Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stressssss Fracture

Yep. 2 fractures in my right foot. I ran for 2 months in denial for up to 67 miles/week like an idiot (and in pain). My last event was Dude, where's the trail 50K...where I ran until I couldn't run anymore...and then walked the last 5 miles to my slowest finish ever. Hat's off to Sophia and Greg and Chad and Kurt for coddling me. (I love you guys).

I've spent the last 4 full weeks of non-running-hell in limbo. Not pissed. Not unhappy. Not whining. Just resigned to the fact that I can't run.

Oh well...it could be worse. I could be a KC Chiefs fan.

I'll come back stronger than ever. Not just "Bad Ben." But Bad Motherfucker Ben.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Little Help From My Friends

You may already know that Sophia, Nancy, Raul and I are putting on a race this weekend, the Pilgrim Pacer.

This race normally raises money for Harvesters, but this year, we are also raising money for the Braden Hofen Fund. Please read his story below:

Braden Hofen was diagnosed with Stage IV, high risk neuroblastoma on December 28, 2007 at the age of 3. Braden was given a 30% chance for survival at that time. He went through six high dose rounds of chemotherapy, an autologous bone marrow transplant, radiation therapy, and follow up therapies. Braden was declared to be in remission but merely a few months later, only a few weeks from his fifth birthday, his cancer relapsed. Braden now has only a 10% chance for survival. Braden is undergoing medical treatments both at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and at the Children's Hopsital of Philadelphia. Braden and his family appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers, and hopes for a miracle! Thank you!
Braden's Website
Braden's Story

There is also a direct way to donate to the Braden Hofen Fund. And 100% of what you donate, will go to help pay for his medical expenses. There is now a link where you can donate directly. Please read these directions first:

Click on this link.

Read his story.

Click on "donate now."

Choose the charity.

Enter your information.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Pacing and Crewing at Leadville

One of the fun things in life that ultrarunners can do for their ultrarunning friends, is to crew for and pace for them in major ultrarunning events. Such was our crews' task for the Leadville Trail 100-mile trail race...we would be crewing and pacing fellow Trail Nerds, Greg Burger and Andy Henshaw, on their quests for a Leadville one-hundred finish.

Andy Henshaw gets "serious" the day prior to the big event.
He was the eventual 4th Place Overall Finisher!!!

Greg Burger, refueling at Twin Lakes aid station.

What is crewing and pacing, you might ask? The term "crew" stands for "cranky runner, endless waiting." Crewing involves driving from aid station to aid station to wait for your runner to come running in, and then it's the crew's job to heap upon them extra encouragement, dubious nutritional supplements, and positive vibrations to get them to the next aid station within the cut-off times for the race.

Pacing is allowed in the Leadville 100, from the 50-mile turnaround point, on. Pacing involves running with your runner for long periods of time, to keep them on task, and to lift their attitude above their (sometimes) subhuman doldrums; but mainly: to make yourself feel like a saint for putting up with bitchy crap from your cranky runner. And, as an added bonus (at Leadville), you get to run at an elevation of two-miles high, with absolutely no acclimation to the altitude! (My FlatLander's red blood cells are still giving me grief over that weekend escapade. I think I actually got a nasty text from one of those poor, hemoglobin-starved corpuscles the other day).

At Leadville, you can actually "mule" for your runner. Muling involves happily carrying stuff for your runner, while you run with them. In other words, you can carry as much as your runner wants to heap upon you, up to and including being a "mobile aid station" for your runner, too. Luckily for us, our two runners didn't need mobile aid stations. And the only heavy-muling performed that weekend was by Bad Ben's Mud Babe, Sophia, carrying Greg's Nathan pack partially up the back side of Hope Pass...(which has been renamed "Hope Not to Pass-out" by Sophia).

