Saturday, November 17, 2012

Random Pictures!

Because I got so far behind on blogging, I decided just to post a bunch of random pictures from the fall. They give you a glimpse into what our fall consisted of on more of a daily basis. We had a fun, but very busy fall!

Who needs a doctor? Sally Sharp was extremely proud of her "doctor" hat!

She was also very proud of her fireman hat. Her class was doing a unit about community helpers :)

The girls found that playing house in the laundry room was fun. Didn't you know laundry baskets and stainless steel carts make great beds?

We went to a volleyball match one night at MSU. It ended up being a great match, and the girls enjoyed cheering on the bulldogs.

We had some cooler (for the South) weather days in the fall, and we were able to take advantage of them playing outside a lot. Sally Sharp was waiting on Avi to come down the slide so it would be her turn. This is how she waited every time that particular night. It made me laugh.

We sang If You're Happy and You Know It :)

LOVE her curls (can't say this enough times)

We cheered for the Bulldogs (football)

We spent time at the park (again, there were some really nice fall/cooler days).

And, we went to church. Avi participated in choir on Wednesday nights at our church, and she also participates in AWANA at my mom's church. Sally Sharp will start both next year :).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pinhoti Race Report and Pictures

100 Miles is a LONG WAY

Many things can happen when trying to run 100 miles.  I made it through all the training with no injury.    Unfortunately,  my day was cut short by severe right knee pain.  The whole entire experience was very rewarding and I learned a ton about how to run this type of race.  I wish my body was as willing as I was on this day.

Start to mile 28.  The start was in the dark for the first 45 minutes.  I started conservatively and felt really good. There were many people to run with and everyone was very talkative.  I was eating well and enjoyed seeing Kelli at 3 aid stations.  It was starting to get hot and the race was spreading out a lot.     From time to time some runner would come flying by and it would make you think what race they were  running.  I was in about 33rd out of the 190 or so starters at mile 28.

Mile 28 to 41.  The main thing that I remember about these miles was the heat.  It was over 80 degrees and thankfully we were in the tree cover most of the day.  I came upon a large creek crossing and several people were laying in the 18 inches of water just trying to cool off.  I was moving good still and passing several people especially on the uphill sections.  At mile 41,  I had  moved up to 28th place.

Mile 41 to 55.  There were some rough mile in here.  My knee started hurting.  At times, I felt like was trying to run with the flu and stomach virus all at once.  From time to time, I hurt just about everywhere and my stomach felt most unsettled.  I was still running pretty well on the flats and downhills, but all the pain began to all localize to the outside of my right knee. I was hiking the uphills really strong and amazingly was passing people really easy on the uphill sections.  As bad as i felt,  It seemed everyone else was just in just about as bad of shape.  Everybody that I passed, would say how good I looked and how well I was moving, but i felt terrible.

Mile 55 to 68. By now I realized that my knee was not going to get any better.  Walking was starting to get really painful and I realized that my time was limited.  I suffered through these last few miles but was in a lot of pain.  Amazingly, very few people were passing me.  I was in 24th place when I had to quit.  Except for my knee, I felt really good.

Start of the race and I was all smiles.
Aid station # 2 at mile 13 and still smiling.
Running the trail into aid station # 3 at mile 18.  Very smooth trail here.  Let me assure you it was not all this flat and smooth. 
Leaving #3 feeling great.
Aid station #5  at mile 28.  All that I could think about here was how hot it was.  Over 80 degrees and I was feeling it here at the sun exposed aid station.  Thankfully most all the trail was in the shaded canopy of the woods. 
Headed out of #5.  Not looking as fresh.

The boardwalk leading down to the overlook off Mt Cheaha -- the highest point in Alabama.  The race runs right up to the top of Mt. Cheaha and down the boardwalk to the aid station at Bald Rock Lodge.
Aid station #7 at mile 41-- Running off the boardwalk.  Really excited to see my family here.  Seeing them provided a lot of motivation to get to the top.
Trying to rest and fuel up.  I was here in exactly 8 hours and right on my goal pace.  

Avi was feeling a lot better than me.  She asked my dad "did he have to pay for this".  She got a good laugh out of everyone.
Aid station # 10 at mile 55.  Really starting to feel it here.  Still on my goal pace at right around 11 hours.

Aid station # 12 mile 65. Rubbing my knee and trying to figure out how to keep going.  I was using my hiking poles which really helped but the pain while walking was getting intense and it really hurt bad to bend my knee.
I changed shirts and tried to eat up. There was a 750 foot climb that awaited me in the first mile out of the aid station.  
Walking into aid station #13 and hurting a lot.
Icing my knee and contemplating my withdrawal.

