Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long Cane 50 Miler – Left Turn led me right…

For this report we are going to do pictures first.  But before that, here is the short version of my race.  My mom drove down with me to cook burgers at the finish early Sunday morning and everything “pre-race” went smooth.  I was having the best ultra race of my short career when suddenly around mile 25 I went off course and took a wrong left turn.  After running several miles in the wrong direction and not being sure of where I was - I decided to just keep running and enjoy the beautiful day.  I’m estimating that I ran about 44 miles in 10:00 hours and felt great afterwards.

Now for some photos….

The beautiful lake at Long Cane…Picture 006

Scott and I at the start – Tracie is in green to the left… 
Picture 004

My mom and another volunteer at the final aid station…
Picture 009

A couple who just completed their first ultra & did it together!
Picture 011

Me at the finish…
Picture 014
From Left to Right: Dan, Terri, Jason at the finish…
Picture 016

Like I said before, I was having a great run.  Very relaxed and feeling great and then I took a wrong turn.  I was about 100 yards behind Tracie and she took the wrong turn to the left.  I just blindly followed her which was STUPID!  I’m amazed at the amount of stupid things I do during an ultra.  I put a lot of thought into the layout of this race and felt confident about being able to follow it through the day.  Terri (Race Director) did a great job of marking the course.  I made the mistake so I had to live with it.

As stated earlier I made several small runs around the park looking for the correct turn because I realized that I was off course after about 4 miles from the wrong left turn.  I felt myself getting frustrated and really upset so I decided to lay down on the trail and just relax for a minute.  I laid down on some soft pine needles under the trees and looked up at the deep blue clear sky.  The wind was blowing and the breeze felt heavenly.  I just laid there relaxed for a minute and laughed at my mistake.  At that point I decided to keep running around the perimeter of the park until dark and just make the best of the situation.

I went through three more aid stations and they all greeted me with cheers that I was in the lead!  I hated to bust their bubbles (and mine), but I was far, far away from the lead.  I told each aid station volunteer that I was off course and just out for a run at this point.  They just laughed with me and encouraged me to keep going.  One guy was trying to figure out how I could back track and make up the mileage, but we couldn’t figure out where I had been up to the current point.

I didn’t see anymore runners for the final three hours of the run and I enjoyed the solitude.   After nine hours my legs were beginning to complain about the 80 miles that I had put on them this week.  It was bitter-sweet to run the final mile into the finish.  I would have much rather covered the entire course, but I’m proud of myself for making the best of the situation.

I love the pain & torture that comes from hours of running.  It keeps me humble and reminds me of where I belong and how I should behave.  Ultra running makes the simple pleasures in life such as clean water and soft chairs a supreme luxury.  I’m the most blessed man in the world after a long run when someone hands me a plate of hot food and a cold cup of tea.

I didn’t run the race correctly and I screwed up, but I got exactly what I needed at Long Cane.  Thanks again to Terri Hayes, my mom, and the many other volunteers who worked so hard to make us feel like kings & queens.


  1. I asked about you at a few of the aid stations and found out that you were off course, so I kept throwing prayers your way during the ultra. This was truly a memorable day on a beautiful trail. Congratulations, Jason!

  2. Love that top pic :)

    Nothing better than renewing your appreciation for simple pleasures in life. I miss running and miss those simple pleasures. Soon .... (I hope)

  3. One thing I've learned is that every race is different and you find something new and invigorating in each experience...sounds like you made the best of a difficult situation Jason and truly appreciate the beauty of being alive :)

  4. Believe it or not, your simple write-up actually made me cry. (So, yeah, I just got back from the doctor and I'm a little emotional about not being able to run at all right now, but still . . .) You are so dead on about so many things in this one, and reading about your attitude towards the race once you got off course really brings it all home. Great job, Jason. : )

  5. Glad you were able to find clarity in the confusion. The moment laying in the pines will stay with you.

  6. Hey, Big Easy! You had a fine day, and I'm proud of how you reacted to the situation with a positive attitude. That's something that will always serve you well. Love that picture of the lake, btw :).

    Hmmm...Verification word: "micewead". Ewwww!!!

  7. Only on a trail race/ultra can you lay down and enjoy the moment, During a race! Way to show us one of the many ways how it's done - again!

  8. This is a very inspiring story to read, thanks for sharing more good thoughts. Nice blog too.