Anyway…getting back to my story: We decided to leave town on the Thursday evening prior to the (Saturday) Leadville event. Sophia and I left town in our car at 7 p.m., while Shelley and Derek left town in theirs, a little later. Shelley and Derek were going to be crewing for Andy Henshaw (with Andy’s mom, brother and friends), and Sophia and I were going to crew for and pace for Greg Burger, along with his girlfriend (Kristin) and Kristin’s daughter, Bailey. Danny Miller and his girlfriend (Erin) and Erin's son, were also going to be supporting Greg. Danny wanted to pace Greg from Fish Hatchery, all the way back to the finish line. Yes, it takes a Pillage.

It’s a good 11-hour drive to Leadville from Kansas City. We stopped for a night’s stay in western Kansas, also know as “God’s Country” to the locals. Which god?…I’m not sure. Another 6 hours or so of driving got us to Leadville by early afternoon on Friday. We met up with Greg and Andy, and the rest of our Midwest entourage.

Sophia, at a stop along the way, sporting a Team Henshaw shirt

Leadville Altitude-induced Lunacy.
Andy, Andy's mom Cheryl (in background), Sophia, Andy's brother Blake, & Derek's dog

Danny, Kristin, Bailey, Sophia, Erin

Sophia was supporting Andy’s shoe fetish, by drawing from her Mizuno Territory Manager account. She had 3 new pairs of Mizuno Ronin shoes and a pair of Precisions for Andy, and I had a new Trail Nerds shirt ready for him. Andy likes to run races in the Ronin racing flats, and (of course), he is true to his Trail Nerds’ roots. He wore a similar shirt four weeks prior, in the 50-mile national championship race, in which he finished in 6th place, overall, right behind Scott Jurek. In that race, Andy's shirt never made it to the finish line, because of his propensity for going topless in warm races. Would the shirt make it all the way to a Leadville finish? We shall see.

Leadville, Schmedville. Leadville is one of the highest townships in the nation. Is the air thin up at 10,300 feet? Does a bear crap in the woods? You bet. Just walking up a couple of flights of stairs seemed to leave us breathless. Luckily, the two athletes that we were supporting had acclimated to the altitude for about 2 weeks, already. (Two weeks is better than one day, anyway). Sophia and I couldn’t help but notice that we both had “background” headaches, which felt very similar to the feeling of having a hangover. This was (no doubt) a symptom of “altitudinal distress.” And we were going to run umpteen miles with our runners the next day??? Hmm. I had paced Lou Joline in his last attempt at the Leadville 100, back in 2004. But I had had the “luxury” of having stayed in Leadville for a week prior to pacing him. This time, it would be different.

Strategy: Sophia and I slept past the 4 a.m. start, so that we would be rested and ready to pace from mile fifty, on. We drove straight to Twin Lakes, and setup Greg’s boxes of goodies of stuff that he might need. He ended up rolling in and out of there in good time, heading for Hope Pass. So off we drove to Winfield…the half-way point of the race, on the other side of Hope Pass.

Greg at Twin Lakes, mile 40.

The road to Winfield is a dusty, bumpy little bugger of a dirt road. It takes every bit of 40 minutes to drive the 12 miles, from where it leaves the pavement. And the last two-and-one-half miles has runners on it, headed either toward Winfield, or back toward the Hope Pass trail. Poor bastards…it’s dustier than a desert sandstorm on that heavily-driven stretch of road. While driving in, we saw Andy running the road back toward the Pass. He was being paced by Derek! That was good, because he hadn’t counted on having a pacer that early. At that point, we heard that he was somewhere around seventh place in the race. Now that was exciting!

Sophia and I met up with some of the other support crews for other runners at Winfield. We were all worried about our own runners, for it had been an unseasonably hot day. The Hope Pass climb (on both sides of the mountain) was fully-exposed to the sun, and there was no relief from the heat. Greg rolled-in, right on schedule. At the aid station, he had to step onto the official race scale, to get weighed. He was 7 or 8 pounds lighter than what he had been at the start of the race. We sat him down, and proceeded to get him soup, fluids, and foods that he could “keep down.” After about 15 minutes, we threw his Nathan Pack onto Sophia’s back, and they headed out, onto the miserably dusty road toward Hope Pass.

Greg Burger, with Sophia helping him shove the food and fluids in.

Winfield is a beautiful place!

