Running to 100 Store

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weakness Comes Soul

Many many things have changed over the last several months. Obviously I have not written any entries about these changes so for those of you that
care I will attempt to bring you up to speed.
First a HUGE change in plans with regards to running a 100 mile race. After pacing Evan Cestari for the last 40 miles of Massenutten Mountain 100 I realized
the seriousness of running a 100 competitively. I saw first hand the hurt,suffering and sprit that is involved with completing this monumental task. After some time of pondering on this fantastic experience I realized I NEED friends and family around in order to make it.
I struggled for weeks on this thought. For this thought meant that I could not go with Derek to Oregon and run a 100 alone. Not wanting to let Derek down and not wanting to not make good on a promise I didn't want to face this reality. But in the end it was the right call to make. Derek would be going to Oregon without me and I would have to find another 100 to run on the east coast. Derek like he is with all things was understanding,encouraging and completely positive to this news. For his character I am very grateful.
So Derek continues to be on a serious tear winning Laurel Highlands Ultra in record time along with continuing his training as if he has become time. Unstoppable and consistent. I will make the statement right here and now, Derek will win Pine to Palm 100 if he lets himself. The talent and desire is there, he only needs to open the door. I suspect he will be knocking on it and walking right through. To Derek from the deepest parts of my soul, my heart is with you!
On my front its been an interesting story. I gain fitness and break barriers of what I think I can do only to be set back by injury. I am working on a very important skill I have been missing. Reading my body. It seams my body speaks very softly and I am hard of hearing. I have had issues with my achilles that I hurt last year flaring up and getting sore where it was torn. Most recently I seemed to have torn/pulled the rectus abdomens muscle on my left side. I lost almost 9 days of NO running at all. Only several days ago have I been able to gingerly begin to run again.
I have managed to miss all of my "warm up" races due to injury. I did toe the line at one pretzel city race which was a fairly flat 30k. I ran a personally disappointing 5th place. All in all that is nothing to be ashamed about and I am not. But I expected better out of myself honestly. Granted I was running with a bunch of great runners so the competition was not soft. But in the end I wanted to do better.
So here I am hardly able to run faster than a 10 min. mile without my stomach muscle screaming at me. A week from today I have a 50 mile race which is essential to getting into my 100 mile goal race! To say I have no confidence is an understatement. I have negative confidence honestly.Personally I don't have much confidence in life as a whole. It's funny how running often mimics what is going on in my life. The only thing I can cling to is my history of who I am as a person, the training that I have done and hope in whats yet to come. Assuming my stomach continues to get better over the coming days I am going to go into my first 50 mile race the most unconfident and honestly somewhat scared runner I can be.
Just as in life right now I don't have any confidence I am still willing to push forward exposed and scared. This race will be much the same. I will run hard.. I will run as hard as I can. In doing this I will expose who I am for all to see. Without confidence or security I will push forward. I am hopeful that
in taking the plunge into insecurity,vulnerability and the unknown a unique story will be created. One that could be created no other way. A story that is not shallow in it's meaning nor ordinary in it's flow.
I look forward to this risk only in hoping to discover something that I do not have. I stumble so often in being a blessing to others in this life. In my weakness this coming week may I find the tools in life that I so desperately need.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Day

Its 7:52pm and I am in Rochester,NY for work. These last several days have been a roller coaster of emotion for me.
I do not travel well alone. I get horribly homesick which causes great angst in my soul. To the point of racing heart beats while at rest and moments of subtle panic. I miss my family. I miss the smell of our home and the conversation that comes and goes.
When I am struggling emotionally and lacking sleep which I was yesterday I get short term depression and just a general overall sullen coating. I made it through the first day of work training and b-lined to a local park that I found about 8 miles from my hotel to the only medicine I have known to settle my soul and bring some sense to whatever ails my heart.
Over the last several months I have written extensively about injury,emotionally struggling with running and life in general. These last several weeks I have very honestly felt a strong questioning of what running is to me,my life and what impact is has. I DO know there are many positives that come from it but I also know negatives come along for the ride also.
As with anything in this life there is always a price to pay for something. Always. My running is no exception. Over the last several weeks it has slowly suck in the price I pay for the joy which is running to me.
I shall just list out a few observations and random thoughts that have been in constant loop mode in my mind while toiling away at the craft of long distance running:
-i have a nagging sore inner left ankle where the deltoid ligament attaches to my ankle bone that I did "something" to about 4 years ago. It constantly hurts me especially the longer I run and the weekly miles begin to stack up. I have found better running form with NO heal strike helps it tremendously and has slowly reduced its painful presence. But it is always there humbling my soul.
-my body does not recover well and i am slowly learning to listen to it's subtle clues of when I can push and when I cannot.
-i have felt older than dirt and creakier than an old wood floor over the past several months.
-my time away while running makes me feel selfish and self centered at times.
-i struggle with finding balance in my life.
-tendons are a nightmare to heal.
-when I cannot run at all i feel a large spiritual piece of my soul is missing. it's the piece i felt church should have always filled but never did.
-i cry a lot in the woods alone.
-i am very shy when it comes to my innermost parts and who I am. i am sensitive to a fault
- geoff roes said it one of his latest blog entries. train by instinct. more and more with constant daily toil there is a primal instinct that can guide that has been hushed by the noise of this modern world. like a sixth sense. it takes lots and lots of work to find it. at times i do find it.
-derek inspires me with his gutsy runs. not by his placement in races but in his determination to be something more than he can see.

