December 31, 2007

One Six Ohhhhhhhh!

Yep, I managed to click off 160 long runs for 2007.

Pretty cool when you consider that I only got 10 each in March and April primarily because of Umstead 100-Miler and then the 90-mile effort at the Virginia Run for Cancer 24-Hour event. That means a WHOLE bunch of long ones August through December.

So this year, my fifth since I invented this tracking system, finishes with 160 runs and 434.5 points. Previous top total of long runs was 2006's 150. This year's point total is a bit lower than 2005's 452, but still a good bit higher than the yearly average of ... let's see ... 400. Sweet!

What excellent fun.

December 27, 2007

Repeat after me: "Hammer curls are my friend."

So, wonder what would happen to the ever-so-ordinary ultrarunner if he were to, say, clip off 150 reps each arm of hammer curls with, say, 3 lb. dumbbells every day for, say, a month?

Dunno. More on this about Jan. 25 or so. :-)

December 25, 2007

Merry, Merry Christmas all!

That new Power Ranger game clearly takes a ton of Christmas-morning concentration, especially when you are at the Green Ranger level.

Serious, serious don't-mess-with-me business here, bucko. Go Rangers!

(Great morning here at 1300 Gum with Aunt Wendi and Allen coming for yummy b-fast and fun gift opening. My crew is resting now, then it's off to Elkton to do much of it again with my side of the fam. Good times.)

December 15, 2007

Sad Day

I cried myself out today.

Sherman, our 9-year-old lab beagle chow mix, succumbed to the diabetes that had wracked his world and ours for the past three months or so. We knew this was coming. Didn't make it one bit easier.

Heidi and I were up and down with Sherman throughout last night as he drank and panted and asked to go outside and ate grass and threw up and all that. A late-morning seizure sent me to call our Waynesboro vet and ask if they could put him down.

I thought I was all cried out as I loaded him in the truck one final time for the 15-minute drive, but you know how tears are. We've been pretty tight since I dragged him out from under that makeshift Stokesville cabin where he was born. I was his primary trainer during Head Start for Puppies. We slept a lot of nights on the floor together, me in a sleeping bag and him snuggled against my back, when H was pregnant with Benjamin.

Puppa, one of his many nicknames, always had a special yip sound for me when I came home. We always joked about him being my running coach, and how I would totally suck as an ultrarunner if it weren't for his sage advice. We concocted Rock Status, officially bestowed on me when I finished a 100-miler and yakked away when I didn't.

He's always been a scared boy hiding in a mean-sounding dog suit. And he's been one of the main loves of my life for almost a decade now.

As we headed down the road to Waynesboro, me with one hand on my buddy and the other on the steering wheel, I told him that I'd given this past three months my best and apologized for not always hitting the right spot on the twice-daily insulin injections. I told him I was sorry if he hurt much, and that I loved him more than even I imagined possible. I thanked him for being there for me through thick and thin, for always forgiving me, for always accepting my love, for always being willing to hear my dumb stories and come out in the yard and watch me do my pull-ups at the various places we have lived.

Just before noon, just outside the Waynesboro city limits, my Puppa said good-bye to this life. He had his head resting partially on his favorite pillow and partially on my lap. I wouldn't have wished it to be any other way.

When we get his ashes from the vet, I know the perfect spot. There's a doggie cemetery on one of my favorites running roads. Turns out that is at Stokesville, where our handsome boy was born.

Save me a spot, Puppa. When I hear your special Dad yips, I know I'll be home at last.

Love you, my old sweetheart boy.

Your Dad

December 14, 2007

true definition of "bonk"

This, courtesy of my Wesleyan brother forever Bill Potts, captures the essence of ultrarunning at those times when things go just a bit awry.

December 8, 2007

No. 150 already

Today's 2:20 late-morning effort gives me 150 long ones for 2007, and the outside possibility of hitting a hard-to-ever-top total of 160 before the year's out.

Absolutely, totally KEWL! And THEN some!

Streak update: All is well. Next significant date is Dec. 17, Day 300.

December 3, 2007


Yup. It's that time of the year again. Basketball season is here in all its glory.

That means I hit the court 4-5 games a week for much of the next three months. Reffing is a nice break from work, a little extra running of a slightly different sort and a pretty fair supplement to the ol' pocket book. No adverse effects on the running, other than that I get home sort of late on occasion and maybe are a wee bit charged up when it comes time that I actually need to fall asleep.

