, which is a common thing for those who drink this amazing product.
With the race being over, I got my award, loaded the van and headed back home to Gallatin, cleaned up, and got a great night of sleep.

What did I learn while running this race? Call me crazy, but I like these kind of races.. a lot. There is plenty of time to think, the pace is much slower than marathon pace, and I actually do pretty good at long distances. I’m learning more and more how to eat before my stomach starts growling in races and how important that is to not bonking. I also got to see super Awesome Dewayne Satterfield win the 50 mile race in a crazy 6 hours 23 minutes (or somewhere close to that)

What did I like? The race was very well organized, plenty of food and drinks and most importantly, plenty of cheering folks to help you keep going. The one mile loop was nice because it allowed me to break each lap into halves, they did go by pretty fast (in my mind at least). Friendly North Alabama folks, as always. I have come to really enjoy those North Alabama races.

What did I not like? Nothing really. The gravel got a little soft in a couple places and it would mess with footing. That little 10 foot climb became something I dreaded every lap (you have to have something to dread). I really did not like having to stop and remove my shoes a couple times to get gravels out.

Will I do Delano Park 12 hour again? Definitely

What’s up next? This Saturday, March 16, I will run the Savage Gulf Trail marathon in Bersheeba Springs, TN. This thing runs down into what they call the grand canyon of the east with lots of technical footing, lots of climbing, lots of big rocks, and a couple creeks to cross. Me, Doug Boomer, and Scott Jordan are gonna go see what we’re made of.

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2013 Savage Gulf Marathon Race Report – Charlie Taylor

2013 Savage Gulf Trail Marathon

This race was billed as the toughest trail marathon in the country and was limited to 100 entrants. My friend Scott Jordan had entered early and everybody thought it would fill pretty fast but even a couple weeks before the race, there were still 20 openings. Scott had been talking me and Boomer about running it with him and one morning while running, after about 5 minutes of chatting about Savage Gulf Marathon, both of us decided to throw in and sign up. What were we thinking?

Savage Gulf is part of the South Cumberland natural area and lies just north of Beersheeba Springs, Tn. The 1000 foot deep gorge is shaped like a giant crow’s foot and contains the most spectacular rock formations in Tennessee. The race starts at the ranger’s station, goes through the woods for about 3 miles before dropping down into the gorge through a 10 foot wide, 150 foot deep split in the cliff called the stone door and that is where the fun really begins.
I had just run the Delano Park 12 hour ultra the Saturday before logging 64 miles, however, my legs felt great and I thought I was at least somewhat ready for what was to come. I have been drinking ASEA, a cellular replacement product for a year and sure as promised, my recovery has been phenominal. ASEA puts redox signaling molecules back into the body, the stuff in the body’s cells that help it to heal and to recover. As we age, our bodies, due to wear and tear, what we eat and drink, stress, and other things, make less and less of the “healing molecules”. That is why youngsters heal faster than we who are older. The result of ASEA is faster recovery, more endurance, and an increased level of antioxidents.

Scott, Boomer, and I decided to head out for Savage Gulf about 4:30AM, since it is only about a 2 hour drive from Gallatin. After a quick breakfast at the Waffle House and a quick meeting with Frank Schmidt (Smitty), we were on our way. The drive, once you get off I-24, through Pelham, up Highway 50 to Beersheeba Springs is beautiful. It reminded me a lot of some of the final part of last year’s VolState road race, just one mountain to the east. We arrived at the park with about an hour to prepare for the unknown. I think, deep inside, we all knew what to expect.

Runners were arriving, we stood in line to get our race numbers, and were happy to get some pretty good loot in our Goodie bags, a nice Tech shirt proclaiming the Savage Gulf to indeed be the country’s toughest trail marathon and a really nice $30 Rock Creek running cap. Rock Creek, a Chattanooga outfitter is really the bomb diggity when it comes to taking care of trail runners. They sponsor 10 our more great Chattanooga trail races including Stump Jump, Upchuck 50K, Lookout Mt 50 miler, and more, not to mention throwing out goodies at races like this. Thanks for the cap Guys!! I will wear it proudly (and often). We also got a cool Savage Gulf Window decal.

