Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pokey's First Fifty-Miler !!!

Friday night was a big blur of seeing everyone, meeting some new people, and being a little nervous for my first 50. I was in luck, my two best friends come down to NC to help crew for me. It really would make a difference during the race.

The start of the race came way too soon. One minute we were laughing and joking, the next the gun went off. I started off walking and was quickly passed by many people. I walked a good portion of the first 3 miles, out to the airport spur, although my legs really wanted to run. After the 3 mile point, I started running the flats and downhill, saving the walking for the uphill. I made my way through the muggy morning and found myself at Aid Station 2. They were whipping up some wonderful PBJs and I had half a sandwich. I got out quickly and was moving well. Towards mile 9, I met up with two guys, one who was running his first 50. I quickly fell into pace with them and we continued our first loop.

I had discovered around mile 10 that my socks were getting holes in them and knew I needed to change them before I got a blister. As we came into mile 11 area, I saw a lot of friendly faces Meri, Down and Durty Slug, Ethel, Keith, John, Rob, and Carl to name a few. Down and Durty Slug told me that I was moving faster than I had thought, which was good, so I slowed it a bit. I came into the cabin area and my crew cheered me along. I yelled to them that I needed socks and the blister guards. I made my way up to the timing station, stopped into the aid station. I quickly made my way back to the cabin to change the socks and do some pre-blister care. I could feel a hot spot on my heel from the hole, so I wanted to take care of it as soon as possible. That done, I had some coke, got lots of encouragement from my friends and I was off!

I started out on loop two and caught up with the guys and we made out way out on the airport spur. I might mention that we didn’t even make it through our first loop before we were lapped by some of the leaders? It was really motivating and nice to get to see those frontrunners. We continued on a run the downhill and some of the flats, but call slope when it goes a little uphill. The loop was filled with good conversations and we made it to the aid station where I had some more PBJ, some bagels with cream cheese and some snickers.

The rest of the loop was uneventful and I felt pretty good coming into the start finish. I had a cheeseburger, went to the cabin and had some coke, and some encouragement. The girls were wonderful and had news that Down and Durty Slug was running well and looked strong. I started out on loop 3 and was moving at a good clip. The rain started during this loop, but it was warm and a light drizzle, so I didn’t grab my rain gear yet. The guys caught up to me on the airport spur and before I knew it, we were at aid Station 2. I had some more bagel, another burger, and some dew. Then off into uncharted water for me, more miles than my longest run was on the horizon. Much laughter and a good pace later, I was back at the start/finish, having a hot dog, getting a picture with Tiney Broken Hiney slug (Andrea) and then to the cabin. I changed my socks again, new shoes, and got on some night garb. Out for Loop 4

I caught up to Down and Durty Slug while he was coming out of the airport spur. He was moving fairly well, and seemed to be in good spirits. My group was slow going, but we were moving. Around mile 44 my mental wheels started to come off. I really felt like quitting and was thinking that the aid station had chairs I could sit in. I was having some serious motivation issues, which the guys tried to talk me out of. I was just exhausted and mentally shot. Every step took an iron will and I had to constantly fight the urge to stop and fall over.

During this time we come upon Down and Durty Slug, who was moving slow and was very hurt. He let us know he was dropping due to calf/it band issues at the aid station and for us to keep going. I expressed my total dislike of my situation at the time and pressed on. The sight of the aid station was somewhat of a boost, but the pizza and mountain dew was the real treat. The pizza was magic and a few minutes after wolfing it down I felt revitalized. We were still moving slow, but the end was near. At one of the water points, I stepped off to the side to water the plants. I felt something stinging on both of ankles, but figured it was mosquitoes and kept moving.

Before I knew it we were at the last water stop. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe I was really going to finish. I had several Kitkats and peanut butter cups and up the hill we went. We finally made it to the 11 mile marker and I was ready for the finish. The last 1.5 miles seemed to drag on forever and I was never happier than seeing the gate to turn into the final .5 mile stretch. I reached that point and started moving faster, the end was in sight. I told the guys I’d see them at the top and went through the deep mud. I mustered up everything I had and made a dash to the top of the hill. There were cheers, hugs, and it felt good. Scratch that, it felt great. I finished in 17:20 and some seconds. While it wasn’t the fastest time, I thought it was close enough to a crazy horse that I can still keep my Pokey slug name.

Oh and the “stinging” on my legs? Fire Ants, that’s right, got lit up by the fire ants.

Pokey Slug

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dawgs / Slugs Crossbreeding ???

...say it ain't so; thanks to John Straub for the Umstead update; still awaiting Queen Pokey's comments; happy days, hitman.

Just a quick note to congratulate everyone who was down at Umstead, whether they finished the hundred, finished the fifty, just started the race and decided to call it a day early, or were just there to pace and support the rest of us fools running around in the rain…

There were several people down there with ties to Delaware (TrailDawgs and Team Slug – but with Delaware being so small there appears to be some cross-breeding going on…) that I want to point out:

Carl Camp – another 100 mile finish for one of the toughest runners you will meet. Even hypothermic (from what it looked like to me…) he just kept going and going and going, this guy is a machine…

Pete McLaughlin – His first 100 miler! As Stumpy pointed out, an inspirational movie could be made about him, and to see his family down there supporting him through the entire thing was great. He was even able to scope out a potential son-in-law for 50 miles (talk about a way to get your girlfriends, uh, I mean, “friends”, Dad to like you – that is dedication), maybe this can be elaborated in the blog too! Pete was one of the first people I ran with in Delaware at the Phunt Run in 2006 and it was great to see him finish!

Pokey Slug (a.k.a Ann Thrax) – A great first 50 mile finish! Battling all the way, but was able to enlist a couple of helpers to try and Crazy Horse the finish…

Down and Durty Slug – A solid 50 mile finish just, even with still having a tan line from the cast on his leg…

King Buckeye Slug – A quick 50 mile jaunt to sandwich between two 100’s – Mohican will be fine!

Scott Hodukavich - cheering, pacing and supporting everyone of us down there – Now that you have had a taste of the madness which one are you doing this year???

Also, I had a great pacer from NC:

Banker Boy – thanks for pacing me the last two laps and keeping the adrenaline going!

As for my run, the planets must have aligned and it was just a good day, with great people. I have been able to learn from everyone I run with and apply these lessons on every run I do . Specifically I want to thank Sniper for his advice on how to run Umstead – thanks again Dave.

And for anyone who is interested in running South of the Canal (I know a bunch of you will be at BRR 50 on Sat…) this weekend – there are two opportunities:

1. Saturday - Appoquinimink River Association 5K trail run at St. Andrews – registration and info at: ARA 5K Registration - Active or Appoquinimink River Association

2. Sunday – FREE Marked 5K or ~20K Townsend run from my house (mostly road…) BBQ following the run…

See you on the trails soon,

John Straub

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Pokey finishes fifty @ Umstead.

Just received a phone call from Pokey.
She finished the 50 in a sweet 17+
I am so VERY PROUD of her;
what an incredible accomplishment...

No doubt, more details / pics are coming.
Huggs from da' Sluggs,