Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Fleet Feet Racing Team Volunteer of the Year

The Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team of Huntsville is far more than just stellar athletes dominating in races. It is also a set of individuals that exemplify good upstanding people, who give unselfishly of themselves in volunteer work and are true ambassadors to the sport.
It was my honor last night at the Team/Staff Christmas Party to award Josh Kennedy with the distinction of being the Volunteer of the Year. Josh had a few set backs this season with injuries, but he kept a positive attitude toward running and was involved in so many things with the Huntsville Track Club, Fleet Feet and running in general. In May, Josh sacrificed a week of his personal time to help two crazy ultra athletes realize a dream during the 335 mile Pinhoti Adventure Run. This was so much more than a week spent in the woods of Central Alabama, but months of preparation, planning and execution. Josh was also a heavily in involved in coaching other runners through Fleet Feet with the No Boundaries program that ended with the Jingle Bell Run in November. Some of the other things Josh was involved in include a high level role with aid stations at Rocket City Marathon, working the 7 mile aid station at McKay Hollow Madness, staffing the 5.5 mile aid station at the Xterra Monte Sano 15km and also providing an aid station during the Fleet Feet sponsored Pinhoti 100 mile race. These are just a few things that Josh was in during the season. While so many of our team members volunteered countless hours of their time this year, Josh was selected as the one who best represented what the non-racing side of the team is all about with providing support for our running community.

2010 Fleet Feet Racing Team Performance of the Year

Over the past month the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team blog has been a hot bed for public to vote on the individual female and male performances of the year. After the public votes were tallied, we held a Fleet Feet Staff/Team vote at the Christmas party last night and the combination of the two determined the winners. There were so many outstanding events, but we narrowed it down to the nominees below. Fleet Feet Racing Team Huntsville Female Performance of the Year
  • Kathy Youngren - 5th FOA (1st American) Spartathlon 246km - 33h 35m 6s
  • Candace Jacobs - 1st FOA Spooktacular 5km - 17:34
  • Christy Scott - 3rd FOA (14th OA) Heartland 100M - 22:56:58
  • Dana Overton - 1st FOA (8th OA / near CR) Dizzy 50km - 4:37:27
  • Lori Jandreau - 3rd FOA (18th OA) Kennedy Space Center 26.2 - 3:14:01
Fleet Feet Racing Team Huntsville Female Performance of the Year
  • Blake Thompson - 2nd OA Lean Horse 100M - 17:45
  • Brandon York - 1st OA Monte Sano FF 15km - 50:04
  • Eric Charette - 2nd OA Life Without Limits 1/2M - 1:15:32
  • Rob Youngren - FKT 335 mile Pinhoti Trail 6d 8h 48m
  • Tim Vinson - 235th OA at Boston Marathon - 2:41:20
  • David Riddle - 2nd OA JFK50M - 5:53:09
After all of the votes were counted, Kathy Youngren earned the honor of the performance of the year with her amazing effort at Spartathlon, where she finished as 5th female overall and the first American in a time of 33 hours, 35 minutes and 6 seconds for 246km.
On the men's side, it was a unanimous selection as Rob Youngren's 335 mile conquest of the Pinhoti Trail in May was determined to be the best single performance. Rob's time of 6 days, 8 hours and 48 minutes earns him the distinction of having set the fastest known time ever for the trail.
Congrats to all team members on a great year!

2010 Fleet Feet Racing Team Athletes of the Year

It was a great year for the entire Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from Huntsville in 2010.  The annual awards for Outstanding Female and Male Athletes of the Year were handed out last night.  Amongst the nominees were the previous Athletes of the Month, Tim Vinson, Rob Youngren, Eric Charette, Blake Thompson, Donald Bowman, Kathy Youngren, Brandon York and Candace Jacobs.  Their monthly accomplishments are listed below.

In the end, the Team Advisory board selected Candace Jacobs and Eric Charette as Female and Male Athletes of the year.  Here is a list of accomplishments for each athlete that helped them to earn this honor.

Candace Jacobs

  • 9 times first female overall (Winter Winds 2 mile, Winter Winds 4 mile, Monte Sano 10km, Spooktacular 5km, Jingle Bell 5km, Huntsville Half Marathon)
  • 4 state age records (Spooktacular 5km, Winter Winds 4 mile, Monte Sano 15km, Huntsville 1/2M)
  • 5+ 2nd place finishes
  • 1st FOA Huntsville Half Marathon, State Age Record, State Champion
  • 1st FOA Rocket City Marathon - 2:54:20 (personal best)
  • Personal bests at every distance raced this year
  • 2010 Huntsville Track Club Open Female Gran Prix Series Winner
  • Honorable mention athlete of the Month in November
  • Athlete of the Month in October

Eric Charette

  • 9 overall wins (Winter Winds 2M, Spring Zing 5km, Keyes Peak Trail Marathon, Windsor Rodeo 10km, DOXA 5km, Care Center 5km, Xterra Monte Sano 5km, Turkey Trot 5km)
  • 8 times 2nd place
  • 24 times top 3 overall
  • 2nd OA at Life Without Limits Half Marathon in 1:15:32 (season best for team)
  • Personal bests set at 2M, 5km, 10M, 1/2M, Marathon, 50M
  • 2 mile at Winter Winds - 10:38 (season best for team)
  • 5km in Liz Hurley in 16:36
  • 50 miles at Delano Park in 7:14:16 (207th fastest time in US in 2010)
  • Marathon at California International Marathon in 2:43:40
  • 11th fastest time ever Mount Cheaha 50km 4:54:07
  • 2nd fastest time ever 172 mile Pinhoti Trail (Alabama section) 4 days 5 hours 39 minutes
  • 2010 Huntsville Track Club Open Male Gran Prix Series Runner Up
  • Honorable mention athlete of the Month in July, August, September, October, November

Athlete of the Month November

Rob Youngren
  • Dizzy 50's - 40 mile title in 6:35:21
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 8th overall - 1:19:33 (personal record)

Athletes of the Month October

Brandon York
  • 1st overall Spooktacular 5km - 15:19 (Team season best)
  • 2nd overall Liz Hurley 5km - 15:44
  • 1st overall Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 50:04 (Team season best)
Candace Jacobs
  • 1st female overall (13th overall) Spooktacular 5km - 17:34 (State age record & Team season best)
  • 1st overall Liz Hurley 5km - 17:55
  • 1st female overall (12th overall) Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 58:37 (State age record & Team season best)

Athletes of the Month September

Kathy Youngren
  • 5th Female Overall (44th Overall, 1st American) at Spartathlon 246km - 33:35:06
  • 1st Female Overall (7th oveall) at Care Center 5km - 20:15
  • 1st Female Overall (3rd overall) at Doxa 3.2mi
  • 2nd Female Overall at Monte Sano 5km - 21:58
  • 2nd Female Overall at Monte Sano 10km - 41:54

Athlete of the Month August

Donald Bowman
  • 1st overall 17:07 Brooke Hill 5km
  • 1st overall 16:57 Running of the Bulls 5km (Season best)

Athlete of the Month July

Blake Thompson
  • 3rd overall 18:05 Firecracker 5km (personal record)
  • 4th overall 18:50 Paint the Streets 5km
  • 1st overall 4:41:00 Big Butt 50km
  • 8th overall 18:45 Cross Country 3miler 7/6
  • 3rd overall 19:19 Cross Country 3miler 7/13
  • 7th overall 19:02 Cross Country 3miler 7/20

Athlete of the Month June

Eric Charette
  • 1st overall Keyes Peak Trail Marathon 3:19
  • 3rd overall at Alabama A&M 10km

Athlete of the Month May

Rob Youngren
  • Set the fastest known time on the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail in a time of 6 days 8 hours 48 minutes

Athlete of the Month April

Tim Vinson
  • 2:41:20 at Boston Marathon
  • 1st OA at Running Wild 1/2 marathon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Athlete of the Month - November

The month of November featured quite a few races and as the weather began to cool, the times got progressively faster and the distances got progressively longer as the nearly every member of the Nike Fleet Feet Racing took to the roads or trails.

After reviewing race results and blog posts for the month of November here are the top Nike Fleet Fleet Racing Team athletes of the month. Included are the events that earned each athlete this distinction. Athletes of the month are slightly different than top performances, as these runners had great showings at multiple events in the month. The top athlete of each month will be honored at the year end Christmas Party.

The top performer of the month of November is Rob Youngren. While there were others than ran some fast times, it was Rob who the selection committee determined earned the honor. Rob ran a personal best time at the Huntsville Half Marathon in 1:19:33, placing 8th overall amongst some very good competition.  Then just one week later, Rob ran 6:25:21 at the Dizzy 50's 40 miler, taking the overall victory.

These performances have earned Rob Youngren the distinction of the Athlete of the Month for November.