One thing I really like about running trail races is that the elite runners act just like the rest of us. If you didn’t know who they were, you would not know that they would end up winning the race. We met and talked to Brian Schmidt (Smitty’s son) who would indeed win this race with an outstanding course record time of 4:21 (yep, that’s super fast for this marathon). My friends Michal Scott, Phil Zimmerman from Nashville, Wilson From Rome Georgia, and several more were there. We all chatted a bit, tried to keep warm in the early morning 40 degree weather and got our race gear on, waiting for the final call. The weather forecast called for 72 degrees, warm for March in middle Tennessee and we all figured (except Scott Jordan) that we had better carry a little more water than normal. I had decided the night before to wear my Nathan backpack which holds an 80 oz water bladder, along with a few pockets, handy for my trusty Olympus Stylus Tough Camera, some Kramergesic skin lube, a couple 8 oz pouches of ASEA, making it easy to access any of my stuff. Boomer had a couple hand held water bottles but Scott only carried one. Big mistake!

The call was made, we all shed our outer layers, down to bare bones and hurried over to the starting area. We all immediately noticed the official starter, dressed in Colonial Garb, with a gun that almost looked like a small cannon. As we prepare for the start, we were told that the gun was a 96 calibre black power and was packed heavy. This thing had such a kick that it had to be mounted on a frame, I don’t believe 2 men could have held it when it fired. We were given a few instructions and that big gun went BOOM and we were off.

Like I said before, the first 3 miles were really runnable and run we did. I looked at my Garmin and noticed that I was doing a 7:50 pace and thought to myself, “what am I doing going this fast?” Everybody knows not to go out too fast. That would be slow in a road marathon but this wasn’t any old road marathon. After our initial 3 miles the course turned right and went down through the Stone Doors, a massive 10 foot wide split between the cliff, and about a 500 feet drop, violently into the gorge. Immediately, the terrain was different. As we descended into the gorge, there were big rocks and twists and turns, many switchbacks, fallen trees, and some runnable trail. At the bottom of the gorge, we made a hard turn to the left and crossed a 100 foot cable bridge over a dry creek bed. They tell me that after only a little rain, this creek is a mighty rushing river and when hiking in Savage Gulf, it is always a good idea to pay attention to where you are if it rains. The sign before the bridge warned that there was no running allowed crossing the bridge. If you weren’t paying close attention, any running would shake the bridge so violently that it could throw you off. I ran anyway, heck it was runnable surface!

Immediately after crossing the bridge, the terrain went back up, climbing up the grades and jumping over more rocks. There were several places where the boulders were covered with moss and footing was somewhat treacherous. At mile 7, there was another swinging bridge and the first aid station was on the other side of it. I still had plenty of water in my backpack so I passed on a refill. After a very quick food refuel, I was back on my way. The course ran alongside the dry creek before angling off to the left and back into the woods. About a mile after the aid station, the Chattanooga cave and rescue team had set up a rope system across the creek. The creek bed was dry but the rocks were slick as glass. I heard later about several runners taking big falls on those rocks. Immediately after crossing, the trail headed up the south side of the mountain. The sun was coming up pretty strong in the sky and as it bore through the tree tops, I wished that I had brought my sunglasses. The temps were rising and I guess that it was somewhere in the 70 degree range already. I looked up and could see some of the runners who had passed me earlier climbing the hill in front of me. My, my, they were a long way up the side of the mountain!

Running the switchbacks became a game. How many would there be before I topped out? Almost every time the trail would go back to the left, I had a bit of somewhat level trail and I made the best I could of it. As I neared the top, I came upon some awesome limestone cliffs on my right. Right beside the cliffs was very runnable but as I passed them, the terrain again became violent. Weaving in and out of rocks, jumping from one to another, watching every place the feet landed was the order of the day. Just a bit past the 9 mile mark, I came into a clearing and the view almost took my breath. I was about to cross another swinging bridge that crossed a raging stream and directly on the other side of the bridge was a massive overhanging cliff that I was to run underneath. As I came under the giant ledge, the dirt was well marked with the footprints of the 30 or more runners who were in front of me. The overhang was at least 50 feet over my head and extended another 50 feet to my left. The cliff was shaped like a giant crescent and I immediately imagined a thousand years ago how the Indians probably camped and lived underneath this shelter.