Last week I worked varsity girls Wednesday, eighth-grade boys Thursday, JV boys Friday and then a girls' varsity/girls' varsity/boys' varsity triple-header Saturday. The week's running included at least 2-hour runs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Got some really good strength training sessions in too.

Grueling physical effort? Nah. Glutton for punishment? Nope. Aging fool fully engaged in the ever-pressing pursuit of the poetry of a life in motion?

All depends on how you look at it, I guess.

November 6, 2007

Gentle, Gentle Fun

Saturday's Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50-Miler was a day of smiles, laughter, the drinking in of picturesque views and sharing of running with some of a neatest people anywhere.

The beautiful setting that is the mountains around Lynchburg was the scene for some pretty sweet reminiscing during my 13th successful traverse of the vaunted MMTR layout. Masochist was my first ultra back in 1991, quite an introduction for a relatively OK road marathoner who thought he might be able to score a top-10 as slow as those guys seemed to be going on those trails. I ran the first 43 miles or so, then walked the next six with tail firmly tucked between legs before blitzing the final mile to the finish.

Somewhere along the way that day, I found a piece of myself that I have held pretty tightly to ever since, across more than a decade and a half, some 85 ultra finishes and another 35 or so marathon finishes too.

Saturday was a fitting tribute to that first foray in ultra-mania. Coming in superbly fit, I chugged my way to the halfway point in 5:15, then just out of the blue decided to keep it steady and see what unfolded. What unfolded was a general slowdown that found me taking time out to stop and watch the glorious mountaintop sunlight, break to stare at the most purple leaves I have yet to notice, just generally gulp all of it in. Thanks to Rob Apple for sharing with me a unique view of nature borne from, among other positives, his previous FIVE-HUNDRED AND THREE successful ultras. Wow!

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get the chance to witness the personification of "amazing." I got to do just that as I shared the final 12.5 miles with the venerable Mr. Apple. Very, very fun time.

October 30, 2007

By The Numbers

With today's 2-hour run/walk marking 36 straight weeks of running each day, it got me thinking about some numbers. A little digging uncovered the following ...

252 days in a row • 110 runs of at least 2 hours • a 100-mile finish at Umstead in March • a 90-miler at the Virginia Run for Cancer 24-Hour Run in April • 73 basketball games officiated (no, none of them count as runs ;-) • a 50km finish at Catherine's Big Butt in July • a 40-miler finish at Highlands Sky in June • a 26.2-miler finish at Shamrock Marathon in March • a 19:26 5km race at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton on July 4 • 16 weeks of three long runs in the same calendar week • a 6:08 one-mile solo time trial • 5 other weeks of four long runs • 3 different trips around the killer 25-mile Wild Oak Trail • 2 other weeks of 5 long runs

Mix it somewhere around 5,000 crunches, 3,000 push-ups, 1,500 or so pull-ups and a couple hundred 4 a.m. alarm answers and, well, you get a crystalline picture of lunacy.

Wow. I really am a freak. :-)

October 4, 2007

Vintage me

What's one inch long, a half-inch wide and makes you feel like a complete and utter moron?

That would be the sweet new knot on my forehead, courtesy of an immovable door and my remarkable lack of attention to life's most mundane tasks.

Trying to close the door for my ref buddy this afternoon while in our dressing-room-under-construction at a local middle school and, of course, deep in the midst of what I am sure was a most important convo, I took one hard step toward the door an arm's reach away and -- BAM -- header city.

Paul: Bill, are you OK, dude?

Me: Oh yeah, no worries. I'm good. (Sung to the tune of "Oh yeah, I'm fine. No need to take the keys.")

Paul: Are you sure? I think you lost it there for a second.

Me: No, no. Really. I'll be fine. Let's see? Yeah, head doesn't hurt a bit except for right at that one spot. And I can feel my neck and shoulders, so I'm sure we're good. Well, OK, I may be having a little trouble feeling my elbows right now, but I'm sure that will pass ...

Game went fine. No problems at all. So really all I have to show for my lack of attention is what looks like a gigantic pinkish welt atop my forehead even with my right eye. With any luck, it won't turn blue.

Photos tomorrow if it does. Unless I spend tomorrow babbling like a complete idiot. How will anybody be able to tell the difference? Wow. Great question.

