Monday, December 7, 2009

Pine Mt. 40 Mile Trail Run - Rockin' My World

Yesterday I ran 40 miles on rocks.  Big rocks, medium size rocks, small rocks, sharp rocks, rocks, rocks, rocks........

God had spread out the beautiful fall foliage on top of them to make the run a little more interesting.  I never had a complete fall to the ground, but I did trip and catch myself several times.  One of the trips sent me smacking directly into a tree which did not budge.  I think something in my shoulder budged a little, but thats another story.

Overall, it was a fantastic day in the beautiful woods of FDR state park.  Special thanks again to race director Sarah Tynes & GUTS for putting on such a spectacular event.  I owe an extra special "Thank You" to all of the volunteers who stood for hours out in the cold December mountains handing out food & drinks.  Thank you for every water bottle fillup, PB stuffed pretzel, orange slice, goldfish, grilled turkey & cheese (Tom Wilson rocks!), jelly bean, luna bar, salt pill, and M&M that I enjoyed.  Beth, the KFC biscuit was just too good for words!

The run itself started on the dam lake road just behind checkin HQ at 7:00 AM.  Yep, it was cold.  I think the starting temp. was 25.  I wore a long sleeve technical shirt, pants, cotton gloves (thanks Wayne!), and a cotton cap.  I just knew that I would be tossing the cap & gloves when I warmed up, but ended up wearing the gloves all day and tossing the cap at mile 32 because it was saturated with sweat.  Nice visual, huh?

The first six miles were on a runable section of trail and the running pack that I was in made good time to the first aid station at 5.9 miles.  I made a point to get in and out of the stations quickly and keep moving.  After going through the 2nd aid station and getting back onto the trail my knee/outer thigh area started it's little sharp pain dance again.  I popped some pills and killed the pain within about 30 minutes.  I feel fine today so not sure what is going on with my freak of a body.

From mile 6 to mile 34 the rocks were relentless.  Rocks everywhere.  There were short runable quarter mile sections, but then BAM - another rock field would remind you what Pine Mt. is all about.  I kept plugging away at them and moving forward.

The aid stations came & went quickly through the first 20 miles.  After that I knew that there would be a battle ahead between body & mind for the remainder of the race so I started "zoning out".  Thinking about distant memories that pop in my head, singing, pretend that I am directing a marching band, praying, whatever carries me away from the rocks for a few minutes.  There were several scenic overlooks along the trail and I often pretended that I was an Indian out hunting for food.  Ah, the pyscadelic effect of ultra running....

At mile 30 I was shocked at how strong I felt.  I still had lots of energy, upright posture, and my spirits were high.  Of course that was after scarfing down a bowl full of cherry sliced candy!  The best part was that I could still run strong.  Normally at the 30 mile mark I am almost down to a total walk / death march.  I think I have finally learned that running a little more through the middle miles helps to keep me running when the miles start to pile up.  I could feel the positive effects of weight lifting & speed training too.

I was a little concerned about the 10 hour 30 minute cutoff time so that made me run faster near the end too.  I ended up finishing around 9 hours and 54 minutes so I had a little room to spare.  There was a nice crowd cheering me on at the finish line which is always a welcomed sight.  Homeade chilli & drinks were immediately available after the run and yes I am wearing my hard earned sweater vest today!

This is a terrific race that I hope to run for many years to come....


  1. WOW! How amazing! That is awesome :-)

  2. This race sounds AMAZING! I want to do one. How inspiring! 25 degrees is incredibly cold. That is wonderful that so many people come together to help make such a thing possible.

  3. Good one! You looked great at the end. I'll bet you were glad to not get any bonus miles for this one.

  4. Excellent report and congrats on a strong race! You had plenty of time to spare at the end. Really love that vest and hat.

  5. Enjoy reading your posts...I have thougths/dreams of being there one day. Running Charlotte this Saturday, hoping for a quick recovery to get back to traing. May be an ultra in store for 2010!

  6. Yes, I'm VERY glad that bonus miles were not added onto the end of this one! It was nice to finish the final five miles without worrying too much about the cutoff time. I was more concerned about it getting dark soon & me not having a light. I made it in just before dusk.