When running races, there is not much time to dwell on things except running so as I ran inside the semi-circle, I looked off to my left and the raging creek was just a foot slip away. The trail took another little jaunt through some trees and There I saw my friend Smitty and his grandson. Smitty had gone on ahead to cheer on his son Brian and graciously had carried a couple things for me to pick up at that point. He told us we were a little over a mile to the next aid station. The trail went back into the woods, more switchbacks and eventually wound up at the aid station. I found myself getting a bit hungry and made it a point to eat a couple boiled potatoes, some gummy bears, a few potato chips and refill my depleting water pouch. I usually do not waste much time at aid stations and found myself getting back in front of several runners who had passed me earlier. I never did see any of them again. I was informed that the next aid station was 6 miles away and that 3 miles of that would be easy trail through the trees. Best news I had heard all day!! I was tired of climbing on rocks and looked forward to being able to stretch it out a bit. They were right, there were almost 4 miles of ups and downs but most of it was easy on the feet, most of it running the ridge on what appeared to be the east side of the canyon. There were several places where you could see for miles and miles and the temptation to stop and stare was enormous but runners gotta keep running and on I went.

At about mile 15, I passed a Ranger taking pictures and he informed me that I was about 2 miles from the aid station. Just after that, the trail became a wagon road, filled with big softball sized rocks, and heading straight down the hill. This ¼ mile drop then made a hard right and again, followed directly under the cliffs that I had been running on before. All the way, there were some massive cliffs off to my right, many with pretty waterfalls coming toward me. The wagon trail that I was running on, I found out later was a stagecoach road, carved out of the hillside in the mid 1800’s by slave labor. Wow, what an experience! I cannot imagine pulling a stagecoach across these hills!

On my way down this hill, I came upon what appeared to be my friend, Doug Boomer. He was walking and didn’t look like he was doing well. As I came upon him, he turned around and said he knew that it was me behind him. We talked for a second, his foot was killing him and I said I was going on, and that was it. The rock infested road then made a left and back into the trees. I was about a mile from the next aid station and as I got closer and closer to the creek, the greenery increased and the path got easier. All of a sudden, I came upon the aid station, stopped for a couple minutes, refilled the water bladder, ate some more potatoes, drank some gatoraid, and was on my way again.

I was 9 miles from the finish and felt like I had already run 100 miles. The next 4 miles was backtracking where we had run coming into mile 7 aid station and since a lot of it was downhill, I knew that going back was UPHILL! It was, a lot of it technical and some of it smooth trail. Miles seem to go by so much slower when you are tired and they really went slow here. I remember hitting mile 20 and realizing that I still had 6 miles to go. I knew that the last 3 miles was probably the easiest part of the race but I was still 3 miles away from the final hill that I had been warned about. I came back to the first cable bridge, crossed it and started the dreaded climb back toward the Stone Door with all the switchbacks and rocks. As the trail passed by the turn where we originally came down in the beginning and proceeded on toward the final hill, the course would climb 300-400 feet, then drop back down almost to the creek. Every time I would get close to the creek, I was tempted to just take a dive but knew that I probably would not finish the race. I passed at least 3 scouting groups out on day hikes and they would look at me like I was crazy or something. At that point, I would have agreed with them. The cliffs on the right were massive and I knew that somewhere up there, there was indeed a finish line. I went on. Whenever it would seem that just maybe I was getting closer to the big climb, the trail would turn left and go down to the creek again. Then.. I started up another hill and just at the bottom, there was a ranger with a water cooler. He asked me if I needed anything and told me that I was a mile from the final aid station. That meant that I was getting ready to bust that big hill that everybody had told me about!

The final climb was brutal, however, not nearly what I had expected. It was rocky and steep, probably a 30 degree grade for ½ mile or so, but the hardest thing about it was that I had dreaded it so much. I really had expected like a 60 degree grade, something that resembled a Barkley Marathons hill. Don’t let me kid you though, it was hard. I passed a family walking up the hill and they were barely moving. I was barely moving, but I still passed them. About halfway up, I decided that I would lay down on a big flat rock that was on the left for a minute or so and that did help my attitude a lot. I got up after a couple minutes and went on. Eventually, I came to a right turn which consisted of a massive amount of exposed tree roots that were just begging to grab onto one of my toes as I passed by. Another few feet and, wow, it became flat!
From there, it was a short distance to the final aid station. I stopped for a second and then proceeded the final 3 miles. At this time, I had about 33 minutes to break 7 hours and for a moment I thought, “wow, this will be a piece of cake”. It was 2.9 miles to the finish and I found myself not really caring whether I busted 7 hours or not. Like the weinie I am in the late states of a difficult race, I decided that I really did not care. I was so worn out that I would run ¼ mile, then walk for a minute or so, then run, then walk. Every time that I would look at my watch and realize that I still could break 7 hours, my insanity would take over. To make a long story short, I turned the corner upon entering the highway, with a 200 yard uphill climb to the finish at 7 hours 20 seconds. I crossed the line in 7:01:21. Just knowing that I could have done it is good enough for me.

