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Joshua Holmes Barkley Fall Classic TSD1

El Clásico de Barkley (a 2017 odisea de carrera)

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the barkley fall classic
frozen head state park
wartburg, tn
16 sept 2017

it is a race like no other
based on an even more insane
impossible event like no other
the barkley marathons
the race that eats it’s young

the barkley fall classic has grown quickly
to over 400 runners in just 3 years
trying to finish
wicked
gnarly
back mountain trails and hillsides
to get to laz
for a bonus loop
for a 50k – mile finish
for as advertised it is more
bang for your buck than just 31 miles
some say 48 miles
the lowest estimate was 40 miles

you see
no gps is allowed at the barkley
despite incessant cicadas beeping at mile 1 and beyond

before the race started
as i was getting my gear together
while downing my fourth organic pop tart of the morning

Joshua Holmes

a race vet
in the car next to me
told me that we were required to have a light
in our drop bag at mile 22…ahem 35
i had not even brought a light from the west coast
because i didn’t plan to run past the sun
but it was for sure more of a safety precaution
in case one got lost
as frozen head state park has been known
to swallow a wardian or two before
i had my phone flashlight
but RIF member cathy downes told me
she had an extra headlamp in her drop bag i could use if needed
her kindness stuck with me
as i thought about how many nice things
run it fast members have done for me over the past few years

Laz Lighting Up Barkley Fall Classic 2017

the race starts with the laz lighting a cigarette
just like he starts the big barkley in the spring
laz lit up and we all took off like any other race
yet we all knew we were about to enter a vast unknown

400 of us dashed down the paved road
taking advantage of the smooth surface and cool temps
about 50 feet in i hear some dudes behind me saying,
“someone is really going to miss that water bottle later.”
so i remember my soft flask i had stuck in my pocket pre-race
and check my pocket and it’s not there
so i immediately start swimming upstream
against a torrid stampede of anxious and eager buffalo
i finally see my bottle and runners stepping on it
oblivious to what was going on
they just saw this runner going the wrong way without a guide
i finally grab it and spend the next few min cleaning it with my shirt

so back to moving forward in the correct forward position
all of a sudden felt like getting shot out of a cannon
the first mile is on pavement before you reach the famed yellow gates
of frozen head made famous by the barkley
the race that eats it’s young
a sort of golden arches of sorts for ultra mile junkies

everyone was full of optimism and nerves
knowing that likely just 120 or so of the 400 starters would finish the 50k
i wondered who the other 119 would be myself

any race i begin
i visualize myself with only one outcome
coming out clean on the other side
no matter how ugly or desperate it might become

as unforgiving as little bark is
there is still some insurance knowing that you can
take a marathon
more like true 50k finish
if it goes to hell or you don’t make the cutoff at laz

the first few miles from the gate were on a single track trail
the climb was pretty gradual
and not too technical

Joshua Holmes Barkley Fall Classic TSD1

even though we were slowing climbing
i pushed the pace
i had gone out aggressive
to avoid massive conga lines
to find some space
to be able to operate
breath
find rhythm
the marvin gaye type
smooth
easy
effortless
and not over run
to avoid being over run
or be hung up
on the heels of whoever lay before me

i worked through this section
with rif member lisa van wolde
we would move past other runners
on this single track together
which made it easier for both of us
to get by quicker using less energy

you come upon the first aid station about 4 miles in
where the coalfield boys
high school football players held the jugs
that didn’t have moonshine
but had water and sword instead

i quickly refilled and kept down the trail
until coming upon a photographer
not my first in this life
a couple of us tried to run past her
continuing on down the trail
but she quickly said, “no, that way!”
as she pointed into the true wilderness
down a ravine into a giant lake
but it wasn’t a lake but just massive fog
onto of the moguls
this was testicle spectacle

quickly into testicle
i found a steep
slick
down where i could get no footing
i had put on my brush clearing gloves
as i knew i was about to be tested
my legs came out from under me
and i slide down the hillside about 20 feet
before i could get my legs under me again

this went on a few times
with some moderate climbs
for a mile and half or so
then we turned left into some low lying ground
and waded through a creek

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luckily i was behind dewayne satterfield
who has done big bark
because none of this was marked
there was for sure no trail at this point
just some creek funk thing
that looked a bit like the forked deer in west tn

well found a road on the other side of the marsh
then quickly over a wooden bridge
we ran
into a small white country church
that had an aid station to the right of it
as advertised it had water
sword
slim jims
and long elongated yellow fruits
this was also where we got our first bib punch
i think it was the letter i

testicle is an out and back
being near the lead of the pack it meant we were going to see
a lot of terrified faces coming at us
escaping testicle on the way out
is even more difficult than it was sliding down
into this foggy bottom

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as my mouth burned from slim jims
that were obviously soaked in tabasco
i quickly found myself on my hands and knees
trying to get up the muddy hillside
it is amazing how high your heart rate rises
when you are on all fours
trying to get any grip of the earth you can
to climb up

the two way traffic wasn’t easy
people were slipping and sliding into each other
but everyone was polite and understanding

once we escaped testicle
we hit that same photographer again
for the after ts photo
as i have told other runners
always know where the photographers are

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thinking we were getting a temporarily hiatus from the gnarly stuff
i took my gloves off
as we crossed the trail down into methlab hill
some parts of meth were worse than testicle
it could have been called testicle part 2
it included more butt sliding
and knocking other runners further down into the ravine
shortly after you bottom out on meth
you hit the prison

i hit it in 3 hrs 7 min 6 sec from the start

brushy mountain state penitentiary that is
an expired prison where james earl ray
the white supremacist
who killed the transcendent Martin Luther King was jailed
for many years
laz says he got the idea for barkley
back in the late 70s when ray escaped
it took several days for authorities to recapture him
but they did 58 hours later
he had only made it 5 miles in that time
due to the intense rugged mountains and lacking a garmin

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the prison looked straight out of shawshank
i went in the front door
and walked through the first building
then into the second building where most of the cells where located
a volunteer told me that cell 27 had been ray’s
as i walked by and looked into 27
all i could think about
was what a cowardly
loser
pos ray was for killing king
a man of peace

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after the cells it was out the side door
into the back yard behind the penitentiary
where we scaled a ladder over the back prison wall
and down the other side
where i got my second bib punch of the morning
the letter r

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the bib puncher
keith dunn
directed me to run around the back corner of the prison wall
and through a long
dark tunnel
the tunnel had a feint light at the other end of it
there was a slow stream of water flowing through the tunnel
more flashbacks to andy durfresne escaping from shawshank
it was pitch black in the tunnel
but i ran and trusted my footing would not be compromised