September 12, 2007

And from the nutrition front

This just in from a nutrition column at ...

"Believe it or not, low-fat chocolate milk has proven to be a very successful recovery beverage providing 84 grams of carbohydrate, 26 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 345 mg of sodium in 24 ounces!"

Wonder how that stacks up vs. my 24 oz. 7-Eleven coffee with four creamers, four sugars and powdered chocolate?

Anyone see a research project in the making here?

Happens to me in most 100-milers ...

Quote from a feature about budding world-class marathoner Brian Sell ...

But that's nothing compared to the story he likes to tells about himself at the 22-mile mark of the 2004 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials in Birmingham, AL. "The last four miles of that race were the worst marathon experience I've ever had," he says. "I hit the wall SO hard. If I never have to repeat that again, it will be too soon. Clint Verran said that when he caught me, I looked like someone who had crawled into a road-side ditch to try to find some used chewing gum."

August 31, 2007

Never thought I'd see this ...

2008 Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run
April 5 , 2008 6:00am

Registration now open !! - click here

Race Cap: 250
Current registrations: 110 as of 8/31/07 8:30pm
Don't wait !!

Registration opened this morning for this one, my fave of faves. About lunchtime, I got e-mail from race director Blake Norwood saying not to fiddle around because he had about 100 entrants in the first six hours! So I leaped into the 21st century and entered via, which is awesome.

Cracked me completely up that this race may actually fill all 250 slots in a day or two. My first year there, 1996, We had 77 starters and 38 finishers. I entered the night before the race.

Who would have ever imagined this?

August 6, 2007

Time to go a little crazy maybe?

Last week long runs were 2 hrs. Monday, 2 hrs. Tuesday, 2h10 Thursday and 3h08 Friday (AWESOME Appalachian Trail run in Afton Mountain area with Sophie!!!), soooo .... I am thinking that maybe I may kick things up a notch during August and continue this M/Tu/Th/F long run thing. Would be good prep for my Two Loops of Wild Oak assault in mid-October.

The 2h20m of 9/1 went pretty smoothly this morning. Given that this is my first day back at work after my first real vacation in ?? years, maybe it's just an after-glow thing. Then again, maybe not. Guess we'll see, huh?

August 5, 2007

That next corner

So I'm on my third long run in four days during last week's vaycay in Greensboro, N.C., when it happens.

I round a turn on a paved bike path during the steamy morning when I see this little sweat-drenched kid running with the most determined look on his face, completely lost in his own world of effort. I'm guessing 7 or 8, about the same age as our Ben. Close behind, on a mountain bike, and ever-watchful comes his dad. Neither seems to notice me as we pass.

About 15 minutes later I come to the end of the path, then decide to do a bit of exploring through the ritzy subdivision by hopping out on the street. Up a short steep hill I go, then turn around to walk down when my watch beeps to signal a walk break.

As I'm walking down, up comes the kid. This time I get a better look and notice the slightly out-of-kilter gait and then the Special Olympics T-shirt. Still lost in the effort but starting to fade a bit on the pace, up the hill he heads. This time, I clap a couple times and give him a "good job, dude; relax and drive those arms on this hill."

The smile I got and the quiet fist pump from his dad gave me goosebumps. Such vast thanks from such a simple act. Then I spent the final 40 minutes of the run awash in gratitude for how easy my life is and how fortunate I am to have all the blessings that I have.

I had planned on driving into downtown Greensboro to run that morning, but at the last minute changed my mind. Sometimes, the best lesson you could hope for is just around that next corner.

June 28, 2007

... TEN thousand words!

9:55 and change. A really beautiful run. A really relaxing weekend.

June 14, 2007

a sweet getaway plan

Doing the Highlands Sky 40-Miler Saturday at Canaan Valley, W.Va., and it's so close to West Virginia Wesleyan that I am not gonna pass up the chance to visit Buckhannon for the first time in probably a decade.

So, the plan is: Leave here around 5 a.m., drive three hours to Sunny Buck, take a short run, shower, take a stroll around, hit the bookstore, head back to Canaan.

Race will be fun. Party will be better. Weekend promises to be a complete winner.

June 7, 2007

Lupus fundraiser with some shwag maybe

Just saw this on the Ultra List and felt the urge to pass it on, so ... here.

Seems a worthy cause, and what's $5?