Upon finishing, I received a nice Outdoor Research cap and congratulations from all who were around. I sure was glad this thing was over! As I passed the finish line, I also passed a folding table loaded down with BBQ, beans, coleslaw and decided that I probably needed to go sit down for a minute before attempting to carry a plate. Scott Jordan was sitting at a picnic table and informed me that he had run a fine 5:58 and finished 25th overall and first in the over 50 division. Great Job, Scott!! Turns out that he had severely twisted an ankle on one of the rocks, had to have it taped, but had finished strong in spite of the injury. Scott had also not carried enough water and had paid dearly for that. He became really dehydrated and drank 5 bottles of water at the 17 mile aid station. Boomer had made it in via a 4 wheeler ride. Our friend Brian Schmidt had indeed won the race in a new course record time of 4:21 (the old record was 4:55). Actually the top 4 broke the old record. The first female also broke the female course record. I sat for a bit before getting myself a nice loaded up plate of Tennessee cooking.

After eating and resting a bit, my body started feeling somewhat better and we all loaded up in the truck and left. It was a good ride home, all 3 of us were hurting in our own way, probably Scott hurting the most.

I had no idea of where I had finished, thinking that I probably was around 60th. Sunday, when the race results were posted, I surprisingly found that I had finished 48th and 5th Grandmaster. There were several runners who did not finish, no shame at all in that. This is the toughest course I have ever run.

What did I learn? That if you keep on going and don’t quit, you can really do about anything you want to (might not be the smartest thing you ever did though). These Cumberland mountain trails are rugged but extremely beautiful.

What did I do wrong? I weigh about 20 lbs too much, have absolutely got to lose the weight if I want to do well in my racing career. I started a little too fast and was not aggressive enough on the uphills. I could have pushed harder

What did I do right? I carried the camera, glad I did. It is always cool to get good pics of a tough race, helps you remember it much better, not that I will forget this one soon. I carried the Nathan water pack. I did drink about 200 oz of water and could have drank more. I carried my body glide, no chaffing and no irritation of the barbed wire fence butchering of my left leg.
Will I run this again? At first I said no but after waking up Sunday morning and thinking about it a bit, I really do like this kind of race. If I plan on ever attempting Barkley, which makes this race look like playing in the sandbox, I will need many more of these for pain tolerance. Barkley is in 2 weeks so a race like this 2 weeks before will either have you ready or you are not ready, nuff said.

In summary, 7:01:21 finish time 48th place overall – 5th Grandmaster

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2011 Flying Monkey Marathon

Race Recap: 2011 Flying Monkey Marathon Nov 20,2011 by Charlie Taylor

Trent reminded us when he was giving out awards that this one would be remembered as “The One where it Rained”

I ran the Monkey last year as my first attempt at the marathon distance, and, in spite of going off course at mile 25 (for 3 extra miles), was really looking forward to running it again. The Monkey is one brutal animal, with about 3,500 feet of elevation gain, but the charm is the atmosphere that is there. Runners bring loads and loads of food for after the race and the swag is really special. A personalized long sleeved technical shirt is included with the Race’s logo displayed prominently across the back. If you have run this beast in the past, you have the number of monkey kills displayed down the arm of your shirt. Trent also includes a cotton monkey tee shirt that in itself is a nicer shirt that many races provide. A personalized race bib (you get to pick your race number), a car sticker, a race logo magnet, a temporary race tattoo, and some other goodies are in the race packet. Now that’s some race swag!