Winfield Beauty

Winfield Mayhem

Sophia did a great job running his butt over the 12,600-foot pass. She helped cue him to eat and drink at regular intervals. She’s good at coaching during long events, even when she’s breathless. During this particular event, she multi-tasked…also taking some time to take in the sights, and to take a few photos. They both rolled into the Twin Lakes aid station at about 6:30 p.m. or so. Sixty miles were behind Greg, with only 40 to go.

Now, it was my turn to pace. The climb out of Twin Lakes (in that direction) lasts for about 7 miles. Greg was eating well now, thanks to Sophia. He was also climbing well. But when we left the single-track trails and got onto jeep roads, where the terrain gets flatter, wider, and relatively boring, he lost his forward momentum. This is where a pacer earns his keep: you have to find a way to motivate your runner to actually RUN, using every method possible, (up to and including a Taser, if you have one handy). Unfortunately, I had left all of my torture devices at home, (in the bedroom closet, of course).

By the time we got to the section of paved road, right before Fish Hatchery aid station, Greg’s mental state had relegated him to a walk. Walk??? And not take advantage of such a flat section of pavement? But that was all that he was going to do, at this point. Fine, then! I’ll just make him walk FASTER! So, I kept the pace at about 4.2 miles per hour, and made sure that he kept up. That’s faster than some folks can jog, so it was better than nothing. But it was best left unsaid, (although it wasn’t by Greg), that he may not make his goal of a sub-25-hour finish, to receive the “big” finisher’s buckle. But I also knew that Greg wouldn’t beat himself up too badly, if he “just finished” and got a “normal” buckle. NOT finishing was not an option, at this point. So, into Fish Hatchery Aid Station we sauntered. Now, it was Danny Miller’s turn to “shine” as a pacer. It was his shift. Go, Danny, Go!

Danny went. And so did I. Sophia and I went straight to bed. We were tired, and were worried about not having enough zzz's in the bank to drive back to KC the next day. Sophia had gotten to see Andy finish, while I was pacing Greg. Andy had finished in a solid 4th place, overall, in eighteen hours! Not bad for a kid from Leavenworth, Kansas! And his best friend, Dallas had gotten to pace him for the last 13 miles, and pushed him hard...Andy moved up 2 places in the race under Dallas' pacing tenure. Schweet! And Greg ended up finishing in 28-something hours, well within the time limit for the race.

A few short hours of sleep later, we had a nice breakfast, and then headed to the awards ceremony. I got to see some old hundred-miler friends, and quite a few of the Midwest Contingent. Andy and Greg both took their turns hobbling-up to the front of the room to get their handshakes and buckles. It was a glorious end to a jam-packed weekend.

"Fast Andy" Henshaw, gets the big buckle and 4TH PLACE!

Greg does it!

Greg's Buckle

If you ever get the chance to crew or pace an ultra-friend, take that chance...you just might have some fun along the way. And by the way, the Trail Nerd shirt (on Andy) did make it to the finish line, this time.

Happy trails,

Bad Ben

Additional Photos:

Andy finishes!

Andy is totally spent from his effort!

Blake, Shelley, Derek

Stewart Johnson preps Paul Schoenlaub at Winfield

Darin and Sophia are ready to pace their runners

Sophia, Bob (Mayor of Leadville), Shelley

Sophia demonstrates the wonders of western Kansas/eastern Colorado

Our Next Trail Nerds' Ultra Event

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beer and Attitude in the Hood: the Mt Hood PCT 50-Mile Trail Race

Another year has passed. Once again, I decided to continue the 4-year tradition of going to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival and then running a 50-mile trail race on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT). This time, my girlfriend, Sophia would be my traveling companion, along with my son & crew, Mighty Matt.

Sophia was going to be attempting her first 50-miler. Both of us were severely under-trained for any 50-mile event, let alone one with mountains. How under-trained, you might ask? Well, let’s put it this way; on a good week, either one of us maybe ran a total of 15-25 miles per week; and this has been the case for the past 5 months. This training lapse was mainly due to having too many things going on at once…in her case, it’s because she was figuring-out her new job as a Mizuno Territory Manager (for a 3-1/2 state area).