Athlete of the Month - Rob Youngren
  • Dizzy 50's - 40 mile title in 6:35:21 
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 8th overall - 1:19:33 (personal record)

Other Nominees for Athlete of the Month

Eric Charette
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 5th overall - 1:16:56
  • Helpline Turkey Trot - 1st place overall 16:41.9
Dana Overton
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 6th female overall - 1:39:35
  • Dizzy 50's 50km - 1st female and 8th overall overall 4:37:27
Candace Jacobs
  • Jingle Bell 5km - 1st female overall, 2nd overall 
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 1st female overall, 17th overall, state champion - 1:21:35
Blake Thompson
  • Krispy Creme Donut Champion
  • Huntsville Half Marathon - 9th overall - 1:19:43
  • Ragnar Relay Tennessee 5th overall and 1st ultra team with a time of 24:52:49 for 195 miles
Tim Vinson
  • Dizzy 50's 50km - 4th overall 4:13:03
  • Huntsville Half Marathon 11th overall - 1:20:02
Other athletes to watch who are on the rise include Brett Wilks and Greg Reynolds.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend Results

What an amazing weekend it was for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from Huntsville!  The Rocket City Marathon was the premier event not only in town but in the southeast and the team was well represented both in racing and with the Nike/Fleet Feet Pacing Teams.

On the men's side, last year's winner David Riddle ran a stellar 2:28:14 and earned 4th overall.  Personal bests were set by Blake Thompson and Greg Reynolds who both ran under three hours.  Brett Wilks had a great marathon debut by running 3:04.

On the women's side it was a run away win for local Candace Jacobs who ran a personal best 2:54:20.  Heather Day was the only other female team athlete who raced.

Official Results

4 2:28:14/2:28:14 David Riddle
23 2:53:03/2:53:04 Blake Thompson
27 2:54:20/2:54:21 Candace Jacobs
31 2:57:22/2:57:23 Greg Reynolds
33 2:57:54/2:57:54 Dave Purinton
47 3:04:08/3:04:09 3 Brett Wilks
51 3:05:14/3:05:16 Marty Clarke
80 3:10:45/3:10:46 Dewayne Satterfield
90 3:14:02/ 3:14:06 Shane O'Neill
174 3:27:10/3:27:22 Randy McFarland
225 3:32:20/3:32:40 Heather Day

Proving that the team is more than just racing, we had numerous current and former team mates who signed up to be Nike/Fleet Feet Pacers, unselfishly giving up their race day and training to help others achieve their goals.  Listed below are the pacers and how they ran.

65 3:08:18/3:08:20 Josh Hite - 3:10 pace group
98 3:14:35/3:14:40 Eric Schotz - 3:15 pace group
142 3:20:52/ 3:20:59 Eric Fritz - 3:20 pace group
201 3:29:3/3:29:43 Brett Addington - 3:30 pace group
230 3:33:23/3:33:37 John Nevels - 3:35 pace group
231 3:33:23/3:33:38 Dana Overton - 3:35 pace group
248 3:36:27/3:36:33 Jon Elmore - 3:20 pace group
284 3:38:46/3:39:04 Eric Charette - 3:40 pace group
337 3:45:04/3:45:24 Eric Patterson - 3:45 pace group
391 3:49:58/3:50:19 James Falcon - 3:50 pace group
516 3:59:33/4:00:01 Linda Scavarda - 4:40 pace group
560 4:04:24/4:05:00 David Rawlings - 4:05 pace group
637 4:12:47/4:13:28 Katie Maehlmann - 4:15 pace group
777 4:29:16/4:30:01 Jane Reneau - 4:30 pace group
1134 5:58:46/6:00:00 Rob Youngren - 6:00 sweep
1135 5:58:47/6:00:01 Kathy Youngren - 6:00 sweep

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weekend Results

While the racing schedule has lightened up since the fall and moving toward Rocket City Marathon, this weekend still featured some impressive performances from the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team.

Starting in Sacramento at the California International Marathon on Sunday, where Eric Charette improved his personal best by 10 minutes and 31 seconds by running 2:43:40 and placing 94th overall of 8,000 registered runners.  The competition was steep as the top 150 runners were under 2:50:00 and 290 runners were under the 3 hour mark.  14 American Women met the 2:47 time barrier to make the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.  After splitting the half marathon in 1:20:07 (and in 115th place) Eric gained 21 places with a late surge once the course crossed the American River in the final 5km.

Official Results

Locally in Huntsville, many team members were logging final miles for the upcoming marathon, but some chose to run the Over the River and Through the Woods 5 miler on the newly completed Hampton Cove Greenway.  Rob Youngren narrowly missed out on the overall win by 15 seconds, placing 2nd overall in a time of 29:43.  Kathy Youngren notched yet another win with a 34:58 and took 10th place overall.

Official Results

2 Robert Youngren - 29:43
10 Kathy Youngren - 34:58
18 Joey Butler - 7:31

The annual running of Frosty Freeze in Decatur was also this weekend and Jon Elmore posted a strong 2nd place overall finish with another sub 18 minute 5km!

Official Results

2 Elmore, Jon 17:59.96
6 Schotz, Eric 19:22.09
12 Rawlings, David 20:29.60
19 Rawlings, Lisa 21:26.19

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekend Results

With the past weekend being a holiday, it was a light race schedule but the team still rocked the HELPLine Turkey Trot 5km on Thanksgiving in Huntsville.

Celebrating his 35th birthday in style, Eric Charette took the overall win in a time of 16:41.9 on a rolling hill course located on the UA-Huntsville campus.  The team took all three podium positions with Greg Reynolds and Rob Youngren placing 2nd and 3rd overall.  Tim Vinson was the top male master in a time of 18:16.

Several times were significant on this day, including Blake Thompson breaking the 18 minute mark for the first time, Lynn Curry posting a 21:44 just 4 weeks after having her last child and Greg knocking 20 seconds off of his personal best; outstanding!

Overall Results

1 Eric Charette - 16:41.9 5:23/M
2 Gregory Reynolds -  17:24.0 5:37/M
3 Robert Youngren - 17:37.6 5:41/M
4 Blake Thompson -  17:55.0 5:47/M
7 Tim Vinson -18:16.8 5:54/M
28 David Rawlings - 20:53.7 6:44/M
32 Kathy Youngren - 20:58.7 6:46/M
33 Joey Butler - 21:02.9 6:47/M
40 Lynn Curry - 21:24.8 6:54/M
46 Lisa Rawlings - 21:44.9 7:01/M

At the Kennedy Space Center Marathon on Sunday, Lori Jandreau ran a personal best 3:14:01, earning her 3rd place female and 18th place overall.  Lori cut over 11 minutes off of her personal best!

Official Results

At the Gold's Gym Turkey Day 5km, Christy Scott ran a personal best 21:17! Another outstanding effort.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Results

This was a great weekend for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from Huntsville once again, staking up more impressive finishes at distances of 5km to 50 miles! Leading the charge was David Riddle, running his first ever 50 mile race at JFK50. David notched an impressive 5:53:09 and a second place finish. David's time proved that he is among the elites in this country at ultra running as is time was the 8th fastest time in 48 years of JFK. Dink Taylor ran 7:07:52 for 31st overall and DeWayne Satterfield ran 7:17:44 for 38th overall. There were 1014 FINISHERS, making it the largest ultra in the US. Official Results

In Huntsville at Dizzy 50's, Rob Youngren took the 40 mile title in 6:35:21 and Dana Overton ran a very fast (if not course record) time of 4:37:27 to take the women's title in the 50km distance. 4 4:13:03 Tim Vinson 5 4:31:59 Brett Wilks 8 4:37:27 Dana Overton 14 5:04:39 Christy Scott 18 5:15:33 Eric Patterson 32 5:46:35 Linda Scavarda 62 7:09:08 Eric Fritz 69 7:23:47 Blake Thompson Official Results
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Blake Thompson and Eric Fritz also competed in the Krispy Kreme Challenge, which consists of a 2 mile run, a dozen donuts, and a 2 mile run back without puking. Not only did Blake win, but he defeated last year's champion, David Rawlings. Before the start of the race, Blake and Eric also completed a loop at Dizzy, then ran the Donut Run, before returning to Dizzy where they finished the 50km in under the time limit. This concoction was coined the "Dizzy Donut" by Rob Youngren in 2009. Also competing in the Donut Run were James Falcon, Brad Schroeder and Joey Butler, who vowed the words, "Never again."
On Sunday, the annual Jingle Bell Run, Kevin Betts and Candace Jacobs took overall honors in the 5km. After training his No Boundaries 5km group for this even, Josh Kennedy ran a 20:52 (10th OA and 2nd in his age group). Kathy Youngren, Katie Maehlmann and Lisa Rawlings also ran very well, placing in their age group on a very warm and windy day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Results

An unusually warm weekend in Huntsville did not step the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from dominating at the Huntsville Half Marathon.  The team managed to place 4 runners in the top 10, lead by Donald Bowman and Eric Charette who all finished within 2 seconds of each other!  Donald also took overall Men's Master.  On the women's side, Candace Jacobs was first female and 17th overall.  There were many personal bests, including (at a minimum) Rob Youngren, Blake Thompson, Christy Scott and Lisa Rawlings.