Subject: Support my run, win some sunglasses!
From: Brian Thomas
Reply-To: Brian Thomas
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 21:38:17 -0400
Content-Type: text/plain

I've lurked on the list for a while now as I've been training for the
North Country 50 Mile Trail Run in Manistee, Michigan in September. This
is my first 50 miler, although I have a few marathons and a 50k under my
belt. I've decided that part of my training should involve working to
raise money for a good cause and therefore I'm spending the summer using
my run as a fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation of America. My family
knows several people who suffer from this disease and more than five
million people worldwide, mostly women, face an unpredictable future as
they struggle daily with the often debilitating health consequences of
lupus, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease that causes the
immune system to attack the body’s own healthy tissue.

On to the good stuff. Who doesn't like winning stuff? Tifosi Optics has
generously donated two pairs of sunglasses that I am raffling off to
those who donate money to the Lupus Foundation in support of my run. For
every $5 that you donate, you will have one chance to receive one of the
pairs of sunglasses (e.g. if you donate $25, you will have five chances
to win.)

I've been running in a pair of these for the last few months and these
are quite a step up from the cheap gas station sunglasses that I am used
to. They are lightweight, stay in place while sweaty, and don't fog up.
They even have interchangeable lenses. They're great for running and, I
imagine, other outdoor sports.

Please don't send me any money--I will just track the donations that are
made directly to the Foundation through their online system. You can
donate through my website at

My goal is to sell 200 additional "tickets," which would mean another
$1,000 towards our goal. Please pass this information on and help
support the Lupus Foundation of America.

One final note, if you have a blog and mention my effort, I will gladly
give you a free entry just for helping me spread the word. I've been
really impressed with the people on this list and, even if you don't
have the funds to help out the Foundation, I would appreciate any help
promoting my efforts. Thanks.

Brian Thomas

June 6, 2007

A Little Run (arf arf)

A quick update on the latest running streak ...

106 days. 41 long runs, including two marathons, a 100-miler, a 90-miler and one loop out at Wild Oak. Actually have done two speed sessions at the track, but those should serve as my about-once-each-five years track workouts.

Upcoming races on the agenda: Highlands Sky 40-Miler, Canaan Valley, W.Va., June 16; Catherine's Big Butt 50 km, New Market Mountain, July 22; Mountain Masochist 50-Miler Nov. 3; VHTRC 50 km mid-December. Will likely toss a marathon in there somewhere, and maybe a one-day trek somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley when the fam goes on vaycay early August.

May 16, 2007

Me and Maddy

Had a spectacular 2-hour run this a.m. on the fire road alongside Madison Run in Shenandoah National Park, a 10-min. drive from my house. It's 5.2 miles of up, then 5.2 of down. Saw a BEAR CUB! Worked through some creative ideas for a project at work. Also had a bit of a brainstorm ... wouldn't it be completely cool to try some repeats here.

If today's one Maddy, a gentle 7-min. run/3-min. walk effort, took two hours, wonder how long two Maddys would take? Three? Maybe some version of Repeat Maddys is the order of the day on Memorial Day Monday?

Was off today to hang with Ben on a field trip, and was thinking of driving in the H-burg anyway and running beforehand. Extra thanks to Rinn for suggesting I go here instead. I forgot how amazingly peaceful Maddy can be.

Me and Maddy go way, way back. She has served as the start and end portions of probably 50 great trail runs across the years with lots of cool running buds. Jones River Falls. Big Run Portal. Black Rock. Jeff, Neil, Pete, etc. Lots of cool memories came rushing back at different times.

It was good to see her again this morning. I have a feeling we'll be getting together again a bunch in the coming months.

April 30, 2007

Virginia 24-Hour Run for Cancer

I did 90 miles in 22:30.

Ran the whole way with Suzanne Weightman from Pennsylvania, who went on to set a women's record of 95.75. Fun hanging with her. She finished with the guys' winner, who did 113.75, his first time past SIXTY-EIGHT!

Ran strong but had a bad stomach all night and ran out of gas. I didn't take close to enough choices for aid. I need chicken soup and coffee at night. I had two impressive pukes near the end there. Could have kept walking, but didn't really see the point with my tummy in such disarray. Was never reduced to just walking, but the sour gut eroded and eventually erased my willpower.

OK, here's something of interest: I had a bowl of Spaghettio's (Sue had a camp stove), then did a lap. Drank some Ensure to start the next lap, then halfway through have an amazing power yak ... of ONLY Ensure. Not sure how that was possible, but seeing was, in this case at least, believing.