Registration opened for the monkey this year on July 30 and promptly sold out in 3 minutes 58 seconds! If you were slow to punch in your credit card numbers, you were not going to run the 2011 Flying Monkey Marathon. Trent has a special opening for registration 3 days prior to July 30 for those who had run the race the year before, and I estimate that about 100 runners signed up in this allowed time. I made sure to get myself signed up and did so the first available day. My other HRC buds that ran last year did the same. Tom Dolan, Doug Boomer, and Scott Jordan. So, we were in. Now, the 3 1/2 month wait for the race.

Skip forward to race week. I had run a fast 10 mile race the Saturday before, which is not a great idea 8 days before a big marathon race, however, I felt like I was in good enough condition that it wouldn’t hurt me. During the rest of the week, I only ran about 28 miles, all of it pretty easy. Normally, I would run one speed day but did not do it this week. I did run a 10 mile trail run in the rain and mud on Wednesday, but took it pretty easy and had a lot of fun running through the water.

Race morning: Since Terri and my 8 year old granddaughter, Caroline had volunteered to work the HRC water stop, which would be located at mile 3 and 23, we got up about 4AM, I made a big pancake, sausage, and egg breakfast and we were off. We met our buds in Hendersonville and made it to the race site in plenty of time to be able to setup our camp just barely off to the side of the start/finish line. We all jumped in and set up the canopy tent, having not really any idea that it would be raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock within an hour. The canopy was a great idea, thanks Tom. Our HRC signs went out, our Monkey logos and we all put on our safari hats to finish the scene. Runners started coming in and before long, it was time for the race to start.
Pictures were made at the starting line of all the Marathon Maniacs, a group from all over the country who, you guessed it, are real marathon maniacs. To get into this group at even the lowest level, you have to run 2 marathons in a 16 day period. The upper levels are crazy. One of the higher levels requires that a runner complete something like 40 marathons in a year. Now that, my friends, is a maniac! The other group, much smaller, was the Swampies; a group of runners that connected and stay connected on the Running ahead website. I am one of the Swampies.

Trent lined us up and yelled GO! And we were off. The race starts at the Vaughn’s creek cross country course and the first quarter mile or so is on grass. We went up the little hill, made the right turn at the big evergreen tree, then followed the path past 3-4 more of these trees before we went through a little clearing and onto the 11.2 mile loop road. Another quarter mile or so and we went right to cut across the park as part of the double loop of Percy Warner Park. The first mile and a half of the race has an elevation gain of 300 feet and Trent had a little sign that read, “You have just climbed 300 feet, you only have 3,200 more feet to climb” I’m sure this takes some of the wind out of the sails of many newbie runners. I had started somewhat in the front pack and hit my first mile in a comfortable 7:36 and by the time we got to the top of the hill, the 2 mile time was 14:50. Boomer was right with me and we ran side by side getting our pacing like we wanted it. Now, we were back on the main road, heading toward the Stone Gates at the Belle Meade Blvd entrance. Then it started to rain.

This course has several places where you run forever on gently rolling terrain, but when you get to the hills, they are merciless. There are actually 7 major climbs in the entire run. From mile 2-6 is one of those hills. We logged 7:24, 7:29, 7:42, and 7:33 times on these miles. Somewhere in this area, Boomer pulled away from me. It was raining harder and it does not take long in these conditions to get really wet. Right after mile 6, there is a steep descent of a mile at I hit that one in 6:59, then another mile up hill. Then from mile 7 to mile 8, you pass the stone gates and head back up the other side of the park and a couple easy, gentle down hill miles. Mile 8 was 8:21, then 7:33, 8:22 and I hit the 10 mile mark in 1:16:06. This was only about 9 minutes slower than my 10 mile race last Saturday and I began to realize that I had probably gone out too fast. Right at the 10 mile mark, I caught a young kid, probably no older than 14, who was running with his body swinging every whichaway. His arms were flailing from side to side and legs were doing the same. A lot of runners do not realize that when you have un-necessary body movement in your running style, you are wasting a LOT of energy and will tire much faster. Anyway, I passed him and left him in my dust. Several 200 foot climbs and 200 foot drops were in store for me. Really, the backside did not have any real crazy climbs until from 11.5 to mile 13. I hit the half marathon mark in 1:40 and knew that I had probably screwed myself with my too fast miles. Mile 11 was 8:03, 12 was 7:44, and 13 was 8:19.