Yesterday I ran 6 miles in the evening. I ran roughly 12 min. miles. My inner ankle hurt. My right calf had two strains in it. I could massage and find the exact spots where the soreness was. I was worried it would turn into the nightmare of my achilles tendon. I am worn out from my job and my personal life. I was tired. The woods seems devoid of any joy. I was devoid of any joy. I was empty inside.

After that run on the way home I decided to give up. To close up the shop that is my running. I had done what I could do.
Time to move on an find a new groove to bring long term sense to these three dimensions. I went home…. ate and slept.
I slept well. Something that has not come easily to me over these last few years. I suffer from long term stress in personal areas of my life. I suspect they disrupt my soul and my sleep. I know they do but I don't want to admit it.
Someone who I consider a gift from god Jim Rayburn seems to say things that always come as screaming truth, lit up as midday summer sun. Today is a new day Jim says. Sure everyday is, but when looked at in a deeper sense some days are truly a "new day" as Jim speaks of.
You could say a day of salvation, a day all wrongs are washed away and things are set right in the unseen world. I got up this morning at 6am. Ate wonderful food at the hotel and had wonderful coffee. It was a gift that almost brought tears to my eyes. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I felt a warm burning inside. All my trouble had not gone away. But all my troubles were seen as they are. Temporary. They still hurt,they still need to be dealt with but ONE day they will be right. No longer a burden of wrong.

I walked out to the minivan and proceeded in the early morning mist of Rochester,Ny . I ran the exact same 6 mile loop I had run the day before. The first mile was nothing special. I left my heart monitor at home. I wore my watch only for the time. Broke a sweat and said screw my ankle and screw my heart rate. The yellow morning sun breaking down the nighttime mist warming the bright green moss burnt off my burdens. I ran with my soul. The lonesome rhythm of a train in a far away hollow up in the mountains I ran.
6 miles were done I was covered in sweat and I slowed to a walk about a quarter mile from the van parked in the dusty dirt lot. i thought a million thoughts in some far away place deep down in my soul. A person I am only beginning to learn of. This person handed me hope. Gave me courage to go on and a path to follow. This is always gonna hurt but if it didn't it wouldn't mean so much. It seams the joke is on pain because without it there could be no joy. In the end good wins.

Today was a new day. A good day. I miss my family. I miss home. I am happy I have a home to miss. Its not perfect but what I have is better than not having at all. I ran for my family this afternoon. I ran for my daughters hope in her life to unfold. I ran for the pain of my relationships and the struggle that is very real i them. I cried and I ran. Alone in the woods it came alive. I came alive. I felt no pain from my ankle… i felt no pain in my calves. I felt no pain at all. All of my pain was doused onto the flame of my soul like a steam engine under pressure my legs moved as the train. Rhythm rolling along. I ran the fastest and longest I have run in 6 months this evening. I have more hope than I have had in a long time.
I am ready for the new day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Tucked away there are secret spots in the woods. Worlds in themselves within a world made from thousands of elements
to produce an early flower, to grow moss where there would be none. It seems in life we stumble onto these secret spots not only in the woods but in our own personal journeys.

We find ourselves looking around asking the questions "how did i get here" and "how is this possible". Those are the times the secret spots are found. I suspect there is no formula that can be built nor information distilled down to explain this phenomena. They are built from an infinite amount of ingredients. For me personally, when I find myself within these moments it is precisely the time that i feel most alive.

If I were to describe as best I can what triggers these moments it would be angle and movement. Something about moving on an angle that is special to me. Many times during a run in the woods as the hills come and go leaning forward and back stepping side to side a door will open wide. Fully unexpected I see these secret spots. This is exactly what happened while running last night.

What did I find? Flowers in full bloom. Something wonderful. Like a baby tucked away safe and sound in a bassinet so were these flowers. Blessings of extra sun,extra water running off the nearby hill. Protected from the cool winds by a large stone. I also found myself now part of this secret spot.