So, we both decided to do the race with the mantra of “Muscle Memory, Attitude, and Pain Denial.” And given the beauty of the location, maybe we’d have a fighting chance for success.

Sophia (Bad Ben’s Mud Babe) at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, prior to the race.

Also at the race, there would be more Trail Nerds to attempt the distance, with four of them being first-time 50-milers. The Trail Nerd 50-Mile Newbies were: Debbie Webster, Julie Toft, and Kevin Pinkowski. And Nick Lang was there as another veteran 50-mile guy. Laurie Euler would be his support crew, and help all of us, as well. Coleen was also helping Christy with her first 50 mile, and there were 4 guys from Springfield, Missouri there that had run in Trail Nerd races, too.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather while we were in Portland. It was sunny in the afternoons, with highs in the 80s. Portland is a very nice place to visit as a tourist. With the MAX transit system, you can park your car and get around town quickly and efficiently. And, if you are going to imbibe at the brew fest, you always have a designated driver!

Sophia, Matt, and I landed in Portland on Thursday morning; two days before the race. My nephew (Andy) and brother (Jim) picked us up at PDX airport. After checking our luggage into our hotel, we scooted off to have a nice lunch at Deschute’s Restaurant. We then went to Waterfront Park on the Willamette River, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival.

Oregon Brewer’s Festival: Sophia, Jim, Andy, Matt.

Allison and Kevin Pinkowski

After a lengthy stint at OBF, we bombed around downtown Portland and ended up having a lovely dinner at a seafood restaurant. From there, we hit downtown for some more debauchery, and then repaired to our hotel rooms for a good night’s sleep.

Mary’s: Portland’s oldest family-owned business.

Friday morning, Sophia and I got up early and went out for breakfast at the Bijou, a favorite local breakfast place. Breakfast was marvelous. She had to call her dad, a New Orleans expatriate, to tell him how wonderful her oyster omelette was.

Calling daddy George!

Sophia had some work to do for clients on her Mizunoputer, so we followed the strong WiFi signal next door to Stumptown Coffee. Stumptown is my pick for being one of the two best places for getting coffee in the Bad Ben known world. My other favorite is the original Caffé Vita, on Capitol Hill, in Seattle.

While there, we met an interesting artist that does journaling the old fashioned way…as an analogue-style book, using handwriting, and glued-in photos: basically, a daily “anablog,” you might say.

We decided to hit the brew fest one more time for a little while, to get rid of the rest of our drink tokens. From there, we headed up to the mountain and to packet pickup by Timothy Lake. Olga Varlamova (the co-race director), was happy to see us. She gave Sophia and I a warm hug and made sure we agreed with her as to how lucky we both were (to have found each other and to be together). We gave Olga and Monika Gold some newer-versions of Mud Babe shirts, with the new Jason Crosby designed logo, (inspired and advised with Sophia’s input).

After Packet Pickup, we headed up to Government Camp to have a meal, and then checked out our digs that Debbie, Julie, Tim, and Larry had secured for us. It was a big loft with room to sleep ten. Nice going, guys!

Early Saturday, the morning of the race, Sophia and I hit the lodging’s 24-hour restaurant, and had a hearty breakfast. We met a runner named Jason from Spokane, and we wished each other well at the race.

We had taken the early start at 5:30. After listening to a short speech by Olga, we headed north on the Pacific Coast Trail. We had previously decided to run at Sophia’s pace for the whole day. She is good at regulating her speed, while I tend to go out a little too fast. She also has a great uphill strategy, combining both running and walking, as needed. And since my walking speed is normally faster than hers, most of the time I could walk fast and catch up to her over and over again. In other words, the strategy worked well for us; well enough to help with our foolish endeavor to run a 50-miler with not enough training.
View from the trail at Mile10.