At mile 11, we passed the starting area off to the right and from 11.5 to 13 was a good climb on the backside of the park. At mile 13, we turned to the left and went down the hill that we had climbed to start the race, hit the bottom of the hill at mile 14.5 and turned right to head back toward the stone gates. We had a 200 foot climb for ¾ mile, then a pretty easy run all the way back to the stone gates at mile 18. Mile 14 was 7:52, then 8:36 on the uphill, 7:59, 8:39, and mile 18 at 7:53. From mile 18, when you turn at the Stone gates is the hardest hill in the race. All the way to mile 20.5 is uphill. Several places have switchbacks and you never seem to get to the top. Somewhere in this hill, I started having a pain in my left hip. Halfway up the hill, Meredith Smith, who would go on to be the 2nd female overall passed me like I was sitting still. I ran mile 19 in 10:37 and 20 in 9:41. We had a decent little level run for a mile and I hit that in 8:20. That was my last good mile.

From mile 21 to 26, there are only really 2 hills, most of it being slightly downhill. Mile 21 was 8:20. Just before mile 22, my hip was hurting more and more and then, just all of a sudden, I had a massive Charleyhorse knot up in my right thigh. It took my breath away and I had to stop and pound on my leg to try and beat it out. I did stretch it out somewhat and manage to keep running, although slower. Mile 22 was a dismal 10:12 and 23 was 10:19 (and Im running flat land!) I passed the HRC aid station and got some Mt Dew and stretched some more. I only had 3 miles to go and was determined to make it work if I had to walk. After a couple more stretches, I managed to keep a decent pace the rest of the way. Mile 24 was a crazy 12:20 (walked a bit more) and as I got close to mile 25, My HRC buddy, Tom Dolan came up on me and left my sorry butt in the dust. In spite of my hurting and slow times, I must have been pretty far ahead of other runners, because nobody had passed me for at least 3 miles. I hit mile 25 in 9:19 and as I passed the place where I made the wrong turn last year, vowed that I would not do that again. From Mile 25 to the finish is pretty much downhill and I just hung on and ran the best I could. Just before I made the turn from the road to the field back to the finish line, my friend Teresa Saupe passed me. I had nothing left, she would have probably slowed down to run I with me, but I told her to go on. Past the evergreen trees then left and the finish was ahead. I crossed the line in 3:38:15 with my last mile coming in at 8:52. Teresa beat me by 10 seconds and Tom Dolan was finishing just before I rounded the last curve. He ran 3:37 and some change. I finished 22nd overall and 2nd Grandmaster, behind Tom. (they really did not have a grandmaster division, but if they had, I would have been 2nd)

I hurt pretty bad when I finished. Terri and Caroline had come from the aid station to meet me at the finish. I had told her before the race that when I finished, I would run the 3 miles back to where she was to cheer for fellow runners. I sure am glad she decided to come to me. I couldn’t have run back to her if I had wanted to.

It had rained pretty hard the entire race and part of the time, we were running into a cold wind. I started chilling when I finished and quickly changed clothes and sat down to rest. Boomer had run and amazing 3:15 and finished 8th overall!! Great Job Boomer!!!! When he left me about mile 7, he had not slowed a bit. I rested for a while. Our other HRC guys came in, Scott Jordan, then Jamie Abbott, then Marcia Steiner (running the Monkey as her first marathon).

Once I got myself back to where I could walk, I got something to eat. Did I mention how much food these people brought? The food was a welcome sight and I certainly enjoyed that. I spent some time chatting with friends, to many to mention by name, I did get a picture with Dorothy, who has run every one of the Monkey marathons, and another with my friend Mrs Ellie Foster, the official race photographer,

Overall, it was a great race, Considering what happened to me, I am pleased with my time and finish. I had wanted to run 3:25 and would have if I hadn’t started too fast or had problems. The winner, Ben Schneider, won in 2:38 and was Champion for the 4th consecutive year.

Caroline had a great time handing out water and more fun sliding in the mud after the race was over. Some kids really know how to have fun. She also challenged Super Start Stud runner, Scott Wietecha, to a race and beat him!! Of course, he ran holding a paper plate with a large muffin balanced in the middle of the plate. Not to mention that the race was about 30 feet. You go, Caroline!! I wish I could beat Wietecha. Only in my dreams.

Will I run this again? Of course. One of the finest races anywhere. I’m lucky to have this one in my back yard. Runners were here from all over the country.