Course: All OK gravel road with about .75 mile of root-infested trail. You can do the trail at night without kicking roots if you go single file.

So the way George works it is this: There is a half-mile marker, so when you come to the end and don't think you can do an entire loop but still want some more miles, you just do out-and-backs. Nice feature, I think.

That was 4/21-22. Now it's May 1, I am completely recovered and I'm thinking, "Hmmmm. Next year I need to bring a cooler with green tea, V-8, Lunchables, Power Gel, Fritos ..."

Hope springs eternal. :-)

April 10, 2007

a new fave

Just read a great feature at on Emilio De Soto (Cuban refugee, ex-pro triathlete, noted tri clothing company owner and all-around larger-than-life figure) that ended with the following exchange ...

If you came back in another life, what would you do?

I’d be trying to replicate this lifetime. I would go back and do it all again. I’m loving my life. I look in the mirror and say “Man, you’re gettin’ away with it!”

My sentiments exactly, dude.

April 5, 2007

27 hours is a looooooong day

It's amazing how much better you can feel on the eighth and final 12.5-mile lap of Umstead 100-Miler after a THREE-HOUR NAP. :-)

Synopsis: 27:14 finish. That's out in 10:45 for the first 50 miles and home in, well, I can't really count that high. Looks, however, can be most deceiving.

Out pretty fast. Temps in the low 80s, so gradually slowed down on purpose and tossed the sub-22 out the window. Retained the sub-24 until falling asleep RUNNING on Lap 7, so I plopped on a cot at an aid station and fully awakened three hours later. Got up, ambled the five miles back to the start/finish, then posted a 2:48 for my final 12.5-mile split, the fourth-fastest of the day. Dunno what happened to me energy-wise, but MAN did it hit hard when it hit. Prolly just didn't eat enough, I guess.

Ran the early laps with Fred Dummar, a great, REALLY funny guy who is Army Special Forces; ran laps 6 to 7.5 with these two crazy women who had an entourage so large that they had five different pacers for each of the final five laps. First ultra for both of them and their peeps. They toughed it out to finish just a bit behind me. Very impressive show of grit.

Good news: No stomach maladies. Drank plenty. Prolly could have sucked it up and gotten off that cot 2.5 hours earlier, but didn't really see the point in it at the time. It's Thursday now, and I haven't felt the need to do anything more than 20- to 25-minute runs so far. :)

So that's Finish No. 8 at Umstead. Yeah, I'm officially one of the old farts now. Made some new pals. Felt strong at the finish. Fun day-plus.

March 29, 2007

Old Friend

Umstead 100-Miler, my favorite ultra, is Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.

Well, it starts Saturday. I will still be out there Sunday until at least 4 a.m., and probably longer.

I have finished the 100-mile distance there seven times and made it to 50 miles two or three other times. All have been memorable. I have been out there during hurricane winds complete with rain blowing sideways (really neat for the 10 minutes; totally sucks once the temp drops 37 degrees!). Remember the Hail-Bop Comet? Yep, chased that puppy all night long in 1996, I think. One of the most amazing skies I have seen. I have had the same hallucination in separate years (MAN how did they build that condo out there along that power line???). I have fallen asleep running there and awakened before falling down. I have managed to finish fast enough to beat daylight a couple times, one of the coolest feats in ultrarunning.

Most of all, I have forged some dear, dear friendships in those North Carolina woods. Ben Clark, Brian Clark, Lee Cox, Will Brown, Tom Green, Missy Heeb, Shelly and Andy Wunsch, my buddy Bob Ring, Dennis Hamrick, Aaron Goldman, Leo Lightner. That's just the short list of people I have had the honor of playing in the dirt with there. Umstead is all those folks, and so much more. It's race director Blake Norwood and his wife Myra. It's top-notch aid stations with the kindest volunteers and the best food.

All packed and ready. Heading out tomorrow morning. Psyched beyond psyched.

Umstead is an old friend. Umstead is home.

March 20, 2007

Pacer Boy strikes again

Shamrock was completely and utterly awesome!

I helped a couple dozen marathoners hit 4:00 or slightly faster as an official member of the Shamrock Pacer Group. What fun!