Official Results

4 Donald Bowman - 1:16:54
5 Eric Charette - 1:16:56
8 Robert Youngren - 1:19:33
9 Blake Thompson - 1:19:43
11 Tim Vinson - 1:20:02
16 David Purinton - 1:21:06
17 Candace Jacobs - 1:21:35
22 Greg Reynolds - 1:26:40
24 Brett Wilks - 1:28:21
26 Shane O'Neill - 1:28:45
50 Conrad Meyer - 1:34:54
61 James Falcon - 1:36:34
62 Jon Elmore - 1:36:37
63 Randy McFarland - 1:36:46
67 Kathy Youngren - 1:37:43
71 David Rawlings - 1:38:57
74 Dana Overton - 1:39:35
84 Lisa Rawlings - 1:41:04
100 Christy Scott - 1:42:18
315 Joey Butler -1:59:21
406 Linda Scavarda - 2:05:49
637 Eric Fritz - 2:20:43

Elsewhere, Eric Schotz ran a strong 3:07:31 for 11th overall at the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. Eric took 3rd in his age group.

Official Results

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Results

In Huntington, West Virginia, Rick Maehlmann and Katie Maehmann ran very well at the 7th Annual Marshall University Marathon.  Rick ran 3:14:52 (49th overall) and Katie ran 3:29:25 (99th overall and 3rd in her age group)  Katie and Rick are both qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

Eric Fritz and Blake Thompson ran the Ragnar Relay from Chattanooga to Nashville this weekend as part of an ultra team and finished 5th overall and were the 1st ultra team with a time of 24:52:49 for 195 miles.  Kathy Youngren also competed on the Fleet Feet Huntsville Cupcake team, finishing in 29:18:52.

In New York City, Christy Scott ran 3:59:39 at the ING New York Marathon finishing in 14,493rd place out of 45,000 runners and in the top 3,000 female runners.

In Hartselle, Alabama, Jon Elmore won the All Saints 5km.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Weekend

The Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team of Huntsville is coming off an an epic weekend of racing but never rests and is racing all over the country once again.

Rick Maehlmann and Katie Maehmann will be in Huntington, West Virginia this weekend for the 7th Annual Marshall University Marathon.  This flat and fast course runs along the south shore of the Ohio River.  This will be marathon state number 16 for Katie and 17 for Rick in the 50 states quest.

Eric Fritz and Blake Thompson will running the Ragnar Relay from Chattanooga to Nashville this weekend as part of an ultra team. Team "Silly Rabbit, Ultras are for Real Runners" is made up of 6 runners and will tackle the 195 miles adventure through the rolling hills of southern Tennessee.

In New York City, Christy Scott will be running the ING New York Marathon.

In Hartselle, Alabama, Jon Elmore will be running the All Saints 5km after providing timing services for a 5km at midnight just hours before!

Good luck to the entire team in where ever your fleet feet take you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Athlete of the Month - October

The month of October could be described as the fastest month of racing in the history of the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team  as there were so many victories, state records and personal best times.

After reviewing race results and blog posts for the month of October here are the top Nike Fleet Fleet Racing Team athletes of the month. Included are the events that earned each athlete this distinction. Athletes of the month are slightly different than top performances, as these runners had great showings at multiple events in the month. The top athlete of each month will be honored at the year end Christmas Party.

The top performer of the month of October is shared by Brandon York and Candace Jacobs.  In the end, our selection committee determined that they were equally outstanding and instead of declaring one over the other, decided to award both of them.  Brandon started off the month by winning the Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km in a stellar time of 50:04, which was the fastest 15km on the team this season.  He went on to "train" through Liz Hurley in 15:44 for 2nd place and then in the speed showdown with Josh Whitehead and Blaise Binns at Spooktacular 5km, Brandon  won in another team season best time of 15:19.  Candace ran the same three races as Brandon, except she was the top overall female in all three races, setting state age records in in the 15km (by over 5 minutes) and then in the 5km at Spooktacular (by 5 seconds).

These performances have earned Brandon and Candace the distinction of the Athlete(s) of the Month for October.

Athletes of the Month

Brandon York
  • 1st overall Spooktacular 5km - 15:19 (Team season best)
  • 2nd overall Liz Hurley 5km - 15:44
  • 1st overall Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 50:04 (Team season best)

Candace Jacobs
  • 1st female overall (13th overall) Spooktacular 5km - 17:34 (State age record & Team season best)
  • 1st overall Liz Hurley 5km - 17:55
  • 1st female overall (12th overall) Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 58:37 (State age record & Team season best)

Other Nominees for Athlete of the Month

Brad Schroeder
  • 3rd overall Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 53:59
  • 3rd overall Liz Hurley 5km - 16:09
  • 56th overall Army 10 miler - 55:31
  • 4th overall Spooktacular 5km - 16:08
Eric Charette
  • 2nd overall Life Without Limits 1/2 marathon 1:15:32 (Team season best)
  • 1st overall Xterra 5km - 18:50
  • 7th overall Liz Hurley 5km - 16:36
Donald Bowman
  • 6th overall Spooktacular 5km - 16:59
  • 8th overall Liz Hurley 5km - 16:58
  • 4th overall Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km - 54:32
  • 1st overall Toray/Rebuilding Together 5km - 17:10
Rob Youngren
  • 5th overall Spooktacular 5km - 16:53
  • 3rd overall Xterra 15km - 1:14:04
  • 10th overall Liz Hurley 5km - 17:16
  • 2nd overall Arsenal 10km
    Team members that look to be on the rise for October include Tim Vinson, Marty Clarke and Blake Thompson.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Weekend Results

    In Huntsville at the 2nd Annual Fleet Feet Spooktacular 5km it was a banner day for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team as Brandon York and Candace Jacobs both took overall top spots as Brandon ran a team best for the season in 15:19 and Candace ran a 17:34 personal best.  Personal bests were also set by Jon Elmore, Christy Scott and Eric Patterson.  Rob Youngren ran 6 seconds off of his personal best from age 24!

    1 Brandon York 15:19
    4 Brad Schroeder 16:08
    5 Robert Youngren 16:53
    6 Donald Bowman 16:59
    8 Jon Elmore 17:23
    10 Marty Clarke 17:26
    13 Candace Jacobs 17:34
    24 Eric Patterson 18:29
    41 Katie Maehlmannn 20:44
    46 Kathy Youngren 20:58
    66 Christy Scott 21:57
    501 Eric Fritz 35:20 (with daughter)
    572 Shane O'Neill 39:07 (with son)

    In Florence, Eric Charette was just 10 seconds off of the old course record at the Life Without Limits Half Marathon, running a team best this season time of 1:15:32 and was 2nd overall.  It was a 66 second personal best for Eric.  Linda Scavarda also ran a personal best 1:35:58 and was 3rd overall.

    In Greenville, South Carolina at the 6th Annual Spinx Run Fest MarathonLisa Rawlings set a personal best time of 3:37:11 and David Rawlings ran a strong 3:26:24.

    Congrats to the entire team on a great weekend.

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    This Weekend

    David Rawlings and Lisa Rawlings headline this weekend for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team of Huntsville as they head to Greenville, South Carolina for the 6th Annual Spinx Run Fest Marathon. This course is relatively flat with straight roads and includes 6 miles on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

    In Huntsville, the 2nd Annual Fleet Feet Spooktacular 5km will be held downtown. This race is directed by the Team Events/Apparel Coordinator Sarah Bowden. Racing from the team are Brandon York, Candace Jacobs, Shane ONeill, Rob Youngren, Kathy Youngren, Brad Schroeder, Jon Elmore, Katie Maehlmann and Eric Fritz.

    In Florence, Linda Scavarda will be racing the Life Without Limits Half Marathon. This course starts on the north side of the Tennessee River and crosses over the Wilson Dam, traverses some scenic paths before returning back across the Bridge.

    Congratulations to team member Lynn Curry (and Husband Nate) on the birth of lovely Quinn Antonia Curry, born October 26, 2010 at 8:27am, weighing in at 6.0 lbs and 19 inches long!

    Good luck to the entire team in where ever your Fleet Feet take you!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Stone Steps 50km Race Report by David Riddle

    I've been thinking about doing a blog for while, but I just haven't gotten around to setting it all up. So I figured I'd just throw a few thoughts down about my race this past weekend and how the training has been going for JFK.

    Let me share some background first. If you care enough to have read this far, you probably know that I moved from Huntsville to Cincinnati in June. I ran an easy 50k just a couple days after I drove up because I was living in a hotel, Stefanie and the dog weren't with me yet, and I didn't have anything else to do that weekend. So what if I had trained all spring for a 10k and it was less than a week after running 31:37 at Cotton Row? I ended up running 3:34:34 and breaking the course record at Another Dam 50k really, that's its real name...because you run across a dam. It was a relatively easy course, other than the very slippery mud, so I was pleased, but it wasn't anything to write home about. But that race finished off my spring season and I took some major (for me) downtime from running and racing.

    It's really difficult to run and race well when you're moving into a new house and have a new job and are trying to get settled, so the timing was not coincidental. I ran easy for 6 weeks at about 50% peak mileage before starting to build back with my eyes on running the JFK 50 miler in November. I started doing some quality workouts and long runs with a group based out of Bob Roncker's Running Spot; most of the team was training for Chicago or another fall marathon so it fit in reasonably well with what I needed to be doing - minus the fact that they don't get off the roads much. I ran the Hood to Coast relay in August with a corporate team from GE, and it showed my fitness was still very good even though I ran it mostly for fun. Since that point, I ran 7 consecutive 90mi+ weeks leading into Stones Steps 50k this past weekend.