Prison Tunnel

then i took a sharp left
into some overgrown
green centrifuge
a couple min into it
as it started to climb
i asked another runner
if it was rat jaw
the infamous rat jaw
up the steep mountain side
under the power lines
the answer was in the affirmative

gloves back on
it was wildly overgrown
from a healthy rain season
i moved pretty quickly
up the first half of this rat’s nest
then i started to see a long line of runners stack up above me
stuck in the greenness
briars
thick
long
executing briars
that none of us could escape
i asked another runner if the half marathon was merging with us
as so many runners had grinder to a halt
stuck in the thick of it
it was so overgrown and thick with no where to go
a path had to be slowly carved
with human bodies

robert youngren
who moments before grabbed my feet below me
to give me a solid surface to climb up
as i couldn’t get a grip
started a new
revolutionary path he started blazing
with a mini train behind him
i was about the seventh car in this train
this was painfully slow but rob was taking most of the abuse
as the conductor of this train
our train was slow but steady
moving faster than the longer train
that seemed stuck in a paused motion
perhaps mighty casey had run out of steam
rob got us to the top
passing several in the other train in the process

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it took time but finally we reached the top of rat jaw
60 runners had stacked up behind us

rat jaw had been the great equalizer
almost like a nascar caution flag to bring the field all back together

quickly we climbed to the top of the watch tower and back down
quick aid station stop after the tower for refills
and then some downhill jeep roads
to garden spot
then to bald knob

most vets had underestimated how hard the back side
of the race would be
since rat jaw and testacle were knocked out earlier on

bird mountain was a formidable foe
it wasn’t gnarly or impossible
but due to not knowing exactly how long the course was
it seemed to go on forever

i knew we were many miles beyond what the map said
but as they say laz miles are way longer than actual miles
like 1.5x longer
the bird mtn miles seemed to go on forever
i kept thinking we had to be close to laz and dropbags

finally we come off the trail
back onto park roads
and after about 1/2 a mile later to our drop bags
and then laz
with an elapsed time of 8:03:30 to that point

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laz punched my bib
and made mention of how well i was doing
seeming a bit surprised
maybe it was because when i first met him on the ferry
in dorena landing years ago
at the start of the vol state
he looked at me and my crew
consisting of my high school cousin and his buddy
and told me
look to your left and your right
one of you will finish this race
i could tell his confidence was not in me being the one
i was very green then
i am just light
lime green now

other runners had warned me that the last loop was 9 miles
like 9 actual miles not laz miles

the climb up to chimney top was a long 5-6 mile climb
others had opted to grab poles out of their drop bags
i didn’t want to cheat my exercise routine with poles

early in the climb i was passed by a handful of hikers
i mean runners
as the climb wore on
i started to catch and reel in a couple of them
by being persistent and relentless

Chimney Top

i finally hit the top of chimney top
and you know how i knew it was the top of chimney top
because there was a mf chimney at the top of the climb
in the middle of nowhere
no house with it
no signs of a house
just a chimney and fireplace
no smoke
prevent forest fires
it was then i realized that i was at the top of chimney top
i did not need a sign to tell me

after chimney’s top started a gradual downhill
not many other runners were around at this point
another runner was in front of me
and after a mile and a sharp turn to the left down the mountain
we both started to get nervous wondering if we were on the right trail
or if we had become lost
and if so how lost where we and would we have enough time
to get back on the correct trail and make the cutoff
i pulled out my cloth map several times
and each time wadded it back into my pocket
unable to make sense of it
we both were running well
but simply did not see any other human beings
as more and more indecision began to set in

finally we saw another runner
and a volunteer
with a hole puncher and jugs of water
i refilled all 4 bottles i had with me
the volunteer punched my bib
and knew exactly how much of the course remained
he told us 2.5 miles back to laz
and about 3.4 total to the finish
and that it was all down hill

i took off running
knowing i needed to be perfect
if i wanted to break 11 hours
i knew i was about in 23rd position as well
however i didn’t know the terrain or the accuracy of the distance
but i ran hard smelling the barn
or perhaps it was myself
but either way it fueled me to another gear
that had been abandoned miles earlier

i caught a couple runners including youngren
who was probably simply tired
from sleepless nights with his new baby
and then shortly after there was laz and friends
i slowed just enough to ask if we needed another punch
laz said no and i turned it up knowing 10 hrs 52 min had expired
on the clock

1 mile
8 min or less
again was the distance accurate or not
i didn’t know
but i ran harder

another runner was alongside me
as i had caught him near laz
we were both chasing sub 11
we ran that last road like it was a legit 5k
i hit the pavement and emptied all my bottles
to get as light as possible knowing every second would matter

the other runner
nathan i believe
got a few feet in front and i followed in his wake
a couple turns hoping the end was in sight
clock ticking
a clock with no mind or mercy of what i wanted

i finally start to hear people
then i see the grassy field knowing to turn right
for the finishing arches
i see the clock at 10:59:30
i sprinted in comfortably over those 40 yards
crossing the finish line in 10:59:43

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a time that would matter only to me
breaking 11 hours that would only matter to me
but it had mattered to me for several miles
because it helped me stay focused and on point
it helped me prevent bad miles
and gave me something to focus on
and help drive me those last few miles to the finish

my last mile was 7 min 11 sec

the first person i saw after finishing was my good friend
rif member and bfc rd steve durbin
it was good to see him
he congratulated me and i thanked him for an amazing event
i was then presented with the prized
croix de barque for finishing

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i caught my breath
drank a few bottles of sword from the orange cooler
and then walked backwards on the course
to cheer in other runners
and root for my fellow run it fast members than remained on the course
slowly
one by one they found the finish as i had
some had made the 50k cutoff and finish
others had been turned in early
but all seemed satisfied with the effort they put forth that day

they knew they hadn’t don’t a normal race
and they were proud of the valiant effort they gave
they had been challenged in a new way
and had dug deep or discovered a new depth for the first time

after a few photos and hugs
i redeemed my post race meal card for a veggie burger
i am not even a vegetarian but it sounded like what my stomach
would agree with
and it was spot on

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i beat the rat

i traded war stories from the course and other battles
with other veteran ultra runners
from the past and present
the weather had been perfect
the course ripe
and i was pleased with my effort

my goal had been to finish in the top 20 and sub 11
i was 20th overall and 18th male
in a time of 10:59:43

Run It Fast Barkley Fall Classic 2017 Finishers 2

it was a good feeling to run well
and share in so many others achievements
i wore the rat bites and dozens of flesh wounds with pride
a very special running
epic event
race directed by my good friends durb and laz