Conclusion:  During the race, I said that I would never do this again.  Thank goodness for short memories as I am already planning for the next one.  I hated that I could not finish, but it has taken me about 10 days to even be able to bend my knee without pain.  I am feeling a lot better now.  I had diligently stretched, iced and rolled my left IT band to prevent this from happening again to my left knee.  I never expected this to happen to my right knee as it did.  At least I know how to rehab this injury although it did take about 6 months before I could run without limits again.  Based on how things went, I know that I can finish 100 miles and likely still be running well.   Thanks again to my wonderful wife for supporting me in my adventures.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinhoti 100 Mile Run

Starting this Saturday at 6 a.m., I'll begin the slow arduous 100 mile journey from Heflin to Sylacauga, Alabama on the Pinhoti Trail.  I won't be alone.  Two hundred and thirty other runners will start and only about 50 % will make it to the finish under the 30 hour time limit.  My wonderful wife will be with me from the start as my crew (she has no idea what she is getting into) for most of the day, and my dad is coming to take over for the nighttime portion of the journey (he definitely has no idea what he is getting into).  Unfortunately, the weather is predicted to be unseasonably hot and reach almost 80 degrees.   That will make the hydration and nutrition even more important.  I am most worried about my ability to eat enough calories to keep myself going without causing too much in the way of stomach issues.  At least we won't have to worry about getting to cold at night.

My first goal is to finish under the 30 cutoff.  My second goal is under 24 hours.  My plan is to start slow, trying not to blow up so that I'll still be running for the last half of the race.  For anybody who is even remotely interested you can track my progress here.  I am bib number 29.  My experience with the site is that it usually runs about 1 hour behind and sometimes seems not to be working at all, but keep checking back as it usually catches up after everybody starts spacing out later in the race.  Kelli is planning on posting pictures and live updates on my twitter page until she heads off to bed.

Additionally,  I wanted to give a shout to my brother, Jonathan, who just finished his first marathon.  Read all about it here.  Anybody interested in watching a cool video from the 50k race in Chattanooga 4 weeks ago watch this.  That is my foot stepping on the acorns at about 3:30 into the video.  Be careful if you watch the video as it will make you want to go run in the woods.

Thanks again to my wonderful wife for supporting me in all the crazy adventures.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chattanooga Weekend & Stump Jump 50k

We headed to Chattanooga several weekends ago for Drew's 50k race. He did this race last year for the first time. This year the girls went with us, and they were VERY excited about going to "Chattanoona" as Sally Sharp said all week leading up to the trip and even after we got there. Before we got on the other side of Columbus, this is what was happening in the car:

SS was sound asleep...

Avi was sound asleep (very unusual for her)...

and Drew was sound asleep (extremely normal for him)!

The girls also watched some movies. SS was covering her eyes during a part in Beauty & the Beast :). Avi was telling her when to cover her eyes and when to open them! It was pretty cute.

We made a quick stop at Children's Hospital in Birmingham (where Austin was) on our way to drop off some books we collected at Avi's birthday party. A friend who was one of Austin's nurses on the renal floor at Children's got us in touch with Lori Currie, the Child Life Specialist over the Solid Organ Transplant Unit Playroom. She graciously accepted our books for the transplant patients who have the opportunity to visit the playroom for a little bit of playtime while recovering from receiving a transplant. We had fun seeing the new hospital facility. The new NICU was pretty amazing...VERY different than when we were there!

The girls LOVED the hotel room. Who doesn't love to bounce on a bed that's not your own, right? They thought it was pretty great. 

On Saturday morning, Drew ran his race. From Drew: The StumpJump 50k touts itself as the largest and toughest 50k in the southeast.  I came into this race looking for some revenge.  Last year I injured my knee and was unable to run for 5 months after this race.  The weather was supposed to be really good for the race, but a 10% chance of rain turned into a steady downpour about 40 minutes before the race started.  The rain made the course very wet, muddy and the rocks were very slick.  Out of 600 registered entrants only 410 finished.  The race went well  for the most part, and I only suffered a bit from miles 15-18 where I just ran out of energy. However, I managed to finish really strong.  I was hoping to finish under 5:00 hours but ended up finishing at 5:08:10.  The race was a blast, not too hot and it was a great to have Kelli and the girls waiting at the finish line. Avi got to run the home stretch (click link for a great picture) with me and was really excited.  There was one tired boy after 31 miles of wet slick Chattanooga rock.  Overall I had a great weekend with Kelli and the girls.

Now that the 50k is over, I have only 3 weeks to get ready for the BIG ONE.  On November 3rd,  I will be running the Pinhoti 100.  I have never run over 40 miles but for some reason, running 100 miles sounds like a lot of fun.  The race starts about 20 miles north of Oxford, AL and and ends in Sylacauga, AL.  It is almost all on the single track Pinhoti Trail through the Talledega National Forrest. There is a 30 hour time limit and usually fewer than 50% of the 200 or so entrants finish the race. I finished my last long 6 hour training run today, and now there are only about 20 left days for rest, recovery, and taper before the big day.
Sally Sharp fell asleep in my arms as we waited for Drew at the finish line, and Avi insisted on taking a picture of us. Even though my back was killing me from holding her for an hour while she slept, I won't complain because I don't get to hold her while she sleeps anymore...she's not a baby anymore :). 

We visited the Chattanooga Aquarium, and the girls enjoyed seeing all the "fishes" as Sally Sharp called them. 

Avi sacked out RIGHT before we finished the aquarium. I had to wake her up, which was not an easy task, once supper arrived at the table. She was a tired girl!

We made the trip back home on Sunday. We had a fun time!