We jockeyed back and forth with the other runners for a while, and settled into a good pace (for under-trained fools). The first 28.8 mile out-and-back was fairly uneventful, other than me getting stung by a hornet on my shin. Sophia had some trouble between miles 25 to 28. Once she figured-out that she was okay and that the pain in her legs wasn’t out of the ordinary, she was fine. Our fine crew (Matt) procured some Advil at the main aid station for us, and she had no more trouble during the rest of the race. I, on the other hand, would have a little bit of trouble later on.
Watch Sophia Run: Video

Matt gets us some Advil. Photo by Laurie Euler.

By the way, the race course this year had changed, due to a new law. No longer would we run up Mount Hood to Timberline Lodge, and then run back on a simple out-and-back. Instead, there were two out-and-backs. We would run 14.4 miles north, turn-around, then run back through the starting area. From there we would do a southern out-and-back. We were all disappointed about running the course sans Mount Hood, but what the heck…we were there to run. And this course proved to be more challenging.

Debbie Webster and Julie Toft at mile 40. Photo by Laurie Euler

We hit the south turn-around point in decent time. We had a good downhill, followed by the toughest climb of the day. At about mile 42, I became overheated and nauseous. Sophia was having no trouble at all; she was still maintaining her great uphill run/walk method, and I was falling behind. She came back for me, and we took an easier pace up the hill.

We reached the last aid station at mile 44 or so, and I got a Tums from another runner. The second that I chewed it…I spewed it! It was like a chemical reaction. The alkaline Tums hitting my acid-filled stomach and presto: I puked foam for 5 minutes!
An aid station worker kept trying to talk me into quitting and taking a ride back to the finish line.

I wouldn’t hear of it. And Sophia said, “Are you kidding? This is Bad Ben. He’ll finish this race.” And besides, puking was the best thing that had happened to me for 4 miles. I felt much better. Sophia filled my two water bottles with ice and water, and we took off down the trail at a decent trot.

The long downhill was fine. But pulling a rookie mistake, and following 3 runners onto a road wasn’t fine. We had taken a wrong turn. Not good. More mileage. At this point, the wind went out of my sails. We ended up walking much of the final 2 to 3 miles.

At Mile 40 Aid Station. It’s no fair…first-time 50-miler (Sophia) looks great, and Nick and I look like we’re toasted!

Sophia and I finished the race holding hands. The "rookie" (Sophia) ended up being the strong one at the end of the race, and we were more of a couple with each mile covered. Were we foolish to attempt this race with our level of training? No, I don’t think so. We are a team. Because: one plus one equals seven, with the two of us.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

Some other "personal performance" and race notes:

For the first time, I wore the most current edition of the Mizuno Wave Ascend 4 (trail running shoe) for a distance over 50 kilometers. I had absolutely no foot issues, including my arches, (which have been previously plagued by PF).

Mizuno Wave Trail Ascend 4

Inside the shoes, I wore a thin pair of Tetra Toe Socks, and over those, some thin Balga socks. I never changed shoes or socks, and didn’t lube or tape my feet. I didn't get any blisters or hot spots, while on this hot-temperature run. My feet felt fine after the race too, and were not beaten-up in the slightest.
I can’t wait to try the new Mizuno Wave Cabrakan trail shoe, available in September. It will have more rock protection with an extended, flexible rock plate. Here’s a video preview. Sophia has been wearing an advanced test model. They performed well during the race. She has quite a few miles on them, and still loves them. (They are a light blue color, in the women's shoe).

Preview of the Women's Cabrakan

For all 50 miles of the course, I wore a Trail Nerds SweatVac tee-shirt (with sublimated printing). This worked well in the dry heat of an Oregon Summer day. I also wore the new 2010 model of Mizuno Kaze shorts (with a 9" inseam). They stayed dry for the whole run, and I had no chafing issues at all. On top of everything was my SweatVac hat, which always works well to keep me cool and dry.

Concerning my puking issue: My body just can't handle more than 30 miles of using HEED as a sports drink. My stomach goes completely acid with that product, for some reason. I've tried it before on 100-milers, and 30 miles was all that I could take of this drink. I'll remember to bring my own Clip2 drink next time, for any race that's over the 50K distance. I know (from ten years of experience) that I'm good for at least 100 miles of (non-issue) Clip2 consumption.