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rif members before the lighting of the cigarette

congrats to all who were brave enough to toe the start
whether you got a finish or not
it takes a lot to take on a task like the bfc

thank you to all the volunteers
and football players
and friends
who were encouraging
helpful
resourceful
and made it possible to finish
marathon/ultra #197

and a special thanks
to all my Run It Fast friends
who continue to inspire and drive me
every race
step by step

joshua holmes
run it fast
2017

barkley fall classic results – 2017
photos: susan typert, daryl ann patton

Posted in Barkley Marathons, Race Reports, Running, Ultra MarathonComments (0)

Geoffrey Kirui Wins Boston Marathon

Geoffrey Kirui Wins 2017 Boston Marathon Over Galen Rupp (Results)

Geoffrey Kirui Wins Boston Marathon

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui broke away from American Galen Rupp over the last 2 miles to win the 2017 Boston Marathon in 2:09:37.  Rupp finished 20 seconds behind in 2:09:57.

Both men broke away from a large pack of elites with about 10k to go. Many thought Rupp would outkick Kirui to the finish but that simply wasn’t the case as Kirui broke away with ease to secure the victory.

Top 10 Boston Marathon Men

  1. Geoffrey Kirui – 2:09:37 (KEN)
  2. Galen Rupp – 2:09:57 (USA)
  3. Suguru Osako – 2:10:28 (JPN)
  4. Shadrack Biwott – 2:12:08 (USA)
  5. Wilson Chebet – 2:12:35 (KEN)
  6. Abdi Abdirahman – 2:12:45 (USA)
  7. Agustus Maiyo – 2:13:16 (USA)
  8. Dino Sefir – 2:14:26 (ETH)
  9. Luke Puskedra – 2:14:45 (USA)
  10. Jared Ward – 2:15:28 (USA)

American Meb Keflezighi finished 2:17:01 in what he has said will be his last Boston Marathon as an elite competitor. His last race will be the New York City Marathon. Big thank you to Meb for all he has done for the sport and marathoning in the USA.

Congrats to Geoffrey and all the elite men on great performances today.

Posted in Boston Marathon, Marathon, RunningComments (0)

Edna Kiplagat Wins Boston Marathon 2017

Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat Wins 2017 Boston Marathon (Women) – Results

Edna Kiplagat Wins Boston Marathon 2017
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Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat dominated the 2017 Boston Marathon winning the 121st running of the prestigious race in a time of 2:21:51

She led nearly from wire to wire and over the second half of the race she had no one close to her.

Congrats to Edna on an amazing and dominant performance.

Boston Marathon Top 10 Women:

  1. Edna Kiplagat – 2:21:51 (KEN)
  2. Rose Chelimo – 2:22:51 (BRN)
  3. Jordan Hasay – 2:23:00 (USA)
  4. Des Linden – 2:25:06 (USA)
  5. Gladys Cherono – 2:27:20 (KEN)
  6. Valentine Kipketer – 2:29:35 (KEN)
  7. Buzunesh Deba – 2:30:58 (ETH)
  8. Brigid Kosgei – 2:32:48 (KEN)
  9. Diane Nukuri – 2:32:24 (BDI)
  10. Ruti Aga – 2:33:26 (ETH)

Amazing performances by all the lead women.

Posted in Boston Marathon, Marathon, RunningComments (0)

pete-kostlenick-tc

Pete Kostelnick Breaks Trans-Con USA Record

pete-kostlenick-tc

Nebraska native Pete Kostelnick moments ago broke the record for the Fastest Trans-Con Run Across the United States of America. He finished the 3,100 mile journey in 42 days, 6 hours, 34 minutes.

His first words upon finishing, “I’m not running back!”

Pete broke Frank Giannino Jr’s record of 46 days 8 hr 36 min that Frank set 36 years ago almost to the day.

Dozens ran the last few miles with him to New  York City’s City Hall steps with his wife doing the steps to the top, arm in arm, with Pete.

He averaged about 73 miles per day during his journey.

Pete is the defending 2x Badwater 135 champion. He set the course record at Badwater back in July.

You can follow Pete on Twitter @PeteKostelnick.

Congrats, Pete.

 

Posted in Badwater 135, Records, Running, Ultra MarathonComments (0)

Robin Robbins with 2016 Boston Marathon Medal

Robin Robbins Rocks The Boston Marathon (Race Report)

Robin Robbins Finishing the Boston Marathon with Rose

Boston Marathon Race Report by Milan, Tennessee native Robin Robbins

Competing in the 2016 Boston Marathon is something I have been working towards for about 5 years.    After I ran my first marathon in 2012 and finished in 4 hours I really thought qualifying for Boston may be a possibility.  I needed to beat 3:55 and felt like I could do it with better training and preparation.  I was able to BQ in 2014 and 2015 in December each year only to get bumped out during September registration because of overcrowding and adjustment of qualifying times the BAA made.  The 2014 BQ wound up not good enough by 40 seconds (needed 3:53:58) and the 2015 BQ fell short by 1 second (needed 3:52:22)!  So I was resigned to waiting for another chance at qualifying in a few years when I will be approaching my 65th birthday.  Then I will get 15 more minutes and hopefully not lose much speed between now and then.  So much for the stats, how did I get to Boston this year?

Well go to late February 2016 to begin the rest of the story.  I responded to a request from RIF #1 Joshua Holmes wanting to know which Run It Fast members qualified for Boston but got bumped out because of the qualifying adjustment. About 2 weeks later Joshua contacted me about an opportunity to go to Boston and run the 2016 Boston Marathon as part of a team of 10 runners from across the country being sponsored by Hyland’s.  Hyland’s is the official leg cramp medicine sponsor for the race.

Hylands' Leg Cramps Find Your Finish

Hyland’s decided to let runners like me who had qualified, but then got turned down, use their sponsorship entry into the race.  It was like winning the lottery!  Needless to say I had to rearrange some things so I could travel that weekend and immediately step up my miles to be ready for it on short notice.  The race entry also had an obligation to engage in a social media campaign called Hyland’s Find Your Finish Line for 26 days leading up to the race.  It was intended to help get not only my thoughts on the race out on social media, but to get the Hyland’s name out there as well.  That “homework” plus stepped up training plus tremendous work stress made it a very challenging time leading up to the race.