    I went into this weekend's race with the mindset that it was going to be a tune-up race for JFK. I wanted to go hard and knock the rust out of my legs so to speak, but I didn't want it to be an all out race effort. I knew from running the course in training a couple times that even at that level of effort I should be able to break the 4:16 course record if everything went to plan. Since I'd never run past 31 miles, and I'm about to attempt a 50 mi race for the first time, I wanted to run a bit longer, just to mentally convince myself that it was possible. So, 30 min before the 8AM race start, I went out for a 3 mi warmup - something I don't normally do before a 50k. That left me with 8 min to take off my warmups, change into my trail shoes, grab my water bottle and catch a few pre-race announcements. I saw Eric Schotz (who was up in the area visiting family) at the starting line and wished him luck. He was the only person in the entire field that I knew.

    The race starts and I immediately have deja vu, flashing back to Mtn Mist when Carl Laniak took off at sub 6 min pace...and I stupidly followed. A man, who I'll call Harvey...because that's his name...I just didn't know it at the time...takes off at probably 5 min pace for the first 200m or so. I was planning on starting conservatively and I ask out loud, to no one in particular, if this guy was legit. It wasn't like there was a bottleneck imminent at the trailhead. To each their own I guess. I caught him before the first mile mark without pushing it all. A third guy followed me closely, but this was the only company I'd have all day.

    The course consists of a 5+ mi loop and a 3+ mi loop which meet in the center of Mt Airy Forest at a pavilion where all of the aid was located. You run both 3 times, then finish with an extra 5 mile loop. The 5 mi loop has 2 pretty good climbs, one of which consists of about 250 vertical feet of stone steps for which the course is named. (I've attached a link to my GPS data at the bottom of this post.) Neither "major" climb was very long, but both were so steep that I walked a significant portion of each. The trail was almost all single track and somewhat technical, but still very runnable most of the time.

    I was determined to be patient and sit behind Harvey (still the leader) for at least the first loop. I was successful in doing that for the first 5 mi section and let him gain a ~30s lead leaving for our first time on the 3 mi loop because I stopped to refill my bottle. The third place guy stopped to use the facilities, and so he joined me as I returned to the trails. We caught Harvey pretty quickly just as the trail opened up into what amounted to a big, flat field that we had to cross before entering another portion of single track. This allowed the 3 of us to bunch up and exchange names. When I told Harvey my name, and he established I had moved from Huntsville, he informed me that he met a training partner of mine at Spartathalon. I knew immediately that he must have been talking about Kathy and Rob Youngren. I instantly had more respect for him knowing that he did Spartathalon, but I was perhaps even more perplexed as to why he would start as fast as he did with that kind of experience.

    Unfortunately for my new friends, these flat, wide open areas are exactly the type of course where I can just cruise effortlessly. The pace had begun to slow, so I just naturally took over the pacing. The 3rd place guy moved into second and followed me for the rest of the short loop back to the aid station as we pulled away from Harvey. I took my time refilling my bottle and grabbed another gel but didn't wait for him as I left the aid station because I could tell by his breathing that the pace was a little too much for him to handle. 8.5 miles in and I'm alone and nicely warmed up and the trails were wide open. So of course I started running too fast. After a while, I started catching people. Some were in the 50k and being lapped, and others were part of a 27k race that started 30 min after the 50k. Trying to pass people who are wearing headphones on narrow single track trail is frustrating, so I just run even faster. To be fair, most people at least attempted to give me some room as I passed.

    Fast forward to about 20 miles and I found myself alone again and realized that I had probably been going faster than I should have. Especially if I wanted to put in a few more miles after the race on the roads. I tried to relax a bit especially as I started my last 5 mi loop. I knew I was well under the CR and I was pretty tired. My quads were starting to spasm, which I can't remember ever happening before so that was kind of scary. I realized that I had not taken any of my salt tabs all day and the temperature had been creeping up into the unseasonably warm 70s. Fortunately I had a couple of electrolyte caplets in my water bottle pouch and I think they actually worked, because the spasms went away after a few more minutes. I can't afford to make that kind of mental mistake at JFK. Lesson learned. I cruised in the remainder of the last loop and finished in 3:44:39 with a CR by over 30 minutes. I quickly changed shoes and headed out for another 3 miserable miles on the roads. I had originally thought about making it to 40 miles total, but I just ran too hard in the 50k. So 37 miles in 4:40 total running clock time.

    All in all, it was a good day. I learned some lessons and got a little reality check before JFK. Big thanks to race directors Dave Corfman (2010 Badwater finisher) and Andy Jones (road 100mi WR holder) for putting on this great event.

    Finally, a couple gear/product shoutouts. It was my first race in my Nike Pegasus Trail shoes and I liked them a lot. I've been running mostly on the roads here in Cincy, and I wanted a trail shoe that felt more like the road shoes I am so comfortable in. I'm curious to see how they would handle a really muddy, wet course. I am a huge fan of GU gels and GU Brew energy drink. Another drink was provided, but I can barely get that stuff down. There is simply no comparison when it comes to taste. The raspberry and lemon lime flavors are both great.

    This was way longer than I intended. I can't believe you're still reading. Go run.


    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Weekend Results

    The Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team of Huntsville showed very well this weekend across the country.

    In the Mount Airy Forest near Cincinnati, Ohio, David Riddle ran 3:44 and shattered the course record (4:16) at Stone Steps 50km.  Clearly David is in prime shape for JFK50 next month.  Not to be outdone, Eric Schotz ran a great 5:04 and earned 4th place overall.  Shown below are Eric and David.

    At the Xterra Monte Sano 15km/5km in Huntsville, Rob Youngren finished 3rd overall with a a time of 1:14:04 on a very challenging course with three major climbs.  Team mates Heather Day and Christy Scott ran 1 and 2 for the females with times of 1:28:28 and 1:33:56 respectively.  Eric Charette handled co-race director duties along with Dirty Spokes and also was the overall winner of the 5km (3.25 miles) in a time of 18:50.

    In Fayetteville, TN on Saturday, James Falcon was the overall winner at the Imagination Library 5km for his first win in "several decades" as he put it!

    On Sunday in Washington, DC, many team members raced in the Army 10 Miler and were lead by Brad Schroeder in 56th place of 21,636 runners.

    56 Brad Schroeder - 55:31
    109 Tim Vinson - 58:23
    453 Brett Wilks - 1:04:47
    469 Randy McFarland - 1:04:59

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    This Weekend

    This looks to be another busy weekend for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team across the country.

    In the Mount Airy Forest near Cincinnati, Ohio, Eric Schotz and David Riddle will tackle the Stone Steps 50km.

    This morning in Athens, Alabama, Lisa and David Rawlings will look to run some fast times on the flat and fast Run For Glory 5km.

    On Sunday, Tim Vinson, Brad Schroeder, Randy McFarland and others will be in Washington, DC for the Army 10 Miler.  We will have the official team participation and results on Monday for this.

    Also on Sunday, Rob Youngren and James Falcon will be running the Xterra Monte Sano 15km/5km in Huntsville.  Eric Charette is the co-race director for this challenging event atop the mountain.

    Good luck to the entire team in where ever your fleet feet take you.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Week(day) Results

    Congrats to Rick Maehlmann for running a stout 5km time of 18:45 at the 2010 MSFC Running Club 5k held at Marshall Space Flight Center on Wednesday. That makes two fast times for Rick over a 5 day period! He was 2nd overall.


    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Weekend Results

    Another outstanding weekend for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from Huntsville, starting with one of the premier 5km races in the area, Liz Hurley 5km.  This race draws the best of the best and you have to be on your game to place in your age group, let alone overall.  The team took 5 of the top 10 places for men and
    6 of the top 10 places for women.  The team was lead by Brandon York who placed 2nd overall with a 15:44 in a men's field where the top 8 were all under 17 minutes.  Candace Jacobs shattered her 5km personal best and registered a 17:55 for overall female.  Other personal bests on this day were set by Lisa Rawlings and Eric Charette.

    Overall Results

    2 15:44 Brandon York 25M
    3 16:09 Brad Schroeder 26M Owens Cross Roads AL
    7 16:36 Eric Charette 34M Huntsville AL
    8 16:58 Donald Bowman 42M Madison AL
    10 17:16 Robert Youngren 36M Huntsville AL
    12 17:24 Kevin Betts 33M Laceys Spring AL
    14 17:32 Clarke Marty 48M Huntsville AL
    15 17:48 Dink Taylor 45M Hampton Cove AL
    16 18:07 Blake Thompson 29M Huntsville AL
    23 18:44 Brett Wilks 30M Huntsville AL
    24 18:47 Schotz Eric 38M Decatur AL
    26 18:51 shane oneill 38M huntsville AL
    28 18:54 Rick Maehlmann 34M Madison AL
    29 18:56 Carl Smith 48M Madison AL
    30 18:58 James Falcon 39M Huntsville AL
    42 19:54 David Rawlings 39M Decatur AL
    52 20:19 Eric Fritz 43M Huntsville AL

    Overall Results

    1 17:55 Candace Jacobs 30F Huntsville AL
    2 18:40 Caitlin Morris 25F Madison AL
    5 20:51 Lisa Rawlings 35F Decatur AL
    6 21:20 Kathy Youngren 36F Huntsville AL
    7 21:20 Heather Day 40F Athens AL
    9 21:45 Linda Scavarda 26F Toney AL
    11 21:55 Whitney Hollingsworth 46f Elkmont AL

    Greg Reynolds had a rough day at the Kansas City Marathon where he fought a good battle through 24.5 miles before having to seek medical attention. Greg was on pace to run sub 3 hours through the half way mark.