Race Management:
Other than a few missing markers at trail intersections and roadways, the course was marked okay for a "mountain state" run. The aid stations have improved steadily over the past 4 years, and are now well-stocked and supported by knowledgeable ultrarunning staff. It was fun running in this race, (except for the 5 miles of dirt road, this year). Yep...I'd do it again.

Nick- Cooling off after the race, in a mountain stream. Better than an ice bath!

Going Home!

Whataya lookin' at? Give us some privacy, okay?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Intro To Summer...A Day of Fun with Friends

It was a fun Saturday. I spent some quality time with quality individuals. I will write something about it later, but to give some instant gratification, read Bad Ben's Mudbabe's Blog. She says it all, (and poetically, too).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Another One in the Bag

Race directing a trail ultra is much more akin to producing and directing a movie, rather than race directing a typical pavement foot race. Especially a "longish"ultra, of 50 miles or more. Believe me; I've done both.

First of all, you have a much longer "race-day timeline" to deal with. The logistics of finding volunteers for each spot is critical to a race's success. And with a 18-hour time limit (in the case of the Free State trail runs), you will not find volunteers (for the most part) that will "go the distance," and be out there for 18 or 20 hours straight. Well, luckily, I had some help this year, regarding volunteer coordination and logistics planning. Sophia Wharton stepped up to the plate and excelled at the job of co-race director. She not only found and filled the open shifts for the volunteers, but she helped me to focus on what I should be focusing on (on race day)...the runners.

For the two weeks leading up to the race, Sophia did everything from cranking-out directional signs and helping to mark the trail, to communicating with and rallying the volunteers. She definitely got the birds-eye view of what goes into a successful ultra trail race. And the questions...she asked questions like "why do we do it this way, or who's job is it to do this?" Her questions helped me to reassess my whole race directing process, especially since she usually had solutions in mind, when asking the questions. The long and the short of it is, this year's race was better-organized, coordinated, and executed, because of her presence. With Sophia as a co-Race Director, one plus one (definitely) equals seven! And the fun went on and on, for up to a week after the race. Our smallish apartment was turned into a race equipment and 5-gallon-water-jug cleaning station, and a race schwag laundromat (because EVERYTHING that was put into the truck was wet from our tornado-and-rainstorm-soaked raceday). Yet another reason why I absolutely love this woman!

Race Directors: Sophia & Ben (Photo by Brad Trimble)

Then there's Greg Burger: the man in charge of marking the course so well. Why didn't our Free State participants get lost? Because he has an intuitive knack for knowing where a newbie trailrunner might 2nd-guess themselves, and take a wrong turn. Sophia gained some knowledge here too, by helping Greg and by lining up volunteers (such as John King) to help Greg mark (and de-mark) the course. The Trail Nerds Marksmen, she called them. And de-marking the course...a job that usually took the better part of a week (for the past two years), was complete by 2:30 p.m., the day after the race!!! In fact, it was finished prior to the next storm moving in. Thanks to all of the Trail Nerds involved...Kurt Schueler, Greg, Kevin, Shane, Adam, Gabe, Darin and several others. By the way, we also had the nightmarish problem of having many flags taken down the night before the race by unknowing and clueless hikers. Sophia called Andy "Speedy Brew" Henshaw into action...he gladly ran the course and put flags back into place, right before the race.

Oh, and about the "tornado" that I mentioned. Weather-related issues are always an "issue" in Kansas, or at least on our (doppler) radar screen. Luckily, the marathon was completely finished and most of the 40-milers were done, prior to the 5 sets of tornado sirens going off. Check out my short race report, results, and other race reports on the Trail Nerds' blog. So add "tornado evacuation scenario" to the list of race directing worries for a 27-mile long race course (in the woods)! We had to make the decision to halt the race and get the participants off of the course. We had up to 80-MPH gusts of wind, heavy rain, and a lot of lightning. Our wooded course always has inherent danger from high winds (that can drop a tree or limb on somebody), and it also has at least two impassible streams on the trail during heavy rains and subsequent flooding. Of course, the lightning can be very dangerous, as well. In fact, one person (not in the race) was hit by lightning, just a short distance from the course. So with the NOAA information given (that yet another wall-cloud and storm system was headed our way), we stopped the race. It was the right decision.