Robin Robbins Boston Marathon 2016 Bib

Friday before the race my wife and I flew to Boston and got settled into our hotel for the days to come.   The hotel was conveniently located just a block from Copley Plaza and the nearby finish line.  We had several required events to attend and other optional events that the Hyland’s team had organized.  I had decided not to join the Saturday morning 4 mile shakeout run.  Although I did not run, we went over to a good vantage point on Boylston Street to watch the 5k race that morning.  It was windy and blustery and I was glad I was not running that morning!  As we were crossing the street about 10 minutes before the runners started coming towards us, Bill Rodgers came from out of nowhere in a hurry crossing in the other direction.  He was too quick for a conversation or hello, but it was neat to actually see him scurrying about as we were.

After watching what seemed like a 1000 runners go by, we crossed the street and headed back to the hotel for a meet and greet breakfast for our team.  There we met all the other runners (except one who was arriving Sunday) and most of the Hyland’s folks.  They gave us our goody bag which was a very nice backpack filled with Hyland products, pullover long sleeve warm up, visor, socks, sunglasses, sunscreen, and other items.

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At noon we were required to go to the expo and meet at the Hyland’s booth to meet and have pictures made with Dave McGillivray, the Boston Marathon Race Director.  McGillivray has run the Boston Marathon each year since 1973 and since 1988 at night when he completes his duties as race director.  Pretty amazing!  Go to www.dmsesports.com to learn more about this man.  Then I went to the packet pick-up area to get my bib and shirt.

After our time together at the expo we had free time which we used to walk around the Boylston and Newberry Street shops and finish line area until that afternoon when we were meeting up at Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays.   The weather was great and we sat in the sunshine in the outfield bleachers among the “bleacher creatures”.  We had a great time there getting to see a homerun hit over the “Green Monster” wall in left field and joining in for the singing of “Sweet Caroline” which has become a tradition there since the early 2000’s.  After the game we met some longtime friends of ours for dinner in the Italian part of the market area and then back to the hotel.

Sunday began with a brunch for our group at the townhome of one of the Hyland’s Boston employees, Margot Moore, in the South End which was a short walk south of our hotel.  A great time visiting with the team was enjoyed by all.  The rest of the day was more free time, so my wife and I took a Duck Tour of Boston.   It was very interesting seeing so many historic places by land and by water.  I would recommend this to anyone going to visit Boston as a starting point of you exploration of this city.  Sunday night we joined Roy Tamez and others for an RIF pre-race dinner at the Anthem Kitchen and Bar in the Faneuil Hall area of the city.

Robin Robbins, Kendra Schoffstall, Kevin Gerteisen, Jen Metcalf at the Boston Marathon

Race day began early with a 5:00 am breakfast at our hotel and then a short walk over to our tour bus ride out to Hopkinton. We made it to the Athletes Village around 7:00 am and rested on the grassy area near our bus. While waiting around I saw some Indiana RIF representatives, Jen Metcalf, Kevin Gerteisen, Kendra Schoffstall, and Angie Pace.  Always fun to see other RIFers at the races.  We could tell that the heat would be a factor because it was very pleasant even that early in the morning.  The temperature rose steadily reaching the high 60’s before we started the race.  When it was finally time for my wave to head over to the start line, we left the Athletes Village (Hopkinton High School) and walked almost a mile down to town and the starting line.  A retired veteran sang a rousing rendition of the different armed forces fight songs and then the gun was fired and we were off to Boston!

The excitement and adrenaline was flowing and everyone roared out of the corral and down the road which was steadily falling, making it too easy to go too fast.  Cheering spectators lined both sides of the road here and all the way to Boston except for a few small spots in between towns.  I kept pulling back on my pace until I reached 4 miles and decided to use a quick porta potty break to help slow me down.  After that quick stop I was able to hold a steady pace through the towns of Ashland and Framingham until I reached Wellesley.

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It was here that I planned another slow down while passing the “scream tunnel” of college girls at Wellesley College.  Of course I had to take a short video and a few pictures there as well as giving a few kisses away during my short recovery slow down.  This was about the half marathon point in the race and I knew the town of Newton and the famous Newton Hills would be next.  I started seeing signs entering Newton at 16 miles.  Around mile 17 the Newton Fire station came into sight and the road veered to the right heading straight into the Newton Hills for the next 4 miles.  The final hill of course was Heartbreak Hill cresting at mile 21.  Boston College students were on both sides of the road there screaming and handing out red roses to the runners. I have to say that I know now why that last hill is called Heartbreak.  I was really chugging along slowly when I reached the top and hoping that I could maybe pick up the pace slightly and hold it there until the finish.  But that was not going to happen for me.  I did manage to pick it up slightly the next mile but then I steadily slowed with each mile going in to the finish.

Robin Robbins Digging Deep at the Boston Marathon (2016)

I fought off a cramp in my left calf using Hyland’s Leg Cramp tablets those last few miles.  Thankfully Fenway Park was in sight to my right and then the large Citgo sign signaling only 2 miles to go.  When I finally got to the last 2 turns I knew I could finish with the huge crowds cheering for me and all the other runners,  Right on Hereford and left on Boyston and then the finish line was in sight.  I finished the race in 4:12:11, not my best marathon, but considering I was undertrained, I feel like it was a respectable time and a good ending to a dream come true.

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Once across the finish line I received my finisher’s medal, a heat wrap, a bottle of water and then walked a block over to the University Club for our post race celebration.  After I got in there and sat down, I got extreme cramps in both calves and even my quads.  Immediately I was being treated with Hyland’s leg cramp lotion and tablets to help relieve the pain.  After about ten minutes I was able to stand and walk around enough to get a shower and come back to enjoy the party.  We all had plenty of food and beverages as we shared stories about our day and celebrated our accomplishment.

Robin Robbins with 2016 Boston Marathon Medal

I want say that if it had not been for being a part of Run It Fast this would not have been possible. I have to thank Joshua Holmes for making this opportunity available to me as a result of his deep connections to the running community.  Thanks to all who followed and supported me along the way and for enduring my 26 days of posts about this adventure.  I am pretty sure that there may be other opportunities for RIF members to be a part of something else special that Hyland’s may have coming in the future and I hope someone else from Run It Fast can be a part of it.

Robin Robbins (2016 Boston Marathon finisher)

Robin Robbins Hylands Find your Finish Biographical Page

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Posted in Boston Marathon, MarathonComments (0)

Badwater 135 – 2016 Stry Labs Badwater 135

39th Badwater 135 Set to Start July 18th

Badwater 135 - 2016 Stry Labs Badwater 135

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 39th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Read this Online / Download the Race Magazine / Download the 5-page Press Kit)

Death Valley, CA:  On July 18-20, AdventureCORPS presents its legendary STYR Labs BADWATER® 135. Now in its 39th year, the world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements. In scorching temperatures and at altitudes as high as 8,300 feet, runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 21 countries and 27 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race, “ it is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135 features 51 Badwater veterans and 46 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, as well as athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits. With one of the most international fields in race history, the athletes represent twenty-one countries by citizenship or residence: Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America (with 27 different American states represented).