What would I do different? Probably start 10-15 seconds a mile slower. Other that that, I wouldn’t do anything different.

Thanks Trent, for a class race.

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team-nashville-10-miler_0100

Team Nashville 10 Mile Run

Team Nashville 10 mile Run November 12, 2011 by Charlie Taylor

I ran this race last year for the first time and really enjoyed the rolling hills layout of the course. It is also a no-brainer since it is basically in my back yard. The only bad thing about the timing of this race is that it is only 8 days before the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon and it is not an ideal situation to race a 10 miler during a taper phase. Nevertheless, I could not resist the lure and signed up.

Saturday morning’s weather was ideal, about 37 degrees at 5AM and I made it to Moss Wright Park at my customary time of 90 minutes before the race. If you get there early, you can park right in front of the start/finish line, which makes it great to be able to stash a jacket or a water bottle immediately before going to the start line. I picked my parking spot and made my way to the registration area to pick up my race number and shirt. Team Nashville always provides a nice hoodie instead of another worthless cotton race shirt.

As always, I ran into many friends who were also running the race and spent a bit of time talking with many of them. Super Legend, Dallas Smith, age 71, who owns state age group records in every distance from 5K to marathon had driven 100 miles from Cookeville to claim another State Record. Scott Wietecha, one of our HRC team members, who would win the race; 2 great runners in my age group, Mark Carver and Keith Caruso were there. I always scout out the crowd to see who I will be competing against and I figured that with the stacked field, it would be tough to finish in the top 10.

I have recently changed my pre-race routine. Previously, my theory was that I needed to really warm up and I would go out and run 3-5 miles (easy) before a race and I was really getting tired during the race. Now, I stretch a bit and run an easy mile or so, mostly just knocking the rust off. It’s amazing how we get pre-conceived ideas of how to do things, then find out how stupid we were. Well, for now, I’m not knocking out a bunch of pre-race miles. A great part of my warmup today was with Mrs Margie Stoll, another local running legend. Mrs Margie, at 70 years old, won the National senior games 5K this past spring in a blistering 21 minutes! She also was 3rd Grandmaster in this race!!

As it got closer to 7:30 start time, we moved up to the starting line and right on time, the race started. Immediately, Wietecha jumped out front like we were sitting still. He was 100 feet in front of the rest of the field not long after we made the first turn. The first mile of this race is a clockwise loop around the park. As he neared the part where we would exit the park, it looked like Scott almost went left to exit the park instead of straight on. It’s easy to make a wrong turn in a race. By the time the front pack got around the park and started to exit, the 4 or 5 of us were well ahead of the rest of the field. I looked at my watch as I passed the mile mark and we had run a 6:22. At that moment, I knew I was going to have a good race.

We exited, crossed into the subdivision and headed up a pretty good little hill, around a little curve and up another hill before turning right at a stop sign and then a left after we crossed a bridge. Since I had run this before, I knew that the next mile was flat so I loosened up a bit and stretched out. I was in 8th place at this point and the guys in front of me seemed to be holding their pace very well. Because of the hill, my second mile was a 6:32 for a 2 mile time of 12:54. This flat road weaves along a creek and I made a point to try to run all the tangents along the course. You can pick up some time if you will try to run as straight a line as you can in a race. We came upon Long Hollow Pike, took a right and then a left onto Madison Creek. They had a water stop right at the 3 mile mark and I hit that mile in 6:43. My overall time was 19:47 and I was feeling even better. From that point until just past mile 5 is all uphill, not a great climb, you really don’t even notice it, but it does affect your time. My next 2 miles were 6:50 and 6:58 giving me a 33:35 5 mile split. I was calculating that if I could duplicate this, I would run a tad under 1:07. Right past the 5 mile mark is a real good, but short hill. I could see Caruso and another runner about 200 feet in front of me and they both seemed to slow a bit on the hill, however, as they topped it, they both resumed their pace. Since I have been doing quite a bit of hill work, it really did not hurt me much. I topped the hill and hammered down the other side, my feet slapping the ground like I was trying to stomp out a fire. I hate doing that but I guess that’s how I run down a big hill. Both the other runners were moving on, so I put my focus back on my race instead of focusing on catching either one of them.