    At the Oktoberfest 5K Open CC race at St. Bernard, Jon Elmore ran 18:01 was 2nd overall and top men's master.

    Lori Jandreau also set a personal best this weekend in the half marathon, lowering her mark by 1:05 to 1:31:47 and finished 2nd FOA in a half marathon in Vero Beach, Florida.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    My Heartland Experience by Christy Scott

    My Heartland Experience by Christy Scott
    October 9-10, 2010

    After running the Heartland 100 VERY slowly in 2009 (29 hrs, 30 minutes), I decided to try again in 2010, with hopes of breaking 24 hours and finish in the top 5 women. I trained very hard for several months leading up to this race, with weekly mileage peaking at 91 miles about three weeks out from race day. I worked extremely hard on cleaning up my diet and being consistent with my running so that I would be in peak physical and mental condition. I dropped approximately 20 pounds from June to October with this strict plan and felt awesome! I ran several races to prepare for Heartland, including the Bartlett Park 50k in hot, humid, Memphis about four weeks out from the race. My training also included back to back long runs almost every weekend, as well as lots of training runs out in the middle of the hot, Alabama summer days, which paid off on race day. The weather for 2009’s race was cold and windy, to say the least. It was miserable. Layers upon layers of clothes were worn the entire time and the wind was brutal! 2010 brought about a new challenge with temps predicted to be in the lower 80’s. Well, they were close. Upper 80’s was what we actually got. Because of the heat training that I did all summer long, it was not detrimental to me or my performance.

    The morning of the race was absolutely beautiful. The temps were around 50 degrees and the black sky was filled with stars. It was perfect. I started out in shorts, a sleeveless top, gloves and a very light Brooks jacket, just to keep the chill off and block the wind if there was any. When we were given the “Go!” at 6 AM, I was ready to roll. I started out with no headphones so that I could enjoy the quiet, early morning beauty of the Flint Hills of Kansas. This place is amazing. It was very dark, so our headlamps were on and lighting our way along the gravel roads. After about an hour of running in quiet, I decided to turn on my audio book that I had downloaded onto my Ipod. I had chosen a sort of “Self improvement” book to give me positive vibes along the first 42.5 miles that I would be doing alone. This proved to be an excellent idea. The book gave me such energy and enthusiasm, that I kept having to remind myself to slow down. I looked down at my Garmin several times to find myself running a 9 minute mile. Not bad for a marathon, not great for a 100 miler. So, I continually reminded myself to stay closer to the 10 minute pace.

    One of my absolute favorite things about the 2009 Heartland race was the amazing sunrise and sunsets that they get to experience in the Flint Hills. Words cannot describe this amazing sight. Pictures don’t even do it justice. The sky begins to light up in reds and oranges, then when the sun breaks the horizon, WOW!

    This site struck such awe in me last year, that I insisted that this be an important highlight of my Heartland 100 tattoo that I got back in February of this year to commemorate my first 100 miler. Thanks to my friend and pacer, Robert, for taking such great pictures for me. He really was in tune with what I was looking for, as far as capturing the moments of the race for me.

    This year, I was determined to do everything right, so I began by eating every hour. I used various things, like PB&J sandwiches, cheese tortilla wraps, pretzels, peanut M&M’s, and tons of Honey Stinger electrolyte/energy chews. I drank the entire time as well. I knew that with the heat that was coming on, hydration would be of utmost importance. So far, so good. This is the first ultra that I have ever done where I had no stomach issues at all. Hallelujah!!!

    I first got to see my crew, which as of right now, consisted of Stuart and Robert at mile 16.8 at approximately 9 AM. Judy would be coming along later in the day to join me in the early evening segment. The weather was awesome and I was feeling good at this point. The guys had my stuff ready for me and filled my bottle quickly to get me back on course. It was so smooth and fast that I was back on the course in a matter of minutes. They really did a great job for me and I can’t imagine doing a race like this without them.

    I continued on, feeling great and keeping ahead of the anticipated schedule. I was able to see my crew again at miles 25 and 36.5, which was always a welcome relief. Seeing friendly faces and having them assure me that I was having a great race was so helpful. At mile 42.5, my first pacer was able to join me. Stuart took this section, as it is long and challenging, and he is a very experienced runner. It is a 15 mile section with lots of hills. We started this section at 1:53 PM, approximately 1 hour ahead of schedule. It was getting pretty warm out, but training in the Alabama heat and humidity all summer really helped me tremendously. Stuart and I hit the 50-mile turnaround at 9 hours and 15 minutes. This was my fastest 50 mile time ever. I was really excited now! During this section, I went back and forth a couple of times with the woman who eventually won the race.

    The next section was run with Robert. He came up from Oklahoma City to help me with this endeavor, and I was very grateful for it. This section was a little shorter, 6 miles to be exact. The heat was at its worst at this time. We still ran a good pace and were still an hour ahead of schedule when we came into the next crew stop.

    The next section, which was 11.5 miles, was run with Judy. She is one of my running buddies from my old stomping grounds in Kansas. The sun began to go down during our section, so we turned on the headlamps. Judy and I ran across a rattlesnake on the road, which woke us both up very quickly, although he was no threat at all. We came into the next crew stop at mile 74.9 at 9:15 PM, a full hour and a half ahead of schedule. Things were going still going well.

    Robert was up next again, with an 8.2 mile section ahead of us. It was completely dark now and much cooler. We both welcomed the cooler temps and continued on our way, staying ahead of schedule the entire time. We saw another snake on the course, although he wasn’t moving very quickly considering the cool weather. It was during this section that I dropped back from 2nd female to 3rd female. Robert could tell that this bothered me, but he kept things positive and assured me that 3rd place was mine. I was happy with that, although you never like getting passed this far into the game. I knew that she looked much stronger than I did at this point and that I would likely not be able to catch her again. I was having pain in my lower left leg, although it was nothing like the pain I went through in the 2009 race. We maintained a fast walking pace, then tried to run short sections here and there. He encouraged me to try and run whenever I could, even though I sometimes only ran for 20-30 seconds at a time. I decided that at the next crew stop/aid station, that I would change socks and put on my compression socks to alleviate some of the pain and swelling that was going on. This was the last section of the race and I was so pumped up about being so close to the end.

    Stuart took over the duties at this point, which was mile 83.1 in the race. He would continue on with me to finish the race. By this point, there was no more running. I was happy to be able to maintain a fast walk though, as last year, all I could manage was a stumble. This is by far, the hardest section of the race, mentally. You are physically tired, mentally exhausted and sleep deprived. Add that to the fact that I was in moderate pain and it is not a great situation. The thing that kept my spirits up was that we were so closed to finishing and that I was actually not only going to meet my goal of breaking 24 hours, but would actually break 23 hours and finish in the top 3 females! I had hoped to be in the top 5, so this was so exciting for me. I tried to keep the tears from coming and managed to do fairly well. As anyone who has done this race will tell you, the last 3 miles or so is miserable. You can see the lights from the finish line, but you never seem to get there. The thing about Kansas is that even though there are lots of hills on the course, there are sections, like this one, that are completely flat, enabling you to see for miles and miles. Very disheartening when you’re trying to get to a finish line. When we finally turned the final corner to get to the finish, I was overwhelmed. I was so tired, but so very excited at the same time. I crossed the finish, walked around for a minute, then went a laid down in the tent that they had set up with a nice, warm heater in it. As you can see, it only took me a very short while to be dozing off.

    Stuart and Robert managed to wake me and get me moving again so that we could get home. I know they were exhausted as well. My left lower leg was now swollen and bruised and very hard to move. I had blisters only on the insides of my big toes, which was a pleasant surprise, considering the terrain of the course. Now, 4 days later, there is still swelling and a little tenderness, but it gets a little better each day. I hope to be running again within the next few days. The results of the race are listed below. I ended up finishing 3rd female, 14th overall with a time of 22:56:58. There were 98 starters, and 55 that finished. The heat took its toll on a lot of runners on this day. Will I do another 100 miler? Well, of course I will.  Thank you so much to Stuart, Robert and Judy. You guys are awesome and you made this possible for me. I owe you big time!

    Heartland Spirit of the Prairie 100 Mile
    Cassoday KS October 9, 2010

    Place / First / Last / City / State / Gender / Age / Time
    6 Susan Lance Whitesburg GA F 50 20:22:59
    10 Tara Tosta Carrollton TX F 37 21:39:46
    14 Christy Scott Owens Cross Roads AL F 37 22:56:58

    This Weekend

    Greg Reynolds will be headlining on the roads for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team as he tackles the Kansas City Marathon. This rolling hill course shares the roads with the half marathon for the first 7.5 miles and then again for the final 5.5 miles. The forecast is for starting temperatures in the low 50's and if Greg hits his goal time, he will never see the 80's that are predicted for the afternoon.

    Locally in Huntsville is the second event in the Huntsville Track Club's 2010-2011 Gran Prix Season with the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5km. This rolling course has some tough climbs for a fast 5km in the first half but finishes along Adams with a straight shot down to the end. Confirmed racing are Blake Thompson and Rick Maehlmann.

    Good luck to the entire team in where ever your Fleet Feet may take you.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Weekend Results

    This was a great weekend for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team from Huntsville as the team showed proudly in several races.

    Our headliner was Christy Scott, who finished her second 100 mile race at Heartland Spirit of the Prairie in Cassoday, Kansas in 22:56 and was 3rd overall female.  This was a personal best by more than a quarter of a day!

    In Huntsville, the Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km was dominated by the Racing Team including Brandon York winning overall in a blazing time of 50:04.  Brad Schroeder rounded out the podium with a 3rd overall and Donald Bowman was the first men's master finisher. 

    On the women's side, Candace Jacobs was first female and 12th overall with a 58:37, which was 5 minutes and 18 seconds better than the old state record.  Whitney Hollingsworth was 2nd female master's finisher.

    1 Brandon York - 50:04
    3 Brad Schroeder - 53:59
    4 Donald Bowman - 54:32
    5 Tim Vinson - 57:20
    7 Marty Clarke - 57:44
    8 Dink Taylor - 58:13
    10 David Purinton - 58:26
    11 Blake Thompson - 58:35
    12 Candace Jacobs - 58:37
    15 Eric Patterson - 1:01:39
    20 Rick Maehlmann - 1:02:36
    25 Randy McFarland - 1:04:09
    27 James Falcon - 1:04:41
    41 Eric Fritz - 1:08:12
    49 Linda Scavarda - 1:10:34
    53 Heather Day - 1:11:12
    58 Whitney Hollingsworth -1:11:55

    Official Results

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Lean Horse Hundred by Eric Fritz

    First an apology... this is painfully long, but I'm not really a writer and hey, 100 miles is a long way...

    About 5 years ago a friend of mine told me he ran a local race here in Huntsville that was a 50K. At the time I had only run a 10K or two and was completely dumbfounded at such a thought. Why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing. Well, it was only a bit more than a year later and I followed suit and ran that same race (Mountain Mist, great race BTW). What a great way to spend a day, just running through the woods. I was hooked. So as the years progress I ran more and more 50K races, but then early last year I started thinking I’d like to do something more. Well fast forward a year and a half and here I stand. 6:00am in Hot Springs, SD in the dim light of dawn about to go for the run of my life (so far). Here’s how I spent my day…

    The plan
    Well, in all the hours of training on the road with different friends, one thing stuck out in my mind when planning this thing. A comment from local running legend Dink Taylor, implied the possibly there may be some correlation between your 5k PR and your 100 mile PR. I know, this follows no real logic, but I did a bit of research (e.g. asking friends) and like the infamous Yasso 800's rule, it seems to work more often than not. So with this silly logic in my head, I take my recently achieved goal to break the 20 min 5k barrier and immediately extend this to set my A goal to break the 20 hour mark. So, 19:54 is set as my A goal. My B goal I set at 23:30 because, I deep down I really want that sub 24 hour buckle and the C goal, well it's obviously anything less than 30 hours. Gotta finish! So I take this and add in the experience of my friend Rob Youngren who implies that the second 50 miles should be about 1:30 to 2 hours slower than the first 50 and come up with a pacing plan that should possibly get me through this thing. So for my A plan, my first 50 should be in 9:10 and the second 50 in 10:45. That's 11 min/mile for the first half and just under 13 min/mile for the second. Should be a piece of cake right... yeah right.

    Lots of fun getting to South Dakota with friends and then driving down from Rapid City to Hot Springs. Sights to see like Mt. Rushmore and the beautiful Black Hills. We end up driving along a fair amount of the course or at least the roads nearby it. As we’re driving along, I decide to break out the Garmin and check the elevations, the high point seemed to be right at the Crazy Horse monument around 6000’ and steadily dropped down to the little town of Custer. We follow the course along the gravel road section and even drive up to the reservoir close to the start. Nothing looks too difficult (except that reservoir climb) from the car so I’m feeling pretty good. Check into the hotel, walk over to packet pickup and grab a bite to eat. Just basically lounge around all evening to try and settle the nerves before the race. All you really want is for time to fly by so you can just get started. Finally time to go to bed, set out everything for the next morning and all is a go. The only thing I’m missing is my Garmin as I left it in the car and I don’t want to bother Sarah at this point to get the keys. No worries, I only used it briefly and it won’t last the whole race anyway. It was more just to keep me on track for some of the early miles. Morning comes, and I’m all set to go. Get the keys to get my Garmin only to find… batteries are low. So, it looks like I’ll be running blind as far as pace goes. Oh well, I brush it off and we head to the start across the street.

    The race:
    It all started out pretty well. I ran with the pack through town, nothing fast, nothing slow. To be honest, I really wanted to go out a bit fast as that is typically my M.O. and I suppose I did but with no Garmin, it was hard to tell. I kept Blake, Rob and Kathy in sight (though at a fair distance) through most of the first 5 miles at least so it must have been somewhat fast. Running through the small town of Hot Springs, SD was adrenaline filled. So much is on your mind but you can’t really focus on any of it. You just run. We run right by the prettiest point in town where a waterfall drops down a cliff on your left and flows across the trail into the stream on your right. (Completely fabricated IMHO but nice nonetheless) Here there is a photographer taking pictures of us on the path. I smile and give him a thumbs up... he ignores me and doesn't take my picture. Hmmm. Continuing on, we make through the heart of the town and start to leave by some residential streets on our way to the Coldbrook reservoir.

    One thing that I realized much later is that even though runners of different races (50K, 50Mile, 100Mile) were wearing different # series of bibs, you don't really notice it as much as you think. I remember noting that the second female in the 50mile (behind Kathy) was with up the hill to the reservoir but there were numerous other runners around me and it wasn't until much later that I realized they were only running one of the 50 distances.

    So, I continued to push it a bit, running some of the uphill to the reservoir but with the terrain the way it was (fair amount of uphill) my pace would definitely not show that I was moving fast. Anyway, finally we get to the top of the hill and start running down the back side to the campground by the lake. I remember someone asking me if there were bathrooms at the first aid station. Having scouted out this part of the route the day before I let him know there were and watched him fly by me only to disappear into one of the bathrooms 5 mins ahead, glad to not have that issue myself.

    Just past the campground is the first aid station at around 4 miles. By this point I have already pretty much drained my bottle so I fill it up. (It was a bit frustrating as I have to do it myself from the spigot of a cooler, but I’ve got all day and they were nice otherwise.) Leaving, I grabbed a handful of trail mix from the table out of a big bowl and all I can think of is another blogger's comment I heard about in the past referencing "ass lube chips" (yes, that is as disgusting as you think it is)

    After the aid station we continue through a field on a grassy road. (there are some dirt ruts, but it is obviously very infrequently traveled) It runs between high grass meadows on both sides with a bit of a rocky wall. Really nice, I think to myself. Unfortunately, this stretch only lasts about 3/4 of a mile and then we’re dumped on what will forever be remembered as the nightmare that is "Argyle Rd". This road was nice enough on the surface, but just NOT nice enough to make itself infamous. It starts with a 2 mile uphill that is completely deceiving. One of those hills that you keep thinking you’re going to get to the summit only to find that when you get there, it just keeps on going. I run as much as I can and finally make it to the top. Along the way I keep getting passed by what I believe are other 100 mile runners. I also believe that most of their bibs seem to have green stickers (green stickers indicate first time 100 runners). This both disheartens me as I’m getting passed up but also scares me a bit. Am I running too slow? Or are they all really just a bunch of first timers going to fast out of the gate... who knows... I just keep trying to do my thing.
    Somewhere around here, Joey Butler catches up to me and we run together. I was surprised to see him as Joey has had a tendency to start very slow and pace himself very well in all our training, but I'm glad to have the company. We continue along this nasty rolling gravel road for a few miles enjoying having someone to talk to. Soon though he insists that I'm on the verge of leaving him and that I need to just go ahead. I felt he was running well but he forces the issue by starting to walk. Oh well, not too happy to start out on my own again, I lower my head and press on while he takes it easy.