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.

There are 25 women and 72 men. The youngest male runner is 25 (rookie entrant Sam Weir of Australia) and the youngest female entrant is 29 (rookie entrant Kayla Delk of the USA). The oldest male is 69 (five-time finisher Mark K. Olson of California) and the oldest female is 60 (rookie entrant Pamela Chapman-Markle of Texas). The overall average age is 46. Full roster details are available here: http://dbase.adventurecorps.com/roster.php?bw_eid=78&bw=Go

The men’s course record is held by Valmir Nunez of Brazil with a time of 22:51:29 set in 2007, while the women’s course record of 26:16:12 was set in 2010 by Jamie Donaldson of Littleton, CO. It is expected that the winners of the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle. There is no prize money.

The 2016 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran contenders include 2015 men’s champion Pete Kostelnick of Nebraska, 2014 champion Harvey Lewis of Ohio, 2013 men’s champion Carlos Sa of Portugal, 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, CA (Mexico citizenship), two-time men’s runner-up Grant Maughan of Australia, and other notable contenders such as Marathon des Sables champion Mohamad Ahansal of Morocco, Grand Union Canal champion Dan Lawson of the UK, 2016 Badwater Cape Fear and 2016 Badwater Salton Sea champion Jared Fetterolf of Texas, among others. Also competing is Marshall Ulrich, 65, of Evergreen, CO, a twenty-time Badwater 135 finisher and four-time winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, along with David Jones, 64, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, seven-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder. For a  full preview of the top men’s field, click http://www.zwittyultra.com/remember-you-paid-to-be-in-this-race-daves-blog/2016-styr-labs-badwater-135-mens-preview

The women’s field, with 25 entrants, includes 12 rookies and 13 veterans. Notable contenders include the 2015 women’s champion, Nikki Wynd of Australia, 2014 women’s champion, Alyson Venti of Barbados, Badwater 135 veteran Brenda Guajardo who is a three-time winner of the Nove Colli ultramarathon in Italy, 2016 Brazil 135+ women’s champion Sada Crawford of Cayman Islands, and others. For a full preview of the top women’s field, click http://www.zwittyultra.com/remember-you-paid-to-be-in-this-race-daves-blog/2016-styr-labs-badwater-135-womens-race-preview

Every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with rookies and “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds.

The STYR Labs Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in May, and now concludes with the STYR Labs Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater.com website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven remarkable athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 BadwaterUltra Cup, while seventeen racers completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at the third and final Badwater race on July 18.

Now in its seventeenth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome our title sponsor, STYR Labs – an innovative nutrition customization and tracking platform delivering cutting-edge supplements to connected athletes and health and fitness consumers worldwide. The advanced ecosystem includes an activity tracker, wireless scale, and free app that collects health and fitness data to create personalized multivitamins or protein blends specific to the user’s health and fitness goals and needs. Sergio Radovcic, founder of STYR Labs, is no stranger to this race with three consecutiveBadwater 135 finishes. More info at www.styr.com

AdventureCORPS  also greatly appreciates the support of Farm to Feet Socks, Fisher Space Pen, Caring House Project Foundation, ZZYXXZ, and ZombieRunner.com, plus the local support of Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa, Pizza Factory, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the people of Inyo County, and other generous companies and individuals. More info: www.badwater.com/about-us/sponsors/

Official Charities of the Badwater 135 include the Challenged Athletes Foundation. As one of the very few charities that provides grants directly to athletes with a physical disability, the Challenged Athletes Foundation has raised over thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info: www.badwater.com/about-us/charities/

This year, over 50 of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice. Some of those include 100 Mile Club, Break the Stigma Project, Caring House Project Foundation, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Homes for our Troops, Hope So Bright, The Herren Project, and others.

This year’s race celebrates the 39th anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer and human potential guru, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement. For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold: http://www.badwater.com/blog/category/al-arnolds-insights/

1987 Race: http://www.badwater.com/blog/1987-the-year-badwater-became-a-race/

PRESS CREDENTIALS, IMAGE GALLERY, and PERMITS

Download the 5-Page Press Kit and Media Credential Application here:

http://www.badwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016presskit.pdf

A stock image gallery – for bona fide media use only – may be accessed at the following link, with Photographer Name / Badwater.com attribution required: www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/sets/72157654693333871

The Badwater 135 is held under permits from Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, Inyo National Forest, and Inyo County. Media attending the event may be required to obtain permits from some of those same agencies.

FOLLOWING THE STYR LABS BADWATER 135 ONLINE

Follow the 2016 webcast at:

http://www.badwater.com/2016-styr-labs-badwater-135-webcast/

Follow the 2016 time splits and results at:

http://dbase.adventurecorps.com/results.php?bw_eid=78&bwr=Go

Follow the race on Twitter (Join the conversation by adding hashtag #Badwater135 to all your tweets about the race.):

http://twitter.com/badwater

Follow the race staff’s live photostream on Instagram (Contribute to the photostream by adding hashtag #Badwater135 to all your IG images about the race.):

http://instagram.com/badwaterHQ

Follow the race director’s live photostream on Instagram:

http://instagram.com/chriskostman

Follow the race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventurecorps/

Follow the race director’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/

Join the Facebook conversation:

http://www.facebook.com/badwater135

Download the July 2016 issue of BADWATER Magazine:

http://www.adventurecorps.com/downloads/bw/2016July.pdf

ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS

Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance sports events and the world’s toughest brand, BADWATER®. Adventure is our way of life. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, BADWATER® Cape Fear, and Silver State 508™, and other events. Our products include the Badwater® line of apparel, skin care products, gear, and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.” More info: www.adventurecorps.com and www.badwater.com.

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.

Posted in Badwater 135, Ultra MarathonComments (0)

Joshua Holmes Running in Simi Valley – Run It Fast®

Conservation of Our Land for Trail Runners

Joshua Holmes Running in Simi Valley - Run It Fast®

Conservation of our Land and Water

I’ve been blessed to run challenging races in National and State Parks in some of the most beautiful parts of the United States. In doing so I’ve seen sunrises, sunsets, mountains, canyons, rivers, and wildlife more beautiful than my most vivid imagination.

I’m never going to agree fully with every action of any president, but I’m thankful for the actions President Obama has taken to protect more land and water than any president in U.S. history.