The rest of my run I found spirit,hope,curiosity,inspiration,comfort,wonder and excitement from my brief encounter with the secret spot of the woods. I was thankful there are secret spots. The unknowns in life. They are not to be dreaded but approached with excitement and curiosity. So many times I find myself dreading the unknown or at least a feeling of uneasiness. But this should not be so. That is life. The discovery of the unknown. When the unknown is found for that moment life is seen and you are alive.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Just a quick side note. I am giving up Facebook. I was going to do it cold turkey but am running into some very real issues of getting "real" contacts from friends. So looks like I will have to taper my usage over time to tidy up loose ends.
So anyway…
Derek is a runnin fool. Get almost daily updates on his training. He is speeding along and staying healthy. Can't wait to cheer him on at Hat Run tomorrow. I suspect if his soul is right he can win the race. I spoke to him last night about it. I could hear doubt in his voice upon the suggestion but I know Derek as a runner. I know his spirit and its strong. He has the beast inside. If he is hungry and in no mood it will be time to eat. Look for Derek to eat up tomorrow! Best to you Brother Derek. I know what you are and it is good.
As for me since my last entry. Many things have changed. Sure enough slow and steady. Mod'ing my running style continues. The healing of my tendons continues. The healing of my mind continues. Within those things that grind daily moments of flow have come.
Just as the sap of the trees, the water in the rivers and the copious amounts of sun are bursting at the seams so does it seem the spirt of running is starting to flow in me. I have been spending a good bit of time in the woods again on a daily basis and find over time if you do this some sort of rhythm begins to unfold between myself and nature. The way the trees lean, the way the wind blows. The way the litter on the forest floor mingles with the delicate sprouts working hard to grow. I too mingle with these things. They are in me and I in them.
Derek and I were speaking yesterday about those moments in a run… when through the forefoot and the ground comes an electric energy. When as you push on the ground the ground pushes on you propelling you forward. When all thoughts stop,time stands still and you are one with the trail. Entranced in a wonderful dance. Flowing without effort one no more than the other. The balance we so often search for in life is found. It is an honor for me and I know Derek would say the same. This gift that there are no real words for. At least no words that adequately describe.
This weekend will be filled with life's turmoil. This weekend will be filled with life's gifts. I hope to live this weekend like it will be my last. I cannot help but to be inspired to do my best by the the spring. The tree's, plants and animals doing their best to be prepared to survive and thrive. I hope that everyone lives this weekend to their best.
Happy Friday,

Friday, March 4, 2011


Inspiration can drive. Inspiration can paralyze. Inspiration can alter time. Inspiration can do many things but I find to be a constant pouring from inspiration is fuel. Inspiration is a stimulus.

To me what is most fascinating about inspiration is it's source. Where does it flow from? Seems to me inspiration is found in the folds of life. Both in the folds of physical objects but also within the chemical reactions of our own minds. But how is it released from these folds?

As the sun shown across my body and the wind blew across my face I found myself standing next to one of these folds. It had opened right before me. Gliding along its smell and taste filled my lungs. More than anything I wanted to see it. Once removed as is always the case I could not.

Often in these moments I wonder is this what perfection is? Is this what perfection feels like? Hidden in the folds of this so often "dirty" life that we all know and these "dirty" people we all are is perfection tucked away just enough to keep a refreshing reminder of what could be?
WIth that said most of you know the Local Natives music has been one of these folds of perfection to me. While I ran wondering if I would ever see inspiration these lyrics came to mind:

"Quietly he sat between the folds of a tree trunk
Oh to see it with my own eyes
All the men of faith and men of science had their questions
Could it ever be on earth as it is in heaven"

I am not here to suggest my beliefs about heaven,soul,god or life. I only know what I am. I only know my personal feelings and experience. Within that structure I DO often wonder about life outside of the three dimensions we seem bound to. Inspiration to me this day was a peek into a dimension I cannot go. A world that I do not know. Only a place I wish to see.
Happy Weekend Everyone,

Monday, February 28, 2011


It seems I was being covered in reminders that the season of migration is upon us. At least in the small world of south central pa. Driving up to Reading,Pa this past sunday morning, every direction my eyes looked towards saw the signs of movement and change.
From the sky it was large bird migrations and the familiar distant squawk and quack that goes along with that type of thing. The winter wheat was beginning to turn green. A fresh new pale green. The soil moist and dark. As I past over the great Susquehanna River it was full of the muddy early spring flood waters. Pumping new life into what is to come.
Even the angle of the sun deeply resonated with some primal part of my being reminding me of this season of migration. There are no words for me to describe the movement inside these visual clues cause. I only know they are real and bring up a well of rather unusual emotions. Some happy, some sad and some just so. A sort of anticipation for something you don't fully understand.
My run this weekend with Derek was very much like the season of migration. As were the conversations, sights and sounds at the Ugly Mudder trail race. Something was resonating inside of me. The primal me. The part that I do not fully understand myself. Full of emotions from one end to the other I was. I thought about my family and what they mean to me. I thought about how each of us is so very different yet all human. I thought about struggle and the creations that come from such a thing. I felt passion and I felt alone.
I honestly cannot distill everything down and make full sense of it. Not yet. But I do know these were feelings predicting something yet to come. I guess in a sense I felt in a rather abstract way, my own migration to a place I have yet to come to.
Thanks Derek,Leon,Larry,Jason,Eric,Helene and others I may be forgetting for adding depth to my life this weekend that would otherwise not have been.

For those of you that wanted to see

I had a few questions directed to me regarding the stairclimber that I have been training on while letting my tendon heal. I have a really crappy video of me at the gym climbing. I think this was shot about 2 hours into a 2.5 hour climb so things are pretty sweaty and gross but a visual is always nice.
Hoping that these long climbs will give me the endurance and strength I need for successful hill running once I am back in the swing of things.
So... here you go: