Saturday, July 12, 2014

2013 Croatan 24

 Croatan 24
Veteran's Weekend November 2013

It has become evident that I must be addicted to self torture eh?  But seriously, as I am amazed by world records, Olympians etc, I can also be excited about every day people I know personally and even randomly who become better at whatever they attempt. I guess that's one reason I love doing Occupational Therapy, teaching martial arts, doing personal training, and coaching.  As they get better, I want to get better and see what I can do and achieve too. Let's face it. It would be hard to be good at my job if I was pushing 80 year olds to work out and be more independent and then go home eat and go to bed at 8pm. I surely wouldn't want to pay a karate instructor who couldn't tell me how to do a White Belt level skill or hire a personal trainer who was obese and couldn't walk around the block. How can I expect others to push through limits if I've never tried myself?  This event would be no different.  How far could I go in 24 hours? The loop would be less than 1.4 miles which would mean I wouldn't have to carry fuel etc. My goal would be to simply do a PR distance.  Since I did the GY100k 63 mile course, I would only have to do more than that. If you would like more info check this out!


The Release to torture myself and not hold anyone else responsible...

Cedar Point NC
 The Croatan Forest in eastern NC makes a great setting for this event.  One thing I love about this event is not only enjoying the social aspects of ultras but being one with nature. Brandon Wilson, an ultraman and race director, created this race not only to provide a great 24 hour ultra race but to also raise money for MARSOC.

Yep-- Each lap through nature was about 1.4 miles
The course was a beautiful mix of flat trails, bridges, and gently rolling hills with a view of marshlands, sound, and a forest. This picture is taken of the back of the hoody given in 2013.  Pretty cool swag!
 Campsite Ready!

Fueling is one of the most important if not the most important issue when doing an ultra...I typically try to take in about 300-400 calories every hour. How well do I actually count calories?  Well the truth is that I just pound in whatever is moderate a little all the time during an ultra.  The only thing I may be more specific about is fluid intake and taking either S-Caps or Hammer Endurolytes. The rest is nearly all on how I feel. Yes this can be dangerous as sometimes your body needs more early on than it will ask for.

Yep-- I like to and I do eat a lot :)
I can remember back in the 8th grade, several of my friends had a pizza eating contest at the Village Inn Pizza Parlor in Goldsboro NC.  It was a neat pizza place that showed movies on Laser Disc!  At the time this was pretty high tech and of course pizza never goes out of style.  I ended up eating 23 slices for 2nd place behind Geoff Merritt who ate about 35!! Keep in mind, I was about 100lbs soaking wet at the time. To be fair we had to save the crust for counts and they had to be at least an agreed length which I can't remember.  You could eat any pizza they had on the buffet.  Of course, thin and crispy worked to my advantage.  No we didn't have any prizes but we typically had crazy contests like that or did other stupid stuff usually something a guy named Henry Flynn talked us into doing. If we weren't walking into some mess, we'd all pile in Tom Kleinert's brother Mike's car or Jeff Garratt's older brother Jon's car and off we went. It all seems insignificant now but it were those times when we get older that we truly miss. Often times, my long runs help me recall those times.  It's like therapy in so many ways.  If you are a parent, you'll also understand, it may be your only free time you'll get in a day. Yep.. not even the bathroom is private once you become a parent.
Last words of advice from my son Landon
All joking aside... all stress aside.. Without my kids, I know my life would be in limbo with my purpose less defined for sure. I can be stressed out or whatever and a smile from one of my kids or watching them do something funny or well and I'm suddenly in a positive mood.
Note the larger facial hair growth.  This race takes place in "MOVEMBER" a month assigned to remember male health issues such as cancer and mental health.  Many like myself will grow out a mustache or in my case decide to grow out all my facial hair except my neck.  Despite the cause, I did try to maintain some level of professionalism in my grooming. To learn more go to

Clay and I hanging out before the start
Dawn and her friend ran to the Croatan 24 to give support!
Dawn is the race director for the Reindeer Dash For Cash 5k and 10 miler in memory of my friend Chris Cash a Captain and exercise physiologist who died in action serving the USA.
Money from her event goes to scholarships.  I highly recommend this December Race held every year in Greenville NC.
Register here:
The race says it is flat...well it used to be but it's not now! I love the course though.. goes through East Carolina University areas!
Nice Ceremony!

 Checking out how they track our laps and a sneak peek at the Race Director Brandon Wilson

The Official Start of the 2013 Croatan 24
To honor the military and all veterans, there was a ceremony as well as a start with patriotic flags and such. As everyone should remember, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.  Special thanks to all who have and continue to serve the US Military.

#1 Valmir starting the Croatan 24
 You're going to figure out that I'm a big fan of this guy.  Sure he's done some amazing runs like 100k races in 6 hours and a Badwater World Record but he's actually a great guy.  Despite the language barrier, he is always nice, takes time to take a picture, and engages with others.

My Start of the Croatan 24!
Let's Do this!
On my left is Liz Lord from the Rocky Mt NC area.  We had communicated via facebook and the GORUN group as well as through our mutual friend Patti Miller but until this day, we had never actually met in person.  Liz had never paced this sort of distance and had many concerns despite being a great runner.  We decided to help each other push through. I think it was even harder for her than it was for me to run slowly as I often had to remind her to relax and keep pace easy.  I know this all too well.  Your body is pumped and ready to fly but it takes your mind to think it through remembering that the miles are many and they keep coming.

Nice Course... loving the nature factor


Clay Vick ahead of me finishing a lap
Originally, I had planned to run with Clay my GORUN teammate but honestly, he took off way faster than I planned to.  He was on a mission!
Finishing up a lap... behind me is Jimmy... in front Liz
Still in my layered gear from the colder start.  This would soon change.