I hope his successor will value conservation just as much as President Obama no matter the letter that might appear next to his or her name. Let’s also do our part to protect and keep clean our deserts, forests, oceans, and mountains.

And the best way to conserve our health is to get out, be active, run, hike, and swim in these beautiful places.

Follow me on Instagram at @JoshuaHolmes

#FindYourPark#ActOnClimate #thanksObama@whitehouse #conservation #RunItFast

Posted in Running, TrailsComments (0)

IMG_20150906_041614

Lisa Gonzales Looks Back at Her First 100 Races

Race 100

My 100th Race!

My name is Lisa Gonzales and I am RIF #5 (Run It Fast Club). This past weekend, I ran my 100th race! If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would be running 100 races, including marathons and ultras, I would have said they were crazy. But racing is so fun! And addicting!

I have been keeping track of my races in my running & cycling log (an Excel spreadsheet) because I’m a numbers geek and it makes me happy to see all that I’ve done. The bonus to keeping them in Excel means I can keep a few stats on them. Here’s a summary:

Race Distances:
Ultras – 8
Marathons – 15
Halfs – 36
10Ks – 14
5Ks – 17
Other races – 10

Races in California: 77 (not surprising since I live in Southern California!)
Races in other states: 23 (AZ-5, KY-1, NM-1, NV-4, NY-1, OR-1, SD-3, TN-4, TX-1, UT-1, WA-1)

Races By Year
2009 – 2
2010 – 4
2011 – 12
2012 – 29
2013 – 19
2014 – 14
2015 – 20

I took 9 months off in 2013/2014 because I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on 9/30/14 and I had to have surgery and 6 rounds of chemo. If not for cancer, I would have hit 100 sooner. One of things that made me so angry at cancer was how many races I had to miss. Racing, to me, is a party and I was mad that I missed so many parties! Sure, it hurts when you run hard and sometimes you want to puke your guts out at the end of a race… but I love seeing friends and running with people who are just like me and knowing that you left everything you had on the course is very satisfying!

So without further ado, here are the races I’ve run since April 2009.

  1. 4/5/09 – Renegade 3 Mile Trail Run – San Dimas, CA – The start of my addiction. This race was hilly, hot, and hard but I was proud of myself for finishing it. 
  2. 11/28/09 – San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K – San Dimas, CA
  3. 2/14/10 – Lost Dutchman Half Marathon – Apache Junction, AZ
  4. 5/2/10 – Eugene Marathon – Eugene, OR – This race finishes in Hayward Field. Very cool to run on the track where so many fast, fast, runners have raced.
  5. 10/10/10 – Mohawk Hudsom River Marathon – Albany, NY
  6. 11/27/10 – San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K – San Dimas, CA
  7. 1/22/11 – Buffalo Run Half Marathon – Catalina Island, CA
  8. 2/20/11 – Lost Dutchman Marathon – Apache Junction, AZ – This is a very cool race. Fun start and fun course. This was the first marathon I did where I actually ran the whole thing. 
  9. 4/9/11 – Labor Of Love Half Marathon – Lovell Canyon, NV – I won my Age Group!
  10. 4/10/11 – Labor of Love Half Marathon – Lovell Canyon, NV – I won the Women’s Half Marathon on the 2nd day! I wasn’t sure that running back to back half marathons was a good idea but it went really well, even with the big hill! It was my first time going sub 2 hours too. Woo!

    LaborOfLoveAwards

    Labor of Love Half Marathon

  11. 6/25/11 – Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon – Seattle, WA – This is where I set my half marathon PR.
  12. 7/4/11 – Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA
  13. 8/28/11 – Santa Rosa Marathon – Santa Rosa, CA – This is where I set my marathon PR.
  14. 10/16/11 – A Hurricane Jem 16.5 Trail Run – Hurricane, UT
  15. 11/26/11 – San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K – San Dimas, CA
  16. 12/4/11 – Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon – Las Vegas, NV
  17. 12/31/11 – New Years One Day 12 Hour (45.6 miles) – San Francisco, CA- My first ultra! And I picked a 12 Hour! LOL. This was a really fun race with great views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz. It ended at midnight on New Year’s Eve and we watched the fireworks go off over the city. Very cool!
  18. 1/7/12 - Southern California Half Marathon – Irvine, CA
  19. 1/28/12 – Wild Horse Trail Half Marathon – Chula Vista, CA
  20. 2/4/12 – Jackson Jackass 50K – Jackson, TN – This was my first 50K and it was a mudfest!
  21. 2/26/12 – La Jolla Canyon 50K – Malibu, CA
  22. 3/11/12 – Mesquite Canyon 30K – Waddell, AZ
  23. 4/22/12 – Foxy Trail Half Marathon – Rancho Bernardo, CA
  24. 5/6/12 – Safari Park Half Marathon – San Diego, CA
  25. 5/26/12 – Nanny Goat 12 Hour (45 miles) – Riverside, CA
  26. 6/10/12 – Cougar Trail Half Marathon – San Diego, CA
  27. 6/23/12 – Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb – Corona, CA - This is a challenging but fun race. “It ain’t got but one hill” but it’s 6.5 miles long.
  28. 6/30/12 – Mojave Narrows Half Marathon – Victorville, CA
  29. 7/5/12 – Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA
  30. 7/14/12 – Stonewall Peak Half Marathon – Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, CA – This was one of the prettiest races I’ve done. This was the first race I got lost at but only added about a mile onto my race. Oh, and I got stung by a bee on my ear! What an adventure!

    StonewallPeak3

    Stonewall Peak Half Marathon

  31. 8/5/12 – ET Full Moon Midnight 51K – Rachel, NV- This race is a SciFi running geek’s dream. You run during a full moon at midnight out near Area 51! I’m pretty sure I saw some strange lights out there. 
  32. 8/19/12 – Leading Ladies Marathon – Spearfish, SD
  33. 9/2/12 – Disneyland Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA – The start of my runDisney addiction! Seriously love these races. 
  34. 9/8/12 – Endure the Bear 15K – Big Bear Lake, CA
  35. 9/15/12 – Summer Spectacular 50K – Santa Monica, CA – This is where I set my 50K PR! And then spent the rest of the day in ER from heatstroke. I do not recommend doing that! But I got a PR!
  36. 9/29/12 – Big Sur Trail Marathon – Big Sur, CA
  37. 10/14/12 – Raptor Ridge Trail Half Marathon – Escondido, CA
  38. 10/27/12 - Javelina Jundred (100K) – Fountain Hills, AZ – This was my first 100 mile attempt. Well, my only attempt so far. I dropped to the 100K though.
  39. 11/11/12 – Malibu International Marathon – Malibu, CA
  40. 11/18/12 – Flying Monkey Marathon – Nashville, TN – This is a very popular race put on by Run It Fast Club member Trent Rosenbloom. I was unlucky enough to get into the lottery for it in 2012! It’s a gorgeous place to run but watch out for the Flying Monkeys! And the hills! 