Up to 10 miles, we were anywhere from 20 seconds to 40 seconds slower than 9:09/mile pace -- the average mile pace needed for a 4:00 marathon. I rolled us up to 11 seconds slow at 13.1 miles, the halfway mark, then backed off as the more vocal members of the tribe quieted.

Forty seconds slow at Mile 17, I gathered the forces and announced that it was time to mount the ponies and close the gap, and that we were going to do this gently in hopes of not having anybody run a particular mile too fast and blow a gasket or two. Whittling away, we passed Mile 19 20 seconds slow, Mile 21 10 seconds slow and hit Mile 23 precisely when my countdown timer hit 0:00! How cool is THAT?!

I finished in 3:59:47, then it was Rock Star Status with much hand-shaking and several photo ops in between two of the coldest Yuengling I have ever quaffed (nothing like a beer company sponsoring your marathon!). Weird though, having the stew line three times longer than the beer line.

Totally enjoyable day on the run.

March 14, 2007

Shamrock No. 22 just around the bend

Wow. Hard to believe that Sunday will be my 22nd Shamrock Marathon. Is that possible? 22? First one in 1984, that first spring out of college? Check. Nailed a Boston Marathon qualifier with a 3:06:45, my personal-best marathon, in 1991 at Shamrock? Check. 1984? 1991? Really? Oh so true.

This is my second straight year as a member of the Pacer Team, this time helping guide the 4-hour-flat group.

Know what's cool? I like it now more than ever.

March 2, 2007

Big Group This Morning

Man, everybody was there on my two-hours-starting-at-0400 run this morning.

Regis Shivers, who taught by example that you can compete and still be kind. Ben Clark, who has dragged me through countless trail miles that have helped me define the real me. Jeff, Neil and Pete, who I spent my first five or six years of ultrarunning chasing, running from, laughing and becoming brothers with. Dennis Herr, Gary Knipling, Chris Scott. Horton. Milton Webb, Dennis Hamrick, Mickey Jones. Aaron Goldman, who at 67 shared the final 25 miles of what turned out to be the first 100-mile finish for each of us back there in what seems like a lifetime ago. My current crew of Sophie, Potts, Michelle and Quatro, who show me over and over and over again that the best medicine is a big smile, a quick laugh, a good 'tude and a day playing in the dirt with people you love.

Anyone driving through this morning's pea-soup fog on that two-lane country road saw just one runner with a kick-butt flashlight and a funny-looking rain hat. They were all there, though.

(Regis Shivers Sr., about the toughest ultrarunner ever and a true man's man, died earlier this week after an excruiatingly long fight with cancer. RIP, dawg. RIP.)

February 15, 2007

... and in with the new

OK, so the Streak of Aug. 1, 2006 finally ran its course, thanks to the massive after-effects of that shiver-fest Monday long run of a last week. I took last Friday as a sick day, lying around sniffling and feeling sorry for myself, then decided not to run again until Monday.

So, I spent much of Saturday and Sunday contemplating a training program that includes specific gym days, specific days off each week from running, lots of specificity regarding long runs, speedwork, really long runs. It was a really great plan. Well, it would be. For somebody serious about competition. Like me. Ten years ago me.

The Today Me? I'm good as is. Which means Monday, Feb. 12, 2007 is the new streak kick-off day.

Hopeless and yet so hopeful at the same time. :-)

February 7, 2007


This morning was simply gorgeous.

Did 2:15 of 7/3 along snow-covered streets in Harrisonburg. My legs feel fantastic now, a couple hours post-run. It was a fascinating combo of peacefulness at times and also the attention-demanding roar of snow plows. Few cars were out. The main roads were fairly slick, so I stayed on residential streets for the most part.

There's nothing quite like the sensation of hearing the squeaking of your running shoes but not really feeling the impact of three times your body weight hitting the road one step at a time. I hope I can always appreciate moments of clarity such as that. Pretty cool stuff.

February 6, 2007

Will I? Won't I?

Maybe an inch of fresh snow covering things up out there right now on a quiet Tuesday night. Forecast calls for maybe three.

Will I outduel the Cover Monster in time to cruise for a 2-hour jaunt in the chilly a.m.? Or will I settle for extended rest (after letting Sherman out and feeding him, of course) and just do 20 minutes like this morning?