During the storm, we had some real heros. The remote aid stations, staffed by KUS volunteers and the Nerds, had to communicate back and forth and to the main aid station. Phil Sheridan (AKA Mister KUS) decided to risk life & limb to sweep 10 miles of the course during the storm (between his aid station and the Nerd aid station). Stacy Sheridan said it was "okay" for him to do this! We also had people step-up to help pull runners off of the course, like Scott and Shannan (and many others).

In the meantime, Kyle & Stacey Amos had their hands full at the Nerds' "Lands End" aid station. They had some great help, from the likes of Caleb Chatfield, Andy Henshaw, and Rick Mayo. They all had to not only figure-out who was coming and going to their (complex) aid station / trail crossing, but try to think of safe places to send them.

We have the best volunteers in the world, and they worked extremely hard to make sure that everybody who could get off of the trails, safely did so. Other volunteers went above and beyond for this run: For instance my wonderful son, Matt; who worked like a red-headed version of a Nike Factory Worker, (as he usually does for his ol' man). Thanks, Matt!

Matt, Exchanging "volunteer wound" stories with Sophia. (Brad Trimble photo).

There was also Brett Hodges. He showed-up just at the times we needed him most, and for the worst possible jobs, like: taking care of runners late in the race, loading the truck up during a tornado, unloading the truck the day after the race (and drying-off crap), hauling trash, etcetera. Thanks, Brett!

Brett, Matt, Me at unloading/drying session.

Shelly Flones was incredible, too. She was there for the duration of race day, and did everything from selling Trail Nerd schwag, to taking care of runners and cooking.

We also had the "Manhattan Project" Team...Sean & Dave...who volunteered for about 10 hours straight at the main aid station, and took care of runners with their ultra-race-knowledge. Mary Ann and Heide were both awesome main-aid-station workers, as well. Race Volunteer Extraordinaire, Rick Hoopes was quite the help, when we needed him most.

And we had the KUS aid station team. Stacy Sheridan, Phil Sheridan, Randy Albrecht and team...they kept the Far End Runners going in the right direction: toward a healthy race finish.

Sorry, there are many others that I didn't mention, that put forth a great effort for the race. Thanks again for a great Free State Trail Run!

Happy trails,


Dick Ross' Photos (http://www.seekcrun.com/)

Brad Trimble's Photos


Hui-Qing Yin (Photo by Dick Ross)

Emily "Mud Doc" Horn (Photo by Dick Ross)

Sloppy Runner (Photo by Dick Ross)

Sam & John (Photo by Dick Ross)

Danny Dehlin, winner 100K (Photo by Dick Ross)

Co-Race Director Sophia Wharton...loves taking care of runners. (Photo by Brad Trimble)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday Night Run

The Trail Nerds hosted the traditional KC Track Club Wednesday Night Run, this week. What a success! The weather cooperated, and we had 36 runners show up, and all but 8 of them ran on the trails with us. (The others ran or walked on the paved trails).

Casey Yunger

Caleb "Wankson" Chatfield, had just flown-in from Chicago, and he led a group of the "fasties" on a short and fast, 7-mile trail run. Casey "the Hunger" Yunger, ran the medium and extra-medium-paced runners. And Jim "Heatmiser" Megerson, helped lead the rest of the group.

Jim Megerson

Sophia "Original Mud Babe" Wharton, grilled beer-boiled brats, sirloin burgers, and black bean burgers to the awaiting hungry runners, as they rolled-in after their various wanderings in the woods. Brett "Ho-Lotta-Smiles" Hodges, helped where necessary. I just stood back and helped host the event with Sophia, and had a very good time. The throng even helped polish-off a container of my "cool, brown emulsion fluid." Meanwhile, Dick Ross was on hand to take some fun photos. Thanks, Dick!


Part of the group.

Me, sporting a Tejas Trail Nerds' Hoodie.

Girls, grills, and trails.