    Flying Monkey Marathon

    Flying Monkey Marathon

  41. 11/22/12 – ARR Thanksgiving Day Classic 10 Mile – Peoria, AZ
  42. 11/24/12 – San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K – San Dimas, CA
  43. 12/8/12 – Santa Monica/Venice Christmas Run 10K – Santa Monica, CA
  44. 12/8/12 – Santa Monica/Venice Christmas Run 5K – Santa Monica, CA – I loved doing the Double. You ran the 10K first and then the 5K. Sadly, they aren’t doing the double this year.
  45. 12/9/12 – Holiday Half Marathon – Pomona, CA
  46. 12/15/12 – Paramount Ranch Trail Half Marathon – Calabasas, CA
  47. 12/16/12 – Holly Jolly Half Marathon – Camarillo, CA
  48. 1/5/13 – New Years Race Half Marathon – Los Angeles, CA
  49. 1/27/13 – Calico Trail Runs 30K – Calico Ghost Town, CA – The scenery in this race is amazing and you finish in a ghost town. What’s not to love?
  50. 2/3/13 – Surf City Half Marathon – Huntington Beach, CA
  51. 2/17/13 – Bandit 30K – Simi Valley, CA
  52. 2/23/13 – Rohring Round The Clock 6HR – Bonita, CA
  53. 3/10/13 – Snoopy Coaster Run 10K – Buena Park, CA
  54. 3/17/13 – Bataan Memorial Death March – White Sands, NM – This race is amazing! Definitely one of my favorites. It’s run at the White Sands Missile Range and it’s a very emotional and moving race that honors the survivors and those who lost their lives in the Bataan Death March. 

    IMG_20130319_164441

    Bataan Memorial Death March

  55. 3/30/13 - Chino Hills Trail Run Series 15 Miler – Chino Hills, CA
  56. 4/6/13 – Hollywood Half Marathon – Hollywood, CA
  57. 4/13/13 – Griffith Park Trail Marathon – Los Angeles, CA
  58. 5/5/13 – OC Half Marathon – Newport Beach, CA
  59. 5/19/13 – Horseshoe Lake Trail Marathon – Palo Alto, CA – I celebrated my birthday with a marathon. 
  60. 6/1/13 – Fontana Days 5K – Fontana, CA
  61. 6/2/13 – San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, San Diego, CA
  62. 6/8/13 – Run Under The Stars (50K) – Paducah, KY – Running for 10 hours under the stars in circles on a horse track doesn’t sound like a lot of fun but it is a blast!
  63. 6/24/13 – Asphalt Jackal Marathon – Pinson, TN
  64. 7/4/13 - Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA
  65. 7/7/13 – Costume Party Half Marathon – San Diego, CA – This was the last race I really ran before everything went down with cancer. It had the largest medal I’ve received!

    Costume Party Medal

    Costume Party Half Marathon

  66. 8/10/13 – Dove Canyon Half Marathon – Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – My last race before my doctor said I had to stop running. It wasn’t a spectacular run for me but it was fun and I was happy to finish.
  67. 5/17/14 – Renegade 3 Mile Trail Run – San Dimas, CA - My first race post cancer. I went back to my first race from back in 2009. I thought it was a fun way to get back into racing. I was still battling fatigue from the chemo so my time was about the same as back in 2009. 
  68. 6/7/14 – Fontana Days 5K – Fontana, CA
  69. 7/4/14 – Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA
  70. 8/17/14 – Leading Ladies Half Marathon – Spearfish, SD
  71. 9/21/14 – Girls On The Go 10K – San Dimas, CA
  72. 9/27/14 – San Dimas 5K – San Dimas, CA
  73. 10/11/14 – Brian’s Home Run 5K – Fontana, CA – 3rd in my Age Group! Starting to finally feel like my old self again.
  74. 10/26/14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half – Los Angeles, CA
  75. 11/16/14 – Avengers Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA
  76. 11/22/14 – San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K – San Dimas, CA
  77. 11/27/14 - Claremont Turkey Trot 5K – Claremont, CA
  78. 12/6/14 – Santa Monica/Venice Christmas Run 10K – Santa Monica, CA
  79. 12/6/14 – Santa Monica/Venice Christmas Run 5K – Santa Monica, CA
  80. 12/14/14 – Dallas Half Marathon – Dallas, TX – First time visiting Texas! Great race and a lot of fun. Got to see lots of friends and fellow RIFers here.
  81. 1/3/15 – Resolution Run 10K – Los Angeles, CA
  82. 1/18/15 – Star Wars Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA
  83. 2/1/15 – Surf City Half Marathon – Huntington Beach, CA
  84. 2/21/15 – Cummins Falls Half Marathon, Cummins Falls State Park, TN – This was my first race in snow & ice and I didn’t die! Hey, I’m from So Cal, it was 80 degrees when I flew it out. It was worth it though it was a fun race and I won my Age Group! 

    IMG_20150221_133548

    Cummins Falls Half Marathon

  85. 3/8/15 – Snoopy Coaster Run 10K – Buena Park, CA – 10K PR! I love this race! Mostly because I love Snoopy but also because you run through Knott’s Berry Farm and there is pie at the finish! Also, did I mention the pie?
  86. 3/15/15 - Los Angeles Marathon – Los Angeles, CA – This was my first marathon post cancer. I swore I was never going to do big city races again but this one was a great race. It was really well organized, you see some great sights, and the crowd support is awesome. I signed for 2016!
  87. 4/4/15 – Peter Cottontail 5K – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  88. 4/18/15 – Cosmo 7K – Pomona, CA – 1st in my Age Group! This is a women’s only run.
  89. 5/4/15 – OC Half Marathon – Newport Beach, CA
  90. 5/9/15 – Tinkerbell 10K – Anaheim, CA
  91. 5/10/15 – TinkerBell Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA – This was another race that I missed because of cancer. I was supposed to run it in January 2014 but had chemo just a few days before it so did not get to do it. So happy to finally run it!
  92. 5/16/15 – Renegade 3 Mile Trail Run – San Dimas, CA
  93. 6/6/15 – Fontana Days 5K – Fontana, CA – 5K PR and 2nd in my Age Group! This is a very fast course. The half marathon fills up fast because it is a great PR course.
  94. 7/4/15 - Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA
  95. 8/16/15 – Leading Ladies Marathon – Spearfish, SD
  96. 9/5/15 – Disneyland 10K – Anaheim, CA
  97. 9/6/15 – Disneyland Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA – My favorite part of runDisney races is dressing up. This was my 3rd time running as Minnie Mouse. I was Chewbacca Minnie at the Star Wars Half! LOL!IMG_20150906_041614
  98. 9/20/15 – Girls On The Go 10K – San Dimas, CA – 1st in my Age Group!
  99. 10/11/15 – Long Beach Marathon – Long Beach, CA – This was a hot day! Like 98 but I finished! It was the completion of the Beach Cities Challenge (Surf City, OC, and Long Beach) so I was really happy. I had started the Challenge in 2013 but didn’t get to complete it because I had surgery just 2 weeks before Long Beach. Every time I ran a race that I missed because of cancer, I considered it a Revenge Race. Getting to run/race again is the best revenge of that stupid, ugly disease. I win!
  100. 10/25/15 – Terrifying 10 Miler – Dana Point, CA - 2nd in my Age Group running as a Pirate! Hard course but great race.