About an hour into the run, Liz and I have already started the walk/run ratio and have already been passed for the first time by Valmir Nunes
Getting hot so off with the early morning extra layer
 I'm obviously not aware of how many miles I've done and how many are left!!

Marathon Distance Completed in about 5:22

It's always an honor to be passed by the legend Valmir Nunes!
 This legend once ran a 100k in about 6 hours. Yep.. try that big boys!

What I love about Ultras...
non challenging
One of the things I've been drawn to Ultras is not only the sense of adventure but the time you can take out to simply enjoy the moment with friends.  In a long race, unless you are really trying to do something crazy, a few minutes won't matter.  Your body may even do better down the trail because you did.
We got to celebrate Frank Lilley's Birthday too!
27 miles done
Great Therapist, Race Director, and friend Amy Albritton on the trails...
 USA Olympian Connie Gardner!
Gina, Landon, Kamryn along with Stephanie Slayton
Giving Support
 Liz and I getting passed by Valmir again... Amy Albritton Checking in too
There is one "hill" that we made the executive decision to walk each lap.  Now as you look at it you will probably say huh? What hill? But the small inclines as you approach your max distance PR's can feel like mountains!
Valmir passes us again as Liz gets a PR 50k distance
Mile 32 as we meet Clay on the trail
as well as some support from Gina, Kamryn, Landon along with Stephanie Slayton
32 officially completed
Dry Erase Board has current ranks
Clay Vick
only GORUN's Co-Founder Jeff Dufour has done more than this beast!
 Clay did awesome but unfortunately the blister demon came after him and in the best interest of continued progress in running overall, he made the smart decision to call it a day.  It is hard to believe this man of men was in a couch to 5k program within the last couple of years.
57.5 miles for 56th overall


Later in the day.....Sun going down

Beautiful Views as the Sun goes down... both Garmins have died....and Liz has taken some time to slow down and pace some with her family-- mentally planning out the final miles

Thinking about my night gear now.... the crowd has thinned out

Night gear!
Strangely, as night falls so do the competitors.  Some stop to break while others quit completely.  Sometimes this can make you want to quit too but many times for some weird reason I seem to catch a 2nd or 3rd wind sort of speak.  It's almost like as someone stops, I get their energy added to me.  I know it sounds a little sci-fi like maybe that movie "ONE" but it's true.  The mind is a strange and amazing thing.  Of course, the mind can tell you to quit for protective reasons but in reality we can do so much more.  Within reason of course, I want to know what I can do.

There are points in a run you may actually not care if this happens but somewhere inside this spirit within calls upon you and says don't be a freakin' pansy after all the work you've done!!! You didn't sacrifice a large portion of your life training to come here and wimp out!!
Double checking distance and laps ...
As the Garmin GPS dies and the laps keep coming, you lose a sense of where you are sometimes. This race event was full of awesome staff who were positive and helpful in every way a runner needed them to be. Doing the things they had to do for us was an endurance challenge in itself and I never take that for granted. They all rocked!
My last look at the clock before I did one more lap to get a new Distance PR
At this point, I only had a little more to go to get a distance PR!  I had beaten my GY100 100k (63m course) time and was already happy about that.  I decided to simply beat my old PR distance and call it a night.  Reviewing where I was in the race, I felt it would be difficult to run 100 miles in the time I had left.  In reality, it may have been possible to simply walk it in at a strong walk pace but I just didn't feel it this night.  Looking back, I did do a lot of would of could of should of thinking which is never good in my book. I will get that belt buckle one day!
64.4 miles completed

 Time for Chocolate Milk! 
It's always great having family support.  They have seen me survive many training sessions and deserve victories at the same time I earn them.

 Gina and Kamryn
Enjoying Mother Nature
Behind every strong successful productive man is a great woman! Gina has been my rock through and through.  She knows when to give me TLC and also when to call me a pansy and push me harder.  There is no way I could have done as well without her support.

Kamryn and Landon
aka Double Trouble
Good times...
 Landon enjoying nature 

My Personal Support Crew 
I couldn't of asked for a better crew.  They are the best despite the fact sometimes I really think they think I'm a machine and expect so much from me.  Of course, I pretty much set myself up for always doing crazy stuff that they now expect me to be able to do that sort of craziness all the time.

I busted by bladder....several ultras later
This one has been with me since my first with Jeff Dufour at the Falls Lake 50k.  I really have come a long way since that day.  My generic camelpak from Target really did well but finally quit on me.  The good news is that the bladder is easy to replace.

Before the awards...

Connie awaiting awards....ZEN
She would earn 2nd overall and 1st female.
 Always super nice to me and positive as she passes... you'd never know she was such an elite athlete
The GORUN support Crew

Badwater World Record Holder Valmir Nunes
Fastest 100m split--  16:42
stopped at 105.5 miles for 8th place overall
USA Olympian Connie Gardner
2nd place overall
113.7 miles
100m split in 21:35
Mosi and Jimmy beasted the 24 hours
Got some really cool awards!!
1st and 3rd place overall
Mosi ran over 119 miles in 24 hours!
His 100m split was about 19:29
Jimmy ran about 112 miles
His 100m split was about 20:55
Carter Swamp gets his Buckle!
Carter and his wife Susie have become good friends of our family.  We first met volunteering at the GY100 ultra in the OBX.
Carter did 100m in 20:40 for 18th overall
Carter Swamp holds his BLING..the Belt Buckle you earn if you run 100 miles within the 24 hours
One day....

My BLING! ha! This bottle was designed by Valmir Nunes.
64.4 miles for 46th overall
As in many of the challenges I accept, I am already planning my next adventure! Try to set new goals and engage in new adventures in your life!  I've always felt that if you stop living then you start dying. 
Beast on my friends... beast on!