Am I still feeling the effects of Monday's 2 hours that ended in a 15-minute post-run shiver fest, the result of doing the final 20 minutes smack into the teeth of a 15 mph wind coupled with a 12F air temp. Not, shall we say, one of my finest moments. Physical impact was gone by this morning. The mental impact is still there, however. It was work more than play. It bordered on obligation, some weird sense of "I HAVE to do this or else." Not looking to repeat that any time soon.

January 30, 2007

A Sweet January

Long run totals for January:

• 15 runs
• 34.5 points
• One loop of the Rivanna Ring Trail with my peeps, with most of the others in the 2:00 to 2:20 range.
• A whole bunch of gorgeous, gorgeous sunrises seen

January 25, 2007

Great start!

A gentle 2-hour run/walk this morning. Then 2 x 8 single-leg bodyweight squats, then 3 x 8 single-leg bodyweight calf raises standing on a bench (and touching a locker for balance help), then a set of 10 pull-ups, then a set of 10 chin-ups. Oh yeah, showered and stuff in there too.

NOW time for some breakfast. :-)

What an awesome, awesome way to catapult myself into the day.

January 15, 2007

Some Big Ones for 2007?

One sure thing, and then tenatively three other whoppers on the running horizon for me in 2007.

Umstead 100-Miler is March 31-April 1 in Raleigh. One of my faves, this will hopefully be my eighth finish at this early spring classic.

Then there's a 24-hour race on a soft sand trail at Hampton, Va., April 21 that I hear calling my name. And I am hearing talk of a possible 24-hour track run at nearby Montevideo Middle School sometime in June. If that comes to fruition, well, I HAVE to be on that starting line. Then there's the Hinson Lake 24-Hour race in Rockingham, North Carolina, about a 5.5-hour drive away, in early August.

Ahh, the possibilities. :-)

January 14, 2007

Streak Update: Still Rollin'

With this morning's 25-minute run/walk -- in a sleeveless T and w/o gloves! -- I now have 167 consecutive days of running without taking a rest day. Yep, that's each day starting with Aug. 1, 2006.

Most of them have been either 20 minutes or 2 hours. Some of them have been bitter cold, such as the 19F start of the Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50-Miler Nov. 3. One day last week was the same. At least that's what some of the women who run from Valley Wellness Center in Harrisonburg said as they were ripping me for having just shorts on my legs. Shorts are good. Less laundry. ;-)

Had a big scare last Saturday when I took a nasty fall running with pals on the Rivanna Ring Trail at Charlottesville. Landed on my back and apparently cracked a couple ribs. Very, very lucky I didn't break a wrist. Or tailbone. Or hip. Or my thick head. Still just a bit sore, but only a bit. Another few days until I can start strength training again, but I'm OK with that ... as long as I can run, that is.

Tomorrow I am hoping for a 3-hour run/walk. I am off work, Heidi is not and Ben is at Gram's, so I have no legit excuse not to take full advantage and crank out a big one. That will mark in end of Week 24 of this streak.

Next significant date: Feb. 14. That will be Day 200, if I keep it going.

January 12, 2007

... and counting

Three thousand eighty-nine days.

That's how many days ago it was that I ran into my best bud.

It's been the Rinn and Bill Show basically since July 15, 1998. We've done some really great work, we've fought some interesting battles, we've eaten a lot of great lunches, we've played with a bunch of cool animals, we've sipped our share of cold beverages and we've even caught a few fish along the way. Rinn is a part of my immediate family, moreso than any of my other friends.

We have laughed a lot, shed a few tears, shared our dreams, shown each other what trust and team and love are really and truly all about. Her faith in God has strengthened mine in ways I never even knew were possible for me.

Rinn is kindness. And smarts. And patient with me when I don't get it, and challenging to me when I think I get it but really don't. Rinn is my creative sounding board.

Most of all, Rinn is amazing, amazing grace.

So, today is it for Rinn at JMU. She's moving on to a really cool opportunity to do graphic design with a really cool, relatively new and exploding company here in Harrisonburg. My guess is she'll do as many amazing things there as she did here.

I always figured that this day would be the saddest of the sad for me, but you know what's completely cool? It's not. Not even one bit.

These last few weeks since this new road has opened up, Rinn has had her Awesome Rinn Smile back. Seeing that again, after too long, has done my heart immeasurable good.

In one way my buddy is moving on, and then again, in a much deeper, more profound way, she is staying here with me. In this latter way, she is always with me.

Three thousand eighty-nine days ... and counting.