You may have noticed I have a few races that I repeat every year: Renegade 3 Mile Trail Run, Fontana Days Run 5K, Freedom 5000, San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K, Snoopy Coaster Run 10K, runDisney races. These are local races that are a lot of fun! But mostly I use racing to travel and see places I’ve never been. I don’t have a specific plan to race in all 50 States but I’m sure I will eventually. I keep saying I will race less. I don’t know if that’s going to happen though. We’ll see…

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram: runlikeacoyote
Twitter: @runlikeacoyote
My blog: Run Like A Coyote

Posted in 10K, 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, RunningComments (0)

Shannon Miller 7 Bridges Marathon – Run It Fast

Shannon Miller’s Mile: Getting Off the Canvas

Shannon Miller 7 Bridges Marathon - Run It Fast

Running has changed my life. There’s no doubt about that. It continues to teach me, and I continue to learn and grow from it. Even still, everyone has moments of weakness; sometimes even months of weakness.

The first half of 2015 was not good for me. I struggled with some unfortunate “that’s life” issues that had me feeling unmotivated, and I often found myself seeking comfort in food. I spent more and more time on the couch watching sappy chick-flick movies with a box of cookies, and less time outside with my running shoes.

By March, my training was almost non-existent and I had gained back about 20 pounds of the weight I had previously lost. I did manage to run 2 marathons and 2 ultras during the spring and early summer but, as undertrained as I was, each one was nothing but a pathetic suffer-fest. During the Asphalt Jackal Marathon, in mid June, my eyes opened to what I had become and what I was doing to myself. I knew something had to change. I finished the race that day in dead last place. Without the major support of friends, throughout the race, I doubt I would have finished at all.

I have worked hard over the last few months to return to the runner that I was last year, and I’m making good progress. I’m averaging about 32 miles per week in training right now, and I have worked my long training runs back up to a half marathon. I’m signed up for the Chattanooga 7 Bridges Marathon in 6 weeks, and it feels good to know that I’ll be ready for it. I ran it last year and beat my previous best marathon time by 15 minutes. Maybe I can pull out another personal record this year.

Even though my “backslide” cost me several months of valuable training and improvement, I don’t really regret it. It taught me things about myself, and it made me stronger. It is empowering to know that after hitting such a low that I can rise above and continue to better myself despite life’s obstacles. Things happen that can affect us mentally and change the way we see the world. I can’t tell you that it won’t happen again, but if it does I’ll be ready.

– Shannon Miller (RIF #338)

More Miller’s Mile
Miller’s Mile: Beginning to Believe

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Shannon Miller Cruise Ship Formal

Shannon Miller’s Mile: Beginning to Believe

Shannon Miller - The Native Jackal Trail Marathon 2014

The Beginning of My Running Story

I don’t like to hear people say that they “can’t run”. Everyone has an excuse. That’s all they are: excuses. But I understand it, because I used to make them myself, and still do sometimes when I’m in a poor mood. I am one of the least genetically or circumstantially blessed runners that I know. I’ve never been athletic, never played sports, I’ve always struggled with my weight, I have chronic knee problems and my “girls” are enormous. Not to mention I’m a single mother, who mostly trains on the treadmill. Runners are supposed to be thin, with long legs, and strong muscles. I must not be a runner.

Shannon Miller Tie Dyed

Obstacles to Starting

When I started running, I was 210 pounds. I have no idea why I decided to run. I didn’t think I could ever be a runner. At that time, I wouldn’t have believed I could have ever run 6 miles, much less a marathon. I didn’t even know ultra marathons existed. I just wanted to lose weight. I ran my first 5k on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, finishing in 42:22.

Meeting the Kingpin

Then I met Joshua Holmes….

I was at a Christmas party at my new boss’s house when this long haired, hippie-looking fellow starts telling me about all these crazy distances he’s run, like 50 miles, 100 miles, even 314 miles across Tennessee in July. I wasn’t sure if I thought he was insane or my hero. I mentioned to him that I had just run my first 5k, which paled in comparison to his stories, but he was humble and at least pretended to be impressed.

Over the next few months, after running several more 5ks, Joshua challenged me to climb the distance ladder by first completing a 10k in March of 2013 (finishing in 1:06:36), and then my first half marathon on June 22, 2013 (finishing in 2:52:23). After the half marathon I was hooked. I knew then that I could finish a full marathon. I started looking at different races and knowing it was my first one, I looked for something flat and easy.

Dream It and Do It

Naturally, I entered my name in the lottery for the Harpeth Hill’s Flying Monkey Marathon in Nashville, TN, which is a brutal course, even to veteran marathoners and is infamously known for its wicked hills. That particular day, November 23, 2013, was unseasonably cold (18 degrees at the start). Twenty six miles and ten frozen fingers later, I somehow managed to finish the Flying Monkey in 6:06:15.

Shannon Miller Cruise Ship Formal

How Far I’ve Come

As of today, I have run 11 marathons and ultras, with my longest distance to date being The Tunnel Hill 50 Miler, and so far I have lost 50 pounds. The old me is just a shadow of the girl I am now. I’m still not the stereotypical runner type. I probably never will be, but I’m okay with that. If I can be a runner, anyone can be. It’s all about making small changes, because you aren’t going to climb a mountain in a day. I’m light-years away from who I used to be, in a place I never thought I would be, and dreaming of becoming someone even better one step at a time.

My name is Shannon Miller, and this is my journey to a healthier, happier life.

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