Mile 6, because of the hill was a slow 7:08 but the next mile time came down to a 6:38. I still felt great and remembered to cut every tangent that I could. Some of the time I would be running in the middle of the road for 2-3 minutes to keep my line straight. I think I aced the tangent thing. Mile 7 had a couple little rises in it and some gentle downhill too. This course is basically an out and back with a 5 mile loop and as I headed back to where we started the loop, I had a good slight downhill portion with a 6:33 mile 8. We passed Madison Creek school and the water stop was right at the 8 mile mark, From there, it was back up on Long Hollow and then left with almost a mile of flat running ahead. I hit the 9 mile mark with a 6:37 mile and was less than a minute over 1 hour. Right before the bridge, I had a mile to go but it is a challenging mile, especially at the end of the race. As I turned right and crossed the bridge, the road started to rise in front of me. The one runner that I had been keeping my eye on was still catchable, I thought, so I pushed a bit more, Up a pretty good little hill and left and up another, then a real good hill. I worked those as best that I could but the guy that I was chasing would have nothing of me catching him and ran at least as fast as I was. As I made the turn to the left and could see the final downhill, he was crossing over the road and into the park. I kicked the last 1/3 mile pretty hard, into the park and the final straightaway to the finish line. I tried to get to the line before the clock said 1:07:30 but I was 4 seconds late. The guy in front of me had beat me by 50 seconds. Even with the last couple of big hills, I had run a 6:42 10th mile.

I did finish 8th overall and felt great as I crossed the line. I felt great but I could not have gone any faster. Very satisfied with the effort and the result. My HRC Buddy, Randy Smith was a minute behind me and Tom Dolan ran a 1:09. HRC represented very well, especially considering that Scott Wietecha ran a CRAZY 50:09!!!!!! That is a 5:01 average pace. He said really didn’t push it hard at the end but if he had known, would have pushed to break 50 minutes. That is insane. He was finishing when I was at the 7 ½ mile mark. Oh by the way, Scott also set a state record for a 10 miler, not an age group record, an OVERALL STATE RECORD. On a hilly course!! My hat is off to Scott on this one. Of course, he just ran a 1:06 half marathon a couple weeks ago too.

I won the Grandmaster Division, which is starting to happen more and more. That is real cool, to be the fastest old man. Not really though, since Mark Carver finished 3rd overall in 1:01 and Keith Caruso also beat me, but was 3rd in Masters Division. I’ll still take the Grandmaster win. My average pace was 6:42. I see my speed coming on more and more as I work harder, which is what it is supposed to do. When I run a race like this, I am finding that I really don’t even get sore anymore and usually run a good run even the next day. Hopefully, it won’t affect my performance this coming Sunday in the Monkey Marathon. I really don’t think it will.

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2011 Greenway Marathon – Nashville Tennessee

Chris Herren Wins 2nd Annual Greenway Marathon


Greenway Marathon (Joshua Holmes, Jeff Matlock, Chris Estes, Trent Rosenbloom, Tom Smith)

Mt. Juliet’s Chris Herren won the 2nd annual Greenway Marathon on Sunday with a winning time of 2:33:39.

Meredith Smith, of Ashland City, was the top female with a time of 3:21:09.

The 26.2 mile marathon is held along the Greenway in Nashville, Tennessee.

Greenway Marathon Top 15 Finishers

  1. Chris Herren (Mt. Juliet) – 2:33:39
  2. Meredith Smith (Ashland City) – 3:21:09
  3. James Barnard (Oak Ridge) – 3:23:47
  4. Gary Adcock (Springfield) – 3:27:23
  5. Sue Scholl (McMinville) – 3:29:14
  6. Charlie Taylor (Gallatin) – 3:29:45
  7. Chris Estes (Murfreesboro) – 3:35:24
  8. Trent Rosenbloom (Nashville) – 3:49:21
  9. Jeff Matlock (Ashland City) – 3:49:21
  10. Mark Payne (Brentwood) – 3:54:26
  11. Tom Smith (Nashville) – 3:58:18
  12. David Etheridge (Paducah, Kentucky) – 4:04:12
  13. Joshua Holmes (Jackson) – 4:12:50
  14. Sulaiman Seriki (LaVergne) – 4:16:46
  15. Jennifer Whitley (Murfreesboro) – 4:21:14

Greenway Marathon Race Website

RELATED: The 10 Best Marathons in Tennessee

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