    After a while, I finally start to recognize the turns, indicating that we're getting close to the Mickelson Trail and the location of the first drop bags when I notice what I think is Rob Youngren ahead. I can't really believe it could be him as he is quite a better runner than I. As I get a bit closer I decide that it really is him so I do what I can to try and catch up to him, hoping for more company. I run along with him listening to him chat with Stan Ferguson (Race Director for Arkansas Traveller 100) and just wondering to myself why the two of them are running back here with a newbie like me. (it never really crossed my mind to think that they were being a bit smarter about things than I. Ignorance is bliss I suppose). Finally we pull in to the Argyle Loop aid station and put the nasty gravel road behind us.
    Up to this point I have been deliberately running a bit fast as I started the day without putting on any sunscreen. I knew that I put some in my drop bag and although it was still nice out, the sun was up and penetrating. The sun was my biggest concern going into this race and I knew that if I got sunburned, it was going to be a long painful day. Well anyway, after rummaging through my bag, I realize that based on my time estimates, I was supposed to arrive at the next drop bag around 10:30 or so and figured I didn't need sunscreen until after 10am. Disheartened, at no suntan lotion, I just grab my next set of nutrition and get on my way. Rob and Stan were already out of the station before me but I catch them quickly. They seem to be having a good old time chatting away so I just run on by a bit stunned that I'm ahead of a couple of previous Grand Slam finishers.

    The Mickelson Trail is about as cupcake of a trail that you will ever see. It is a rails to trails project so minimal grades on all hills and those that built it really made a nice trail. It consists of very small shale type gravel, hard packed into the ground so there is absolutely no chance for tripping anywhere (except for maybe the occasional bridge) This run is going to be a piece of cake right!? Hmmm.
    Well, it takes no time at all on this well manicured trail before I start to really feel the scourge of the day... rocks in my shoes. I didn't realize yet how bad I would hate them, but hate them I did. I decide to take a break on the split rail fence lining the trail and dump out my shoes. This turns out to be a regular occurrence throughout the run as my feet seem to be a magnet for crud. Next time I think I really will investigate some gaiters. At least this section is slightly downhill so the going is easy.
    Over the next 4 miles I start thinking about my parents and where they might be, you see they were driving back from California to Maryland and had recently stopped at Yellowstone Nat'l Park. I had spoken to them a couple days before and they indicated that they may swing by and say hi along the trail, but as soon as we got close to the race's host city, ATT disappeared completely from its usual spotty coverage so I had no real clue what their plans really were. Anyway, the Mickelson Trail travels very close to the main road on and off, so I started looking around to see if they may be out there. I run through the next aid station, only stopping to refill my bottle and grab whatever is convenient to eat.
    The next stretch is the first real stretch where you are away from civilization for a while. It's very nice countryside and I enjoy the peace and quiet. There are still numerous people in sight but no one real close so I let my mind wander and just cruise along. In a little while I see Kathy Youngren, cruising along on her way back from the 50mile turnaround. Her words of encouragement... "What the hell Fritz, you better slow down!". I laugh and explain that it's my plan to crash and burn (joking of course).
    Coming into the next aid station (Pringle) there is still quite the crowd. The race is early and both the 50K and 50 Milers are still in the pack and all the fans are clapping for everyone who comes by so you feel a bit like a rock star. I make my way past the crowd looking to get to my drop bag when all of a sudden I hear "Hello Eric" and there's my Mom smiling at me. I walked right past her. Well, even though I was thinking about them earlier, I'm a bit shocked that they actually showed up. Seems they had been planning on showing up all the time, but not really coming forth with it to try and not disturb my pre-race rituals (e.g. not add to my stress). It was nice to have them there, my Dad had already found my drop bag and had it ready for me. As mentioned above, I've been stressing about the sun for a while now and am happy to finally get my suntan lotion put on. It's even nicer that Mom and Dad can help spray it on my back. Well, I change my socks, change my shirt (from singlet to short sleeves... more paranoia of the sun), grab a fair amount of food (grapes, chips, ham sandwich) and am on my way again. Mom and Dad say they'll see me down the road.

    At this point I'm about 15 mins ahead of my 'A' goal so I am feeling pretty good. The next stretch is difficult though, slightly uphill and the sun is blazing. About 4+ miles in, I see a nice rest area on the side of the road and lots of cars. Expecting another aid station I down my bottle, only to find out that there is no aid station. I suffer wondering what the heck is up for at least anther 2 miles but with no water it feels like at least another 4 miles. Strike two for not having my Garmin with me. Along this stretch while I'm suffering, I'm passed by a couple of females, whom I assume are the leading females of the 100 mile run, that’s to be expected as I typically run shortly behind the leading females in most races. Finally, I make it to the next aid station and hang out for a while trying to recover from being dry for a while. No Mom and Dad here as they must have moved on to the next drop bag stop. Shortly after the aid station, I notice that one of the females has turned around for the 50k, Bernita Lovelace from Arkansas. She is quite excited to get what I believe is her first 'W'. The other female turns out to be well known ultra runner Anita Fromm and she steadily pulls away from me over the next several miles to where I don't expect to ever see her again.

    I'm struggling at this point as the sun takes its toll on me and the uphill continues. Finally I get a bit of downhill as we head into the town of Custer and the next major aid station. Coming in, I see my Dad, camera clicking. This will become a familiar sight as the day progresses. Another change of socks as the rocks are taking their toll on my feet (feels great for at least 5 minutes). More food stuffed in, sandwich, banana etc. But for some reason I can't bring myself to eat one of the many homemade cookies I've seen at all the aid stations. They look awesome, but just don't seem to be what I want to put in my belly. I'm 35+ miles in at this point and struggling. I've gone from 15mins ahead at the last drop bag to 15 mins behind at this one. I better pick it up if I really want that A goal…

    This is a fairly major drop bag and one of the prizes inside is my MP3 player. I put this on and get back on my way. About 12Gb of my music on shuffle keeps me going through the next section. The crowd has really thinned out since we passed the 50K finish and I only see a runner or 2 for several miles. This is a good thing as I sometimes slip into singing out loud and dancing while I run. (well, not dancing I suppose but some crazy arm motions with the music. I’m glad I couldn’t see myself) At one point I realize that the music is too loud as I hear what I think might have been a gun shot. I'm in another countryside section away from the road and have no clue what may be going on but I immediately yank off the headphones only to find that everything seems fine. In hindsight, I think it may have been some sort of blip on the mp3 player but it definitely gets my heart racing for a bit. Onward I go, only to realize that the next section is a long, long uphill climb. At least I've got my music and the countryside is beautiful here as I approach the Crazy Horse monument and highest point on the course.

    Finally I come into the next aid station and there is Mom and Dad once again. At the last aid station I asked for some ice and put it both in my bottle and in my cap to try and help with the heat. This really helped a lot and more importantly my Mom took notice. At each aid station from here on out she is waiting to fill my bottle with ice and water and have an additional cup of ice water waiting. Sure is nice to have a crew, especially when you weren't expecting one. Well I move along still behind in pace, still struggling but looming to my right is the massive Crazy Horse monument and just ahead is a downhill stretch so my spirits are good. Little did I know that my mind would wander on that downhill and start taking a mental toll. It turns out that about the last 9 miles before the turnaround at 50 is all downhill and some of the most significant grade since Argyle Rd back at the start. All I can think of for that 9 miles is that I'm going to have to turn around and climb back up. That along with the general wear and tear on my body has me coming into the turnaround feeling pretty worn out. But a few miles before I get there I do pass Blake Thompson. I figure he's about 8 miles ahead of me at that point. He's looking in great spirits but wants to know where Rob is. Haven't seen him since 24 miles is all I can say. My goal for the turnaround was 9:10 and I come in at 9:35. I feel that there is no way I'm going to make my A goal of sub 20 hours so I start telling myself I can walk the whole way back and still make the B goal of sub 24... we'll see.

    The Buckaroo aid station is only a bit less than a mile from the turnaround so I blow straight through it on the way out. As I touch the fence and turn around I start to walk, thinking I'll walk the whole way back to the aid station for a break. Unfortunately (or fortunately...) I end up behind a young man on a bike riding very slow and smoking a cigarette. Well walking is not going to get me away from him and the smoke is the last thing I want to smell right now so eventually I give in and start to run again to get past.
    At the Buckaroo aid station I sit for a while and rest. I get my parents to get me extra water as I change my socks once again and wash off my legs and feet. It's amazing how much crude is on them (including plenty of salt) and it feels great to wash it off.

