Sunday, February 24, 2008


I have been busy at work and have not had the opportunity to post over the last week. I spent 2 day in Louisville doing ergonomic assessments at one of our facilities. Nothing too exciting but it is one of the ways I earn my keep.

On the training front I started back with my resistance training. I have my routine broken down into 3 parts: Chest and back, arms and shoulders, and legs.

I am still keeping up with my morning runs and evening 2 hour elliptical trainer workouts too. Last Friday, there was a minor ice storm so I stayed inside and did a 99 minute Stairmaster workout.

I plan to run long tomorrow and skip the evening workout so I can attend to some matters on the home front.

40 Days to Umstead! I am starting to get the pre race nerves already. Yesterday, I spent way too much on the Hammer, Newton Running and Zombie Runner websites. I know that you can’t buy performance but somehow I feel better surrounded by more and more crap!

It appears that the desire for self destruction is contagious. Coach and Ma Snail are committed to doing the Running with the Devil race in June. They even went as far as reserving a room at the happiest place on earth – Hooters Hotel and Casino. Surely, more Snails will follow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More Race Plans

Today I signed up for 2 more 50 Milers. The Cheat Moutain Moonshine Madness and the Northface Endurance Challenge 50 Miler in DC. Two 50 mile ultras in 2 weeks -- I must be insane.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Night Long Run

I spent last week at one of facilities in Upstate New York. COLD and SNOWEY Weather was the daily forecast for the entire week.

Arrived home yesterday and in preparation for Umstead I did a night time 30 miler long run last night. I stated around 11pm and ran until a bit past 5 am. I did the Ashland to Monkton loop on the NCR Trail. The footing was good although it was a bit sloppy in some parts. The first loop was partially lit by moon light. During the second loop a cold fog moved in and made things a bit less pleasant.

I went home and slept until 10 a.m. spend the rest of the day doing yard cleanup work.

I am feeling the run in the knees a bit otherwise I am feeling fairly well. Tomorrow, I will start back with my gym workouts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Early Morning Run

I started the day early today and did a 13 mile run before work. The weather was perfect! As I continue to run with the Newtons, I feel that my stride has become more efficient. I am still doing a bit of a heel strike as demonstrated by the ware on the shoes. I hope to fix this problem prior to Umstead.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Crew Report from the 2008 Rocky Raccoon 100

Crew Report from the 2008 Rocky Raccoon

Well a bunch of snails went down to Texas to drink some Lone Star beer and “wine in the box”. Some of the light weighs decided to take the easy way out and did a little trail running instead.

We converged on our hotel on Friday afternoon. While the runners napped the crew loaded up in the “Caddiewagon” and did some pre race purchases at the local Super Wal-Mart. We then picked up the runners at the hotel and went to the pre race briefing and dinner. As race dinners go this one was very good. Well cooked foods and a desert table extraordinaire!

Coach was in is pre race planning mode and we decided to strategically place 2 of our SUVs in prime parking places right on the course. We left the 2 vehicles over night and 9 snails piled into the “Caddiewagon” for the return trip to the hotel. The crew put the runners to bed and held a Lone Star induced planning meeting in Elvis’ room.

The plan called for us to ferry the runners to the race at 4:15 am. I was to return by 5 and pick up the crews so we could return the park in time for the start. All worked according to plan until I returned to the hotel. Alas – no snails to be found … It appears that Huntsville has some sort of phenomena that deactivates alarm clocks. After a while we were able to awaken our sleepy snails and made a mad dash to the start.

Ma Ma Snail and Vanessa determination and “helpful encouragement” for me to hurry up and find a parking spot reminded me why I have chosen to live my life as a terminal bachelor!

We saw our runners off and decided to head out for breakfast and Starbucks. Along the way we adopted a new friend “Abby Snail” who was crewing and plans to do her first 100 at Umstead. She quickly became a snail in training. There is a chance that she will be moving to Maryland and be able to join our little band of misfits.

After breakfast we returned to the park and began to set up for our runners. Elvis Snail was present to cheer the runners as they passed and wave our runners in to the pits. We were joined by an original Snail –Stephani Dickson and here family. Her two children are adorable! Of course this made Ma Ma Snail’s day and Vanessa had someone closer to her own age to play with. The kids fell in love with Vanessa despite the fact that she fed them “spicy and hot” beef jerkey.

Peter and Coach arrived form the first 20 mile loop first followed by Glen and Justina. All our runners looked great. Between the first and second loop the heat and humidity hit us very hard. When our runners returned from the second loop they were feeling the heat. During the third loop Peter assessed his condition and wisely decided to call it a day at 60 miles. I suited up and went for a 20 mile stroll through the woods with Coach. They trail was a mine field of roots and ruts. Harry was very strong and doing a walk - run routine. Needless to say this was a run and run faster routine for me. To fully experience the feel of ultra train running at night I decided to do a couple of face first falls. Oh god! Don’t let me be the first pacer in Snail history that needed to be medavaced out!

Coach safely returned me to the pit area where Vanessa was waiting to join him on the final lap. I tended to my blisters and bruised ego with a glass of wine.

Sometime in the dark dark we got word that Justina decided that 77 miles was enough. Her sister, unknown to us at the time, did a 3 mile walk up the trail to join her at the aid station, while the rest of us napped in one of the SUVs.

Just before sunrise Glen appeared in the twilight. “It looks like Glen… but he is moving way too fast … it can’t be him… HEY GLEN!!! GLEN… no responses --- it must not be him! The runner streaked by the crew totally unaware of our presence and drops his fanny pack and water bottle. I assumed that he was one of the Texas Trail runners, who had set up camp across the trail from us. I did not want a runner to trip over the dropped items so I went out to pick them up. Much to our amazement and delight there was a snail on the fanny pack. One of our own had returned home!!!

A few minutes later, Glen returned victorious to the Snail pit stop with buckle in hand. He was a bit worn, tired and hungry enough to eat a cold, 16 hour old McDonald’s hamburger – a gastronomic feat that proved to the pit crew that he was OK.

Soon after Glen … Coach Harry and his faithful guide Vanessa appeared in the distance. Elvis Snail had to make a final appearance to welcome them home. In true Harry fashion he took time prior to the finish to thank the crew for their support and together with Ma Snail headed off to the finish line to collect his well deserved buckle.

All in all it was a very good weekend. Runner and Crew survived the experience and emerged a bit tired, slightly worn but the better for the time we shared at the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile run.


While some of us had the privilege to share the experiences of the past weekend we were just the tip of the Snail pyramid. Both runners and crew were grateful for the outpouring of support from the Snails. Needless to say we lived up to our motto --- We are behind you all the way