    After my rest I'm back on my way, somehow starting to feel better. Unfortunately though, 50 miles and that last long downhill have my quads burning. I continue along in my hundred miler running form and avoid any extended steps. Shortly I come across Rob running all along. He seems in good spirits but indicates that the sun took a major toll on him mid day. I let him know my plan is to walk the rest of the way and do just enough to break 24. He agrees with my plan and we continue on our opposite ways. Silently I start to try and do the math in my head of exactly what it will take to make it in under 24 hours but my brain is fried so the next time the road is close I put the task to my Dad. When he comes back and says it will take 15 minute miles, I know I've got to start actually running. I can walk 17 min miles when I'm going at a half decent pace and I'm sure I'd slow down more than that with so many miles under my belt. Soon I come upon Joey Butler. I haven't seen him in quite some time and he's probably about 8 miles behind me but he seems in fairly good shape. The afternoon has started to wane a bit with the sun behind clouds and it seems to be helping people out. (myself included)

    After I pass Joey, I decide to get my hundred shuffle going and cruise along a nice section by a creek only to come upon a snake skittering across the trail. Well I wasn't paying attention real well and almost stepped on it, only to leap at the last second. I miss the snake and it is gone before I know it but my 3 foot leap feels like I pulled several muscles in my legs. I begin to limp along. Fortunately it is not nearly as bad as I thought and I can resume my shuffle fairly soon. I really start to feel much better for some reason (I think it may be the sun hiding on me and the repeated "ice in my hat" treatments) and end up moving pretty well up the 9 mile climb. I actually run the majority of it (well run is a strong word... it's still the shuffle). When I enter the small tunnel at the top by Crazy Horse I let out a yell of conquest and enjoy the echo. On the other side, the trail levels and I see my parents in the distance camera and ice water at the ready. I hit the next aid station with my spirits really picking up as I realize that I've got a long downhill to get me to about 2/3rds done. More water, more chips, more grapes etc. and I'm on my way again. The next stretch is just as beautiful on the way back as it was on the way out. Deer are starting to show up in every meadow I pass and I see a large number of Turkeys or Pheasants, not sure which but it's nice to see some wildlife beyond the stray squirrel or chipmunk.

    Coming back into Custer, I'm running pretty well and I see two young ladies waking towards me on the trail. They turn out to be Kathy and Sarah looking out for me. I'm excited to see them and stop to walk with them for the remaining stretch into the aid station. There amazed to hear that my parents are here. After short introductions, I sit down again and Kathy gets me some soup. Tomato soup seems to be my food of choice for the remainder of the day as nothing, especially all my gels and blocks, looks good to me anymore. I sit for a bit at a picnic table and rest, I think I change my socks again, but perhaps it is just dumping the rocks out for what seems the 10th time of the day.

    Back on the trail after my rest and all of a sudden the rain starts to come. It's not a heavy rain but a steady drizzle, but it doesn't seem to bother me, my spirits are good and I plod along. Ever since the turnaround at 50 I've been telling myself that I need to run some now and then and can't just walk. This seems to keep me moving even though by this point I'm probably past the point where I really could walk it in. My mind is moving too slow to realize that, so I continue to push myself whenever I can. With the rain and dusk falling, the longer stretch that was such a killer earlier that afternoon goes by smoothly. In the distance to the southeast (I'm heading generally due south) a thunderstorm is lighting up the sky in quite the display. I enjoy the show, but am a bit concerned as to which way the storm is moving. If it is coming towards me, I'm a lone figure sticking out in the fields and prime target for a bolt of lightning. Fortunately, after what seems an hour I realize that the storm is not coming any closer and eventually realize it is moving further to the southeast so I rest my mind.. As dusk turns to dark, I continue to run with no headlamp for as long as possible. There is a recent full moon up in the sky to light things up, but it only shows itself occasionally with the clouds in the way. Nevertheless I continue to run without my headlamp until I approach the 75 mile mark. At this point I kick a couple of somewhat large stones (smaller than my fist I'm sure) and decide that it may be wise to light up. There is a lengthy stretch where the trail is virtually the shoulder of the road but in the dark you would never know it. I probably only see 2 cars for this stretch that remind me I'm so close to civilization.

    I really have little memory of the aid station at Pringle (76) and Lime Kiln Road (80) other than a vague visual of the layout. I've no idea what I took in there if anything. I do know that at this point I'm ignoring all drop bags. I've still got plenty of Gu’s and Clif Shot Block’s still in my pack as my eating has really slowed down. Skipping my drop bags though turns out to be a bit of a mistake as I forget that I've got Boost in them ready for me to drink, but at the time, I'm none the wiser. Somewhere around Pringle, I realize that I'm passing Stan. I don't know Stan that well but know him well enough to know that he's a much better runner than me. This boosts my spirits and keeps me going. (ignoring the fact that he recently ran Hard Rock and this is probably a cool down run for him).

    Finally I find myself coming into the Argyle Road aid station. Here I pass Anita Fromm, the lead woman. I’m not sure if it is the fact that maybe I’m not going to get chicked or just the fact that I’m only 16 miles from the finish but I am excited to be at that point.

    Here I walk with my Mom and Dad for a bit and we chat. Mom is quite amazed that I'm still moving so well. Unfortunately, the next stretch is brutal as I leave the low grade of the rails to trails and head back on to Argyle Rd and it's rolling hills. Running has become a real struggle as my quads are burning and my feet feel like I'm running on glass. One good thing is that although the rain has stopped, it soaked the ground enough that Mom and Dad can ride along the dirt road and keep an eye on me without kicking up any dust. At one point I'm passed by a couple runners moving at a good clip. The first one blows on by telling me to keep it up, "let's shoot for sub 20" I reply back that there’s no way that's going to happen and slow to a walk again. When the next runner comes by, he explains that he's just the pacer and he’s struggling to keep up with his runner. I chuckle a bit and let them go. It's only a few miles down the road and I see the runner limping along. Seems his knee has given out on him and he's going to walk it in. A bit later I pass another runner grabbing his lower back as he walks it in. I feel blessed to still be running and only suffering from sore muscles and rocks in my shoes.

    When I finally get to the turn off of Argyle Rd into the meadow, I just yell at my dad that I'll see them at the finish line. The last aid station is only a 1/2 mile down the trail. This section is still a very nice section in the middle of the night but I feel my mind fixating on the rocks in my shoes. I keep telling myself that there is only 4 miles left to go and I should just run through the last aid station, but when I get there I succumb to the pain and sit down only to dump out the rocks one last time. I continue out of the aid station strong only to begin my walk very shortly as the big climb up from the reservoir looms ahead.

    Somehow the climb seems to go fairly quickly and I continue on at the top on the dirt road. Unfortunately, it looks very different at night and I continually second guess myself that I may have missed a turn. I continue to move forward, but I'm moving slow as I look at the other roads around me for something familiar. Finally I see the spillway and realize that I'm on the right path and start to jog again. When I finally hit the big downhill to town and the dirt road turns to pavement I jump for joy. Well not literally, but never before have I been so excited to see an asphalt road. No more chance of small rocks in my shoes, ahhh.

    As I continue down the hill and hit the edge of town I see a party rocking, playing volleyball, drinks flowing. Sure would be nice to stop there but I'm close. I press on telling myself that I can run in from here, it's only about 2 miles to go… but just a block or so down the road, I decide I'm tired and start to walk. After a break I pick it up again as I hit the main drag in town, once again my mind says I can run it in, and once again I start to walk shortly after. This happens one more time on the road into the finish but finally I see the Dairy Queen in the distance and force myself to run all the way in. When I get to the finish, it’s 2:30 in the morning and there is not much going on. No fanfare, no excitement just a couple of volunteers recording the time. Well my Mom and Dad are there of course and there is no real need for fanfare, I’m so excited inside that nothing can keep me down. Except the fact that I just ran 100 miles and I’m beat. So I sit for a bit, lose my lunch and then decide to take a shower. After a brief cleanup, it’s straight to bed for me. You’d like to think I sat there and had great reflections on what a great day it’s been or what a great accomplishment, but no, I’m just beat, tired and worn out and want to pass out in a corner somewhere. But I did run 100 miles, so I got that going for me.

    The nutrition
    Well, nutrition plans are something I struggle with in a half marathon, planning one for a 100 really scares me and I ended up changing my plan many times. As it turns out, I end up with 1 Gu Energy Gel and 1 Clif Shot Block every hour, a Boost Nutritional Drink about every 3 hours, a Nuun tablet in every other bottle of water (using the standard 20oz of water every hour) and one Succeed S!Cap every hour. Add up all the totals and this gives me 263 calories, 674 grams of sodium and a bit of potassium and carbohydrates thrown in every hour. The electrolytes look good but the calorie intake will have to be more. I plan on beefing that up by grazing heavily at aid stations as much as I can. That's a lot to keep up with for 24 hours but hey, what else do I have to think about right? One thing to note is that I've been forewarned, and know somewhat from shorter races, that keeping your stomach happy during the run is one of the most difficult things to do. Plans are nice but 50 miles in your mind starts revolting and nothing looks good, sounds good or otherwise easily goes in your belly. Hence, the plan started to fade off sometime after 50 miles and really disappeared after about 75. Fortunately, eating a lot early on seemed to be enough to carry me to the end.

    The equipment
    As it is a summer race, there is not much in terms of equipment to rely on. I ran the whole way in my Nike Lunar Glides only taking them off to dump out the rocks (a million times) and change my socks occasionally. The only other significant equipment was my CWX compression shorts. I never had any real equipment issues to speak of.

    A bit of thanks
    I can’t finish this without a serious thank you to several people. All those that went with me for sure, and particularly my Mom and Dad who stayed up all night to crew me only to get on the road at 7 in the morning and head east. (guess there’s some endurance in the genes). But you can’t do 100 miles without some serious training and I really need to thank Rob, Kathy, Blake and Joey for keeping me going through all those long runs. And Rob and Kathy’s wealth of experience were invaluable to get me through this. And lastly, I want to thank David Horton who once said, “Some will say, you’re not a real ultra runner until you’ve run a hundred.” Well, now I’m a real ultrarunner.